some reallly stupid cops in this police killing.


stupid, stupid, stupid ----- About 3 a.m., police saw an opportunity to go inside the home. Wohletz had left the gun on his patio, which overlooks the complex's swimming pool. SWAT team members used charges to blast open the door. When Wohletz heard them enter he dashed to where he had left his firearm.


and i guess the cops will paint this guy as a really evil person almost as bad as bin laden. after all the guy was wanted by the feds for the henious crime of looking at dirty pictures


Standoff ends in fatal shooting

Man in Tempe allegedly linked to child-porn ring


Katie Nelson

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 10, 2005 12:00 AM


A Tempe man allegedly linked to an international child-pornography ring called 911, then held police at bay for seven hours before being shot and killed early Thursday.


Police say the man fired at least twice from his apartment balcony and some apartments remained evacuated throughout the overnight ordeal.


Russell Wohletz, 43, called police about 8 p.m. Wednesday, threatening to kill himself in his apartment.


When police responded to the Elliot's Crossing complex at 7250 S. Kyrene Road, he continually waved a gun and pointed it at his head, police said.


Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials had been searching for Wohletz last week with a felony warrant for his arrest, police said.


He was wanted for sexual exploitation of a minor for allegedly buying child pornography from overseas, said Sgt. Dan Masters, Tempe police spokesman.


Officials had yet to serve the warrant, Masters said, but Wohletz apparently knew he was wanted. He listed it among reasons he gave Tempe negotiators for wanting to kill himself. Wohletz also was being evicted from his apartment and believed his job as an America West Airlines reservation-taker was in jeopardy, Masters said.


Masters said the shooting happened like this:


SWAT team negotiators talked to Wohletz late into the night on his cellphone until its battery ran out. To continue talks, police provided him with another phone. During the discussions with negotiators, Wohletz paced his second-story apartment. He carried a handgun and at least twice fired shots into the air from his balcony.


About 3 a.m., police saw an opportunity to go inside the home. Wohletz had left the gun on his patio, which overlooks the complex's swimming pool. SWAT team members used charges to blast open the door. When Wohletz heard them enter he dashed to where he had left his firearm.


Gun in hand, he pointed the weapon at police. Two officers fired. Right after, Wohletz shot himself in the head.


Thursday, crime scene tape was still woven throughout the apartment building sidewalks. Two bullet holes were visible from the outside on the man's apartment walls.


Wanted man shot, dies


in police confrontation


TEMPE - A Tempe man who held off police for seven hours was shot and killed early Thursday.


Russell Wohletz, 43, called police about 8 p.m. Wednesday, threatening suicide. When police arrived at his complex in the 7200 block of South Kyrene Road, he continually waved a gun in the air and pointed it at his head, police said.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had been searching for Wohletz since last week with a felony warrant, police said.


He was wanted in the sexual exploitation of a minor by buying child pornography from overseas, said Sgt. Dan Masters, Tempe police spokesman.


About 3 a.m., police used charges to blast open the door. When Wohletz heard them enter, he pointed the weapon at police. Two officers fired. Right after, Wohletz shot himself in the head.




damn they can veriy your social security number on line. the employeer first has to resister. for that see:


(note that is https, not http. the s is for a secure connection)


Few firms use migrant ID service


Daniel González

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


As political pressure mounts for stricter enforcement of laws against hiring undocumented workers, some employers are turning to a little-known federal program that allows them to weed out workers who seek jobs using fake documents.


The 8-year-old program, which in December was expanded to all 50 states, allows employers to verify workers' employment eligibility by logging onto a government Web site and checking their documents against Social Security and immigration databases.


The program is intended to fix one of the biggest problems the government faces in trying to crack down on illegal immigration: the prolific use of counterfeit documents by undocumented workers.


"I have an answer back within a minute," said Martin Thompson, vice president for human resources at Bar-S Foods Co., a Phoenix-based meat-processing company that has participated in the program since 1998.


So far, however, Thompson's company is in the minority. Few employers are taking advantage of the program, mostly because it is voluntary but also because it has not been well-publicized.


Nationwide, just 4,385 employers are participating, said Chris Bentley, spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program. That is just a fraction of the 5.7 million companies counted by the U.S. census in 2002, the most recent data available.


In Arizona, 101 employers have enrolled of 96,000 companies counted by the census.


"I'm not sure most employers even know about this program," said Farrell Quinlan, spokesman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.


Most employers would be relieved to have a system that allowed them to easily verify a worker's eligibility, Quinlan said.


He pointed out that the current system places employers in a Catch-22 between unwittingly hiring undocumented workers using fake documents and opening themselves to discrimination charges by turning away immigrant workers whom they suspect are using fake documents.


The national debate heating up over immigration reform also may be hurting participation in the program, Quinlan said.


Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., recently introduced a bill calling for a guest-worker program that would include a biometric card to allow employers to verify a worker's employment eligibility.


"Until there is better understanding of what is effective and what is available, participation will remain below what one might want," Quinlan said.


Congress created the program in 1997, rolling it out first in California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New York, states with the highest numbers of undocumented immigrants, Bentley said.


Not mandatory

In 1999, Congress expanded the program to Nebraska at the request of the state's meatpacking industry, and then to all 50 states, Bentley said.


Participating in the program puts employers at a competitive disadvantage with companies that continue to hire undocumented workers, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., research organization that favors tighter limits on immigration. Unless it's mandatory, participation will remain low, he said.


"If it's applied to everyone, all the businesses would be on an even playing field," Krikorian said.


Congress, however, has avoided making the program mandatory under pressure from business interests, he said.


"That's the real problem with this," said Thompson, of Bar-S. "If a person is illegal and doesn't have the proper documents, then they just go down the road to the next employer."


Although based in Phoenix, Bar-S was eligible to participate early on because some of its 1,500 workers are in California and Texas.


The program is helping Bar-S weed out undocumented workers, Thompson said. Before a new employee is hired, he or she is asked to provide a Social Security number and other documents, just like in the past. But now, that information is plugged into a computer to see if it matches federal databases.


If the documentation is rejected, Bar-S tells the worker, who is then given a chance to correct any mistakes. Undocumented workers usually don't come back, Thompson said.


Thompson said word has gotten out that the company is using the program. As a result, fewer undocumented workers are applying for jobs at Bar-S.


"Less than 8 percent of the time we will find someone where the computer kicks them back," down from 30 percent when the company first began using the program in 1998, he said.


By participating, the company hopes to avoid potential audits by federal immigration inspectors, which can be costly, he said.


A 1986 law passed by Congress makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented workers and requires them to check the work-eligibility documents of all new employees.


A 'mockery'

But the law does not require employers to verify whether the documents are real. As long as the documents appear to be legitimate, then the employer has met his or her responsibility under the law, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in Laguna Niguel, Calif.


Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., told a House subcommittee in May that the easy availability of fake documents has made a "mockery" of the law.


"Fake documents are produced by the millions and can be obtained cheaply," Hostettler said.


The existing system, he said, benefits unscrupulous employers by allowing them to look the other way and accept documents they know are fake. At the same time, it harms businesses that want to follow the law but end up having to accept documents they know are likely bogus to protect themselves against discrimination complaints.


On 16th Street and Roosevelt Street in Phoenix and on many other Valley street corners, fake Social Security and permanent residency cards can be bought for as little as $70 a pair from men hawking micas, Spanish slang for bogus documents.


There were about 7 million undocumented workers in the United States last year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C.


A 2004 study by the Center for Immigration Studies said about 55 percent of them were hired using bogus documents with fabricated Social Security numbers or stolen numbers.


On a recent morning, Roy Jares illustrated the conundrum employers face by reaching into his desk and pulling out a Social Security card and a Resident Alien card belonging to a newly hired employee.


Jares is president and owner of Steel Masters Inc., a Phoenix company that manufactures stairs and railings for apartment complexes. He employs 22 workers, mostly Latino immigrants.


Jares said it was impossible for him to tell whether the documents were real.


"How do I know whether I am hiring illegal immigrants?" Jares asked, waving the cards in the air. "I can't tell you if these documents are real or not. So if immigration comes to my office, how am I going to know?"


Jares said he had never heard of the program to verify a worker's employment eligibility.


Stricter enforcement

Meanwhile, there is a growing clamor to focus more enforcement efforts on employers, not just undocumented workers.


From 1995 to 2003, the number of businesses fined for immigration violations declined to 124 from 909.


In April, a Democratic state lawmaker called for provisions that would have suspended the business licenses of employers in Arizona who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.


The provisions, which opponents killed, were in response to several Republican-sponsored bills denying certain state benefits to undocumented immigrants.


"This is a supply-and-demand issue," said state Sen. Bill Brotherton of Phoenix, who introduced the provisions. But most efforts to crack down on illegal immigration focus on undocumented immigrants, not the employers who hire them, he said.


In April, Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl also called for stricter enforcement of laws against hiring undocumented workers saying, "Employers pretend that they're not employing illegal immigrants, but they know they are. . . . And the government pretends to enforce the law. But it knows that the documents in many cases are counterfeit."


Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8312.




Public's approval of Bush, Congress hitting new lows


Will Lester

Associated Press

Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - When it comes to public approval, President Bush and Congress are playing "how low can you go."


Bush's approval mark is 43 percent, while Congress checks in at 31 percent, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll says. Both are the lowest levels yet for the survey, started in December 2003.


"There's a bad mood in the country, people are out of sorts," said Charles Jones, a presidential scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "Iraq news is daily bad news."


The public also is showing concerns about the direction of the country as the war in Iraq drags on. Only about one-third of adults, 35 percent, said they thought the country was headed in the right direction. Forty-one percent said they supported Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.


Gail Thomas, an independent who leans Democratic from Prattville, Ala., said the war in Iraq was a distraction after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack ordered by Osama bin Laden.


"They're not going after the one who did it," said Thomas. "They were too anxious to go after Saddam Hussein. All they're doing is getting our guys killed."


Car bombings and attacks by insurgents killed 80 U.S. troops and more than 700 Iraqis last month. Pentagon officials acknowledge the level of violence is about the same as a year ago, when they were forced to scrap a plan to substantially reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.


While Bush has gotten generally low scores for his handling of domestic issues for many months, Americans have been more supportive of his foreign policy. Not anymore.


The poll conducted for AP by Ipsos found 45 percent support Bush's foreign policy, down from 52 percent in March.


David Fultz, a Republican from Venice, Fla., is among those who are sticking with the president.


"In terms of where we're going in the future, President Bush is laying out a plan," said Fultz.


Bush's popularity reached its zenith shortly after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when various polls found nearly 90 percent approved of the job he was doing. It was close to 80 percent when Ipsos started tracking attitudes about Bush at the start of 2002, and was just over 50 percent when the AP-Ipsos poll was started in December 2003.


Approval for Congress has dipped from the 40s early this year into the low 30s now. A majority of Republicans and Democrats said they don't approve of Congress.


Support for Bush's handling of domestic issues remained in the high 30s and low 40s in the latest AP-Ipsos poll.


Thirty-seven percent support Bush's handling of Social Security, while 59 percent disapprove. Those numbers haven't budged after more than four months of the president traveling the country to sell his plan to create private accounts in Social Security. Support for his handling of the economy was at 43 percent.


The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,001 adults was taken June 6-8 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.




can i say hello iraq goodbye vietnam one more time?


Decisive victory doubtful in Iraq

Military: Diplomacy is only path to peace


Bryan Bender

Boston Globe

Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Military operations in Iraq have not succeeded in weakening the insurgency, and Iraq's government, with U.S. support, is now seeking a political reconciliation among the nation's ethnic and tribal factions as the only viable route to stability, according to U.S. military officials and private specialists.


Two years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Iraq conflict has evolved into a classic guerrilla war, they argue. Outbreaks of fighting are followed by periods of relative calm and soon thereafter by a return to rampant violence. Underscoring the strength of the insurgency, militants killed five U.S. Marines in a roadside bombing and authorities found 21 bodies on Friday near the Syrian border, where American and Iraqi troops conducted a major military operation in western Iraq.


Despite significant guerrilla setbacks and optimistic predictions by a host of American commanders earlier this year, the Sunni-backed insurgency remains as strong as ever, forcing U.S. officials and their Iraqi allies to seek a political solution to the bloodshed. Pentagon officials and current members of the military interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity.


''We are not going to win the unconditional surrender from the insurgents and have no choice but to somehow bring them into society," said retired Army Col. Paul Hughes, an Iraq war veteran who is now at the government-funded U.S. Institute for Peace. ''To think there will be one climactic military event to end this is foolish. Those who cling to that don't understand."


Indeed, recent comments to that effect by Vice President Dick Cheney, who said on May 31 that the insurgency was in its ''last throes," took many U.S. officials and analysts by surprise, Pentagon officials and others with extensive knowledge of the war said in a series of interviews. The available data, they said, simply do not support such a claim.


''That is the most extreme form of wishful thinking," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military specialist at the Brookings Institution in Washington. ''There is simply no basis for making that statement."


New U.S. government analyses suggest that the insurgents, which are led by Sunni nationalists, remnants of Saddam's police state, and foreign extremists waging holy war, have vastly more staying power than previously thought.


Following the successful U.S. offensive in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah last fall, which killed at least 1,000 insurgents, there was a dramatic reduction in attacks, according to U.S. military officials. After Fallujah, some U.S. commanders and Pentagon planners had expressed optimism that U.S. troop levels could be reduced following Iraq's elections. But since the Jan. 31 elections, the insurgents, relying on steady streams of funding and weapons, new recruits and staging areas in Syria and possibly Iran, have struck back with a vengeance, and U.S. force levels have remained constant.


Despite U.S. estimates that it kills or captures 1,000 to 3,000 insurgents a month, the number of daily attacks is going back up. Down to about 30 to 40 a day in February, attacks are up to at least 70 per day, according to statistics of U.S. Central Command. The insurgency has demonstrated a keen ability to shift its tactics in the face of persistent U.S. and Iraqi battlefield victories.


An internal Army report in April said that rather than what some saw as a drop in the number of daily attacks earlier this year, the insurgents had simply shifted their focus away from U.S. forces to attacks on more vulnerable targets, which were not being fully tallied at the time.


''The insurgency is still mounting an effort comparable to where they were a year ago," said Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer and specialist on counterinsurgency operations who directs the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank in Washington.


"We do something we think will change things, but a month or two later, casualties and the level of violence are back to where they were," Krepinevich added.


So far this year, nearly 1,000 members of Iraq's police and security forces have been killed in attacks, almost as many as the total for the previous year and a half, according to Pentagon figures.


U.S. military officials have documented more disturbing trends.


The number of attacks involving suicide bombers, for example, rose from 25 percent in February to more than 50 percent in April, according to estimates provided by Pentagon officials, who asked not to be identified.


The first two weeks of May saw 21 suicide attacks in Baghdad alone; there were just 25 in all of 2004.


Meanwhile, two U.S. soldiers on average continue to die each day. Many more are wounded, and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians are being caught in the crossfire.


As of Friday, 1,691 Americans had died since the U.S.-led invasion.


A major reason why the insurgency has remained so undeterred, U.S. and Iraqi officials believe, is the continued if passive support it is receiving from large parts of Iraq's Sunni minority.


Specialists say they believe Iraq's estimated 5 million Sunnis fear that the country's government, dominated by Shiites and Kurds, will exact revenge on them for decades of Saddam's brutal reign. There are only 17 Sunni members in the 275-person Iraqi National Assembly.


Meanwhile, a recent internal poll conducted for the U.S.-led coalition indicated that nearly 45 percent of the Iraqi population supports the insurgent attacks, making accurate intelligence difficult to obtain. Only 15 percent of those polled said they strongly support the U.S.-led coalition.




Pay hikes in Surprise simply outrageous


Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


There's only one word that describes the gift - and we do mean gift - slipped to Mayor Joan Shafer and the rest of the Surprise City Council: Outrageous.


We know of no other city officials anywhere in Arizona who have received such huge wage hikes and increased vehicle allowances of up to 300 percent.


Say it again. Slowly. Three hundred percent.


Are you doing a slow burn? You should be.


The mayor's annual pay leaped 300 percent, to $31,802 from $7,956. City council members saw their pay increase 231 percent, to $17,556.75 from $5,304.


The pay hikes are the stuff of dreams and lottery winners, not of part-time suburban city council members who hold regular day jobs and seek to serve their community.


Only Councilwoman Martha Bails has exhibited a good conscience and sound judgment in stating that she'll accept neither the raise nor the extra travel allowance. "There should be enough ethics within an elected body that these types of things shouldn't happen," Bails told The Republic.


For City Manager Jim Rumpeltes to dole out these huge increases casts common sense to the wind.


Citizens should be offended by this blatant money grab. The City Council should rescind the raises and appoint a citizens committee to do a thorough review and make pay recommendations.


Anything less is unacceptable.


- Saturday




Ex-cops get time in beating


Former Mt. Clemens officers sentenced for road rage, lies

June 9, 2005





Two former Mt. Clemens police officers were sentenced to prison and time in a federal halfway house Wednesday for covering up the 2002 road-rage beating of a motorist.


"I have agonized about this case for a year," U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said Wednesday before sentencing Patrick Carson to 33 months in prison.


She later sentenced Robert Hey to 6 months in a federal halfway house followed by 6 months of house arrest and 2 years of probation.


Carson, 36, who was convicted of depriving the motorist of his civil rights, conspiring to obstruct justice by writing false police reports and lying about the incident, drew the longer sentence because he played a lead role in the beating and cover-up.


The victim was a 24-year-old college student who got into a traffic dispute with Hey, who was off duty.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hurley said in court papers that Carson's personnel file is littered with citizen complaints about excessive use of force. He said superiors had warned Carson about his behavior, but he failed to change.


"I've been a good cop all my life," a tearful Carson told Edmunds. "These people have been bad-mouthing me the whole trial. I wish the man had pulled out a gun and killed me."


Carson said the incident has destroyed his life. He said he used force because he thought the motorist was armed.


Hey, 30, convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for lying to a federal grand jury, received a lighter sentence because he wasn't involved in the beating.


Hey's lawyer, James Thomas of Detroit, asked for leniency, calling Hey a good husband and police officer whose life has been devastated by the conviction. Thomas said Hey has become an electrical contractor since leaving the police force in 2003.


Carson, Hey and two other officers were convicted by a jury last June of beating Robert Paxton, then a University of Detroit Mercy graduate student, during a July 2002 traffic stop. A fifth officer pleaded guilty, and a sixth was acquitted.


Testimony indicated Paxton was northbound on Gratiot when he and Hey got into a traffic dispute that escalated. Hey called the police station on a handheld radio for help.


Witnesses said officers yanked Paxton out of his truck and punched and kicked him, although he offered no resistance. The officers wrote false reports and had Paxton arrested on bogus charges of obstructing a police officer, fleeing police and assaulting Hey with a dangerous weapon -- his truck. The prosecutor dropped the charges nine months later.


Paxton expressed mixed emotions about the sentences.


"With respect to Carson, I'm satisfied, but for Hey, who put it all in motion, I'm not happy at all," Paxton said, adding that Hey saw the beating and turned his head.


Paxton is suing Mt. Clemens and the officers for $5 million in Macomb County Circuit Court. He said the arrest record has kept him from landing a job with a Fortune 500 company; he runs a software telephone support team for a Detroit-area firm.


Edmunds said she will decide later whether to order the men to pay restitution to Paxton, who is seeking $35,000 for medical bills, legal costs and economic damages.


Thomas and Carson's lawyer, Steve Fishman, said they plan to appeal.


Both men will remain free on bond.


Three other officers are to be sentenced later this month.


Contact DAVID ASHENFELTER at 313-223-4490 or


Judge sentences Mount Clemens officers in beating, cover-up

June 9, 2005, 4:27 AM


DETROIT (AP) -- A federal judge has sentenced two former Mount Clemens police officers on charges in the road-rage beating of a motorist and a subsequent cover-up. Five officers were convicted and one acquitted.


U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds on Wednesday sentenced Patrick Carson to two years, nine months in prison and Robert Hey to six months in a halfway house followed by six months of house arrest. The men remain free while they appeal the convictions.


Carson, 36, was convicted of violation of civil rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice and lying to the FBI. Hey, 30, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury.


Robert Paxton, then a 24-year-old University of Detroit Mercy graduate student, got into a traffic dispute with Hey, who was off duty, in 2002. Witnesses said officers yanked Paxton from his truck and punched and kicked him, although he offered no resistance.


"I've been a good cop all my life," a tearful Carson told Edmunds. "These people have been bad-mouthing me the whole trial. I wish the man had pulled out a gun and killed me."


The prosecution said Carson had a record of excessive force complaints.


Defense lawyer James Thomas called Hey a good husband and officer whose life was devastated by the conviction.


On June 25, 2004, a jury convicted Carson, Hey and brothers Robert and Peter Jacquemain. Duane Poucher pleaded guilty and testified against the others. The Jacquemains face sentencing Tuesday and Poucher on June 20. The jury acquitted Daniel Gerkey.


Copyright © 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc




Kin accused of assisting fugitive son


Lindsey Collom

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


AHWATUKEE FOOTHILLS - The mother and stepfather of a rape suspect who hid in Ahwatukee Foothills were arrested Friday after police say they helped him evade authorities.


Phoenix police say Carol Grover, 56, and Patrick Grover, 39, helped Timothy Choate assume a new identity and denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. Choate had been on the run for 14 years.


The Grovers were taken into custody outside their rental home, 16805 S. 44th St., and arrested on suspicion of hindering prosecution.


Federal agents recently discovered that Choate, 39, had been hiding in Ahwatukee Foothills after tracing cable bills in Carol Grover's name to two addresses, one occupied by her son who lived two miles away at 4612 E. Lavender Lane.


Choate was taken into custody last week and is being held on $150,000 bond on a fugitive-from-justice charge.


It was not known how long Choate or the Grovers lived in Ahwatukee Foothills.


Police say agents also found evidence suggesting that the Grovers helped their son obtain false identification.


The mother "has been most uncooperative" with the FBI over the years, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Dave Norton.


She consistently told federal agents that she didn't know her son's location, Norton added.


In 1991, a warrant for Choate's arrest on suspicion of rape was issued in Ray County, Mo. Another warrant was issued in Riley County, Kan., where he is believed to have written a fraudulent check.




this reminds me when nazi mesa mayor keno hawker came to a libertarian party meeting and tried to pretend he was libertarian


Hallman pulls a Kerry flip-flop


Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


Irecently discovered that Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and former presidential candidate John F. Kerry have much in common.


Everyone recalls the duplicitous statement by Kerry during the campaign last year about his failure to vote to support our troops: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."


Showing a similar talent for semantic gymnastics, Hallman announced at a public gathering of District 17 Republicans last week that he strongly supports the Institute for Justice and its legal battles against eminent domain abuse (because he sent them a contribution).


He made this pronouncement even though he voted recently to "reapprove" Tempe's unconstitutional eminent domain suits filed for the benefit of Tempe Marketplace developers. He voted with the remainder of the City Council to take the properties of several longtime Tempe business owners and transfer it to the builders of the planned mall.


The mayor was quick to point out that he was not on the council in 1994 when it initially approved the use of eminent domain for Tempe Marketplace developers. The recent vote reapproving the use of the governmental strong-arm suits was, he seemed to say, just a kind of dotting the i's and crossing the t's on the project. I guess Hallman wants us to believe that he actually would have voted against eminent domain abuse before he voted for it.


What is troublesome about his position is that he apparently met with the besieged business owners affected by the Tempe Marketplace project when he was running for mayor and promised them he would protect their rights if elected.


Once elected, he threw them under the bus with his vote and is now skipping hand-in-hand with any developer who may want to build a big-dollar project near Town Lake.


What is really troublesome is that the other night at the meeting Hallman publicly ridiculed these business owners for standing up for their rights and wanting to at least set their own fair prices if forced to sell their properties.


The mayor would not answer a very simple question I put to him at the meeting: Will you vote to use eminent domain by taking property for developers in the future? When politicians evade answering such questions, you can be sure that they do not want the citizens who put them into office to know the real answer.


The mayor got very defensive and hostile about the subject. His behavior reminded me of how children act sometimes when caught doing something they know is wrong. Hallman even sarcastically mentioned the "My Turn" article I wrote for a local newspaper in April (critical of his actions) and then publicly attacked me for obtaining an attorney's fee award in favor of my clients against Tempe.


In that 2002 case, I represented Kennth and Mary Ann Pillow (an elderly couple) when Tempe officials tried unsuccessfully to take their home for a different developer.


Ironically, the only reason I took the Pillow case is that the Institute for Justice met with the Pillows to try to help, but simply did not have the resources to assist.


As a former prosecutor and civil trial lawyer (working primarily for insurance companies defending personal injury suits), the dispute was a little off my beaten path. Without my help, these citizens would likely have gone unrepresented. I guess Hallman (also an attorney) was too busy checking the political wind to help these people save their property from the city.


I respectfully suggest that our mayor keep his word to voters, quit attacking those asserting their constitutional rights, and fulfill his oath promising to uphold our constitutional rights.


His desire for "progress and political contributions" should not mean more than these sacred promises. Article 2, Section 17 of the Arizona Constitution is something that should not be ignored. It specifically prohibits taking private property by eminent domain for private use.


Timothy L. Moulton has been a Tempe resident since 1965. The views expressed are those of the author.




on 16th street and roosevelt in phoenix and many other valley street corners fake social security cards and fake permanent residency cards can be bought for as little as $70 a pair from men hawking micas spanish slang for bogus document


From an article in the saturday june 11, 2005 arizona republic on id cards.




this was also with the main article. it says that employers can verify your social security number on line over the web. note the url below uses httpS instead of http


Verification program


to particapate in the Basic Pilot Employment Verification program employers must register with the federal government at:




the main article was


Few firms use migrant ID service


Daniel González

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 11, 2005 12:00 AM


As political pressure mounts for stricter enforcement of laws against hiring undocumented workers, some employers are turning to a little-known federal program that allows them to weed out workers who seek jobs using fake documents.


The 8-year-old program, which in December was expanded to all 50 states, allows employers to verify workers' employment eligibility by logging onto a government Web site and checking their documents against Social Security and immigration databases.


The program is intended to fix one of the biggest problems the government faces in trying to crack down on illegal immigration: the prolific use of counterfeit documents by undocumented workers.


"I have an answer back within a minute," said Martin Thompson, vice president for human resources at Bar-S Foods Co., a Phoenix-based meat-processing company that has participated in the program since 1998.


So far, however, Thompson's company is in the minority. Few employers are taking advantage of the program, mostly because it is voluntary but also because it has not been well-publicized.


Nationwide, just 4,385 employers are participating, said Chris Bentley, spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program. That is just a fraction of the 5.7 million companies counted by the U.S. census in 2002, the most recent data available.


In Arizona, 101 employers have enrolled of 96,000 companies counted by the census.


"I'm not sure most employers even know about this program," said Farrell Quinlan, spokesman for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.


Most employers would be relieved to have a system that allowed them to easily verify a worker's eligibility, Quinlan said.


He pointed out that the current system places employers in a Catch-22 between unwittingly hiring undocumented workers using fake documents and opening themselves to discrimination charges by turning away immigrant workers whom they suspect are using fake documents.


The national debate heating up over immigration reform also may be hurting participation in the program, Quinlan said.


Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., recently introduced a bill calling for a guest-worker program that would include a biometric card to allow employers to verify a worker's employment eligibility.


"Until there is better understanding of what is effective and what is available, participation will remain below what one might want," Quinlan said.


Congress created the program in 1997, rolling it out first in California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New York, states with the highest numbers of undocumented immigrants, Bentley said.


Not mandatory

In 1999, Congress expanded the program to Nebraska at the request of the state's meatpacking industry, and then to all 50 states, Bentley said.


Participating in the program puts employers at a competitive disadvantage with companies that continue to hire undocumented workers, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., research organization that favors tighter limits on immigration. Unless it's mandatory, participation will remain low, he said.


"If it's applied to everyone, all the businesses would be on an even playing field," Krikorian said.


Congress, however, has avoided making the program mandatory under pressure from business interests, he said.


"That's the real problem with this," said Thompson, of Bar-S. "If a person is illegal and doesn't have the proper documents, then they just go down the road to the next employer."


Although based in Phoenix, Bar-S was eligible to participate early on because some of its 1,500 workers are in California and Texas.


The program is helping Bar-S weed out undocumented workers, Thompson said. Before a new employee is hired, he or she is asked to provide a Social Security number and other documents, just like in the past. But now, that information is plugged into a computer to see if it matches federal databases.


If the documentation is rejected, Bar-S tells the worker, who is then given a chance to correct any mistakes. Undocumented workers usually don't come back, Thompson said.


Thompson said word has gotten out that the company is using the program. As a result, fewer undocumented workers are applying for jobs at Bar-S.


"Less than 8 percent of the time we will find someone where the computer kicks them back," down from 30 percent when the company first began using the program in 1998, he said.


By participating, the company hopes to avoid potential audits by federal immigration inspectors, which can be costly, he said.


A 1986 law passed by Congress makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented workers and requires them to check the work-eligibility documents of all new employees.


A 'mockery'

But the law does not require employers to verify whether the documents are real. As long as the documents appear to be legitimate, then the employer has met his or her responsibility under the law, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in Laguna Niguel, Calif.


Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., told a House subcommittee in May that the easy availability of fake documents has made a "mockery" of the law.


"Fake documents are produced by the millions and can be obtained cheaply," Hostettler said.


The existing system, he said, benefits unscrupulous employers by allowing them to look the other way and accept documents they know are fake. At the same time, it harms businesses that want to follow the law but end up having to accept documents they know are likely bogus to protect themselves against discrimination complaints.


On 16th Street and Roosevelt Street in Phoenix and on many other Valley street corners, fake Social Security and permanent residency cards can be bought for as little as $70 a pair from men hawking micas, Spanish slang for bogus documents.


There were about 7 million undocumented workers in the United States last year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C.


A 2004 study by the Center for Immigration Studies said about 55 percent of them were hired using bogus documents with fabricated Social Security numbers or stolen numbers.


On a recent morning, Roy Jares illustrated the conundrum employers face by reaching into his desk and pulling out a Social Security card and a Resident Alien card belonging to a newly hired employee.


Jares is president and owner of Steel Masters Inc., a Phoenix company that manufactures stairs and railings for apartment complexes. He employs 22 workers, mostly Latino immigrants.


Jares said it was impossible for him to tell whether the documents were real.


"How do I know whether I am hiring illegal immigrants?" Jares asked, waving the cards in the air. "I can't tell you if these documents are real or not. So if immigration comes to my office, how am I going to know?"


Jares said he had never heard of the program to verify a worker's employment eligibility.


Stricter enforcement

Meanwhile, there is a growing clamor to focus more enforcement efforts on employers, not just undocumented workers.


From 1995 to 2003, the number of businesses fined for immigration violations declined to 124 from 909.


In April, a Democratic state lawmaker called for provisions that would have suspended the business licenses of employers in Arizona who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.


The provisions, which opponents killed, were in response to several Republican-sponsored bills denying certain state benefits to undocumented immigrants.


"This is a supply-and-demand issue," said state Sen. Bill Brotherton of Phoenix, who introduced the provisions. But most efforts to crack down on illegal immigration focus on undocumented immigrants, not the employers who hire them, he said.


In April, Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl also called for stricter enforcement of laws against hiring undocumented workers saying, "Employers pretend that they're not employing illegal immigrants, but they know they are. . . . And the government pretends to enforce the law. But it knows that the documents in many cases are counterfeit."


Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8312.




Owners sue over mall condemnation

By Dennis Welch, Tribune

June 11, 2005

Members of a group of Tempe property owners fighting condemnation hope their latest legal maneuver will kill the city’s efforts to seize their property for a planned $200 million shopping center.


Attorneys for the group have filed a lawsuit accusing the city of lying to residents and business owners in the former county island to win support for an annexation agreement in 1999.


The group seeks to have the case heard before the condemnation trial begins in August. Attorneys for the property owners said the land could revert back to Maricopa County’s jurisdiction if a judge finds the city committed fraud.


"The city promised to put in streets, water, sewer lines and enforce codes," said Doug Zimmerman, an attorney representing two of the property owners.


"Had they done that, we believe that none of the blighted conditions that they are using to condemn would exist," he said.


The city has cited slum and blighted conditions as well as environmental hazards as reasons for seizing the property to make way for the planned Tempe Marketplace.


Zimmerman, an eminent domain lawyer for the past 35 years, said his clients are prepared to show their properties are environmentally safe if the condemnation case goes to trial.


However, if a judge voids the annexation agreement, Zimmerman said the city would no longer have the power to condemn because the land would no longer fall under Tempe jurisdiction.


In a legal brief filed late last month, the property owners claim the city never invested $900,000 in promised infrastructure once they agreed to join the city.


They also claim the city wanted control over the area so it could "improperly exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn the annexation area for the

purposes of a single private developer," according to documents.


Nearly 20 landowners have not sold to developers Miravista Holdings LLC and Vestar Development Co., who seek to build the mall near Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive.


The project includes more than $23 million in incentives — not including interest — and $9 million in property tax rebates, according to an agrement between the city and developers.


In January, the City Council voted to authorize the use of eminent domain.


Tempe also secured a $7 million federal grant to help clean up the area.

Contact Dennis Welch by email, or phone (480) 898-6573




LAPD builds jail cells with drywall :),0,655301.story?coll=la-home-headlines


June 11, 2005 : California Single page   Print   E-mail story



Escape From L.A. Station Is Just Latest Sign of Flaws

By Hector Becerra, Times Staff Writer


The escape of a burglary suspect who managed to punch through the wall of a holding cell at the 77th Street Division police station is the latest design mishap at a $40-million facility once hailed for its groundbreaking architecture.


Since the station opened in 1997, police officials have recorded dozens of problems, including lock-down doors that malfunction, a faulty fire alarm system, a defective boiler, leaking roofs, door handles that fall off and broken lock hardware on gun lockers.




The burglary suspect was able to escape early Thursday because the holding-cell walls were constructed of drywall and mesh metal rather than sheet metal or cinderblock, something officials acknowledged Friday was a serious mistake.


Dismayed police commanders immediately shut down the detention area until the cells are reinforced with sheet metal.


The suspect was found Friday, covered in a white substance that authorities believe was drywall dust.


"It definitely could have happened sooner. Fortunately, it was not a murderer who got out," said Yvette Sanchez-Owens, head of the LAPD's facilities management office. "They should have used a more permanent type material that was not so easily destroyed."


Even as the department moved to reinforce the holding cells, finger-pointing was underway.


City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD officer and member of the council's Public Safety Committee, said Friday that he was losing patience with the problems at the station.


"We're going to get the answers one way or another, and if we have to do it with a grand jury investigation, we're going to do it," Zine said. "It's a disaster. It is beyond my comprehension how someone can design a facility and the longer we use it, the more problems we discover."


LAPD officials admit that their staff and the architects didn't work well together in designing the holding cells and other parts of the station. It was the first station built in nearly two decades, and officials suspect that the jail's faulty design was at least in part due to a lack of recent building experience.


"It was the blind leading the blind," Sanchez-Owens said. "The architect can only do so much. They really rely on the client to tell them what they need. Once it's out of design, you're relying on the quality of the contractors."


The president of the company that designed the building defended its work and questioned whether the problem was actually poor building maintenance by the LAPD.


"The building was well-received when it was finished, but it has to be maintained," said Gail Kennard of the Kennard Design Group.


The station was praised for its contemporary design when it opened. Light and airy offices replaced noisy squad rooms and sun-splashed balconies and courtyards offered officers and other employees respite from their work.


But the praise ended when police officers starting working out of the building.


"It's a pretty building aesthetically if you look from the outside," Sanchez-Owens said. "As far as the interior functionality, it doesn't work as well as a police station."


A month ago, detectives asked their superiors for permission to take off their suits and ties and unbutton their shirts because the air conditioning kept failing.


"It felt like it was 120 degrees," said Capt. Bill Murphy, the patrol commanding officer at the 77th Street Division.


The city will ultimately have to spend $689,500 fixing problems at the station, including $174,573 in the last year, according to a March 21, 2005, memo from the Department of General Services.


By comparison, a police station in North Hollywood built about the same time as the 77th Street station needed $51,520 worth of work between Jan. 10, 2004, and Jan. 10, 2005.




screw the 9th and the 10th congress can do anything it wants


Medical-pot ruling lets Congress regulate 'virtually anything'





Jun. 12, 2005 12:00 AM


Monday's Supreme Court decision on medical marijuana greatly expands federal power and restricts the ability of states to experiment with policies that differ with whatever party that controls Congress. While state medical cannabis laws remain in effect, law-abiding patients will think twice before violating federal law.


Everyone has heard of the Bill of Rights, but almost no one knows that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution also contains a list of federal powers and that Congress is limited to exercising the powers on that list. This list is widely ignored because, over the years, the Supreme Court has interpreted them so broadly that Congress can do pretty much whatever it wants so long as it does not violate one of the Bill of Rights.


The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce "among the several states," leaving the power to regulate purely local activities with the states. Since the 1930s, however, the court ruled that Congress may prohibit even local activities if they "substantially affect" interstate commerce. For 60 years, the court upheld every claim of congressional power under the Commerce Clause.


Then in 1995, in U.S. vs. Lopez, the Supreme Court struck down a law making it a crime to possess a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. The court held that Congress could regulate intrastate activity that substantially affects interstate commerce only if that activity is "economic" in nature. Because possessing a gun near a school is non-economic, Congress could not regulate it. In Gonzales vs. Raich, I brought suit on behalf of Angel Raich and Diane Monson, two California women who use marijuana for medical purposes on the recommendation of their doctors as authorized by federal law. We contended that since their activities took place wholly within the state of California and were completely non-economic, the federal Controlled Substances Act was unconstitutional under Lopez. The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (which includes Arizona) agreed.


On Monday, the Supreme Court accepted the government's argument that Congress could prohibit this wholly intrastate non-economic activity under its interstate commerce power because the ban on these purely local activities was an "essential part of a broader regulatory scheme." By this rationale, Congress can regulate pretty much anything it wants, and the list of limited powers provided by the Founders is once again in limbo.


Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy joined the four more liberal justices in upholding the federal law. Three conservative justices, including Arizona natives William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor dissented. In a separate dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, who received the Goldwater Award in 1999 from my colleagues at the Goldwater Institute, wrote: "If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything - and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."


The cause of "federalism" used to be associated with the "states' rights" that were used to oppress Blacks. Now that the Supreme Court uses the 14th Amendment to protect minority rights, federalism enables states to experiment with social policies that might differ from those of other states, or from the policies favored by the party that controls Congress. In short, federalism is not just for conservatives.


Gonzales vs. Raich reveals the importance of the next nominee selected to the Supreme Court. Will President Bush nominate someone like Justice Thomas, who is committed to federalism? Or will he nominate a fair-weather federalist, as Scalia turned out to be when the chips were down?


Professor Randy Barnett is a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute.




Edición: 714. Del 8 de junio al 14 de junio del 2005


Leo Hernandez

Envía tus comentarios


Dan un “no” definitivo a ex policía de Chandler


El administrador de ese municipio decidió no darle más trabajo.


Dan Lovelace no podrá trabajar más para el Departamento de Policía de Chandler.

El administrador del municipio, Mark Pentz, ratificó la decisión de un comité, que recomendó no reinstalar en su puesto al ex agente.

Dovelace, de 40 años, fue despedido de la corporación en el 2002, después de haber baleado y dado muerte a una mujer de 35 años identificada como Dawn Rae Nelson.


El incidente ocurrió en el estacionamiento de una farmacia Walgreen’s, a donde la hoy occisa fue a surtir unos medicamentos.


Empleados del negocio llamaron a la Policía, al sospechar que Nelson pretendía adquirir medicamentos controlados con una receta falsificada.


El llegar Dan Lovelace en su motocicleta, le hizo a la mujer la señalar de alto, pero ella lo ignoró y trató de huir a toda velocidad en su auto Camaro.


De inmediato el policía desenfundó su pistola y comenzó a dispararle, hiriéndola mortalmente; en el asiento trasero del vehículo la mujer llevaba a su hijo pequeño, que afortunadamente salió ileso.


En su defensa, el entonces ex policía alegó que sintió que estaba en peligro porque creyó que la mujer iba a atropellarlo, y que solamente se defendió.


Sin embargo, la Procuraduría del Condado Maricopa lo acusó de asesinato en segundo grado y lo procesó por ese cargo. Pero finalmente fue absuelto por un jurado y de inmediato exigió que lo reinstalaran como oficial de la Policía de Chandler.


El caso fue analizado detenidamente por un comité de la Ciudad, que votó porque no lo contrataran más; esa fue la decisión que ratificó esta semana el administrador del municipio.

Es importante aclarar que Dan Lovelace sí podrá seguir trabajando como policía en cualquier otra corporación que quiera contratarlo, ya que su licencia no le fue revocada.




Jun 12, 6:31 PM EDT


U.S. Military Toll in Iraq Crosses 1,700



Associated Press Writer


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The military announced the killing of four more U.S. soldiers on Sunday, pushing the American death toll past 1,700, and police found the bullet-riddled bodies of 28 people - many thought to be Sunni Arabs - buried in shallow graves or dumped streetside in Baghdad.


The bodies were discovered as the Shiite-led government pressed to open disarmament talks with insurgents responsible for a relentless campaign of violence, which has taken on ominous sectarian overtones with recurring tit-for-tat killings.


A crackdown by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and offensives carried out by U.S. forces in western Iraq have had only had a temporary effect in blunting the cycle of carnage in which at least 940 people have died since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his government six weeks ago.


Al-Jaafari spokesman Laith Kuba said many militant groups were reaching out to the government, seeking a place in the political process. He urged them to lay down their arms.


Some insurgents are motivated to end their resistance, Kuba argued, by the election of an Iraqi government which put the American presence in the background, although its military is still 140,000 strong.


"Now is the right time for any group to lay down their weapons and take part in the (political) process," he said.


The offer did not include foreign extremists such as Jordanian-born al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi because "they only want to kill," Kuba said.


Four American soldiers died Saturday in two roadside bombings west of Baghdad, increasing the number of U.S. forces killed since the war began in March 2003 to at least 1,701.


Al-Zarqawi's group has claimed responsibility for multiple suicide bombings, including Saturday's attack inside Baghdad's heavily guarded Interior Ministry headquarters. That attack killed at least three people and targeted the feared Wolf Brigade, a Shiite-dominated commando unit that Sunnis claim is killing members of their community, including Muslim clerics.


On Sunday, Gen. Rashid Flaiyeh, who runs all the Interior Ministry elite units including the Wolf Brigade, escaped an apparent assassination attempt when a mortar barrage rained down on his mother's funeral in northern Baghdad. Eleven mourners were wounded, including two seriously, Lt. Ismael Abdul Sattar said. Flaiyeh is Interior Minister Bayan Jabr's security adviser.


Lt. Ayad Othman said a shepherd found the bodies of 20 men on Friday in the Nahrawan desert, 20 miles east of Baghdad.


"All were blindfolded and their hands were tied behind their backs and shot from behind," Othman said. "The assassins excavated a hole and buried them inside it and seven were found naked."


Witnesses claimed the slain men were Sunnis, according to a statement from the influential Sunni organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars. No details were provided to support the claim, but the association said it had begun an investigation.


Eight other slain men were found shot in the head Sunday in two different locations in Baghdad's predominatly Shiite northern suburb of Shula, police Capt. Majed Abdul Aziz said. The bodies could not immediately be identified.


"The interior minister keeps saying security is getting better, but everyday we hear of 20 bodies killed here and other 20 bodies found there," said Salih al-Mutlak, head of the prominent umbrella Sunni body, the National Dialogue Council.


The grisly discoveries were announced two days after 21 men were found slain Friday near Qaim, on the lawless Syrian frontier about 200 miles west of Baghdad.


It was feared the bodies may have been those of Iraqi soldiers who went missing Wednesday after leaving their base in Akashat, a remote village near Qaim, in a bus bound for Baghdad.


Last month, multiple batches of bodies turned up in various locations across Iraq. Many were killed in apparent revenge slayings that have raised fears Iraq was descending into sectarian civil war.


Despite the raging violence, there were several positive developments Sunday.


French journalist Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi assistant Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were freed Saturday after five months in captivity.


Aubenas left Baghdad at noon Sunday on a French government plane in the middle of a sandstorm that had closed the capital's international airport for two days. Al-Saadi received a hero's welcome - hugs and kisses from more than 60 relatives and friends at his southern Baghdad home. A band of trumpets played Arab tunes and a sheep was slaughtered to celebrate his homecoming.


On her return to France, the veteran reporter for the Liberation newspaper said she had been held in an Iraq cellar in "difficult conditions," tied up and with little water. French officials said no ransom was paid.


In northern Iraq, the 111-member Kurdish Parliament unanimously elected veteran guerrilla leader Massoud Barzani to be the first president of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, prompting horn-honking celebrations by supporters. Barzani was elected to a four-year term and will also lead the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, which numbers an estimated 100,000 members.


Some 2,000 soccer fans tried to ignore the violence and watched two of Iraq's elite teams play at Baghdad's biggest sports complex, the 50,000-capacity Shaab Stadium. It reopened to the public Sunday after it was commandeered two years ago for a U.S. military base.


Zawraa, an ancient name for Baghdad, beat Shurta, Arabic for police, 2-0 in a game that many spectators feared could be marred by a mortar attack or suicide bombing - a regular occurrence in the capital.


"We were terrified at the beginning, but when the game started we had the chance to forget about the attacks, the bombs and the violence for a little while," said Shurta fan Ghazi Faisal, a police major. "For once there was some joy."




U.S. death toll tops 1,700

1,563 have died since Bush declared major combat over in Iraq


Associated Press

Jun. 13, 2005 12:00 AM


BAGHDAD - The U.S. military announced the killing of four more U.S. soldiers on Sunday, pushing the American death toll past 1,700.


Four American soldiers died Saturday in two roadside bombings west of Baghdad, increasing to at least 1,701 the number of U.S. men and women who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. The number includes five military civilians.


Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,563 U.S. military members have died, according to a count by the Associated Press. That includes at least 1,184 deaths from hostile action, according to the military.


Prior to the president's declaration, 138 members of the U.S. armed forces had died.


The British military has reported 89 deaths; Italy, 25; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, 10; Slovakia, three; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, two each; and Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Latvia, one death each.




priest swipes $90,000 from church to gamble with


Order to reimburse parish after priest acknowledges gambling habit

June 11, 2005, 8:29 PM


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- An order of priests plans to reimburse St. Alphonsus Catholic Church after an audit discovered a fellow priest's gambling addiction cost the parish more than $90,000.


The Redemptorist order by June 30 will reimburse the church for $90,555 the Rev. Thomas Donaldson acknowledged misusing, The Grand Rapids Press reported Saturday, but no criminal charges will be filed.


The Rev. Thomas Picton, Redemptorist provincial superior, said he is not sure how much of the $90,555 was used for gambling, "but we know it was misused."


"We feel very bad for the parishioners," Picton said. "We want to apologize to them for the misconduct of one of our members." The Redemptorists' Denver-based province staffs St. Alphonsus.


Donaldson was removed from the parish in December. A letter sent to 1,800 parish households said a new priest will be announced by the end of June.


"We're not a wealthy parish," said 20-year member Lynn Rabaut, a Grand Rapids city commissioner. "It's really nice to see that money will be replaced so we can use it when the community needs it."


Rabaut said she feels no animosity toward Donaldson, who is undergoing treatment at a Toronto-area addiction program.


"He's paid quite a bit for this and he is working hard at healing himself," Rabaut said.


Fellow commissioner and parishioner Richard Tormala said he recently sent Donaldson a letter of prayer and support.


"My concern is still for Father Tom and his rehabilitation," Tormala said. "It's not a small amount, but when someone suffers from an addiction those things can happen."


The Rev. Picton said Donaldson is "in full compliance with the treatment program and is doing well."


Sister Patrice Konwinski, chancellor of the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese, declined to provide details about how the money was taken. She said the audit is incomplete.


"It's being worked on right now and it seems to be zeroing in on one or two accounts," Konwinski said. She added that parish financial controls will be strengthened.


Konwinski said the diocese is not pressing charges because Donaldson is receiving medical care and the money will be repaid.


Donaldson had told Redemptorist officials he tried to repay the funds before acknowledging the problem. The priest had told order officials he quit gambling about two years ago.




Information from: The Grand Rapids Press,


GRADUATING WITH HONOR: Last lesson is one of love for Howell students


Copyright © 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc.




1) what a hippocrite! the church and bible is the biggest hater of gays in the country and this gay priest wants to get it on with a 14 year old boy.


2) dont the cops have any real criminals to hunt. if this cops sits around all day surfing the internet pretending to be a 14-year-old kid asking horny men to send him nude photos it seems like a real waste of tax dollars,0,585707.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines


Salvation Army commander surrenders over Internet porn in Palm Beach County


The Associated Press

Posted June 11 2005, 6:13 PM EDT


JANESVILLE, Wis. -- The suspended commander of the local Salvation Army turned himself in to Florida police after admitting that he sent pornographic images of himself to a detective posing as a 14-year-old boy.


Maj. David Taube traveled to the Palm Beach County Jail to surrender Friday on a St. Lucie County warrant for a third-degree felony charge of transmission of material harmful to a minor by electronic equipment. He was released Friday on a $50,000 bond.


Taube told The Janesville Gazette earlier this month that he is getting help and that he is not interested in ``kiddies.'' Taube said he didn't believe he was communicating with a child.


The Salvation Army suspended Taube with pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and an investigation by the organization.


According to a warrant affidavit, Taube used the Internet to send live video of himself masturbating to a St. Lucie County sheriff's detective who was posing as a 14-year-old boy.


A third-degree felony in Florida can bring five years in prison, sheriff's spokesman Mark Weinberg said.


Taube did not yet have a court date in St. Lucie County, an officer at the jail said. Weinberg did not know if Taube would be allowed to leave the state while free on bail.




wow!!! these cops are being punished severly!!!! no criminal charges will be filed.


13 LA sheriff's deputies to be punished for firing 120 shots on car


Associated Press

Jun. 9, 2005 03:54 PM


COMPTON, Calif. - Thirteen sheriff's deputies will be disciplined for firing more than 100 shots at an unarmed driver last month, an incident that sparked outrage in the community and prompted some deputies to apologize.


One deputy will be suspended for 15 days. The others will receive shorter suspensions or written reprimands, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Thursday.


While some community members hailed the announcement, others said they were disappointed. Lolitha Jones, who held a sign protesting the shooting, said the deputies should have faced tougher measures.


"An ordinary citizen going down the street on a rampage like that would have gone straight to jail," she said.


Winston Hayes, 44, was struck by four bullets in the May 9 shooting, which was captured on videotape following a brief pursuit of Hayes' sport utility vehicle. The vehicle matched the description of one thought to be involved in a previous shooting. It was later determined that Hayes was not involved in that incident.


Hayes was hospitalized for about two weeks and now faces charges of evading police and driving under the influence of drugs. One deputy was also slightly wounded.


The shooting spurred anger in Compton, where bullets smashed through windows and hit houses. Distrust of law enforcement runs deep in the community known for its street violence and gangster rap.


Days after the shooting, some deputies issued an apology through their lawyer, Gregory Emerson, who said the officers did not try to "harm or injure or otherwise jeopardize the safety of the individuals" in the community.


Also Thursday, Baca announced a change in the department's shooting policy regarding vehicles. The policy now mandates that officers train a weapon on a suspect and give specific commands to surrender before considering shootings.


Deputies can still fire when they feel a vehicle is an immediate threat of death or serious injury to deputies or bystanders. However, each deputy must now use his or her own "independent reasoning for using deadly force," according to the policy.


"We want and will have increased public confidence," Baca said. "The sheriff's department can do better and it will do better."




"suspicious looking" in mesa can get you killed.


Mesa officer shoots, kills 19-year-old

By Katie McDevitt, Tribune

June 14, 2005


A Mesa police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old man Monday after someone called 911 saying the man walking along the sidewalk was "suspicious looking" and may be armed.


The shooting happened about 5:30 p.m. at Greenfield and Brown roads.

According to police, the man was walking north along Greenfield Road carrying a nylon bag when an officer approached him. The man was uncooperative and a confrontation ensued. The officer fired multiple shots at the man, who threw his bag on the ground, ran about 40 yards, then died on the sidewalk.


Police do not yet know if the man was armed but the object in the bag had an outline resembling a gun, Mesa Sgt. Chuck Trapani said. He did not release more details or say what prompted the officer to shoot.


Police did not release the name of the officer or the man killed. They did say his driver’s license showed a Queen Creek address. The officer has been on the Mesa force less than a year, but was a police officer in Flagstaff for 10 years.


"This will be handled just like a homicide investigation," Trapani said. "The witnesses and the officer were taken to the police station to be interviewed."


This was Mesa’s first officer-involved shooting of 2005, he said.

Contact Katie McDevitt by telephone at () -.




this crackpot doesnt think it is wrong to mix government and chruch


Marijuana use an un-Christian act


Jun. 13, 2005 12:00 AM


Marijuana is an un-Christian pleasure, therefore illegal. No matter how it helps a medical condition, the illicit pleasure it gives is not permitted. God is in control.


If you are sick and there is treatment that is not illicit and you can afford it, use it; that is what God intended.


However, no one is permitted to do anything illegal just because it makes them feel better or live longer. advertisement


Stealing food when you're starving to death is illegal.


So if you're dying and marijuana would help, go to church instead. Find your Mother Teresa for comfort and die.


Or do drugs, go to jail without comfort or marijuana, and die. This is a Christian nation. It's God's rules. Quit complaining.


- John Gatti, Scottsdale




Pot laws are unconstitutional zealotry


   I read the original Constitution, searching for the words giving the feds the power to regulate booze. I couldn’t find one reference to the words liquor, beer, wine or any other form of liquor.


   Does the interstate commerce clause give the feds the power to regulate booze you brew in your back yard and drink in your living room? Of course not! Making firewater is not interstate commerce.


   When the feds begin regulating liquor we had to pass the 18th Amendment to give them that power. When the 21st Amendment was passed, that took away the power to regulate liquor from the feds and ended the Prohibition mistake.


   I searched the current Constitution and couldn’t find one word in it that gave the feds the power to regulate marijuana. Does the interstate commerce clause give the feds the power to regulate marijuana you grow in your back yard and smoke in your living room. Of course not! That’s not interstate commerce! It’s gardening and smoking.


   Were the Supreme Court judges who voted to ban medical marijuana smoking some weed when they overlooked the fact that the Constitution doesn’t give the feds the power to regulate marijuana? Of course not! They are just zealots who support the unconstitutional, illegal drug war on the American people.







dont bad mouth sheriff joe or he will f*ck you over


Arpaio puts Carefree on notice

By Amanda Lee Myers, Tribune

June 15, 2005


Carefree officials learned Tuesday how much it costs to complain about the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio gave the town as little as six months to establish its own police force or find a way to contract with another law- enforcement provider.


The decision came after town officials made what Arpaio said were derogatory comments about one of his deputies at a recent meeting.


"I don’t like politicians zeroing in on my deputies in public," Arpaio said late Tuesday.


Although Arpaio wrote in a letter Tuesday to Carefree Mayor Edward Morgan that he is postponing his decision to pull out deputies from the town for six months, the letter also said that at the end of the six months, the town can "anticipate a 90-day notice of cancellation."


The office’s $300,000 contract with Carefree, which provides three deputies and other law-enforcement services to the 3,000-person town, stipulates that to cancel the contract, a party needs to give 90 days’ notice.


Arpaio said warning the town six months before invoking the 90 days was generous.


"I could invoke that now," he said. "We’re still going to give them excellent service in the next six months."


At a June 7 Town Council meeting that sparked the sheriff’s ire, Morgan and two councilmen questioned Sgt. Joseph Sousa about the department’s alleged slow response time to a 911 call.


Later, Councilman Mike Eicher suggested the town consider getting its own police force, to which Morgan said, "That’s a valid recommendation."


Carefree Councilman Bob Coady, liaison between the sheriff’s office and the town, said the comments Morgan and Eicher made were "way out of line."


"They berated, belittled and humiliated (Sousa)," he said.


Coady said Morgan and other town officials have criticized sheriff’s deputies before, but that meeting was the trigger of a loaded gun.


"As human beings, we all have limits as to how much abuse we can handle," he said on Tuesday. "You can beat a dog with a stick only so many times before he turns around and bites you."


Arpaio said it will cost Carefree millions of dollars to set up its own police force, and that he does not understand why Carefree would be unhappy with his office when crime has gone down in the town for so little money.


He denied that his decision to put Carefree on six months’ notice was out of spite. "If I was really spiteful, I wouldn’t wait six months," he said.


Contact Amanda Lee Myers by telephone at (480) 970-2330.




Printed in the Tucson Citizen & Arizona Republic

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Security to be bolstered at building housing governor's office


Safety measures will include X-ray machines, metal detectors and

locking two



The Associated Press


PHOENIX - State officials are stepping up security in the Executive

Tower, a

nine-story building that houses the governor's office and other offices



Effective July 5, X-ray machines and metal detectors will be installed


two entrances to the building's ground floor lobby to scan for weapons


other dangerous items. Two other entrances to the building will be


"for the purpose of monitoring and controlling access," Department of

Administration Director


Betsey Bayless told state agency directors in a memo yesterday.


State employees with identification cards will be able to bypass the


machines and metal detectors, Bayless said.


"A safe and secure work environment is a basic requirement necessary to

conduct the day to day activities of state government. Our visitors,

employees and elected officials expect and deserve the best level of

security possible," Bayless' memo said.


Department spokesman Alan Ecker said the new equipment costs $110,000,


funding coming from a federal Department of Homeland Security grant.

Ecker said the new security checkpoints will be manned by four Capitol

Police officers and three police assistants. He said the money for

those new

positions' salaries will come from a risk-management account. Ecker

said he

did not have a dollar figure for the positions immediately available.


Ecker said no single incident prompted the changes, but he cited an


shooting in which a Capitol security guard was killed in September



"Luckily we haven't had incidents (in Arizona) that I can single out

but I

know that they've had some problems in other states," Ecker said.


always looking at ways to increase security while keeping the public's


to access their government in mind."


The state previously installed metal detectors in the lobby of the


Tower in 1997 in the wake of the nonfatal shooting of a Maricopa County

supervisor in a county building in Phoenix.


However, then-Gov. Jane Hull ordered the security checkpoints removed


as soon as she became governor in September 1997. A spokesman for


transition said at the time that the checkpoints were considered


and of questionable effectiveness.


Besides the governor's office, agencies and offices housed in the


Tower include the Commerce Department, the School Facilities Board and


treasurer's office.


Some other state buildings already have X-ray machines and metal


at lobby security checkpoints. Those include buildings housing the

Department of Revenue, the Attorney General's Office and the Supreme


Others have officers at security posts in lobbies where visitors must


in upon entering the building.




> Security to be bolstered at building housing governor's office

> State employees with identification cards will be able to bypass the

> X-ray

> machines and metal detectors, Bayless said.

> "A safe and secure work environment is a basic requirement necessary


> conduct the day to day activities of state government. Our visitors,

> employees and elected officials expect and deserve the best level of

> security possible," Bayless' memo said.


But in view of the first paragraph, the second is a foolish boast.

Consider the following incident:


"Unaware that his killer had marked him for death, Councilman Davis

actually escorted him into City Hall as a guest, and neither man passed

through the metal detectors that are posted outside the building. For

many years, we have extended that courtesy to all elected officials,

but from now on and without exception, everyone who works at or visits

City Hall, including me, will go through the metal detectors."

--NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg



Ms. Bayless, you should demand (as I do) that there be no "privileged

class" -- check everybody, or check nobody.




Edición: 715. Del 15 de junio al 21 de junio del 2005


Leo Hernandez

Envía tus comentarios

A partir de agosto


Son frecuentes las escenas transmitidas por televisión, que muestran peligrosas persecusiones policíacas a alta velocidad.


Eso ocurre principalmente en ciudades y autopistas de California. Es impresionante ver decenas de patrullas detrás de un vehículo conducido por algún sospechoso, que no le importa su seguridad ni la de los demás, con tal de evitar ser detenido. Pero lo más lamentable es cuando esas peliculescas persecusiones terminan en tragedia, como ocurren en un alto porcentaje de esos casos. Para evitar que eso pase, el Departamento de Policía de Phoenix ya no permitirá más ese tipo de persecusiones a partir del 1 de agosto próximo.


Esa fue la orden que dio el jefe de esa corporación, Jack Harris, luego de consultar a varios comités de seguridad pública. “Efectivamente, ya no realizaremos más persecusiones, lo haremos solamente en casos muy especiales”, dijo a PRENSA HISPANA el detective Tony Morales, portavoz de la dependencia. Explicó que actualmente los reglamentos indican que los policías utilicen su criterio y decidan si persiguen o no a algún automovilista.


Tienen que tomar en cuenta todas las circunstancias, señaló, como qué sospechoso es, en qué área de la ciudad se encuentran y el volumen de tráfico que hay al momento.

Pero señaló que la mayoría de los casos de sospechosos intentando huir, los agentes deciden perseguirlos y detenerlos a toda costa.


Pero a partir de agosto, enfatizó, las cosas cambiarán. Los policías iniciarán una persecusión solamente que trate de un sospechoso muy peligroso o de alguien que acabe de cometer un crimen violento.


“Si es alguien que se robó un carro o alguno que cometió una infracción de tránsito, no lo vamos a perseguir para no poner en riesgo a nuestros oficiales ni a otras personas”, declaró Morales.


Añadió que siempre que se pueda en este tipo de casos utilizarán los helicópteros, pero en lo posible evitarán persecusiones por tierra a alta velocidad para que no ocurran tragedias, como se ve con frecuencia en California. Cabe recordar que en abril pasado, una persecusión realizada por un policía de Scottsdale terminó en tragedia. El oficial iba siguiendo a un sospechoso de robo, pero con tal de huir éste se metió en sentido contrario a la autopista Loop 101 y se impactó de frente contra otro vehículo, cuyo conductor murió instantáneamente.


El caso aún está siendo investigado, ya que aparentemente el policía no llevava activada la sirena ni prendidas las luces de la patrulla durante la persecusión




Sheriff's pool plan raises privacy concerns

By Kristina Davis, Tribune

June 17, 2005

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office raised privacy concerns Thursday about Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s plan to have his air posse search for filthy pools in the battle against West Nile virus.


Barnett Lotstein, special assistant county attorney, said that while the flyovers are not illegal, randomly peering into someone’s back yard without prior indication that there is a mosquito problem raises concern about privacy rights.


"While we welcome the investigative assistance . . . there’s a concern," Lotstein said. "We hope the posse members conducting surveillance will be sensitive to the privacy issue. Peeping on them from the sky might be disconcerting to some."


Arpaio, who launched the operation Thursday, said he wants to take a proactive approach to the deadly virus before the season begins.


Once green pools are spotted from the air, ground patrol posse members will identify the residences and forward the information to the county’s environmental services department.


Lotstein said the idea of flyovers had been discussed with environmental services officials in the past, but was put on the back burner because of the privacy concerns.


Reports of dirty pools often come from residents who observe a mosquito problem in their neighborhood or suspect a filthy pool. If the pool violates the county health code, the homeowner can face a misdemeanor charge, which carries up to a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.


Sheriff’s spokesman Jack MacIntyre said Arpaio does not need permission from the county attorney’s office to protect the health interests of Maricopa County residents.


"Our personnel is perfectly capable of balancing the privacy interests of individuals with the serious threat to public health that exists with the threat of a West Nile virus outbreak," MacIntyre said. "The county attorney’s office concedes that nothing in this plan is illegal. This is merely a poorly disguised attempted for the county attorney to bootstrap their lack of imagination and creativity onto a very worthwhile plan conceived and executed by Sheriff Arpaio."

Contact Kristina Davis by email, or phone () -




this guy is a ex-mesa cop and he admits most of the cops who are killed by some one are NOT heros but simply a dope who made a simple mistake!!!


Friday, June 17, 2005 Arizona Tribune



Cops’ 10 deadly errors


Fates of many hurt or killed officers were sealed when they made simple, avoidable mistakes


Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in Tempe and can be reached at


   The following was written on the inside cover of my used copy of "Officer Down, Code Three," by retired Los Angeles Police Capt. Pierce R. Brooks:


   "Brian, I give you this book with one thought in mind. The words and thoughts in this book may someday save your life. Whatever job you have as a peace officer, one mistake can end it all, so please read this book as often as necessary for its thoughts to work. Good luck in the academy and as a peace officer. With love and pride, your brother Dale."


   Truer words have never been spoken. Dale gave his brother Brian the advice and guidance that would allow him to come home every night and keep him out of a body bag and out of the county morgue. Every cop should own and read this book.


   Brooks sets out 10 deadly errors he saw repeatedly during his career when he investigated officer deaths for decades.


• Failure to maintain proficiency and care of weapons, vehicle and equipment.


• Improper search and use of handcuffs.

• Sleepy or asleep.

• Relaxing too soon.

• Missing the danger signs.

• Taking a bad position.

• Failure to watch their hands.

• Tombstone courage, not waiting for a backup.

• Preoccupation.

• Apathy.


   When I look back at the dozen or so cops I know and called friends who were shot and killed or wounded, I can only think of one who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The rest made simple mistakes.


   What I’m going to say is harsh. I’m not going to pull any punches. If you think that all dead cops are heroes and how dare anyone talk about them, you might want to go find the funny pages or the sports section. This is about reality and it might hurt. Since no one else is going to publicly ask the hard questions and demand honest answers, I’m going to.


   If a critical analysis were to be done on every cop killing in Arizona there’s little doubt in my mind that one or more of Capt. Brooks’ 10 deadly errors would have been committed by the vast majority. In the world of policing, the light rarely shines on the mistakes made by a dead or seriously injured officer — mistakes that should be learned from.


   This isn’t about criticizing the dead; it’s about learning from their mistakes to keep other cops alive. I don’t know if it’s ego or the complete failure of our political and appointed leadership, I have never seen a police chief, mayor or governor step up to the microphone and just tell the truth. "The officer made several critical mistakes, his supervision was lousy and his training was marginal. I will not tolerate the murder of a police officer, especially if it could have been prevented. I will report back to the public within 30 days with a complete and honest report."


   No one does the living any favors when they don’t tell the truth about the dead. Just ask the family of U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.


   The Phoenix Police Department has lost four cops in one year. Are there problems that have led up to this horrific loss of cops? Have mistakes been made?


   If Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon can get to the bottom of the brown water problem that hit earlier this year within 14 days and lop off department heads over an inconvenience, why hasn’t he asked for a critical and public explanation of why cops on the Phoenix PD are getting killed in record numbers?


   Is there a system failure? Is it in officer safety, survival and tactics training problem? Is it a physical fitness issue? I saw a uniformed cop from Phoenix on TV the other night who was seriously obese.


   Is there a lack of proper supervision on the street by sergeants and lieutenants? Is there a leadership failure in the command ranks? Did the dead cop fail to observe the basic tenets of officer safety as set forth by Brooks?


   Where is the failure that keeps giving us an unacceptable body count when it comes to the good guys?


   Phoenix is losing more cops than all other Valley police agency combined. Why is that?


   The time has come to quit dancing around the tragedy of dead cops and tell us the truth and then to make obviously needed changes.


   Cops’ lives are at stake, as is public safety. It’s time to find out what’s going to keep them alive and us safe.







fraggings are BACK!!!!


Sergeant faces charges in slayings of 2 officers



BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. Army staff sergeant was charged with murdering his two commanders last week at a base outside Baghdad, the military said Thursday in what is believed to be the first case of an American soldier in Iraq accused of killing his superiors.


   The military initially concluded that the June 7 deaths of Capt. Phillip Esposito of Suffern, N.Y., and 1st Lt. Louis Allen of Milford, Pa., were caused by a mortar round.


   But on Wednesday, the military charged Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez of Troy, N.Y., with two counts of premeditated murder, according to a statement issued in Baghdad.


   Martinez, 37, is a supply specialist with the Headquarters Company of the 42nd Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard. Esposito, 30 and the father of a 1-year-old girl, was company commander and Allen, 34 and a father of four, was a company operations officer.


   The ‘‘fragging’’ incident occurred near Tikrit — 80 miles north of Baghdad — at Forward Operating Base Danger in what used to be one of the ousted Iraqi leader’s palace on the banks of the Tigris River.


   Fragging is a term used to refer to soldiers killing their superiors.


   Martinez is believed to have allegedly used some kind of explosive device, possibly a grenade, in the attack, military officials said.

   His alleged motive was unclear.




Friday June 17, 2005

Arizona Tribune


Ex-officer gives up certification


A former Mesa police officer arrested on accusations he sexually abused a woman while on duty voluntarily gave up his state police certification Wednesday during an Arizona Peace Officer and Standards Training Board hearing.


Rigoberto Ramirez, arrested in May 2003, is now banned from working in the state as a police officer.


Ramirez was arrested after two Mesa women told police that the officer had sex with one of them while forcing the other to watch.




well kevin and laro it looks like the amount of news i am sending you guys will drop off a lot.


the republic web site either is malfunctioning and doesnt find the news articles i request. or the repubic has stopped listing almost all of its stories and only lists selected ones.




it doesnt look good for kevin based on what they did to this guy who didnt do anything wrong


Thunder Road

Luciano Arriaga Jr. was born defiant. Falsely arrested by a nerve-frayed cop, he'd sooner take a chance on resuming his 10-year prison sentence than accept a plea bargain


By Michael Lacey


Published: Thursday, June 16, 2005


Arriaga awaits the outcome of his civil suit -- and his third trial.


Driving defines Phoenix the way surfing shapes Venice Beach. Here, in this blacktop desert that stretches to the horizon, we all share in the drive. Behind every steering wheel slumps a stranger. You look through anyone else's windshield and a driver's character is no more distinct than a smudged fingerprint. A cop never knows who he's pulling over.


And that's only half of the story. That uniform in your rearview mirror? There's no telling what's eating him.


This is a tale about two men in cars who crossed paths in downtown Phoenix. One man is a cop, one isn't. Their three-year-old tragedy binds tighter this week with a trial scheduled to begin later this month. The drama refuses to unwind because neither man is capable of letting go. It's not in the one man's personality and, legally, it's beyond the other's grasp. Instead, the ending lurks in a courtroom, a poor location if you're looking for common sense.


One man drove drunk, and, before that offense was resolved, he succumbed to road rage. He is the police officer. Although he milked the system on his DUI, he still lost what he cared about most.


The cop's victim of violence stubbornly refused to compromise. This helped put him in prison after he was pulled over for allegedly rolling through a stop sign; he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Even the judge believes it's a miscarriage of justice. The parents' focus on their son's innocence fueled the devastation. The family's life savings turned to smoke in the legal incinerator. Worse, mama and papa were criminalized. Incredibly, their boy has been arrested three times -- including this beef -- for aggravated assault on police officers. In the end, his innocence might be less important than the law of averages.


Of course, "the facts" are all more complicated and compelling than these few sentences. As you read this, both men are, for the third time, testifying before a jury. Yet no one in any courtroom has heard the full story. The third time won't be any different.


Officer Warren Poole's story is simple. Shortly before 9 a.m. on February 6, 2002, he observed a suspect in a blue pickup truck, Luciano Arriaga Jr., fail to come to a complete stop at the intersection of Third Street and Grant. The suspect ignored the stop sign on the corner and, in effect, did a California roll. Officer Poole made contact with the suspect, who resisted arrest and hit the policeman with a two-by-four, causing a scalp laceration that took six stitches to close.


On the face of it, this is a shocking story about street violence directed at a policeman. Who hits a cop with a two-by-four?


But Officer Poole's story changes every time he tells it.


In fact, this confrontation is a stunning example of police paranoia that nearly ended in a killing.


To begin with, Luciano Arriaga never ran that stop sign. The traffic citation was thrown out when the physical evidence clearly showed that Officer Poole couldn't even see the stop sign from where his patrol car was parked. The policeman admitted to the judge that he did not actually see a violation. Rather, he used his intuition to determine that one had occurred when he saw a second vehicle braking as Arriaga drove through the intersection.


Case dismissed.


The traffic ticket, however, was chump change. The real drama would occur in Superior Court when prosecutors charged Arriaga with resisting arrest and aggravated assault. The stakes were huge. Sentences for agg assault are drastic when the victim is a police officer.


Ignore for a second the fact that Officer Poole initially lied about the stop sign. When you examine the files and review the testimony, you have to wonder how any prosecutor could go forward when the only witness, the policeman, spun so many contradictory scenarios about the fight. Prosecutors won't tell you this on the record, but, the reality is, if you get in a fight with a cop, you're going to end up in court. Period.


When other cops arrived on the scene, the slightly built Arriaga was pinned but struggling under the bleeding Officer Poole. Once the suspect was handcuffed and deposited in the back seat of a cruiser, Poole was taken to a hospital where he gave Detective Ricky Newberry the following account about what transpired after Arriaga proceeded past the stop sign.


Because the Phoenix Police Department viewed Officer Poole as a victim of assault, he wasn't allowed to fill out a police report of the incident. His statement to Detective Newberry is the official record.


"He was obviously doing over 25. . . . It seemed like he was trying to move out of the area at a pretty good clip," Poole recalled, referring to the driver. "He [was] putting his foot into the accelerator."


In his account, Poole portrayed Arriaga as acting suspiciously, someone clearly bent upon fleeing.


But by estimating Arriaga's speed at "over 25" miles per hour, Poole made an important admission. The speed limit is 35 mph. Even at 30 mph, Arriaga would have been below the limit.


And Poole admitted to Detective Newberry that Arriaga came to a complete stop at the next posted intersection. If Arriaga was running, it was only in Poole's mind.


Officer Poole told Detective Newberry that he didn't activate his flashing lights until after the suspect turned into an alley. Although Arriaga was driving under the speed limit and obeying the stop signs, in Poole's mind, the events were ramping up.


"At that point, I was becoming concerned that it might be a bail-out situation," recalled Poole.


Actually, Arriaga exited his vehicle and proceeded calmly toward a body shop. And why not? Because he'd entered the alley before the squad car's lights were activated, he had no idea that there was a problem.


"He [was] beginning to walk away, and it was my impression that as soon as he got to the residence . . . I am thinking a foot pursuit."


Officer Poole never explained why he had this fantasy of Arriaga taking off. Nor was he asked why he believed this.


In any case, Poole's mind was racing through the criminal possibilities. He thought weapons and narcotics.


"He begins to walk away, and I confront him," said Officer Poole. "He turns around and kind of squares off on me. He is facing me. I said I need to talk to you."


Far from fleeing, Luciano Arriaga Jr. stopped and faced the policeman.


Instead of calming down, Officer Poole becomes more alarmed.


"You could tell by just looking at his body that he was not going to be cooperative. You could tell looking at somebody if they are going to be compliant, and, to me, his body, he had this look like he was going to run or fight."


The policeman confronted a man guilty of nothing. But that wasn't the way Officer Poole imagined it.


"[Arriaga] was thinking. He was looking at me, and he was thinking. He couldn't figure out what he was going to do. In my mind, I was thinking he has that look in his eyes that says, 'Can I run here fast enough or is this guy going to catch me?'"


Without any warning, Officer Poole attacked Arriaga.


"I then just reached out and grabbed him, and he tensed up and it is an active aggression."


Officer Poole's claim that it was "an active aggression" when Arriaga tensed is odd syntax even for the stilted argot of police-speak. But the phrase is no accident. Under police guidelines, "active aggression" is justification for putting a suspect into the deadly carotid artery choke hold. If Officer Poole was shaken by the confrontation, he still had the presence of mind to alibi strangling Arriaga.


The policeman didn't ask for Arriaga's driver's license. He didn't ask for registration. He didn't ask for proof of insurance. He didn't tell Arriaga that he'd run a stop sign. He didn't tell him he was under arrest.


Officer Poole simply imagined a crime and attacked an innocent man. Why?


Arriaga's father has a straightforward explanation.


He saw a Mexican. And the first thing he thought of was guns or drugs or both, says Luciano Arriaga Sr., a retired construction worker.


In fact, that's precisely what Officer Poole told Detective Newberry.


"I am concerned, number one, it's a weapon," said Poole. "Or he may have had narcotics. I don't know what it was."


Arriaga had neither weapons nor drugs in his possession, nor was he a member of any gang.


"We believe that this was a clear case of racial profiling and a hate crime," says Arriaga's father.


The Phoenix office of the NAACP agreed and fired off a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation.


Absent more facts, however, it's unlikely that this allegation will ever amount to anything. But the record is clear on one point: When Officer Poole turned into that alley on February 6, 2002, he was under unusual stress. He had been the recent target of an internal investigation. He awaited a trial, confinement in jail, and near certain administrative and criminal penalties.


On June 15, 2001, months before he ever met Luciano Arriaga Jr., an off-duty Warren Poole headed to an Arizona Diamondbacks game in downtown Phoenix.


At some point that afternoon, Poole changed his mind and went instead to a strip club, Bourbon Street Circus, at 2900 East Thomas Road. Over the next couple of hours, he downed about eight beers. When he got into his car and drove east, he encountered rush-hour traffic. After a quick stop at a Jack in the Box, he decided to sit out the gridlock at the Rework Lounge at 5200 East McDowell Road, where he had another four beers. He topped off the evening with a second strip joint, the Diamond Club on Scottsdale Road, where he continued to drink.


About 9:30 p.m., Officer Poole, drunk, headed out to his car. He drove onto Interstate 10 and slammed into a highway median. He was taken to Maricopa County Hospital, where he was treated for a laceration of his left knee, abrasions to his head, and a concussion. In the hospital, a mandatory blood test showed an alcohol level of 0.15 percent.


Legally, Officer Poole didn't just drive drunk and have an accident. His blood alcohol level classified his offense as an "extreme DUI." More alarming, investigators determined that because he was scheduled to report for duty shortly after the accident, he would still have been drunk when he showed up for work.


Officer Poole was no ordinary beat cop.


He was a sniper on the Phoenix Police Department's SWAT team. In a standoff, Officer Poole is the guy who must target and execute the suspect on command. No questions asked.


Men who carry a gun for a living, whether military or law enforcement, all recognize the elite units in their midst who are called upon to face down the most dramatic situations. Police departments turn to SWAT units in body armor equipped with overwhelming firepower to take out the worst criminals and the dangerously deranged.


It's clear from Officer Poole's personnel file that he relished the challenge. In the year before he stopped Luciano Arriaga, Poole helped serve 39 high-risk search warrants and confronted 19 separate incidents where suspects had barricaded themselves. He averaged slightly better than one highly wrought episode per week.


Think about that.


"The last year, like the past seven, have been very rewarding to me," Poole wrote on his final evaluation as a member of the SWAT team. "Working with the officers of the Special Assignments Unit has been the greatest experience of my career and my life. . . . Being able to work around these officers, often under arduous and life-threatening conditions, has been the highest honor. I am honored to have been part of the team."


The greatest experience of his life came to an end with the DUI. Roughly four months before he grabbed Luciano Arriaga, Poole was transferred out of the SWAT team and put in a squad car.


Now, you get a DUI, and the police department and the state of Arizona will see that you get 12 hours of counseling about the riskier aspects of drinking. Officer Poole would eventually get a certificate to prove he'd endured such lectures.


But where Officer Poole actually needed some guidance was ignored.


Every week Officer Poole had lined up real-life refugees from Grand Theft Auto in his telescopic sight. Then, overnight, he found himself watching traffic scofflaws -- that transition he figured out on his own. There was no decompression tank for Poole to sit in and adjust his equilibrium, no certificate of normalcy. One day he was a state-sanctioned killer, the next, he was checking parking meters.


Gives you chills when you think about it.


And that was hardly the end of the matter.


When he pulled into the alley behind Arriaga, Officer Poole was still facing a criminal trial on the DUI, suspension without pay for up to 40 hours, suspension of his driver's license for 90 days, a fine, and possible jail time.


The last thing he needed in the midst of these legal and professional problems was another blemish on his record.


It's impossible to say how much pressure Officer Poole felt to embellish what occurred in the alley with Arriaga, but the record is clear that he began lying long before he laid hands on the 31-year-old Mexican-American.


As Officer Poole explained to Detective Newberry, his mind was racing with suspicion before he said a single word to Luciano Arriaga Jr.: The suspect was driving away from the stop sign at a high rate of speed, he might have had drugs, or a gun. And surely he was getting ready to run.


But there's more to this than Poole's paranoia.


He radioed that the suspect was running behind a nearby Wells Fargo Bank.


The police department's dispatcher confirmed that this was the message transmitted by Officer Poole.


Another officer on patrol in the same neighborhood confirmed that Poole broadcast he was chasing a suspect.


"Yes, a few seconds later we heard someone on the radio [saying] that there was a foot pursuit in the area of First Avenue," Sergeant Sylvester Johnson testified during Arriaga's first trial.


There was no foot chase.


Officer Poole told Detective Newberry a version of the confrontation, which differed wildly from the version he transmitted over the police radio. The detective never heard word one about a foot chase behind a bank.


Poole offered a third version to another officer who arrived on the scene of the confrontation.


"Officer Warren Poole reported that when Arriaga exited his vehicle, he ignored repeated requests to cooperate by [not] producing proper identification and vehicle documentation. [It became] necessary to physically restrain him until the documentation was obtained and verified," wrote Patrolman James Corey in his report.


Poole admitted under oath that he never asked Arriaga for any paperwork.


Poole described to Sergeant Ronald Vasquez yet a fourth version of the brawl with Arriaga.


On the witness stand in the first trial, Arriaga's attorney asked Sergeant Vasquez to recall what Poole had said at the scene.


Question: "And he told you that Louie had -- I'm sorry, Mr. Arriaga -- had all of a sudden run into the body shop; is that correct?"


Answer: "Yes! He turned and ran into the body shop."


Officer Poole chased Arriaga, tackling him from behind, said Vasquez.


Every version of Arriaga's arrest involving a foot chase is a lie. But each lie is meant to justify what happened, just as "active aggression" (merely tensing up) is meant to justify a carotid artery choke hold.


What do we know? We know that Louie Arriaga's ticket for rolling through a stop sign was thrown out of court after the judge determined that the officer lied about what he saw.


We know that Officer Poole imagined Arriaga fleeing the scene of the crime when, in fact, there was no crime; Arriaga was driving under the speed limit, obeyed all stop signs and stopped when confronted.


We know the officer never turned on his siren, according to his own testimony, and that the patrol car's flashing lights weren't activated until after Arriaga had turned into the alley and was unable to see them.


Based upon absolutely no evidence and no behavior by Arriaga, Poole worried that he might have an armed drug abuser on his hands. This apprehension was compounded by the unfounded assumption that Arriaga intended to run.


Poole violated the Phoenix Police Department's own guidelines for traffic citations. He did not ask for a driver's license, car registration or proof of insurance. He did not inform the driver of any traffic violation. In his own words, he simply reached out and grabbed Arriaga and then blamed the victim for "tensing up."


Poole forced Arriaga to the ground.


In court, Poole testified that Arriaga kept yelling throughout the violent struggle: "The two statements I remember during this entire confrontation is [sic], 'Why are you doing this?' and 'What do you want me to do?'"


Poole put Arriaga into a choke hold.


This also violated departmental rules. The escalation of force guidelines used by the police dictate a series of responses before an officer can resort to the deadly carotid artery grip.


Beyond all of the things that Poole imagined about Arriaga's running away, beyond the unprovoked use of deadly force, there are the policeman's contradictory statements to fellow cops.


He gives at least four entirely different accounts over the police radio, to officers arriving on the scene and to the detective investigating the incident.


Poole's widely varying accounts go beyond lying and beg the question: Why did prosecutors take this case to court? Why did Arriaga get sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison?


At first glance, there is a deceptively apparent reason that Luciano Arriaga Jr. went to prison.


As Arriaga and Officer Poole struggled on the ground, the suspect reached out with one hand and grabbed a two-by-four lying nearby. In an awkward motion, Arriaga -- belly in the dirt with the much larger cop on his back -- swung the board blindly over his head in a backward arc.


Poole said the blow "clumped" him. The wound took six stitches to close.


For law enforcement, this is an open-and-shut case of aggravated assault on a police officer. It was open and shut when it happened, and nothing has changed.


Except nothing about this case is open and shut.


Ask law enforcement about all of Poole's paranoid images of Arriaga's flight, his imagined concerns about guns and drugs, the cascade of wildly different stories told to fellow police officers.


Ask and law enforcement has a ready answer.


According to an expert witness for the prosecution, a fellow police officer, everything Poole imagined, every cock-and-bull story he concocted, all of it was simply "the fog of war."


And surely there is some truth in that cliché. But the facts here don't show some mild variation that's easily explained by the stress of combat. You have an innocent citizen who was attacked without cause, according to the officer's own words.


The "fog of war" is not something limited to police officers, either.


Arriaga said he felt himself passing out from the choke hold, and that's when he reached for the two-by-four in desperation.


"I thought I was dying," Arriaga said in a recent interview.


One of Arriaga's best friends was killed by the police in the very same carotid artery choke hold.


Like Arriaga, Eddie Mallet was a kid who liked to rebuild cars. And like Arriaga, Mallet was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


When officers stopped Mallet, a double amputee who'd done nothing wrong, the confrontation ended in a choke hold, and Mallet died. Arriaga spoke at the funeral and carried the casket in 1994.


The death rocked Phoenix, created a huge media outpouring, and ended with the largest civil judgment against the city in its history.


Arriaga had every reason to believe he was next. He almost was. After being clubbed, Poole reached for his gun and testified that he intended to shoot Arriaga in the back of the head.


You would think someone in the prosecutor's office would've examined the facts in this case and walked away.


But you would be wrong.


The county attorney told Arriaga's lawyer before the first trial that unless his client would admit guilt, and do three years in prison as part of a plea agreement, the office would prosecute him for resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a police officer and go for the full 10 years in prison.


Which's exactly what the County Attorney's Office did when Arriaga refused to do jail time.


No one person set out to get Luciano Arriaga Jr. But when you read the thousands of pages in this case, you understand that the system doesn't need a conspiracy to wreak havoc.


It began with a grand jury that issued the original indictment. Detective Newberry's testimony shades Officer Poole's statement just enough to give an impression that's entirely wrong. He informs the grand jury that the cop car's flashing lights were activated before Arriaga turned into the alley, falsely suggesting that Arriaga ignored the flashing signal. The detective told the grand jury that Arriaga attempted to flee the scene.


"The subject then turned around and tried to go further into the alley and into an open gate. At this point, Officer Poole grabbed this subject from behind and they went to the ground," Newberry testified.


In court, Poole would eventually acknowledge that Arriaga never fled.


"I was afraid he was going to run," testified Poole. "But at no time did Mr. Arriaga run from me."


In Arriaga's first trial, he was convicted of resisting arrest, but in a rather startling turn, the jury hung on the question of aggravated assault. The majority of jurors voted to acquit.


And so, prosecutors filed aggravated assault charges a second time. Arriaga was found guilty.


But in the second trial, prosecutors had played a dubious ace. They told the jury that Arriaga was a convicted felon. They neglected to explain that the felony, resisting arrest, stemmed from the same incident.


Arriaga went to prison and began serving the sentence of 10 years and six months. No time off for good behavior, no eligibility of parole.


Even the judge, Crane McClennen, seemed to think it was ridiculous. Following the conviction, McClennen wrote an unusual letter.


Judge McClennen ordered Arriaga to petition the Board of Executive Clemency for a commutation: "[The] sentence the law requires this Court to impose is clearly excessive. [The] Defendant did not rationally pause and contemplate the use of the dangerous instrument or contemplate the possible results of the serious physical injury he might inflict; instead he acted on the spur of the moment fearing for his own well being. [It] was just a struggle that got out of hand. [If] this Court had the discretion, this Court would have considered placing the defendant on probation."


The judge's letter was ignored. The commutation board rejected Arriaga's appeal to have his sentence reduced.


Arriaga stayed in jail.


The same County Attorney's Office that took Arriaga to court also charged Officer Warren Poole with DUI. But if the system went after Arriaga with a vengeance, the same cannot be said of its treatment of Poole.


On October 2, 2001, the Maricopa County Attorney filed two charges against Poole. But prosecutors opted not to file the "extreme DUI" count despite the 0.15 blood test and the accident. Like most first-time defendants, Poole faced a pair of simple Class 1 misdemeanors.


Four months later, on February 6, 2002, when Officer Poole attacked Arriaga, the policeman still had not gone to court. When he did face a judge fully one year after the DUI charges were filed, he caught an unprecedented break.


In his plea agreement, the second charge was dropped altogether, and Poole's wrist was slapped with a fine of slightly more than $400. His license was suspended for 30 days, and for the next 60 days after that he could only drive to work.


But here is the interesting part.


The law calls for, and the judge ordered, Officer Poole to serve 24 hours in jail. This is not a lightly regarded provision of the statute. The population of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City is filled with men and women serving their 24 hours' jail time. When singer Diana Ross was arrested on DUI allegations in Tucson two months after charges were filed against Poole, she had to serve her 24 hours in an Arizona jail cell, despite high-priced legal efforts to avoid incarceration. She was forced to return to Arizona from New England to do her time. There are no exceptions to this statute.


Officer Poole, however, found an exception.


The justice of the peace hearing his case, former Lake Havasu City police chief Victor Wilkins, allowed Officer Poole to serve his 24 hours of jail time at home.


Luciano Arriaga maintained that Poole never should have been driving a squad car after the DUI and the accident. He argued from the start that Poole's driving record ought to have been admitted in his trials.


Judge McClennen disagreed, noting in chambers that the Phoenix Police Department had, after the Arriaga incident, apparently promoted Officer Poole: "There is no indication that that [the DUI] caused him to leave the [street patrol unit]. To the contrary, the indication was he left to go to a different position which was a highly competitive position."


Hell, he wasn't simply kicked upstairs, he was selected by the police department to be a leader of men.


You see, while Officer Poole was indeed transferred out of his beloved SWAT unit (the liability to the city with an officer who chose to be drunk when he was supposed to be on call as a sharpshooter was simply too great), he didn't remain in a patrol car for very long.


After his DUI and accident, after the misconduct investigation revealed he would have been legally drunk when he was scheduled for SWAT team duty, after it was revealed that he lied about Arriaga's traffic stop, after the city knew that he'd attacked a citizen without provocation, after the police department understood that he'd told four different versions of the same confrontation, Officer Warren Poole was promoted to teach recruits the finer points of law enforcement as an instructor at the Police Academy.


After 41 years as a union sheet metal worker, with 29 of those years devoted to teaching apprentices, Luciano Arriaga Sr. retired on February 1, 2002. Five days later, his son was confronted by Officer Poole in the alley.


"What a mess one stupid person has created," said the retiree.


The father had already erected a chain-link fence around a small plot of dirt so that he could begin to build a retirement home for himself and his wife, Lydia.


"We planned this house from way back when," said the father. "I wanted to have a couple of German shepherds, a garden, a few pecan trees. An acre is not that much, but there was plenty of room for our home."


Their son's arrest killed those dreams.


They sold the land to raise money for lawyers and investigators. They also mortgaged the home they'd owned free and clear. They've spent well over $100,000 defending their boy.


The decision to spend every penny to make sure that their son had more than a public defender was hardly a choice. That's clear when you talk to the mother.


"I have never been without Louie," explained Lydia Arriaga of her family life before the arrest. "Both of my boys live at home. I would give my life for them. I don't want them out there in some apartment. Lots of stuff happens in apartments. I tell them, when they find the right girl, they can move out."


Creating a sheltering environment comes naturally to Lydia, a retiree who worked making floral arrangements. Their home radiates an attention to color, harmony and tranquility wherever the eye lands. Her entire life has pointed in the direction of middle-class respectability.


"My parents were very strict with me. No dates, no movies, I could not go downtown. Nothing," said Lydia, describing her childhood in Phoenix. "My husband's parents were the same way. All my life has been planned. I waited five years to have my first kid. I would not get pregnant until I had a home and a roof over my head."


It's not surprising, then, that a threat to one member of this tight-knit family is taken up by all. Once their son was arrested, every lawyer ever associated with this case learned that the parents were part of the defense team. This level of commitment was not without consequences.


The most benign impact happened inside the home, which was turned into a communications post. The parents have written and faxed all of Arizona's legislators, the state's congressional delegation, the governor and a host of minority leaders. The Arriagas have files stuffed with responses of polite nonchalance.


For the Arriagas, this was just more evidence of the dark and uncontrollable world they'd been dragged into. They suddenly noticed that the police were everywhere they looked.


The police showed up at their home to ask Louie's father about an accident involving a car registered to their address. Then Louie's girlfriend, who'd testified in the stop-sign ticket hearing, said that after the citation was thrown out, the police called where she worked repeatedly. After his first trial, Louie arrived home one night and found a motorcycle officer parked across the street who ticketed him for speeding. When Louie argued over the ticket, he was handcuffed in his front yard before being released.


After the Arriagas wiped out their savings and sold off their retirement plot, they refinanced their home last year to stave off the escalating legal bills. Even this simple transaction drew police attention.


A spokesman for Keys Mortgage confirms that Phoenix Police Detective Paul Hill called the mortgage office repeatedly demanding to see the Arriagas' signatures on the new papers, wanting to compare them to the elderly couple's driver's licenses.


"He scared the shit out of me," said the agent, who asked not to be identified. "The first thing you think of was there must be some sort of fraud. I called the Arriagas, and they called a lawyer. After that, I didn't hear from the police department anymore."


After his conviction for aggravated assault in the second trial, Luciano Arriaga Jr. entered prison, and his parents' lives shifted yet more deeply into the criminal justice system.


Over nearly a two-year period, they visited their son at the Buckley Lewis prison every weekend, twice on holiday weekends.


"I hated to go there," said his mother. "You'd meet in this big room, bigger than this entire house. I took $20 in quarters every visit for the vending machines. You had to have a clear purse that the guards could see through. I got mine at Wal-Mart."


She still has the plastic change carrier.


"He'd be dressed in orange tee shirt, orange trousers, tennis shoes," remembered his father. "In the winter, he had an orange jacket." As if it wasn't difficult enough seeing their son in prison garb, the Arriagas soon found themselves targeted once again.


On Memorial Day weekend last year, contraband dogs at the prison honed in upon the father. This happened twice, and the warden banned Louie's dad.


Today, a year later, the father is still outraged.


"I worked at Palo Verde nuclear plant," said the senior Arriaga. "I took drug tests all the time. I passed FBI screening. I've never done drugs in my life, and I never will. I am willing to take tests 24/7."


After he'd served just short of two years in prison, Luciano Arriaga Jr. was notified by the appellate court that he'd won a new trial. He was released from custody on October 29, 2004, the 43rd wedding anniversary of his mom and dad.


The memory of receiving the news that Louie was coming home made both parents smile.


Louie did not become a sheet metal worker like his dad, and his parents could see why. Cars . . . even as a toddler, it was all about cars.


"He had a bunch of Matchbox cars all lined up in the sand," said his mother. "He couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old. I'll bet he had 50 of them. He needs to take a bath, so his dad goes out [to bring him inside]. You could hear this little kid screaming. He wanted to be with his cars. And he was so strong-willed."


A passion for cars and a will of steel merged with another instinct, a refusal to back down. These elements shaped Arriaga's character. These were the things Officer Poole couldn't know. Not gang affiliation, or guns or drugs.


His parents recall proudly that after joining a boxing club as a youngster, Luciano Jr. learned to stand up to neighborhood bullies.


He was in that fateful alley on a Sunday morning because he had an errand at a local body shop. Growing up in Maryvale, he had fallen in love with low-riders.


"If you wanted a hot chick, you had to have a hot ride," Arriaga explained recently.


In the early '80s, when he attended Maryvale High School, the campus was open, and, at lunch, kids fled school and cruised the neighborhood.


"The Spirit Car Club was the biggest in Phoenix at the time. You had clubs that only had '77 to '79 Cadillacs, Lincoln Mark Vs or Pontiac Bonnevilles. The Monte Image was all Monte Carlos," Arriaga recalled.


Friends taught him how to install hydraulic lifts so that cars could hop. For years, Arriaga supported himself doing custom installations for guys who were on the car-show circuit or who simply wanted to strut their street style.


His customers and his friends caught the eye of the police.


"They singled us out as gangsters, guys with guns, drugs or beer."


As a kid, Arriaga was arrested twice for aggravated assault. This rap sheet would've been devastating if it had been admitted in court, but the judge denied its entry into evidence because of his youthful age at the time of the arrests and because the charges were dropped.


But the previous incidents are revealing. In one report, the police said Arriaga was drag racing on Central Avenue in 1986 and tried to run down a police officer. Arriaga admitted in the recent interview that he shouldn't have been drag racing. But he denied ever trying to hit a cop. He said an officer who'd pulled another kid over had stepped out into the street and hit Arriaga's car with his flashlight as it raced past, injuring his hand. Arriaga pleaded to a misdemeanor when the agg assault charge was dropped.


In a second arrest, in 1992, the police report noted that Arriaga violently refused to allow an officer to frisk him. The police were looking for guys spray-painting on the west side. The report noted that, as a cop attempted to frisk Arriaga, he "knocked his hand away." Twice.


Not only did Arriaga deny this in a recent interview, but a witness to the incident said the police clearly jumped Luciano.


"I was outside watering my yard," said Luke Church. "I saw the whole thing. The cops pulled up in a car and started questioning this kid. It just seemed they jumped on him. I didn't see him act aggressive. They were talking for a few minutes, and then the police just were on him, shoving him."


Did Arriaga slap the officer's hand away?


"No," said Church. "I didn't see him motion toward them or strike them."


Church, who didn't know Arriaga at the time, said he's since moved into a new neighborhood. At the time of the arrest, he recalls, Maryvale was the center of intense police scrutiny because of gang activity.


"You saw cops all the time, which wasn't a bad thing," recalled Church. But, he added, they could be very aggressive.


You get a kid who's charged with aggravated assault for slapping an officer's hand -- and falsely charged, at that -- and you will have a kid with an attitude.


The level of outrage that Arriaga and his parents feel over what happened with Officer Poole cannot be overstated.


After the first trial ended with a hung jury on the aggravated assault charge, prosecutors approached Arriaga's lawyer. They offered a plea agreement that stipulated no jail, simply probation, if he would plead guilty to a lesser charge and pay a fine. His lawyer at the time endorsed the settlement.


Arriaga absolutely refused to consider the deal.


Both parents were also adamant.


"If a man is innocent, why should he plea bargain?" asked his father recently.


Arriaga endured two trials, appellate court, a commutation hearing, and traffic court, not to mention prison. His family paid for two private investigators and five lawyers -- more than $130,000, by their estimate. His parents' dreams of retirement were shattered.


All of that agony is on the line as the trial is scheduled to begin as this article hits the streets. If Arriaga loses again, he will go back to prison to finish his 10 years.


Prosecutors were getting ready to offer the Arriagas a third deal to avoid another costly trial when tragedy intervened offstage. Surely, prosecutors reasoned, the death of a police officer killed after a traffic stop would make it clear to the Arriagas that they would be tempting fate to insist on another trial.


This development came about last month when potential jurors and all of Arizona were reminded once again that an officer never knows who he's pulling over when he turns on those flashing lights.


Two methamphetamine dealers shot Officer David Uribe in the head and neck on May 10 after he approached their car. Thousands of mourners packed the church for the funeral service, which dominated the news. The funeral procession was estimated at 24 miles long.


Citizens throughout the state sat transfixed in front of their television sets as bagpipes played at the service. A flight of helicopters flew past in the slain officer's honor. Over the police radio, a dispatcher could be heard summoning Officer Uribe to his graveside.


"This is the last call for Officer David Uribe, Number 4276. . . . Goodnight, sir. You will be deeply missed."


Arriaga's lawyer will never find jurors who weren't touched by the haunting tribute to Officer Uribe. And it was in this volatile atmosphere that prosecutors suggested the way out for everybody.


And yet Arriaga still refused to consider the prosecution's last offer two weeks ago to plead guilty to a lesser charge and walk free on probation.


Arriaga's attorney, Chad Shell, thought it was a reasonable offer, but the family and the victim's sense of outrage trumped a safe choice.


"The city should have accepted responsibility for allowing a discredited police officer to patrol," said Arriaga recently. "I'm going to put up a Web site. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I ain't signing nothing. They need to back off and leave me alone. I need to get paid. I ain't going away until I get paid. I need to get my money back."


Arriaga has filed a civil suit against the city and the police department seeking unspecified damages.


As you drive around the Valley of the Sun, you can't help but stumble across a song on the radio that celebrates cars and the freedom they represent.


Cars seduced Luciano Arriaga Jr. at a tender age. He particularly liked the kinds of rides that celebrated La Vida. As he closes in on 40 years old, cars are still at the center of his life. Freed from prison, he resumed towing custom low-rider cars to competitive shows.


Facing a 10-year prison sentence, he remains defiant. Is anyone in a Springsteen song more defiant?


His lawyers think he's crazy.


But really, what else could Luciano Arriaga do? Qué corazón.




no nipple touching in new york parks


Volume 74, Number 55 | May 25 - 31 , 2005


Photo by Gay City News


Moses Davila, left, and William Rodriguez, kissing in Hudson River Park at Christopher St., say they have a right to express their love.


Park patrol gets touchy; nipple fondling is nipped


By Duncan Osborne


You can kiss, you can hold hands, and you can hug, but fondling your partner’s nipples is prohibited in city parks.


“I think the most important thing is that it is the policy of the city of New York to allow people to express themselves in an affectionate manner holding hands, kissing, hugging, whatever that may be, so long as it doesn’t cross the line and become sexual activity prohibited by parks’ rules,” said Anthony W. Crowell, special counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


Crowell’s statement to Gay City News, a sister newspaper paper of The Villager, came after the newspaper called concerning a complaint from Paul Gerena, a Manhattan massage therapist.


Gerena was in the Hudson River Park at the end of Christopher St. on May 9 where he saw a Park Enforcement Patrol officer tell two men to cease what Gerena said was affection.


“They were just being affectionate with each other,” Gerena said. “This park enforcement guy came to them and said, ‘You can’t touch this guy. It’s not allowed.’”


A second PEP officer was summoned who agreed with the first that the behavior was a violation of parks’ rules, according to Gerena. The couple then left the park. The first officer, identified as B. Victone, did act in the same fashion again the same afternoon, Gerena said.


“Then about two hours later, two friends of mine, two young kids, got told the same thing,” Gerena said. “I go there to be at peace of mind. They can’t get away with this.… We have a right just the same as anybody else.”


One of the two men in the second couple spoke by telephone briefly to Gay City News to confirm Gerena’s account but did not respond to repeated calls seeking further detail. Gerena said he had seen PEP officers do this before.


“They did this last year,” he said.


City Hall is admitting to only one of the incidents and standing by the PEP officer. The Parks Department provides security under contract with the Hudson River Park, which is administered jointly by the city and state. Crowell said a woman with a young child saw two men, one shirtless and sitting, the second kneeling, “fondling the nipples” of the shirtless man. She reported this to the PEP officer.


“The officer observed it,” Crowell said. “He thought it fell within the prohibition for disorderly behavior and, after observing it, he just asked them to refrain from doing so.”


Parks Department rules state: “It shall be a violation of these rules to engage in disorderly behavior in a park. A person in any park shall be guilty of disorderly behavior who...engages in any form of sexual activity,” though the rules do not define “sexual activity.” The PEP officer could have issued a ticket, but did not.


City Hall appears to be very sensitive on this matter. The Parks Department passed on commenting, referring questions to Crowell to respond. He then made several additional calls to the newspaper to point out, in part, that the Parks Department had never before received complaints of this nature from any taxpayer or city official.


In a phone interview, Crowell said, “It is not the policy of the city of New York to, in any way, prohibit or interfere with normal sexual activity.”


He then insisted he had said “normal affectionate activity.”


After first declining to comment, The Empire State Pride Agenda, the statewide gay lobbying group, issued a statement.


“We are glad the city has clarified its policies in this area,” said Joe Tarver, ESPA’s communications director, in the statement. “While it is impossible for us to know all the circumstances around this one incident, the city has heard our concerns and park officers are now aware the community expects to be treated fairly. Should it become evident in the coming weeks that park officers are singling out members of our community in an unfair manner, we will go back to the city and have discussions about what steps will be taken to stop this practice.”


Other community leaders were none too happy to hear about the incident in the park.


“If there is one place in the world where same-sex couples ought to feel free to be affectionate it is in the West Village,” said Clarence Patton, acting executive director at the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. “This is behavior that straight people engage in all the time. It only becomes a problem, and this is something we are all aware of, is if it is happening between same-sex couples. It really does raise some serious flags.”


City Councilmember Christine Quinn, a lesbian who represents Chelsea and the West Village, was also incensed.


“The issue here is whether or not the PEP officers are treating L.G.B.T. couples differently from heterosexual couples,” she said. “I have heard of no report of heterosexual couples being told to refrain from affectionate activity in the park. The law is very clear in the city. City employees cannot treat L.G.B.T. people differently than other New Yorkers. It sounds as though that that is what is happening on the West Side waterfront, and the Bloomberg administration has an obligation to immediately cease this discriminatory behavior.”


In 2003, shortly after the opening of the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park’s first completed section, in Greenwich Village, community activists charged PEP officers were requiring transgendered people to produce identification to verify their gender before they could use the park’s public bathrooms. There have been no more complaints since then.


“They said their policy would not be checking ID’s,” said Melissa Sklarz, co-chairperson of the Community Board 2 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee and a longtime transgender-rights activist. “As far as I know, it’s been resolved. If it’s happened again, I haven’t heard about this.”




begging laws unconstitional


Beggar gets change


Wins suit forcing city to lay off freeloaders







Eddie Wise, looking for tips, helps woman with purchase outside Sears on E. 189th St. in Bronx.


Wise displays tips made from helping customers carry purchases to their cars.


He may be the bane of the Bronx - but Eddie Wise is a hero to panhandlers across the city.

The 43-year-old freeloader scored a victory in federal court yesterday when the city admitted it wrongly prosecuted him and scores of others for begging for change.


As a result of his class-action lawsuit, New York cops and judges were warned to lay off panhandlers who aren't disturbing the peace - and Wise stands to win damages.


"I did what I had to do because I'm tired of getting locked up," Wise told the Daily News as he scrounged for tips outside a Sears on E. 189th St. in the Bronx.


"The police need to stop harassing people. They need to catch the real criminals."


But cops say Wise is a criminal - with 29 convictions on his record not related to panhandling - including felony busts for assault and possession of crack cocaine.


And shopkeepers around Fordham University call him a menace.


"The college girls are scared of him. They'll usually wait inside 10 to 15 minutes because they're afraid when they go outside he'll harass them," said Vilson Beqiri, owner of University Grocery on Fordham Rd.


"I've had to call the police on him a few times," Beqiri said.


The problem is Wise has been convicted seven times since 2002 under a broad anti-panhandling law that was actually declared unconstitutional in 1992.


Under current laws, only panhandlers who engage in "aggressive" behavior can be busted for loitering and soliciting on the streets.


After his last panhandling arrest, Wise said he dug up the business card of a Legal Aid lawyer who represented him in a robbery case several years ago.


She put him in touch with attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff, who filed a class-action suit against police and prosecutors, using Wise as the lead plaintiff.


The suit claims at least 140 people were improperly charged in 2003 and 2004, most of them in the Bronx.


At a hearing in Manhattan federal court yesterday, city lawyers capitulated immediately, noting that Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson had already admitted to using the outdated law to charge panhandlers.


"I guess they're about 12 years late," Judge Shira Scheindlin quipped.


She ordered that a notice go out to city judges reminding them only aggressive panhandling can be prosecuted, and a similar message went out to every police precinct in the city.


Wise wasn't in court. He was too busy manning the back exit of Sears, offering to carry customers' packages to their cars to supplement the $90 a day he claims to make from panhandling. He denied being aggressive in his approach.


"I've been here for five years - nobody complained," he said. "How can I be mean if I ask somebody nicely?"


Wise, who spends nights crashing at a friend's pad, said he hasn't worked a regular job in years and prefers the freedom of mooching on street corners.


"I don't need nobody's boss," he said. "I want to be my own boss, do my own hours, make my own money."


With Alison Gendar


Originally published on June 11, 2005




Appeals court bars evidence from Tucson teen's frisking




PHOENIX - Police can't conduct a pat-down search unless they have reason to believe someone has committed a crime, a state appellate court ruled Friday in a Tucson case stemming from the frisking of a 16-year-old in an area known for gang and drug activity.


Police found a 40-ounce bottle of beer and a small bag of cocaine in the youth's clothes during the June 23, 2004, pat-down search in a park on Tucson's South Side. He later was adjudicated in juvenile court and placed on a year's probation.


However, a three-judge Court of Appeals panel in Tucson overturned the adjudication, agreeing with the teen's defense that the juvenile court judge should have suppressed the evidence.


Under a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, police can detain people only if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot, but there was no such indication in the Tucson case before the youth was frisked, the Arizona court said.


The youth was among five people sitting under a park ramada, some wearing red, baggy clothing that an officer testified was often associated with weapons-carrying gang members.


Prosecutors argued that police had reasons to fear for their safety - including that one of the five people was a known gang member and that police had been shot at in the neighborhood recently. Also, the 16-year-old was wearing gang colors and loose-fitting clothes that could have concealed a gun.


However, the Court of Appeals said the officers weren't entitled to conduct a "protective search" of the youth without reason to believe he had committed a crime because such a search hinges on the officers having grounds to make an investigatory stop in the first place.


"We are cognizant of the need for officers to protect themselves as they engage in the vitally important and dangerous task of enforcing our laws, and we agree they must be given substantial leeway in determining whether a suspect may be armed and dangerous," Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom wrote for the court. "But, in the context of a consensual encounter initiated by an officer, those persons targeted by the officer, when not reasonably suspected of any criminal activity, also possess the right to be free of unwarranted government intrusion."


Judges Joseph W. Howard and J. William Brammer Jr. joined in the ruling.




Diversity survey pans Police Dept.


Katie Nelson

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 18, 2005 12:00 AM


The "Good Old Boy" network is alive and well in Tempe's Police Department, according to a diversity survey presented this week to the City Council.


But although some say the survey sheds light on a rift in the department between sworn officers and civilian employees, department leaders say it is a skewed version of reality.


Tempe's Diversity Committee conducted the survey of about 60 city employees this fall using anonymous focus groups. The committee aimed to assess how well the city is addressing racism and intolerance in light of problems alleged in recent years.


The majority of responses were positive, said Christy Slover, chair of the focus group task force and a Municipal Court Services supervisor.


Participants cited the emphasis on diversity training, multicultural events and the creation of the Diversity Office and Multicultural Task Force as ways the city has fostered communication and tolerance.


Yet participants also identified almost as many disconcerting issues, specifically singling out the Police Department as having problems.


The city's internal recruitment works against creating a diverse workforce, the participants said, according to the report. Others said Human Resources isn't perceived as the "safe haven" for employee concerns and isn't easily accessible, as the city has indicated it should be.


And within the Police Department, some civilian employees perceive a double standard between sworn members of the force and civilian support staff, the report said.


"They cited perceptions, and this came from civilians, they were treated as a subclass," Slover said. "Most examples were based on interactions: being supervised differently, or perhaps their concerns and issues were taken more lightly by not being given as much credence."


Police Chief Ralph Tranter emphatically denied any preferential treatment of sworn employees over civilian staffers. But he pointed out that this perception may exist in many police departments, "because after all, policing is our business."


"When they say the two are different, they are absolutely correct," he said. "Police officers are in exceptionally high demand because of a national shortage. They have market leverage working on their side.


"But that doesn't change that the civilian side are all part of the team that makes us so successful," he continued.


The police were about the only group singled out for department-specific criticism. Its employees also by far dominated in participation in the survey.


Of the 60 people who showed up, 25 were from the police, the city's largest department. The Public Works and Fire departments, the city's second and third-largest, respectively, had six and two people participated.


The city has been accused in the past for discrimination after a racial bias scandal broke in the city's Public Works department about six years ago. The accusations eventually led to a lawsuit currently being heard in Federal Court.




Memos Show British Concern Over Iraq Plans By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer


LONDON - When Prime Minister     Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with     Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss     Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in     Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.


    President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting     Saddam Hussein.


In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war.


"U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing," Ricketts says in the memo. "For Iraq, `regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."


The documents confirm Blair was genuinely concerned about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but also indicate he was determined to go to war as America's top ally, even though his government thought a pre-emptive attack may be illegal under international law.


"The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September," said a typed copy of a March 22, 2002 memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press and written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.


"But even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW (chemical or biological weapons) fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up."


Details from Rice's dinner conversation also are included in one of the secret memos from 2002, which reveal British concerns about both the invasion and poor postwar planning by the Bush administration, which critics say has allowed the Iraqi insurgency to rage.


The eight memos — all labeled "secret" or "confidential" — were first obtained by British reporter Michael Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.


Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.


The AP obtained copies of six of the memos (the other two have circulated widely). A senior British official who reviewed the copies said their content appeared authentic. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the material.


The eight documents total 36 pages and range from 10-page and eight-page studies on military and legal options in Iraq, to brief memorandums from British officials and the minutes of a private meeting held by Blair and his top advisers.


Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert who teaches at Queen Mary College, University of London, said the documents confirmed what post-invasion investigations have found.


"The documents show what official inquiries in Britain already have, that the case of weapons of mass destruction was based on thin intelligence and was used to inflate the evidence to the level of mendacity," Dodge said. "In going to war with Bush, Blair defended the special relationship between the two countries, like other British leaders have. But he knew he was taking a huge political risk at home. He knew the war's legality was questionable and its unpopularity was never in doubt."


Dodge said the memos also show Blair was aware of the postwar instability that was likely among Iraq's complex mix of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds once Saddam was defeated.


The British documents confirm, as well, that "soon after 9/11 happened, the starting gun was fired for the invasion of Iraq," Dodge said.


Speculation about if and when that would happen ran throughout 2002.


On Jan. 29, Bush called Iraq,     Iran and     North Korea "an axis of evil." U.S. newspapers began reporting soon afterward that a U.S.-led war with Iraq was possible.


On Oct. 16, the U.S. Congress voted to authorize Bush to go to war against Iraq. On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell presented the Bush administration's case about Iraq's weapons to the U.N. Security Council. On March 19-20, the U.S.-led invasion began.


Bush and Blair both have been criticized at home since their WMD claims about Iraq proved false. But both have been re-elected, defending the conflict for removing a brutal dictator and promoting democracy in Iraq. Both administrations have dismissed the memos as old news.


Details of the memos appeared in papers early last month but the news in Britain quickly turned to the election that returned Blair to power. In the United States, however, details of the memos' contents reignited a firestorm, especially among Democratic critics of Bush.


It was in a March 14, 2002, memo that Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, David Manning, told the prime minister about the dinner he had just had with Rice in Washington.


"We spent a long time at dinner on Iraq," wrote Manning, who's now British ambassador to the United States. Rice is now Bush's secretary of state.


"It is clear that Bush is grateful for your (Blair's) support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. And you would not budge either in your insistence that, if we pursued regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result. Failure was not an option."


Manning said, "Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed." But he also said there were signs of greater awareness of the practical difficulties and political risks.


Blair was to meet with Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on April 8, and Manning told his boss: "No doubt we need to keep a sense of perspective. But my talks with Condi convinced me that Bush wants to hear your views on Iraq before taking decisions. He also wants your support. He is still smarting from the comments by other European leaders on his Iraq policy."


A July 21 briefing paper given to officials preparing for a July 23 meeting with Blair says officials must "ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks."


"In particular we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective... A postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point."


The British worried that, "Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired end state would be created, in particular what form of government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the time scale within which it would be possible to identify a successor."


In the March 22 memo from Foreign Office political director Ricketts to Foreign Secretary Straw, Ricketts outlined how to win public and parliamentary support for a war in Britain: "We have to be convincing that: the threat is so serious/imminent that it is worth sending our troops to die for; it is qualitatively different from the threat posed by other proliferators who are closer to achieving nuclear capability (including Iran)."


Blair's government has been criticized for releasing an intelligence dossier on Iraq before the war that warned Saddam could launch chemical or biological weapons on 45 minutes' notice.


On March 25 Straw wrote a memo to Blair, saying he would have a tough time convincing the governing Labour Party that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq was legal under international law.


"If 11 September had not happened, it is doubtful that the U.S. would now be considering military action against Iraq," Straw wrote. "In addition, there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with OBL (Osama bin Laden) and al-Qaida."


He also questioned stability in a post-Saddam Iraq: "We have also to answer the big question — what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything."




On the Net:,,2089-1648758,00.html,,2087-1593607,00.html




never get into a car wreck with a cop!!! you will be charged with "aggravated assault on a police officer"


Injured police officer in serious condition


Lindsey Collom

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 18, 2005 11:00 AM


GLENDALE - A Glendale police officer injured in a collision while responding to a call is in serious condition today.


Officer Steve Kulb, 27, is being treated at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center for injuries he sustained in the Friday wreck.


The accident occurred about 10:15 p.m. near 60th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Police say Kulb was driving westbound on Bethany Home with a police observer when an eastbound Ford Excursion turned in front of the cruiser.


Witnesses pulled Kulb from the vehicle and restrained the Excursion driver, 35-year-old Jorge Rodriguez, until police arrived.


The police observer and two other people in the Excursion were taken to area hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. Rodriguez was unharmed.


He was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a police officer and three counts of endangerment.


Investigators found open cans of beer in the Excursion and believe Rodriguez was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood after he purportedly refused to undergo sobriety tests. Blood test results are pending.


Reach the reporter at or (602) 444-7983.




wasting billions, fixing nothing


Siege on border

Costly fortifications fail to deter immigrant flow


Daniel González and Susan Carroll

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 19, 2005 12:00 AM


It's a simple idea: Make it tougher to cross the U.S.-Mexican border illegally and fewer migrants will try to sneak in.


For 12 years, the United States has backed that strategy, pumping billions of dollars into fortifying the border. Annual spending on border enforcement has nearly tripled, the Border Patrol has almost tripled its ranks, and the Southwestern border has become heavily militarized with fences, aircraft, sensors and cameras.


It hasn't worked.


In that same time, illegal immigration from Mexico has almost doubled, millions more undocumented immigrants have settled in the United States permanently, and the human-smuggling trade has boomed.


Instead of thwarting illegal border crossings, the Southwestern border has simply become an expensive obstacle course that hundreds of thousands of migrants successfully overcome each year, more than ever relying on professional smugglers.


Drawn by plentiful jobs in this country and driven by a scarcity in their own, the migrants are being fenced in by the tighter border security that was supposed to keep them out in the first place.




• Since 1993, when the federal government began its major push to secure the borders, annual spending on border enforcement has gone from $480 million (adjusted for inflation) to $1.4 billion, most of it for the Southwestern border.


• The Border Patrol's ranks along the 1,950-mile Southwestern border have swelled to more than 9,700 agents from 3,389 agents to become the nation's largest uniformed police force.


• Towering steel fences, sensors and cameras are in place to make crossing difficult and daunting. Agents are equipped with helicopters, Humvees, hovercrafts, ATVs and fixed-wing aircraft to patrol the vast expanse.


• About 1.14 million arrests were made on the Southwestern border last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, an average of one undocumented immigrant arrest every 30 seconds.


"We feel we have become extremely effective in border enforcement," said Mario Villarreal, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


On the surface, that appears to be true.


But by other measures, illegal immigration has only gotten worse.


The number of undocumented migrants from Mexico entering the country increased to the current 485,000 from 260,000 a year in the early 1990s, according to a March study by the Pew Hispanic Center using 2004 data.


Legal immigration from Mexico actually decreased, from 110,000 legal immigrants a year to 90,000, the study by the nonpartisan research organization said.


The undocumented-immigrant population in the United States shot up to the current 11 million from about 6 million in 1997, fueled largely by illegal immigration from Mexico, according to the Pew Hispanic Center and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego.


Hundreds of people keep dying in trying to cross the Southwestern border. Last year, 330 migrants lost their lives in the crossing. The tally was up from the 266 migrant deaths logged by the Border Patrol in 1998, the first year the agency began keeping track, though down from the record 383 who died in 2000.


And in 1993, the year the border strategy kicked off in Texas, the Border Patrol actually made more arrests, 1.21 million, than last year, and that was before all the extra money, equipment and manpower.


"The current border crisis has been years in the making, but it now appears to have reached a critical mass," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said June 7 in congressional testimony. He called the U.S.-Mexican border situation "catastrophic."


Turning to smugglers

There is no question that fortifying the border with more agents, aircraft and technology has made it less porous.


Beefed-up Border Patrol operations sharply reduced illegal immigration through El Paso, San Diego and Nogales, the main gateways of the past. And since last Sept. 1, biometric-fingerprinting technology has helped Border Patrol agents stop more than 16,260 suspected criminals from entering the country, including 364 homicide suspects.


But although more money and manpower curtailed illegal immigration in some places, it simply was rechanneled to more remote desert and mountain areas. The squeeze in border towns from the east and west has turned Arizona into a superhighway for illegal immigration.


The tighter controls also mean more and more migrants have turned to professional smugglers, or coyotes.


In 1993, crossing the border was so easy, most migrants didn't bother with a smuggler. Those who did paid only a few hundred dollars.


"It used to be your friend or uncle would smuggle you in. Now, it's in the hands of the professionals," said Deborah Meyers, border policy expert at the Migration Policy Institute,a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., that studies migration worldwide.


And in the cat-and-mouse game that plays out thousands of times a day along the border, the professionals have helped tip the balance in favor of the migrants.


"One clear consequence of the fact that a higher percentage of migrants are using coyotes is that more and more of them are able to get through because they are making professional-assisted crossings," said Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Studies at UC-San Diego and one of the nation's foremost experts on Mexican immigration and border enforcement.


Take Phoenix tire worker Jose Aguayo, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, who first crossed the border illegally in 1990. All he had to do was jump a fence at the border in Nogales, Sonora, and take a taxi from a McDonald's to Phoenix.


Those days are gone.


Keep on trying


With so much at stake, migrants make repeated attempts to cross the border. The Border Patrol would not say how many of the 1.14 million arrests last year were of people caught multiple times.


But officials acknowledged that many of those who are caught and returned to Mexico just turn around and try again.


And again. And again.


One recent Monday, Brauilio Benitez Serno was arrested on his second attempt to make it across the desert outside Yuma.


The 19-year-old from Aguascalientes was scanned into the Border Patrol's fingerprinting system and later dropped back at the border. Benitez said he paid a smuggler $1,500 and wasn't planning on giving up until he reached his destination, Los Angeles.


"Everybody said it would be hard," he said. "I still have hope."


The high smugglers fees would seem to be a deterrent to most cash-poor migrants. But relatives already working in the United States usually help defray the costs.


In a January survey of 603 people from Jalisco and Zacatecas, two high-migration states in Mexico, 84 percent admitted hiring a coyote. The researchers from UC-San Diego surveyed residents ages 15 to 65 who had migrated to the United States at least once since 1993 as well as potential first-time migrants.


Ninety-two percent said they made it into the United States within five tries, according to the survey. Seventy percent said they made it across on their first or second tries.


Only 8 percent failed to get in and went home.


Most also said they knew crossing the border had become harder and more dangerous. Sixty-four percent knew someone who had died trying. Still, nearly half said they planned to try again in 2005.


Only 20 percent of those who didn't plan to try cited tougher border enforcement as the main reason.


"We've got a revolving door at the border, and what we've done by spending all this new money on border enforcement is speed up the revolving door," Cornelius said.


More are staying

Fortifying the border is supposed to keep undocumented immigrants out. But, instead, it has hemmed many in.


In the past, when border enforcement was more lax, undocumented immigrants tended to be men who shuttled between jobs in the United States and families in Mexico.


Now, once they get across, more undocumented immigrants stay out of fear they will be caught on another attempt and to make the high smuggling fees worth their while. Migrants are more likely to arrange for their families to cross to join them in the United States.


"They don't want to risk coming back and forth," said Belinda Reyes, a social sciences professor at the University of California-Merced. She co-authored a 2002 study that said the economic rewards of a job in the United States outweigh all risks linked to illegally crossing the border. The study was based on census data, focus groups and the Mexican Migration Project, a database dating to 1982 compiled by researchers from the United States and Mexico.


Undocumented migrants who shuttled between Mexico and the United States stayed in this country an average of about six months during 1993-97, according to Mexican government surveys. The stays had increased to more than a year by 2001-04, Mexico's National Population Council said.


The longer migrants stay, the more likely they are to settle permanently in the United States, experts say.


Aguayo, 30, who jumped the fence at the border in Nogales 15 years ago, found that the longer he stayed, the tougher it got to cross.


He is now married to a woman who also is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. The couple have four U.S.-born children.


"If there wasn't so much border security, I would return. But the reality is my life is here now," Aguayo said.


The tougher border security is one of the main reasons the number of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States has grown so rapidly and why so many are now women and children. In fact, women and children now make up nearly half of the nation's undocumented population, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.


"This is a logical consequence of making it more costly and more dangerous to come and go across the border," Cornelius said. "The strategy has really been a powerful stimulus for family reunification on the U.S. side of the border."


Of course, not all undocumented immigrants sneak across the border. Some enter the country legally using tourist and other types of temporary visas and then remain in the country as "overstays" after their visas expire.


But the "vast majority" of undocumented Mexican immigrants sneak across the border, said Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center who studies the undocumented population.


The federal government does not track visa overstays by country. In January 2000, there were roughly 2.3 million people residing in the country who had overstayed their visas, according to congressional auditors.


Death toll climbs


In 2000, Doris Meissner, then-Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner, acknowledged that the Southwestern border strategy had one major "unintended consequence": the growing number of deaths.


The strategy was based on deterrence, and the Border Patrol built walls and saturated popular border cities with agents, figuring the mountains and deserts would act as natural barriers. But the strategy underestimated just how determined migrants would be, and the federal government found itself confronted with a growing death toll as smugglers led more and more people through Arizona.


In 1998, the agency launched its Border Safety Initiative and created search-and-rescue squads, hoping to reduce the growing number of exposure-related deaths. Under pressure from human rights groups, the Border Patrol for the first time agreed that year to keep track of deaths along the border and counted 28 in the state.


Last year, the agency counted a record 172, although a review by The Arizona Republic, based on data from medical examiners and foreign consulates, put that total much higher, at 219.


More of the same

Experts say fortifying the border has not worked because it ignores the "job magnet" in this country and the lack of good jobs south of the border.


"The forces that are driving people out of Mexico and pulling them into the United States are still extremely strong and haven't diminished in the last 10 years. If anything, they've intensified," Cornelius said.


Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank, that favors tighter limits on immigration, supports more border enforcement. But he said it can work only when coupled with tougher enforcement inside the country.


Federal immigration officials rarely investigate employers. When they do, their priority is to combat terrorism, major smuggling and criminal operations. From 1995 to 2003, the number of businesses fined for immigration violations declined to 909 from 124.


"It's a fantasy that the Border Patrol alone can solve the problem," Krikorian said.


Political leaders are starting to recognize that a broader approach is needed to deal with illegal immigration.


President Bush has called on Congress to adopt a temporary-worker program. In May, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., introduced a bipartisan bill that aims to improve border security but also increases temporary-worker visas and gives undocumented immigrants a chance at legal residency.


Kyl and fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas also have announced plans for an immigration bill that includes a guest-worker program.


Theirs would require workers to leave the United States in three years and calls for the government to make good on its promise to add 10,000 more Border Patrol agents on the Mexican and Canadian borders within five years and add 1,000 immigration inspectors at the ports of entry at a cost of $500 million a year.


Any kind of immigration reform, however, faces a fierce battle in Congress.


In the meantime, the government keeps pouring more money into tougher border enforcement.


And the migrants keep coming.


Reporters Chris Hawley and Jon Kamman contributed to this article.




Jun 19, 4:15 PM EDT


U.S. allies resist secret deportations



Associated Press Writer


MILAN, Italy (AP) -- U.S. allies have begun to resist Washington's secretive role in spiriting away terror suspects: Italy is investigating the disappearance of one accused militant as a kidnapping, Sweden wrote rules to assert its authority over outside agents and Canada is holding hearings after one of its citizens was sent to Syria.


At least two of the cases bear the hallmarks of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program - stepped up after Sept. 11 - in which the Bush administration has transferred dozens of suspects to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture.


In Italy, an Egyptian-born imam identified as Abu Omar had already drawn the attention of Italian anti-terrorism officials when he vanished off the streets of Milan two years ago, reportedly bundled into a van and flown back to Egypt from a joint U.S.-Italian air base.


"The prosecution is certain it was a kidnapping," prosecutor Armando Spataro told The Associated Press last week. He would not say who is suspected, citing judicial secrecy as the investigation is still under way.


Italian news reports say the CIA was believed to have played a role in the disappearance, and opposition politicians have demanded explanations from the government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a close ally of President Bush.


Citing conversations recorded by Italian anti-terrorism officials in a wiretap, the Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica newspapers reported that Omar, 42, called his wife and friends in Milan after his release last year. He recounted how he had been seized by Italian and American agents and taken to a secret prison in Egypt, where he was tortured with electric shocks. Italian officials say he is now living in Egypt, although Italian newspaper accounts suggested he was returned to custody in Egypt shortly after his release.


Asked about news reports alleging U.S. involvement, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Rome, Ben Duffy, said, "We do not comment on intelligence matters."


Egyptian authorities have also refused to comment or discuss whether they cooperated


Spataro, the prosecutor who usually handles terrorism cases involving Islamic militants, confirmed he visited Aviano, a joint U.S.-Italian base north of Venice, on Feb. 23 but declined to discuss any findings. He met with the Italian base commander, according to Duffy.


Omar was believed to have fought with jihadists in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Italian prosecutors were seeking evidence against him before his disappearance, according to a report in La Repubblica newspaper, which cited Italian intelligence officials.


Spataro said his disappearance damaged an ongoing operation, hurting the war on terror.


Opposition Sen. Tana de Zulueta asked the government whether Italy was involved in the disappearance but said she had not received a reply. The Interior Ministry, in charge of one of Italy's national police forces, referred questions to the prosecutor.


While Italian officials say Omar was abducted, the Swedish government is facing tough criticism at home by international human rights groups for having voluntarily handed over two Egyptian terror suspects to American agents.


Criticism over the case prompted Swedish police to draft new regulations on how to carry out deportation orders. The new rules say only Swedish officers can conduct body searches on Swedish territory and that Swedish officers must remain in charge.


"There is nothing that prevents police from asking for help (from another country), but it must be clear that the Swedish authorities are in charge of the situation," said National Police Board spokesman Hans Pont.


"We know that we will deport suspected terrorists in the future, but even with suspected terrorists you have to act correctly," Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom told AP.


On Dec. 18, 2001, Swedish security police turned over Ahmed Agiza, 41, and Muhammed Alzery, 35, to U.S. agents at Stockholm's Bromma Airport. The Americans, wearing black masks, took the two into a small room and cut off their clothes with scissors, replacing them with prisoner uniforms, before placing them on a U.S.-registered Gulfstream jet, according to a report by Sweden's chief parliamentary ombudsman, a watchdog of state agencies.


The U.S. agents examined their mouths and ears, handcuffed them and fettered their ankles and placed hoods over their heads, the report said, calling the treatment "inhuman" and inconsistent with Swedish law.


Agiza was convicted by Egypt's Supreme Military Court on April 27, 2004, of belonging to and leading an outlawed group aiming to overthrow the government. He was sentenced to 25 years on the same charge in 1999 while he was in exile in Sweden. Alzery was released from an Egyptian prison last October, where he had been held on terrorism charges.


In Canada, Defense Minister Bill Graham testified at a hearing in Ottawa last month that he was upset Washington did not consult Ottawa's leaders before deporting a Canadian citizen to Syria for questioning on suspicion of terrorism. The case was handled by the Justice Department as an expulsion and not a rendition by intelligence agents.


Graham also expressed surprise that Canadian security officials apparently approved sending Maher Arar, to his native country for questioning about alleged ties to al-Qaida.


Graham told then-U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci it was "totally inappropriate" that Maher Arar was sent to Syria in October 2002 without first checking with Canadian officials.


"His response was that `We were totally entitled to do what we did,'" said Graham.


Arar, 35, holds dual Syrian-Canadian citizenship and was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was stopped in New York during a stopover while returning to Canada from Tunisia. He was held for 12 days before being sent to Syria on suspicion of being a member of al-Qaida, an allegation he denies.


Arar maintains that once imprisoned in Damascus, he was tortured into making false confessions of terrorist activity. Arar said he was held for more than a year in a dark, damp cell, then was released without ever being charged.


The U.S. Justice Department has insisted that it had information linking Arar to al-Qaida, that Syria promised he would be treated humanely and that shipping him there was "in the best interest of the security of the United States." Syria has denied he was tortured.


A U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the process is classified, said rendition dates back several administrations and is used to get only the most serious terrorists off the streets, where there are only limited options.


In April the Dutch government denied the Netherlands had cooperated in the "extraordinary rendition" program, responding to questions from parliamentarians after the Washington Post reported U.S. intelligence officers had abducted terror suspects from European countries.


Germano Dottori, a political analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies in Rome, said the rendition operations are part of the American strategy of fighting terrorism through preventive action, but that if revealed can cause some damage to relationships between allied countries.


"No country appreciates intrusions into its sphere of national sovereignty and this is a very delicate sphere of sovereignty," he said.




Associated Press reporters Karl Ritter in Stockholm; Beth Duff-Brown in Toronto, Ariel David in Rome and Katherine Shrader in Washington contributed to this report.




911 service for cellphones boosted in Valley

Upgrades give dispatchers callback number, location


Josh Kelley

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 20, 2005 12:00 AM


The Valley's emergency-response system is undergoing the final stage of a technological upgrade that allows dispatchers to automatically receive the callback number and location of 911 calls from cellphones.


By the end of July, most emergency cellphone calls will have Enhanced 911, a potentially lifesaving feature that can provide a crucial piece of information to a dispatcher when someone has no other way to communicate.


"It's going to be a great asset, a terrific asset, when people can't speak or they've been injured so bad their phone has to tell us the story," said Mary Millard, communications manager for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. "That's a miracle in itself that we have the technology to be able to do that."


Once testing is complete in the Valley, about 80 percent of Arizona's population will have Enhanced 911 available for cellphones, said Barbara Jaeger, coordinator of the Arizona 9-1-1 Program.


Arizona and states across the country have spent millions upgrading emergency-response systems to accommodate 911 cellphone calls. They often account for well over half of the calls received at emergency dispatch centers.


Arizona Department of Public Safety dispatchers answer cellphone calls almost exclusively, said Debbie Henry, communications manager for the DPS.


But before Enhanced 911 goes into effect, the emergency response system must pass its final exam.


Instead of asking, "Can you hear me now?", technicians for cellphone companies are asking dispatchers, "Where am I now?" as they roam the Valley.


They are testing the accuracy of a computerized mapping system that gives dispatchers pinpoint locations of callers dialing 911 from a cellphone.


Eight major cellphone providers route calls through 3,000 towers in the Valley, which is divided into 6,260 sectors. Each sector must be checked with a test call to ensure the map is accurate, said Susan MacFarlane, 911 system coordinator for Maricopa County.


So far, Alltel and Verizon have completed testing. T-Mobile is testing now and Sprint plans to start soon.


Until now, dispatchers in Maricopa County received the phone number and location of someone calling 911 from only a traditional wire-line phone.


By midsummer, dispatchers in the Valley's emergency call centers will receive the same information for most cellphone calls. Cellphones can be tracked either through a global positioning system computer chip inside the phone or by a network system in which towers triangulate a phone's position.


Dispatchers in Pima County, including Tucson, already receive Enhanced 911 data from cellphones.


"We've been very pleased with the accuracy of where it's plotting callers," said Anita Velasco, 9-1-1 coordinator for Pima County.


But in other parts of the state, "we're still in the fledgling stages," said Sharon Schauer, communications manager for the Flagstaff Police Department.


Enhanced 911 for cellphones requires intricate computerized maps that locate calls. But Schauer said that requirement poses quite a challenge in Flagstaff and Coconino County, which covers 18,562 square miles.


Parts of Coconino County lack Enhanced 911 even for regular wire-line phones as do large portions of the northeastern and southeastern corners of the state.


Nationwide, fully enhanced 911 service for cellphones is available for 30 percent to 35 percent of the population, said FCC spokeswoman Lauren Patrich. About twice that many people live where dispatchers at least receive the callback number of a 911 cellphone call.


In Maricopa County, the upgrade has also allowed officials to install their own selective routers through which 911 cellphone calls can be sent to emergency dispatch centers. It's an innovative approach used in only a few locations nationwide and will save about $2.3 million over the next four years, MacFarlane said.


The large Bell companies, such as Qwest in Arizona, typically run 911 systems. Now MacFarlane's staff will operate and maintain two new selective routers, which are mirrors of each other. Qwest will keep its system in place for wire-line calls.


"In a disaster recovery-type situation, it's actually a pretty good thing," MacFarlane said. "If something happens and they take out the Qwest system, nobody would be able to call 911 on their land lines, but they could still call on their wireless (phones). If something happened to our locations and both of ours got taken out, then at least people could still call a land line."


She said the routers will also relieve overworked dispatch centers at DPS and Sheriff's Office, which are often flooded with cellphone calls during peak hours or a major accident on a freeway.


Emergency officials will now monitor wireless calls and have the ability to route them to a specific recorded message service or other dispatch centers.


The point is to ensure that dispatchers have time to answer urgent 911 calls from people like 77-year-old Bob Berman.


In February, his 73-year-old wife, who has emphysema, "couldn't get her breath at all," he said.


Berman called 911 with a wire-line phone from his house in Sun City West and heard only ringing for about 90 seconds, he said.


Emergency calls from wire-line phones in Sun City West are directed to the Sheriff's Office dispatch center.


"I waited as long as I dared," he said


He drove her to a nearby hospital where she stayed for two weeks.


A message was later left on his answering machine from an emergency dispatch center, he said.


"They apologized and said they had only two people on duty at 11 o'clock in the morning," Berman said.


Millard, the Sheriff's Office communications manager, said such cases are probably isolated and she receives very few complaints. But she said it's "very probable" that dispatchers could be delayed in answering calls during peak hours.


Millard could not verify that Berman contacted her dispatch center and said there are usually seven to eight people on duty to answer calls.


She said 911 calls to the Sheriff's Office do not ring continuously, as Berman described, but "will go into a recording and ask people to stay on the line until the next available operator."


With the new selective routers in place, said MacFarlane, the county's 911 coordinator, "we're going to see a significant drop in the number of calls going to the Sheriff's Office because they're going to go where they're really supposed to be going."


The 911 technology improvements are expensive for the state and cellphone companies.


Since fiscal year 2003, the state has spent nearly $12 million to develop Enhanced 911 for cellphones, or in some places, at least the ability to receive callback numbers, said Arizona 9-1-1 Program's Jaeger.


About $11.5 million budgeted for the fiscal year ending June 30 has not been used. Much of that will pay for equipment added in the Valley and Tucson for which the state has not been billed, Jaeger said.




it is now a class 6 felony to mistreat your pet or other animal and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas wants to jail lots of people for this crime. dont these government thugs have any real criminals to chase after?


County focuses on animal abuse

Task force to aid police, prosecutors


Linda Helser

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 20, 2005 12:00 AM


It's a case of simple math.


If you bring together more enlightened prosecutors and police through a newly formed animal cruelty task force, then you can put away more abusers of innocent creatures.


That's the intent of the new Law Enforcement for Animal Protection task force established last month by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.


County Attorney Andrew Thomas sees mistreatment of animals as the first step toward more violent crimes, and he wants to monitor and prosecute such cases to keep abusers off the streets.


"When I worked as a prosecutor in our juvenile division, I got to see the pattern of delinquents who commit this crime often go on to commit violent crimes against humans," he said.


So when members of the Arizona Humane Society asked him to champion and enhance a task force that the Humane Society had launched a year ago, Thomas agreed.


Advocates want improved communications between police departments and prosecutors, and they want to have law enforcement and justice-system personnel trained in how to better handle cruelty cases.


Twenty-six people have volunteered to take part, representing police, prosecutors, animal-control and shelter personnel from cities including Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Peoria and Surprise.


"Our first meeting is June 27, and one of the first things I want to do is to establish one special hot line number, like a graffiti hot line, for the public to report animal abuse," said Jana Sorensen, 50, task force chairwoman and an 18-year prosecutor in the County Attorney's Office.


Second on her agenda will be the creation of a comprehensive Web site, listing animal-abuse cases being handled by the County Attorney's Office, updates of cases and other information the public may find useful.


Duane Adams, 42, task force vice chairman and a 23-year employee of the Arizona Humane Society, is hopeful the group will address strengthening, fine tuning, clarifying and unifying abuse laws.


Before 1999, animal abuse was a misdemeanor. Since, it may be considered a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and $150,000 in fines.


"I'm looking to add some teeth to the laws and thereby help everybody," Adams said.


For instance, grounds for seizing a neglected or abused animal from an owner differ among law enforcement municipalities throughout the county.


"We need to get organized and set state guidelines for that," he said.


But the biggest objectives of the task force will be to make certain law enforcement officers understand the law when it comes to animal abuse.


"If we can educate police officers and communicate with them and let them know what investigation we need them to do to help us make our case, then we'll have a better chance of securing a conviction," said Tony Church, 28, a prosecutor with the County Attorney's Office.


Examples might include photographs of the abused animal and taped interviews from witnesses and abusers.


Church, who will serve as the task force liaison among the County Attorney's Office, law enforcement and private agencies, already has earned a reputation as a passionate prosecutor when it comes to animal-abuse cases. He routinely volunteers to take cases.


An admitted animal-lover with two formerly abused dogs of his own and eight cats rescued from the streets, Church has tallied 10 convictions of animal abuse since he prosecuted his first such case in November 2003.


Another 19 unresolved cases are on his caseload.


"Already I've noticed a significant increase," he said. "I was doing one or two a month before, and now there's at least one a week and some weeks two."


Stephanie Nichols-Young, 48, a Phoenix attorney in private practice, bets Church had better brace himself for even more if the task force accomplishes its mission.


"I suspect animal abuse has always been going on, but so many cases have just slipped through the cracks," she said. "If people don't know who to call to report it, if police don't investigate it properly, if a prosecutor doesn't get it, if a judge doesn't sentence appropriately, then at any point all the way along the line they can fall through the cracks."




looks like the government in the town of paradise valley says their cops can stop any one they want with out the standard probable cause or reasonable suspision other cops pretend to use.


Probable cause ill-defined in Paradise Valley

By Victor Allen, Tribune

June 20, 2005


Looking out of place in upscale Paradise Valley might get a motorist pulled over under an "aggressive" policing technique some experts said could be prone to abuse.


Unlike most other Valley police departments, Paradise Valley has no written code to determine when and why public contact is made. Individuals and motorists in the 16-square-mile town may be stopped and questioned on the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing, said Paradise Valley Police Chief John Wintersteen.


The practice helped cut the number of property crimes in the town last year.


In other cities, police said they typically must witness a civil traffic violation before making a stop.


But in Paradise Valley, which has a population of about 14,000, officers are so familiar with neighborhoods that they know who lives at most of the homes and the owners’ daily schedules, Wintersteen said. Anyone who looks like they don’t belong gets noticed, he said.


The officers "are extremely aggressive about finding criminals, often before they’ve committed a crime and in circumstances that are not real obvious that there’s a crime afoot," he said.


Yet the lack of a written standard for officers to follow could lead to future problems, said Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


"Certainly one of the immediate results the department should think about is liability on their part for having officers who don’t understand the parameters and who violate peoples’ rights, or who have such unfettered discretion that it could be easily abused," Eisenberg said. "They have to understand the legal standards and the constitutional standards that they have to adhere to."


In general, police don’t need to meet the legal definition of "probable cause" to make a traffic stop or question someone. Instead, an officer must have "reasonable suspicion" of illegal acts — but the term is a legal gray area, experts said.


To help define what is needed to stop someone, police departments in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa have developed written guidelines. For example, the Tempe officer’s manual states: "Reasonable Suspicion is that set of facts which would cause a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been, or is about to be committed."


"We can’t just blatantly stop vehicles without a reason. Usually that threshold, in most cases, is a civil traffic violation," said Sgt. Dan Masters, Tempe police spokesman.


The same practice holds true in Mesa, said Sgt. Chuck Trapani, Mesa police spokesman.


Wintersteen said he stands behind his department’s methods, adding that his officers do not abuse their authority. He said most of the feedback he gets from residents is positive.


"What our officers are hired for is good people skills," Wintersteen said. "We don’t want arrest-oriented (people). We do a lot of testing for anger management problems. We don’t hire people who our testing shows have a need for excitement."


Since last year, the department has increased its crimefighting efforts with big results, he said. Statistics released by the department show that in 2004, car thefts fell 59 percent, burglaries dropped by 33 percent and property thefts dropped by 29 percent.


To illustrate Paradise Valley’s approach, Wintersteen mentioned one arrest that occurred on June 10.


In that case, an officer patrolling near the 6100 block of East Horseshoe Road at 2:40 a.m. caught two people suspected of stealing mail, he said.


The officer saw two women in a 1995 Lexus and shined his cruiser’s spotlight on the driver’s-side door. The driver pulled to the side of the road, where the officer questioned the pair, a police report states.


Wendy Jo Rabinko, 22, of Mesa rolled down her window and talked to the officer, who asked the women if they were OK, the report states.


In law, anything an officer can see is fair game. When he looked into the car, he saw several bags of mail, some of it opened, the report states.


The two suspects admitted they began stealing mail in Gilbert and had worked their way to Paradise Valley, the report states. Scottsdale addresses were also found among the mail. Rabinko and Jennifer Ann Fitzsimmons, 22, also of Mesa, were arrested and the case turned over to the local office of the U.S. Postal Inspector.


That sort of easygoing, but savvy, law enforcement is what the department is known for and encourages, said John Wagner, day shift lead officer for Paradise Valley.


"We’re not out here beating heads and doing all that. Absolutely not," Wagner said. "This kind of police work in this town doesn’t call for that."


Still, making an arrest without a clear reason for the initial stop may prove problematic during prosecutions, said Dawn McQuiston-Surrett, a professor who researches the overlap of psychology and law at Arizona State University. With no standard in place, able defense attorneys can get evidence thrown out of court and criminals can go free, she said.


"There has to be a set of factual circumstances that would lead a reasonable officer to believe that criminal activity is occurring," she said.


However, Jim Davis, prosecuting attorney for Paradise Valley, said he was unaware of any property crime cases the town lost that could be directly attributed to the policy. Davis deals only with misdemeanor cases.


Bill FitzGerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said he did not know whether felony cases originating from Paradise Valley had any problems specific to police tactics.


Contact Victor Allen by telephone at (480) 970-2330.




McCain: Iraq exit couple of years off

Associated Press

June 20, 2005


WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday it probably would take ‘‘at least a couple more years’’ before enough Iraqis are capable of securing their country, a prime condition set by the Bush administration for beginning to withdraw U.S. troops.


‘‘I don’t think Americans believe that we should cut and run out of Iraq by any stretch of the imagination,’’ McCain said.


‘‘But I think they also would like to be told, in reality, what’s going on. And, by the way, I think part of that is it’s going to be at least a couple more years,’’ said McCain, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Despite the growing number of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers dying, U.S. officials have said the insurgency is beginning to wane and that progress has been made in Iraq’s transition to a democracy. Recent polls show support for the war slipping among Americans.


McCain and Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said the U.S. public needs to be told more clearly and realistically the difficult challenges in Iraq.


‘‘I think we should tell people it’s not going to be short,’’ McCain said on NBC’s ‘‘Meet the Press.’’


‘‘I’d rather say two or three years and be surprised a year from now than say everything’s fine and then be disappointed a year or two from now,’’ he said.


Biden was asked on CBS’s ‘‘Face the Nation’’ on Sunday if the administration has been telling Americans the truth about the situation in Iraq. He said, ‘‘No, they’re not telling the truth. . . . I think the American people know how tough this is going to be.’’


‘‘I think the American people, if you lay out a plan and tell them the truth about how hard it’s going to be, and why you think it’s important, they’ll stick,’’ said Biden, who recently visited Iraq for the fifth time.


‘‘I think the administration figures they’ve got to paint a rosy picture in order to keep the American people in the game. And the exact opposite is happening,’’ said Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


In a CNN interview last month, Vice President Dick Cheney said: ‘‘The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.’’


Both McCain and Biden said they disagreed with the description of the insurgency as in its last throes. But McCain cited what he called hopeful signs — better training and equipment for the Iraqi military, advances in forming an Iraqi government, and less insurgent activity among Iraqi citizens as opposed to foreigners coming into the country.


In a more pessimistic analysis, Biden said the border cannot be guarded adequately and the country is turning into a training ground for terrorists bound for other parts of the region. The military is also having difficulty making greater progress securing cities and in generating a counterinsurgency, he said.


‘‘It’s nowhere near the last throes,’’ Biden said. ‘‘Matter of fact it’s getting worse, not better.’’




commit a crime against a cop you go to jail forever! the system is biased toward governmet buerocrats. also i tend to beleive the guy who said he though he was being robbed by crooks. crooked cops is you ask me.


22-year-old shot deputies, gets 51 years


Jim Walsh

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 21, 2005 12:00 AM


MESA - A 22-year-old man was sentenced to 51 years in prison Monday for wounding two Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies who were shot serving a search warrant.


But Judge David Talamante of Maricopa County Superior Court stopped short of handing down a 63-year maximum sentence, despite the pleas of both victims and a third deputy saved by his bulletproof vest.


"I'm happy. Justice has been served. The better part of his life will be in prison," said Deputy Lew Argetsinger, who was shot through his right hand and has undergone five surgeries, with yet another planned.


Jorge Luis Guerra Vargas, the defendant, told Talamante through an interpreter in Spanish that he didn't know the SWAT team members were police officers and mistook them for thieves.


The deputies were searching for a Pinal County homicide suspect.


Several deputies testified that they identified themselves as police in English and in Spanish when they broke through a door at a mobile home and served the warrant Dec. 16, 2004, in a county island east of Mesa.


Talamante said he didn't believe Guerra Vargas' claims, and he said Guerra Vargas is lucky to be alive.


Deputy Sean Pearce, who along with Argetsinger is assigned to light duty during his recovery, said he can accept the 51-year sentence but would have preferred the maximum sentence.


Illegal gets 51 years for shooting deputies

By Gary Grado, Tribune

June 21, 2005

An illegal immigrant from Mexico was sentenced Monday to 51 years in prison for wounding two Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies in a shootout in December.


Prosecutors sought a 63-year sentence for Jorge Guerra-Vargas, who said in Maricopa County Superior Court that he fired on a sevenmember Special Weapons and Tactics team not knowing they were cops.


"I thought they were thieves. I was scared," Vargas said through an interpreter.


Vargas pleaded guilty May 2 to three counts of aggravated assault.


A sheriff’s SWAT unit was serving a search warrant Dec. 16 at a trailer home in a county island in Mesa when Vargas opened fire with a 9 mm handgun after the unit busted in and threw open a curtain used as a room divider.


Sean Pearce, son of Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, was shot in the stomach and Lew Argetsinger was shot in the hand. Rod Jackson was shot in the chest, but his body armor and a magazine of ammunition stopped the bullet.


Each deputy told Judge David Talamante about how they have been affected by the firefight, which took place in close, darkened quarters.


"For the rest of our lives, we’ll carry this with us," Argetsinger said.


Jackson said he caught a glimpse of Vargas taking cover as Pearce opened the curtain, but he restrained himself from shooting the man because for that instant Jackson didn’t consider him a threat.


But in the next second, Pearce was yelling that he’d been shot and Jackson saw Pearce going down out of the corner of his eye.


Jackson also felt the impact of the bullet.


"I go, ‘Wow, I think I got shot,’" Jackson said.


Deputy James Alger remembered the sound of passing bullets and felt the sting of fragments.


Jackson ended it by shooting Vargas.


"That was the longest eight to 10 seconds of my life," he said.


Talamante said Vargas deserved a harsh sentence and that Talamante didn’t buy Vargas’ claim that he didn’t know he was shooting at deputies.


Contact Gary Grado by email, or phone (602) 258-1746




Pide cerrar Guantánamo



La Voz

Junio 22, 2005


El ex presidente de Estados Unidos, William Clinton (1992-2000), dijo que la prisión estadunidense de alta seguridad de Guantánamo (Cuba) "debe ser cerrada o limpiada", en una entrevista publicada en el diario británico Financial Times.


En la base militar estadunidense de Guantánamo cumplen condena más de 500 prisioneros capturados en Afganistán e Irak vinculados, según el gobierno del presidente estadunidense George W. Bush a grupos terroristas internacionales.


Clinton aseguró en declaraciones al periódico especializado en finanzas que "ya es hora de que acaben las historias que salen de ahí sobre gente que sufre abusos".


La administración Bush, fue objeto de críticas en todo el mundo después de que salieran a la luz denuncias de algunos reos de Guantánamo sobre casos de malos tratos y violaciones de derechos humanos por parte de funcionarios de la prisión.


Según el ex presidente estadunidense, si la opinión pública considera que el trato violento a los terroristas está justificado "la naturaleza fundamental de la sociedad americana habrá cambiado" dando a los terroristas "una profunda victoria".


"Tener fama por abusar de personas, pone a nuestros soldados en un riesgo mucho mayor y, en segundo lugar, si tratas a alguien demasiado mal, te dirán eventualmente lo que quieres escuchar para que pares de hacerlo", explicó Clinton en la entrevista.


El ex gobernante estadunidense también habló sobre "la iniciativa mundial Clinton" que pretende ofrecer soluciones concretas a problemas globales como la pobreza, el papel de las religiones en la solución de conflictos, el cambio climático o el buen gobierno.


Para Clinton esta iniciativa, que será lanzada de manera oficial en una conferencia en Nueva York (Estados Unidos) en septiembre próximo, no es una versión renovada del Foro Económico Mundial que reúne cada año en Davos (Suiza) a políticos y empresarios.


Aunque considera que en términos generales Davos ha servido de ayuda, Clinton estimó que "la gente se siente ocasionalmente frustrada porque no se les pide hacer nada".