Several items of interest (via Radley Balko and others)…
A Gibbs Road couple came home from work Thursday to find their home surrounded by Richland County sheriffâ€™s deputies, their front door kicked in and their home ransacked. […]
The informant told investigators the drug buy was made at 402 Gibbs Road. Thatâ€™s where the sheriffâ€™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 sheriffâ€™s office says an apology is just not happening, and theyâ€™ll continue investigating this case until they make an arrest.
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, â€œDonâ€™t move or Iâ€™ll shoot you.â€ 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 residentsâ€™ belongings strewn across the floorâ€¦
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.
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.