heros or criminals???? you be the judge
May 17, 9:05 PM EDT
3 men arrested in police officer's slaying formally charged
PHOENIX (AP) -- Three men arrested last week in the shooting death of a Phoenix police officer were formally charged Tuesday by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors said Donald Delahanty, 18, and Chris Wilson, 27, both were charged with first-degree murder. Delahanty also was charged with attempted arson of an occupied structure.
David York, a third suspect in the case, was charged with hindering prosecution. York, 41, is accused of tampering and destroying evidence and helping the pair elude capture.
Prosecutors said preliminary hearings for Delahanty and Wilson were set for May 25 but a date for York's hearing was not immediately scheduled.
All three suspects remained jailed.
Officer David Uribe, 48, was shot in the head and the neck after pulling over a vehicle with a stolen license plate May 10 in northwest Phoenix.
Uribe, a 22-year veteran patrolman, died a few hours later at John C. Lincoln Hospital-North Mountain.
He was the fifth Phoenix police officer to die in the line of duty in the past year, authorities said.
Police said Wilson allegedly handed Delahanty the gun to shoot Uribe.
York, a former state Department of Corrections officer, is accused of helping Delahanty and Wilson by hiding the weapon used in the slaying and burning clothing items wore by the men, according to authorities.
Police took Wilson and Delahanty into custody at a mobile-home park for senior citizens in west Phoenix last Thursday while York was arrested Friday.
Uribe's funeral was held Tuesday in Surprise and he was later buried in west Phoenix.
the american government is run by a bunch of hipocrites
Castro leads march against terrorism
Demands arrest of Cuban exile
May. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
HAVANA - Fidel Castro led hundreds of thousands of Cubans past the U.S. mission Tuesday to demand the United States arrest a Cuban exile sought in the bombing of an airliner, accusing Washington of hypocrisy in its war on terror. Hours later, U.S. officials confirmed the militant was in custody.
The Department of Homeland Security said it detained Luis Posada Carriles on Tuesday, after the longtime Castro opponent granted interviews to TV stations and the Miami Herald for the first time since surfacing in the United States two months ago. Posada, a former CIA operative and Venezuelan security official, is wanted in the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.
Cuba's Parliament speaker welcomed the news of Posada's detention, but questioned why the U.S. government took so long.
"Do you want us to applaud the fact that he has been arrested after his presence (in the United States) was burning for two months?" Ricardo Alarcon asked in an interview with the Associated Press.
The Cuban leader's campaign for Posada's arrest has been the most intense media battle he has waged since the international custody struggle over young Cuban castaway Elian Gonzalez.
The size of the crowd in the "March against Terrorism" was similar to those organized in 2000 to press for Elian's return to his father.
"This is not a march against the people of the United States," said the 78-year-old Castro, differentiating between Americans and their government. "It is a march against terrorism, in favor of life and of peace."
"Our country has been the object of the most ferocious war in history," Castro added in brief comments to the crowd, referring to U.S. economic sanctions against the island and early U.S. government plots to kill him.
Wearing his traditional olive green military uniform and cap, the Cuban president then walked six or seven blocks past the American mission without assistance, despite an accidental fall in October that shattered his left kneecap.
Alarcon said he didn't know if the pressure from Cuba had contributed to Posada's arrest, "but it we have made a contribution toward justice being done, I am happy.
He said he thought much of the pressure came from within the United States, a nation especially sensitive about terrorist acts following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
"I have the impression that the immense majority of Americans believe that terrorism is a grave matter," Alarcon said.
For more than four hours, huge rivers of people, many chanting and waving tiny Cuban flags, spilled from side streets onto the Malecon coastal highway running past the mission. "Punishment for the assassins!" a child shouted over a loudspeaker. "Bush, terrorist!" chanted another.
Posada, 77, arrived in the United States in March and soon after requested political asylum.
Venezuela, which has an extradition treaty with the United States, last week formally requested his extradition in the 1976 bombing. Posada has denied any role in the bombing.
"Now Mr. Bush has to prove he is sincere about terrorism," Alarcon said in the Cuban government's first official reaction to the arrest of the man Castro has called "the most famous and cruel terrorist of the Western Hemisphere."
Earlier, a Homeland Security official in Washington confirmed that Posada had applied for asylum.
To be eligible for political asylum, Posada must prove a well-founded fear of persecution in a country to which he could be deported.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey last week declined to discuss Posada's past, saying only the United States "has no interest in allowing anyone with a criminal background to enter the United States."
But Posada told the Miami Herald in an interview published Tuesday that he was not trying too hard to conceal himself in Miami because he was sure U.S. authorities were not looking for him.
"Now I hide a lot less. People have recognized me in the market, at the doctor's office, mostly older people," he said last week in the interview, his first since arriving in the United States following an illegal trip across Central America.
Coinciding with the huge march in Havana, the Tuesday publication of the interview was certain to enrage Castro, who accuses the Bush administration of hypocrisy for taking no action against Posada while waging a global war against terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Castro also resents Cuba's inclusion on the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism.
During a Monday night TV appearance, Castro complained that while Posada remains free, the United States continues to fund groups dedicated to subverting his government.
"This is the empire's answer, money to foment destabilization," he said, adding, "money for terrorist acts, money for subversion."
Castro's comments came as the opposition planned a rare mass gathering in Havana for Friday, bringing together dissidents from on and off the island.
It remains unclear if the Cuban government will allow the meeting. Castro made a cryptic reference to the opposition Monday night, saying the "mercenaries" would receive "energetic and appropriate responses from the revolution."
Castro has appeared repeatedly on state TV in the campaign against Posada, his biggest since Elian was found clinging to an inner tube off Florida's coast in late 1999.
Then 5, Elian was among three Cubans who survived a failed attempt to reach the United States by sea. His mother perished with 10 others.
Elian was placed with relatives in Miami, who waged an unsuccessful seven-month custody battle to keep him in the United States.
Elian and his father returned to Cuba in the summer of 2000.
let me get this straight. the american government which prints the dollar, a currency which is not backed by gold or silver and is worth only the paper it is printed on is telling china to print money that isnt worthless??
White House warns China to overhaul currency system
May. 17, 2005 12:15 PM
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, in its hardest stance yet, warned China on Tuesday that it likely will be accused of manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage over the United States - unless Beijing acts swiftly to overhaul its currency system.
The administration has been prodding China in earnest over the last two years to stop linking its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar. Manufacturers and other critics, including Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Congress, contend that China's currency system puts U.S. companies at a big competitive disadvantage and has contributed to the loss of U.S. factory jobs.
The Treasury Department issued the warning as part of its twice-a-year report to Congress. However, it stopped short of finding that China - or any other major trading partner of the United States - was engaging in unfair currency practices.
But the administration clearly stepped up the pressure on China, saying it could be branded a manipulator of currency if the country doesn't switch soon to a flexible exchange system - something advocated not only by the United States but also by other economic powers.
A 1988 law requires the department to analyze countries' exchange rate policies and determine whether manipulation to gain unfair trade advantages is occurring. The law has economic sanctions that can be imposed on countries found in violation.
"If current trends continue without substantial alteration, China's policies will likely meet the statute's technical requirements for designation" of currency manipulation, the Treasury Department's report said.
American manufacturers say this system has undervalued the yuan by as much as 40 percent. The weaker yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and American products pricier in China.
"While China's 10-year-long pegged currency regime may have at times contributed to stability, it no longer does," the Treasury report said. The report called China's currency policies "highly distortionary" - posing a risk to, among other things, China's trading partners and global economic growth.
The administration said it will monitor China's progress on moving toward a flexible exchange system "very closely over the next six months" in advance of the Treasury's next currency report that will be sent to Congress later this year.
American manufacturers have pushed for China to be branded a currency manipulator, a designation that could ultimately lead to economic sanctions against that country.
The administration has come under increasing pressure as America's trade deficit with China has soared to record levels, hitting $162 billion last year, the biggest deficit ever recorded with any country.
Until recently, the administration had insisted its efforts at financial diplomacy were working to get China to allow its currency's value to be set by currency markets rather than controlled by the government.
However, last month, the Senate by a lopsided 67-33 vote cleared a procedural hurdle that sets the stage for a vote on legislation that would impose across-the-board 27.5 percent penalty tariffs on all Chinese imports into the country unless China changes its currency system.
Fearing the erection of protectionist barriers, the administration then began taking a tougher approach in its public comments.
"It is widely accepted that China is now ready and should move without delay" to a flexible currency system, the Treasury report said.
That echoes comments made recently by Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan that the time for China to act is now.
For their part, the Chinese still insist they need more time to shore up their banking system so it can withstand the volatility that a flexible currency would introduce.
AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report
On the Net:
Treasury Department: http://www.treasury.gov
a novel way of taking the 5th but i guess it is one way to take the 5th in england where the 5th doesnt even exist
Concerto in a key of melancholy
Silent 'Mr. X' came from the sea, plays piano
Cox News Service
May. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
LONDON - Since he was found, sodden with seawater and dressed in a dinner suit, on an island off southeastern England nearly six weeks ago, the mysterious, sad-faced man has spoken not a single word. No one knows his name or his nationality.
All anyone can say is that he plays the piano very well, with a repertoire that ranges from Tchaikovsky to the Beatles to his own compositions.
The case has riveted the British public. Hundreds of tips have flowed into the national missing-persons hotline. But none, so far, has panned out. And until his identity is established, the piano man, also known as "Mr. X," remains locked in a mental hospital, withdrawn, fearful and clutching his sheet music to his chest.
British newspapers have variously reported that the piano man was found April 7 or 8 on the Isle of Sheppey, a small, quiet island and sailing resort near the mouth of the River Thames.
He is tall and fair-haired, in his 20s or 30s and, to judge from his clothing, he had emerged from the sea.
He simply appeared, dripping wet, in a black dinner suit, white shirt and necktie. Curiously, all the designer labels from his clothes had been ripped out.
Mr. X was taken to a local hospital. He was unable to speak, or at any rate declined. Interpreters were called in to try different languages but elicited no response.
He cringed when people tried to approach. Therapists speculate that he has suffered some sort of emotional trauma.
After a time, his caregivers handed him paper and a pencil, hoping he might write something. But, instead, he drew a detailed picture of a grand piano.
Michael Camp, a social worker assigned to him, led him to the piano in the hospital chapel. There, the man relaxed for the first time since his arrival. His demeanor became calm.
And he played and played.
"I cannot get within a yard of him without him becoming very anxious," Camp told the Times newspaper.
"Yet at the piano, he comes alive. When we took him to the chapel piano, it really was amazing. He played for several hours non-stop until he collapsed."
some of us like me LIKE warm weather. hey it just starting to get nice now that those 100 degree days are here.
TRIPLE DIGIT FACTS FOR PHOENIX
The highest temperatures ever recorded in Phoenix:
122 June 26, 1990
121 July 28, 1995
120 June 25, 1990
118 July 16, 1925, June 24, 1929, July 11, 1958, July 4, 1989, June 27, 1990
June 28, 1990, July 27, 1995
The average number of 100 degree or higher days in Phoenix: 89
The fewest number of 100 degree or higher days ever recorded in Phoenix: 48 in 1913
The greatest number of 100 degree or higher days ever recorded in Phoenix: 143 in 1989
During the years 1896 through 2000...
The first occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - March 26, 1988
Latest - June 18, 1913
Average - May 13
The last occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - September 2, 1904
Latest - October 20, 1921
Average - September 28
The first occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - May 8, 1989
Latest - August 9, 1915
Average - June 20
The last occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - June 5, 1912
Latest - September 15, 2000
Average - August 9
During the years 1971 through 2000...
The first occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - March 26, 1988
Latest - June 13, 1971
Average - May 5
The last occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - September 9, 1986
Latest - October 18, 1991
Average - October 3
The first occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - May 8, 1989
Latest - July 3, 1997
Average - June, 12
The last occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - July 7, 1976
Latest - September 15, 2000
Average - August 22
During the years 1991 through 2000...
The first occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - April 16, 1994
Latest - June 2, 1998
Average - May 8
The last occurrence of 100 degrees or higher
Earliest - September 19, 1998
Latest - October 18, 1991
Average - October 7
The first occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - May 28, 2000
Latest - July 3, 1997
Average - June 17
The last occurrence of 110 degrees or higher
Earliest - August 8, 1991
Latest - September 15, 2000
Average - August 21
National Weather Service
Phoenix Weather Forecast Office
P.O. Box 52025
Phoenix, AZ 85072
Tel: (602) 275-0073
there are too many idiots in the world like larry naman :)
FBI: Live grenade was thrown during Bush visit
May. 18, 2005 08:50 AM
TBILISI, Georgia - A grenade hurled in a crowd during last week's speech by President Bush in the Georgian capital was capable of exploding and was considered a threat against the president, the FBI said Wednesday.
In Washington, the White House spokesman said Secret Service agents in Georgia were examining whether security changes were needed, noting that some people were seen getting around metal detectors at Bush's May 10 speech.
The FBI statement contradicted initial reports by Georgian officials that the Soviet-era grenade was found on the ground, was inactive and posed no danger to Bush.
The grenade, wrapped in a dark handkerchief, fell about 100 feet from the podium where Bush was speaking and "simply failed to function," FBI agent Bryan Paarmann said.
He identified it as a live hand grenade, whereas initial Georgian statements said it appeared to have been an "engineering grenade," a device that is not designed to spread shrapnel.
"We consider this act to be a threat against the health and welfare of the president of the United States as well as the welfare of the multitudes of Georgian people who turned up for this event," Paarmann said.
The president was not aware of the grenade report during his visit until Secret Service agents on the plane told him about it as he returned to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at the time.
No arrests have been made in the case, and police have appealed to the public for videotapes that may contain footage of the incident.
McClellan said Wednesday the president was updated on the new information Tuesday night and given an additional report when the FBI director attended the president's usual security briefing.
"The FBI is working very closely with Georgian authorities to make sure that this is fully investigated," he said. "We want to see the results of that investigation once it is completed."
Asked about his earlier statement that the president had never been in any danger, McClellan said: "The Secret Service didn't consider him to be at that time. Obviously we've learned more since."
During the event, there was no sign of any security threat or out-of-the-ordinary commotion to indicate something was wrong.
McClellan would not comment on the president's personal reaction to the news, and would not say whether it would affect future presidential events.
"The Secret Service is looking into all those issues," he said. "The Secret Service has the full trust of the president. They go to great lengths to provide for his security."
Bush spoke to tens of thousands of people in Freedom Square, a main plaza in Tbilisi, as part of a visit aimed at cementing relations between the United States and the ex-Soviet republic's new pro-Western leadership.
He offered strong support for Georgia's democratic development following the 2003 Rose Revolution that toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze and placed Mikhail Saakashvili in office. The crowd response was overwhelmingly favorable.
tempe piggy blacks out and crashes his car into a bus stop running over a homeless man.
Police official blacks out, crashes
The Arizona Republic
May. 18, 2005 10:40 AM
A Tempe Police commander blacked out and crashed his car, injuring a man waiting at a bus stop Tuesday night.
Commander Mike Ringo, a 27-year-veteran of the force who helps oversee police patrol in the north part of the city, was driving north on Kyrene Road when the accident happened just before 7:30 p.m., police said. It is unclear if he was on duty..
Ringo was approaching Guadalupe Road in south Tempe when he drove a 1996 Chevy Lumina into the road's east curb. The impact deflated the right, front tire, police said.
The vehicle continued north with Ringo unconscious at the wheel, according to police. It entered the Kyrene and Guadelupe roads' intersection, then jumped the curb. The car careened into a concrete parking bench and struck Michael Craig Buehler.
Two of Buehler's legs were broken, and possibly his back. The 56-year-old transient also has a concussion, police said, but he is expected to survive. He is being treated at Maricopa Medical Center.
Ringo was transported to Tempe St. Luke's Hospital. He received treatment for the "condition that prompted the collision," police said. He is listed in good condition.
Investigators have determined Ringo's vehicle was traveling less than 40 miles an hour when the crash happened. They will continue to investigate.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-444-7966.
Police officer blacks out, car hits transient
The Arizona Republic
May. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
TEMPE - A Tempe police commander blacked out while driving and crashed his car Tuesday night, injuring a man waiting at a bus stop.
Cmdr. Mike Ringo, a 27-year veteran who oversees patrol in the southern part of the city, was on duty and in uniform at the time.
Ringo was driving north on Kyrene Road about 7:30 p.m., police said. He was approaching Guadalupe Road driving a department-issued, unmarked 1996 Chevy Lumina.
Witnesses said the white Lumina veered into the curb. The car then continued north with Ringo unconscious at the wheel, police said.
The car crossed through the intersection of Kyrene and Guadalupe roads and careened into a concrete bench, striking Michael Craig Buehler.
"I heard everyone screaming and then saw this guy flying in the air," said Sarah Klinedinst, who saw the crash.
Buehler has two broken legs, a concussion and a possible broken back, police said, but is expected to survive. The 56-year-old transient is being treated at Maricopa Medical Center.
Police said momentum kept Ringo's car moving for about another quarter of a mile.
"The next thing he remembers is being woken up by a citizen who saw the accident, knocking on the window," Sgt. Dan Masters said.
Ringo, 54, was brought to Tempe St. Luke's Hospital. He was still hospitalized Wednesday while doctors try to determine what caused the blackout, police said.
Investigators said excessive speed, alcohol or drugs were not factors, Masters said.
President's close call raises security issues
Dan Eggen and Michael A. Fletcher
May. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The report that a live hand grenade was tossed into a crowd in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi last week as President Bush spoke raises questions about the security methods used.
John Pike, director of the GlobalSecurity.org, a defense policy think tank, said the attack raises concerns about the Secret Service's performance.
"Why didn't they have effective perimeter control? That is the question," Pike said. "The system did work in the sense that the munition did not get within its lethal radius. But when you do the arithmetic, it was just barely. It's not giving yourself much margin."
The FBI's conclusion about the grenade being live contradicts earlier statements by Georgian and U.S. officials, who had previously characterized it as a training or engineering device that did not pose a threat to the president during a May 10 speech in Tbilisi's Freedom Square.
News footage from the event shows that some in the crowd, estimated at 150,000 to 250,000, were able to circumvent metal detectors. Journalists reported that authorities were unable to adequately contain the audience, which waited hours to hear Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The FBI's legal attache in Georgia, Bryan Paarmann, said in a statement issued in Tbilisi that the grenade "appears to be a live device that simply failed to function," apparently because it was wrapped in a "dark tartan-colored cloth handkerchief" that slowed the movement of the triggering lever, preventing detonation.
"We consider this act to be a threat against the health and welfare of both the president of the United States and the president of Georgia as well as the multitude of Georgian people that had turned out at this event," Paarmann said.
U.S. and Georgian officials have identified the device as a Soviet-era RGD-5 hand grenade, which contains just under 4 ounces of TNT, according to specifications from Soviet weapons manuals. Although the RGD-5's effective range is about 65 feet, some fragments can travel 100 feet or more, according to the specifications.
Military weapons are widespread among Georgian citizens after a decade of upheaval that followed the Soviet Union's collapse. Georgia has waged two wars with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, conflicts that remain unresolved.
The grenade was thrown as Bush and Saakashvili addressed a huge and enthusiastic crowd in Tbilisi. Their appearance touched off a chaotic scene in the Georgian capital, as tens of thousands of people crowded into the city's main square, apparently overwhelming some of the Secret Service's security procedures.
Bush addressed the crowd from a red-carpeted platform that looked out over the plaza. It was surrounded on two sides and in part of the front by thick, bulletproof glass. But there was no bulletproof glass directly in front of the podium.
Paarmann said the grenade "was tossed in the general direction of the main stage and landed within 100 feet of the podium." That would place the explosive within the outer margins of its maximum fragment range. Authorities have not specified more precisely where the device was found or how close it was to Bush.
A Secret Service spokeswoman said last week that the grenade hit someone in the crowd and fell to the ground before it was recovered by a Georgian security official. An agency spokesman declined to comment Wednesday.
Law enforcement sources and security experts said that, based on their knowledge of the evidence so far, Bush was probably not within the grenade's "kill range" but that shrapnel could have reached him at the podium.
Because the grenade was lobbed into the crowd, people standing between the device and the stage might have absorbed much of the blast, sources said.
'No-fly list' speedup delayed
Diverting flights only option now
May. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The government is three months late in coming up with a plan ordered by Congress to avoid diverting international flights because of concerns about their passengers.
Twice in the past week, Boston-bound planes from Europe were diverted from their destinations when a passenger's name was found to be similar to a name on the "no-fly list" of people considered threats.
When Congress passed an intelligence reform bill in December, it gave Homeland Security until Feb. 15 to come up with a plan to check passengers' names against the list before planes take off.
"It doesn't seem like a mission impossible to require that we check all passengers against the terrorist watch list before a flight heads to the United States," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
About 2,600 planes fly into the United States every day, according to Flight Explorer, a company that provides flight-tracking information.
Under the current system, airlines check the passengers before they board, then forward a manifest to U.S. officials 15 minutes after a plane departs.
Passenger names and personal information, such as passport information, address, flight details and form of payment, are sent electronically to the Customs Service's National Targeting Center.
There, law-enforcement officials use computer programs to compare the data with lists of terrorists, wanted criminals and violators of immigration laws.
It can take up to two hours to check all the passengers, said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association. If the United States checked names before a flight took off, passengers would have to wait in their seats for two hours or show up at the airport two hours earlier, he said.
"So here's the choice: either you have to occasionally inconvenience 250 passengers or you otherwise inconvenience hundreds of thousands of passengers every day," Stempler said.
Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the department is drafting a plan to get the passenger information before planes take off.
"It's an extraordinarily complex issue," Knocke said. "We're not going to rush this. We're going to do this right."
In the latest incident, a fight from Italy to Boston was sent to Bangor, Maine, on Tuesday after it was discovered that a passenger had the same name as someone on the no-fly list.
we are almost talking about the politically in correct N word here.
Inapropiadas las palabras de Fox: EU
Mayo 18, 2005
El gobierno estadounidense calificó como "muy insensibles e inapropiadas" las declaraciones del presidente mexicano Vicente Fox acerca de que los mexicanos estaban haciendo en Estados Unidos "trabajos que ni siquiera los negros quieren hacer".
"Esperamos que (el gobierno mexicano) pueda aclarar las declaraciones cuando tenga la oportunidad", dijo el vocero del Departamento de Estado Richard Boucher.
Indicó que la embajada estadounidense en México ha "hablado del caso" con la administración Fox.
Fox ha rehusado disculparse por las declaraciones hechas cuando criticaba recientes medidas aprobadas por el Congreso estadounidense, entre ellas la autorización de fondos para la construcción de un muro en la frontera común y requisitos más drásticos para el otorgamiento de una licencia de conducir a los inmigrantes.
En México, el portavoz presidencial Rubén Aguilar dijo que las declaraciones de Fox fueron "malinterpretadas".
"Reiteramos el enorme respeto que el presidente de la república tiene por todas las minorías", declaró.
Preguntado también sobre la incomodidad que ocasionó en México el alerta a viajeros emitido por el Departamento de Estado a fines de abril, Boucher dijo que el texto no será modificado.
f*ck the 4th amendment the piggys want to search us for drugs
Perros anti-narcos en las escuelas
Por Valeria Fernández
Mayo 18, 2005
La utilización de perros para encontrar drogas podría convertirse en algo tan común en las escuelas como lo es en los aeropuertos.
Recientemente la junta escolar del “Scottsdale Unified School District” aprobó la idea de usar a estos caninos anti-narcóticos para detectar la presencia de droga en los casilleros de sus centros de educación.
“Esto es una de tantas cosas que estamos haciendo para combatir el consumo de drogas en la comunidad”, dijo John M. Baracy, superintendente del distrito. “Nuestro enfoque principal es en la educación, la intervención y la prevención”. publicidad
Las inspecciones se realizarían en horarios en que los estudiantes estén en clase para evitar cualquier contacto con los jóvenes y estarían a cargo de oficiales del Departamento de Policía de Scottsdale.
Según el sargento Mark Clark de ese departamento, al contrario de lo que se cree comúnmente los perros no reconocen las drogas porque tengan una adicción, sino porque son entrenados a reconocer ciertos olores como si fuera un juego por el que reciben una recompensa.
“Para el perro es un juego, él no sabe que está dando un servicio”, explicó Clark.
Los caninos que se utilizarán pueden ser o perros policías o labradores negros, quienes están entrenados para responder ya sea de forma activa ladrando o de forma pasiva al sentarse cerca del sitio donde está oculta la droga.
En meses atrás las escuelas de Scottsdale fueron sujeto de una investigación por parte de la Oficina del Alguacil del Condado Maricopa, que resultó en el arresto de al menos 15 distribuidores de droga, y otros tantos menores de edad que las compraban.
Es por eso que el superintendente opinó que para muchos estudiantes esto será una forma de limpiar la imagen de sus escuelas comprobando que de hecho no hay drogas.
“Esa idea es menos que suficiente”, opinó el alguacil Joe Arpaio sobre la utilización de los perros.
Arpaio recientemente envió más de 200 cartas a todos los distritos escolares proponiendo que se realicen pruebas anti-droga al azar de los estudiantes de “High School”.
“Estoy frustrado porque nadie quiere enfrentar el serio problema de las drogas en las escuelas, y no sólo en vecindarios pobres, sino en vecindarios ricos también”, concluyó.
Pablo Soto, un estudiante de 18 años de “Carl Hayden Community High School”, dijo que la idea de los caninos serviría para que la gente no piense “que consumimos drogas” aunque no se haya implementado en su escuela.
“No es como que vinimos de la frontera y traficamos drogas”, protestó Carla Gonzales, otra joven de 17 años que no apoya la idea de los perros en las escuelas por considerarlo una invasión de la privacidad.
Agente acusado por homicidio inmigrante
Mayo 18, 2005
Tucson (Arizona).- Un agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza sector Tucson enfrenta cargos por el homicidio involuntario de un ciudadano mexicano.
El agente Denin Hermosillo, de 29 años, se presentó ayer ante las autoridades para ser fotografiado y que se le tomen sus huellas digitales.
Hermosillo es el primer agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza en enfrentar cargos por homicidio en el Condado Santa Cruz por más de una década.
Los hechos ocurrieron el 19 de febrero, cuando Hermosillo junto con otros agentes fronterizos detectaron la presencia de un grupo de presuntos traficantes de drogas en la región conocida como Pesqueira Canyon, a unas 10 millas al norte de la línea fronteriza.
La víctima, Julio Cesar Yenez Ramírez, de 31 años y originario de Nogales, Sonora, era una de las personas que transportaba la droga.
Cuando los traficantes se percataron de la presencia de los agentes fronterizos intentaron huir por el desierto.
Aún no es muy claro el motivo que llevó al agente fronterizo a disparar en contra del grupo.
Yenez Ramirez no tenia ninguna arma consigo y el agente fronterizo durante su declaración dijo no saber por qué se disparó la suya.
Para aclarar los hechos, el aguacil del Condado Santa Cruz colocó anuncios en periódicos locales y del lado mexicano para buscar testigos en el caso.
Algunas personas respondieron al llamado y dieron su testimonio vía telefónica, porque si cruzan la frontera podrían enfrentar cargos por tráfico de drogas.
May 19, 2:16 PM EDT
Two Houston Police Officers Fired
HOUSTON (AP) -- Two Houston police officers were fired after they were accused of downloading nude photographs of a suspected drunken driver from her camera phone.
Officers Christopher Green, 34, and George Miller, 38, were indefinitely suspended late last week, tantamount to firing in the department.
A search warrant for Green's home accused him of transferring nude photos from the college student's cellular phone to his personal digital assistant. The warrant also alleged that Miller left the woman a message suggesting they meet at an Italian cafe.
The woman's attorney, Ned Gill, has said he has no idea why she had nude photos of herself, or why the officers examined the phone. The woman is from China and speaks little English, Gill said.
Prosecutor Edward Porter, who is leading a criminal investigation, did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday, but another prosecutor said he did not believe there would be charges. State law forbids accessing a computer system without consent from the owner.
The officers' union attorney didn't immediately return a call Thursday.
Green and Miller were assigned to the department's drunken-driving task force, and the firings could affect other drunken-driving cases, officials said.
May 19, 11:32 AM EDT
Base police officers charged in FBI drug trafficking sting
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Two Davis-Monthan Air Force Base police officers are the latest people to be charged in a growing FBI cocaine trafficking sting operation, bringing the number of defendants in the case to 24.
Staff Sgt. Clifton Hoehn of the 355 Security Forces Squadron is charged with conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and cocaine possession. Staff Sgt. Alandric Holman, also of the 355 Security Forces Squadron, is charged with conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and cocaine smuggling.
Holman is also accused of selling cover sheets stamped "Secret" and stickers used to identify classified information to an undercover FBI agent.
Both men are essentially police officers for the Air Force base and are on active duty, said base spokeswoman Maj. Laurel Tingley.
Five other Davis-Monthan airmen and sergeants have also been charged in the sting.
None has been arrested. Tingley said all seven were removed from their duties but are still working on the base in positions that don't require a security clearance or a weapon.
Unlike their counterparts who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, the Air Force members face dishonorable discharge and 30 years in prison if they're found guilty by court-martial.
FBI officials said defendants in the case, who include federal agents, soldiers, prison guards and police, ran more than half a ton of cocaine to Tucson, Phoenix and Las Vegas using their uniforms and military vehicles to slip past Border Patrol and police checkpoints in Arizona and Nevada.
Authorities said the FBI was tipped about an individual and set up a fake trafficking organization in December 2001.
Military and police personnel then were lured with money to help distribute the cocaine or allow it to pass through checkpoints they were guarding.
The FBI used real cocaine seized in other operations but officials said the drugs never ultimately left FBI possession, officials said.
Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com
Tempe cop’s blackout, crash investigated
By Dennis Welch, Tribune
May 19, 2005
Tempe police are investigating a crash in which an officer blacked out and drove his patrol car into a bus stop, injuring a 56-year-old man.
Cmdr. Mike Ringo, 54, lost consciousness about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday while driving north on Kyrene Road, said officer Brandon Banks.
The cruiser veered right along Guadalupe Road, jumped the curb and hit Michael Buehler, who was waiting for a bus.
Buehler was taken to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix with two broken legs and a concussion.
Police would not say Wednesday why Ringo blacked out.
The 27-year department veteran will undergo a medical evaluation before he is allowed to resume his duties, police said, and the medical clearance will list the conditions under which he may go back to work.
There are no policies that would prevent Ringo from driving a city vehicle in the future, officials said.
"We’re going to do everything that is in the best interest of public safety," said Tempe Police Chief Ralph Tranter. At this time, Tranter said the main concerns are the health of Buehler and Ringo.
Contact Dennis Welch by email, or phone (480) 898-6573
nothing can stifle business like government buerocrats
Posted 5/19/2005 1:14 PM Updated 5/19/2005 1:25 PM
Internet phone companies required to give 911 access
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators voted Thursday to require that Internet phone service providers connect their customers to the same emergency 911 capabilities as callers with traditional services.
The Federal Communications Commission gave providers four months to comply. It was left up to the providers to determine how to meet the new requirement for the service, known as Voice Over Internet Protocol.
Failure to comply would subject companies to FCC enforcement actions, including fines and cease and desist court orders.
The 4-0 vote came after FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin invited families affected by the inability to reach emergency response centers over Internet phones to tell their stories. A Florida woman described how her infant daughter died while she was unable to reach an emergency dispatcher through her Internet phone.
"By moving quickly, we will save lives," said Commissioner Michael J. Copps.
About 1.5 million customers use the service, which is growing rapidly.
The commission's order will take effect 120 days from its publication in the Federal Register. Officials said it will be 30 to 45 days before it is published. VOIP companies must provide the commission with a letter certifying their compliance by the deadline.
Under the order, VOIP providers must ensure that all 911 calls are routed to the caller's local 911 operations center and must provide the emergency operator with the customer's callback number and location, whether the call is being made from the customer's home or elsewhere.
One of the major problems in providing 911 service to VOIP customers is that calls can be made anywhere there is an Internet connection, making is all but impossible for 911 operators to identify the location of the call. The FCC order requires that VOIP providers give their customers a way to update their location and callback numbers.
VOIP providers also must inform their customers by the 120-day deadline of the capabilities and limitations of the 911 service they are being provided. Connection to a 911 operator, for example, would not be possible for a VOIP customer in the event of a power failure or loss of Internet connection.
Martin said he took the unusual move of inviting the families to tell their stories because he thought it was critical that the commission act as soon as possible. He said the stories "make concrete the challenges that were out there."
Commissioners said they did not want to specify how VOIP providers comply with the 911 requirement because they did now want to hinder the rapidly evolving Internet phone technology.
But, Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said, "We cannot let our desire to see VOIP proliferate come at the cost of providing the best emergency services available today, nor can we afford to take any steps backward."
The order does not apply to other Internet-based providers, such as those that offer instant messaging or gaming services that contain voice components.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
government is all about raising $revenue$
New offenders' fine marked for courthouse
MESA - Speeders, drunken drivers and other misdemeanor offenders soon may be helping Mesa build a courthouse.
Offenders would pay a $15 construction fee in addition to other fines under a proposed city ordinance expected to be approved by the City Council in June.
The fees are expected to pay for roughly half the cost of the courthouse, said Bryan Raines, the city's financial services manager.
Bonds to pay for the design work on the courthouse will be sold in June after the council this month approved a financing plan so work could start on the courthouse and a new police lab. Voters approved a $50 million bond issue in March 2004.
Court workers have been struggling with overcrowding at the 20-year-old courthouse. The space shortage is so severe that 10 clerks work from home.
More than politics in Cactus Towing scandal
May. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
The allegations against Mesa officials are disturbing.
Public records and accounts from former police officers, an insurance company and a rival towing company seem to suggest that officials ignored dozens of questionable-business-practice complaints against Cactus Towing, doggedly extended a city contract with the company and demanded bids be redone when others came in lower than Cactus.
The company's lawyers say this is nothing more than attempted political assassination. Nevertheless, these are serious allegations that, if true, could shake City Hall to its bedrock and affect thousands of residents who've ever had a car towed.
Because the cast of characters implicated in this scandal reads like a who's who of Mesa politics, and because the evidence strengthens the case for alleged malpractice, it's time city officials and employees answered questions - under oath, if necessary - about their relationship with Cactus Towing.
Mayor Keno Hawker, Vice Mayor Claudia Walters, City Manager Mike Hutchinson and City Attorney Deborah Spinner were named, among others, in a lawsuit last week that alleges the city manipulated bids to retain Cactus Towing.
When the company learned it would not be the lowest bidder, according to the suit, it sent well-known Mesa attorney David Udall to meet in secret with Deputy City Attorney Joseph Padilla. The suit says Padilla then ordered the bids be thrown out and new ones made without consulting the City Council, a violation of the city charter.
The suit cites more than a dozen pieces of corroborating evidence. It also claims that Hawker and Walters wanted the issue to be "swept under the rug" and advocated a Cactus contract during a public meeting.
What's worse, city documents seem to support claims that employees did not adequately address complaints against Cactus and continued to use the company although it violated terms of its contract.
Former Mesa Police Lt. Trish Bradley sent a 1997 memo to then-Materials Management Director Sharon Seekins detailing several complaints against the company that violated its contract. The memo said, for example, that the company had not filed monthly reports on the status of abandoned vehicles for six months.
That lack of accountability is particularly troubling, considering there are records that State Farm Insurance made at least a dozen complaints to the city, including excessive charges and holding vehicles to rack up additional fees.
At least one of those complaints made it to Cactus owner Lee Watkins because he signed a 1999 memo dealing with the complaint.
Some of those complaints may have led to a Sheriff's Office fraud investigation of Cactus, in which deputies seized two truckloads of evidence this spring. No arrests have been made in that case, and investigators say it will take months to analyze everything that was collected.
The situation involves so many high-profile people and has enough of a paper trail that it's hard for citizens to discount the allegations as nothing more than a sick game of politics.
If elected officials want the faith and confidence of their constituents, they must sweep away the stench pouring from these allegations - or be forced to do so by the firm hand of the law.
why blame the schools for the lock downs? the cops told them to do the lock down. from both of these articles it seems we have a bunch of goverment buzy bodies who are truely government nannies and want to micromanage our lives.
Schools deal with lockdown quandary
The Arizona Republic
May. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
A four-hour lockdown this week at Scottsdale's Desert Mountain High School forced students to urinate in sinks and trash cans because they weren't allowed to leave their classrooms to use the toilet.
Last week, children at two Phoenix elementary schools in the neighborhood where Phoenix police Officer David Uribe was killed were locked down for so long that school officials ordered pizza for their dinner.
The two cases illustrate the tightrope schools must walk between protecting students and detaining them for so long that their physical well-being becomes a concern.
The incidents also highlight the widely varying standards schools use in determining when a lockdown is necessary and when to sound the all-clear.
At Desert Mountain, high school students missed half a day of lessons because someone made up a story about a group of skinheads who were planning to shoot students and school personnel. Nathan William Swann, 18, was arrested by Scottsdale police Tuesday. Investigators say the high school dropout fabricated the story to impress a girl at Desert Mountain.
Parents said they wish schools would be more discerning about lockdowns.
"I talked to the principal at length," said Donna DuPont, whose son is a senior at Desert Mountain.
"I said that I didn't envy his position; however, he's got to temper his decision to take these drastic measures with some sort of logic. Overreacting has been part of our process since Columbine," she said.
It seems that every week, in every big city, a school bolts its doors because of a threat or security breach.
"Lockdowns do occur frequently," said Layton Dickerson, a state school safety specialist. "When things start happening too much, we always run the risk of people becoming blasé."
Students say it depends on the length of the lockdown.
"No one really gets too worried," said Max Gitenstein, 18, a Desert Mountain senior and veteran of four lockdowns this year. "No one thinks anything of it at first. But after 20 minutes, people start to wonder what's happening."
Lockdown decisions are made by individual schools, ideally in consultation with district officials and police.
"We don't take any chances with our kids," Washington Elementary School District spokeswoman Nedda Shafir said after last week's lockdowns because of the Uribe shooting. "It's very scary."
Arizona schools must have emergency response plans and are required to train staff and students in emergency procedures at least once a year. School resource officers work with schools on evacuation plans for various scenarios.
Because each situation is different, responses vary.
At Desert Mountain, Principal Brian Corte followed the wishes of the Scottsdale Police Department and withheld details about the threat until the lockdown was over.
Darryl DuPont, 18, wanted to know details after two policemen pulled him out of a classroom Monday and searched his pockets, car and locker. He said they asked him if he had any scars or tattoos relating to Nazi or Neo-Nazi groups. He was sent back to a different classroom with no explanation.
School safety experts recommend giving older students at least some information.
"It doesn't hurt them to know the basics of the situation," said William Lassiter, a specialist with the Center for the Prevention of School Violence in Raleigh, N.C. "It gives them more confidence and clarity about what's going on."
Dickerson, the state safety expert, agreed.
"Three or four hours of not knowing why you're in a lockdown has got to be pretty stressful," Dickerson said. "I also think students are more apt to follow instructions if they know the type of threat."
In Monday's incident, students' cellphones were the only link to the outside world. Safety experts don't know whether that's good or bad.
"We meet with school security chiefs around the country, and cellphones are liked by some and hated by others," said William Modzeleski, assistant deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. "Sometimes cellphones are the only mechanism to reach out. They ease parents' minds. But you don't want half your parent population coming to a school because there's a problem."
Although Desert Mountain left a phone message on the school's answering system about the lockdown, some parents said they did not get it.
"I think that's the thing that troubled me the most when I got my first communication from Darryl," DuPont said. "He'd been detained for two hours, and they wouldn't allow him to call anyone to tell them what was going on."
Nancy Wigton of Scottsdale, whose son is a junior at Desert Mountain, also said she had to call him directly.
Experts say emergency response plans should always be open to modifications.
One possible addition to Desert Mountain's plan, said Dickerson, is providing some sort of access to a toilet.
"We also recommend that classrooms have an emergency kit," he said. "A lot of schools use five-gallon paint or pickle barrels that can be used as a toilet."
In the Washington district, for example, classrooms have water and a portable shelter and bucket so children can go to the bathroom.
At Desert Mountain, a number of students with health needs received medication during the lockdown.
"Our school nurse was standing next to me holding a pre-organized box that listed all students on medications and the times the medications needed to be administered," said Corte, the principal.
Still, there are no state or federal provisions for handling health needs in a lockdown.
"If you have a student who needs to be medicated every two, four, six hours, you need to have those discussions with parents and school," Modzeleski said.
Since schools do not report lockdowns to the Arizona Department of Education, there are no statistics on the numbers of such incidents.
Mesa school officials said about a dozen of their 84 schools were locked down this year because of incidents near schools.
Chandler school officials said they've had a handful of incidents this year, most because of burglaries or possible suicides in the area around their schools.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-6868. Reporters Holly Johnson, Karina Bland, Anne Ryman, JJ Hensley and Doug Carroll contributed to this article.
like this seventh grader is really going to kill these people?????
Tempe student disciplined after hit list is discovered
The Arizona Republic
May. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
TEMPE - A list of names of 18 students and six faculty members got a seventh-grader removed from McKemy Middle School.
She told investigators it was an "assassination list," but police said a search of the school and the girl's Tempe home showed she probably didn't have any means to carry out an attack. No weapons were found.
It's the latest in a string of threats at Valley schools. On Monday, Scottsdale's Desert Mountain High and Mountainside Middle School were locked down because of an alleged shooting threat. Last month, a Basha High School student was arrested in Chandler for allegedly plotting a shooting spree.
In Tempe, a note was sent home Thursday with McKemy students telling parents about the alleged threats.
"I want to assure you that we are taking this situation seriously," wrote Principal Ardie Sturdivant. "The safety or your children and the McKemy staff is our primary concern."
Vice Principal Lyn Lizardi learned of the list during the last school period of the day Wednesday, Sturdivant said. Lizardi and Sturdivant immediately notified the district and the school's on-site Tempe police officer, Larry Baggs.
Three other seventh-graders also were involved, police said. They have also been disciplined and removed from the campus, said district spokeswoman Monica Allread. School officials could not go into detail about the severity of the students' discipline.
The girl's mother has been "very cooperative" with investigators, police said. She willingly allowed a search of her apartment Wednesday evening.
At the same time, McKemy administrators contacted those who were named on the list late into the night, Sturdivant said. It took more than three hours of phone calls to reach the staff and most of the parents of the children. The one parent who wasn't reached Wednesday was contacted Thursday morning.
There was heightened security Thursday at the 930-student school nestled into a central Tempe neighborhood. But the school day ran smoothly, with no unusual incidents. Counselors and the school psychologist were on hand as students learned of the news.
Some McKemy students said they weren't scared for themselves, but about what might happen to the girl and her alleged cohorts. Lauren Trim, 13, said she's a good friend with the girl through school and church.
"I'm sure this was just a bad, bad joke," Trim said. "She's not like that; she's really nice, just a little rough around the edges."
Reach the reporter at katie .firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edición en línea - Comunidad
Edición: 711. Del 18 de mayo al 24 de mayo del 2005
Investigan a dos policías por muerte de un hombre
Dos agentes de la Policía de Phoenix fueron suspendidos provisionalmente de su trabajo mientras se les investiga en relación a la muerte de un hombre que presuntamente se resistió al arresto, a quien le dispararon en varias ocasiones con una pistola Taser. Se trata de Carla Williams, de 34 años y Charles Anderson, de 26, quienes estaban asignados desde hace tres años a la subestación Desert Horizon, al Oeste de Phoenix.
El nombre de la supuesta víctima de estos agentes no fue revelado. El cuerpo se encuentra en la morge del Condado en espera de que se le practique la autopsia que determinará cuales fueron las verdaderas causas del deceso, informó el detective Randy Force, de la Policía de Phoenix. El pasado 17 de abril, la oficial Williams fue asaltada por un individuo en hechos ocurridos cerca del 1106 W. Bell Road. La afec ada pidió apoyo vía radio, pero el sospechoso logró escapar.
El pasado 2 de mayo a las 11:30 de la noche, fue localizado en un complejo de apartamentos que se localiza al Noreste de Phoenix.
En esa ocasión Williams iba acompañada del oficial Charles Anderson. Ambos intentaron arrestar al sospechoso, un joven de aproximadamente 24 años de edad.
Sin embargo, el individuo se resistió al arresto y comenzó a forcejear con los policías.
Presuntamente el sospechoso le provoicó varias lesiones leves en el rostro a Williams, quien le disparó con su pistola Taser al igual que el oficial Anderson, logrando someterlo de nuevo. El sospechoso dejó de respirar, por lo que los agentes aseguran que le dieron respiración artificial con una máscara de óxigeno hasta que llegaran los bomberos.
El hombre fue trasladado al Hospital Paradise Valley, donde fue pronunciado muerto a las 12:57 horas del 3 de mayo.
La Unidad de Homicidios de la Policía de Phoenix investiga si hubo una conducta criminal por parte de los agentes.
Hasta el momento se desconocen las causas del deceso. La autopsia y los exámenes toxicológicos están siendo practicados por oficiales del Centro Médico del Condado Maricopa; los resultados estarán listos en unos meses más, según se informó.
Sorry no URL was given but if you search the google news for H.R. 1528 you will get lots of hits and it is a real bill in the federal government.
Subject: Be a rat, or go to jail
May 17, 2005
Senior Republican Proposes "Draft" for the War on Drugs
New Bill Would Require All Americans to Spy on Their Neighbors -
Including Going Undercover and Wearing a Wire - or Face Jail Time
Instead of Dismantling Draconian, Unpopular Mandatory Minimum Sentences, Legislation Would Also
Establish "Mandatory Minimums" for Every Federal Crime
A Senior Republican in Congress has proposed what would essentially be a draft for the War on Drugs. The legislation would require all Americans who witness or learn about certain drug offenses to report them to the police within 24 hours and go undercover and wear a wire to catch the offenders if ordered to do so - even if the offender is their son or daughter.
Introduced by Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R WI), the "Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act" (H.R. 1528), would also overturn a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision by making all federal sentencing guidelines essentially mandatory and enacting new draconian penalties for a variety of non-violent drug offenses.
"It's frightening that a senior member of Congress wants to draft every American into the War on Drugs and make them agents of the state," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This totalitarian legislation forces citizens to spy on each other and pits family member against family member."
Under the legislation, any American who witnesses or learns of certain drug offenses taking place would have to report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance" in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory two year prison sentence and a maximum of ten years.
An example of an offense that would have to be reported to the police within 24 hours is finding out that one's brother, who has children, bought a bag of marijuana to share with his wife. Another example is finding out that one's son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint.
In each of these cases one is forced to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. One would also have to assist the government in every way, including wearing a wire if needed. Taking 48 hours to think about it could land one in jail. In addition to turning family member against family member, the legislation could also put many ordinary Americans into dangerous situations by forcing them to go undercover to gain evidence against strangers.
Despite growing opposition to mandatory minimum sentences, the bill also eliminates federal judges' ability to give sentences below the minimum sentence recommended by federal sentencing guidelines - essentially creating a mandatory minimum sentence for every federal offense (including both drug and non-drug offenses). It also mandates a 10-year minimum sentence for anyone 21 or older who gives marijuana or others drugs to someone under 18
(i.e. a 21-year-old college students hares a joint to his 17-year old brother). A second offense would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Anyone at a party who passes a marijuana joint at a party to someone who has at some point in their life been in drug treatment would face a mandatory 5-year minimum prison sentence.
"Our country's prisons are already overcrowded with people serving massive sentences for non-violent drug offenses," said Bill Piper. "The recent Supreme Court decision provided a perfect opportunity for legislators to do the right thing and untie judges' hands. Instead, they're trying to handcuff the judges completely."
The bill has been put on the same legislative fast-track as a recent controversial anti-gang bill that the U.S. House of Representatives passed in less than two month's time.
Frank Ney N4ZHG WV/EMT-B NRA(L) GOA CCRKBA JPFO ProvNRA LPWV
government goons love criminals. they are a source of revenue!!!!!!!!!!!! lets rephrase that. govenrment goons love criminals because they are easy to steal money from.
Offenders could help build a fine courthouse
Surcharge would raise half of project's cost
The Arizona Republic
May. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
Speeders, drunken drivers and other misdemeanor offenders soon may be helping Mesa build a courthouse.
Offenders would pay a $15 construction fee in addtion to other fines under a proposed city ordinance expected to be approved by the City Council in June. The fee would rise to $18 in three years.
The fees are expected to pay for roughly half the cost of the courthouse, said Bryan Raines, the city's financial services manager.
Bonds to pay for the design work for the courthouse will be sold in June after the council this month approved a financing plan so work could start on the courthouse and a new police lab. Voters approved a $50 million bond issue in March 2004.
"It's been a long time in coming. The longer we wait, the more it costs us. We're pleased it's finally moving forward," said Muncipal Court Judge Rebecca Standage.
Court workers have been struggling with overcrowding at the 20-year-old courthouse, 245 W. Second St. The space shortage is so severe that 10 clerks work from home.
A shortage of filing space led in part to dismissal of $635,328 in unpaid fines from decade-old cases when all possible attempts at collection failed.
Standage said the new building at First Avenue and Pomeroy should help defendants resolve cases more quickly and avoid delays and additional court appearances.
"We're trying to resolve cases as quickly as we can, rather than dragging it out," she said.
Joyce Lee, the Mesa Police Department's forensic science supervisor, is ecstatic about the prospect of a new crime lab with at least double the space currently available.
The current lab is split between the police station and the courthouse basement. Lee said the new lab would improve efficiency and ensure continued accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors.
Tests on any given homicide case might involve examination of latent fingerprints, DNA and firearms, she said.
"Having them in one building will allow them to process the information faster," Lee said. "It's incredible. With the new technology, it's created a higher demand."
Raines said he anticipates the crime lab will open during the 2007-2008 fiscal year, followed by the courthouse about a year later. The present courthouse then will be renovated and turned over to the Police Department, creating a "police campus" at 130 N. Robson St.
Lee said the present courthouse would become the new home of the Criminal Investigations Division.
The courthouse will be built on city property for $32.8 million. The new police lab will be built behind the police station and cost of $23.7 million. The site now is a parking lot between police headquarters and the courthouse.
Presiding Judge Matt Tafoya called getting the new building a big relief.
"It gives you a new energy, now that you know it's going to happen," Tafoya said.
Tafoya and court administrator Paul Thomas will help design the courthouse and form a committee, soliciting suggestions from staff members, lawyers and Mesa residents.
"You get a chance to look at a clean slate and design efficiencies," Thomas said.
The new building is expected to emphasize larger arraignment courts and jail.
Defendants could meet with prosecutors and defense attorneys and decide whether to plead guilty, Standage said. Some cases also might get dropped for lack of evidence.
dont the cops and government buerocrats have any real criminals to chase down????
Paper found in wallet not school hit list, girl, 13, says
The Arizona Republic
May. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
TEMPE - Maria Daniels' answering machine spewed an outpouring of anger and support Friday. Call after call came in from parents who heard their children were named on a suspected "assassination list" at McKemy Middle School.
Daniels' 13-year-old daughter was removed from McKemy because the vice principal found a list of names tucked into the girl's SpongeBob SquarePants wallet.
As word spread, some of the parents were furious, Daniels said, tears coming to her eyes. Others expressed concern for the girl and her family and offered comfort.
"I'm so sorry it ever happened," Daniels said. "But I want people to understand it's just some stupid thing done by a bunch of kids. There's no way there is any way they could have carried out a threat. The only weapons in this house are three little knives, and two of them don't even cut tomatoes."
The Arizona Republic is not naming the girl because of her age. But she and Daniels talked to The Republic Friday.
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean for this to get this serious," the admittedly headstrong girl said. "We were just bored."
The list was written a month ago, she said, while she and some good friends were sitting in their language arts class. They had finished their work sheet so they started writing down a list of people they liked and disliked on a piece of notebook paper. Eventually, the list consisted of 18 students and six teachers, and by each one was also a code word, or nickname, the kids made up for each person.
Sometime the same day the list got folded into her yellow wallet among library cards and Tiger Bucks, used in the school's award system. That's where it remained until this week, she said.
"But the list still isn't what they think it is, and I do accept my discipline," she wrote in a statement about what happened. "But I would want discipline for what I did and not didn't do. And we never thought about hurting anybody."
The girl was detained after school on Wednesday after the list was found. Police and school officials jumped into action, working to determine the validity and seriousness of the situation.
By Thursday the girl and three other seventh-graders were removed from school, district officials said. Administrators and police sent a note home with the 930 McKemy students telling parents they were investigating a list of names and the list's purpose.
Daniels' daughter now sits at home, waiting to hear if and when she can go back to school and back to playing clarinet in the band.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com.
man these people that sell stun guns to cops and governments seem to have left their ethics and morals in a toilet bowl.
Taser tied to 'independent' study that backs stun gun
The Arizona Republic
May. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
Taser International was deeply involved in a Department of Defense study that company officials touted to police departments and investors as "independent" proof of the stun gun's safety, according to government documents and e-mails obtained by The Arizona Republic and interviews with military officials.
This information is surfacing at a time when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Arizona attorney general are pursuing inquiries into safety claims that the Scottsdale firm has made.
The stun guns are being used by more than 7,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, but a series of deaths and injuries associated with the devices have raised safety concerns.
E-mails that military officials exchanged also reveal for the first time that they asked Taser to tone down public statements about the study. In addition, they urged the company to commission an independent study rather than rely on the Defense study.
The Air Force conducted the study for the Defense Department to assess the risks and effectiveness of Tasers so the military could decide whether to buy them.
Since October, Taser officials have contended that the company had no involvement in the Defense study, which helped fuel a sharp rise in the company's stock price last year.
Bulk of research
But information obtained by The Republic shows that Taser officials not only participated in three panels to determine the scope of the study, analyze data and review findings, it also provided the bulk of research material used in the study.
"Were they (Taser) totally disconnected (from the study)? The answer is no. They were not disconnected," said Larry Farlow, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory in Texas that oversaw the study.
Taser critics - civil rights lawyers, human rights activists and government officials - contend that there is insufficient evidence to support the company's assertions that the stun gun is safe. They have called for independent research.
Taser has repeatedly characterized research that its own employees or consultants helped conduct or write as independent. The company has also paid training fees and given valuable stock options to police officers involved in decisions to purchase the stun guns.
In an interview earlier this month, Steve Tuttle, Taser's vice president of communications, maintained the company's position that the Defense Department study was independent. He acknowledged that Taser employees had some involvement in the study but insisted that that did not influence the findings.
Taser officials have described the Defense research as "a major independent safety study." But Air Force researchers said the study was not meant to be a comprehensive review of stun-gun science or safety, and they made no findings on the device's safety.
Touting findings early on
Taser trumpeted results of the study long before the actual report came out on April 1. In an October news release, Taser Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith said, "This comprehensive independent study further supports the safety of Taser" and "reaffirms the lifesaving value of Taser technology."
That announcement had an immediate impact on Taser stock: It shot up 60 percent during the next month. Taser executives and board members sold 1.28 million shares for $68 million in November.
Since then, the stock has dropped dramatically as a series of deaths caused cities nationwide to reconsider purchases of Tasers and to delay deployments.
An ongoing investigation by The Republic has found that medical examiners have cited Tasers in 15 deaths across the country. They called it a cause of death in three cases, a contributing factor in nine cases and said the stun gun couldn't be ruled out as a cause of death in three cases.
Taser maintains that its stun guns have never caused a death.
When the Defense Department first released its study, it made no mention of who was involved in the study.
Another version obtained by The Republic shows that Taser's CEO, director of technical services, general counsel, medical director, chief instructor, electrical engineer and vice president of communications were involved in various panels over five months.
The report also shows that companies doing business with Taser, including General Dynamics, were heavily involved in the study and, along with Taser executives, sat on a final "Independent External Review Panel" to examine all the findings.
Farlow, the spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory, said his office, not Taser, made the decision to strike the names from the final report in order to protect the privacy of researchers and scientists.
A separate panel of medical and scientific experts that did not include Taser employees wrote the final report.
Tuttle, the Taser spokesman, said the company's involvement does not minimize the report's significance or its independence.
"This was all pre-planning stuff," he said. "We didn't do the study itself." He added that government rules require manufacturers to be involved in such reviews of their products. "If you are going to do a study of Milk Duds . . . you are going to have to talk to the (makers) of Milk Duds."
But, according to the Air Force, Taser provided most of the data used in the study, which was supposed to look at the "effectiveness" of Tasers in order to provide guidance for officials in charge of purchasing non-lethal weapons.
Although researchers determined the stun guns were "generally effective for their intended use," researchers found significant "data gaps" in the information Taser provided, Farlow said.
Chief among those gaps: enough information to determine whether Tasers can cause seizures or induce ventricular fibrillation, the sudden irregular heartbeat characterized by a heart attack.
In addition, Taser apparently did not provide some information about injuries involving the stun gun. For example, researchers said in the study that "no reports were identified that describe bone fractures resulting from the rapid induction of strong muscle contraction" caused by the stun gun.
At the time that Taser officials were sitting on the panel, they had already been served legal notice that a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy was going to sue the company over a fractured back that he reportedly suffered when shocked with a Taser during a training exercise.
Former Deputy Samuel Powers was the first to file a product liability lawsuit against Taser; his case is scheduled to go to trial in June. A doctor hired by Taser last year concluded that a one-second burst from a Taser was responsible for Powers' injury.
Since then, several police officers from departments across the country have come forward with allegations of bone fractures that they blame on Taser shocks.
The study concluded that Tasers may cause several unintended side effects, "albeit with estimated low probabilities of occurrence." It also said the need to "rely on a database of case reports compiled by manufacturers also generates uncertainty in the results."
Farlow pointed out that the Defense study made no conclusions about the stun gun's safety.
When asked about Taser's characterization of the research as a "major, independent safety study," Farlow said: "The simple answer is consider the source. . . . The press and public relations folks are doing their jobs."
Despite the fact that the Air Force lab's study made no findings on safety, the government officials who commissioned the study allowed Taser to issue a news release saying that the Defense Department considered "Tasers generally safe and effective."
E-mails show that although these officials were concerned about Taser's characterization of the study, their desire to support Taser prevailed.
"I've expressed my personal view to (Taser) that the company might want to take a different approach to their (public affairs) efforts" and "i.e., tone it down," wrote Capt. Daniel McSweeney, spokesman for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, a Pentagon office that recommended purchasing Tasers for the armed services.
"My opinion is that they probably want to commission an independent (human effects) study, in which a variety of stakeholders participate," McSweeney said in a January e-mail from his office in Quantico, Va. "To settle this issue once and for all."
Dave DuBay, a Taser vice president, confirmed that McSweeney asked the company to temper its statements. He said McSweeney felt Taser is sometimes "too passionate in defense" of its stun guns. DuBay also confirmed that McSweeney asked Taser to commission its own independent study.
But DuBay said the government's study was independent and questioned whether the public would perceive a Taser-sponsored study to be independent.
Despite McSweeney's concerns, he still recommended backing Taser.
"My rationale is that Taser is, in effect, some kind of partner to us, since we purchase and field their systems," he wrote in the same e-mail. "Not supporting them can hurt us in the public's eye."
At issue in the e-mails were requests from Taser asking the government to put out a news release declaring the stun guns safe.
The e-mails were written after reports in the New York Times and other media raised questions over Taser's claims about the Defense study and if researchers actually found the stun guns safe.
In an interview this week, McSweeney confirmed that he told Taser officials they should "tone it down" and conduct their own independent study.
"I was referencing not just to the (study) but other things I have been privy to," he said, adding that Taser has been at the center of several controversial issues. "Given the ongoing questions regarding the health effects of Taser, it would behoove Taser to do an independent study."
McSweeney acknowledged that the Defense study was not comprehensive but called it an "excellent first step" and said that more studies are under way. He said that non-lethal weapons are needed in military zones and that the study served "an urgent need" by providing a foundation for the Defense Department.
government war censors. one of the good things that help end vietnam is that it was also show on the american televisions sets on the 6pm and 10pm news
U.S. losses missing in Iraq war photos
Los Angeles Times
May. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
The young soldier died like so many others, ambushed while on patrol in Baghdad. Medics rushed him to a field hospital, but couldn't get his heart beating again.
What set Army Spc. Travis Babbitt's last moments in Iraq apart was that he confronted them in front of a journalist's camera.
An Associated Press photograph of the mortally wounded Babbitt remains a rarity: one of a handful of pictures of dead or dying American service members to be printed in this country since the start of the Iraq war more than two years ago.
A review of six prominent U.S. newspapers and the nation's two most popular newsmagazines during a recent six-month period found almost no pictures from the war zone of Americans killed in action. During that time, 559 Americans and Western allies died. The same publications ran 44 photos from Iraq to represent the thousands of Westerners wounded during that same time.
Many photographers and editors believe they are delivering Americans a muted portrait of the violence that has killed 1,797 U.S. service members and their Western allies and wounded 12,516 Americans.
Journalists attribute the relatively bloodless portrayal of the war to a variety of causes - some in their control, others in the hands of the U.S. military, and the most important related to the far-flung nature of the conflict and the way U.S. news outlets perceive their role.
"We in the news business are not doing a very good job of showing our readers what has really happened over there," said Pim Van Hemmen, assistant managing editor for photography at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.
"Writing in a headline that 1,500 Americans have died doesn't give you nearly the impact of showing one serviceman who is dead," he said. "It's the power of visuals."
Publishing such photos grabs readers' attention, but not always in ways that news executives like. When the Star-Ledger and several other papers ran the Babbitt photo in November, their editors were lashed by some readers, who called them cruel, insensitive, even unpatriotic.
Deirdre Sargent, whose husband was deployed to Iraq, e-mailed editors of the News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., that the photo left her "shaking and in tears for hours."
Babbitt's mother, Kathy Hernandez, expressed ambivalent sentiments.
"That is not an image you want to see like that," said Hernandez, six months after her son's death. "Your kid is lying like that, and there is no way you can get there to help them."
Hernandez, who lives in Uvalde, Texas, 80 miles west of San Antonio, wishes the newspapers at least had waited until after her son's funeral to run the photo. But she has no doubt why they wanted to print it.
"I do think it's an important thing, for people to see what goes on over there," she said in a phone interview. "It throws reality more in your face. And sometimes we can't help reality."
In virtually every conflict since the beginning of the 20th century, the debate has been renewed: Do Americans need to see the most vivid pictures of the consequences of war?
One camp has argued against publishing graphic images of U.S. casualties, saying the pictures hurt morale, aid the enemy and intrude on the most intimate moments of human suffering.
Journalists, in contrast, generally have invoked their responsibility as witnesses, believing they must provide an unsanitized portrait of combat.
"There can be horrible images, but war is horrible and we need to understand that," said Chris Hondros, a veteran war photographer. "I think if we are going to start a war, we ought to be willing to show the consequences of that war."
clemency board is a farce
Clemency voice goes unheeded
Board's advice on sentences largely ignored by governor
Amanda J. Crawford and Ryan Konig
The Arizona Republic
May. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
Arizona governors are largely ignoring advice from the state's clemency board, leaving hundreds of prisoners serving time that the board has said doesn't fit their crimes.
A decade ago, Arizona abolished parole, leaving the governor with the final say if any inmates should be let out of prison early. Since then, the number of inmates recommended to the governor for shortened prison terms by the Board of Executive Clemency has skyrocketed. But in the vast majority of cases, even in those where the trial judge agrees with the board that a sentence is too long, the governor has rejected the board's recommendations.
Experts say governors may be too concerned about the political ramifications of their actions to take the risk that clemency poses if an inmate commits another crime. This has left some to see the clemency process as futile, too influenced by politics and unable to fulfill its role as the only "safety valve" in a system rigid with mandatory sentences. The Board of Executive Clemency is the only place where the length of a sentence can be reviewed and the only place judges can turn when they think justice has not been done by a mandatory sentence or plea bargain handed down in their courtrooms.
"There ought to be a fail-safe in any system because there are always going to be mistakes or injustices," says Margaret Colgate Love, a former U.S. Department of Justice official responsible for the federal clemency program from 1990 to 1997. "Because of the politicization of crime and the fearfulness of politicians, I think that governors tend to be fearful of making a mistake."
Last year, the board recommended reducing or "commuting" the sentences of 75 inmates, including 16 who had their sentencing judges' support. Gov. Janet Napolitano granted seven, four of whom were inmates on their deathbeds.
The governor's attorneys say she looks for the best cases among those recommended by the clemency board that warrant her special intervention. Though the governor does not have to give a reason for denying clemency, her attorneys cited prior offenses or the use of a weapon as reasons for denying some commutations.
Robert Sheldon, a 23-year-old from Peoria, was among those recommended for a commutation by the board last year. Sheldon is serving a seven-year prison term for a drunken-driving accident when he was 18 that killed his best friend. The clemency board recommended that Sheldon be released in July, 32 months early, but the governor denied the commutation.
"Why do we even have a clemency board if nothing they say means anything?" asks Debbie Oleson, Sheldon's mother. "They gave us false hope. . . . I was so happy, and then, boom. In a heartbeat that all changed to a stamped 'no.' "
A national issue
The infrequent use of the clemency power has become an issue nationwide. In a 2003 speech to the American Bar Association, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said he believed that the process had "been drained of its moral force" at a crucial time and could be reinvigorated to address shortcomings in the justice system, a recommendation taken up by the ABA in a subsequent report on sentencing and corrections issues.
But the problem may be even more acute in Arizona, which has more people per capita in prison than any other Western state, tougher sentencing laws than most states and no parole.
An Arizona Republic analysis of sentence commutations shows:
• The number of applications for commutations has skyrocketed to 1,014 last year from 28 in 1994.
• Recommendations for sentence reductions have grown from three to 75 a year in the same time period.
• The most commutations granted in one year by an Arizona governor was 12 in 2002 by Gov. Jane Hull.
• Even in cases in which the judge supports the application and has filed a "603L" order saying the sentence required by law is "clearly excessive," relief is seldom granted. Of the 20 "603L" cases heard by the board last year, the board recommended reduced prison terms in 16 cases. The governor granted only one, reducing the sentence of a middle-age man sent to prison for drug possession to seven from 10 years. The clemency board had recommended a three-year sentence.
• Arizona law provides one political out for its governors: If a clemency board vote is unanimous, as it was in 46 of the 75 recommendations last year, the commutation happens automatically if the governor does not act. While Hull allowed six commutations to go into effect without acting, Napolitano has never allowed that to happen.
In 1994, the state Legislature made major changes to the criminal code. Among the changes was the elimination of parole for all new inmates, even non-violent offenders.
Before, most inmates could apply for parole after serving half of their prison terms. If granted parole, an inmate would be released early but his sentence remained intact and he could be returned to prison if he violated conditions of his release.
Now, under "Truth in Sentencing" guidelines, inmates must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before they can be released, a decision made administratively by the Department of Corrections.
With the elimination of parole, commutations became more popular since they were the only way an inmate could get a midterm review. With an increase in mandatory sentencing guidelines, the process also took on added importance as the only way inmates could appeal the length of their terms. But a commutation is different than parole in that it actually shortens the length of the sentence.
With the changes in 1994, the parole board was reborn as the Board of Executive Clemency and has toiled away in relative obscurity since, hearing an ever-increasing number of cases each year as Arizona's population and its prison system have grown. The board's five members are full-time state employees paid $44,995 a year each and appointed by the governor to staggered five-year terms. In addition to commutations, the board handles pardon requests (also part of the clemency process), violations of community supervision and parole for pre-1994 inmates.
Young and old, rich and poor, drug addicts and violent criminals - board members see it all. After serving two years in prison, any inmate with at least one year left on his or her sentence can apply for a commutation. Few get past the first stage. Of the 1,014 commutation cases heard by the board last year, most were denied after an initial hearing. Only 112 cases made it to the board's "second phase," a more detailed hearing in which the inmate and interested parties are usually present. Those inmates who have their judge's support or who are near death automatically go on to the second phase, and are more likely to get the board's recommendation.
Check and balance
Duane Belcher, the clemency board's chairman and executive director, said that Arizona's commutation process was not designed for the number of cases it is hearing but that its mission is "critical."
"Everything does not fit into the nice little picture we'd like it to fit, and that is what clemency is all about," he said, referring to mandatory sentence rules passed by the Legislature that dictate sentencing ranges for some offenses. "There are errors made in our criminal-justice system. . . . And there are those individuals who genuinely have not been given a fair shake by our criminal-justice system based on inadequate legal representation or a number of other factors."
In Arizona, the clemency process has become the only check and balance in a system where much of the discretion over the length of prison terms now rests in the hands of elected prosecutors.
Like many state Legislatures and the U.S. Congress over the past 30 years, Arizona legislators sought to address disparities in judicial sentencing by passing laws that dictate sentencing ranges for some offenses.
Now, prosecutors decide whether to file a charge with a mandatory sentence, whether to add "enhancements" for prior offenses or other reasons and whether to offer a plea bargain with a lighter sentence. The only option for a judge who disagrees with a plea bargain or mandatory sentence is to file a 603L order calling the sentence "clearly excessive" and enabling a direct appeal to the clemency board.
Take the case of Linda Johnson. In October 2001, Johnson had a fight with her adult daughter. A former alcoholic who suffered from depression, Johnson went home, drank two bottles of Greek wine, took half a bottle of Prozac and returned to her daughter's house with a gun she said she knew did not work. She waived the gun at her daughter, a neighbor and then at the police, screaming, "Kill me!" She eventually surrendered peacefully.
Johnson, who admitted she was attempting "suicide by cop," faced a mandatory 10 1/2 -year prison sentence, if convicted. Because she was technically guilty, she accepted instead a plea bargain for seven years in prison. Judge Pamela Franks of Maricopa County Superior Court said she believed Johnson didn't deserve to go to prison at all because no one was hurt and Johnson's mental health clearly played a role. Franks said she wanted to see Johnson get probation and one year in the county jail.
The judge sent the prosecutor back to her office to seek a better deal for the then 46-year-old. Then-County Attorney Rick Romley's office refused to budge on the length of the prison term because Johnson had pointed a gun at police. So Franks filed a 603L order allowing Johnson a direct appeal to the clemency board. The board voted unanimously last year that Johnson should be let out of prison after serving nearly three years. The governor denied the commutation.
Tim Nelson, chief counsel for Napolitano, said Johnson was not a good candidate for a commutation.
"When you are putting law enforcement lives in jeopardy or fear that their lives are in jeopardy, I don't think that is too long of a sentence," he said.
A few special cases
Nelson and assistant counsel Nicole Davis, who both review clemency applications and make recommendations to the governor, are looking for the few special cases among the dozens referred by the board that might warrant the governor's intervention.
They said that they consider the crime committed, the person's prior record and the likelihood the person will reoffend, all things the clemency board considers, too. A prior record or the use of a weapon stands among the primary reasons they cited for not granting commutations.
The clemency board plays an important role by making the first cut, they said. From there, the governor and her staff look for cases so "compelling that the system we have set up should be disrupted in some way," Nelson said.
"I don't think it is the proper role of the executive branch to undermine the sentencing guidelines established by the legislative branch and administered by the judicial branch," he said about the small percentage of commutations approved.
Leonardo Ruiz, division chief of the criminal trial division for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, questions the resources devoted to commutation process. He said he does not believe there needs to be a "check" on his or other prosecutors offices. Discretion appropriately rests with prosecutors who, unlike judges, are politicians and thus accountable to the people, he said.
"We try to use the discretion we are given in the system fairly and when somebody gets sentenced to a long prison term, typically it is because they deserve it," Ruiz said.
But critics say legislators, in response to high profile crimes, often pass rules calling for sentences that are unnecessarily long or unwarranted in some cases. Prosecutors sometimes push for harsher sentences to appear tough on crime. And governors, who like prosecutors and legislators always have another campaign around the corner, may be reluctant to act for fear of making a wrong choice and it coming back to haunt them politically.
Former Justice Department official Love and other experts say the 1988 presidential race between Democrat Michael Dukakis and Republican George H.W. Bush provided a poignant lesson for politicians. Willie Horton, a Black man released from prison in Massachusetts while Dukakis was governor, fled to Maryland where he committed a rape. Bush's campaign latched onto the Horton story to portray Dukakis as "soft on crime" even though Horton was released on a routine prison furlough, not by any specific action of Dukakis.
A commission formed by the ABA in response to Justice Kennedy's speech pointed to the Horton case as one that has helped shaped the current trends.
Bucking the trend
Commutations are rare across the country, though they are more likely in the six states with boards that act independently of the governor or can bind the governor's actions, said Love, who helped draft the ABA report. They are also somewhat more likely in the eight states where a board advises the governor, as in Arizona, than where the governor acts independently and has no such political insulation, she said. Arizona is among the states that buck that trend.
Napolitano, like other Arizona governors, has been much more likely to grant commutations in "imminent danger" cases where doctors have certified that inmates are within weeks of death.
These decisions are much easier because the likelihood the individual will commit another crime is "practically nil," Nelson said. Napolitano has granted all but one of the imminent-danger cases referred to her, he said, and this was the reason for four of the seven commutations she granted last year.
Two of the other three cases granted by the governor last year were drug offenders whose previous drug arrests had landed them prison terms longer than those given in many violent crimes. In both of those cases, the governor did not reduce the sentence as much as the clemency board had recommended.
In the third case, a young man who fought a conviction in an armed robbery claiming his innocence, and with some compelling evidence of an alibi, landed a much longer sentence than those who admitted guilt in the case. His term was reduced but not as much as was recommended by the clemency board.
"If that person goes out and commits another crime, that victim is the real concern," Nelson said about the decision-making behind the commutations. "And there is, obviously, political consequences to the governor."
Easy to say no
Mel McDonald, a former federal prosecutor and prominent Phoenix defense attorney, has represented several clients before Arizona's clemency board but complains that the process is "futile" with the governor involved.
"It is just too politically easy to say no," he said. "Nobody is going to criticize you if you say no, other than the family of the person who applies for clemency. The process doesn't work, and it is not fair with the governor in the loop."
A bill introduced in the Legislature this year by Republican Sens. Linda Gray, Robert Blendu and Thayer Verschoor would have asked voters to approve a measure amending the state Constitution to take the governor out of the commutation process. Companion legislation would have allowed the board's sentencing recommendations to stand on their own.
Gray said she introduced the bill after hearing about a compelling case denied by the governor. She said she was concerned that taxpayer money was being wasted by keeping some inmates in overcrowded prisons longer than needed and that politics, too, influenced the process. The measures died in committee.
Gabriel J. Chin, co-director of the law, criminal-justice and security program at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law, said clemency can be viewed in two ways: as "an established part of the criminal-justice system that equalizes, rationalizes, makes consistent sentences" or as "a lightning strike, like a winning lottery ticket, that almost never will be deployed except for some extremely unusual or distinctive case."
Commutations in Arizona have been used as a lightning strike even though it is clear from the 603L provision and the lack of any other way to appeal the length of a prison term that it was set up as a safety valve, he said.
"It is understandable why a governor would hesitate to do it, but it leads to unnecessarily harsh sentences not being disturbed and inequitable sentences not being disturbed," Chin said.
hmmm.... this linda johnson's case looks a lot like kevins
May. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
Examples of inmates recommended for commutations by the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency but denied by the governor.
On March 2, 2001, just after 1 a.m., Sheldon and his best friend, Andrew Enriquez, both 18, were drinking and smoking marijuana when tragedy struck: Sheldon, who was driving his truck down Camelback Road, ran a stop sign. His truck was slammed by a tractor-trailer, killing Enriquez and severely injuring Sheldon.
After Sheldon was brought home from the hospital, his mother had to break two pieces of tragic news: His best friend had died, and Sheldon was being prosecuted for manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
His mother complains about high-profile cases of manslaughter where the person has gotten off with probation.
Last year, Sheldon requested a 20-month sentence reduction from the clemency board. The board voted unanimously to grant him even more time off, recommending that the governor reduce Sheldon's sentence by 32 months. If granted, he would have been released in July. The governor denied the request.
Downing was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in March 1999. Still on parole from a burglary charge, he was afraid to disclose his name to the police. He gave a false name and signed that name on a fingerprint card. He didn't expect the lie would land him a decade behind bars for forgery.
"I'm not a violent person, nor am I a danger to our society," Downing, 38, wrote to the clemency board.
Downing was offered a plea agreement that would have kept his maximum sentence at three years. But he said there were things crossed out on the agreement that he didn't understand. He couldn't reach the lawyers for an explanation, so he withdrew from the deal.
At his sentencing, Judge Roger W. Kaufman of Maricopa County Superior Court noted that the 10-year term was long for a forgery that did not involve theft of property.
"While this crime is significant and not unimportant, the sentence required by law is grossly disproportionate to the sentences regularly given in this court for other crimes," Kaufman said.
The clemency board has voted unanimously to reduce Downing's sentence twice. His commutation was denied by Gov. Jane Hull in 2002 and Gov. Janet Napolitano in January.
King sold $10 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer and bought himself 6.5 years in prison.
On the day he was busted in July 2003, the then-22-year-old high school dropout had been up for three or four days getting high, was out of money and looking for the next fix. A dealer told him she would give him some crack if he made a sale, he explained to the clemency board. He did.
"I'm a drug addict, not a drug dealer," he wrote to the board.
But he was an addict with prior convictions. Facing up to 13 years in prison if he went to trial, he accepted a plea agreement for 6 1/2 years. Judge Stephen A. Gerst of Maricopa County Superior Court said it was a sentence the young man didn't deserve, even if he did have a juvenile record and an adult conviction for robbery. Gerst recommended the defendant get three years, instead. "Six and one-half years is clearly excessive and a waste of state resources," the judge wrote. The board agreed, recommending King's sentence be reduced to three years. Napolitano denied the request.
In October 2001, Linda Johnson and her adult daughter had a fight. Johnson, a 46-year-old former alcoholic with depression, went home, drank two bottles of Greek wine and a couple of beers and took half a bottle of Prozac. She grabbed her husband's pistol, which she said she knew didn't work, and returned to her daughter's house. She waived the gun at her daughter, a neighbor and police, who responded by car and helicopter, shouting: "I don't care! Kill me! Kill me!" They didn't, and she eventually surrendered.
Facing a 10 1/2 -year minimum sentence if she went to trial, she accepted a plea for seven years in prison, a term that Judge Pamela J. Franks of Maricopa County Superior Court called "manifestly unjust" and "just not appropriate." Franks sent the prosecutor back to her office to seek a lighter sentence, saying she would like to see Johnson sentenced to probation and a year in county jail. The prosecutors refused. Although the board denied Johnson's first request in April 2002, it reheard her case in August and voted unanimously that she should be released from prison after serving more than three years. Napolitano denied the request in February.
Source: Arizona Board of Executive Clemency records
havent the government goons at the FDA been preaching this lie to us for many years. i used to actually put sun screen lotion on when i road my bike in the 110 degree summer sun
Vitamin D research turning sunscreen wisdom on head
May. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
Scientists are excited about a vitamin again. But unlike fads that sizzled and fizzled, the evidence this time is strong and keeps growing.
If it bears out, it will challenge one of medicine's most fundamental beliefs: that people need to coat themselves with sunscreen whenever they're in the sun. Doing that may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think.
The vitamin is D, nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Because sunscreen blocks vitamin D's production, some scientists are questioning the long-standing advice to always use it.
The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer. In the past three months alone, four separate studies found it helped protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and, ironically, the skin. The strongest evidence is for colon cancer.
Many people aren't getting enough vitamin D, and it's hard to get from food and fortified milk; supplements are problematic.
So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.
No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach, but many scientists believe that "safe sun" - 15 minutes a few times a week without sunscreen - is a healthy thing to do.
One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a recent lecture at a major cancer research meeting.
His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.
"I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D," Giovannucci told the cancer scientists. "The data are really quite remarkable."
The talk so impressed the American Cancer Society's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Thun, that the society is reviewing its sun protection guidelines. "There is now intriguing evidence that vitamin D may have a role in the prevention as well as treatment of certain cancers," Thun said.
Even some dermatologists may be coming around. "I find the evidence to be mounting and increasingly compelling," said Dr. Allan Halpern, dermatology chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who advises several cancer groups.
The dilemma, he said, is a lack of consensus on how much vitamin D is needed or the best way to get it. Even if sunshine were to be recommended, the amount needed would depend on the season, time of day, where a person lives, skin color and other factors. Thun and others worry that folks might overdo it.
"People tend to go overboard with even a hint of encouragement to get more sun exposure," Thun said, adding that he'd prefer people get more of the nutrient from food or pills.
But this is difficult. Vitamin D occurs naturally in salmon, tuna and other oily fish, and is routinely added to milk, but diet accounts for very little of the vitamin D circulating in blood, Giovannucci said.
Most supplements use an old form, D-2, that is far less potent than the more desirable D-3. Multivitamins typically contain only small amounts of D-2 and include vitamin A, which offsets many of D's benefits.
As a result, pills might not raise vitamin D levels much at all.
How vitamin D may do this is still under study, but there are lots of reasons to think it can:
• Several studies of large groups of people found that those with higher vitamin D levels also had lower rates of cancer. Even so, these studies aren't the gold standard of medical research - a comparison over many years of a large group of people who were given the vitamin with a large group that didn't take it. In the past, the best research has deflated health claims involving other nutrients, including vitamin E and beta carotene.
• Lab and animal studies show that vitamin D stifles abnormal cell growth, helps cells die when they are supposed to, and curbs formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.
• Cancer is more common in the elderly, and the skin makes less vitamin D as people age.
• Blacks have higher rates of cancer than whites and more pigment in their skin, which prevents them from making much vitamin D.
• Vitamin D gets trapped in fat, so obese people have lower blood levels of D. They also have higher rates of cancer.
• People in the northeastern United States and northerly regions of the globe like Scandinavia have higher cancer rates than those who get more sunshine yearround.
During short winter days, the sun's rays come in at too low an angle to spur the skin to make vitamin D. That is why nutrition experts think vitamin D-3 may be especially helpful during winter, and for dark-skinned people all the time.
But too much of the pill variety can cause a dangerous buildup of calcium in the body. The government says 2,000 IUs is the upper daily limit.
On the other hand, it's almost impossible to overdose when getting vitamin D from sunshine.
However, it is possible to get skin cancer. And this is where the dermatology establishment and Dr. Michael Holick part company.
Thirty years ago, Holick helped make the landmark discovery of how vitamin D works. Until last year, he was chief of endocrinology, nutrition and diabetes and a professor of dermatology at Boston University. Then he published a book, The UV Advantage, urging people to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D.
Skin cancer is rarely fatal, he notes. The most deadly form, melanoma, will account for only 7,770 of the 570,280 U.S. cancer deaths expected this year.
Repeated sunburns - especially in childhood and among very fair-skinned people - have been linked to melanoma, but there is no credible evidence that moderate sun exposure causes it, Holick contends.
"The problem has been that the American Academy of Dermatology has been unchallenged for 20 years," he says. "They have brainwashed the public at every level."
The head of Holick's department, Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, called his book an embarrassment and stripped him of his dermatology professorship, although he kept his other posts.
Earlier this month, the dermatology academy launched a "Don't Seek the Sun" campaign, calling any advice to get sun "irresponsible." It quoted Dr. Vincent DeLeo, a Columbia University dermatologist, as saying: "Under no circumstances should anyone be misled into thinking that natural sunlight or tanning beds are better sources of vitamin D than foods or nutritional supplements."
That opinion is hardly unanimous, though, even among dermatologists.
"The statement that 'no sun exposure is good' I don't think is correct anymore," said Dr. Henry Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and an academy vice president.
i saw an interesting article on how cops get false confessions.
it was in the july issue of
scientific american mind
it was titled either
"true crimes, false confessions"
"why do innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit?"
it was by
saul m kassin
gisli h gudjonsson
it said that in america when the cops use the techniques which the magazine named they can get about a 54% confession rate. thats is even from people who have not committed crimes. they said the rate varies from culture to culture and in japan where people are brainwashed from birth to conform the the technique gets a confession rate in the 90 percent rate.
the magazines web site is:
the two guys who wrote the article have a web site called the innocence project. it is at:
i will have to try to get the full article
June 2005 issue
True Crimes, False Confessions
Why do innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit?
By Saul M. Kassin and Gisli H. Gudjonsson
In 1989 a female jogger was beaten senseless, raped and left for dead in New York City's Central Park. Her skull had multiple fractures, her eye socket was crushed, and she lost three quarters of her blood. She survived, but she cannot remember anything about the incident. Within 48 hours of the attack, solely on the basis of confessions obtained by police, five African- and Hispanic-American boys, 14 to 16 years old, were arrested. The crime scene had shown a horrific act but carried no physical traces at all of the defendants. Yet it was easy to understand why detectives, under the glare of a national media spotlight, aggressively interrogated the teenagers, at least some of whom were "wilding" in the park that night.
Four of the confessions were videotaped and later presented at trial. The tapes were compelling, with each of the defendants describing in vivid--though, in many ways, erroneous--detail how the jogger was attacked and what role he had played. One boy reenacted the way he pulled off her running pants. Another said he felt pressured by the others to participate in his "first rape"; he expressed remorse and promised that it would not happen again. After their arrest, the youths recanted these confessions, because they had believed that making a confession would have enabled them to go home. Regardless of the denials, the tapes collectively persuaded police, prosecutors, two trial juries, a city and a nation; the teenagers were convicted and sentenced to prison....continued at Scientific American Digital
Tillman's family rips accounts by Army
Folks fear truth will never come
May. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
Pat Tillman's family is lashing out at the Army, saying that the military investigations into Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year were a sham and that Army efforts to cover up the truth have made it harder for them to deal with their loss.
More than a year after their son was shot several times by fellow Army Rangers on a hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they think the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have made them suspicious, and they are certain they will never get the full story.
"Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did," Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son's death. "The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."
Tillman, a popular player for the Arizona Cardinals, gave up stardom in the National Football League after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to join the Army Rangers with his brother. After a tour in Iraq, their unit was sent to Afghanistan in spring 2004, where they were to hunt for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Shortly after arriving, Tillman was killed in a barrage of gunfire from his own men, mistaken for the enemy as he got into position to defend them.
The Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders. After a public memorial service, at which Tillman received the Silver Star, the Army told Tillman's family what had really happened, that he had been killed by his own men.
In separate interviews in their hometown of San Jose and by telephone, Tillman's parents, who are divorced, spoke about their ordeal with the Army with simmering frustration and anger. Several military investigations have offered differing accounts of Tillman's death.
The latest investigation, written about by the Washington Post earlier this month, showed that the soldiers in Afghanistan knew almost immediately that they had killed Tillman by mistake in what they believed was a firefight with enemies. The investigation also revealed soldiers later burned Tillman's uniform and body armor.
That information was slow to make it back to the United States, the report said, and Army officials here were unaware that his death on April 22, 2004, was fratricide when they notified the family that Tillman had been shot.
Over the next 10 days, however, Army officials, including the theater commander, Army Gen. John Abizaid, were told of the reports that Tillman had been killed by his own men, the investigation said. The Army waited until an investigation was finished before telling the family, which was weeks after a nationally televised memorial service that honored Tillman on May 3, 2004.
Patrick Tillman Sr., a San Jose lawyer, said he is furious about what he found in the volumes of witness statements and investigative documents the Army has given to the family. He decried what he calls a "botched homicide investigation" and blames high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public.
"After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Patrick said. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."
Army spokesmen maintain the Army has done everything it can to keep the family informed.
Mary Tillman keeps her son's wedding album in the living room of the house where he grew up, and his Arizona State University football jersey, still dirty from the 1997 Rose Bowl game, hangs in a nearby closet. With each new version of events, her mind swirls with new theories about what really happened and why.
"It makes you feel like you're losing your mind in a way," she said. "You imagine things. When you don't know the truth, certain details can be blown out of proportion. The truth may be painful, but it's the truth. You start to contrive all these scenarios that could have taken place because they just kept lying. If you feel you're being lied to, you can never put it to rest."
Patrick said he believes he will never get the truth, and he said he is resigned to that. But he wants everyone in the chain of command, from Tillman's direct supervisors to the one-star general who conducted the latest investigation, to face discipline for "dishonorable acts."
"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore," he said. "Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has."
Mary says the government used her son for weeks after his death, perpetuating an untrue story to capitalize on his altruism, just as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was erupting publicly. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.
homeland security goons brag proudly that they dont force people to wait 40 minutes in line as much as they used to.
Airport travelers facing shorter security waits
May. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
|5 Tempe pig cars where needed for this stop where a |
|Mexican family 12 was stopped in Tempe for a minor | traffic violation. Are those Tempe pigs racist or what? |
|Photo from Phoenix COPWATCH |
Travelers have faced fewer excruciatingly long waits in airport security lines this year than they faced a year ago, a USA Today analysis of federal records shows.
Even so, a long backup occurred almost every day from June through March in at least one airport in the United States. Almost half came during peak travel periods: 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5 p.m., records show.
The Transportation Security Administration, which records how long passengers wait in security lines, is working to streamline the process.
"We've definitely brought the wait times down and will continue to do so," says Jonathan Fleming, the authority's chief operating officer.
Compared with the first three months of last year, the agency appears to be succeeding at preventing the worst waits. The number of lines stretching 40 minutes or longer dropped sharply as airports added lanes to security checkpoints, screeners were shifted to backed-up lines and passengers grew accustomed to security procedures.
In the first three months of this year, 299 lines lasting at least 40 minutes were reported. That compares with 1,140 during the same period last year, according to the newspaper's analysis of authority records.
Based on those figures, a traveler stood a 1-in-4,400 chance of entering a line that lasted 40 minutes or longer this year. During the first three months of last year, it was a 1-in-400 chance.
Airport security directors are required to call authority headquarters whenever a line is backed up for at least 40 minutes. Measurements are taken every hour, and every half-hour during peak periods, but many airports did not record the waits until June.
The decline comes when the number of passengers flying grew about 6 percent from the same period last year.
The worst of the lines haven't disappeared. On more than 1,800 occasions from June through March, travelers have been stuck in airport security lines that lasted 40 minutes or more, records show.
The long waits have inconvenienced tens of thousands of passengers, most often at busy airports such as Los Angeles International but also at smaller terminals from Macon, Ga., to Kodiak, Alaska.
Los Angeles International recorded the highest number of extreme waits from June through March: 223. That included the longest wait in the past year: a two-hour-and-13-minute marathon the night of Jan. 21, when an evacuation closed several security checkpoints, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles says.
The airport with the second-highest number of long lines during that period: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. There, the US Airways concourse has been home to many extended waits.
Seventy lines lasting more than 40 minutes were recorded at the concourse from June 1 to March 31, records show. During that period, the airline added destinations and drew more passengers, airport spokeswoman Tara Hamilton says.
In mid-March, the airport expanded the checkpoint from four to six lanes. Since then, no wait longer than 37 minutes has been reported, records show.
Despite the improvement, long lines remain a top concern for travelers, says Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition.
"If it's getting better, these people are not seeing it," Mitchell says.
David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, says lines could be getting shorter without travelers realizing. Last year, his group timed passengers waiting in security lines at Washington-area airports and then asked them to estimate the wait.
Travelers thought their wait was almost twice as long as it was, Stempler says.
Posted on Sat, May. 21, 2005
Prison officials to allow foreign language services after all
MADISON, Wis. - The state Department of Corrections has reversed a decision that would have banned religious services in Spanish and other foreign languages.
Citing security concerns, the department recently banned foreign language activities.
But officials didn't realize that religious services and study groups had been offered in Spanish and other foreign tongues for years. The change would have halted Islamic services in Arabic, American Indian sweat lodge ceremonies and Hebrew readings of the Torah.
In late March, a group of volunteers asked prison officials for permission to hold Spanish Bible studies at the Stanley Correctional Institution. The prison system's acting security chief sent an e-mail to all wardens telling them foreign language activities could compromise prison security by bringing more people into the secure areas.
A regular Spanish-language Bible study at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth was canceled, as was a Spanish Mass being planned for Oshkosh Correctional Institute. Others were put on hold while officials figured out the rule.
Corrections Secretary Matthew Frank's office has now reversed the decision, which he said was never intended to include worship services.
"We have many faith-based organizations who do wonderful work coming into our prisons conducting worship services," Frank said. "It wasn't really a change in policy, it was attempting to address a question."
Inmates said they get something extra special by attending services in their native language.
"We take this good feeling with us back to our unit," said Juan Moreno, a Dodge Correctional Institution prisoner who attends Spanish Mass. "You have someone locked up in their cell that doesn't have this spiritual strength, it's going to affect their demeanor. (Spanish Mass) makes where we are easier to take."
With the change, religious programs or services that were already running can continue, and requests for new programs will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The volunteer Bible study group that sparked the policy reversal is expected to start soon at Stanley.
On Friday, some 50 inmates - the vast majority of whom speak only Spanish - attended the Spanish Mass at Dodge led by the Rev. Jose Moreno of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Milwaukee.
"One guy from Waupun told me nobody knows what the loneliness is like. (Spanish Mass) is this little oasis. It is like coming back to life," said Moreno. "They feel because it is in Spanish that they're taken into account, like it's our own."
State Resumes Allowing Foreign-Language Religious Services In Prison
POSTED: 12:34 pm CDT May 21, 2005
UPDATED: 12:40 pm CDT May 21, 2005
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's Spanish-speaking inmates are getting their Masses back.
The state Department of Corrections recently ordered all foreign language programs halted, out of security concerns.
But state officials apparently didn't know that religious services and study groups had been offered in Spanish and other foreign tongues for years.
The decree would have barred Arabic Islamic services, American Indian sweat lodge services, and even the use of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish Torah.
Now, the state has reversed the ruling, and officials said it was never intended to cover religious services, but other programming.
Juan Moreno, a prisoner at the Dodge Correctional Institution who attends Spanish Mass, said everyone feels better after attending church, and they take that feeling back to their cells.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Prisoners regain Mass en español
Corrections reverses recent English-only order
By PATRICK MARLEY
Posted: May 20, 2005
Madison - The state Department of Corrections recently ordered the cancellation of religious ceremonies in foreign languages over security concerns, unaware that religious study groups and services had been offered in Spanish and other foreign tongues for years.
Last week, department officials reversed themselves after realizing the sweeping decree would have barred long-running religious exercises, including Islamic services in Arabic and Native American sweat lodge ceremonies. Jewish groups also wouldn't have been allowed to use Hebrew, the language of the Torah.
Compliance with the order was spotty because of numerous questions around the terse order, but Spanish Bible studies were suspended at one prison, and a planned Spanish Mass at another was cancelled.
Priests and prisoners involved in the religious programs questioned why their activities were considered risks.
"When we all come to church, we feel better," said Juan Moreno, a Dodge Correctional Institution prisoner who attends Spanish Mass.
"We take this good feeling with us back to our unit," he said. "You have someone locked up in their cell that doesn't have this spiritual strength, it's going to affect their demeanor. (Spanish Mass) makes where we are easier to take."
In late March, a group of volunteers asked prison officials if they could hold Bible studies in Spanish at the Stanley Correctional Institution. On April 4, Sam Schneiter, the acting security chief for the prison system, sent an e-mail to all wardens banning foreign-language activities.
Schneiter conferred with department lawyer Dolores Kester, as well as Ana Boatwright and Pam Wallace, the department's top religious advisers.
What Schneiter didn't know at the time was that for years Wisconsin prisons had offered religious services and studies in a variety of languages.
As a result of his order, religious leaders and volunteers for a month were left in limbo as some wardens told them they could not offer services, at least in the short term.
Corrections Secretary Matthew Frank's office reversed the decision May 13, a day after the Journal Sentinel asked about the department's policy. Frank was not directly involved in setting the latest rules, spokesman John Dipko said.
Schneiter's memo said, "Volunteers are not allowed to provide a program in a language other than English." Frank said that should not have been interpreted to include worship services, even though that is how many prison officials took the message. The memo didn't cover court-mandated services such as drug-treatment programs.
"As far as I'm concerned, there was not a change in our policy. . . . We have many faith-based organizations who do wonderful work coming into our prisons conducting worship services," Frank said. "It wasn't really a change in policy, it was attempting to address a question."
Nonetheless, Schneiter's ruling prompted the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth to cancel its regular Bible study in Spanish. Oshkosh Correctional Institution, which was gearing up for a new Spanish Mass, canceled its service as well.
A similar plan to start Spanish Mass at Waupun Correctional Institution also didn't start, but it remained unclear Friday if that decision was connected to Schneiter's order.
The volunteer Bible study group that sparked the policy reversal is expected to start soon at Stanley, Dipko said.
Schneiter said that when officials at Stanley asked him about the volunteer Bible group, he determined it could make the prison less secure because many correctional officers don't speak Spanish.
"When contacts are attempted between the outside and inside of institutions, we need to be sure those communications are legitimate . . . and don't lead to any criminal activity or present security concerns," he said.
Schneiter said he wasn't aware of the number of Spanish Bible studies being conducted when he made his ruling. He said he was now comfortable with allowing those groups to continue.
The latest rules allow religious programs or services that were already running to continue. Proposals for new foreign-language religious programs will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
On Friday, some 50 inmates - the vast majority of whom speak only Spanish - attended the Spanish Mass at Dodge led by Father José Moreno of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Milwaukee.
'A little oasis'
"It is very, very important" for them to get religious services in their native tongue, Moreno said. "One guy from Waupun told me nobody knows what the loneliness is like. (Spanish Mass) is this little oasis. It is like coming back to life.
"They feel because it is in Spanish that they're taken into account, like it's our own."
Moreno is not related to the inmate Moreno.
Inmate Francisco Muñoz, who plays guitar at the Dodge services, said he was thankful for the Mass. "I used to come to the service in English, too, but it's . . . better in my own language," he said.
Father Moreno's services at Dodge and the Fox Lake Correctional Institution were not interrupted by the recent memo. Dodge Deputy Warden Mark Heise said he did not stop any services because he knew a number of people had raised questions about Schneiter's directive and that the matter had not been settled.
The priest had also arranged to start regular Spanish Masses at Waupun and Oshkosh after a successful one-time visit to Waupun. But just as he was preparing to go to Oshkosh, he was told not to come, he said.
"I got an e-mail saying, 'We have to postpone this. It has nothing to do with you personally. There are some issues in Madison,' " the priest recalled.
Ronald Beyah, the imam at Dodge, said he was concerned the order would have stopped his weekly Islamic service and Arabic class. "It would be impossible to conduct the Islamic services without the Arabic language," he said.
Father James Vojtik, a Catholic priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Belgium, for years has led a twice-monthly Spanish Bible study group at the Kettle Moraine prison. When he arrived for the service April 18, chaplain Kenneth George told him he couldn't meet with the group, which sings, reads the Gospel and discusses Catholic teachings.
Vojtik said George did not have a clear explanation of why it was no longer allowed.
"I was just disappointed because I thought we were doing a service that was of help to the prisoners," said Vojtik, who returned to the prison this week.
f*ck with george w bush, the american emporer and you will be severly punished!!!!!!!
May 23, 3:15 PM EDT
FAA Revokes License of D.C. 'Alert' Pilot
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has revoked the license of the pilot in charge of the small plane that strayed to within three miles of the White House on May 11, forcing the panicked evacuation of thousands of people from the executive mansion, Capitol and Supreme Court.
Though hundreds of people have mistakenly flown into Washington's restricted airspace, this was believed to be the first such revocation.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it had issued an emergency revocation of Hayden L. Sheaffer's pilot's license because he "constitutes an unacceptable risk to safety in air commerce."
The agency said no action would be taken against Sheaffer's student, who was also in the plane.
"This action reflects the seriousness in which we view all restricted airspace violations and, in this case, the level of incursion into restricted airspace," said FAA spokesman Greg Martin.
The plane entered restricted airspace and then continued flying toward highly sensitive areas, prompting evacuations of tens of thousands of people as military aircraft scrambled to intercept it.
The student, 36-year-old Troy Martin, who had logged only 30 hours of flight time, had control of the small Cessna single engine plane when a U.S. Customs Service Black Hawk helicopter and a Citation jet intercepted it.
Sheaffer didn't take the most basic steps required of pilots before operating an aircraft, the FAA said. He failed to check the weather report before leaving Smoketown, Pa., and he didn't check the FAA's "Notices to Airmen," which informs pilots of airspace restrictions.
Arizona couple suing feds for access to private land
The Arizona Republic
May. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
If you could see his heavenly piece of forest land west of Flagstaff, Richard G. Smith says, you would understand why he has fought over it with the federal government for 18 years.
Where else across thousands of square miles of northern Arizona's Coconino Plateau can a natural stand of blue spruce be found? Just two other places, according to the Arizona Nature Conservancy.
Where else does a secluded parcel of private land offer such scenic vistas, such ecologically rich habitat? Few places, if any, Smith assures.
There's just one drawback. Despite laws requiring access, you can't get there from here.
The marathon fight for access began the year after Smith and his wife, Claudia, bought the 57 acres in 1986. They hoped someday to build a summer cabin to enjoy with their two daughters and the grandchildren born since.
Surrounded by federal land, a military installation on three sides and a national forest on the fourth, the property remains a virtual island with no way to reach it unless the lawsuit the Smiths filed more than two years ago forces the federal government to obey its own law.
A dirt road along the southwestern reaches of Camp Navajo, a 44-square-mile training site for the Arizona National Guard, leads directly to the property. But allowing public use poses a security risk, the government contends.
Smith asks why, then, Camp Navajo is trying to lease some of its storage bunkers to private businesses.
Maps show the road was there before the Army took over the land. Now that the installation is no longer an arsenal, he should be able to drive it, Smith says.
The government says there's no historical right to access.
Neither side wants to carve a new route through environmentally sensitive forest land. But Smith said a solution could be found if Camp Navajo is willing to give up "just a sliver" of land.
Judge must decide
The battle is coming to a head in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. Both sides have asked Judge David Campbell for a summary judgment.
Though the circumstances of the Smiths' solitary battle are unlikely to occur elsewhere, the case could have implications for anyone challenging the federal government.
For the Smiths, the question is whether the government will honor its laws on property rights as much as its commitments to military security and environmental protection.
The stakes are high.
A win would give the couple, now retired in Fountain Hills, a way to drive onto a property appraised at $825,000. A loss would leave them with a virtually worthless, landlocked plot.
It's a parcel where a stream creates a pond as it runs through a rugged canyon during wet seasons. Blue spruce rise from its banks, and some of the state's grandest old-growth ponderosa pines and Douglas firs reach skyward on the higher slopes. The area is perfect habitat for the Mexican spotted owl, a threatened species. Elk, deer and other wildlife are regular visitors.
Smith said he has spent more than $50,000 of a modest retirement income to pay legal, engineering and other fees and can't afford to fight anymore.
Worse, his health has been precarious since 1998. He underwent lung surgery Monday for the second time.
"When we bought the land, I didn't think I'd have any trouble with access," the 67-year-old Smith said in the days leading up to the surgery. "It turned out to be an absolute nightmare.
"The government dithered and stalled. It took years to make decisions, then backed out. The government lied to me."
It's not an idle rant. A career federal employee, Smith retired in 1990 as the top federal civilian administrator of the Army depot he now can't drive across. He backs up his words with voluminous documentation of government reversals.
Requirements of law
The Smiths' case relies mainly on a federal law enacted six years before they bought the tract. It specifies that if government land surrounds private property, the government must give the owner a way to reach it.
Another law, dating from 1866, established private rights to build and maintain roads across public lands. Maps show that the road leading to the Smiths' property was in use before the Defense Department created the Army depot in 1942 to stockpile and dispose of World War II munitions.
The government's case, in turn, is pinned on a provision of the U.S. Constitution giving Congress what legal officials argue is "essentially limitless" power over public lands.
No solution found
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Klein, who is defending against the Smiths' suit, said through a spokeswoman that the government tried to negotiate several options.
"None was agreeable to the Smiths, or the cost was prohibitive to the government and taxpayers," spokeswoman Sandy Raynor said.
The government maintains that regardless of the law's requirement for access, the public can't be allowed to pass through military property.
"So, fence it," Smith said. "There are all kinds of precedents for running fenced public roads through military land."
Smith, noting that the road is in a buffer zone distant from the security area of the sprawling military installation, said an Army commander agreed years ago to arrange access but suddenly had that authority removed by higher-ups.
It took years just to win a route across five-eighths of a mile of National Forest land to connect with the three miles of military road Smith still is barred from using.
His first application, submitted in 1987, languished for 18 months before the U.S. Forest Service granted an easement. The catch: It was only 48 inches wide, and a car averages 72 inches.
Smith appealed, and by the time the Forest Service relented and granted a full-size route elsewhere, five years had passed since the application.
About that time, the Army depot was closed as a federal institution. Had the land reverted to the Forest Service under terms of the 1942 Defense Department contract that created the depot, there would be no question that Smith could use the road.
But the facility was turned over to the state to run as a National Guard training camp, and the Army still owns the land.
Sell or exchange?
Why not sell the property to the Forest Service or the Army?
"We tried that in the '80s," Smith said. "The Army didn't want it, and the Forest Service wanted to have it appraised as having no access," which would make it all but worthless.
The closest the Smiths have come to a resolution was a land trade negotiated in hopes of resolving the lawsuit. This time, the judge ordered that the land be appraised as if it had a road.
With government delays, talks extended over most of a year.
Agreement was near, Smith said, when Klein suddenly announced the deal was off because the government wouldn't be able to come up with $100,000 for an environmental-impact study of the new property.
Smith said he consulted two engineering firms, one of which does such studies for the federal government, and received estimates of $18,000 to $22,000 for the work.
The government didn't offer him a chance to pay for the study himself, Smith said.
"Not one player on the government side has put up one nickel for any of this," Smith said. "If they can't give me access, the law says they should compensate me."
To pursue payment, however, the law requires filing in a federal claims court, rather than District Court.
Smith resents having been, he said, strung along for so many years.
"I think they want me to go away - permanently. There's no doubt in my mind that they have the word on my health," he said. "The public should know what they're up against if they try to take on the federal government."
Supreme Court bars shackling of murder defendants
May. 23, 2005 08:20 AM
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court, brushing aside warnings by two justices that it was jeopardizing courthouse safety, ruled Monday it is unconstitutional to force capital murder defendants to appear before juries in chains and shackles.
Justices threw out the sentence of Carman Deck, who was shackled in leg irons and handcuffed to a chain around his belly when he faced a Missouri jury that put him on death row.
The court's most conservative members, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said in a dissent: "The court's decision risks the lives of courtroom personnel, with little corresponding benefits to defendants."
The high court had already held that people on trial could be shackled only if prosecutors had a strong argument for it. Monday's decision involves sentencing hearings in capital murder cases.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said that shackling indicates to juries "that court authorities consider the offender a danger to the community."
"It also almost inevitably affects adversely the jury's perception of the character of the defendant," he wrote.
The decision left room for court personnel to handcuff or chain defendants, but only if they pose a special security risk.
In the dissent, Thomas said the ruling "all but ignores the serious security issues facing our courts."
"The need for security is real. Judges face the possibility that a defendant or his confederates might smuggle a weapon into court and harm those present, or attack with his bare hands," Thomas wrote for himself and Scalia.
Deck was convicted of killing James Long, 69, and his wife, Zelma, 67, near De Soto, Mo., in 1996. He went to the elderly couple's door asking for directions, but once inside shot them both twice in the head and stole about $400.
The case is Deck v. Missouri, 04-5293.
hmmm..... whats the difference between a religion an a cult???? i guess the number of people that beleive in it.
Legislature provides new tool to rescue Colorado City school district
May. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
This is a good-news editorial.
But it can't be full of happy talk because the core issue remains deeply disturbing, illegal and so tightly entrenched that victims defend it.
The good news nibbles around the edges of the polygamous cult that festers in Colorado City and in Hildale, Utah.
Known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this group has nothing to do with the mainstream Mormon Church or any other legitimate religion. This is a cult, and it uses the trappings of religion to exercise complete control over its followers.
This editorial can't praise law officers who rode in on fast horses and conquered a cult that assigns young girls as multiple wives of old men while driving young men away from the community.
That didn't happen.
This editorial can't rejoice in the fact that dramatic prosecutions have been announced against a group that allegedly engages in child sexual and physical abuse, welfare fraud and tax evasion.
Those prosecutions, we trust, are in the works. But they are, we are told, hard to put together because the cult members are too brainwashed to testify against their abusers.
This editorial does praise state lawmakers for giving Attorney General Terry Goddard another tool with which to begin curbing the excesses of this group.
And that is good news.
The cult, which holds a trust that controls most property used by its members, also controls the local school district, where financial mismanagement put the district $1.5 million in debt, at 6 percent interest, to the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, which insures the state's schools.
The district bounced teachers' paychecks but found the money to buy a private airplane. Yet the state lacked the authority to do anything.
A bill passed in this past session will allow the district to be put into receivership for financial mismanagement. Goddard says the process will begin as soon as the law takes effect.
It's a nibble off the edge of a nasty problem.
But it is good news.
hmmm.... when you rent a home on the indian reservation does a condition of the rental is the cops are allowed into your home anytime they want??? as this statement implys.
"Residents also said that too many people have access to their homes, including police and exterminators."
Tribe boosts house rents, draws protest
The Arizona Republic
May. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
SALT RIVER RESERVATION - Low-income residents picketed the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community's Housing Department on Monday.
Their pink and green signs detailed monthly rent increases, lack of privacy and poor living conditions in the Canalside community.
"I'm a single parent with three kids," said Lori Lerma, who lives in a four-bedroom home. Lerma said her rent increase to $351, from $270, was unprecedented and unexpected. For residents paying $250, rents rose to $325.
Lerma works full time, but neighbors Mary Phillips, 47, and Tracy Smith, 36, live on fixed incomes. They said previous monthly rent raises were no more than $10.
Housing Department letters in December told of a rent increase, effective in March. Officials said leases signed by Canalside residents indicated that rents would rise but did not specify an amount.
"When you think of four bedrooms and think of $351 a month, it's a very good deal," said Janet Johnson, community relations director.
Housing officials said the increase covers Canalside improvements including security lights and fencing.
But the residents, who have collected 23 signatures from Canalside's 60 homes, said the lighting is bad and many are awaiting the fences.
Residents also said that too many people have access to their homes, including police and exterminators.
The housing board has scheduled a meeting with Canalside residents at 5:30 p.m. June 7, in the Early Childhood building on Chaparral Road and Center Street.
this article should make it clear that the american empire is clearly running things in afghanistan and that the karzai government is mearly a puppet government for the americans.
Bush rebuffs request by Karzai to gain more control of U.S. troops
Michael A. Fletcher
May. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - President Bush rebuffed Afghan President Hamid Karzai's effort to gain greater control over U.S. military operations in his country Monday, as the two leaders endorsed an agreement allowing the United States to continue its policy of only consulting with Afghan officials before launching raids in Afghanistan.
Bush also turned down Karzai's request for Afghanistan to take custody of its citizens being detained by the United States as suspected terrorists, saying that Afghanistan lacks facilities where the suspects "can be housed and fed and guarded."
The United States is detaining hundreds of former Taliban fighters, many of whom were captured in Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion more than three years ago.
News reports of abuse of some detainees by U.S. guards in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Bagram military base in Afghanistan have ignited outrage in Afghanistan and other parts of the Islamic world. This led to Karzai's efforts to gain control of Afghans in U.S. custody.
"Our policy, as you know, has been to work our way through those who are being held in Guantanamo and send them back to the host countries," Bush said at a White House news conference. "And we will do so over time with the Afghan government."
The two leaders played down their disagreements when they emerged from a meeting to face reporters in the East Room of the White House. Instead, they talked about their newly signed strategic partnership, outlining the terms of continued U.S. economic and military help for Afghanistan as the nation struggles to establish a democratic government.
Karzai said that "Afghanistan will not suddenly stand on its own feet" even with ratification of a constitution, his own election as president and parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
"Politically, we would have done the process . . . but in terms of the institutional strength, Afghanistan will continue to need a lot of support," he said.
In a joint declaration between the two nations, the United States promised to provide much of that help. It will continue to train Afghan military and other security personnel, and maintain a military presence to battle the remnants of the Taliban regime and al-Qaida fighters once headquartered there.
U.S. personnel will also help fight the nation's deeply entrenched illegal drug business.
"I've got great faith in the future in Afghanistan," Bush said. "First, I've got great faith in the ability of democracy to provide hope. And I've got faith in this man as a leader. He has shown tremendous courage in the face of difficult odds."
did you expect anything different????
Posted on Sun, May. 22, 2005
Newspaper: No charges filed in 20 years of Milwaukee inquests
MILWAUKEE - In 20 years of inquests into police shootings in Milwaukee County, no officer has ever been criminally charged, a newspaper's review found.
As the latest Milwaukee police inquest is set to begin Monday into the death of Wilbert J. Prado, lawmakers, victims' families, and even a veteran prosecutor acknowledge that many of the inquests are futile and in need of change.
The review by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found only two inquest verdicts in the past 20 years in which juries did not completely clear officers:
_Officer Byron Andrews said 24-year-old Antonio Davis tried to run him down with a car before Andrews accidentally shot and killed him in 1998. Several witnesses called the shooting deliberate. Jurors ruled the death an accident but noted that they believed Andrews showed severe negligence. The district attorney's office declined to file charges.
_An inquest jury in June 2003 rejected a self-defense argument by Officer Brian Switala of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police, who shot and killed Joseph Bauschek in the back after a car chase. Switala testified he feared Bauschek would run him over, but the jury said it wasn't an accident. It said there wasn't enough evidence for a charge.
In an inquest, unlike at a trial, only the district attorney is allowed to ask questions or give opening and closing statements. Attorneys for the victims' families are not allowed to try to persuade jurors of the need for charges. The only witnesses are those called by prosecutors.
Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann convenes more inquests into police use-of-force deaths than any prosecutor in the state. If the family of the deceased asks for an inquest, McCann complies. That is not the case in other counties.
But McCann said he often does not rely on the jury's findings in his decision about whether to file charges.
"The public has a right to know what happened. To me, that's the absolute way it should be," said McCann, who also believes inquests should be called whenever people die in police custody or in prison.
Tom Hammer, a professor at Marquette University's law school and a former assistant district attorney in Milwaukee, said a public airing of facts can benefit the community.
"The thoroughness of the presentation can demonstrate the sincerity of the prosecutor in getting to the bottom of the circumstances of a death," he said.
But the local lawyers who have represented families in the vast majority of police brutality cases - and who have won millions in judgments - say that isn't happening.
"I've never seen a prosecutor make a righteous attempt to arm a jury with the information they would need to reach the difficult conclusion that a police officer committed a criminal act," Merrick Domnitz, who has been practicing for 28 years, told the newspaper.
Added attorney Mark Thomsen: "Too often, the district attorney's office is trying to justify the shootings. The district attorney's job isn't to cover up and protect the department, it's to protect all the citizens of the county."
Janice Thurman, the mother of Clarence Michael Thurman III, who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer after he tried to steal the officer's lawn mower, believes the inquest into her son's death only served to protect the Milwaukee Police Department.
Officer Keith B. Miller testified that he feared for his life when he fired the fatal shot after chasing Thurman, 25. He hit him in the head with his gun and kicked him in the groin before he said his gun dropped on the ground and Thurman picked it up. Miller said he got the gun back, then fatally shot Thurman in the chest. The jury did not recommend charges and none were filed.
The family questioned why Miller drew his weapon over a lawn mower and why he didn't call for on-duty officers to arrest Thurman. The city settled a civil suit for $150,000.
Attorney Willie Nunnery tells his clients not to bother seeking inquests. Nunnery represents the family of Larry Jenkins, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by Milwaukee Police Officer John Bartlett in September 2002.
"All of them have come back the same way. Justifiable. Police justification," said Larry's mother, Debra Jenkins. "Why put myself through that? Why put his children through that? I've been through enough."
Two Milwaukee Democrats, state Reps. Annette Polly Williams and Pedro Colon, are drafting legislation that would give victims' families more say in the inquests and require that they be run by special prosecutors who don't work with the officers involved. McCann supports the proposal.
"The concern in Milwaukee is that there's a lot of police shootings, and some of them are marginally justified," Colon said. "I think Mike McCann has been as fair as he can be within the system, but the statutes don't allow a truly fair proceeding."
Similar legislation has failed to pass in previous sessions.
Editorial: Truth as the inquest goal
From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: May 23, 2005
Inquests should be about the pursuit of truth. But there is reason to believe that, when they involve a police shooting, they are mostly about smoothing roiled waters and perhaps shaming a public agency into making changes.
In fact, the public can hardly be faulted if it believes that inquests are stacked against a finding that a police officer has committed a crime.
On Monday, Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann correctly convened an inquest into the death of Wilbert J. Prado, shot by Milwaukee police officer Alfonzo Glover. Glover alleges that Prado hit him with his car and that he thought Prado was reaching for a weapon.
McCann acknowledged in a Journal Sentinel story on Sunday by Gina Barton that he views inquests not so much as investigative tools but as a public airing that may result in policy changes.
OK, if such changes are needed, this is indeed a good thing. But the public also needs to be confident that this airing has some more concrete purpose to the matter at hand: In cases involving police, whether there is cause to believe the shooting was criminal. And it needs to believe that such a finding is at least possible.
Gnawing at confidence is the fact that an analysis by Barton revealed that no inquest into police shootings in Milwaukee County in the past 20 years has resulted in criminal charges against a police officer.
It's entirely possible that this is because no charges were warranted, though two inquest juries have suggested negligence or rejected a self-defense claim. But we believe the track record suggests that improvements in the inquest process are needed. A bill currently under consideration in the state Legislature would do that.
The problem is that inquests, strictly speaking, are not adversarial. Only the district attorney's office asks questions and requests subpoenas from the court. The family's representatives cannot. And there is also the perception out there, right or wrong, that district attorney's offices and police departments work so closely together that there is little or no desire to prosecute officers in any case.
Two Milwaukee Democrats, Reps. Pedro Colón and Annette "Polly" Williams, introduced a bill that would remedy this.
It would remove from district attorneys the authority to convene inquests involving police officers and give that authority to the state attorney general or a special prosecutor appointed by the attorney general. Such inquests could not be held in secret and would have to be heard by a jury instead of just by the court, as is now a possibility. And the family could be represented at inquests by an attorney able to cross-examine witnesses and ask the court to subpoena witnesses.
McCann says he supports the basic concept behind the legislation, but has some concerns about the details. We see room for compromise here.
We are not predicting here an outcome in the Prado inquest. We're confident facts will get an honest airing before the jury. But we are suggesting that truth can have a better chance of surfacing even in honest airings with reasonable inquest changes.
From: "maywood2008" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 18:35:25 -0000
Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Re: no search warrents needed for indian homes????
--- In email@example.com, mike ross
> hmmm.... when you take part in this socialist welfare
> scheme and rent a home on the indian reservation does
> that mean the cops are allowed into your home anytime
> they want??? as this statement implys.
> "Residents also said that too many people have
> access to their homes, including police and
The article doesn't explain how police gain access to people's
homes, so I can't comment on that. It's undoubtedly part of the
rental agreement that the landlord can have free access to the home
for the exterminator. The police? I'd have to know the facts.
But Indians living on reservations have the right to be free from
unreasonable searches & seizures and to have warrants issued only
upon a showing of probable cause. Under the Indian Civil Rights Act,
25 U.S.C. 1301 et seq., Indians are guaranteed the same rights in
tribal court that U.S. citizens have under the Fourth Amendment in
federal, state and local courts.
> Tribe boosts house rents, draws protest
> Maggie Galehouse
> The Arizona Republic
> May. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
> SALT RIVER RESERVATION - Low-income residents picketed
> the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community's
> Housing Department on Monday.
> Their pink and green signs detailed monthly rent
> increases, lack of privacy and poor living conditions
> in the Canalside community.
> "I'm a single parent with three kids," said Lori
> Lerma, who lives in a four-bedroom home. Lerma said
> her rent increase to $351, from $270, was
> unprecedented and unexpected. For residents paying
> $250, rents rose to $325.
> Lerma works full time, but neighbors Mary Phillips,
> 47, and Tracy Smith, 36, live on fixed incomes. They
> said previous monthly rent raises were no more than
> Housing Department letters in December told of a rent
> increase, effective in March. Officials said leases
> signed by Canalside residents indicated that rents
> would rise but did not specify an amount.
> "When you think of four bedrooms and think of $351 a
> month, it's a very good deal," said Janet Johnson,
> community relations director.
> Housing officials said the increase covers Canalside
> improvements including security lights and fencing.
> But the residents, who have collected 23 signatures
> from Canalside's 60 homes, said the lighting is bad
> and many are awaiting the fences.
> Residents also said that too many people have access
> to their homes, including police and exterminators.
> The housing board has scheduled a meeting with
> Canalside residents at 5:30 p.m. June 7, in the Early
> Childhood building on Chaparral Road and Center
dont the government nannys have anything better to do.
Woman arrested after 9 found crowded into car
May. 24, 2005 07:05 AM
NEWHALL, Calif. - A woman was arrested after the California Highway Patrol officer who pulled her car over found nine people crammed inside, including two children in the trunk.
"I have never heard of this," said Officer Wendy Hahn. "There was no room left in the car, so she puts two of the kids in the trunk. We're trying to get people to buckle up, and this is what we find."
Lavern Dunlap, 35, of Glendora, was pulled over about 8 p.m. Friday after another driver reported seeing a woman closing the trunk of her Toyota Corolla with two children inside as the vehicle sat parked on a shoulder.
Dunlap told the officer she was heading to her sister's house in Palmdale, about a 60-mile trip.
The officer discovered a 15-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl in the trunk, four children in the back seat, an adult in the front passenger seat with a child on her lap and Dunlap behind the wheel. No one was wearing a seat belt, she said.
Dunlap was booked on suspicion of child cruelty and was released. She is scheduled to appear next month in court.
May 24, 10:53 AM EDT
Five Jurors Question Old Conviction
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Five jurors who convicted a teenager of killing his mother 20 years ago now say they would have acquitted him, after learning a newspaper investigation turned up evidence that a second person might have been involved.
"I feel that I made a mistake," juror Linda R. Kelly, a retiree living in San Diego County, told the Los Angeles Times for an article published Tuesday. "Hopefully, he will get a new trial and he can have the rest of his life."
Bruce Lisker, now 39, was convicted of second-degree murder in the beating and stabbing death of his 66-year-old mother, Dorka, at her Sherman Oaks home in 1983.
Lisker twice confessed but has recanted, saying the confessions were bids to win his release through a plea deal and parole.
His lawyers have filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which would require a judge to determine whether Lisker should be freed.
The Times reported Sunday that jurors were never told about a phone call that might have linked a former roommate of Lisker's to the crime scene. A recent police analysis of a bloody footprint left in a bathroom concluded that it did not match Lisker's shoes, implying that a second suspect was in the house at the time of the killing.
Eight of the 12 jurors who convicted Lisker were contacted by the Times. Five said the new information would have led them to acquit. One said she was not sure, and two declined to comment.
"I am saddened, as well as angered, that the evidence ... was not presented to the jury," juror Lorraine Maxwell said in a sworn statement that Lisker's lawyers submitted to the court Monday.
"They didn't present us the whole truth," juror Mary L. Tweten said of authorities. Had she known of the evidence, "I would not have voted guilty - absolutely not."
out of control govenrment
'Runaway bride' faces felony charge
May. 25, 2005 10:00 AM
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The so-called "runaway bride" was indicted Wednesday on two charges of lying to police about being kidnapped - counts that could mean up to six years in prison.
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, faces one felony count of making a false statement and one misdemeanor count of making a false police report.
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and the misdemeanor up to a year in jail if she is convicted. She could also face up to $11,000 in fines and be ordered to reimburse authorities for the cost of the search.
"We believe this is a reasonable next step in the case. We believe the grand jury made the right decision," said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.
"At some point you just can't lie to the police," he said.
A bench warrant will be issued for Wilbanks' arrest within the next few days, he added. He said he was confident arrangements could be made for Wilbanks to turn herself in. No court date has been set.
The indictment does not rule out a plea agreement to lesser charges, Porter said. Authorities had said they were talking to the Wilbanks family about a possible deal.
The office of Wilbanks' attorney, Lydia Sartain, said no statements will be issued until next week. Sartain has said she does not think Wilbanks committed a crime in Gwinnett County. Authorities in Albuquerque had said they would not charge Wilbanks.
"The citizens of the county will be ill-served by an attempted prosecution," Sartain said before Wednesday's charges were announced. She did not return a phone call seeking further comment Wednesday morning.
Wilbanks, a nurse, had claimed she was going for a jog before she disappeared from her Duluth home on April 26, four days before her planned wedding.
While Georgia authorities looked for her, Wilbanks took a bus to Las Vegas and then Albuquerque, N.M. There, she called authorities with a story about having been abducted and sexually assaulted.
But under questioning, she recanted and said she fled Georgia because of unspecified personal issues. She returned to Georgia on April 30, the day she was to have been married in a ceremony with 14 bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Her family has said she entered a medical facility after her return but did not say where.
Her disappearance prompted a massive search and nationwide publicity. City, county and state officials spent about $50,000 looking for her.
Several state and county agencies already said they will not ask her to reimburse them for a total of $10,000 spent in additional search costs. But the city of Duluth still is seeking repayment of about $40,000 and Mayor Shirley Lassetter said her city attorney has been in negotiations with Sartain.
Brothers allege FBI knowledge of torture in Pakistani detention
Kamran Khan and John Lancaster
May. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
KARACHI, Pakistan - Two U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent charged Tuesday that Pakistani security forces tortured them during eight months of secret detention and that FBI interrogators were aware of the mistreatment but did not intervene.
Zain Afzal, 23, alleged that he and his older brother, Kashan, were repeatedly tortured after their August arrest in Karachi on suspicion of links to al-Qaida. Zain Afzal said he and his brother were questioned by FBI agents who made no effort to stop the abuse and claimed they had no authority to help them. The brothers, who have acknowledged having links to a radical Pakistani group, were born in the United States but have spent most of their lives in Pakistan.
"The FBI didn't torture us directly, but it can't be a coincidence that we were beaten severely, kept awake all night or hung upside down by Pakistani agents before each of about 10 interrogation sessions by FBI agents," Afzal said. "It was a very coordinated carrot-and-stick operation."
The brothers did not allege that U.S. agents were present when they were tortured.
In Washington, an FBI spokesman acknowledged that agents interviewed the Afzal brothers but could not say how many times.
"Any assertion that the FBI condoned or directed torture is false," the bureau said in a statement.
i wonder how long it will be before the military shoots down an unarmed civilian airplane for enter air space near the white house or capital buildings?
Military was cleared to down small plane
Spencer S. Hsu and John Mintz
May. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave military officials the authority to shoot down, if necessary, a small plane that wandered into restricted airspace over the nation's capital May 11, according to two senior federal officials.
For 11 intense minutes, Customs aircraft and military fighter jets tried to intercept the Cessna 150 and determine whether the pilots were confused and lost or were targeting Washington. Military officials never deemed the aircraft to be hostile, but White House and U.S. Capitol officials grew more concerned as it flew within three miles of the executive mansion.
The plane, one of the federal officials said, came within "15 to 20 seconds" of being downed before its pilots finally heeded repeated orders to turn away from the city.
The new details, also corroborated Tuesday by a senior federal law-enforcement official, came as U.S. military and homeland security officials review the effectiveness of an air defense system established for the Washington area after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.
As authorities piece together the lessons of the scare - described by some officials as the closest the government has come to downing a civilian plane over Washington since Sept. 11, 2001 - they are confronting sensitive issues involving split-second decisions, communications and the federal chain of command.
Against a light aircraft moving at a relatively slow 100 mph, with two evidently confused pilots, authorities were able to order the evacuation of the White House and Capitol complex only two to three minutes before the plane would have reached either of those targets. Outside analysts said it remains unknown what might happen against a larger, faster aircraft intending to evade defenders.
"The question is, if it were a faster plane . . . whether or not the system would have been as responsive," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., senior Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.
Based on a Homeland Security Department chronology, it is unclear whether jet fighters would have been in position to take action against the Cessna before it reached the White House or Capitol. The Cessna penetrated a 16-mile-radius no-fly zone at 11:50 a.m.; F-16 fighters were scrambled from nearby Andrews Air Force Base two minutes later.
The White House and Capitol were evacuated just after noon, as the plane continued to approach.
The fighters were able to fire warning flares at the Cessna at 12:04 p.m., and it was diverted.
Pentagon and Homeland Security officials have said the air defense system worked effectively during the crisis. But in a statement released Friday, the pilots said they had trouble communicating on the radio frequency that a Customs helicopter crew signaled for them to use.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and Customs and Border Protection confirmed the communications problems cited by the Cessna pilots, Hayden "Jim" Sheaffer, 69, and Troy Martin, 36, both of Pennsylvania. The frequency was unavailable in that patch of airspace, the officials said.
looks like the arizona and utah governments are going to use government force to shake down some bad christians in a lds sect that the good christians of arizona and utah dislike. i guess the sections in the arizona and federal constitions that say you cant mix religion and government doesnt mean anything to these government buerocrats.
Ariz., Utah put squeeze on sect
States seize polygamists' school financial records
The Arizona Republic
May. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
The seizure of financial records Tuesday at Colorado City Unified School District signals another turn of the legal vice being used to squeeze religious leaders out of a community of polygamists along Arizona's border with Utah.
School district papers and computers were confiscated using a search warrant issued under seal by a court. Attorney General Terry Goddard confirmed that the maneuver is part of "a strategy to apply pressure in any legitimate way we can" against prophets within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, a breakaway sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "It's beginning to pay off," Arizona's top prosecutor added.
The sect and its estimated 6,000 members are not affiliated with mainstream Mormonism. Through elections and a religious trust, they control the school district, municipal government and most property in the isolated towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.
More than a half-century ago, law enforcement efforts to root out polygamy in the area culminated in the Short Creek raid, a political and public relations disaster. In 1953, Gov. Howard Pyle sent scores of peace officers into the community to protect children and put down an "insurrection" against public law. News photographs of tearful children being taken from their mothers prompted a national backlash. Most of the criminal charges were dropped. Pyle lost the next election.
Goddard said he and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff agreed two years ago to try again based on numerous complaints of sexual exploitation, welfare fraud and tax evasion. Instead of a frontal assault, however, they settled on a coordinated crackdown using law and education.
Among the tactics:
• Targeted criminal prosecutions: A Colorado City deputy marshal, Rodney Holm, was indicted on charges of bigamy and unlawful sex with a family member. Orson William Black Jr., a prominent FLDS member, was charged with sex crimes against children.
• Civil actions: Two lawsuits are pending in Utah against Warren Jeffs, the church's prophet and leader. One complaint, by a nephew, accuses Jeffs of sodomy. Another, filed by former members of the church, alleges a cover-up of child-sex abuse.
Goddard said a new action is planned this week in Utah seeking to wrest control of the United Effort Plan, a church trust that controls FLDS property. He said the trust may own as much as $200 million in real estate, cash and corporations.
• Education and public relations: A 24-hour hotline has been established for crime victims in Colorado City and Hildale. Billboards are posted. Law enforcement officials and social workers hand out calling cards.
"We're still trying to find victims," said Goddard, noting that the hotline gets a half-dozen serious calls each week. "If you need to get out of this community, we'll help you."
Last year, the state put a trailer office in Colorado City, establishing the first outpost of public authority in decades, staffed by Child Protective Services workers, sheriff's deputies, prosecutors and other officials.
"All of this is unprecedented," Goddard said. "We really haven't had this kind of hands-on presence in the community before."
• Regulation: A move to take over the Colorado City Unified School District, the community's largest employer, represents the latest salvo.
Three weeks ago, lawmakers passed a bill enabling the state to take control of school districts that are insolvent or suffer from "gross mismanagement." The law authorizes the Arizona Board of Education to appoint a receiver who can fire administrators and overrule decisions of elected trustees.
Alvin Barlow, Colorado City schools superintendent, could not be reached for comment.
Goddard said he'll ask the State Board of Education to appoint a receiver as soon as the law becomes effective in August.
Tom Horne, state schools superintendent, said no other school district in Arizona faces a receivership move. "Colorado City is in a class by itself," he said.
Mike File, superintendent of Mohave County schools, said he met with about 60 teachers in the Colorado City district last week after state legislators passed a bill putting the district into receivership.
"The meeting was somewhat contentious, and they were blaming religious persecution," File said. "I basically told them that things were going to get worse before they get better because their budget doesn't support many people."
The school district has been plagued by deficit spending and bounced paychecks issued to employees. As of last year, there were 344 students and 24 teachers in a combined educational facility, preschool through 12th grade.
The economic crunch has been blamed, in part, on an exodus of students in 2000, when feuding among FLDS leaders prompted two-thirds of the students to drop out and begin home-schooling. Enrollment figures tumbled by more than 600, causing a major loss of state revenue tied to student attendance.
The checking account went empty this fall even though employees had agreed to pay cuts. The Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, which insures districts, covered the bounced checks to avert lawsuits. It is now owed about $1.5 million.
According to a recent study commissioned by the trust, the school district overspent its budget by $432,000 last year and faces a 2005 deficit of $1.2 million.
Goddard said a search warrant, based on criminal allegations, was served to ensure that financial records do not disappear before a receivership can be established.
It is part of an overall plan to pressure FLDS leaders into living up to the law or getting out of town.
The church bought a ranch in Texas, where it appears to be building a new headquarters.
Jeffs could not be reached for comment, and those who sued him have been unable to serve legal papers. The law enforcement campaign also appears to have taken a toll on church leadership. In the past year, disputes led Jeffs to excommunicate numerous members.
Reporter Mark Shaffer contributed to this article.
instead of saying we are sorry we could give the indians back the land we stole from them, and pay them for all the indians we murdered. but dont expect these government buerocrats to do that.
Senate panel embraces formal apology to Indians
May. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Legislation to offer a formal apology to American Indians for centuries of government mistreatment and neglect received a warm reception at a Senate committee hearing Wednesday.
"While we cannot erase the record of our past, I am confident that we can acknowledge our past failures, express sincere regrets and work toward establishing a brighter future for all Americans," Sen. Sam Brownback told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Brownback, R-Kan., is the key sponsor of the apology resolution.
Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said he will help Brownback steer the resolution to the full Senate for a vote.
"Reviewing the history of this government's treatment of Native peoples makes painfully obvious that the government has repeatedly broken its promises and caused great harm to the nation's original inhabitants," McCain said.
Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians, urged Congress to recognize ongoing problems.
"Tribal leaders have cautioned that the apology will be meaningless if it is not accompanied by actions that begin to correct the wrongs of the past and the present," Hall said.
the republic should be demanding that sheriff joe change his jail from a third world gulag into a humane prison that opperating according to the law. sheriff joe did that we would have this problem of foreign countries refusing to extridite people to maricopa county because we have a third world gulag instead of a humane prison.
Faith in justice
Ireland should not shelter priest charged with child abuse in Arizona
May. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
In the case of the accused pedophile priest Patrick Colleary, one issue should be paramount:
Justice should be served. All other issues pale in comparison.
The Rev. - and we use the term advisedly - Colleary deserves his day in court. He should face a day of reckoning.
Instead, Colleary remains free in Ireland, and not necessarily because he's innocent. Apparently, he's in no hurry for that issue to be determined in an Arizona court.
The former Phoenix diocesan priest was indicted in May 2003 on two counts of sexual misconduct. It was not the first time he had faced such accusations.
An earlier sexual-abuse charge involving a minor had been dismissed just months earlier after the statute of limitations had expired after 24 years.
Colleary didn't stay in the Valley once that charge was dropped. He fled the country before the new charges were filed. Today, Colleary is in his native Ireland, protected by paperwork and international law.
And now, the extradition case against him has been slowed because of concerns raised by Irish authorities about conditions within Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County jail system.
The Irish chief state solicitor raised questions after viewing published photos of Maricopa County inmates dressed in pink underwear and flip-flops. The pictures were taken during the much-publicized April 15 transfer of 700 prisoners from the Towers Jail to the new Lower Buckeye Jail.
Irish authorities have asked local prosecutors for a detailed explanation for what they term a "clear contradiction" between the photos and earlier statements that conditions in the Maricopa County jail system are humane. They want assurances that Colleary will be treated humanely and not housed in Maricopa County jails.
We can understand how the Irish authorities get the impression that the inmates were being ridiculed. At the
time, Arpaio said: "I put them on the streets so everybody could see them." And while they were not paraded on the public streets, TV cameras were invited.
However, as Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas argues, it would be an intolerable miscarriage of justice if Colleary were again saved on a technicality.
Authorities abroad should keep the larger judicial issue in mind. Colleary skipped the country rather than face serious charges.
The accusations against Colleary portray a man who has abused his priestly vows in the most predatory, despicable ways.
He is accused of taking sexual advantage of young boys and young women. He has acknowledged fathering a child with a woman who claims she was raped. Another woman went to Colleary as a vulnerable teenager for counseling. Four years later, they had an affair.
Colleary needs to face his accusers. Arizona, so damaged by the sins of some predatory priests, needs to bring this one to justice.
government buerocrats at work on a real serious problem :)
License plate could be meth reference
May. 24, 2005 08:30 AM
SEATTLE - Most drivers may be puzzled by the vanity license plate C9H13N, but plenty of crooks likely nod their heads knowingly.
It's the chemical compound for methamphetamine, and despite a state law that prohibits references to alcohol or illegal substances on vanity plates, it may be perfectly legal.
Bradley A. Benfield, a spokesman for the state Licensing Department, said such a license has been granted to the owner of a black 2002 Audi registered in Seattle. The plate may be legal because the same compound represents amphetamine, a legal substance when used in medicine.
"This is a serious concern if there is a license out there with something on it that a reasonable person would consider related to an illegal substance," said Benfield. "It's pretty easy for something like this to slip through."
To revoke the plate, state officials would have to notify the owner by letter and refer the issue to a committee, consisting of representatives from the Licensing Department, Washington State Patrol, county auditors and vehicle licensing agents.
Out of 6.5 million vehicles registered in the state, about 83,000 have vanity plates. Last week, officials dismissed a complaint about one reading JOHN316, a reference to a New Testament verse, deeming it inoffensive.