Friday, May 30, 2014

Wars Kill

Wars of all kinds have all kinds of casualities. When you realize that the War on Drugs have more casualties than drugs off the street you are pretty sure that at the drop of a Xanax the cops would be all over a phone call tipping them off to potential violence. Hell I could make a anonymous 911 call about a car driving down the highway claiming they are drunk out of their mind and they would be arrested in a hot minute.

I could do the same for a supposed drug dealer in my hood and they would no knock warrant and raid the joint in the dead of the night killing dogs, kids, whomever they felt necessary to get those drugs off the street.

Today's Radley Balko column in the Post provides a highlight reel of some of the Police SWAT teams notorious raids on homes and the result of the terrorism on citizens. That is what it is, the equivalency of terrorism, what more can you call it? Yes hard language hard words need to be said in said hard times.

So when you have a young man presenting himself as a potential domestic terrorist, his own family contacting law enforcement you would expect a SWAT Team or at least a couple of Uniforms willing to do what it takes to ensure that this act be it suicidal or homicidal (and we know that they are often both) occurs.

But no. I said that the ability to check credit cards, cash transactions and gun sales in California are all possible and legal. The ability to check YouTube is well pretty simple no warrant there either. And the fact that the Police did neither is more telling than not.

But instead of looking to the right people to blame and the failures of the system once again to actual do law enforcement it became a matter of hyperbole distraction from misogyny to mental illness. Hey misogynists can buy guns, mentally ill can buy guns and even when you have laws in place to regulate the sales of guns regardless of who is buying them, no one cares. Unless it is in the intent to buy or sell drugs then all bets are off. Talk about misplaced values on every one's part.

Police didn’t search database showing Calif. shooter had bought guns

Kimberly Kindy and Alice R. Crites,
Friday, May 30,
Washington Post
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With the toughest gun-control regulations in the country, California has a unique, centralized database of gun purchases that law enforcement officers can easily search. It offers precious intelligence about a suspect or other people they may encounter when responding to a call.

But this rare advantage wasn’t enough to help authorities head off the May 23 rampage in Santa Barbara that claimed six victims.

Before a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies knocked on Elliot Rodger’s door last month in response to concerns raised by his mother about his well-being, they could have checked the database and discovered he had bought three 9mm semiautomatic handguns. Several law enforcement officials and legal experts on gun policy said this might have given deputies greater insight into Rodger’s intentions and his capability for doing harm.

The deputies did not check the database. They left his apartment after finding him to be “shy, timid, polite and well-spoken,” in the words of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. The deputies saw no evidence that Rodger was an immediate threat to others or to himself.

“I cringed when I learned they didn’t run for guns,” said Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who is chairman of the California Police Chiefs Association’s firearms committee.

James said law enforcement officials are not required to check the Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) database before going to the home of someone who is potentially suicidal. But after the killings in Santa Barbara, he said he expects it will become more common.

“Each agency has their own policy on this. Most leave that to the discretion of the officers who are going on the call,” James said. “I don’t know if it will be necessary to require it in the future. I believe officers will begin to do this on their own because of what happened. They will be more aware of this and act on it.”

Traditionally, law enforcement officers infrequently consult the DROS database when conducting what is known as a “wellness check” on people who may be suicidal but are not threatening violence.

After the rampage, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department confiscated a Glock 34 and two Sig Sauer P226 handguns from Rodger’s black BMW. They also found 41 loaded 10-round magazines in his car and recovered five empty magazines.

In his 137-page manifesto, which he posted online just before the shootings, Rodger wrote about the April visit by deputies. “The police interrogated me outside for a few minutes, asking me if I had suicidal thoughts. . . . If they had demanded to search my room . . . That would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds I thought it was all over.”

Instead, it was only after the killings that the sheriff’s department concluded that Rodger, 22, was a “mad man.”

“Their assessment could have changed if they knew about the gun purchases and asked him about them,” said Daniel W. Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “They could have asked to see the guns. They could have let him know they knew he had them.”

The sheriff’s department did not respond to requests for additional comments regarding the decision to forgo checking the DROS database before going to Rodger’s apartment in Isla Vista. In a statement Thursday, the department said, based on the information it had at the time, Rodger did not seem to be an immediate threat to himself or others so no weapons check was done.

The database includes the names of gun dealers who sold weapons to Rodger, and if the deputies had called the dealers, the scope of his ammunition purchases might have emerged.

Garen J. Wintemute, director of the University of California at Davis’s Violence Prevention Research Program, said knowledge of the guns could have been helpful, but knowledge of large ammunition purchases would have triggered a more urgent need to intervene.

“If they found out he bought 40 magazines, that would have been the end of it,” said Wintemute, who is also an emergency room doctor and professor of emergency medicine. “I don’t think anyone could talk their way out of 40 magazines. Three handguns could be aggressive collecting; 40 magazines is stockpiling. You are preparing for some kind of event. With the family saying he was possibly suicidal, it wouldn’t have been too hard to connect the dots.”

Police typically check the DROS database when they receive calls or other information about persons who may be threatening to do immediate harm to themselves or others, particularly in instances of domestic violence, law enforcement officials said. It’s far less common to check the database when responding to calls about people who may be suicidal, they said.

Capitola Police Chief Rudy Escalante said, for instance, that it would be “virtually impossible” to consult the database for every person who is acting strangely.

“You wouldn’t get everything done,” he said. “You have to have a threat that is happening now or some real information that there is an immediate threat.”

James said that even if deputies had known about the guns and ammunition, it might not have changed the tragic outcome. But he and other law enforcement officials said two other scenarios might have unfolded.

First, deputies could have confronted Rodger with the details of his purchases and asked to see the firearms, requesting that he surrender them. Rodger might have complied if pressed.

Second, the deputies could have returned to Rodger’s family with the information about the gun purchases and asked for more details about his situation. This could have helped the deputies secure a search warrant and to make the case that he was a danger to himself and possibly others, giving them the authority to seize the weapons.

The DROS database is unique to California. Seven other states have some type of requirement for retailers to report details of gun sales to a state agency, but not all of them have an easily searchable database like California’s, according to Webster.

For decades, the California system has required firearms retailers to report handgun purchases, including the buyer’s name and address and details about the handgun. In January, California began to require that retailers report the same information for long guns, which include rifles and shotguns. The sale of assault rifles is banned in the state.

Technically, the database is not a registry, but rather a record of a firearm “transfers.” It records nearly all gun sales, because California law prohibits the sale of guns between private parties.

Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies and a University of Santa Barbara police officer were dispatched to Rodger’s apartment after his mother saw disturbing videos he had posted on YouTube, according to the sheriff’s department. Worried about his well-being, she called his therapist, who in turn contacted a mental health service. The service referred the matter to law enforcement, conveying his mother’s concern that Rodger might be suicidal and information about the videos.

The sheriff’s department Thursday updated their timeline of events, disclosing that deputies had been informed of disturbing videos Roger had posted on YouTube, but did not view them before or after leaving his apartment. But they did ask him about the videos.
“When questioned by the deputies about reported disturbing videos he had posted on-line, Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in socially in Isla Vista and the videos were merely a way of expressing himself,” the sheriff’s department said on its Facebook page. “Based upon the information available to them at the time, Sheriff’s deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate threat to himself or others, and that they did not have cause to place him on an involuntary mental health hold, or to enter or search his residence. Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check on Rodger.”

Rodger removed the videos after the visit by sheriff deputies but in May uploaded them again on YouTube, where they remain. In them, he complains bitterly about his loneliness, isolation, and lack of any attention from women, but he does not threaten violence against anyone.His mother believed they showed he was suicidal.

Escalante, the Capitola police chief, said viewing the videos before going to the apartment might have given deputies more leverage to secure a search warrant.

As for checking the DROS database, it is easy, taking a matter of minutes if law enforcement officials have a person’s legal name and date of birth, as they did with Rodger.
The database is housed inside the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which is essentially a warehouse of databases. CLETS also contains separate gun licensing information, which is recorded at the time of the gun purchase. But this database does not provide officers with any information beyond that contained in DROS and often has fewer details.

Gun rights groups said the Santa Barbara episode shows that existing laws are not used by law enforcement and that more gun-control regulations are not needed.

“The state knew he had firearms. What is the point of registration if they are not going to make use of that information with someone who is clearly mentally unstable?” said Brandon Combs, president of the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, which lobbies on behalf of gun dealers and collectors on gun policy. “I think the shooting in Santa Barbara is about the failure to enforce existing law.”

After the shootings, state Sen. Kevin de León (D-San Diego), renewed calls for a statewide database that would track detailed information about ammunition purchases.

The state Senate passed Senate Bill 53 in August, which would mandate the ammunition sales reporting system. It is now in the state Assembly and is expected to be taken up in next month in the public safety committee.

“My focus is ammunition. This is what fuels the violence,” de León said. “Anyone can walk into any gun store and buy all the ammunition they want — no questions asked. We do not know who sells or who buys ammunition.”

The bill is modeled after local ordinances in more than a dozen cities and counties in California. Local officials have reported using this information to solve crimes and to confiscate ammunition purchased by convicted felons, who are not allowed to own firearms in the state. (None of the cities or counties where Rodger made his gun purchases has such an ordinance. It is unclear where all his ammunition purchases were made.)

Sixty cities, domestic violence groups, religious organizations, local law enforcement departments and gun control groups have signed on as supporters of the bill. Eight gun rights groups are officially opposed to it.

Combs’ group is among those opposed to the bill.

“As the bill is written, you can’t dispose of ammunition in any current, lawful way. You can’t even sell it back to a vendor,” Combs said. “Even if you buy a case and you use it all, the government doesn’t know that, because it doesn’t have provision for that. So it forces you to stockpile ammunition.”

Give It Away

As I have often discussed the role and importance of philanthropy, I have questioned the impetus behind the gift. For many it is a pet project and an opportunity to pursue an avocation using tax free dollars to pursue an agenda that is less about bettering the quality of life and more about bettering the life of the philanthropist, in other words political giving and influence.

But there are those who give and give generously and we all do in some way or another, be it time, be it in Church donations, participating in charity runs or just a can of food or a dollar to a beggar it is something and something is better than nothing.

But in our new venture philanthropy world, nothing ventured means nothing gains. And to those who donate they need metrics to demonstrate where the money went, its dollar to donuts ratios or whatever else demands and expectations they place on the recipients. Then of course its qualitatively assessed and in turn quantitatively assessed if that return on the dollar was worth it. Its the quants but instead of financial returns for banks its hedge fund returns.

Nothing wrong with actually measuring and monitoring where the money went, how it was spent and was it spent wisely. That is what Accountants do and any charity foundation or organization should have appropriate financial documents available to any donor wishing to see where their tax free dollars are being spent. That is actually kinda the law.

So this past week has been a rather interesting tailspin of events with regards to the very subject of philanthropy.

First was Bill Gates announcement that his foundation was slowing down the pace of its giving. There has always been an interesting dilemma about the world's richest man and the world's richest charity and what they were doing with the money. There have been many queries, articles and in turn some commendations and some condemnations about the Gates Foundations giving. I have written about it and others have so do your homework and your reading via the way most do - Google. (just a little fun there bingsters)

I am not sure why the slowdown as once again the mysterious and in turn professional asshole like Gates will not be spilling the tea, the beans or the truth anytime soon and I am sure it has to do with what I call "simple payback" I think the metrics found that it was neither simple nor paid back. And that whole tax exemption thing might have been catching up to his investments vs donations. Whoops! He should just do PAC's those are immediate gratification, buy a Politician and you definitely own him/her, but not in that illegal 14th Amendment way.

Then we have the new Facebook Gates in training, Zuckerberg who has now suddenly decided to donate to his own backyard the Palo Alto School District. Funny that comes on the hind quarters of the recent articles decrying his Newark School donations of a few years ago with much fanfare to now Senator Cory "I love Social Media" Booker and Oprah. That was so bizarre and amusing to those who watched it why wasn't anyone surprised to find out that was a big check in every way that went in every direction but to whom was intended - students. Shocking, I know!

And lastly the entire charade of Race To The Top grants that are bestowed upon schools in districts that are in desperate needs of funds. The STEM grants, the FU grants, the whatever the fad is grants for the moment. Little oversight and accounting is also given these and these are taxpayer monies. I keep hearing about how Government regulation is killing the economy and destroying our lives. Well the only regulation and enforcement I see is Law Enforcement. From arresting 9 year olds and putting them and their families, aka "wage earners" vs "job creators" (which everyone is a job creator just a secondary one vs primary one by spending money) in the slammer that is one industry that is definitely job creating.

I have seen and experienced schools that were designated award winners and received grants from all kinds of organizations to the Government and very little of it I have seen or experienced where it went. We have primary schools that no longer have full time librarians unless the PTSA covers them. We have little art, music or even decent PE and health education. And this is during the supposed Let's Move agenda by our First Lady, whom castigated the House for their new dietary school lunch plans. Neglecting to mention how that plan was easily co-opted by the food industry. Well politics is money and money is the business of politics.

Top heavy administration however to ensure that schools are running not properly or well just running is the imperative. Every week I receive an email announcing another position being created or filled by someone new to the district or some former employee returning to head a committee or two to do something that will never see the light of day. Meanwhile in the actual schools there are kids who can't read. 20 children in a Kindergarten class with no Instructional Aide, nor full time music teacher or PE (they are rotated daily) and no art and only one recess, but we need more Administration, more computers and fewer boots on the ground. Its' the defense complex in Education.

And that brings me to the last new frontier, the elimination of the Recovery School District in New Orleans. This city survived Katrina but the corruption, the ineptitude of its leaders and an overall disdain for the poors finally killed the one thing that was the doorway to equality (in theory not application - that is a Teacher concept right there) - Public Education.

If you think this is just another one off and won't happen to you or your town, get real. I suspect the next is Philadelphia. The closing of schools and the turnover in management, Federal overtaking of a district, Department of Justice investigations are all signs of a district not worth fighting for. So welcome the hedge funds, the new facilitator of Education in America.

They will use whatever metrics, data reconciling and more importantly privacy violations they need to segregate and in turn isolate those whom can be taught and those who won't be. From the schoolyard to the prison yard will be a simple matter of data tracking. Gee Edward Snowden could come back and set that up. Spy y'all as they say in Nawlans!

ETA: After I wrote this I opened the New York Times Business Section and found the article below about classes being offered in how to be a Philanthropist. How is this class paid for - by a Philanthropist. String section not optional and neither is the hypocrisy part.

To Get an A in Philanthropy Class, Give Away $50,000
May 29, 2014

EVANSTON, Ill. — Vinay Sridharan must make it through microeconomic theory and the writings of Proust before the end of his senior year at Northwestern in June. But in one course, the final project is far less abstract: give away $50,000.

It is also far more difficult than it may seem.

This course in philanthropy, endowed with a grant from a Texas hedge fund manager, requires students to find and investigate nonprofit organizations and, if they stand up to scrutiny, give them a portion of the five-figure cash pot.

“I didn’t realize they had real money to give,” said Margaret Haywood, the director of work force development at the Inspiration Corporation, a Chicago charity that received $25,000 from the Northwestern students last year.

The workshop — and others like it that have sprung up in the last few years at a dozen universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and Yale — offers a real-world experience of philanthropy that is rare in the cloistered halls of academia, and which otherwise is reserved for institutions and the affluent. Many students have embraced the challenge, viewing the courses as preparation for work in the nonprofit sector or even as training to one day become wealthy philanthropists themselves.

Mr. Sridharan, a 22-year-old math major at Northwestern who will join the hedge fund AQR Capital Management this summer, said he had learned how much legwork philanthropy involves. “When I give in the future, I’ll do things like visit the organization, speak with people involved, before actually giving my money,” he said.

Michael Sherman, 21, a fresh graduate of Yale bound for a job at Capital One, also said he hoped to be able to give away some of the money he earned. Investigating potential grant recipients, he said, showed him “how many organizations either don’t do as well as they think they do, or don’t do as well as they say they do.”

Some students are seeking an up-close view of the gears of philanthropy. Adrienne Le, a recent Yale graduate who intends to work with nongovernmental organizations and took the course alongside Mr. Sherman, said she wanted “to see how big-time donors look at N.G.O.s.” She added, however, that the course made her “a little bit uncomfortable.”

“At this point, we should not be encouraging students to learn how to give monetarily,” Ms. Le, 22, said. “Why should we presume that we will be extremely wealthy in the future? We really should be encouraging students to be the creative people who will be doing good work on the ground.”

It is no coincidence that these courses, which first appeared at three universities in 2011, have proliferated across elite institutions. Their wealthy backer, Geoffrey P. Raynor, the 46-year-old founder of the hedge fund Q Investments in Fort Worth, is on a mission to sprinkle his foundation’s cash across a widening tract of academia, spreading his own provocative views in the process.

The support of Mr. Raynor, who says he views philanthropy as “practical philosophy,” has provided an additional — and, at times, awkward — education in the modern-day realities of giving. Like many philanthropic gifts, Mr. Raynor’s grants have a number of strings attached, including a request that universities set aside two hours for him to speak with the students.

On a visit to Stanford’s course last week, Mr. Raynor said that “there is no moral high ground” in philanthropy and proposed that doing good deeds is a largely selfish act, suggesting even that Mother Teresa acted out of self-interest, according to people who were present. Students pushed back and questioned Mr. Raynor about how he made his money.

When one student pressed Mr. Raynor to reveal information about his hedge fund’s investments, he remarked that the student was “trying to find out whether the ends justify the means,” and declined to provide the information. When the student continued to challenge him, insisting that a “moral high ground” does exist, Mr. Raynor became silent for around 10 seconds.

“I think he’s used to having classes be really deferential,” said Bruce Sievers, the Stanford lecturer who teaches the course.

Mr. Raynor said in an interview that he did not actually believe Mother Teresa acted out of self-interest but was proposing that idea to spur a discussion about altruism. His hedge fund, which shares an office with his foundation, Once Upon a Time, managed roughly $1.75 billion as of last September, of which $727 million came from the firm’s partners, and invests in areas including aircraft leasing, private equity and distressed assets, according to its website.

“It is all about making ethical choices about how to do good,” Mr. Raynor said, explaining his views on philanthropy. “There is only one seat on the lifeboat. Who do you save?”

Mr. Raynor, who grew up in New York and parlayed a talent for computer programming into a job on Wall Street while still in high school, has long had an interest in philosophy, majoring in the subject at Princeton. When he went to work after college for the billionaire Bass brothers, who made their money in oil, and when he opened his hedge fund in 1994, his philosophical ambitions were delayed.

Now, however, he can indulge that passion, taking advantage of the soapbox that his classroom visits provide.

On a visit to Yale in 2012, he challenged the structure of the course, in which groups of students sought to reach agreements on particular charities to support, according to the instructor, Maxim Thorne, a former high-ranking official with the N.A.A.C.P. “He did say that he thought it was arrogant for the students to try to convince each other of their views,” Mr. Thorne said. “As you can imagine, the students had a lot of debate about who was actually being arrogant in that process.”

When Mr. Raynor went to Princeton soon after, he “gave a more or less formal lecture for an hour,” said Stanley N. Katz, the Princeton professor who teaches the course. “I assumed that someone giving money like this would be interested in what the students thought. But he didn’t appear to be.”

Mr. Raynor’s relationship with Princeton, though it is his alma mater, ended last year, after Mr. Raynor insisted on new terms for the grant agreement. Saying the courses should become “self-sustaining,” the Once Upon a Time Foundation lowered its grants to $50,000 from a maximum of $100,000, and said it would encourage the students to help raise up to $50,000 of additional cash. As an incentive, the foundation offered to give the universities themselves double what the classes raised.

Other universities signed on to the new terms — and, in Yale’s case, incorporated the fund-raising aspect into the course — but Princeton balked. The philanthropy workshop “was not intended as a course to teach students how to participate in fund-raising,” Martin A. Mbugua, a Princeton spokesman, said in an email. “When the foundation required a change of terms in this manner, that would have changed the primary intent of the course, thus the university’s decision.”

As a parting gift, Mr. Raynor bestowed $25,000 on the Princeton class last fall. But the course will continue in future years with support from another donor, Terrence Meck, the president of the Palette Fund, who was inspired after visiting Yale’s course to finance Princeton’s version with $150,000 for three terms.

At Northwestern last week, the class heard from students who had taken the course a year earlier. One visitor, Christopher Gilligan, a junior, was critical of the Inspiration Corporation, the charity that got a big chunk of the money last year, saying that a grant report the organization had prepared “doesn’t fully explain what they did with our money over the past year.”

The stakes were high: The Inspiration Corporation happened to be on the shortlist of organizations being considered by this year’s class. Shannon K. Stewart, the executive director of the group, which offers job training and other services to the homeless, said she would encourage any students who were dissatisfied with the report to get in touch with questions. But some students were troubled by Mr. Gilligan’s concerns.

“Some say they thought it was easy to give away money,” said Penelope L. Peterson, the dean of the school of education and social policy at Northwestern and an instructor of the course. “Until they take this class. Then they realize how hard it is.”

Pick Me

When you are in the playground getting picked for the best kickball team sometimes you are just not chosen. That can be devastating when you are young but when you are older you need to just get over it.

But in criminal law there are two sides - Prosecution and Defense. In today's Courts that seems correct as the profession of law calls itself adversarial. Really? Spend time watching Lawyers in Courtroom and see if you can tell the difference.

I can understand professionalism and treating each other with respect but this is often past that. Again most Court proceedings do not take place actually in a Court, it takes place in the adjacent conference rooms where most of the plea bargaining and bullshit fake negotiations between Prosecutor and Client Attorney. The Client rarely is involved and then they are bullied, coerced, exhausted or relieved to take whatever "deal" is offered. Then a return into the Court where the agreement is presented to the Judge who affirms whatever took place outside. Then if you have the audacity to refuse to do so you will be denigrated, humiliated and in turn face the full ire of ALL involved. As yes your Attorney is none to thrilled to have to be forced to participate in what is a rare turn of events - an actual trial.

And yes many Attorneys have collegial friendly relationships with Prosecutors and Judges which is fine as you assume that is put aside to properly defend their clients - the one who is actually paying said Attorney. And sure no, not really as well they are human and mostly men. So it falls in the fuck you or slap on the back. You have to do some sleuthing to actually figure out which one they fall into. Read their blogs often quite telling, ask them to their face "do you like this person?"

If you are truly curious about an Attorney, pull their appearances in local Courts and see which Prosecutors and Judges and see where they most appear and then actually look up the numbers to see how that case ended. Yes that is immense work and it is very telling but without that you have no idea what these blood sucking vermin are doing on a daily basis and how many clients they are really juggling. It is not just Public Defenders who seem to have more cases than days in the year. Trust me I have done that it is the most telling aspect to actually finding a Lawyer. It is also time consuming, frustrating and worrisome. I get the whole make a living but when you are driving across a county between numerous courts every day you are not giving anyone appropriate time you including yourself, its called hustling. That is today's Attorney, a hustler.

***for the record when I worked with Contractors and trade professionals I pulled licenses and permits and contacted the owners of property to ask them directly about their experience with said workers. This is why Yelp exists to save the actual work and bullshit regarding the whole reference shit.. sorry calling actual real references on legal documents by far more informative. Again that takes work and Americans don't have the time frankly.

And then you have the Public Defender, the last bastion of Gideon who is there for you on the public dime who is to defend and support you. And they are adversary's they are representatives for the down trodden and they are overworked and underpaid Attorney's who are waiting to hang a shingle or get a gig in the ever downsizing law firm. Which is a collective of Attorney's who are like hairdressers who pretend they aren't hustling either but they are at least together faking it. Watch how many of them take fewer and fewer clients and specialize in whatever deep pockets current marketplace demands.

And this is the reality of law, ever changing but always the same. When you enter that pool you start in the deep end immediately. It is a monopoly and they will do whatever it takes to ensure it is protected from the vermin citizenry that threatens it. **be called nut job or scoff laugh as response **

Read the article below it says it all. Adversary or accomplice? Someone is on the wrong side on the wrong team. Wonder how many of her clients have found that out the hard way?

Charleston prosecutor, public defender subjects of misconduct complaint

Glenn Smith
May 23 2014 \

A Columbia attorney has called for an investigation into the conduct of 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Public Defender Ashley Pennington, alleging the pair are guilty of ethical missteps that undermine the pursuit of justice.

Lawyer Desa Ballard filed a complaint this week with the state Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, outlining a list of grievances against the chief prosecutor and defender for Charleston and Berkeley counties. Wilson and Pennington denied the allegations.

Ballard accused Wilson of withholding key evidence from defense attorneys and establishing "an office environment with the attitude 'we do what we can get away with.'"

Ballard described Pennington as a vocal supporter of Wilson who reportedly muzzled his staff's criticism of the solicitor and required them to consult with him before alerting state court officials to any alleged misconduct by her office.

"I regret that the Ninth Circuit criminal prosecution and defense are being affected by what appears to be a pattern of misconduct and I urge your office to look into these matters expeditiously," Ballard stated in the complaint.

Wilson and Pennington insisted they have done nothing wrong. They also questioned why the complaint surfaced in the media before they received a copy and had a chance to respond.

Wilson said the claims leveled at her are "extremely misleading and in some instances outright false," mainly stemming from older cases in which she was not directly involved. None generated complaints at the time, and Ballard is rehashing issues that have long since been resolved, she said.

"The issues raised in the complaint have been addressed by courts in the past," she said. "Moreover, public release of a complaint before an official has the opportunity to respond is inappropriate to say the least. "

Pennington also took issue with the grievance. He said he tries to ensure his office speaks with a single voice in public statements, but he said allegations that he blocked anyone from filing professional misconduct complaints is "utterly ridiculous and false."

State Disciplinary Counsel Lesley M. Coggiola could not be reached for comment on the matter Friday, and it's unclear if an investigation will result from Ballard's complaint.

Ballard cited four cases in respect to Wilson, including a murder prosecution Wilson was involved in before becoming solicitor.

In that case, involving the 2003 rape and stabbing of Julie Jett in West Ashley, Wilson failed to tell defense attorneys before trial that a boyfriend of Jett's roommate had a key to the apartment - information they could have used to raise the possibility that someone other than the suspect had access to commit the crime, Ballard said.

Ballard said Wilson also failed to turn over crime scene notes to the defense before another murder case went to trial in Berkeley County in 2009. And she let Tyrone Winslow Jr. spend two years in jail waiting for a 2012 murder trial though her office had ample witness testimony indicating he had acted in self-defense in stabbing another man in McClellanville two years earlier, the complaint stated.

Lastly, Ballard raised concerns about an assistant prosecutor who was caught communicating with a cousin who was sitting on a jury during a 2007 murder trial. The prosecutor, who also acknowledged regularly texting the trial judge, was not involved in the case at hand and insisted he didn't discuss the proceedings. But the Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law for six months.

"While the attorney was disciplined for that contact," Wilson said Friday, "there was no evidence or finding of prosecutorial misconduct."

As for Pennington, Ballard said she was approached by an attorney in his office who complained that the public defender had directly ordered him not to file misconduct complaints against Wilson in 2007 and 2009.

The attorney, who she would not identify, said Pennington also made clear that his performance evaluation would hinge on him ceasing his public criticism of Wilson and her office.

"You are not to speak or convey in any manner to others comments that are critical of (Scarlett Wilson) or her office, especially regarding their ethics or honesty without gaining my permission first," Pennington stated in a December email to the attorney.

Pennington, however, goes on to say in the email that his directive should not be construed as limiting the attorney's ability to file ethics grievances against prosecutors with state court officials if there is a need.

Ballard included the email in some 70 pages of trial transcripts, articles and other documents she attached to her complaint in support of her position.

Pennington said Friday that filing grievances becomes necessary when the offending lawyer shows an indifference to the ethics rules, but that has not been the case when he has voiced concerns over evidence-sharing and other issues with Wilson and her staff.

"I have not encountered that indifference in the Solicitor's Office," he said in an email. "Over the last seven years, each of the issues or objections I have personally raised with the Solicitor and her staff have been heard and been responded to."

For Wilson, the complaint is the latest chapter in a volley of criticism that erupted last year after she questioned a state Supreme Court justice's rant at a conference about unethical prosecutors.

She led an unsuccessful effort by 13 solicitors to have Justice Donald Beatty barred from considering their cases or ruling on grievances against prosecutors.

Soon after, the S.C. Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate Wilson's office over allegations that prosecutors were not sharing evidence with defense lawyers and other unacceptable practices.

Pennington opposed the association's move to send the letter because, he told the newspaper at the time, he has always worked with the solicitor to iron out their differences.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, no relation to the solicitor, declined the association's request, saying these issues had already been raised in judicial proceedings and resolved by various courts without any finding of prosecutorial misconduct.

Ballard said she has never had legal dealings with Wilson or Pennington, but felt compelled to file the complaint after learning of troubling events that threatened the quality of justice in the 9th Circuit.

A former law clerk with the state Supreme Court, Ballard has practiced law for 31 years and serves as an adjunct professor with the University of South Carolina School of Law. She specializes in professional ethics and responsibility.

"I spend my time defending lawyers, that's mostly what I do.

You have to think long and hard before you file a complaint against another lawyer, and I did. But I felt this was necessary," she said. "My goal is not for anyone to be sanctioned. All I want to see happen is for the laws to be complied with in the future."

But former solicitor and Attorney General Charlie Condon, now a defense lawyer, said he was puzzled by the complaint. He said Pennington is one of most ethical, respected lawyers he knows. He said both Pennington and Wilson run their offices at "extremely high levels of performance and serve their respective duties well.

"This seems meant to tarnish the reputations of two really good attorneys and two really good people," he said.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bad Dog

Our obsession with booze and drugs are an interesting dynamic. We have tried outright prohibition and with drugs we are moving towards increasing legalization of Marijuana across the board.

We have had many highly charged wars against drugs of the day, from cocaine or its byproduct, crack, then meth and now heroin has captured the echo chamber's interest. The media seizes on a particular horrifying death or accident, prompted by the perfect victim's histrionic family member and then the subsequently appropriately named acronym group that lobbies their local politicians to "do something" and in turn they throw together poorly written, badly enforced and impossible to actually manage and afford laws to placate and patronize the community at large. In order to prove they are "tough on crime."

I have always thought that while the efforts of MADD were in the right place, they have long transcended that concept. And the DUI laws that have resulted from highly publicized fatal accidents (as was the original case in Lightner's case) are often from repeat offenders whom the previous equally demanding laws, such as interlock devices, long term probation, mandatory treatment, license revocation failed. And why they were never actually enforced due to lack of resources in which to do so. So instead equally absurd and even more draconian laws that will go subsequently unenforced for the same reasons, now are spread over even the dude who was below legal limit or was on the way home 10 hours later - just 2 hours shy of the 12 hour digestible cutoff for alcohol absorpti

Now we have Marijuana and the debate of its affects on the body. Anyone who somehow thinks the same junk science that is used to determine the .08 level is somehow right on that one but wrong with the .05 THC is clearly a hypocrite or a stoner. Its all junk science and recently a Doctor has come up with a medical book that proves sober people fail the cop perp dui walk due to many reasons. It's on Amazon and you can get a Doctor to run the same test and in turn write you a Doctor's note should you to face the gaze and superior nasal capabilities of the Police Officer. Wait til they get booze sniffing dogs to go with the drug ones..have already written about that bullshit. But junk science breeds well junk science dogs (pun intended)

When I read Radley Balko today he linked to his old blog in 2008 with regards to the war on drugs. It was in response to the NYPD now carrying Naloxone to prevent deaths from Heroin overdose.. this seems to be the Phillip Seymour Hoffman affect. Odd that new laws were not written but actually policy that may be beneficial versus harmful instead.

But this doesn't mean the drug wars are less or will change. Still deaths of people, puppies and passers by will be causalities in an absurd war that has little to do with drugs and the problems they cause but with the money that comes from an increasingly obsessed police state nation.

Better Dead Than High
The morally dubious logic of drug warriors

Radley Balko | February 29, 2008

For several years now, the drug naloxone has been used in emergency rooms and clinics to treat people who have overdosed on opium-derived drugs like heroin or morphine.

A new version of the drug is even more promising in that it can be administered outside of hospitals. The new version comes as a nasal spray, and retails for about $10.

Several dozen volunteers and government public health groups across the United States have begun distributing the packets to drug users, along with training on how to use it.

The results have been encouraging. One study looked at 16 organizations that have been distributing the kits, and found that they'd cumulatively trained 20,950 people to administer the drug, and successfully reversed 2,642 overdoses.

Perhaps you aren't fond of the idea of using tax dollars to help drug addicts avoid overdoses (and yes, some of the groups distributing the packets are taxpayer-subsidized). As a libertarian, I have mixed feelings.

But a $10 antidote is considerably preferable to a taxpayer-funded trip to the emergency room. The packets seem even more reasonable given that many states have been reluctant to pass "good Samaritan" laws, which shield people who call 911 to report overdoses from prosecution.

In any case, they certainly seem like a good idea for private groups and non-profits. It's a cost-effective way of saving lives.

But not everyone is happy. Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, recently told National Public Radio she opposes the distribution programs because—and hold on to your hat for this one—she believes life-threatening overdoses are an important deterrent to drug use.

"Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services," Madras said.

Madras' reaction offers a telling glimpse into the mind of a drug warrior.

We're told that certain drugs have to be prohibited because they're too dangerous. But we should also resist efforts to make them less dangerous because doing so might encourage drug use.

It's a bizarre argument until you consider the real motivation behind it: In truth, it's not so much about the harm some drugs do; it's about an absolute moral opposition to the use of some drugs.

Even if they were completely harmless, some people simply don't like the idea that we can ingest chemicals that make us feel good.

Over the years, drug warriors from former Drug Czar William Bennett to current Czar John Walters to recent DEA Administrator Karen Tandy have defended the efficacy of alcohol prohibition. All three have called the experiment a "success," and the notion that it failed a "myth."

They insist alcohol prohibition was a success because it reduced alcohol consumption. That assertion itself is debatable, but even assuming they're right, the argument itself is revealing

Americans didn't pass prohibition because there's something inherently evil about alcohol. They passed it because of the alleged deleterious effects associated with drinking.

To call Prohibition a "success," you'd have to ignore the precipitous rise in homicides and other violent crime during the period; the rise in hospitalizations due to alcohol poisoning; the number of people blinded or killed by drinking toxic, black-market gin; the corrupting influence of Prohibition on government officials, from beat cops to the halls of Congress to Harding's attorney general; and the corresponding erosion of the rule of law.

Of course, the 18th Amendment was passed because prohibitionists convinced the country that their movement would alleviate many of these problems. But once Prohibition was in place—and still today among its defenders—it became not about the negative effects of alcohol, but about preventing people from drinking as an ends unto itself. Stop people from drinking, and we've won. Never mind that the cure was worse than the disease.

In December 2006, the ONDCP put out a triumphant press release celebrating a five-year decline in the use of illicit drugs among teens.

"There has been a substance abuse sea change among American teens," Walters said in the release. "They are getting the message that dangerous drugs damage their lives and limit their futures. We know that if people don't start using drugs during their teen years, they are very unlikely to go on to develop drug problems later in life."

But the following February, the Centers for Disease Control reported that deaths from drug overdoses rose nearly 70 percent over the previous five years.

Half the overdose deaths were attributable to cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs (the number of overdose deaths caused by marijuana—the drug most targeted by the ONDCP—remained at zero). One of the biggest increases (113%) came among aged 15-22, those same teenagers Walters was celebrating just three months earlier.

To look at those two figures and conclude that the drug war is moving in the right direction betrays a near-religious devotion to preventing recreational drug use, at any cost.

Prohibition advocates are again measuring success not on how well the drug war is preventing real, tangible harm, but simply on how effectively they're preventing people from getting high.

The naloxone story only reinforces in a tidier narrative what we've witnessed for the last 25 years—that drug warriors are willing to write off the loss of human life as collateral damage and engage in all sorts of morally dubious practices in order to prove their point.

That point, ironically enough, is that drug use is immoral and dangerous.

So Sue Me

That expression is one both overused and abused. In reality the only ones who ever benefit from lawsuits are Lawyers. Overlawyered from the CATO Institute does a fairly good job of documenting the insanity of the Trial Lawyers. And having crashed their shindig in Miami a year back with Kenny Rogers as the entertainment, they are doing quite well. As for Kenny, wow lay off the surgery.

So when I saw this last night I almost sued myself for damages as I nearly peed myself.

Seattle cops sue over DOJ reforms

In a highly public rejection of federally mandated reforms, more than 100 Seattle police officers filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a federal judge to block what they called “mechanical” and unrealistic use-of-force policies imposed on them under a court-ordered consent decree.

By Steve Miletich, Mike Carter and Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporters

Key components of the policy include officers carrying at least one less-lethal device and reporting all but minimal force.

• Officers shall use force only when necessary and “with minimal reliance upon the use of physical force.”

• While force is sometimes unavoidable, officers should not precipitate the unnecessary use of force.

• Officers shall use only the degree of force that is objectively reasonable and proportional to the threat or resistance.

• Through “advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics,” officers shall seek to de-escalate confrontations.

• Officers must carry at least one less-lethal device, such as a Taser, pepper spray, a “bean bag” round or impact device that is unlikely to cause death but potentially could.

• All but minimal force must be reported, including the “intentional pointing of a firearm at a subject.”

• It is inappropriate to use force to punish or retaliate against people; or against people who verbally confront officers; or against handcuffed or restrained individuals.

• Supervisors will be required to review and screen use of force.

• A new Force Investigation Team (FIT) will look into highest-level uses of force, as well as officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and serious assaults on officers.

• The Use of Force Review Board is formally incorporated, with the responsibility to review high-level uses of force and identify trends or deficiencies regarding policy, training, equipment or tactics.
Reader CommentsHide / Show comments 123 Seattle Police Officers want a new job but don't want to give up their benefit plans. Hesitation, patience and... (May 28, 2014) MORE
Last time I looked, Seattle was not the only place with law enforcement agencies... If you do not happen to like or... (May 28, 2014) MORE
I would suggest firing these 100+ Seattle police officers. Probably a good step towards getting the force back in... (May 28, 2014) MORE
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In a highly public rejection of federally mandated reforms, more than 100 Seattle police officers filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a federal judge to block what they called “mechanical” and unrealistic use-of-force policies imposed on them under a court-ordered consent decree.

The 43-page suit alleges policies stemming from an agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stoked a “bold, new disregard for police authority in the streets of Seattle,” putting officers and the public in unreasonable danger.

The civil-rights suit, filed in U.S. District Court, contends the changes have effectively created “hesitation and paralysis” among officers, stripping them of their constitutional and legal right to make reasonable, split-second judgments in the line of duty.

As a result, officers are afraid to do their job for fear of being second-guessed over burdensome, complicated and voluminous policies, the suit says.

“Aside from evidence that officers are hesitating and/or failing to use appropriate and lawfully justified force to address threats safely and effectively, there is evidence of a dramatic decrease in proactive police work to investigate and stop crime,” the suit alleges in a reference to what some have called depolicing.

Just two weeks ago, a Seattle Police Department report revealed steep drops in the enforcement of lower-level crimes, traffic offenses and infractions in recent years as officers have displayed less willingness to seek out illegal activity.

The suit alleges officers have turned in Tasers in large numbers because of confusion about how and when to use them and will testify about an “insidious” reluctance to respond to backup calls, all out of fear of being exposed to unreasonable discipline or termination.

The suit, filed by 123 officers, detectives and sergeants, largely from the department’s North Precinct, was brought without an attorney, although a civil-rights attorney in Washington, D.C., assisted.

It also was filed without the approval or support of their union, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG).

The suit names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan in Seattle, top DOJ attorneys and Mayor Ed Murray, along with current and past Seattle city officials and Merrick Bobb, the federal monitor overseeing court-ordered reforms to curtail excessive force and biased policing.

The city and DOJ civil-rights attorneys agreed to the reforms in 2012 after the Justice Department found that officers had engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, a conclusion the lawsuit rejects as flawed and unproved.

The Justice Department also cited troubling evidence of biased policing.

The suit, for the first time, brought to the surface widespread hostility within the Police Department toward the new use-of-force policies, standing in marked contrast to top commanders and city officials who have repeatedly embraced reforms.

Murray, in a terse statement issued Wednesday afternoon, said he has yet to review the lawsuit and it would be inappropriate to immediately comment.

“But I will say: the Seattle Police Department is under a federally-mandated court order, in part because of a disturbing pattern of unnecessary use of force and other forms of unconstitutional policing,” Murray said.

“The police department will comply with that court order. The City of Seattle will not fight the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This is not the 1960s.”

The new use-of-force policy, which went into effect Jan. 1, for the first time defined “force” as any physical coercion by an officer in the performance of their duties, and advised when it can be used and how much is appropriate under the circumstances.

Officers must report all but the most minimal use of force to supervisors, and shall “use only the force necessary to perform their duties” and “with minimal reliance upon the use of physical force.”

They also are required, if circumstances allow, to attempt to de-escalate tense situations through “advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics” to reduce the need for force.

When using force is unavoidable, the policy cautions officers to use only the force necessary to make the arrest, and says that their conduct before force was used may be considered by the department in determining whether force was appropriate.

Procedural manuals lay out weapon-by-weapon guidance, new reporting guidelines and the policies for the department’s new Force Investigation Team (FIT), which will roll out on incidents involving the highest levels of force and officer-involved shootings.

The suit brought Wednesday seeks an injunction against the policies and declaratory judgment that they’re unconstitutional, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

“We participate in continuing and extensive training regarding suspects’ rights and have never sought a blank check on using force,” the suit says.

Ron Smith, SPOG’s president, said of the officers who filed suit, “I knew they were unhappy. I knew they were contemplating this action. I met with them to hear their concerns at their request, back in March. I didn’t hear back from them again.”

Smith said he gave the group “a conduit” to the Community Police Commission, created as part of the consent decree, and that they shared their concerns with the commission.

“I assumed they were going to get the policy changed in the areas of concern,” Smith said. “I would like to say the policy is overly broad, poorly written and somewhat confusing. However, I believe the policy could have been changed with collaboration with the Community Police Commission.”

Smith said the federal filing “is not supported” by the Guild, and is not being funded by the union.

He said the dissenters, who represent 10 percent of his membership, started going precinct to precinct in January looking for signatures and were told to stop by command staff.

The lead plaintiff on the suit, Robert Mahoney, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Mahoney in 2009 was given 30 days off without pay after an 18-year-old Explorer cadet he had been supervising accused him of kissing her and putting his tongue in her mouth.

The discipline was the most severe that could be imposed short of termination by then-Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

Mahoney denied he kissed the woman, which resulted in Kerlikowske imposing what could have been a career-ending finding of “dishonesty.”

The Public Safety Civil Service Commission upheld the suspension and allegations of unprofessional conduct but threw out the dishonesty finding.

Wednesday’s suit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, the chief federal district judge in Western Washington.

The consent decree is being overseen by U.S. District Judge James Robart, who could hear the suit if it is transferred to him.

The suit singles out Robart, the Justice Department and Bobb, the monitor, for criticism, asserting that officers, for example, have more training and experience than they do in dealing with mentally ill offenders who often abuse drugs and act violently.

The Constitution “does not permit judges, or in this case DOJ and its Monitor, to look back in perfect hindsight, from the safety of their chambers or offices, to second-guess what patrol officers actually faced at the moment and know from real experience on the streets,” the suit said.

Yes I see doing one's job is stressful but doing so with restraint and accordance to this thing you are to uphold - the LAW - is apparently not something these Officers of the LAW wish to do.

I always love that when someone says "thanks for putting your life on the line" I am assuming they mean us the citizens of this City when dealing with the Seattle Police as clearly the Police are not doing anything of the sort.

I have never met an Officer I did like. And yes that was before I was arrested while in a coma on a ventilator and blood drawn without a warrant by a Nurse I suspect was bullied, intimidated, coerced or what I really think - utterly compliant with the Officer's malfeasance.

Watching the Officer on the stand who only months earlier in the same newspaper proclaim his expertise and knowledge was interesting to the level of idiocy and incompetency I and Harvard (Lawyer #2) witnessed. Tweedle Dum was in full mode that day, but my favorite was when asked if he had called the actual phone number of my date/rapist his response was "no." Yes when given a phone number and the ability to get a Court Order which is other accomplice Tweedle Dee failed to do to find the owner of said number, shows that misconduct and the law is not something here in Seattle we feel compelled to do.

Lawyer #1, missed the performance but informed me later as he often did to explain,excuse or justify the bizarre antics that transpired in Court, said that this Officer when normally testifying about standard tests he was outstanding. He also said the same about the Prosecutor and her level of convictions. Again, misconduct can do that kind of thing. I have not mastered the scoff laugh so I just did the glare increduously thing.

I write about this because if it happened to me it can happen to anyone. PERIOD.

I live in a neighborhood where in 9 days we had 9 shootings, we had a man pushing a dead man in grocery cart and we had a carjacking at a local Pea Patch, numerous elderly people's purses and phones snatched as they get off public transport in the same time frame. And in turn we get a new precinct chief to replace the one who had been on the gig for 5 months. All during this same period of chaos the department has acknowledged a 'slow down' on enforcing low level crime.

Shootings are low level I guess. But hey guns are permitted in our parks thanks to the Judge in my Civil (yes I have both civil and criminal cases) case who ruled that making guns illegal (as a former mayor not the last one the one before that, we go through Mayors as we go through Police Chief's pretty much as the same rate) was unconstitutional. Yes having guns in the Parks are allowed which is where one of the shootings transpired, while families were playing, picnicking, etc. I will have some potato salad and a side of buckshot.

Yes I know this is a blog about sustainable issues, green build, etc. Hey if life and living in a community is not safe and sane for its residents then it is not sustainable. I pray everyday to leave here. And since Seattle is number one on the census track for relocation's, I won't be missed.

I just hope I leave upright and not in a box. I suspect that both the Seattle Municipal Court and Harborview Hospital Attorneys (the Defendant's still don't know me as well I never actually met most of them and they were all students so they are gone anyway so just the Attorney's probably care) I am sure wish for my death and would be happy to enable that possibility. Yes that is negative but you have not met these people and I have and to say hateful (well one Attorney I like he seems sane and normal which right there is odd) would be insufficient. I have never met more hateful women then the Harborview Admin Bitches, well other than the cuntbucket from the Seattle City's Attorney's office, there is one special type of cunt, a truly hateful one.

And when I write my book about this I will use their real names and you know what - sue me.

ETA:  Today it has been released that overtime bills for the supposed training for SPD did not happen. Again not a surprise given our Police and their history. 

       2 probes into Seattle police OT spending


Two investigations are underway into potential abuse of overtime policies at the Seattle Police Department, the KING 5 Investigators have confirmed.

Both the Seattle City Auditor and the SPD's Office of Professional Accountability have opened investigations into the matter, which involves as much as $2.8 million in overtime spending.

The overtime costs were charged to the SPD training unit, which was under pressure to provide increased training as part of the department's legal settlement with the federal government over excessive use of force and biased policing. But it’s unclear where all of the money went.  Hundreds of officers did not receive even the minimum 32 hours of “Street Skills” training that’s part of their guild contract.

Then-acting police chief Jim Pugel suspended the training last October when he became aware the unit was racking up overtime far beyond what was budgeted, according to Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, who works in the department's Public Affairs Office. KING 5 was unable to reach Pugel for comment. 

Two months after the training was suspended, Merrick Bobb, the federal monitor overseeing changes at SPD, sounded the alarm, saying the lack of training was stalling the overall reform effort.

But the overtime and training problem didn't become known to top city officials until January, when an anonymous complaint was made to the Office of Professional Accountability.

"We're looking at the allegation that one or more people used their authority to direct overtime spending to themselves or others," said Pierce Murphy, the OPA director. 

He said the SPD officers under investigation may have acted "for their [own] benefit or the benefit of others that were friends or somehow known to them."

Murphy receives and investigates complaints about misconduct in the Seattle Police Department.  He said this case is unusual because it has to do with internal processes and the use of authority internally. Most complaints have to do with use of force or day to day interactions between citizens and police.

Sources told KING 5 that the allegations now under investigation paint the picture of a unit with such lax oversight that it became the center of an overtime free for all -- with members scheduling themselves for overtime without a supervisor's approval and at times when there were too few students to justify extra instructors.

"I'm incredibly disturbed," said Mayor Ed Murray. "I'm disturbed by what happened last year and I'm disturbed that this information didn't come out last year."

Murray said Interim Police Chief Harry Bailey -- the man he appointed in January after removing Pugel from the post -- made investigating the overtime spending a top priority shortly after he took over.

Seattle City Auditor David Jones also confirms his office is investigating what precipitated the spending spree, why the training unit overspent its budget and why it wasn’t noticed sooner.

While most of the people who led the unit last year have been moved to new assignments, Murray said he wants to hold accountable anyone who knowingly violated SPD policies.

"The question we need to ask is, ‘Who are the individuals who may have abused the system?'" Murray said. "The more important question is why did the leadership of the police department last year allow this to happen?"

SPD would not provide information about how much overtime was budgeted for training in 2013, so it’s impossible to know exactly how far spending exceeded the budget. SPD's Whitcomb said the overage was “substantial,” but more detailed information would not be made available until the OPA investigation is completed. 

Meantime, the SPD training unit is ramping up again as departmental reforms continue. More overtime is unavoidable unless the city wants to reduce the number of officers on patrol at any given time. But Murray said he will make it clear to the next police chief that overtime needs to be and closely tracked and controlled and its use justified.

Murray announced his pick for SPD chief former Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole.  {Doubt anything will change frankly}

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vigorous Defense

Social Media brings all kinds of bullies to the yard and no greater bullies than one's that possess a Law Degree.  They are certain that their propensity to swing Latin terminology is akin to dick swinging, they are classy like that.   

If you doubt it check Twitter and when you see "Lawyer" in the bio follow them for a hot minute and see the twit wars.   They even have bat signals to call their other Lawyer friends to dogpile on whomever has the audacity to disagree with them.  It always ends with the non Lawyer being called  "nut job".  For all their propensity for language you would think the commentaires negatifs would be multiple syllable.  Apparently Thesaurus' are not a part of the legal journals.

The other standard response is the patented scoff laugh as if anyone without the stupidity to spend 6 figures to sit through three years of largely philosophical education that has little to do with real law is another way this field dismisses anyone with the audacity to question their "brilliance."    That one is a little hard to do over the Internet. 

Two words to that Gideon's Trumpet. That landmark decision was based on a convicts pro se research and brief to the Supreme Court to ironically do what - get an Attorney.   Hmm maybe not a great idea.  Well the Supreme Court ruled that States  can now exterminate you even if you are both stupid and/ or retarded.   That would mean half of Congress is possibly up to find out first hand what a repressive angry Country we are.   Hope they can get a good Lawyer.

Well not this guy maybe....

Lawyer charged with felony intimidation over Facebook message to client’s ex-husband

Posted May 23, 2014 2:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Attorney James Allen "Jim" Hanson says he was just trying to send a message to his client's ex-husband to expect a vigorous defense.
But his profanity-laced Facebook post to the man, which concludes "I've got you in my sights now," conveyed more, Indiana prosecutors say. They have charged the 41-year-old lawyer with felony intimidation, according to the Associated Press. If convicted in the Allen County case, he could get jail time and a fine of as much as $10,000.
WANE provides the full text of the Facebook post, which states:
"You pissed off the wrong attorney. You want to beat up women and then play games with the legal system … well then you will get exactly what you deserve. After I get [my client] out of jail I’m going to gather all the relevant evidence and them I’m going to anal rape you so hard your teeth come loose. I tried working with you with respect. Now I’m going to treat you like the pond scum you are. Watch your ass you little [expletive deleted]. I’ve got you in my sights now.”
Hanson admitted writing the post in a Fort Wayne police interview and said the language he used was equivalent to what his client's ex-husband had used, the station reports. However, he said he had not meant to threaten the man, but simply convey that he would gather all relevant evidence to defend his client.
Hanson represented his client in both the divorce and the misdemeanor domestic battery case brought against her by her ex-husband.

 And last week another Lawyer was sentenced to the big house himself.. no not the other big house on the hill as in Congress which is where most of them go, no this was the jail one.   He was a serial rapist.  No not to his clients, well maybe them just not the sexual rape. 

Love that photo of an Attorney being taken away in cuffs.  I am sure that many have just in a consensual way they seem to be perfect clients for that type of encounter.  Well maybe I have a new career in place, I have a lot of experience with Lawyers and I have their bills to pay. Circle of life as they say!  One hand whips another or whatever.

May 19, 2014 at 9:55 AM 
Attorney Danford Grant sentenced to 25 years for series of rapes 
Posted by grantsentencingLOK1King County Jail officers cuff Danford Grant after he is sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday at the King County Courthouse. Grant pleaded guilty to a series of rapes. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)
Seattle attorney Danford Grant was sentenced this morning to 25 years in prison for raping five massage therapists. 
During his sentencing hearing in King County Superior Court, Grant apologized to the victims and their families.“I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge I have committed wrong and to express my deep regret for the emotional pain that I have caused,” he said.“I recognize that my behavior was reprehensible and know that I should be punished and that prison is a just punishment.” 
Emotional statements from several of Grant’s victims were read in court, prompting Judge William Downing to comment, “Their strength is as formidable as their innocence is unsullied.”Earlier this month, just as he was about to stand trial, Grant pleaded guilty to five counts of third-degree rape and one charge of  first-degree burglary. 
In his plea deal with King County prosecutors, Grant faced 25 years in prison: 5 years for each rape, with the burglary sentence to run concurrently with the rape sentences.Grant, 49, was arrested in September 2012 after a series of sexual assaults on massage therapists, according to police and prosecutors. 
He was originally charged with seven felonies in connection with rapes or attempted rapes of five massage therapists in 2011 and 2012. 
Last month, King County prosecutors added two felony charges, but later dismissed four of the nine felonies he faced involving three alleged victims over evidence concerns, according to court records. 
Had Grant’s case gone to trial, it was expected that he would present a defense that he engaged in paid, consensual sex with his victims.King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has called Grant a violent serial rapist. He described him as a “man of power and privilege” who preyed upon women he believed were vulnerable.“He thought he chose his victims wisely,” Satterberg said following Grant’s pleas. 
All of Grant’s victims are Asian women.Four of the five victims wrote letters that were read in court this morning. 
One wrote that in Chinese culture, rape brings shame and embarrassment, which she believes is why he selected his victims. 
Another wrote: “I don’t have a shoulder to lean on; no family in America. I cry at night.” 
Following Grant’s plea on May 7, his attorney, Richard, Hansen, said Grant suffered from depression and sex addiction.Grant, a married father of three, had been on electronic home detention since posting $1 million bail in November 2012. 
He was a partner in a private law firm in Seattle before his arrest. 
An employment and business litigator, Grant once worked in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and coached Little League baseball, according to his profile on the social media site LinkedIn.

His wife, also a City Attorney, helped hide evidence by relocating the family car.   She was promoted to the municipal courts.  Well obfuscating evidence is something Prosecutors are good at and one needs a Judge who understands said things. 

But these internets are dangerous places and waters in which to tread. Even Seattle Police, never ones to not be big bullies, or not depending on the day of the week, the current Chief, Mayor  or the Justice Department investigator, seem to have issues with cyberbullying too!  Its all the rage the kids do it today and they are moving towards adding this to another excessive law in which to place more into the prison system.