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October 2011
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Official Misbehaving

Several items of interest (via Radley Balko and others)…

bullet image More questionable raids…

A Gibbs Road couple came home from work Thursday to find their home surrounded by Richland County sheriff’s deputies, their front door kicked in and their home ransacked. […]

The informant told investigators the drug buy was made at 402 Gibbs Road. That’s where the sheriff’s drug unit staged its raid, looking into the one drug purchase the informant alleges happened there.

Yep. One drug purchase alleged by an informant. All you need to get your door kicked in and home ransacked.

The sheriff’s office says an apology is just not happening, and they’ll continue investigating this case until they make an arrest.


bullet image Wrong address

The next day, the police executed their search at 3815 West Diversey, the building next door to 3811. The officers approached the building through the alley in the rear and broke down the back door with a sledgehammer. Two officers stayed outside to watch the building entrance.

Startled by the noise, Nancy Simental walked upstairs from her basement apartment with her two children. She claimed to find police pointed their guns at her and saying, “Don’t move or I’ll shoot you.” When she asked the police to put their guns away because children were present, a policeman repeated that he would shoot Simental and another pointed a gun at the children.

Officers also walked in on first-floor resident Francisca Nava as she was in the bathroom and told her not to move. The court said officers also pointed guns at Guadalupe Simental and Cesar Leon.

Sometime after the police entered the building, one of the officers stationed outside informed the team leader that the address on the front door did not match the warrant. All the officers then exited the building, leaving furniture overturned and the residents’ belongings strewn across the floor…


bullet image Good news from Florida

A federal judge Monday halted Florida’s law mandating drug testing for welfare applicants. District Court Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando granted a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing the law until the case is resolved.

The new law, which went into effect in July, was challenged as an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Florida and the Florida Justice Institute on behalf of a Central Florida man. Luis Lebron, 35, a Navy veteran turned college student was denied state benefits after he refused to submit to a drug test.

In her order granting the temporary injunction, Judge Scriven thoroughly demolished the state’s arguments that drug testing didn’t amount to a search, that welfare applicants were more likely to use drugs than the population as a whole, and that the state had a special interest in drug testing welfare applicants that would override constitutional proscriptions against it. She also found that the ACLU of Florida has a good chance of prevailing in its lawsuit.

We were all pretty sure that this would be the outcome. It’ll be interesting to see if Florida continues to try to pursue this in court.

Seems to me that this was one of those political games where the politicians knew that what they were passing was unconstitutional, yet went ahead anyway because there’s enough idiots out there that can get stirred up with false stories of “those” people using taxpayer money to buy drugs.


bullet image Here’s a really fascinating story: Controversy in BAT van investigation

For months, some of the people closest to HPD’s breath testing vans have told you and us that the vans are unreliable — meaning the roadside tests they do on alleged drunk drivers may not be accurate.

Now the controversy has spilled over into a grand jury investigation, and it’s become so heated that a prosecutor working for Harris Co. District Attorney Pat Lykos was thrown out of the grand jury room earlier this week under the threat of arrest.

That’s right, the grand jury wanted to hear the stories directly from the witnesses without interference from the DA.

When Mayr walked in to testify before the grand jury on Tuesday, the foreperson told prosecutors to get out. They wanted to hear from Mayr and Culbertson without a DA in the room.

“They obviously believe that the DA’s Office played a role in this case and that they can’t be independent,” said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

While it is rare — and legal — the DA’s Office threw a fit. Court records show top assistants to the elected DA refused to leave the room until a bailiff threatened to arrest them. The DA tried to force a judge to let them back in, but it was denied. An appeals court said the same thing.

Kudos to that grand jury and its foreman. I think that too often grand have been rubber stamps for the interests of prosecution, and this has been so pervasive that this DA’s office was genuinely startled that their “lackeys” would actually want to do their job.

Juries have great power (or should) to prevent miscarriage of justice, but jurors need to be aware of their authority and exercise it.

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14 comments to Official Misbehaving

  • Cannabis

    I used to work in a restaurant as a prep cook. One day one of our dishwashers came in looking a little ashen. He was late for work because he and his family we the subjects of a wrong address bust. He had spent most of the morning handcuffed face down in his front yard. Luckily they let him go after they figured out their mistake and he was not fired for being late.

  • haven’t gone on to read the stories posted but just from the theme I had to add this…

    It’s harvest time in So Oregon… and for those who don’t know the south part of the state is some of the best herb growing country in the world. Warm dry autumns with cool mornings and fantastic soils work wonders on a garden. In fact, here’s a southern Oregon garden view:

    http://www.redbubble.com/people/oregonyun/art/6079926-the-valley-view

    LE, probably emboldened by (or in cooperation with) the feds have been raiding OMMP cooperative gardens. In a raid this past weekend one raid produced this comment from the farmer:

    Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Detective gave the grower 2 choices, 1) if he cooperated & let them onto property, they would count cards & plants & if everything looked in compliance, they would leave & leave him alone or 2) they would arrest him (they had a warrant for his arrest) & they would return with a search warrant & destroy everything he owned. He let them onto the property out of fear & intimidation…

    In what other realm of American daily life do police raid citizens – all across the country – on a daily 24/7/365 basis? Farming is not a crime! And for police to intimidate and destroy so blatantly… disgusts me to the core. And it’s an old story. Drug raids are notorious for every cupboard arm-swept out, drawers overturned, holes kicked in walls… and now… now they’re shooting dogs in front of kids.

    I mean really… fuck this shit

    Yesterday I saw “occupy every street” and I thought yeah, occupy every street, occupy every mind, occupy the earth. A big discussion in archaeology is how long we’ve been an “intelligent” critter. The date keeps going back… we’ve made stone tools for literally millions of years, we were using watercraft well over 100,000 years ago… and for all that time we travelled and moved and migrated around the earth and every we went we were free. We are indigenous no matter how modern and techologious, we are the tribal people of the earth and this earth is our home, our home…

    Today’s political climate kinda reminds me of the old question, “how do you get flies out of the kitchen?”

    The answer of course is “you put a bucket of shit in the living room.” Duh…

    Well ya know, it’s time all that shit just gets thrown out… metaphorically speaking.

    I think a really swell idea… no matter who we elect prez, a march on and occupation of Washington DC on August 28, 2013… 50 year anniversary of King’s speech… and maybe someone will say, “I have a dream that someday my children will be judged not by the contents of their urine but by the content of their character.”

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      The word is out that the Mexican harvest blew chunks.

      The Canuckistanian harvest suffered from horrid weather.

      The US has had “eradications” at levels never seen before. OK I admit that’s a presumption on my part because I know that the last 2 domestic outdoor crops were back to back records and I was keeping track of “eradication” levels which were also reported as back to back records. My observations lead me to believe that there was yet a 3rd “record eradication” in a row. Heck, CAMP reported the first ever billion dollar (cop dollars) grow bust this year. I’m going to be shocked if there isn’t a major shortage and a large bump in pricing in a couple of months. If there isn’t the cops should just admit that they’re efforts are forever doomed to failure.

      Allan, if they can document that action by the Josephine jack boots that’s called coercion and should get the evidence gathered suppressed. You can’t consent under threat or promise of favor. You didn’t mention whether Sheriff Jackboot kept his word though.
      ———-

      For some reason I have a craving for a ham sandwich…

      • actually… the ICT (Institute of Cannabis Therapeutics) here in OR (to which I am an advisor/steward) has been tracking as much of this as possible. The farmer’s comment were to a member of SONORML who went to the site asap after the raid. Whether the farmer is willing to stand publicly on those words is unknown at this point – hopefully so, we need those sorts of egregious violations recorded.

        So far the state’s other orgs and farmers have been pitching in to cover as much as possible of the destroyed card holder meds. The action is also serving galvanize the sentiment that it’s time to stick yet another nail in LE’s coffin as far as having any kind of say in cannabis law here in Oregon.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .
          Video is the best evidence. Video transmitted to the server of a disinterested 3rd party that’s outside of the jurisdiction of the local Courts as it’s being recorded.

          It really isn’t all that expensive or difficult to accomplish. Once the system is in place I understand some people actually hope the cops will come around and be on candid camera. Then they get bummed out and figure they’ll get raided by the honest cop…I hear there’s at least one in almost every State.

      • darkcycle

        “I’m going to be shocked if there isn’t a major shortage and a large bump in pricing in a couple of months. If there isn’t the cops should just admit that they’re efforts are forever doomed to failure.”
        Prepare to be shocked. My neighbor up at the Mountain property brought in a bumper harvest despite the bad weather and the helicopter swarms. 400 plants, 600 or so pounds, dried, and he plants late. My friend Lauren, owner of the local hydro shop reported that last year he had record sales, and though things are tapering off lately his peak time was winter/spring of last year.

  • vickyvampire

    Yeah,more questionable raids have I just someone would bring this up in the debates lacking I have not watched debates how many Drug war questions have been addressed it probably is in the single digits you think.

    Here is another doofus story linking violence to soda these they link everything to violence so authorities experts can have excuse for getting it overtaxed,banned and or illegal.

    I have been a monster soda addict since childhood both diet and regular come again about violence factor I was a very shy quiet kid am still kinda shy and no violence,Violence?
    on second thought how many sodas are those trigger happy taser happy no knock raid beat the crap out of you cops consuming ?

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a78af65cc128f522f558eaa64f38258c.3d1&show_article=1

    • Peter

      Vicky….do a google search on “andrew breitbart liar” and you’ll see why anything this man says is almost certainly the direct opposite of the truth.

  • Peter

    Just had a call to my business from a local police officer soliciting funds for their display at a “drug prevention event.” Officer reassured me that all the money raised would “stay in the local area…”
    Badly wanting to get into it with him about the war on drugs, and his pay-check driven support for it but prudence and a fear of reprisal prevailed, and I quickly ended the call with a “no thanks, but thanks for your call…”
    Just a tiny glimpse into the fear experienced by those who have their homes invaded by these people…

  • Paul

    I liked the story about the grand jury waking up and remembering they have power. Prosecutors like to joke they can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if they present it to the jury.

  • vickyvampire

    Hey Peter I’m an independent Libertarian thinker, sorry Breitbart supports Cannabis and Gay rights so do I like him.may you have problem with him never have agreed with every story from his group.

    • Peter

      Perhaps you can help me out here Vicky…. I don’t seem to be able to find much on Breitbart’s attitude to cannabis legalization…..can you give me a source for this assertion?

  • Bear

    Good thing there were no family pets this time. Something about drug raids ensures that if you’re unlucky enough to be raided by the police, you’ll get to watch your pets get massacred.

  • vickyvampire

    Yes Peter I heard Andrew say he was OK with Cannabis while subbing for talk radio shows I think it was for Dennis Miller and possibly Rusty Humphries show I listen to bunch of talk I’m a talk addict and yes years age I listened to Larry King,Dr,Joy Browne and Sally Jesse Raphael ever since did not matter conservative or liberal have loved talk radio ever since.
    Breitbart may have mentioned it in a blip in his book if I find it will report book is somewhere in my huge Library of books.