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Posts Tagged ‘Courts & Justice System’

tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Tim CouchI’m not exactly sure why someone who sits on a state legislature (where he represents about two and a half obscure rural counties out of 120 counties in the state) thinks that he can legislate what everyone in the world does, but

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted. If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Ah, eastern Kentucky, home of one of this blog’s all-time favorite criminals, the Duct Tape Bandit. LOL. That probably answers my original question in this thread.

Aside from the logistics, in that it is absolutely impossible for a state legislature to legislate the behavior of everyone on the internet – no matter how hard they may try – is this a good idea?

Even though I covered the Megan Meier controversy to a great degree, I think it is a horrible idea, and I’ll tell you why.

What happened to Megan Meier was an anomaly. That poor young girl was mentally ill, as evidenced by the fact that she was prescribed not just anti-depressants, but also Geodon, an anti-psychotic. Her adult neighbor Lori Drew was well aware of this, so what she did to that child is absolutely unconscionable, whether one believes she is responsible for Megan’s death or not.

While I realize there are people who have mental illnesses on the internet – and sometimes I wonder if the majority of people posting on the internet have a mental illness – the internet is not a nanny, nor should anyone expect it to be. It is also not a place for children, or the otherwise weak at heart. It is definitely rated “R”, so no one who couldn’t get into an R-rated movie shouldn’t be here in the first place, unless they have parental guidance.

Some other parts of the internet are rated NC-17, some are rated X. With some websites, you don’t even realize you are going to an X-rated site until you are already there (another problem, but responsible internet users simply don’t click on unknown links in the first place).

I can write an article as ElfNinosGreatAuntTilley, and as long as I don’t harm anyone in the process, it is not a crime for me to do that. The right to anonymity is a basic right. It is a right which I exercise everytime I log onto this blog. It is a right which I exercise in my personal life on a fairly regular basis. The fact of the matter is that no one is entitled to know my name, in real life or on the internet. I’m not doing anything wrong, and in fact I do a lot to help others in life, but I like my privacy.

Why do I think it is important for me to post under a pseudonym? There are several reasons, all of which I feel are perfectly valid.

I used to regularly bust scammers on Quatloos, cooperating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to get these slimeballs behind bars where they belong, and in that capacity I angered some extremely dangerous people. Once I even angered a man who was a dirty ex-NYPD cop, and a former enforcer with the Colombo crime family (yes, the mafia). He had stolen millions from people in a scam wherein he pretended to be a loan company for people who can’t get conventional loans, and he would charge them a large up-front fee. He did his best to ascertain my real identity, and made multiple threats of physical violence against me, including both murder and rape.

In a situation like that, I have two choices. I can either bust the guy under a pseudonym, and be able to sleep at night, or I can do so under my real name, and end up moving every few months. I choose to stay put.

As most of you are aware, I am a professional writer, and I write about true crime as well as criminology issues. However, I didn’t sign up for the publicity which comes with that. I have a unique name, and I don’t want people coming onto this blog to ask me the same questions I’ve been asked (and answered) a million times, and harassing my friends who visit this blog; yet I have every reason to believe they will do that, because that’s what they did when I had a professional website. I just want to be me when I’m here, and I want others to feel comfortable posting here as well.

Tim Couch may not think those are valid reasons for me to not use my real name on the internet, and he’s entitled to his opinion. At the same time, I didn’t elect him, and I don’t live in Kentucky, so his opinion could not possibly be more irrelevant to me.

The fact of the matter is that there are more than enough laws already on the books to handle any situation which might arise on the internet, regardless of whether the person is using their real name or a pseudonym. There are laws against stalking, harassment, obscenity, and other problems. Sure, it might not be easy to find the perpetrator, but it’s not always easy to find perpetrators in real life either.

There are laws to cover what Lori Drew did to Megan Meier, too, if the authorities would use their heads. She could be charged under child abuse laws, stalking laws, harassment laws … the list goes on and on. I don’t know why they decided to not charge her, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be charged if the prosecutor wanted to do so. Of course, now a federal grand jury is considering charges against her for wire fraud, since she used a false name on MySpace for the specific intention of stalking and harassing another person (though that’s a Catch-22, since Megan Meier also falsified her age with her mother’s permission, as she was otherwise too young to have a MySpace account). It’s not a problem to use a false name in and of itself. It only becomes a problem when someone uses a false name in order to commit a crime, which is something the vast majority of people on the internet will never do.

So, in a nutshell, I think Kentucky State Representative Tim Couch needs to worry about things which are actually under his control. He is not in a position to legislate the internet, since he is just a state legislator. He has, like a typical politician, grabbed onto a controversial issue to get publicity. Even if his law passes, he is only giving his constituents a false sense of security on the internet since the law would not apply to anyone outside that state; he’d do a far greater service to his constituents if he introduced a bill to fund a public information program about the internet, or requiring that children in his state be educated about the dangers of the internet. He knows or should know that he has no jurisdiction to legislate the internet. If he doesn’t know that, he isn’t smart enough to be making laws in the first place.
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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Charlette Marshall-Jones, the Hillsborough County, Florida deputy who was caught on surveillance cameras dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair after he was arrested on a traffic violation, has been arrested herself.

In case you missed it, here is the video:

Marshall-Jones has been charged with abuse of a disabled person, and faces five years in prison. In the meantime she has been suspended without pay.

I bet the gals in genpop would be happy to have not only an ex-cop, but an abusive ex-cop who likes to abuse people in wheelchairs who can’t even move, join their ranks. They might even throw her a few of those pillowcase parties I’ve heard so much about. ;-)

Now authorities need to go after the jail employees who saw it but didn’t report it, and especially the jerk cop at the end of the video who laughed about it.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Clinton and ObamaAccording to The Smoking Gun, Jose Antonio Ortiz stabbed his brother-in-law, Sean Shurelds (who was flown to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition) due to a disagreement about Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama.

Yes, you read that right.

Apparently Shurelds supports Obama, and Ortiz supports Clinton. While the two were in the kitchen of someone’s home (it is unclear whose home) Shurelds told Ortiz that Obama was “trashing” Clinton, and Ortiz responded that “Obama was not a realist.”

While for most people that would be pretty much the end of the conversation, not so with these two, for whom those were not just fighting words, they were stabbing words. Ortiz and Shurelds argued, began to choke and punch each other, and eventually Ortiz grabbed a knife and stabbed Shurelds in the abdomen.

Ortiz then went back to doing the dishes, including, of course, the knife he had used to stab his brother-in-law.

Not at all surprisingly, Ortiz has a case of selective memory (not unlike the typical politician), and conveniently denies any memory of the stabbing incident. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts. Bail has been set at $20,000.

I’m sure Clinton and Obama are proud to have supporters who are willing to go that far for their chosen candidate. Or not.

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Cat holdupA robber in Texas came into a convenience store, pointed his gun at the clerk’s head and fired.

The clerk moved just in time to dodge the bullet, and emerged quickly from behind the counter with her own gun.

You go, girl!

A Longview clerk showed her mettle for the second time within a year Saturday, returning gunfire on an assailant as he fled a Fourth Street convenience store.“He cocked the gun to shoot (at) me again, and then I went barrel to barrel with him,” Robin Adams said in the EZ Food Mart where she and her store manager husband, Jimmy, returned to work Sunday. “This thing happened so fast that nothing was said about money. It was like he came in here to kill me.”

No one was injured in the shooting.

At 9:59 p.m. Saturday, Adams was ringing up orange juice and a cigarillo for a customer when man stepped rapidly in front of her register and raised a handgun, firing once.

“He’s shooting right at her face,” the manager said as he replayed an in-store video showing the man firing at his wife of 31 years. “She’s got powder burns on her face.”

The video shows the clerk bending slightly at the register when the gun was raised toward her. She stands up, moving her head reflexively to the left while lifting a .32-caliber pistol from a shelf just inches below the cash till.

“I’m just so happy I got lucky and tilted my head,” she said, estimating the bullet missed her skull by fewer than three inches. “And the only choice I had was to pull mine out.”

The clerk fired once on the fleeing man, striking a plastic glass partition. The assailant’s bullet had nicked the top of a pack of Winston Light 100s behind Adams’ head and continued through the store front glass.

You can read the entire article here.

This is why women need to be familiar with firearms, not fear firearms (well, you should fear them, but it should be a healthy fear so you don’t end up doing something stupid, and not a fear of using them in self-defense), know how to shoot so you don’t freeze if you need to use the gun (take lessons, for goodness’ sake), and have firearms available for use.

You never know when it’s going to be you, or the other guy. There are a lot of violent freaks out there, and you need to always be prepared to deal with them.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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CNN:WASHINGTON (CNN) — Workers who are legally prescribed marijuana to treat illness can still be fired from their jobs, following a ruling Thursday from the California Supreme Court.

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Medical marijuana user Angel Raich, 41, had her pot confiscated while her case was appealed.

The 5-2 decision upheld the job termination of Gary Ross, who flunked a company drug test shortly after being hired at a telecommunications firm.

A state referendum that allows people to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation are immune from some state criminal drug possession charges. But the state high court said such legal protection only goes so far.

“Nothing in the text or history of the Compassionate Use Act suggests the voters intended the measure to address the respective rights and duties of employers and employees,” wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar. “Under California law, an employer may require pre-employment drug tests, and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions.”

The court agreed with RagingWire Telecommunications’ contention it had a right to fire Ross because any marijuana use is illegal under separate U.S. law. The company said its work across state borders could put it in legal jeopardy from federal labor standards involving the conduct and production of its work force.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said the Bush administration can prohibit the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.

A federal appeals court last March said medical marijuana users can be subject to arrest and confiscation of the material, under federal anti-drug laws.

The issue is being closely watched because of the obvious conflict between state and federal laws over the use of medical marijuana. Various courts have said the federal Controlled Substances Act does not violate state autonomy.

The latest case involves Ross’ back problems stemming from injuries sustained when he served in the U.S. Air Force. He received a physician’s recommendation to use pot in 1999 and presented a card certifying his use of the narcotic when he took the employment drug test in 2001.

Ross said his condition does “not affect his ability to do the essential functions of the job” his former employer hired him to do, according to his original complaint.

The Sacramento-based company said its no-tolerance policy applies to all workers, since potential “abuse of drugs and alcohol” could lead to “increased absenteeism, diminished productivity, greater health costs, increased safety problems, and potential liability to third parties,” according to the company’s lawyers.

Ross’ job performance was not at issue in the case.

The state supreme court said the law allowing use of marijuana for some patients is “modest” in scope, limiting the rights of some patients.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005 for the Bush administration giving it broad authority to crack down on illegal drug use was criticized by patient rights groups and the movement to legalize marijuana.

“Congress’ power to regulate purely activities that are part of an economic ‘class of activities’ that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce is firmly established,” wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.

Under federal law, the Controlled Substances Act prevents the cultivation and possession of marijuana, even by people who claim personal “medicinal” use. The federal government has argued its overall anti-drug campaign would be undermined even by limited patient exceptions.

That high court case involved a separate lawsuit from a pot patient from Oakland, California, who has a variety of medical conditions, including a brain tumor. Angel Raich had her pot confiscated and was not allowed to use it while her case was appealed.

The Drug Enforcement Administration began raids in 2001 against patients using the drug and their caregivers in California.

Along with California, 11 other states have passed laws permitting marijuana use by patients with a doctor’s approval: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Arizona also has a similar law, but no formal program in place to administer prescription marijuana.

California’s Compassionate Use Act permits patients with a doctor’s approval to grow, smoke or acquire the drug for “medical needs.”

Users include television host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis.

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