Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is This How YOU Want Police To Spend Your Tax Dollars?

I am involved in a really difficult matter in Brooklyn. It borders on heartbreaking. I represent a guy who is just an average Joe. He works hard, earns a decent but not great living and takes care of his family. Everybody likes this guy in the neighborhood. He wakes up everyday, plays with his kids, checks on his Father and Mother, gives rides to Seniors in the area who have to go to the hospital and then goes off to drive his limo for rich people through out New York City. He works out of a garage that books drivers and cars for airport runs etc.

He is in this country legally. He was sponsored with his brothers,sisters and parents by an aunt and her son. Now here is the rub, the son, my clients cousin is a drug addled HIV positive crackhead. Nevertheless, my client owes his whole life to these two people. If not for them, he is still in Haiti making Three Hundred Ninety Dollars instead of a week.

Now the son of my client's family's benefactor, gets into trouble with the law. Facing a long time in jail, which would mean he dies on the inside, the police and the DA offer him an out. Help us buy guns and drugs and we will let you stay on the street.

So the idiot approaches his low life friends. None will help him because they can smell a set up from a mile away. He asks my client for help, but my client will not find him drugs. A while later, he begs my client to help him find a gun for a "Friend" who needs protection. My client already felt bad about not helping this guy put himself out of his misery with the drugs, so in fact he helps him by picking up a gun and giving it to the kid to "sell." Of course it is not a real sale, the cops bought it.

The cousin thanks my client and tells him he got a couple of hundred dollars for the gun. He asks him if he can get some more. My client allegedly tells him sure, people all over NY are selling these things. Anybody who really wants one can buy one almost anywhere in Harlem the Bronx Brooklyn the lower East side, Flushing. The cousin has only months to live, his AIDS is full blown. So even though he knows in his heart that the kid is using the money he gets for drugs he tells himself he is eating with it, and gets him another 2 guns to sell

Now I should point out that though deadly, these weapons are garbage. Not a decent weapon in the whole group. But the guy who pays wants a weapon so...

The cousin dies. Does that stop the cops? No. They go back to our client and call him over and over and over, at work at home at church, yelling for him to get them another gun. He finally relents after months of badgering. Then once more a few months later. Same scenario, same reticence, same result. Finally they come once more. He is less and less cooperative, They figure he's done, so they bust him. He is looking at ridiculous time if he blows trial. On the other hand, would he have even been here at all if the police had demanded that the cousin give them someone who was a KNOWN gun dealer??? Would this have happened if the client had not been tight with the cousin, and felt like he owed the guy for his whole existance?

The whole neighborhood, some 500+ people have signed a petition asking the judge not to incarcerate this guy. 20 people almost all immigrants themselves have written the court. Still this is going to be tough. Of course, if they were serious about getting these guns off the street, all they had to do was offer the &600 they were offering my client to buy the guns. After all there wasn't one there that they couldn't have bought themselves for half the price.

So my question for you dear reader is:
Is this how you want your Police Department to spend your tax dollar? Is it good police work to get someone who otherwise would never commit a crime to commit one so that you can get a couple of pea shooters off the street? Let me know what you think I ought to tell the judge in a couple of weeks when I go back to him to enter a plea.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"The Attorney General And The FBI Are Part Of The Problem, And They Cannot Be Trusted To Be Part Of The Solution,"

The words above belong to ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. The sentiment behind them speak for me. It is time we drop this national charade and stop the destruction of the greatest piece of political writing the world has ever known. It is time to deconstruct the "Patriot Act" which was never patriotic to begin with. It is time we ask Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to stop acting on our behalf and step down NOW. FBI Director Mueller sadly must go too. This was on their watch. They do not get the privilege of cleaning it up or more cynically white washing it. Read the ACLU analysis of the report here

What the "Just Us" Department did (thats in justice for Just us) was lie, purposely under reported abuses, obtained personal information on thousands THOUSANDS of AMERICANS without cause and without permission. The excuse? Not enough training. Come on. To be an FBI agent you have to be a lawyer or an accountant or have some other professional background. These guys are not high school drop outs. They know how to read regulations and they know when they are being pressured by higher ups for information. THEY SPIED ON AMERICANS!!! Now Gonzales wants to remedy it with an apology and a few firings??? He wants us to trust him that he will make it better? I no longer trust this Attorney General with anything that effects my liberty interest, or any other interest of mine either. He is so married to the neo-con agenda that he has no idea how to check this or fix it. Let him go chase after dogs, people are far too scary for him.

Washington has a love hate relationship with liberty and freedom. They love to stand on the Capitol steps and talk about it. They love to quote Jefferson and Adams, however they are so uncomfortable about the idea that everyone of us gets it.
This is not a new thing. If you look at the original way we granted freedom it is right in the documents themselves. The constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Over the years there would be a public outrage and then there would be a loosening of the reigns of tyranny. The time is coming again.

Our "leaders" co-opted our privacy without justification. They forced our bankers and telephone companies to give up our information. Internet providers and credit card companies, our employers and other financial participants in our lives were all told they had to give up our records if asked. That is what our legislators agreed to when they passed the "Patsyriot act." They were able to do this without our knowledge because the act gave them permission to do it "administratively." I want to personally thank the gutless Congressman and Senators who voted away their obligation to act like a check on the administrations action. Who are so distrustful of Judges that they took away the "balance" the judiciary gives to the discretion of the executive. I have looked at who supported the act. I will remember you in '08 if you are still around.

It is time we Americans start to stand up for liberty. If we don't start getting more personally possessive of it, it may not be here for much longer.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ripped From The Headlines

A few issues “Ripped From The Headlines.”

I. Credit Card Fraud.
From May It Please The Court.
we learn that cash register receipts may no longer display your entire credit card number. These receipts may only show THE LAST FOUR(4)DIGITS of the credit card number. They also may not include your card's expiration date. If they show more than that it is a violation of the Fair Faith and Credit Transaction Act and they can be in BIG TROUBLE!!

Why you may be asking? Because "penalties range up to $1,000 per incident, and the suits can be filed as class actions, multiplying the penalties dramatically."In other words vendors who are not in compliance as of January 2007 are at risk of lawsuits. Are you in compliance? Have you been a "victim" of a violation? Time to check out those receipts.

II. Dallas Tx. District Attorney Seems To Care About Innocents Being Convicted..

Now here is what appears to be a prosecutor with both an interest in justice and a brain. Rather than waste money from his budget trying to keep evidence secret and protect possibly faulty convictions, he is willing to open his files to the Texas Tech Law School Innocence Project. Now people who claim that the have been convicted of crimes wrongfully will have the chance to have their claims investigated by a private organization which can bring their findings to the DA’s office or to court. In the long run it will save his county money and do a service to the community (and to the wrongfully accused if any exist there.) Story here
HatTip: Crim Prof Blog.

III. Pace University Law School institutes a Return to Practice Program With The Westchester Women's Bar Association..

Interesting new program over at Pace Law School. It is designed to help Lawyer-Parents who are returning to the workforce to brush up on what they may have missed while performing familial duties. It will also be open to attorneys who have found other alternate career opportunities. I can foresee a day where a smart law school will open a program like this for disbarred and suspended attorney’s and it will be required as part of their application to be restored to practice. The course could have a heavy ethics concentration as well as small business skills building. The program is described as follows:
’New Directions,’ set for a May 21 launch, is a two-semester certificate program of study and externship for attorneys who have temporarily left practice and now want to return. “ Click here to find a form to get more information.

IV. Politics and Prosecutors..
Over the last 2 months Eight (8) Federal prosecutors have been fired by the Bush Administration. Some suspected politics at work. In this articleit appears Senator Pete Dominici had it in for a guy he formerly supported because he wasn't indicting democrats fast enough. What ever the reason, Federal prosecutors, (US Attorneys) serve at the President's discretion. President Bush has a right to fire whomever he wants. What he does not have, however, is the right to fill the positions that open up with out the advice and consent of the Senate. Right now, he fills the spots with interim people who never get to a vote up or down in the Senate. That is both a dereliction of the Constitution and a petty way to run government. Worse than that, it appears that the senator and the President were trying to rig prosecutions for political reasons. This type of behavior calls into question the fairness of the prosecutor's function. It further indicts the entire criminal justice system. Congress should be looking into that as well as the clear violation of the spirit and possible the words of the Constitution.

V. How do Courts Work. .
Here is a quick piece on how courts are set up within the states and federal government. It explains jurisdiction and how to tell which court hears what type of case. It is a good teaching tool.

VI. A Little TOO Friendly Skies: Airline Employee Fondles Sleeping Passenger on Flight.

Seems a maintenance man working for Northwest airlines boarded a plane from Tacoma to Minneapolis. He then allegedly waited for a female passenger to fall asleep and while the passenger slept, he lifted her shirt in an attempt to fondle her. When she awoke from feeling the material of the shirt move, he got up from the seat next to her and went elsewhere in the plane. The passenger alerted an attendant and the FBI met the flight in Minneapolis. He is being held. Article here.

Ok that's it for now.