Thursday, December 25, 2008

Former Cop Suspected in Shootings Dies

Former Cop Suspected in Shootings Dies
By DANNY ROBBINS, AP
Dec. 23, 2008

...A former Utah state trooper suspected in a series of roadway shootings earlier this week died on Christmas Eve, a hospital official said. Dallas police said they believe Brian Smith, above, killed at least one of the victims in a series of apparent random rush-hour shootings near Dallas. Smith shot and injured himself after a standoff with police.

The 37-year-old had been in critical condition on life support from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say he shot himself in the head after a brief standoff early Tuesday, more than six hours after the roadway shooting spree ended...

Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said authorities were working to confirm that Smith was the gunman in separate shooting deaths minutes apart Monday on a Garland street and a Dallas interstate.

Earlier Wednesday, police shut down the freeway to re-examine the scene of one of several of the shootings.

Officials said both police departments were waiting for ballistics tests to come back for possible matches of bullet casings...

Warrants for Smith's arrest had been issued in the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, where authorities have obtained evidence linking him to two robberies in the past eight days. Both incidents involved thefts in which purses were stolen from women in vehicles parked at businesses near where Smith lived.

Police have tied Smith to the incidents through witness identification and video of him using a credit card belonging to one of the victims, Southlake police spokesman Mike Bedrich said.

Smith moved to Keller with his wife and children last spring, just months after his conduct came under scrutiny from the Utah Highway Patrol. His peace officer certification was revoked after he went on a drinking binge and threatened to kill himself.

In Utah, where Smith's problems as a trooper are just now coming to light, he's remembered as a good father who never lost his temper and coached youth soccer and basketball.

"This is a shock for everyone who knows Brian," said Michael Peterson, Smith's former bishop in the Mormon church. "Obviously, he was struggling with some things. But the Brian Smith that everyone around here knows would never have done any of these things."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In this case, independent thinking worked better than blind obedience

21 December 2008
Deaths from Mumbai 'police error'
By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Mumbai

...A prominent Mumbai gynaecologist, Dr Prashant Mangeshikar, was trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel along with hundreds of other guests as gunmen stormed into the building, firing indiscriminately.

Terrified, he and others barricaded themselves into a room and waited.

Eventually, in the early hours of the morning, police officers made it through to where they were hiding and told people it was safe to leave the hotel because the gunmen were cornered on another floor.

Some went ahead but Dr Mangeshikar held back.

"I was a little suspicious that the police were actually sending these guys down a different route where the terrorists were supposed to be," he said.

"I refused to move away and the people who ran ahead of me, about 20 or 30 of them, all of them died."

A dress designer from the city says her aunt was shot dead and her cousin seriously wounded because they followed police instructions to try to leave.

The designer, Shilpa, described the police conduct as disgraceful.

They had no right, she said, to risk people's lives...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anthony Pellicano gets 15 years for using illegal snooping to help clients gain advantage in court

Pellicano Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
New York Times
By BROOKS BARNES
December 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator whose client list once included many Hollywood stars, was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in prison for his role in an illegal wiretapping enterprise.

The sentence, from Judge Dale S. Fischer of Federal District Court, was in line with what prosecutors had recommended. Mr. Pellicano, 64, already in custody, was found guilty in two different trials earlier this year on 78 charges, including wiretapping, racketeering and wire fraud. He and his two co-defendants were also ordered to pay a fine of $2 million...

The investigation of Mr. Pellicano began when an entertainment journalist, Anita M. Busch, was threatened in June 2002 by an associate of the private investigator after she wrote damaging articles about Michael S. Ovitz, once a prominent talent agent.

The investigation into the threat, which uncovered Mr. Pellicano’s wiretapping, seized Hollywood’s imagination with courtroom testimony revealing stars like Chris Rock as the beneficiaries of Mr. Pellicano’s illicit trade and other stars like Sylvester Stallone the victims. Ultimately, however, few industry players were charged.

Mr. Pellicano still must contend with a number of civil lawsuits that were delayed during the criminal proceedings. Those cases largely involve victims of wiretapping seeking damages for incidents in which private conversations were recorded.

Ms. Busch spoke at the sentencing, bitterly outlining the suffering that she said Mr. Pellicano caused her. “I no longer had my career, my peace of mind,” she said...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wiretapper Anthony Pellicano gets 15 years

Update: Mr. Pellicano received a 15-year sentence.


Private eye faces sentencing in wiretapping case
Victims tell judge Pellicano's actions affected their lives
ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano isn't the only person imprisoned as a result of his wiretaps of the rich and famous. His victims say they have never been able to free themselves from the emotional and financial fallout caused by his crimes.

A former reporter says she has nightmares about being hunted and raped. A mother copes with her daughter being mocked by other kids and their parents. An actress who once appeared in a popular television series says she has found little work since.

They are among the victims who submitted letters to the federal judge who is scheduled to sentence Pellicano today. The former private investigator is in custody after being convicted of a total of 78 counts, including wiretapping, racketeering and wire fraud, in two separate trials this year.

Federal prosecutors have recommended in court documents that Pellicano, 64, serve nearly 16 years in prison for running a criminal enterprise and becoming a “high-priced thief who fraudulently obtained prominence through the harm that he wantonly inflicted on others.”

Their letters give a glimpse into the anger, disgust and hardship his victims say they have endured since Pellicano combed through their lives.

Former Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch says she no longer is a journalist and has nightmares about being hunted because of the harassment she faced from Pellicano. Busch found a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on her car, along with a sign reading “stop,” in June 2002 after she wrote a series of unflattering articles about one-time superagent Michael Ovitz, a Pellicano client.

Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, the former wife of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, said her privacy has been destroyed. Prosecutors said Pellicano and Kerkorian's attorney, Terry Christensen, bugged her phone conversations to disprove her claims that the MGM mogul was the father of her young daughter. DNA tests later showed movie producer Steve Bing was the biological father.

Christensen was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wiretapping and sentenced to three years in prison.

Bonder Kerkorian said her daughter “has faced cruel comments, sly whispers and been openly ridiculed by students and parents at her school.”

Linda Doucett, who was a regular on “The Larry Sanders Show,” also chimed in, saying in her letter she has been unable to work as an actress and support herself and her son since taking part in a lawsuit filed by her former boyfriend, comedian Garry Shandling, against his former talent manager Brad Grey, now the head of the Paramount studio. Pellicano worked for Grey on the suit.

In late 2003, she said she received a call threatening her son's safety from someone she presumed to be Pellicano. Prosecutors never proved Pellicano or someone at his direction was the caller.

[But cops would never snoop illegally for private reasons, would they? They would. For four years Santa Barbara Sheriff Commander Sam Gross has been protecting deputy Michael Carlson for very similar activities to those of Anthony Pellicano.]

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Police Chief indicted in boy's machine gun death

Police Chief Indicted for Boy's Uzi Death
By STEPHANIE REITZ, AP
Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.
Dec. 4, 2008

Three men, including a small-town police chief, were indicted Thursday on involuntary manslaughter counts in the gun-fair death of an 8-year-old who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi that a prosecutor said he never should have been allowed to handle.

The club where the fair was held also was charged. The fair had promised shooters would have certified instructors in an advertisement, but District Attorney William Bennett said the child, Christopher Bizilj, was supervised by an uncertified 15-year-old boy.

As his father watched, 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj died after accidentally shooting himself with an Uzi gun at a Massachusetts gun fair in October. A police chief and the men who brought the gun to the demonstration were indicted for involuntary manslaughter and other charges on Thursday.

Christopher, of Ashford, Conn., lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin Oct. 26 at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club in western Massachusetts.
Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury was charged because he owns the sponsor of the gun fair, COP Firearms & Training...

Bennett said prosecutors know of at least four children, including Christopher, who fired automatic weapons at the fair. He added that Fleury had wrongly assured Guiffre and Spano that it was legal for children to use the Uzi under Massachusetts law...

"It's all legal & fun — No permits or licenses required!!!!" reads the ad, posted on the club's Web site...

The ad also said children under 16 would be admitted free, and both adults and children were offered free .22-caliber pistol and rifle shooting.

Christopher's father was 10 feet behind him and reaching for his camera when the child fired the weapon.

Bennett said Charles Bizilj (pronounced bah-SEAL') had selected the compact weapon for his 4-foot-3, 66-pound son to fire after he was assured it was safe. He had thought the Uzi's small size made it safer, but the opposite was true, the prosecutor said.

"Although it might appear a heavier or longer weapon would be more dangerous, the small size of the weapon together with the rapid rate of fire made it more likely that an 8-year-old would lose control and the muzzle of the weapon would come close to his face, which is what happened here," he said.

The father was not charged because he was a layman and based his decision on information from others who should have known it was too dangerous, Bennett said. The 15-year-old boy who was supervising Christopher with the Uzi also will not be charged, he added...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Deputy who killed wife finally gets his plea deal: 15 years

By Ray Huard
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
September 11, 2008

SAN DIEGO COURTS – A former sheriff's deputy who shot and killed his wife during a fight in their Alpine home with their 4-year-old son in the room was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday...

Lowell Bruce was given the maximum sentence allowed by law after pleading guilty in August 2007 to voluntary manslaughter for the December 2006 death of Kristin Maxwell-Bruce, San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael D. Wellington said.

It took more than a year and three judges to finally impose the sentence.

Bruce, a deputy since 1998, initially was charged with murder. But in July 2007 prosecutors and defense lawyers proposed a deal under which he would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and get a 15-year prison sentence.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Herbert J. Exarhos rejected the deal, saying it raised questions about whether Bruce was getting special treatment because of his job in law enforcement.

A second judge, Allan J. Preckel, later agreed to it but then changed his mind, saying he wanted the discretion to sentence Bruce to a longer or shorter term. In June, Preckel was removed from the case for what an Orange County judge said was an appearance of bias against Bruce, and the case was assigned to Wellington.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tom Condit and Chandra Levy: mirror images in Egypt?

Could the following story happen in America? It could, but it hasn't.


By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI

AP
Sept. 2, 2008
CAIRO, Egypt
An Egyptian lawmaker and business tycoon was arrested Tuesday in the death of a Lebanese pop singer, Egypt's chief prosecutor said, accusing the man of paying a former police officer $2 million to kill her.

Hisham Talaat, a lawmaker from the ruling party of President Hosni Mubarak, is accused of ordering the death of 30-year-old Suzanne Tamim, who was found decapitated in her Dubai apartment in July, chief prosecutor Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud told The Associated Press...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and his wife Trinity Tomsic were victims of a mistaken police raid last week


My guess is that the police chief belonged to a different political party than Mayor Calvo. My opinion is, of course, influenced by watching San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and her henchman Patrick O'Toole conduct political prosecutions for the past couple of years.


Police chief expresses regret over drug raid
By Gus G. Sentementes
Baltimore Sun
August 9, 2008

Prince George's County police Chief Melvin C. High said yesterday that a suburban Washington mayor and his wife were "innocent victims of drug traffickers" and expressed regret for the loss of the couple's dogs during a raid on his home last week.

Meanwhile, the FBI has opened an investigation into the actions of the county police officers who burst into the house of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and shot the dogs. Calvo and his mother-in-law were handcuffed after the officers mistakenly suspected he was involved in shipping marijuana to his home.

Special Agent Richard Wolf, a spokesman for the FBI's Baltimore field office, said the agency has opened a civil rights investigation upon the request of Calvo...

The innocent bystander turned out to be the perpetrator

Bruce Ivins was able to shift suspicions to Steven Hatfill.


In Anthrax Case, Hindsight Shifts View of Ivins Actions to Aid Probe Appear Now As Cover-Up
By ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON and SIOBHAN GORMAN
August 9, 2008

Bruce Ivins...took an overdose of painkillers and died in an apparent suicide last week. The FBI said the government scientist was close to being charged in 2001's deadly anthrax attacks.

One night in autumn 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the worst act of bioterrorism in its history, Bruce Ivins was alone in his cluttered Fort Detrick, Md., office, scrubbing phones, walls and furniture.

For colleagues, this was proof of the anthrax scientist's attention to safety. From a distance of seven years, it might be evidence of his guilt.

Like the detective in Agatha Christie's play "Mousetrap" who turned out to be the murderer, Dr. Ivins played a haunting dual role in the anthrax mystery, federal law-enforcement agents say. He was part of the team that examined the poisoned letters. Investigators say he implicated other scientists and submitted incomplete samples to throw them off-track...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Personality of a killer: church-going, jolly family man

How can you tell who will become a killer?

The answer is surprising in the case of the man suspected of sending anthrax powder in the US mail in 2001.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/us/02scientist.html?em#
New York Times
By SARAH ABRUZZESE and ERIC LIPTON
August 2, 2008
FREDERICK, Md. — Bruce E. Ivins arrived last month for a group counseling session at a psychiatric center here in his hometown with a startling announcement: Facing the prospect of murder charges, he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun as he contemplated killing his co-workers at the nearby Army research laboratory...

To some of his longtime colleagues and neighbors, it was a startling and inexplicable turn of events for a churchgoing, family-oriented germ researcher known for his jolly disposition — the guy who did a juggling act at community events and composed satiric ballads he played on guitar or piano to departing co-workers.

“He did not seem to have any particular grudges or idiosyncrasies,” said Kenneth W. Hedlund, a retired physician who once worked alongside Dr. Ivins at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick. “He was the last person you would have suspected to be involved in something like this.”

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hatfill was innocent; suspected anthrax killer Ivins kills himself

Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide
By MATT APUZZO and LARA JAKES JORDAN, AP

Federal prosecutors investigating the 2001 anthrax attacks were planning to indict and seek the death penalty against a top Army microbiologist in connection with anthrax mailings that killed five people...

The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins...killed himself this week.

...prosecutors were closing in on Ivins, 62. They were planning an indictment that would have sought the death penalty for the attacks, which killed five people, crippled the postal system and traumatized a nation still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks.

Authorities were investigating whether Ivins released the anthrax as a way to test his vaccine, officials said.

...Russell Byrne, a colleague who worked in the bacteriology division of the Fort Detrick research facility ...said Ivins was forcefully removed from his job by local police recently because of fears that he had become a danger to himself or others. The investigation led to Ivins being hospitalized for depression earlier this month, Byrne said.

...The Los Angeles Times, which first reported that Ivins was under suspicion, said the scientist had taken a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine.
...
In late June, the government exonerated a colleague of Ivins', Steven Hatfill...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Los Angeles tried to create scapegoats in the Ramparts scandal

HARPER v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

No. 06-55519
D.C. No. CV-03-00959-CJC
Filed July 14, 2008
Before: Jerome Farris and Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges,
and Frederic Block,* District Judge.
Opinion by Judge Paez

COUNSEL
Edward J. Horowitz, Office of Edward J. Horowitz, Pacific
Palisades, California; Dale B. Goldfarb, Harrington, Foxx,
Dubrow & Canter, Los Angeles, California, for the
defendants-appellants.
Jeffrey Isaac Ehrlich, The Ehrlich Law Firm, Claremont, California;
Joseph Y. Avrahamy, Law Offices of Joseph Y.
Avrahamy, Encino, California; Etan Z. Lorant, Law Offices
of Etan Z. Lorant, Encino, California, for the plaintiffsappellees.

OPINION
PAEZ, Circuit Judge:

This case arises from the Los Angeles Police Department’s
(“LAPD”) investigation and prosecution of three former
police officers, Paul Harper, Brian Liddy, and Edward Ortiz.
These officers were implicated in wrongdoing by former
LAPD officer Rafael Perez in an event that came to be known
as the “Rampart Scandal”—an event that, based on Perez’s
own unlawful conduct and his allegations of corruption at the
Rampart Division, launched an internal investigation that ultimately
implicated scores of police officers, overturned dozens
of convictions, and generated intense media scrutiny. The
criminal charges against these officers resulted in acquittals.
Harper, Liddy, and Ortiz (the “Officers”) subsequently
brought suit against a number of actors, including Perez, the
district attorneys, the City of Los Angeles, and former Chief
of Police Bernard Parks for violations of their constitutional
civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending among other
claims that the defendants had conducted an improper and
negligent investigation, and that they had been arrested without
probable cause for falsifying a police report and conspiring
to file such a report.

The Officers’ claims against the County of Los Angles,
District Attorney Gil Garcetti, Rafael Perez, and Deputy District
Attorneys Laesecke and Ingalls were dismissed on Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions or motions for
summary judgment, and the case proceeded to trial against the
City of Los Angeles and Chief Parks (“the City”). After an
eleven-day trial, the jury returned a special verdict in favor of
the Officers, finding that the Officers’ constitutional rights
were violated by the City and by Chief Parks in his official
capacity.1 The jury awarded each officer compensatory damages
in the amount of $5,000,001. The City thereupon filed a
number of post-judgment motions, including a renewed
motion under Rule 50(b) for judgment as a matter of law. The
district court denied the motions, and the City appealed. We
affirm. “[W]e do not lightly cast aside the solemnity of the
jury’s verdict.” Graves v. City of Coeur D’Alene, 339 F.3d
828, 844 (9th Cir. 2003). Both the jury’s verdict and the jury’s
damages award are supported by substantial evidence. We
also affirm the district court’s challenged evidentiary rulings.
Because we affirm both the verdict and the district court’s
determination on the post-judgment motions, we also affirm
the district court’s award for attorney’s fees under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988.2

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cops get hysterical, falsely claim cookies laced with drugs

An innocent 18-year-old spent a night in jail because police got the idea that the cookies he delivered were laced with drugs, then claimed that they had evidence to prove their hunch. It turned out that the deliveries were part of a court-ordered community service program.

Here is a story that was published BEFORE tests proved the cookies were clean.


July 10, 2008
By DAN X. McGRAW
The Dallas Morning News
dmcgraw@dallasnews.com

Police officers in Blue Mound didn't think much of the cookies dropped off at their station Monday night – until they got a whiff of them.

Overpowering the chocolate chips was the pungent smell of marijuana, police said. [Note: this turned out to be a figment of the police officers' imaginations.]

"It reeked of it," said Lt. Thomas Cain, a Blue Mound police spokesman. "It wasn't hard to tell. Anyone that's been around marijuana before would have known."

Christian Phillips Christian Phillips, 18, of Watauga was arrested Tuesday after authorities said he tried to deliver a batch of cookies that later tested positive for LSD to the nearby Lake Worth police station...

The cookies, which tested positive for marijuana [note: this report was later proved false], were not eaten by anyone in Blue Mound, he said...

Police arrested Mr. Phillips around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when he attempted to drop off cookies in Lake Worth, officers said...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Did false accusations in anthrax case lead to failure to find perpetrator?

One of the problems with false accusations is that they tend to stop investigations from going in the right direction.
Washington Post
June 28, 2008

Doctor Who Was Target in U.S. Anthrax Probe, Wins Multimillion Dollar Settlement

The physician and bio-researcher who the U.S. Justice department identified as a "person of interest" in the bizarre series of anthrax incidents that killed 5 people beginning in 2001 has settled his lawsuit against the government.

TheNew York Timesreports that Dr. Steven Hatfill will receive almost $3 million in cash and an additional $150,000 annually for the next 20 years to settle a lawsuit he filed in 2003, charging the FBI and U.S. Justice Department with leaking information to the news media in order to link him to the mailing of letters that contained anthrax spores.

Hatfill has consistently denied having anything to do with the anthrax incidents, in which five people died after inhaling the spore particles and another 17 were hospitalized, in 2001 and 2002.


U.S. Justice Department officials have never explained why Hatfill was such a prominent figure in the investigation, and a government statement said only that the government admitted no liability but decided settlement was "in the best interest of the United States," the newspaper reported.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why didn't Biloxi jail fire violent guard Ryan Teale?

Why didn't Biloxi jail fire violent guard Ryan Teale? Because prison guards were taught to cover up wrongdoing.

CNN.com
Anderson Cooper

Justice system in New Orleans: What's wrong with this system?

Anderson Cooper reports on CNN regarding the soaring murder rate in New Orleans:

"Witnesses are either missing or unwilling to cooperate. Last year, nearly half the murder suspects walked free because by law, prosecutors have just 60 days to make their case before a judge. Time is simply running out.

(on camera) What's actively being done at this point to try and repair the justice system so the killing will stop?

NAGIN: Everything. Everything is being done, from more resources, more dollars, more manpower, more police officers. We've got the federal government involved.

KAYE: why then is the number of homicides going up instead of down? Who should be held accountable? Everyone is pointing fingers.

Police blame the district attorney for not prosecuting cases quickly enough. The district attorney blames police for holding onto case files and letting witnesses slip away. And the mayor, he accuses the district attorney of encouraging lawlessness and dropping charges against dangerous criminals.

(voice-over) Like this guy, Michael Anderson, who says he's innocent. District attorney Eddie Jordan just last week dropped five counts of first degree murder against him for the deaths of five teenagers. Jordan's office claimed it couldn't find a key witness. So how did police manage to the next day?

(on camera) Certainly a lot of people are pointing fingers at your office. Who do you think is at fault here?

EDDIE JORDAN, ORLEANS PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, let me say, first of all, that I am not going to take the blame for all the sins of the criminal justice system. Certainly, we have our shortcomings. But we're working on our shortcomings.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0707/27/acd.01.html

When the justice system befriends child molesters

CNN.com
Anderson Cooper

"...You're paying for the criminal justice system. We all are. And you're counting on it to keep you safe and uphold the principles you believe in. The truth is, though, it doesn't always work that way.

Money is wasted. Bad guys go free. Decent people get hurt, and government sometimes gets away with it.

This hour is about holding people accountable.

Tonight, we will look at how a man accused of raping a child could go free, perhaps never to be tried again, because the prosecution could not find him a qualified interpreter. It only took us a few hours on the phone to find one.

And it gets worse. He might not have even needed an interpreter at all. And the evidence of that was plain to see.

We begin tonight with a story that seemed utterly surreal to us when we first learned about it, an accused molester going free because the court couldn't find him a qualified interpreter.

And, the more we investigated, the stranger it got. And the more you hear tonight, the madder you will likely get. How could an accused molester go free?

...GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the man at the center of a legal storm, because of a bizarre technicality that is hard to believe, Mahamu Kanneh, charged with the horrifying crimes of raping and repeatedly molesting a 7-year-old girl and molesting a 1-and-a-half-year-old girl, both relatives of his.

But now the charges against the Liberian immigrant have disappeared.

JOHN MCCARTHY, MONTGOMERY COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We believe that that decision to dismiss these charges was improper.

TUCHMAN: Why were such serious charges dismissed? Because a court clerk was unable to find an interpreter fluent in the rare language known as Vai who could stay through the entire trial. A court-ordered psychiatrist told the judge an interpreter was necessary.

MCCARTHY: The bottom line is that any delays caused by an attempt to find an appropriate and qualified interpreter is not attributable to the prosecution and legally was the responsibility of the courts and should not serve as the basis for dismissing the charges against the defendant.

TUCHMAN: But Judge Katherine Savage disagreed, saying on the bench, "This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in a long time." She cleared the charges because she says the long delay violated Kanneh's constitutional right to a speedy trial.

"Keeping Them Honest," we investigated what went wrong. An estimated 100,000 people in the world speak the West African tribal language of Vai.

The court office in Rockville, Maryland, says it worked hard to find someone anywhere in the country who could be with the suspect during the trial. Over two-and-a-half years, it couldn't successfully do so...

TUCHMAN (on camera): This story strikes high on the outrage meter. But what may be more outrageous involves the question over whether Kanneh needed an interpreter to begin with, because CNN has learned that Kanneh graduated from this Maryland high school back in 2005, one of the best high schools in the state, where, most certainly, you need to know more than Vai to get by.

(voice-over): At Magruder High School, a student is not allowed to get a diploma without passing four years of English. A source in the school says Kanneh did not even find it necessary to take the English-as-a-second-language course that is offered. And there's more.

JEREMY BROWN, NEIGHBOR OF MAHAMU KANNEH: It's right there, number seven.

TUCHMAN: Jeremy Brown currently lives next door to Kanneh.

(on camera): And how long have you lived here?

BROWN: About a year.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): We wanted to talk to Kanneh about his case and his language skills, but nobody was home in apartment seven. So, we asked his neighbor this.

(on camera): Does he speak English?

BROWN: Yes.

...TUCHMAN: So, on a scale of one to 10 of English proficiency, what would you say he had?

BROWN: Probably a seven or eight.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): No one, from the judge, to the court clerk, to Kanneh's public defender, would speak to us about the case, because prosecutors have filed an appeal. An appellate court would have the authority to make the charges reappear. But, if the appeal fails, Mahamu Kanneh will not ever go to trial on these charges...


http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0707/27/acd.01.html

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jury finds Steve Castaneda not guilty; Patrick O'Toole promises to go after Cheryl Cox, Patrick Judd, Pamela Smith...

After the jury came back with a "not guilty" verdicts yesterday in the case of Chula Vista city councilman Steve Castaneda, Prosecutor Patrick O'Toole announced that
"the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."

At last! I filed a complaint long ago about subornation of perjury by Chula Vista Elementary School District board members. It sounds like the D.A. is finally going to do something about it.

The D.A. clearly got sidetracked from this goal when it engaged in the bizarre prosecution of a Steve Castaneda, who was accused of hiding his "intent" to buy a condo while testifying during a grand jury investigation that found no wrongdoing.

Prosecutor Patrick O'Toole said, "It was a case from our end that we thought had to be brought..." It would seem that O'Toole felt obliged to go after the political opponents of the wife of O'Toole's boss, County Supervisor Greg Cox. The problem was that Cheryl Cox herself was actually guilty of perjury crimes, while Steve Castaneda was not.

I've been waiting for a long time to hear someone in Bonnie Dumanis' office say "the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."

I'm pleased to hear that O'Toole is finally going to do something about Chula Vista Elementary School District trustees and administrators who obstructed justice and committed or suborned perjury. The District Attorney received my complaint in 2005.

Here is the story from Fox News:


Councilman Found Not Guilty of Perjury in Condo Charges
Last Update: 4/23/2008

A Chula Vista city councilman accused of lying to the county grand jury regarding his personal interest in an apartment complex that was being converted into condominiums was acquitted Wednesday of six of 10 perjury counts.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to retry Steve Castaneda on the remaining four counts on which jurors deadlocked.

"I'm very happy that I'm vindicated. I'm very happy about the fact that I can now go on with my life," Castaneda told reporters outside the courtroom.

Defense attorney Marc Carlos said jurors gave it their best shot -- deliberating for five days after a two-week trial -- before coming to a decision.

"They've had hundreds of exhibits and thousands of pages of grand jury testimony, and that's as good as they can do and there's nothing there," Carlos told reporters. "I think (District Attorney) Bonnie Dumanis should do the right thing and step up and dismiss the remaining counts. They've spent a lot of money on this case and it's gone nowhere."

Prosecutor Patrick O'Toole said: "It was a difficult case. Everybody knew that going in. It was a case from our end that we thought had to be brought -- that the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."


http://www.fox6.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=3866874d-c8bd-43b4-a142-5eaa4837d9c4

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More than 1 in 100 U.S. adults are in prison

Herald Tribune International

By Adam Liptak
February 29, 2008
Click here for original article.
For the first time in the nation's history, more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million, after three decades of growth that has seen the prison population nearly triple. Another 723,000 people are in local jails.

The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that one in 355 white women ages 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one in 100 black women...

"We aren't really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration," said Susan Urahn, the center's managing director.

But Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, said the Pew report considered only half of the cost-benefit equation and overlooked the "very tangible benefits: lower crime rates."

In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rates of violent crimes fell by 25 percent, to 464 per 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

"While we certainly want to be smart about who we put into prisons," Professor Cassell said, "it would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense."

The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world. China is second, with 1.5 million people behind bars. The gap is even wider in percentage terms.

Germany imprisons 93 out of every 100,000 people, according to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London. The comparable number for the United States is roughly eight times that, or 750 out of 100,000...

"We tend to be a country in which incarceration is an easy response to crime," she said. "Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the '80s and '90s."

Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, "prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets."

..."Getting tough on crime has gotten tough on taxpayers," said Adam Gelb, the director of the public safety performance project at the Pew center. "They don't want to spend $23,000 on a prison cell for a minor violation any more than they want a bridge to nowhere."

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

About one in nine state government employees works in corrections, and some states are finding it hard to fill those jobs. California spent more than $500 million on overtime alone in 2006...

Also see this analysis by Adam Liptak.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are Oakland police aiding the murderer of Chauncey Bailey?

Police arranged jail conversation, but didn't record it. They admit officer is a friend of Yusuf Bey IV.

The Murder Of Chauncey Bailey
Was A Newspaper Editor Murdered To Keep A Story Out Of Print?

60 Minutes(CBS)
Feb. 24, 2008

Shot-gunned to death in the course of reporting a story, police say newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey was probably killed to keep that story out of print.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports.

(CBS) This story begins with a journalist murdered this past summer in Oakland, Calif., presumably because of a story he was working on.

His name was Chauncey Bailey, and just this past week he was honored posthumously with the George Polk Award - one of journalism’s most prestigious honors - for the story that may have cost him his life.

The story Bailey was working on was about, of all things, a bakery. But not any ordinary bakery: it’s called "Your Black Muslim Bakery," and as CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, it was once a multi-million-dollar business as well as a major religious and political power in Oakland.

But the bakery's leaders were known for using tactics right out of "The Godfather." Bailey was investigating some of those tactics, which made some bakery leaders angry.

And angering the bakery was risky business, as Oakland police knew all too well.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Rumors about them killing people or, forcing them to do stuff that they didn't want to do, was rampant throughout the community," Assistant Chief Howard Jordan remembers. "People were scared to talk. People were scared to call the police."

Jordan has been an Oakland cop for 19 years. He says Your Black Muslim Bakery was on police radar for a long time.

It looks harmless enough on the outside, but at its height, the bakery employed about 200 people, many of them ex-convicts, who converted to Islam. And some of them didn't seem to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Your Black Muslim Bakery opened its doors in Oakland more than 30 years ago, selling bean pies and fish sandwiches. It was started by a man who called himself Yusuf Bey, a black Muslim who preached a philosophy of self-reliance and self-esteem.

Over the years, the bakery provided jobs and hope to hundreds of African-Americans in Oakland's inner city. But the positive outward image of the bakery never told the whole story. Inside the building, there were some very sinister things going on.

"It doesn't seem like many folks at the bakery were baking too many pies. It seemed to have just become a criminal enterprise," Cooper remarks.

"That's a fairly accurate statement," Jordan agrees. "It went from a business that was conducting legitimate business to a business interested in doing fraud, real estate fraud, assaults, robberies, vandalism, to promote a criminal cause versus a religious cause."

But in 2002, bakery founder Yusuf Bey was arrested on 27 counts of abusing and raping 12 and 13-year-old girls taken in by the bakery. He was accused of fathering children by them, and of stealing their welfare payments.

According to many reports, Bey fathered more than 40 children by different women at the bakery. As the Bey family, and its business, grew, they opened a dozen stores and owned a security company, a dry cleaner, a school, and properties in the area. In the process, the bakery became something of a law unto itself.

"A lot of Oakland cops told me that they left certain neighborhoods to the Bey family," says reporter Chris Thompson.

"Let them take care of business however they wanted?" Cooper asks.

"Yeah," Thompson says.

Thompson revealed the bakery's secrets in the East Bay Express, a weekly paper. He exposed a trail of "violence, brutality and fraud that stretches back almost a decade." Members of the bakery were furious.

After the stories were published in the paper, Thompson says somebody smashed out all their windows.

Asked if he personally received threats, Thompson tells Cooper, "Somebody would call up and say 'Mr. Thompson, we just want you to know that your days are numbered. Your time is up. You screwed up for the last time.' The creepiest thing was when they started following me home."

That's when Thompson decided to get out of town for a few months. While he was gone, the bakery's charismatic leader, Yusuf Bey, died. His funeral was attended by a thousand mourners, from all parts of Oakland.

After Yusuf Bey Sr.'s death, Howard Jordan says there was a power struggle within the organization. "There was a power struggle between the younger and the older Bey family members," he explains.

This was not your typical boardroom power struggle. Two of Bey's successors were murdered, and a third was wounded in an ambush. The last man standing was Yusuf Bey IV, the 19-year-old son of founder Yusuf Bey, and one of five sons he named after himself.

That's where reporter Chauncey Bailey picked up the story. Bailey was a veteran of Oakland newspapers and television, who worked for a weekly African-American newspaper called The Oakland Post.

In July, Bailey was tipped off to serious financial problems inside the bakery by a man named Saleem Bey.

"The story you told Chauncey Bailey, did that lead to his murder?" Cooper asks Saleem Bey.

"I believe that it led directly to his murder," he replies.

Saleem Bey is not one of Yusuf Bey Sr.'s biological children. He's one of the dozens of people Bey "spiritually adopted" who took the family name. Saleem Bey was a leader of the bakery, until he was forced out in that power struggle.

"I told Chauncey Bailey that the bakery was about to be shut down in an illegal bankruptcy," Saleem Bey explains. "This was the culmination of three years of the bakery being embezzled, and fraud and forgery, and different things that led to it being this way."

"You asked Chauncey Bailey to keep your name out of it. Why?" Cooper asks.

"I knew that it would be inflammatory, and that the people who would take it that way were dangerous," Saleem Bey explains.

Over the years, the bakery had earned a reputation for intimidation.

One incident, which they called a "show of force," was taped by San Francisco's CBS station KPIX-TV. Members of the bakery could be seen outside an Oakland tow-yard, demanding that a car be released. This was a smaller version of the close-order military drills that up to 50 bakery members would put on to intimidate the community.

Another "show of force" was caught by a security camera. Yusuf Bey IV and some of his followers were charged with trashing a neighborhood liquor store. Bey, who has pleaded not guilty, said the action was taken because alcohol was against Islamic law.

After taking over the bakery, Yusuf Bey IV went on a crime spree; he was arrested in three Oakland-area counties on five different felony charges.

"We saw a huge criminal enterprise starting to develop with the change in leadership when Yusuf Bey took over," Jordan says.

At the time reporter Chauncey Bailey was killed, Yusuf Bey IV was free on bail on all charges.

Asked if he thought Chauncey Bailey understood the risk, Saleem Bey says, "I believe that he thought it was more of a risk to myself than to himself. I don't believe that he really felt that he was in danger."

The danger was very real. While working on the bakery story, Chauncey Bailey was ambushed as he walked to his office at the Post. Witnesses told police a young black man wearing a ski-mask, pointed a shotgun at Bailey, and calmly fired three times at point-blank range. The shooter got into a white van idling nearby and sped off.

A day later, more than 200 heavily armed police raided the bakery to arrest Yusuf Bey IV and others on kidnapping and torture charges that had nothing to do with the Bailey murder.

And they arrested another man, Devaughndre Broussard, for killing Bailey. Broussard was a 20-year-old janitor at the bakery, who had converted to Islam after serving time for assault in San Francisco.

When 60 Minutes met him in county jail, Broussard told Cooper what he first told police: he didn't do it.

"I never heard about Chauncey Bailey. I never met him. I never seen him. The first time I heard about Mr. Chauncey Bailey was that night I got arrested," Broussard says.

While under arrest, Broussard continued his denials. And that's when police took an unorthodox step: they put Broussard in an interrogation room alone with his boss and spiritual leader, Yusuf Bey IV.

"He was saying like, 'You gotta help us out. You gotta take this fall.' He was saying like 'As your commanding officer, you gotta follow my orders,'" Broussard claims.

To convince him to take the fall, Broussard says Yusuf Bey IV played on his Moslem beliefs. "He was telling me how I was being tested by God," he says.

"He said that God was testing you?" Cooper asks.

"Yes, he did," Broussard says. "He was saying that, 'You gotta prove your loyalty' and what not."

"By saying you killed Chauncey Bailey, that was proving yourself to God?" Cooper asks.

"He were saying that most times, people don't realize when they being tested by God. 'I’m helping you out. I'm telling you that you being tested by God,'" Broussard says.

"But, I mean, this is a guy you trusted," Cooper remarks.

"Like they say, the people you love is the one that's going to hurt you the fastest," Broussard says.

Immediately after that conversation, Broussard confessed, telling police he was a "good soldier" who killed reporter Chauncey Bailey to protect the bakery. Did Broussard change his story because of what Yusuf Bey IV said to him? Police don't know, because they didn't listen in to that conversation or even record it.

"Mr. Broussard is saying that Yusuf Bey the IV told him, you know, 'Be a good soldier, take the fall.' Do you buy that?" Cooper asks Howard Jordan.

"No. I don't know what was said, but I don't I don't think that it's really relevant as far as what was said in that room," Jordan says.

"You don't think what was said in that room really matters?" Cooper asks.

"No, and it doesn't matter to us in terms of the end-product," Jordan says.

"But shouldn't someone have tape recorded that, or at least listened in on what they were saying?" Cooper asks.

"In a perfect world, yes, that, that should have taken place, but it didn’t," Jordan replies.

The lead investigator in the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, was the officer who decided to put Broussard and Bey IV together. But, in another strange twist, it turns out that Sgt. Longmire had been close to Yusuf Bey IV and the bakery for years.

Broussard realized just how close when he heard them talking at the police station.

Here's his account of what went on: "They was getting along like they really knew each other. The detective, he was saying like, 'We can't let Yusuf Bey the IV go down. He doing good in the community. He helping out black people,'" Broussard claims.

"The police said that to you?" Cooper asks.

"Police officer said that to me," Broussard says.

Chief Jordan does confirm that police knew all about Sgt Longmire's long-time relationship with Bey IV and other bakery leaders. "I don't have any problems with Sgt. Longmire's relationship with members of the bakery. I trust his integrity. I trust his credibility," Jordan says.

"It's certainly something, though, that's gonna be brought up during the trial, the fact that the lead investigator on the case turns out to be friends with Yusuf Bey the IV. It’s unusual, to say the least," Cooper says.

"It's unusual, but not unethical," Jordan says.

Today, Broussard insists he's not guilty and claims he knows who the real killer is.

Asked if he knows who did it, Broussard tells Cooper, "I'm gonna give all that info up when I go to trial."

Yusuf Bey IV, who is in jail on multiple unrelated felony charges, declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview. But he has denied any part in the Bailey murder.

"If anyone had a reason to be concerned about Chauncey Bailey writing something negative about the bakery, they would seem to be the guy who was leading the bakery," Cooper remarks.

"Correct," Jordan agrees. "That is a motive that, you know, we need to explore."

Police say the case is still open. But more than six months after Chauncey Bailey’s murder, Broussard remains the only one charged in the crime.

"Does it make sense that a low-level employee at this bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, would come up with this plan and execute it all by himself?" Cooper asks.

"It doesn't seem right. It seems highly unusual. But I don't know this young man. I don't know what he believes in," Jordan says.

"So it's possible he was following orders from somebody else?" Cooper asks.

"Oh, that's very possible. Yes," Jordan replies.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/22/60minutes/main3861939.shtml

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Man killed wife, then demanded law and order

LAPD make arrest in notorious '80s death

By THOMAS WATKINS
Associated Press
Feb. 23, 2008


LOS ANGELES - A Japanese businessman has been arrested on suspicion of murder more than a quarter-century after an infamous downtown shooting that left his wife dead and caused an international furor, police said.


Kazuyoshi Miura, 60, had already been convicted in Japan in 1994 of the murder of his wife, Kazumi Miura, but that verdict was overturned by the country's high courts 10 years ago.

Miura was arrested Friday while visiting Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth territory in the Pacific, after cold-case detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department worked with authorities there and in Guam, police said in a statement.

"A murder suspect who has been eluding (the) dragnet has been finally captured," the LAPD said. "Miura's extradition is pending."

Officer April Harding, a department spokeswoman, said no other details were available.

Miura's attorney, Junichiro Hironaka, told Japan's Fuji TV late Saturday that the arrest "astonished" him.

"My understanding was that the case was already closed both in Japan and the U.S., especially after their joint investigation," Hironaka said. "It's quite a surprise."

Miura and his wife were visiting Los Angeles on Nov. 18, 1981, when they were shot in a parking lot. Miura was hit in the right leg, while his 28-year-old wife was shot in the head.

His wife remained in a coma and was taken in an Air Force hospital jet to Japan, where she eventually died. Miura blamed street robbers on the attack and railed from his hospital bed against what he called a violent city.

The incident reinforced Japanese stereotypes of violence in the U.S. at a time when Los Angeles was preparing for the 1984 Olympics and was particularly sensitive about its overseas image. The LAPD vowed to find the killers.

Daryl Gates, who was police chief at the time of the killing, said Saturday that Miura was a key suspect even then.

"I remember the case well. I think he killed his wife," said Gates, who had not heard about Miura's arrest before he spoke Saturday afternoon. "We had Japanese police come over; they believed he was guilty, we believed he was guilty, but we couldn't prove it."

Miura, a clothing importer who traveled regularly to the U.S., had said he would write then-President Reagan and then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and urge them to make the city safer.

"Many young Japanese will be coming to the U.S. with their dreams in their hearts," Miura said at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I strongly hope this accident will never occur again."

In 1984, however, Miura's image as a grieving husband was tarnished by a series of news articles in Japan.

Miura reportedly collected about $1.4 million at today's exchange rate on life insurance policies he had taken out on his wife. In addition, an actress who claimed to be Miura's lover told a newspaper that Miura had hired her to kill his wife in their hotel room on a trip to L.A. three months before the shootings.

Miura was arrested in Japan in 1985 on suspicion of assaulting his wife with intent to kill her for insurance money in the hotel incident. He was convicted of attempted murder and while serving a six-year sentence was charged under Japanese law in 1988 with his wife's murder.

Miura was convicted of that charge in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, however, a Japanese high court overturned the sentence, throwing out a lower court's determination that Miura conspired with a friend in Los Angeles to kill his wife.

Kenji Yazawa, a Japanese consul in Saipan, said his office was informed of Miura's detention Friday but is waiting for permission from local authorities before meeting with him.

"It's been two days since he was detained, and we believe he has been given an explanation of his situation by now," Yazawa said. "I think we should probably discuss his situation now and what may come next."

Yazawa said Miura is believed to have visited Saipan previously and that he was "puzzled" by the unexpected development.

A duty official at Japan's National Police Agency said there was no notice from U.S. authorities before the arrest and that the news surprised him. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of internal policy.

News of Miura's arrest made front-page headlines in Japan.

"Why now?" asked the Mainichi newspaper.

Hideo Arai, president of Alpha Japan Promotion, an entertainment management company Miura is associated with, wrote on his blog that the arrest was "outrageous" because of the previous acquittal.

"Japan's Foreign Ministry should lodge a strong protest," Arai wrote.

After his acquittal in 2003, Miura often spoke publicly about false accusation and hounding media coverage.

He has been arrested at least twice since 2003, most recently on suspicion of stealing health supplements at a drugstore near Tokyo last year. Miura denied the charges and is free on bail. His trial is pending.

___

Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080224/ap_on_re_us/businessman_s_wife

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Deputy abused disabled man

Associated Press
Feb. 16, 20008
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida sheriff's deputy who was videotaped dumping a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair onto a jailhouse floor has turned herself in.

Jail records show Charlette Marshall-Jones was booked into the Orient Road Jail early this morning.

It is the same jail where Marshall-Jones worked. She is accused of tipping 32-year-old Brian Sterner out of his wheelchair and searching him on the floor. He had been brought in on a charge of fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer after a traffic violation.

The Hillsborough County deputy has been charged with one count of felony abuse of a disabled person. She was released after posting $3,500 bail. An attorney for Marshall-Jones listed in jail records did not immediately return a phone message.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23197160/

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guards punished other guards who threatened to report them.

Ex-Florida prison boss: Drunken orgies tainted system

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN)

Softball, drunken orgies and a prison system run like the mafia. That's what Florida's former prison secretary says he inherited when he took over one of the nation's largest prison systems two years ago.

McDonough revealed a startling list of alleged abuses and crimes going on inside Florida's prisons:

• Top prison officials admitting to kickbacks;
• Guards importing and selling steroids in an effort to give them an edge on the softball field;
• Taxpayer funds to pay for booze and women;
• Guards who punished other guards who threatened to report them.

"Corruption had gone to an extreme," McDonough said, saying it all began at the top. "They seemed to be drunk half the time and had orgies the other half, when they weren't taking money and beating each other up." Watch a corrupted prison system »

McDonough described a bizarre prison culture among those that ran the system -- one that he says seemed obsessed with inter-department softball games and the orgies after games.

"I cannot explain how big an obsession softball had become," he said. "People were promoted on the spot after a softball game at the drunken party to high positions in the department because they were able to hit a softball out of the park a couple times."

A Brooklyn, New York, native, McDonough says he witnessed the way the mafia worked in his youth and it provided him a keen insight into how his prison predecessor, James Crosby, operated.

"It reminded me of the petty mafia I saw on the streets of Brooklyn when I was growing up in the late 1950s, early 1960s -- petty, small-minded, thugish, violent, dangerous, outside the law, and completely intolerable for a society such as ours in the United States of America," he said...

And getting rid of this "cancer" is exactly what McDonough says he did. McDonough fired 90 top prison officials -- wardens, supervisors, colonels and majors -- claiming they were corrupt or, at the very least, not to be trusted. He demoted 280 others...

Among those arrested were seven officers accused of beating inmates, including five accused of forcing a prisoner to drink toilet water. All have pleaded not guilty.

Tina Hayes...said employees who didn't attend softball games or play on the teams were "isolated" and "pushed aside."

McDonough says the majority of the prison system's 28,000 employees were honest, hard-working people who weren't corrupt at all. But he says many of the top prison officials weren't and he believes he has weeded out "an organized vein of corruption."

"They were like frat boys out of control."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Family men steal drugs--sounds like the mafia

Judge says "if the men were one-tenth as concerned about the children living in the poor neighborhoods they patrolled as their own children, they never would have resold the drugs."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/727182,CST-NWS-cop05.article

Judge astounded by good cops, bad cops
'SCHIZOPHRENIC'
January 5, 2008
BY STEVE WARMBIR

A federal judge Friday had sentenced a crooked Chicago cop to nearly 10 years in prison, and the hearing was over, but the judge wasn't finished.

In an unusual move, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman commented on what he saw over the last two days after he sentenced a parade of rogue officers who robbed drug dealers for cash and cocaine.

What he saw was "almost schizophrenic," Guzman said. The cops were good family men, according to court testimony. Pastors sang their praises. They gave back to the community. One was a Desert Storm veteran. Another made more than 1,000 arrests. And they were part of a ring that sold stolen drugs to return them to the street.

The judge said he had never seen anything like it. "Good guy on one side," Guzman said. "Bad guy on the other side." Guzman sentenced former Chicago Police Officer Corey Flagg to 9½ years in prison, a significant break because of his extensive cooperation against his former fellow officers.

Three of them were sentenced Thursday, with prison terms ranging from 19 years to 40 years.

Guzman appeared exasperated at times as he sentenced the former cops, noting that if the men were one-tenth as concerned about the children living in the poor neighborhoods they patrolled as their own children, they never would have resold the drugs.

Flagg, 37, was the right-hand man of the dirty cop running the drug ring, Broderick Jones. But Flagg was also the first officer charged in the case to cooperate and for that he got a break...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mentally unstable law enforcement officers should be steered to other employment

San Diego Union Tribune
Letters, January 2, 2008

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/op-ed/letters/20080102-9999-lz1e2letters.html

Screen officers better, and make the pay better

Regarding “Lenient sentence is sought for deputy” (Our Region, Dec. 27):

Am I the only one who found it disturbing that a sheriff's deputy who was responsible for enforcing the laws and the safety of the citizens of our county now claims he was not able to handle stressful situations because of an abusive upbringing? I wonder if he provided the Sheriff's Department with this information on his job application?

I don't want a person who has trouble handling stress armed and in a position of authority. I have great respect for our law enforcement officers and the great job they do to protect us. I have long been of the opinion that these officers should be paid more than they currently receive to assure we get the best available.

At the same time we need to screen them on a regular basis to determine if they are being negatively affected by the stress and trauma of their jobs. Let's face it, how many people would want a job that starts at less than $50,000 a year knowing at any time you could have to face someone who is shooting at you with live ammunition? Better salaries, better officers.

ROBERT RICHARDSON
Pacific Beach