bad judges, courts, cops, fbi
guns save the day, man's leg partially consumed
illegal arrests cost taxpayers
Judge Bars Release of Officers' Names in Long Beach Police Shootings
Updated 12:45 PM PST, Fri, Dec 31, 2010
The identities of Long Beach police officers involved in shootings can be withheld under a temporary order issued by a judge, it was reported Friday.
The Long Beach Police Officers Association sought the order after a Los Angeles Times reporter asked for the identities of officers involved in shootings dating back to 2005. A union spokesman was unavailable for comment Friday.
Long Beach City Attorney Robert Shannon had planned to disclose at least some of the names on Jan. 10, The Times reported.
Shannon told the newspaper that city policy was to release names after all administrative and criminal proceedings were complete.
Family, Police Clash Over Shooting
But attorneys for the union objected, saying in court filings that offering names to the public "poses a great threat to the safety of officers," and could lead to criminals hunting down officers' personal information on the Internet and threatening their families.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Di Loreto issued an order barring the release until a Jan. 18 hearing, the newspaper reported.
The records request was apparently sparked by the paper's interest in a widely reported fatal shooting in Long Beach earlier this month.
Douglas Zerby was fatally shot by officers who apparently mistook the garden hose nozzle he was holding for a gun. A week later, an armed sexual assault suspect also was fatally shot by Long Beach police.
At least four other suspects were wounded in shootings by Long Beach officers in 2010.
Handguns were recovered at the scene of three of the shootings, and the fourth man was armed with a sharp instrument that he used to stab an officer.
The Los Angeles Police Department has a policy of releasing the names of officers involved in shootings, but unions representing police in Pasadena and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have both fought disclosure.
On the same day that Di Loreto made his ruling, the Pasadena Police Department released the names of two officers involved in a Monday shooting.
Officers Alex Torres and Ken Florendo returned fire when Sherwin Williams of Fontana shot at them. Florendo was slightly injured in that exchange with Williams, an alleged gang member, the Pasadena Star-News reported.
Court: No warrant needed to search cell phone
Posted: Tuesday, January 4 2011 at 05:45 pm CT by Bob Sullivan
The next time you're in California, you might not want to bring your cell phone with you. The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can search the cell phone of a person who's been arrested -- including text messages -- without obtaining a warrant, and use that data as evidence.
The ruling opens up disturbing possibilities, such as broad, warrantless searches of e-mails, documents and contacts on smart phones, tablet computers, and perhaps even laptop computers, according to legal expert Mark Rasch.
The ruling handed down by California's top court involves the 2007 arrest of Gregory Diaz, who purchased drugs from a police informant. Investigators later looked through Diaz's phone and found text messages that implicated him in a drug deal. Diaz appealed his conviction, saying the evidence was gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The court disagreed, comparing Diaz cell phone to personal effects like clothing, which can be searched by arresting officers.
"The cell phone was an item (of personal property) on (Diaz's) person at the time of his arrest and during the administrative processing at the police station," the justices wrote. "Because the cell phone was immediately associated with defendant’s person, (police were) entitled to inspect its contents without a warrant."
In fact, the ruling goes further, saying essentially that the Diaz case didn't involve an exception -- such as a need to search the phone to stop a "crime in progress." In other words, this case was not an exception, but rather the rule.
Rasch, former head of the Justice Department's computer crime unit, pulled no punches in his reaction to the ruling.
Small msnbc "This ruling isn't just wrong, it's dangerous," said Rasch, now director of cybersecurity and privacy at computer security firm CSC in Virginia. "It's remarkable, because it simply misunderstands the nature of these devices."
The door is open for police to search the entire contents of iPhones or other smart phones that people routinely carry, he said.
"In fact, I would be shocked if police weren't getting instructions right now to do just that," he said.
By applying the "personal property on the defendant's person" standard, Rasch said, the ruling could logically extend to tablets or even laptop computers, he said.
It also flies in the face of established law, which prohibits the warrantless search of briefcases by police, other than a quick search for weapons, Rasch said.
In its ruling, the majority likened cell phone inspection to police inspection of a cigarette pack taken from a suspect, which was ruled a legal search in a prior case. A second ruling was cited involving the search of clothing removed from a suspect.
Rasch said the analogies don't hold, however, as modern phones that can store years' worth of personal information are a far cry from drugs hidden in a cigarette case or clothes pockets.
"There is a process for looking at data inside devices,” he said. “It's called a warrant."
Grants police 'carte blanche'
The California ruling was not unanimous. Dissenting Justice Kathryn Werdegar raised similar concerns in her opinion.
"The majority’s holding ... (grants) police carte blanche, with no showing of exigency, to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee’s person," she wrote. "The majority thus sanctions a highly intrusive and unjustified type of search, one meeting neither the warrant requirement nor the reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional law expert at George Washington University, took to his blog to raise his concerns about the ruling.
"The Court has left the Fourth Amendment in tatters and this ruling is the natural extension of that trend," he wrote. "While the Framers wanted to require warrants for searches and seizures, the Court now allows the vast majority of searches and seizures to occur without warrants. As a result, the California Supreme Court would allow police to open cell phone files — the modern equivalent of letter and personal messages.”
Diaz’s lawyer, Lyn A. Woodward, has said she plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, warrantless searches of cell phones are essentially the law of the land in California.
Password-protection of smart phones might be a useful tool to ward off a warrantless search -- it's not clear that an arrested suspect could be compelled to divulge his or her password to police -- but that legal argument has not yet been made.
Wisconsin cops cough up bucks for illegal arrests
Citizens' group fighting back against agencies that don't follow state constitution
Posted: January 06, 2011
12:35 am Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
LOCKPORT, IL - JULY 12: Pistols are offered for sale at Rinks Gun and Sport in suburban Chicago on July 12, 2010 in Lockport, Illinois. Chicago began enforcing its new gun law today, considered the toughest in the nation. Although Chicago residents can now possess handguns in the city, they are still forced to purchase guns and ammunition in the suburbs because the sale is outlawed in the city. The United States Supreme Court ruled against the old Chicago law, which banned ownership of handguns, because it violated the second amendment. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A state constitutional provision in Wisconsin that allows citizens to carry a handgun openly – except for specific locations like in government buildings and in school zones – is costing police departments big bucks over their officers' insistence on arresting people anyway.
Already, one city has had to pay $10,000 in a settlement over an improper arrest of someone carrying a gun, and a second municipality has been ordered to pay $7,500, and several more challenges to police actions already are in the court system.
The issue stems from a state constitutional amendment from more than a decade ago that provides that residents "have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose."
Read Wayne LaPierre's detailed explanations on "SAFE: How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and your Home"
For years, some police officers simply charged anyone carrying a weapon openly with "disorderly conduct" rather than contest the constitutional provision, according to Nik Clark, of an organization called Wisconsin Carry, which launched just a year ago and already has "thousands" of members because of its fight over gun rights.
Then came an opinion from state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen that those "disorderly conduct" charges were outrageous.
His advisory memorandum said:
(Story continues below)
"A Wisconsin citizen has a constitutionally protected right to openly carry a firearm for any of the enumerated purposes, absent the application of a reasonable regulation properly imposed as an exercise of police power."
That doesn't fall under the state's "disorderly conduct" ban, which states, "Whoever, in a public or private place, engages in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor," he concluded.
"The department believes that mere open carry of a firearm, absent additional facts and circumstances, should not result in a disorderly conduct charge," the attorney general ruled.
Clark told WND that left those select police departments where officers did want to restrict citizens' access to weapons hunting for something else to use as a charge, and as a result, several court cases have developed.
"We've done open records [actions]," Clark said. "There was a pretty vast conspiracy to find something to bust people on. [There were] memos that went back and forth, asking 'What can we nail these people for?'"
One case brought by Wisconsin Carry recently was settled for a payment of $7,500. Krysta Sutterfield had sued Brookfield after officers arrested her as she was leaving a service at a church while wearing her holstered handgun.
Brad Schimel, Waukesha County's prosecuting attorney, decided not to file charges, and Sutterfield and Wisconsin Carry sued.
Clark confirmed his organization "will continue to use legal resource to deter unlawful treatment of law-abiding Wisconsin residents who currently exercise their right to open carry."
Clark told WND an earlier case was settled for $10,000. That involved the city of Racine and an arrest there.
Further, Clark said, at least two other cases already are pending, including one over the "Madison Five," who were carrying while they were enjoying a dinner out one evening. A woman called police, and after she was told it was a legal activity in the state, declined to pursue it.
Police came anyway and gave the five citations.
The organization also is challenging the state's ban on open carry of weapons within 1,000 feet of a school, because that distance includes group members' private residences, and easily could trap someone who is carrying legally but doesn't know a school is in the adjacent block.
Clark told WND one dispute arose when a man was carrying and was 984 feet from a school. He was arrested and while charges later were dropped he did spend 17 days in jail awaiting a hearing before a judge.
The conflicts arise because of the state constitution's provision for carrying gun for "any" lawful purpose and some police departments to take a dim view of citizens with weapons, he said.
The arrest of the woman leaving church is an example of some attitudes, he said.
"As open-carry is perfectly legal in Wisconsin and the officers were aware she (a Wisconsin Carry member) had threatened no one and caused no disturbance, the officers had no reasonable articulable suspicion (RAS) which the law requires, to stop and detain our member against her will. In addition, by drawing their guns on a law-abiding citizen who had done nothing wrong, the officers used an unlawful threat of deadly force during their detainment of our member. The police proceeded to, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that any crime had occurred, conduct an illegal and unconstitutional search of our member's person and car. Our member was then unlawfully arrested and taken to the Brookfield Police Department for processing," he explained.
WND has reported on the tidal wave of changes across the United States following two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding guns.
The Heller case, from Washington, D.C., in 2008, forbade blanket gun bans, and the 2010 McDonald case from Chicago determined that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms applies to individuals, not just National Guard units and the like.
Since then, the Second Amendment Foundation, has brought a long list of court cases challenging local and state gun regulations as being in violation of the Constitution.
Among the cases it has launched:
* One complaint was filed against state officials and several judges in New Jersey over procedures that allowed them to refuse firearms permits for a kidnap victim, a man who carries large amounts of cash for his business and a civilian FBI employee who fears attacks from radical Islamists. It was brought in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Superior Court judges Philip M. Maenza of Morris County, Rudolph A. Filko of Passaic County and Edward A. Jerejian of Bergen County in addition to Rick Fuentes of the state police, Hammonton police chief Frank Ingemi and New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow.
* The SAF filed a case on behalf of an honorably discharged veteran from the Vietnam War and names as defendants Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of Jefferson Wayne Schrader. The question is whether the state of Maryland can deprive an individual of the right to possess a weapon over a misdemeanor. Schrader had been convicted of misdemeanor assault relating to a fight involving a man who previously had assaulted him in Annapolis. But he was denied the opportunity to receive a shotgun as a gift, or to purchase a handgun for personal protection.
* The organization sued the city of Chicago again, this time because it adopted a requirement that gun owners spend time at shooting ranges, then banned shooting ranges. Gottlieb said, "They have crafted this new ordinance to make it virtually impossible for prospective gun owners to meet all legal requirements unless they travel outside the city for mandatory training. The new ordinance prohibits public gun ranges inside the city yet the city demands that handgun owners get at least one hour of range training time." The Second Amendment Foundation said the city's regulations are depriving citizens of their rights.
* It filed a claim against Maryland for a man who alleges the state is violating the Second Amendment by refusing to renew his handgun permit. Raymond Woollard originally was issued a carry permit after a man broke into his home during a family event in 2002. Woollard's permit was renewed in 2005 after the defendant in the case was released from prison. But state officials now have refused to renew the permit, even though the intruder now lives some three miles from Woollard.
* It sued Westchester County, N.Y., because officials there were requiring residents to have a "good cause" to ask for a handgun permit. The federal lawsuit alleges the requirement conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment establishes a personal right to "keep and bear arms." Individual plaintiffs in the case are Alan Kachalsky and Christina Nikolov, both Westchester County residents whose permit applications were denied.
* The earliest case to result from the McDonald decision challenged a practice in North Carolina of banning guns during "emergencies." The case claimed state statutes forbidding the carrying of firearms or ammunition when officials declare "states of emergency" are unconstitutional. Further, the plaintiffs said a state law allowing the government to prohibit the sale, purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition is unconstitutional. WND reported earlier this year when residents of King, N.C., were startled by the banishment of firearms during a "declared snow emergency."
The high court's 5-4 ruling in the first Chicago case was forecast to bring on such challenges.
It flipped "the burden onto the government and legislatures to show why they need to restrict what the court has already said is an individual right," John Velleco, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, told WND after the decision.
There is other action on the state level regarding gun rights. Already, eight states have adopted laws that exempt guns made, sold and kept inside the states from any federal gun regulations.
A court case already is being heard over the effort in Montana – the first state to take the step of ordering federal regulators to stay out of the state's business of regulating its citizenry's weapons.
In Wyoming, lawmakers even adopted a $2,000 penalty for federal agents trying to enforce federal regulations against an exempted weapon.
Woman arrested for wearing gun at church settles lawsuit
Brookfield will pay her and gun-rights group $7,500
By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel
Jan. 4, 2011 |(42) Comments
The woman who was arrested at gunpoint after she wore her gun to a church in Brookfield and a gun-rights group have settled a lawsuit against the city and the officers who arrested her for $7,500.
An attorney for the city said police will respond in force to calls of a person with a gun, and if it turns out to be an open carry situation, that's just the cost of doing business.
"These are kind of 'gotcha' cases," said the attorney, Greg Gunta. "The courts are being used for a political stage."
Krysta Sutterfield sued the city and officers in October. She was arrested in July after attending services at Unitarian Universalist Church while wearing her holstered handgun. There was no disturbance, but after the service someone called police to inquire and they responded, stopped Sutterfield as she was driving away and arrested her.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel later decided not to file charges.
Wisconsin Carry Inc., a gun-rights advocacy group to which Sutterfield belongs, joined her as a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit. Group President Nik Clark announced the judgment in an e-mail Monday night.
The group "will continue to use legal recourse to deter unlawful treatment of law-abiding Wisconsin residents who currently exercise their right to open carry, and soon will exercise their right to concealed carry in Wisconsin," the announcement read.
Other members and Wisconsin Carry have pending federal cases over police response to members wearing guns at a Madison Culver's in September and challenging the state ban on firearms within 1,000 feet of school zones.
Brookfield's offer of judgment was "not an admission of liability on behalf of these defendants, and should not be construed as such," according to the offer. The judgment was entered Dec. 30.
Gunta, the city's lawyer, said that if the lawsuit is really about the principle involved, the plaintiffs should consider donating the money back to Brookfield for gun education.
the one time they do good, the apparatus comes down on them..
U. officers on leave after leaking gun policy
By Robert Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published Jan 04 2011 10:32PM
Updated Jan 5, 2011 10:02AM
A pair of University of Utah public safety officers are on paid administrative leave after internal guidelines that would ban the open carrying of firearms were made public.
Gun rights activists say such a policy violates state law, and legislators are getting involved in the dispute.
Zachary Wellman, a security guard at University Hospital, said he and another campus police officer were put on leave last week after Wellman shared the guidelines with a friend, who took the U. protocols to gun advocacy groups and state lawmakers.
Wellman said he did it because he believed U. lawyers were going around the Legislature to rewrite the law.
“They’re saying we don’t want [visible guns] on campus, but state law is they have to accept it because they’re a state university,” Wellman told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a huge issue because they’re circumventing the Utah law and the university president is now making the law, which they have no power to do.”
In a memo sent to U. Police Chief Scott Folsom last April, President Michael Young wrote that “having weapons in plain sight on this campus creates a fearful and intimidating campus environment.”
Young said that school shootings, including in 2007 at Virginia Tech — where 32 died — created safety concerns among students and faculty. Utah law doesn’t allow anyone to carry a weapon openly on campus, he said, whether or not they have a concealed-weapons permit, and the law allows the university to deal with issues that interfere with the school’s educational mission.
The guidelines sent to police officers directs them to arrest anyone openly carrying a firearm if they don’t have a concealed-weapons permit.
FBI employee in S.F. convicted of lying
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle January 6, 2011 01:20 PM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, January 7, 2011
(01-06) 13:20 PST SAN FRANCISCO --
An FBI employee who oversaw background investigations for the agency in San Francisco pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to lying about the amount of money she owed on her properties.
Rachelle Thomas-Zuill, 39, of Pittsburg said on a financial disclosure form that she owned three properties with an outstanding mortgage debt of $866,000, when in fact she owned six properties and had a debt of more than $2.2 million.
Thomas-Zuill, who joined the FBI 13 years ago, pleaded guilty to making false statements to a government agency, a felony. She will be sentenced April 7 by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose.
Thomas-Zuill worked from 2003 until July 2010 as a personnel security specialist for the FBI. Her responsibilities included overseeing and administering background investigations for agents' security clear-ances.
All but one of her six properties went into foreclosure, authorities said.
Woman saved from mauling (by gun)
Attacking dog shot by passerby licensed to carry.
By Eva Ruth Moravec
Published: 11:20 p.m., Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A man shot a pit bull type dog on the West Side Wednesday morning, when the man spotted the dog attacking a woman on the ground. The dog was later euthanized; the woman was hospitalized, treated and released. Photo by Eva Ruth Moravec; email@example.com
A man shot a pit bull type dog on the West Side Wednesday...
A man shot a pit bull mix as it attacked a woman Wednesday morning on the West Side, authorities said.
Shot in the leg, the dog later was euthanized.
The woman could have been killed if the man hadn't intervened, police said.
The man was driving in the 900 block of North Zarzamora Street about 8:15 a.m. when he saw Angelita Deleon, 58, struggling on the ground with a white and tan dog, police said.
Police did not release his name but said he was a local business owner with a license to carry a concealed handgun. He parked his vehicle and fired several shots, striking the dog, police Sgt. Devon Lambert said.
Deleon sustained bites to her head, neck and face, Lambert said. An incident report says she was walking down the street when the dog attacked her for no apparent reason, knocking her to the ground. She was taken to Christus Santa Rosa Hospital and was released by Wednesday afternoon.
The shooter saw a person in danger and acted accordingly, Lambert said, adding it appeared to be an appropriate use of a concealed handgun.
“If he hadn't come along, it could have resulted in her death,” Lambert said.
A bloody trail led police to a nearby auto repair shop, where the pit bull mix had limped and sought shelter in a back lot. Animal Care Services picked up the dog, which had lost a significant amount of blood but was able to walk.
Lisa Norwood, a shelter spokeswoman, said the dog was euthanized immediately.
Police said the dog had a collar but officers hadn't been able to find its owner. Because the dog was loose, the owner could face a citation if identified.
Mount Vernon Man Hospitalized After Brutal Dog Attack
Witnesses: 'They Were Eating The Guy'; 'Leg Was Ripped Open'
January 6, 2011 11:00 PM
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Rottweiler dog breed
Rottweiler dog breed (Photo credit: Flickr)
Reporting Kathleen Maloney
MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (1010 WINS/ CBS 2) – When Maureen Martin looked out from her second-floor apartment on Wednesday night, she saw a pack of dogs attacking her neighbor.
“Another big dog came and they just threw him on the floor and they were eating the guy,” Martin said.
Police said two Rottweiler’s and a Wheaton terrier mix attacked Craig Jones as he walked along East 4th Street around 9:30 p.m.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports
As CBS 2′s Lou Young reports, Jones, a 38-year-old electrician, was returning returning home from the grocery store when the dog pack struck. His most serious injuries are too gruesome for television.
“I saw three huge dogs on top of him and he was just screaming. He was already bloody. His leg was being ripped open,” witness Dee Dee Smith said.
The victim was just trying to get to his front door but the dogs kept attacking. They brought him down, chewed him up and began dragging him back toward the street. Horrified neighbors alerted by his screams began throwing things out the window. A brick finally hit one of the dogs and seemed to break the spell.
“I was right there hanging out of my living room window and I about fell out. That’s how close to him. I’m still scared. I don’t even want to go grocery shopping today I’m so scared,” Smith said.
Responding Mount Vernon Police officers shot and killed one of the animals and captured another. Witnesses said the third dog got away.
“That could have been my baby. That could have been anyone. I’m very upset about it,” neighbor Joan Murray said.
Police told Young the dogs escaped from an auto body shop. Two of the same animals were involved in the August dog pack killing of neighbors’ pet Yorkie.
That dog’s owner said Wednesday night’s attack could’ve been prevented.
“They should’ve been put down most definitely. Something should’ve been done and I had a feeling something like this was gonna happen again,” Eric Coleman said.
“I still hurt from losing that dog. This should not have happened. This could have been avoided,” Deana Young told 1010 WINS’ Maloney.
Deana Young blames the city of Mount Vernon for not doing anything.
“You cannot have a pack of dogs like that and not expect something like this to happen,” Deana Young said.
A police spokesman said after the August attack the dogs were returned to the owner by court order. So far no formal charges have been filed, but the animal remains in quarantine at the animal shelter.
The dogs’ owner was not at the auto body shop when the animals escaped, police said. An employee apparently left a gate open.
Medical officials transported Jones to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx where he was treated for serious injuries to his head and legs. He was listed in stable condition.
“He had some pretty significant injuries to his leg area as well as his head,” Police Capt. Edward Adinaro said.
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