boston piggies bust stores for being open on turkey day!!!! dont these piggies have any real criminals to chase down?????
Some Boston-area stores opened Thanksgiving, despite warning
November 25, 2005
BOSTON --Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly will investigate all reports of stores that opened illegally on Thanksgiving Day, as several Boston-area supermarkets defied a centuries old law and welcomed shoppers.
David Guarino, Reilly's spokesman, told The Boston Globe. "If these stores want to open, there's a way to do it: Change the law."
The law enforced by Reilly is part of the so-called Massachusetts Blue Laws. Many of the Puritan-era laws, passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays, have been repealed, such as a ban of liquor sales on Sundays.
But one that remains in effect requires all stores, except convenience stores and gas stations, to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Last week, Reilly's office told the Whole Foods supermarkets chain it could not stay open on Thanksgiving after a competitor complained. Reilly also warned Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and Big Lots not to open, even as many stores across the country got an early start to the holiday shopping season.
Six Boston-area Super 88 Market stores opened up for business Thursday, the Globe reported.
At the Quincy location on Hancock Street, police said they learned at 11:30 a.m. the Super 88 was open for business.
"We sent one officer up there. We told them they had to shut down, and they did," said Sgt. Agnus McEachern.
But police did not close the four Super 88 stores in Boston, and the Malden store also was allowed to operate, police said.
Super 88 officials reached Thursday told the Globe that Reilly's warnings were news to them.
"We don't celebrate" Thanksgiving, said Rudy Chen, a former manager of the Super 88 in Chinatown who now is working as a senior buyer for the chain's corporate office.
Chen said that the store he managed always was open on Thanksgiving, and that he never had received complaints.
Bustling stores ask: What blue laws?
Super 88 says warning missed
Shoppers flocked to the Super 88 Market on Allstate Road in Boston yesterday. The store was open despite state blue laws. (Globe Staff Photo / Justine Hunt)
By Megan Tench and Chase Davis, Globe Correspondent | November 25, 2005
Blue laws? Huh?
News Alerts That was the reaction at the Super 88 Market chain, whose six Boston-area supermarkets were open yesterday despite 17th-century legislation that prohibits large retail stores from operating on Thanksgiving.
Managers and employees contacted at five of the Super 88 stores said they knew nothing about the warnings issued by Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly last week telling retailers to stay closed on turkey day or face criminal charges. At the Quincy location on Hancock Street, they found out at 11:30 a.m. yesterday, when police, acting on a tip that the store was abuzz with customers, ordered it to close.
''We sent one officer up there. We told them they had to shut down. And they did," said Quincy police Sergeant Agnus McEachern.
But at the Super 88 at the South Bay Center in Dorchester, customers battled for parking. A sign taped to the door read: ''Happy Thanksgiving" and posted holiday hours of 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Shoppers' carriages were filled with disposable turkey pans, fresh fish, vegetables, sodas, and milk.
A store manager, who declined to give his name, said he was unaware of the centuries-old restrictions. He said the chain, which specializes in Asian foods, closes one day a year, in observation of the Chinese New Year, which falls in January or February. The next Chinese New Year is Jan. 29, 2006.
David Guarino, Reilly's spokesman, declined to comment about Super 88 yesterday, but said the attorney general's office would investigate all reports of illegally opened stores.
''Every employer should know the law," he said. ''If these stores want to open, there's a way to do it: Change the law."
Police did not close the four Super 88 stores in Boston, a police spokesman said. Likewise, the Malden store was allowed to operate, according to Malden police.
Reilly issued his warnings after Whole Foods, the health-oriented supermarket chain, had announced plans to keep its 14 Massachusetts stores open for Thanksgiving to provide customers a chance to buy the fresh organic turkeys. But when officials from its competitor, Shaw's Supermarket, learned of the plans, they wrote a letter to Reilly citing the state's Colonial-era blue laws and asking him to block the Thanksgiving openings.
In addition to Whole Foods, Reilly warned Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, and Big Lots not to open. The businesses assured Reilly they would not open; no one answered phones at outlets of these chains in Greater Boston yesterday.
Super 88 officials reached yesterday said the warnings were news to them.
''We don't celebrate" Thanksgiving, said Rudy Chen, a former manager of the Super 88 in Chinatown who is now working as a senior buyer for the chain's corporate offices. Chen said in a telephone interview that the store he managed was always open on Thanksgiving, that he was not aware of the law, and that he had never received complaints.
''All the businesses in Chinatown are open. The whole community," he said. ''On holidays, when we have nothing else to do, we go into Chinatown. . . . They are the only businesses that are open."
The state's blue laws were first enacted in the 1600s, intended to prevent colonists from straying from church or hearth to drink or transact business. In their current form, the laws ban retailers with more than seven employees from opening on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pharmacies may stay open.
Reilly told the Globe this week that tradition, and giving workers a day off, outweighs shopper convenience. ''Thanksgiving is a time when people should be with their families, not working," he said.
But not all traditions are the same, said some customers who flocked to the Super 88 in Dorchester yesterday. While some scoured the shelves for holiday fixings, others were huddled by the lobster tub, apparently opting for a Thanksgiving without the traditional stuffed turkey.
Some said they didn't know it was illegal for the store to be open. ''I was just driving around, and I saw it," said Edgar Mynor of Chelsea, who was shopping with his teenage son. ''I did my shopping for the week so tomorrow we won't have to do it, and we can spend an extra day with family."
Megan Tench can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
Stores open on holiday face Mass. penalty
Nov. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
BOSTON - Massachusetts' attorney general is launching an investigation into several supermarkets that opened on Thanksgiving, defying the state's Puritan-era Blue Laws.
The laws were passed in the 1600s to keep colonists at home or in church on Sundays. Parts of the laws, such as the ban on Sunday liquor sales, have been repealed, but a prohibition on most stores doing business on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, has not.
"If these stores want to open, there's a way to do it: Change the law," David Guarino, a spokesman for Attorney General Thomas Reilly, told the Boston Globe. The office didn't say what sort of penalty the stores could face.
The Globe reported that at least six stores, all Super 88 Markets, were open on Thanksgiving. One Super 88, in Quincy, closed after a visit from police that day.
Phoenix employee junkets in question
Investigation reveals some iffy expenses
Ginger D. Richardson and Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
Phoenix employees have spent almost $9 million on travel and training since 2001, attending conferences and conducting business that should benefit the city and its residents.
But an Arizona Republic investigation has found that some of the money paid for trips that included white- water rafting on the Nile River and lunches at such exotic locales as the Guggenheim Museum in Spain.
Questionable expenses were found in nearly every department and layer of city government, but in many instances, it was the city's own policies that were to blame. No one closely tracks travel and training spending, nor are employees required to turn in extensive documentation, which makes it easy for workers to take advantage of the system.
The junkets come at a time when cash-strapped Phoenix has cut $117 million from its General Fund budget and raised fees and rates for key services such as water and sewer.
When first questioned, City Manager Frank Fairbanks and some City Council members were quick to defend employees. They felt confident that most were acting with integrity and that the bulk of travel was appropriate.
But The Republic's inquiries prompted Fairbanks to take a closer look. He found the results so troubling that he issued a moratorium Tuesday on all travel while his office investigates the legitimacy of its trips and reviews its policies.
"We are going to make sure that every dollar spent has some positive benefit to the community," he said. "We won't tolerate the abuse of public funds."
The Republic analyzed almost 1,800 expense reports filed during fiscal 2004-05 and found that:
• City employees are not given daily spending limits for food or drink and don't have to turn in receipts for meals or related expenses. An employee was able to charge $154 for dinner for two at a New York restaurant without providing an itemized breakdown of how the money was spent. The average entree at the steakhouse is $40.
• Upper-level managers in the Aviation Department routinely travel business class to Europe, Asia and other international destinations. Business-class tickets can easily be twice as expensive as a coach seat. December airfares to London, for example, are $610 for coach, vs. $6,000 for business class.
• The city's records are rife with incomplete documentation. In many cases, no receipts were turned in for items such as cab fare; in others, paperwork detailing air travel never made it to the city's Finance Department. Also, employees classified hundreds of dollars in expenses as "miscellaneous" without explaining the charges. In some reports, miscellaneous charges included laundry or dry-cleaning services, which the city considers to be a personal expense.
Roughly 40 percent of the travel money has come from Phoenix's General Fund, which the city uses to cover basic services. The rest was paid for by grants or individual city departments, such as Aviation and Water Services, which collect revenue by charging residents fees.
While The Republic found widespread problems, not all travel done by employees was frivolous. In fact, buried in the box of records were numerous examples of necessary - albeit pricey - training exercises, including several federally mandated practice drills attended by hundreds of police officers and firefighters.
Still, Phoenix's travel policies appear to be more generous than those of other cities of comparable size. San Diego and Philadelphia, for example, have cut back on business trips and conferences because of budget woes. San Antonio officials said they spent $312,450 on travel from its General Fund last fiscal year, compared with the $860,841 that came out of Phoenix's General Fund coffers.
The Republic review found dozens of instances in which workers seemingly frittered away public dollars. They enjoyed $50 steak dinners, stayed at four-star hotels and racked up hundreds of dollars in charges not backed up with receipts.
In some cases, the purpose of the trip is circumspect.
In December 2004, Wayne Tormala, an employee in the Human Services Department, was granted permission to go on an East African Leadership Safari.
The trip, which took place in February, was an unbudgeted travel request, and it cost the city $3,000. In asking the City Manager's Office to approve the expense, Deputy Human Services Director Moises Gallegos said that Tormala would have a "behind-the-scenes opportunity . . . to gain an understanding of what it takes to rebuild areas that have been besieged by war, conflict and extreme poverty."
Gallegos didn't mention that the two-week excursion also included white-water rafting on the Nile River, chimp and gorilla trekking, game drives, and photo opportunities at the equator.
Tormala contributed $3,500 of his own money to go on the safari, which would have covered most of the program's $3,950 tuition fee. The city's money paid for the rest of his trip.
"I feel like it's made a big difference in my work," said Tormala, who works with community and faith-based groups that provide services to Phoenix's residents. He added that since his return, he's made about 20 presentations on what he learned to community groups.
In another case, two attorneys from the city's Law Department went to a five-day conference on alcohol, drugs and traffic safety in Glasgow, Scotland.
According to the program agenda, they went halfway around the world to learn, among other things, about the DUI court in Maricopa County, which is less than two blocks from City Hall.
Sending the two employees cost the city more than $6,300.
Much of the big-ticket costs were caused by Phoenix's own policies.
Employees in the Aviation Department routinely spent $4,000 to $10,000 on international airline tickets, flying business class to overseas destinations.
They say they buy the more expensive airfare to support the airlines, and with hopes of landing new international flights at Sky Harbor International Airport.
"Not that you do it all the time, but when you have a route that is that important . . . we woo them and let them know how important they are," David Cavazos, acting deputy city manager, said of the overseas travel.
But the policy prompts the question: At what cost?
Consider a November 2004 trip to England, France and Holland by Cavazos, who at the time was the city's acting Aviation director. It was billed as an air-service trade mission and was part of Gov. Janet Napolitano's effort to boost Arizona's profile by connecting Arizona businesses to those in Britain.
The governor flew coach on a ticket that cost taxpayers $567.50, according to travel receipts provided by her spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer.
Cavazos, by comparison, spent $8,335.70 on business-class airfare.
Cavazos went to three countries, while Napolitano only traveled to Great Britain. But the example shows how flying first or business class can add up to thousands of dollars in extraneous charges over the course of a year.
Current Aviation Director David Krietor said he hasn't authorized any business-class travel in three to four months.
"We've gone back and forth on this over the years," Krietor said. "(Recently) I made the decision that we need to be flying in the back of the plane."
The city also doesn't require employees to turn in receipts for meals, regardless of cost.
The city's administrative regulations state that, "while receipts for meals are not required, employees should be reasonable and prudent concerning meal expenses." The rules go on to state, "alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable."
But if employees don't turn in itemized receipts, or any receipts, there is no way Phoenix can track what employees actually spend or consume on the city dime.
Budget Director Ceil Pettle acknowledges the loophole, but says the regulations were put in place because tracking all of the meal receipts would be a "record-keeping nightmare."
She adds that the city's general practice is to "trust the employee's supervisor to say, 'This is reasonable.'"
Mistakes weren't caught
While the city gives responsibility for auditing expense reports to supervisors, it's clear that they aren't scrutinizing all reports.
On dozens of the documents, department heads and upper-level managers apparently approved expenses without really checking to see if employees were complying with policy.
On a single overseas trip, one employee in the Aviation Department was reimbursed for five meals when she should have been eating the breakfast, luncheons or dinners that were provided as part of her admission to the conference she was attending.
City policy specifically prohibits employees from charging a meal when one is offered as part of a seminar. No one caught the discrepancy.
The total cost of the extraneous meals was more than $250.
The employee, Deputy Aviation Director Ann Warner, also repeatedly listed laundry and dry-cleaning charges on her expense reports, which is a policy violation, according to Pettle, the head of the city's budget and research office.
Yet the reports were still approved, some by Cavazos and others by Krietor.
When asked about the expenditures, Warner said she believes laundry expenses "are reimbursable" on international trips.
Warner, who is responsible for marketing the airport, racked up the most expenses of any other city employee last year, almost $40,000.
But she believes the money to be well-spent.
"Costs incurred for international service (are) far outweighed by the results," Warner said of her overseas trips.
Other anomalies should have been easier to catch.
For example, one housing supervisor arrived in Washington, D.C. four days before a two-day conference, during which time she charged hotel lodging and meals to the city. A memo filed with the report indicated that she was helping with set-up on two of those days, but gave no explanation for the remaining time.
When officials were questioned about the $2,238 report, they couldn't explain what she was doing there or why the expenditures were authorized.
The employee, Dolores Gandarilla, explained Wednesday that she was helping with pre-function tasks during her entire stay. But no one caught the inconsistency in the report.
An arm of the Finance Department is supposed to review approved reports as they process them, and check for accuracy and reasonableness. In most cases, that didn't happen.
Bob Wingenroth, interim director of the Finance Department, estimates that 2 percent to 3 percent of the reports that come through his office are followed up on.
"Usually it's missing documentation, or something like that," Wingenroth said. "The vast majority we process."
Fairbanks said the office is also short-staffed.
Many of the violations that have gone undetected involve international travel.
Rules require that overseas trips be approved by the city manager, but Fairbanks said he was unaware of some of them.
On at least 15 occasions, employees traveled to Holland, Israel and Spain, even though their expense reports don't bear a signature from the City Manager's Office.
In addition, a check of the overseas-travel reports turned in by Aviation employees also found that many didn't contain receipts for the airline tickets, as required by the city.
No one questioned the violation until The Republic began reviewing the documents. The receipts were later given to the public information office.
The Republic's investigation has prompted wholesale, and swift, changes to city travel policies.
Last week, Fairbanks directed Assistant City Manager Alton Washington to assemble a team to draft stringent regulations that will take effect by early December.
The group will consider travel issues, including setting reduced limits on meal and hotel expenses and requiring stronger justification for going in the first place. Departments also will be asked to explore cheaper training options.
Until that's done, Fairbanks has ordered a moratorium on nearly all city travel.
He also sent a strongly worded memo to top officials where he talked of public trust.
"It is absolutely essential that every public dollar be carefully monitored to assure that its expenditure results in a benefit to the public," he wrote.
He talked of legitimate reasons for travel, such as police investigations and training. He also talked of seeking out low-cost hotels and meals. Most employees live up to these standards, he said.
"However, recently it has become clear that there are some employees who do not," he wrote. "This is not acceptable, and strong action is necessary."
He outlined his plans for addressing the problems:
• Reduce travel budgets: Department budgets will get the "most thorough review they have ever endured."
• Demand full compliance: A full review of 2005 travel will be completed in the next month, and intense annual reviews will follow to "detect and eliminate violations."
• Discipline offending employees: Employees who violate travel regulations, and the managers or supervisors who approve those reports, will be "disciplined appropriately."
• Sanction offending departments: Departments with significant or repeat violations will be placed on travel probation and have their travel budgets "eliminated or dramatically cut as a penalty."
• Scrutinize training funds: Revised regulations of how employees use their training allowances by year's end.
While Fairbanks points out that the city's entire travel tab is a fraction of the overall budget and that most employees play by the rules, he said the city should "not misspend even one penny."
"I don't say it as an excuse, but just to take it all in perspective," he said. "I thought our compliance was good . . . but after re-checking, it's not as good as we expected."
Fairbanks said that if clear examples of violations are found, employees would be disciplined or asked to reimburse the city.
So far, that tough new stance is sitting well with the Phoenix City Council, including Mayor Phil Gordon, who said: "This nonsense will not happen again."
Reach the reporters at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I guess cops are never at fault when they have accidents.
Sunday November 27, 2005
Man killed by patrol car after he ran in front of it.
Tempe - A Tempe police officer struck and killed a pedstrian early Saturday after t he man ran in front of his patrol car.
At 2 a.m., Officer Bill Cullen was drving west in the far right lane of Baseline Road, near Rural Road, Officer Brandon Banks said in a statement.
The pedestrian ran in front of the patrol car and was struck. He died at the scene, and hsi name has not been released.
Cullen was not injured and was placed on paid administrative leave as a matter of department policy.
Residents protest statue of Indian, settler
KALAMAZOO -- Some area residents are criticizing a 65-year-old statue of an American Indian kneeling before a white settler who is raising a stick over the figure. Opponents of the statue presented petitions to the Kalamazoo City Commission this week, asking that the statue be relocated. The statue sits in Bronson Park's central fountain.
American-Indian statue draws criticism
Opponents petition for its removal
November 25, 2005
KALAMAZOO -- A 65-year-old statue that contains the kneeling figure of an American Indian is drawing criticism from some area residents.
Opponents of the statue presented petitions with what they said were 500 signatures when they appeared this week before the Kalamazoo City Commission. The petitions ask city leaders to remove and relocate the statue from Bronson Park's central fountain.
The statue, "The Fountain of the Pioneers" by Alfonso Iannelli, shows an American Indian kneeling before a white settler who holds a raised stick over the prostrate figure.
Local activist Jeanne Baraka-Love says the statue is a "monument to evil subjugation, the violent removal of the people who were first on this land."
"Ethnic and cultural disrespect is an ugly seed," Baraka-Love told commissioners.
The Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce, Galilee Baptist Church and the Kalamazoo YWCA also joined the call for the statue's removal. But some other speakers defended the statue.
Resident Pam O'Conner said commissioners shouldn't be "historical revisionists."
"Good art should elicit many interpretations from many people," O'Conner said. "This statue was not meant to celebrate aggression against Native Americans. It's a reminder of what happened, not a celebration."
Historical records show that Kalamazoo County's Potawatomi Indians were rounded up in the early 1800s and shipped by railroad to Kansas.
At the statue's 1940 unveiling, Iannelli said it depicted the "advance of the pioneers" and the Indian was shown in "a posture of noble resistance, yet being absorbed as the white man advances."
Statue of kneeling Indian angers some in Kalamazoo
The Kalamazoo Gazette / Associated Press
This statue, "The Fountain of the Pioneers," by Alfonso Iannelli, shows an American Indian kneeling before a white settler who holds a raised stick over the prostrate figure. Opponents of the statue in Bronson Park in Kalamazoo presented petitions before the Kalamazoo City Commission asking city leaders to remove and relocate the statue.
KALAMAZOO -- A 65-year-old statue that contains the kneeling figure of an American Indian is drawing criticism from some area residents.
Opponents of the statue presented petitions with what they said were 500 signatures when they appeared this week before the Kalamazoo City Commission. The petitions ask city leaders to remove and relocate the statue in Bronson Park's central fountain.
The statue, "The Fountain of the Pioneers" by Alfonso Iannelli, shows an American Indian kneeling before a white settler who holds a raised stick over the prostrate figure.
Local activist Jeanne Baraka-Love says the statue is a "monument to evil subjugation, the violent removal of the people who were first on this land."
"Ethnic and cultural disrespect is an ugly seed," Baraka-Love told commissioners. "This is a petition for the removal and replacement of that statue across the street. It should be put someplace else with a plaque that explains the history."
The Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce, Galilee Baptist Church and Kalamazoo YWCA also joined the call for the statue's removal, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
Some other speakers defended the statue.
Resident Pam O'Conner said commissioners should avoid becoming "historical revisionists."
"Good art should elicit many interpretations from many people," O'Conner said. "This statue was not meant to celebrate aggression against Native Americans. It's a reminder of what happened, not a celebration. I think it needs to be there precisely for the same reasons some people feel it needs to go."
According to historical records, the park has a long and storied past.
"From its creation, Bronson Park has been the site of celebrations and public meetings," according to the Kalamazoo Public Library's Web site. "In 1856, Abraham Lincoln, then an attorney, spoke at a political rally in the park. In later years, Stephen A. Douglas, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, and both John and Robert Kennedy spoke to assembled crowds, as the Potawatomi Indians had, from the mound near the southwest corner of the park."
Historical records say Kalamazoo County's Potawatomi Indians were rounded up in the early 1800s and moved to a camp, then shipped by railroad to Kansas.
At the statue's 1940 unveiling, Iannelli said it depicted the "advance of the pioneers" and the Indian was shown in "a posture of noble resistance, yet being absorbed as the white man advances."
On the Net:
Kalamazoo Public Library's Web page on Bronson Park:
http://www.kpl.gov/collections/LocalHistory/AllAbout/parks/BronsonPa rk/Brons onPark.aspx
Off-duty officer shoots suspected shoplifter
Nov. 27, 2005 12:45 PM
An off-duty Phoenix police officer shot a shoplifter Saturday evening after the man allegedly hurled rocks and a bottle at him. The detective, whose name was not released, was working in uniform as security for the Food City grocery store at 35th Avenue and Van Buren Street. Around 6 p.m., he approached a man who employees had seen shoving beers in his pants, Sgt. Lauri Williams said. As the detective pursued him through the parking lot and across Van Buren to a Chevron station, the man threw grapefruit-sized landscaping rocks and a bottle at him, Williams said. After an unsuccessful attempt to subdue the suspect with pepper spray, the detective, who was not equipped with a Taser, fired at him. The suspect, described as 35 to 40 years old, was taken to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. An investigation of the shooting is ongoing, Williams said. The officer was not injured.
- Corinne Purtill
Officer hits, kills pedestrian in Tempe
By Jackie Leatherman, Tribune
November 27, 2005
A Tempe officer struck and killed a pedestrian who police said ran out in front of his patrol car early Saturday on Baseline Road.
Kyle Barker, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Officer Bill Cullins, who was uninjured, has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is departmental policy.
"It’s tragic," Tempe spokesman Brandon Banks said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to them and . . . our officer.
"In these circumstances, it is very, very difficult. It is still extremely emotional and still a traumatic experience, and there will be some rough days ahead for Bill."
Tempe police are investigating the incident, which occurred at 1:59 a.m. as Cullins was traveling west on Baseline Road near Rural Road.
Contact Jackie Leatherman by email, or phone (480) 898-6334
trigger happy cops also kill their fellow cops
Nov 27, 1:56 PM EST
Police Rethink 'Always Armed' Policy
By RAY HENRY
Associated Press Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- An old police tradition of requiring off-duty officers to carry their weapons - "always armed, always on duty" - is being scaled back in police departments nationwide, increasingly being blamed for the deaths of officers shot by colleagues who thought they were criminals.
The policy requires officers to respond to crimes even when they're not on duty. Supporters also say that letting officers carry their guns off-duty protects them from crooks bent on revenge.
But critics point to the shooting of officers in Providence, R.I., Orlando, Fla., Oakland, Calif. and elsewhere.
The policy is at the center of a $20 million civil rights lawsuit being heard this month in Providence, where Sgt. Cornel Young Jr. was killed in 2000 while he was off duty and trying to break up a fight. He was dressed in baggy jeans, an overcoat and a baseball cap, and carrying a gun.
"Our situation is the extreme example of what can go wrong," said Sgt. Robert Paniccia, president of the Providence police union.
Young's mother, Leisa Young, says the rookie officer who shot him was not adequately trained to recognize off-duty or plainclothes officers.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has called "always on duty" policies a costly tradition. The group, which has more than 20,000 members, recommends that off-duty officers who witness a crime call for assistance rather than pulling a weapon.
According to the FBI, 43 police officers have been killed since 1987 by friendly fire. Some were caught in crossfire, or killed by firearms mishaps. A handful, like Young, were mistaken for criminals and shot by fellow officers.
This year, an Orlando, Fla., police officer killed a man who had fired a gun outside the Citrus Bowl. The victim was a plainclothes officer working for the University of Central Florida. In 2001, two uniformed officers shot and killed an undercover detective when he trained his gun on a suspected car thief in Oakland, Calif.
In 1994, an off-duty police officer in New York City shot an undercover transit officer eight times in the chest. The transit officer survived.
In Providence, carrying a gun is now optional for off-duty officers, who are encouraged instead to be good witnesses if they see a crime, said Paniccia. The police union in Washington, D.C., won a similar concession after three off-duty officers were killed in separate incidents, said Officer Gregory Greene, the union's chairman.
The Los Angeles Police Department allows its officers to carry their weapons off duty, but doesn't require it, department spokeswoman April Harding said.
David Klinger, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, formerly worked as a Los Angeles police officer and said he usually carried a gun off duty. If police officers are properly trained, officers should have the option of carrying a gun for their own protection, he said.
"I don't want to be driving through the ghetto without a gun," he said. "What if some knucklehead I arrested spots me?"
Ththat could be crucial to split-second decision making, Klinger said. That's why it's important to have protocols in place to identify each other, he said.reatened officers instinctively focus on the perceived threat and tune out other information
"If an officer has this tunnel vision, and all he sees is the gun, he may not see the badge hanging on the detective's chest," Klinger said.
New York City officers now use standard challenges and responses to prevent friendly fire accidents, said James Fyfe, the department's former deputy commissioner for training. Fyfe died of cancer this month, shortly after testifying by videotape at the Young trial.
He said every time New York officers confront an armed suspect, they are trained to yell "Police, don't move!" Off-duty and plainclothes officers are told to respond "I'm on the job!" and to never turn their hand or gun toward a uniformed colleague.
"Unless police officers are trained, they do stupid things on both sides of the coin," Fyfe said.
Last update: September 16th, 2005
Laro has officially been moved to Safford, AZ. As always, he would like to receive letters. The addresses are as follows:
You can write to him at
Laro Nicol #80430-008
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 9000
SAFFORD, AZ 85548
Use this address for in-person visits.
1529 WEST HIGHWAY 366
SAFFORD, AZ 85546
ADDRESS FOR COMMISARY CONTRIBUTIONS (this has not changed except for prison name)
Laro Nicol #80430-008
Federal BOP FCI Safford
P.O. Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001
Last update: August 22nd, 2005
Laro is currently at a prison in North Phoenix, which is a transfer facility. His future location is a prison in Stafford, AZ. You can keep track of where Laro is by searching for his name at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator website. Check back for his new address for mailing letters or reading materials. Safford is farther than Tucson, so this move will mean that Beth will have to take more time off of work and stay overnight in or near Safford. The family also asks that you help out with finances, since Laro was unable to keep any unopened commisary items like toothpaste, shampoo, etc with him in his move.
Last update: May 3, 2005
The information we had received about Laro being moved was incorrect. He may be moving to another prison in Arizona farther away than Tucson. We will update when we hear for sure what is happening.
Last update: April 14, 2005
Laro's term is almost a quarter over, but now he's been informed that he will be transferred to a prison in California, farther away from his family. An update will be posted with his new mailing address and other details. I believe Laro's wife checks his email, so if you want to offer support, you can email Laro's email address. Another option is to donate through Phoenix Anarchist Coalition, which has been supporting laro since mid 2003, and whose members have helped the family out in some other ways. Check the website for the paypal and p.o. box information. We will update about whether the same address can be used to send Laro money throughout and after the move that you may have used to send money orders already.
Laro has also requested some books that you will probably be able to buy for him through Phoenix Anarchist Coalition. We will update about that as well.
Last update: December 2, 2004
On September 27th, Laro was sentenced by a federal judge to serve 24 months in prison. Around thirty people went to the sentencing hearing in support of Laro and his family. Laro was ordered to turn himself in to prison by December 1st of this year, and he has done so. He and his family will continue to need our support financially and in other ways.
His address in the prison is:
8901 South Wilmot Road
Tucson, Arizona 85706
He would really appreciate letters. You can write to him to find out what can be sent to him in prison, i.e. books, magazines, etc.
See the article from the East Valley Tribune about the sentencing.
See also excerpts of some letters people wrote to the judge in support of Laro.
From Laro, August 2nd, 2004:
Hello to all.
I am in LA at this moment wondering how I am going to sleep tonight with this sun burn. I am enjoying some time with my family and the splendid sea air of the
Redondo Beach area.
I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that my sentencing has been postponed to the 27th of September, at 10:30 am in judge Rossenblatt's courtroom. I erroneously mentioned 9:30 am to a few of you, so please disregard that aforementioned time. A couple of issues have arisen concerning the pre-sentencing report prepared by the probation department. This has to do with inclusion of hearsay by the government's informants in regards to accusations that were never substantiated, and the initial charges, which I am not pleading to. Another issue is one of the length of my sentence in regards to the recent Blakely decision. According to this decision, I could lose up to 6 months off of my sentence, if the judge sees fit to do so. That is one reason the letters can be of great help. Of course, if this happens, the prosecution still has the opportunity to withdraw, since the plea is stipulated.
The support of the community of friends and family has been awesome,(one of my favorite words!). Each day that passes reminds me of the eventuality of my
separation from family. The bonds that have been established and the connections that have been made will last a life time. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some of the most dedicated and committed activist a person could possibly imagine. (And I have quite an imagination!) Through my contacts with members of the local community of activist, I have found some wonderful new friends and witnessed acts of profound dedication to a just society. I am honored to be amongst such as yourselves at such a time as this. We represent the change that is needed, and we are the ones who will bring it about. I hope I can come along on this incredible journey, and that I can be counted amongst your numbers.
Thank you all, for being different than the zombies that roam the surface of this planet consuming all that lie before them. Thanks for being the individuals that you are.
From July 11, 2004
Laro's sentencing hearing is August 9, 2004. He has signed a plea and expects to serve 18 months in prison (the plea was for 2 years, but he already served some time when he was originally arrested), unless the efforts of his friends can make his term shorter. If Laro is in contact with you via email, you would've received some information on writing letters to the judge. Please do this as soon as possible. If you do not know Laro, email email@example.com to see how you can help.
From April 2004:
After several months of weighing his options, awaiting trial, and spending time with his family, Laro's trial has been delayed yet again and he has not officially taken a plea.
Last month Laro's supporters held a picnic for him. About 25-30 people ate, played, relaxed, and chatted in the park with Laro and his family. Food Not Bombs, a local group that feeds the homeless and provides vegan food for various events brought some of their extra food that evening. Members of Phoenix Copwatch, Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice, and Monsoon Anarchist Collective were there.
There was a benefit show to support Laro Nicol and Sherman Austin on Saturday, April 24th. More details here.
Plans are in the works for helping Laro and his family before and while Laro is in prison. Laro's family will need monetary support. If we find it possible that our efforts can free Laro sooner than his sentence will end, we hope to start a campaign to write letters to the judge to show him that we believe Laro should not being going to prison. If you would like to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post Laro's prison address when we get it so that you can write him letters.
From Laro (written in January 2004)
To all of my friends and supporters,
Not a whole lot has transpired since my release from custody by the U. S. government. I was released on the 16th of May. I have spent the last month attempting to organize my home and family situation. I have spent a lot of time with my wife and children. (Beth, Laro Jr., Teryn, and Connor). The majority of my time has been spent trying to give my children the semblance of normalcy and routine. With the possibility of spending the remainder of their childhoods in a federal penitentiary, I find this to be a complicated task. I feel that this is an important priority to endeavor in. Along with reestablishing my relationship with my children, I must also ease the burden of my incredible wife, Beth. She has had to endure more than I could even imagine. Her strength and commitment kept this family together. I know the fear and anxiety this experience has brought her, and I will be forever grateful for her love and courage.
I am amazed and overwhelmed by the amount of support being provided by my friends and those who don’t even know me. If you have written and I have neglected to call or write and say thank you, please forgive my tardiness. A response will be forthcoming. I wish I could give every individual who has said a good word, donated that hard earned cash, or written, or called, or visited, a heart felt thank you in person. It is not over yet, and I can for-see a need for continued support. If I can’t be here for my children, knowing that they will be looked after by the greater community of friends, family, and like- minded people remains my greatest comfort.
When this all first happened, I had no idea what was going on. As the pieces started coming together I became aware that it was some how related to my social justice activities. I was floored. Why? How? I knew damn well who! Questions flooded my mind and emotions. Was this going to be the rest of my life? Was my life and family forfeit for something I had no idea about? Then I began hearing from those of you who know me, and know I can be a little verbose, but not violent. The initial news articles did me no favors. Recent articles in the tribune have been much more complimentary and true to my person. Insert link here tribune
My trial date has been scheduled for the 23 of September, which is a Tuesday, in front of Judge Rosenblatt. I expect at least a couple more continuances as this date approaches. It is possible the trial date could be pushed to the beginning of next year. Douglas Passon, my public defender, is dedicated and committed to my case. I believe he will do an incredible job with the resources he has available to him. Ricardo Greth is the investigator, and also very good at what he does. We are currently awaiting an evidentiary investigation by the defense expert witness.
I am back amongst my friends and family. All else will be worked out in time. I am not guilty of any crime, I have done no wrong, and We will win this fight.
Regards in solidarity and struggle,
I bet I can guess the cause of the accident - the cop was driving like an idiot maniac. Of course that will never be written in the police report!!!
Phoenix police officer seriously hurt in wreck
Nov. 28, 2005 06:15 AM
A Phoenix police officer was critically injured early today when he rolled his patrol car in south Phoenix while on a trouble call.
Police said the accident occurred around 1 a.m. on Baseline Road but they don't know what happened.
A passer-by found the overturned patrol car. Police said it was a single-vehicle accident.
The officer is at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center with what a police spokeswoman said are life-threatening injuries.
Baseline Road was closed between 27th and 35th avenues early today due to the police investigation into the accident.
hey laro didnt you get one of these a while back??
FBI, CIA warn of new virus
Worm via e-mail biggest of the year
Arshad Mohammed and Brian Krebs
Nov. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - It's being called the worst computer worm of the year: a fast-spreading Internet threat that looks like an official e-mail from the CIA or FBI but can leave your computer wide open to intruders.
The bogus e-mail claims the government has discovered you visiting "illegal" Web sites and asks you to open an attachment to answer some official questions. If you do, your computer gets infected with malware that can disable security and firewall programs and blast out similar e-mails to contacts in your address book. It also can keep you from getting to computer security Web sites that might help fix the problem, and it may open your Windows computer to intruders who can steal your personal data.
The worm, named "Sober X," has spread so far so fast that the CIA and the FBI put prominent warnings on their Web sites making clear that they did not send the e-mail and urging people not to open the attachment.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Austria's equivalent of the FBI is investigating a flurry of similar bogus e-mails sent in its name to people in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the Associated Press reported.
"This particular virus is a mass-mailer worm and is the largest one we have seen this year," said Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering at Symantec Corp., which sells Norton AntiVirus software. "It's as bad as it gets. With this particular type of virus on your system, there is a high probability that your personal information will be stolen."
Craig Schmugar, a virus-research manager at McAfee Inc.'s AVERT Labs, said his company, which also makes anti-virus software, had logged more than 73,000 consumer computers reporting detection since the worm was discovered last Monday.
British e-mail security company MessageLabs Ltd. said it has intercepted more than 2.7 million copies of Sober and its variants, noting that "the size of the attack indicates that this is a major offensive, certainly one of the largest in the last few months."
Still, the Sober worm was listed as only a "medium risk" worm by security companies, which noted that it was not as widespread as others in recent years, notably MyDoom, which hit computers systems early last year.
Sober is known to affect only computers running the Windows operating system. It appears that Apple and Linux computers were not affected.
The e-mail informs the recipient that the user's "IP-address" has accessed more than 30 illegal Web sites and that the attachment contains a list of questions that need to be answered. The e-mail includes an authentic phone number for the FBI or CIA.
And that has kept government switchboard operators busy.
FBI operators have been routing calls and complaints to its Internet Crime Complaint Center in West Virginia, which received more than 4,000 complaints about the worm on the first day. The ICC typically receives 18,000 complaints each month, said FBI spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan.
The FBI is investigating the source of the attack, which closely resembles an e-mail worm that surfaced in February, Milhoan said, though she declined to comment on the progress of that investigation.
hmmmm.... where can i buy one of these???? and isnt that the purpose of the 2nd amendment so the PEOPLE can fight the govenrment when the government goes bad? as someone else said kind of like a reset button on a microprocessor.
Civilian Sales of Military Rifle Raise Concerns About Terrorism
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 28, 2005
MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Nov. 27 (AP) - When American soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.
The weapon, a .50-caliber rifle created by the photographer, Ronnie Barrett, and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, is also the most powerful firearm civilians can buy. It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.
That kind of power has drawn the United States military, which has been buying Mr. Barrett's rifles since the 1980's and using them in combat since the Persian Gulf war of 1991. But the gun also has critics, who say it could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars or storage plants holding hazardous materials.
"These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack," said Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy group based in Washington.
Mr. Diaz said the guns should be more regulated and harder to buy. They can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.
For years some state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale; California became the first state to outlaw its manufacture and sale this year.
The majority of Mr. Barrett's sales come from orders for armed forces and police departments in some 50 countries. Every branch of the United States military uses the rifles, which cost $3,500 to $10,000 each; Mr. Barrett said the Department of Defense spent about $8 million on his firearms last year.
The New York City Police Department recently announced that it was training officers in its aviation unit to use the rifles, which will be on board some helicopters to intercept potential attacks from boats or airplanes.
But Mr. Barrett said civilian sales were crucial to his business because military and police orders fluctuate year to year. Most civilians who use the gun do so for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions.
Mr. Barrett and gun advocates say that the gun's power has been exaggerated and that the weapon is too expensive and too heavy to be used by criminals. But reports have found that the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.
And a 1999 investigation by the General Accounting Office, the predecessor of the Government Accountability Office, Congress's investigative arm, found that ammunition dealers were willing to sell armor-piercing bullets, even when an agent pretending to be a buyer said he wanted the ammunition for use against armored limousines or "to take a helicopter down."
if we got rid of taxes just think of how much money people would have to give to charities.
With Tax Change, Some Charities Feel a Pinch
By VIVIAN MARINO
Published: November 28, 2005
The New Hope Day Center in Lansing, Mich., serves about 100 homeless people a day, providing two meals daily and programs like job training and substance abuse counseling.
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Donald Harris, 49, at the New Hope Day Center in Lansing, Mich. Donations of vehicles to the center are down about 40 percent this year.
But the shelter could close next year - a casualty, the operators say, of changes in federal tax laws that make donating vehicles to charity less attractive for some people. Car and truck donations to the shelter, its largest source of income, are down about 40 percent from last year.
Supporters of the tax changes, which took effect this year, say they are necessary to help eliminate rampant cheating by some taxpayers who inflate the value of their donated vehicles.
Under the revisions, taxpayers who donate a vehicle can no longer deduct the fair market value, typically determined from sources like the Kelley Blue Book. Instead, they can claim only the amount an organization receives from selling or auctioning the vehicle, which is often below market value. The only exceptions to the changes are vehicles worth $500 or less and ones that the charity keeps for its own use.
A study by the Government Accountability Office in 2003 found that taxpayers wrote off $654 million in vehicle deductions for the 2000 tax year, but that charities actually received only about 5 percent of that amount. Tightening the deduction rules, supporters estimate, will raise $2.4 billion over 10 years.
Many of the estimated 4,000 nonprofit groups with vehicle-donation programs say the new regulations are reducing their revenue and, in some cases, affecting operations.
Because of the lower deduction allowances, some people who might have considered donating vehicles are selling them or giving them to relatives, many groups say. Others report receiving more "clunkers," which bring in less money.
"Unfortunately, our worst fears have come true," said Ronald H. Field, vice president for public policy at Volunteers of America, which is based in Alexandria, Va., and whose Michigan affiliate runs the New Hope Day Center.
Like many other charities, Volunteers of America had a surge in car donations at the end of last year, as many people rushed to beat the changes in the tax code. This year, donations are down 30 percent to 40 percent, Mr. Field said, and revenue from vehicle sales has dropped almost 50 percent.
Although only a small percentage of the organization's total revenue comes from car sales, Mr. Field said, "this is unrestricted money that helps pay for gaps in funding."
Thomas P. Roberts, director of government relations for Melwood, a nonprofit group in Maryland that provides job training for the developmentally disabled, agreed. The new law "has prevented us from further expanding our services," Mr. Roberts said, adding that he expected a drop of up to 60 percent in income from the vehicle programs this year.
The effect has been profound at the New Hope Day Center. About 40 percent of its $1.2 million annual budget comes from car donations, with the rest received through government grants and other private donations, the operators say.
The shelter had been scheduled to close last March, said Patrick Patterson, vice president for Lansing operations at Volunteers of America Michigan, but stopgap financing from local foundations is expected to keep it open through early next year. Mr. Patterson said the group was also forced to sell its administration building in Lansing.
"We understand the reasons why the tax rules were changed; we're all for enforcing the law," he said. "But let's not make it so draconian that they hurt the very charities we rely upon to provide services."
wouldnt it be nice is this is the begining of the end of the war in iraq?????
As Calls for an Iraq Pullout Rise, 2 Political Calendars Loom Large
By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER
Published: November 28, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 - In public, President Bush has firmly dismissed the mounting calls to set a deadline to begin a withdrawal from Iraq, declaring eight days ago that there was only one test for when the time is right. "When our commanders on the ground tell me that Iraqi forces can defend their freedom," he told American forces at Osan Air Base in South Korea, "our troops will come home with the honor they have earned."
Forum: The Transition in Iraq
But in private conversations, American officials are beginning to acknowledge that a judgment about when withdrawals can begin is driven by two political calendars - one in Iraq and one here - as much as by those military assessments. The final decision, they said, could well hinge on whether the new Iraqi government, scheduled to be elected in less than three weeks, issues its own call for an American withdrawal. Last week, for the first time, Iraq's political factions, represented by about 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal.
As Mr. Bush ends his Thanksgiving holiday in Texas on Monday, both his own aides and American commanders say, he will begin confronting these sometimes conflicting military and political issues, including the midterm Congressional elections in this country, part of a delicate balancing action about how and when to begin extracting American troops from Iraq.
Mr. Bush is scheduled to give a speech in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday assessing progress both in Iraq and in what he calls the broader war on terrorism, and several officials said he was expected to contend that the Iraqi forces have made great progress. But as it has been for the past two and a half years, it is unclear exactly what measuring sticks he is using, and whether they present the full picture.
White House aides insist that Mr. Bush is as determined as he sounds not to withdraw troops prematurely. They say he will begin examining the timing of a draw-down after he sees the outcome of the Dec. 15 election in Iraq.
But it is also clear that Mr. Bush is under new pressure to begin showing that troop reductions are under way before the midterm Congressional elections next year.
Suddenly a White House that was seemingly impervious to open questioning of its strategy feels the need to respond to criticisms - and to do so quickly. This weekend, The Washington Post published an op-ed article in which Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, called for a three-step process in Iraq to create a political settlement, deliver basic services and accelerate the training of troops. The White House responded immediately with a long press release, in a series called "Setting the Record Straight," suggesting that Mr. Biden had endorsed Mr. Bush's strategy - which is certainly not how Mr. Biden saw it.
Current and former White House officials acknowledge that they were surprised at how quickly calls for deadlines for the draw-down of troops, which mounted as Mr. Bush was away in Asia, had changed the tenor of the debate. They pointed out that the statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after Mr. Bush's return from Asia that Iraqi forces would be able to defend the country "fairly soon" appeared to presage a new tone.
"We've moved from 'if' to 'how fast,' " said one former aide with close ties to the National Security Council. He said officials in the Bush White House were already actively reviewing possible plans under which 40,000 to 50,000 troops or more could be recalled next year if "a plausible case could be made" that a significant number of Iraqi battalions could hold their own.
That effort may be aided by the fact that troop numbers in Iraq have climbed back to 160,000 in advance of the December vote. Senior Pentagon civilians and military officials are already discussing a move soon after the election to return to 138,000 troops, the status quo over much of the past year. But after that point, the American military expects to face two competing sets of pressures.
On one hand, senior officers are painfully aware that sustaining the current high level of troop deployments in Iraq risks undermining morale of those now in uniform - and already has poisoned the efforts of Army recruiters seeking to woo young Americans into military service.
At the same time, senior officers hear the bruising debate over Iraq policy back in Washington and have taken to counseling "strategic patience," arguing that 2006 will be a critical year in which a new government in Baghdad and local security forces should be able to take more of a lead in stabilizing their nation.
Officers fear that a hasty retreat driven by American domestic politics - and not conditions on the ground in Iraq - could invite greater violence or even civil war and that the American military would carry the blame for losing Iraq.
Forum: The Transition in Iraq
Senior Pentagon civilians and officers say the military is following standard practice and has drafted a number of plans with a range of options for Iraq.
Anthony H. Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, warned that a hasty withdrawal before Iraqi security forces are given a chance during 2006 to "achieve enough critical mass" and stand more on their own "will end in snatching defeat from the jaws of uncertainty." The top American commander in the Middle East has, since at least July, outlined a plan that would gradually reduce American forces in Iraq toward 100,000 by next spring, Pentagon and military officials said.
The commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, has not discussed that plan in public - and also has carefully avoided comment on the vitriolic debate that erupted between the White House and Congress. While the focus of the options that the Pentagon is drafting has been on dropping below 100,000 troops by the end of next year, contingency plans also deal with a possible demand by the new Iraqi government for a speedier American withdrawal and, at the other extreme, for requests to sustain troop levels, or even for another temporary increase, should Iraq risk falling into increased violence and anarchy.
Senior commanders see no short-term change in American military capacity on the ground in Iraq with the anticipated return to 138,000 troops after the election. Fresh assessments on altering the troop numbers - and the mix of capacities, from infantry to training units to civil affairs - are anticipated not long after the vote.
"Recommendations will be made here based on conditions on the ground," said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq. "Those conditions are the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, the capability of the government to support those forces in the field, the state of the insurgency, and a whole range of conditions."
General Vines also acknowledged the political realities influencing troop reductions, saying, "The ultimate decision, of course, will be made as a policy level decision in Washington and other capitals."
The senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, on Sunday advocated setting a deadline for withdrawing American forces from Iraq, saying such a firm statement would force political compromise within the emerging leadership in Baghdad.
An open-ended American commitment "takes pressure off them to make the compromises that are necessary to make those changes in the Constitution," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "That's what we need to do. Put some pressure on them to make the political decisions that are so essential to becoming a nation."
On the NBC News program "Meet the Press," Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, argued against setting a timetable, but did urge President Bush to speak more often and directly to the American people about the mission.
"It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of this concern that understandably our people have about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public, and we've got to stay firm for the next six months," Senator Warner said. "It is a critical period."
in modern times ray krone of phoenix arizona was the 100th person freed from death row when DNA testing proved he didnt commit the murder he was convicted of. im sure that 100's of people before DNA testing was invented were executed for crimes they didnt commit because they didnt have DNA testing to bail them out.
im also sure there are 100's and probably 1,000's of cases like the one below where a person convicted of murder says they are innocent and they are trying to get out of jail after spending many years in jail for a crime they say they didnt commit.
the judge gave ray krone extra time for refusing to admit he murdered the person he was convicted of murdering. DNA testing proved the judge was wrong. i wonder if DNA testing or new evidence will prove the judge wrong in the article below where the man has spent 16 years in prison claiming he is innocent?
With Missionary Zeal, Group Fights to Free Convicted Killer in Maine Girl's Murder
By PAM BELLUCK
Published: November 28, 2005
PORTLAND, Me. - The Augusta chapter meets at Pat Christopher's house on the third Wednesday of every month. On the last Monday, the Madawaska chapter convenes above the police station. And on the fourth Tuesday are meetings of the Auburn-Lewiston and Freedom-Belfast chapters.
Michael C. York for The New York Times
Dennis Dechaine has served 16 years of a life sentence for Sarah Cherry's murder. A group called Trial and Error has rallied behind his bid for a new trial, selling books, buttons, bracelets and stickers to raise money.
These are not book groups or penny poker games. At these meetings, the topic might be DNA under a murdered girl's thumbnail or the time of death in a coroner's report.
And the attendees have an unusually zealous mission: freeing a man convicted 16 years ago of what many consider to be Maine's most notorious crime.
The crime was the murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry, who was kidnapped from a baby-sitting job in Bowdoin in July 1988, taken to the woods, raped with birch sticks, tied up, strangled with a bandanna and stabbed in the throat and head.
The convicted man is Dennis Dechaine (pronounced duh-SHANE), then a 30-year-old farmer and Christmas wreath vendor, seen walking from the woods hours after Sarah disappeared.
Law enforcement officials remain convinced he is the killer - after all, the bandanna, knife and rope matched those he owned, a receipt and a notebook belonging to him were found in the driveway of the home where she was baby-sitting, and, according to detectives and jail guards, Mr. Dechaine confessed.
"There's no evidence of somebody else being involved in this," said Eric Wright, who prosecuted the case.
But Mr. Dechaine's supporters, who say they number at least 1,000 in Maine and more elsewhere, refuse to let things rest. Most of them never knew Mr. Dechaine before his conviction, and many belong to Trial and Error, a group whose sole focus is this case. It claims nine chapters in Maine and smaller ones in Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, California and Hong Kong.
They have circulated petitions, urged legislation and recruited lawyers for Mr. Dechaine, who is serving a life sentence in the state prison in Warren. They have staged Dennis Dechaine Day demonstrations at the Statehouse, marching with his life-size photograph.
With walkathons, bake sales and benefit concerts, they have raised $130,000 for expenses like DNA testing. They even have songs with lyrics like: "Do the right thing at least this one time/Let's free Dennis Dechaine."
And one supporter, James P. Moore, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, wrote a book saying the case against Mr. Dechaine was flawed, and then pressed successfully for the release of police records that Mr. Dechaine's advocates say reveal new evidence.
Supporters of Mr. Dechaine, who says he was in the woods that night doing drugs, say cross-outs in police notes show he did not really confess. They stress that no fingerprints, blood or hairs tied him to the murder, to which Mr. Wright replies, "the absence of forensic evidence doesn't mean that's evidence that somebody didn't do it."
John Richardson, Maine's speaker of the House, said, "I don't think I remember a case that has garnered this much attention." The House voted in May on a resolution introduced by Representative Ross Paradis, a Trial and Error member, that urged a new trial for Mr. Dechaine. The bill failed, 85 to 51.
Last year, after the group generated publicity, Maine's attorney general appointed a panel to investigate prosecutorial and police conduct in the case. Its report is expected soon.
And this fall, a judge was supposed to hear a retrial motion based on DNA, but Mr. Dechaine's lawyers decided they could not meet the strict conditions Maine requires for a new trial. Now, Mr. Paradis is introducing a bill to soften the retrial law.
"The Trial and Error folks have been relentless," said Colin Starger, a lawyer for the Innocence Project, a legal clinic dedicated to reversing wrongful convictions. It got involved in the case years ago, partly because of a call from Trial and Error.
Mr. Starger said cases almost never spawned large groups of supporters with no relationship to the defendant, and he said that he sometimes kept his distance.
"They've created controversy, and controversy always has the benefit of keeping an issue alive, but sometimes has the downside of dividing people into camps," he said, "and then there's a camp that is strongly against you."
M. Michaela Murphy, Mr. Dechaine's lead lawyer, recruited by the group in 2003, said, "Trial and Error makes my life hard."
"They have their own agenda, which I often don't agree with," she added. "I think they're naïve in the extreme about the possibilities of publicly advocating for a person like Mr. Dechaine. Someone from the group tried to actually contact the family of Sarah Cherry, and I pretty much had a coronary."
The group has since tried to tone things down, ousting the member who went to Sarah's grandparents' house and visited one of her sisters at the restaurant where she worked. These days, members are selling cookbooks and urging Maine movie theaters to show a new film about exonerated inmates as a way to build support for Mr. Dechaine.
The Rev. Robert Dorr, the Cherry family's pastor and spokesman, said the Dechaine supporters' persistence "boils down to abuse" and said the family could not "come to terms with their grieving when these people are always in their face."
It started after Mr. Dechaine's conviction in 1989, when Carol Waltman, who knew him in Madawaska, in French-Canadian northern Maine, founded Trial and Error. Ms. Waltman, who had had medical problems, said "God kept me alive for a reason, to help Dennis."
When he sought a new trial in 1992, one of several unsuccessful legal moves, Trial and Error bused in 90 supporters in "slime green" T-shirts who gave Mr. Dechaine a standing ovation in the courtroom, Ms. Waltman said.
Later, with money Trial and Error raised at a dance, Mr. Dechaine's lawyer had Sarah's fingernails tested for DNA, something Mr. Dechaine had requested before his trial but had been denied. Blood under a thumbnail contained DNA of another man, still unidentified. The state confirmed those results last year.
Mr. Wright, the prosecutor, said the DNA was irrelevant in this case and could have come from anywhere, including contamination.
The Dechaine cause gained supporters after Mr. Moore's 2002 book, "Human Sacrifice." Mr. Moore said he attended an early Trial and Error meeting to defend law enforcement against allegations by people he assumed were "a bunch of nuts," but was instead inspired to investigate.
His 450-page book, whose royalties go to Trial and Error, asserts, among other things, that the police failed to look at other suspects and that at the time of Sarah's death, Mr. Dechaine was being interviewed by the police in her disappearance.
The book attracted people like Bill Bunting, 60, a cattle farmer and writer of maritime books, who has visited Mr. Dechaine "well over 100 times," and says "the only organization I ever belonged to before this was 4H."
It also drew Nancy Farrin, 43, a state microbiologist and mother of two, who said that after visiting Mr. Dechaine, "I felt like this guy is either the supreme con artist of the century" or innocent.
Other supporters include Dale Preston, who strangled his wife after finding her with another man, and met Mr. Dechaine in prison.
And there is Morrison Bonpasse, whose other causes include the Lucy Stone League, which promotes the rights of women to keep their maiden names, and the Single Global Currency Association. He was the one who visited the Cherry family, he says to "encourage them to understand that their goals are similar to our goals: We want the killer of Sarah Cherry to be found and punished."
Mr. Bonpasse said he was continuing to work for Mr. Dechaine's release.
Trial and Error's members are so passionate that their voluminous Web site even draws connections between the Dechaine case and "The Shawshank Redemption," a Stephen King short story and movie about Andy Dufresne, wrongly imprisoned for his wife's murder.
Among the similarities the Web site cites: that Mr. Dufresne was 31 and Mr. Dechaine was 30, that Mr. Dufresne said he was drunk at the time of the murder and Mr. Dechaine said he was on drugs, and that "both lived in Maine."
In an interview from prison, Mr. Dechaine, 48, said: "Half the group believes that any press is good press, the other half believes that the less press the better. I guess I vacillate, to be honest with you."
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
From: "Jason" email@example.com
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 00:49:47 -0700
Subject: [lpaz-discuss] New Zealand: Protected by staying home.
My messages have by and large focused on the "domestic life" and "tourist" aspects of New Zealand. However, I just watched something about New Zealand foreign policy that I can't let go without a comment.
For those who aren't aware, on weeknights on of New Zealand's major networks (TV3) there is the nightly news followed by Campbell Live, a sort of news/opinion type show. Tonight's topic was terrorism; a short teaser can currently be seen at the following page though I don't know for how long (probably not beyond the next few hours). http://campbelllive.tv3.co.nz/
Here is the text from the site above in case it has changed by the time this message goes out:
Is New Zealand a target for terrorists? If not, why not? Our friends in America, Britain and Australia are...Bali is and many Muslim countries are. So why are we so lucky? And, as the threats get closer, how long can our luck last? We ask the experts.
The report covered the fact that 2000 American soldiers, as well as several from Australia and UK have been killed in Iraq...but also 27,000 Iraqi CIVILIANS have been killed. It covered very well the fact that America, the UK, and Australia participated in the Iraq invasion, but New Zealand did not. It covered the fact that America, the UK, and Australia are now being targeted by terrorists, and at least so far New Zealand has not (in fact the NZ terror threat level is "low"). It played the full tape of the guy behind one of the terror attacks in UK saying it was because of the harm being done to Iraqi civilians by the invading armies that they are attacking UK civilians. It covered the fact that America, the UK, and Australia have all passed curtailments of civil liberties and have more anti-freedom legislation pending while NZ has no such legislation pending. In short, it was the kind of coverage and perspective you never see on prime-time TV in the US. How many Americans even have a clue that over 10 times the number of Iraqi civilians have been killed in the Iraq war as American soldiers? The only reason I knew while I lived in the US was because of the internet. Most of the show was a full-on advertisement of exactly why staying out of Iraq, and non interventionism in general, was a smart move for New Zealand. The teaser may have referred to "luck" but the show clearly attributed it to smarts.
The "balance" offered to this was the fact that Australia is closer to NZ than other countries so the recent arrest of several Australians for a terrorist plot means terrorism is now "closer" to NZ. Also, lots of Kiwis go to Australia on holiday and also to some of the same places as Australian tourists (like Bali) so they might get caught in the crossfire. One guy said that if muslims felt oppressed in NZ they might start doing stuff here, which seemed to me to be a very silly assertion since the cause of muslim terrorism in western countries has always been what the western countries do "over there" (i.e. in the middle east) not what they do in the western countries themselves. And they mentioned that the US, UK, and Australia regard New Zealand as a "friend" but not an "ally". So the hawks got a little say in too. But it was not anything like the US media which always seems to pit a total warmonger against a total pacifist, or a partisan Republican against a partisan Democrat who is only opposed to Bush's execution not his principles, and thereby totally avoid discussing the idea of non intervention as an effective means of defending a country's freedom. It was truly refreshing to see a show that not only aired my perspective on the matter, but seemed to agree with it.
The best quote of the show? "New Zealand's armed forces: Protecting New Zealand...by staying at home." I nearly jumped for joy. :-)
It ought to go without saying, but given the number of lists this is going out to I have to say it anyway: My support of a non-intervention policy does not mean I think terrorists are in any way justified in what they do. It's deplorable when ANY military action harms civilians, but doubly so when civilians are the intended targets of such action. Should I ever find myself in the circumstances where terrorist(s) are directly threatening the lives of civilians I would not hesitate to take whatever actions I am able to in order to stop them. I just think it's a smarter strategy to take away their motive for attacking in the first place, than to give them ever more motive with ever more military intervention in the middle east. I totally reject the "fight them over there" logic, as that kind of thinking is the root cause of what got the west into this terrorism problem in the first place.
Waiwera, North Auckland, New Zealand
Miami Police Take New Tack Against Terror
Nov 28 9:28 PM US/Eastern
By CURT ANDERSON
Associated Press Writer
Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at
hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and
remind people to be vigilant.
Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example,
surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out
and hand out leaflets about terror threats.
"This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists
know we are out there," Fernandez said.
The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said
al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places
under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.
Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat
of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has
repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential
Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the
Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other
alleged terror cells have operated in the area.
Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains,
while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.
"People are definitely going to notice it," Fernandez said. "We want
that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want
people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be
our eyes and ears."
Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami
initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not
"What we're dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more
effective and more consistent with the Constitution," Simon said.
"We'll have to see how it is implemented."
Mary Ann Viverette, president of the International Association of
Chiefs of Police, said the Miami program is similar to those used for
years during the holiday season to deter criminals at busy places such
as shopping malls.
"You want to make your presence known and that's a great way to do it,"
said Viverette, police chief in Gaithersburg, Md. "We want people to
feel they can go about their normal course of business, but we want
them to be aware."
george w hitler comes to phoenix
Bush: Secure border, no amnesty
President stops off in Arizona
Susan Carroll, Pat Flannery, Yvonne Wingett and Jon Kamman
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
President Bush came to Arizona on Monday to restate his core principles on immigration reform, taking hard stances against amnesty and in favor of strong border security.
"Illegal immigration is a serious challenge. And our responsibility is clear: We are going to protect the border," Bush said in his televised speech Monday afternoon from Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The speech was designed to mend rifts in the Republican Party and woo back conservatives.
Bush later traveled to Phoenix to address a political fund-raiser for Sen. Jon Kyl, who faces a stiff re-election challenge next year from Democrat Jim Pederson.
Bush's Phoenix visit was greeted by 500 to 600 war protesters who marched and held signs near 24th Street and Camelback Road, just a stone's throw from Kyl's fund-raiser at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.
The president spent Monday night at Phoenix's Royal Palms Resort and Spa and was to depart this morning for El Paso.
Bush's Tucson speech had few new details of his plan for immigration reform, which was first outlined in January 2004. Instead, he repeated broad goals of improving border security while creating a temporary-worker program.
Bush's 2004 immigration reform outline would permit "temporary workers" to stay in the United States for up to six years before returning home but would not offer undocumented immigrants an automatic path toward citizenship.
On Monday, Bush shied away from such details. He did not endorse either of two different immigration bills sponsored by key Arizona Republicans: Kyl and his Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, both of whom attended the speech along with Gov. Janet Napolitano and two Bush Cabinet members, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Immigration experts suggested Bush's speech was chiefly an attempt to mend rifts in the GOP over immigration policy by stressing the need for a hardened border, a topic of paramount interest to party conservatives, while affirming the goal of providing a steady and legal supply of necessary foreign labor for U.S. employers.
Against a backdrop of Customs and Border Protection officers and a gleaming law enforcement helicopter, Bush threatened to veto any plan that offered "amnesty" to undocumented immigrants.
"We're going to secure the border by catching those who enter illegally and hardening the border to prevent illegal crossings," he said. "We're going to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws within our country. And together with Congress, we're going to create a temporary-worker program that will take pressure off the border, bring workers from out of the shadows and reject amnesty."
He added, "Rewarding those who have broken the law would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border."
Bush also stressed the need for greater workplace enforcement, which the business community staunchly opposes.
"Listen, there's a lot of opinions on this proposal. I understand that. But people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary-worker program," he said.
Julieta G., 25, an undocumented Mexican living in Phoenix and working as housekeeper at a Valley hotel, said that a guest-worker plan would not work without provisions to make workers legal permanent residents.
"I don't believe it's realistic," said Julieta, who asked that her last name not be used. "The workers want to stay. They have lives here."
Roel Hernandez, a legal resident and native of Chihuahua, Mexico, said a proposal that allows only immigrants to "fill jobs that Americans will not do" could prevent thousands of them from thriving in this country.
"There are a lot of illegal immigrants in this country that have businesses," said Hernandez, 33, a Scottsdale resident. "He is forcing illegal immigrants to stick to only a couple of jobs, the jobs that require long hours and are very hard, (such as) working in the fields and construction."
Because the business community increasingly relies on foreign labor, some business leaders worry a crackdown without a new guest-worker program will leave many businesses without workers.
"It would kill me," said Andres Perez, who employs about 60 workers at N&A Landscaping. "There has to be a system put in place where they can come to this country and work instead of having to sacrifice their lives, like walking through the desert like my workers have."
Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said Bush's comments add urgency to the push for reform.
"This is like the gun you shoot at the beginning of the race or the bell that you ring at the beginning of a classroom discussion," Jacoby said. "This is the president saying, 'OK, we're going to get serious about this now. Congress is going to work on it. I'm going to put my political capital behind it.' "
Yet because the terms Bush outlined Monday were not carefully defined, critics suggest he is leaving himself "wiggle room" for political positioning in the looming debate on Capitol Hill.
The House is expected to take up the matter of border security between now and Christmas, while the Senate could tackle immigration reform early next year.
"I think he's trying to tell a restive populist base in his party that he gets it," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. "It's a way to say, 'We understand that we need to get better control of our borders.' "
Sharry was surprised that Bush did not try to influence the debate in Congress by discussing existing proposals, particularly since McCain and Kyl, the authors of rival Senate measures, were present.
"Will it (the speech) change what's already scheduled to happen in Congress? Not one iota," Sharry said.
Kyl, however, said Bush's aim "was to reorder the priorities, to make it clear that he is committed first and foremost to securing the border, secondly to enforcing the law in the interior, and third, in enforcing it at the workplace. That's how you have an effective temporary-work program."
"If anything was new, I think it was a reassertion of his commitment to secure the border," Kyl said.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, dismissed the speech as political posturing.
"It's packaging, it's spin. That's all this is," he said.
Krikorian gave Bush credit for one thing: "This is the first time I've ever heard the president praise Customs and Border Protection agents. This was an important thing to do."
Immigration was not the only item on Bush's Arizona agenda. After being greeted at Sky Harbor International Airport by Freedom Corps volunteer Father William Mitchell, who works with troubled children in the East Valley, Bush was whisked to Kyl's $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to hobnob with Arizona's GOP elite.
Pederson, who hopes to unseat Kyl next year, said he was "very disappointed" in Bush's speech because it focused on "more border regulation" without recommending specifics or addressing the needs of border states and communities.
"It was just a rehash," Pederson said, faulting the president for saying nothing about federal reimbursement of state and local costs of providing law enforcement, health care and education for undocumented immigrants.
"The president lumped the McCain and Kyl bills together, but they are diametrically different," said Pederson, who supports the McCain bill co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
"If we don't have leadership out of the president, there will be no immigration reform next year," he said
A few blocks from Kyl's event, war protesters lined the corners of 24th Street and Camelback Road for more than two hours.
"We need responsive government, and we don't have it," said Frank Shine, 66, a Mesa veteran who attended the protest. Shine said Bush should heed polls indicating growing public sentiment for a U.S. pullout from Iraq.
Victor Ramos, 37, of Phoenix, a first-time protester who attended at a friend's urging, said he hoped Bush would take note of the protest.
"We don't agree with the war, or how he's using our taxes and money," Ramos said.
I went to the bush protest with a big sign that said “F*CK BUSH”. I left out the “U” not because I was afraid of the pigs arresting me (although they might have) but because I figured the media would not show the sign on TV or in the newspapers if it had the “U” in it. The only media folks I remember taping me was channel 33 which is think is a Spanish language station.
I stood on 24th street with my sign. It was interesting watching people drive by and look at their reaction. Most people really didn’t care. A lot of people got a big smile on their face when they read my sign. I got a lot of high five’s from people when they read my sign. I also had a lot of people who gave me the finger. A number of people also rolled down their windows and yelled “Fuck Bush.”
When people honked there horns that didn’t mean anything. Many people who gave me high fives honked their horns. Also many people who gave me the finger honked their horns.
Since I watching the reaction of all the drivers as they drove by it was interesting to see how many people where driving and yakking on their cell phones at the same time. I saw one woman who was juggling a cell phone and a cigarette as she was driving. I got to watch her for a while because she was blocked by a bus and it was interesting how she move the cigarette to her mouth while juggling the cell phone and steering wheel of the car. I never though how hard it was to smoke, drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time.
I didn’t see any Libertarians at the protest. There were a few anarchists there. And lots of the usual socialists involved in the anti-war movement were there. There weren’t any COPWATCHERS there either although the ACLU had their legal observers there.
Fonzie the original copwatcher was there. He was on his roller skates with his video camera as he always is. And he had on a cap that said “Fuck the Police.” For those of you who don’t know Fonzie he is the black guy that drives around a van that is covered with graffiti that says “Fuck the Police”. He is the original Phoenix copwatcher and I am told that the police academy calls the course they give on how to deal with copwatcher’s the “Fonzie West Course” in honor of Fonzie who they beat us a number of times in the early years because of his copwatching.
The kiddies always seem to like my “F*CK BUSH” sign. Several kids there pointed out my sign to their parents and said stuff like “Look at that sign mommy.” It was the same way at the last protest at 16th Street and Jefferson the kiddies seemed to love my sign there too.
pilots dont like emperor bush either because all the airports were shut down to protect emperor bush from us serfs. also camelback road from 44th street to 56st street was shut down to protect emporer bushs hotel from us peons.
Airport firms are eager for Bush to leave
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Pilots will once again take to the air this morning as President Bush moves on to El Paso.
A temporary flight restriction closed Scottsdale Airport at 4 p.m. Monday when Bush arrived in Phoenix to speak at a fund-raiser for U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
Scottsdale Airport is expected to reopen at 9:30 a.m. today with the departure of Bush from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, not a minute too soon for some airport business owners who lose money every time a Bush appearance grounds air traffic. This was Bush's fifth Valley visit in 13 months.
Tommy Walker, general manager of Scottsdale Air Center, said he blames Osama bin Laden, not Bush, for the increased presidential security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Nonetheless, Walker said it would be helpful if fixed-based air-service providers such as Scottsdale Air Center received more lead time about flight restrictions so their corporate jet clients could juggle schedules more efficiently.
Walker said last year's two-day flight restrictions at Scottsdale Airport during the presidential debates in Tempe "was a killer."
Gary Lewin, owner of Southwest Flight Center, said he is concerned about the number of presidential flight restrictions.
"When the president comes to town, I don't get paid," Lewin said.
Jeff Myers, spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said his organization would like to see more planning and greater sensitivity to avoid "the ripple effect" on pilots and the general public.
Hmmmmm..... If Warden Martinez can get the mail delivered to the inmates in this Arizona State Prison a day before it is mailed I bet Laro who is in a Federal prison can get the U.S. Post Office to deliver the mail to him before it is even written. if this is true laro can i just stop sending you this stuff to save some postage??????
20 November 2005
Enclosed is a ridiculous explanation by Deputy Warden Martinez for the failure of the staff to deliver Saturday’s mail. Supposedly, the staff is getting the United States mail ahead of schedule. It is Sunday today, so perhaps by that logic they can give us Monday’s mail today.
Today we had early morning recreation. The weather was cool and very windy, and Tom, my cellmate wanted to wear his sweatshirt on the recreation field for warmth. For some strange reason however the guard refused to let him wear it.
We have completed the four-page inmate newspaper for the Rincon yard. It awaits the approval of the deputy warden, and then it must be photocopied. Whether we will have a second edition is a bit doubtful at this state, since our computer crashed and rebooting doesn't seem to solve the problem. It's an old system with DOS 6.0 and disk errors. Mr Holler, the programs director, is trying to us the newsletter as justification for getting us new computers. Right now the programs department records are kept the old-fashioned way, by hand and on paper.
Mr. Holler told me that the Secret Service still wants to talk to me. I told him I have nothing to say to them.
[a letter Kevin Walsh received about a mail delivery screw up]
ALL RINCON INMATES
There has been some confusion regarding mail delivery on 11/19/2005. The following is a result of a review of the circumstances regarding the confusion. There was a double pickup of mail by Rincon staff on 11/17/2005. This mail was not broken down and subsequently mail for Thursday 11/17 and Friday 11/18 was delivered on 11/17/2005.
Mail scheduled for delivery on 11/19 was delivered on 11/18/2005 which led to the concern there was no mail delivered on 11/19/2005. Our unit was a day ahead of delivering mail.
I apologize for this confusion and hope this alleviates your concerns.
[SIGNED by R Martinez ]
free guns for government goons???
Deputies seize weapons from Pinal manager
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
Pinal County sheriff's deputies seized $21,000 worth of sniper rifles and related equipment from County Manager Stan Griffis after he refused to return the weapons. Griffis said he bought the guns with county money last spring for the sheriff's volunteer posse. But the posse is not allowed to use such weapons.
One sniper rifle remains unaccounted for, according to findings from a sheriff's investigation. Griffis said he never had the $3,000 gun, despite the purchase order obtained by the Sheriff's Office, and doesn't know where it is.
Griffis, who is retiring in January after 16 years as county manager, has faced no punishment in the case. The Pinal County attorney said he was unaware of it until questioned by The Arizona Republic, as was the state Attorney General's Office. The Arizona Auditor General's Office has declined to investigate, citing a lack of staff.
Pinal County Sheriff Chris Vasquez said Griffis never consulted him about purchasing the weapons using the posse's account. The account is funded by a small amount of annual county revenues and money the posse earns working security for events like the Country Thunder music festival. Griffis said he used money from the county's $1 million contingency fund to pay back the posse account.
Griffis, a firearms trainer and volunteer posse member, said he considered the guns his "duty weapons." He never tagged or inventoried the equipment with the county and kept the weapons loaded and in his truck, county reports said.
The Sheriff's Office began an investigation into the purchase after posse members began making allegations of embezzlement. Vasquez said he couldn't figure out why Griffis bought the guns because the volunteer posse members are barred from using such weapons on duty and Griffis can't train deputies because he isn't a sworn peace officer.
"When you get into these kinds of rifles, they're used by snipers, and that's not the position I want the posse to be in," Vasquez said. "They don't have the training. We use SWAT for sniper rifles. We'll probably never use the posse for (that)."
According to the investigation report released by the Sheriff's Office under the Arizona Public Records Law, "(T)hese expenditures had zero relation to any authorized duty or function of the (posse). . . . If the firearms and other items were not authorized for posse use, which was the original claim, then taking public money from other areas of the Pinal County budget for these expenditures was also a misuse."
Griffis said he spent from April to August providing occasional training on the weapons to posse members.
He said that posse members frequently accompany sworn deputies on patrol and that those rifle skills could be handy if a deputy is incapacitated.
The investigation was completed in late October, and deputies were sent to Griffis' Gold Canyon home to retrieve the weapons, accessories and ammunition.
Griffis said he has resigned from the posse and from firearms training for the posse.
Posse coordinator Charles Higgins said the posse members are supposed to be backup personnel and have no need for high-powered weapons.
"What's the need for rifles?" Higgins asked. "We're not SWAT."
He said the posse account is not typically used to buy weapons. Posse members buy their own guns.
Pinal County Attorney Carter Olson is reviewing Sheriff's Office reports on the matter after becoming aware of the situation this week, spokesman Chuck Teagarden said.
Pinal County Supervisor David Snider said he still had not fully read the report.
Supervisor Sandie Smith sent a Sept. 26 letter to the Auditor General's Office, about a month before the sheriff's investigation was done.
The two-sentence letter asked for an expanded review of posse expenditures and county firearms inventory procedures but said nothing about the investigation, Griffis' purchase of the guns or why she was making such a request.
County officials are reviewing their policies and procedures to see if policies were violated, Deputy County Manager Terry Doolittle said.
supreme court tells tempe rulers they are not allowed to steal private property and give it their buddies.
Property owners relieved that city can't take land
Ariz. Supreme Court rules against Tempe
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
Thirteen Tempe property owners can breathe yet another sigh of relief now that a court decision will keep the city from forcibly taking their land for the second time this year.
This fall, a Maricopa County court judge ruled that Tempe couldn't use eminent domain to take the property for pollution cleanup, only to then turn it into a mega mall.
On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court announced that it's denying Tempe's request to appeal the county court decision.
Tempe has been trying to buy small plots of property at the intersection of Loops 101 and 202 to make way for a $200 million mall. All but 13 landowners have agreed to sell. Instead, those 13 holdouts have waged a feisty legal battle against the city.
Wednesday's decision in their favor could be meaningful not only for the holdout landowners but other Arizona property owners as well. Some some feared the recent U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kelo vs. City of New London, Conn. might make it easier for government to take over property. There, the court deemed the economic benefits of a private development could outweigh private land ownership rights.
"Eminent domain cases are becoming a nationwide epidemic; Developers are teaming up with cash-strapped municipalities to steal property," said Tim Keller, executive director of the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter, one of the groups working for the landowners.
Tempe's appeal asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Bailey case, where Mesa tried to take over Randy Bailey's brake shop two years ago.
The state Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case was reassuring to Keller.
"The Bailey decision is protection that's in line with our state constitution, which declares in no uncertain terms 'private property shall not be taken,' " he said.
Jim Braselton, an attorney representing Tempe, said he's disappointed with the decision, but added that the 214-acre retail center will move forward.
Mira Vista Holdings is bankrolling a plan that includes pollution cleanup and would allow Vestar Development Co. to build a mall, big-box stores and a movie theater.
And it's not all bad news for the city; The landowners had petitioned the court to make the city pay their legal fees. The state court decided against making the city foot the bill.
No eminent domain for Tempe
By Garin Groff, Tribune
November 30, 2005
The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday set back Tempe’s efforts to build a massive shopping center through condemnation.
The high court decided not to consider Tempe’s request to overturn an eminent domain case that stands in the way of Tempe Marketplace.
Several property owners have refused to sell land needed for the project and the city has tried to force them to sell through eminent domain.
Private property advocates said the decision is a big win.
"I’m just thrilled," said Del Sturman, a spokesman for Desert Composites, one of the remaining holdouts. "It’s solidifying that private property rights are still very important. And they’re more important than a shopping center and they’re more important than some one else’s profit motive."
Miravista Holdings and Vestar Development Co. control all but 28 acres of the 120-acre project. The city has said the scattered industrial lots are essential to finishing the project and cleaning up environmental hazards.
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said Tuesday it was too early to know what’s going to happen next.
The decision doesn’t necessarily kill Marketplace — or the possibility Tempe could use eminent domain. The city can still turn to the Arizona Court of Appeals, though that’s the court that issued the ruling Tempe wants to overturn.
Tuesday’s decision will create even more heartburn over eminent domain, said David Merkel, who represents the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
Because the court didn’t uphold or strike down eminent domain — it merely declined to hear the matter — cities will remain confused over when it’s OK to seize land for redevelopment.
"I wanted to hear the Supreme Court say who was right and who was wrong and they decided not to do that," said Merkel, who has sided with Tempe. The court did not say why it declined to take the case.
Tempe wanted the court to overturn the 2003 Randy Bailey eminent domain case —a landmark ruling for redevelopment projects in Arizona. In that case, the Arizona Court of Appeals said Mesa could not force brake shop owner Randy Bailey off his land and transfer it to a hardware store owner.
The court said the private landowner was receiving a substantial benefit while the public was receiving a relatively small one, which is not the intent of eminent domain.
That case has confused cities because it conflicted with previous Arizona Supreme Court rulings about condemning land for redevelopment, Merkel said.
Tempe argued the public would benefit substantially because the Marketplace would clean up an environmental mess left by years of industrial use. In the process, Vestar Development will build the shopping center and make a profit.
The city argues the developer’s role is essential to help pay for important benefits — cleaning up former landfills, getting rid of potentially explosive methane gas and demolishing unsafe buildings.
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 13 that the city’s attempted condemnation did not meet the standards for public use.
The remaining landowners question the benefit of seizing their land to build a shopping center. They say the city has exaggerated the supposed hazards and insist Tempe doesn’t need to take every property to clean up the area.
Tempe should instead negotiate with property owners for what they feel is a fair price or change its redevelopment plans, said Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice.
The organization has helped landowners in eminent domain cases.
Property owners said they hope the Supreme Court refusal will make Tempe give up eminent domain.
"The Supreme Court has sent a real strong message to the city that they don’t have a case," Sturman said. "We’d like them to go away and leave us alone because we’re tired of being hassled."
Contact Garin Groff by email, or phone (480) 898-6554
instead bush should just proclaim that we won the war, installed a democracy in iraq and bring the troops home. kind of like we did in vietnam. although i do remember north vietnamese tanks storming the presidential palace in sagion a week after the USA won the vietnam war.
Bush: Iraqi troops increasingly taking lead in fight
Nov. 30, 2005 09:00 AM
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - President Bush, facing growing doubts about his war strategy, said Wednesday that Iraqi troops are increasingly taking the lead in battle but that "this will take time and patience." He refused to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.
Bush said the U.S. military presence in Iraq is set to change, by making fewer patrols and convoys, moving out of Iraqi cities and focusing more on specialized operations aimed at high-value terrorist targets.
"As Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop level in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists," Bush told a supportive audience at the U.S. Naval Academy. "These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington." advertisement
Bush's emphasis on the readiness of Iraqi security forces came at a time when continued violence in Iraq and the death of more than 2,000 U.S. troops have contributed to a sharp drop in the president's popularity.
Even before Bush finished speaking, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued a statement claiming that Bush "recycled his tired rhetoric of 'stay the course' and once again missed an opportunity to lay out a real strategy for success in Iraq that will bring our troops safely home."
The Nevada senator charged that Bush failed to meet a call by the Senate to tell Americans the administration's strategy for success in Iraq.
With lawmakers and others calling for a more sober assessment of the situation in Iraq, Bush acknowledged setbacks in the training of Iraqi forces. He recalled a time when Iraqi soldiers ran from battle, and said the United States has made several changes reflecting lessons learned from early mistakes in how Iraqis were trained.
"Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to 'stay the course,' " Bush said. "If by 'stay the course' they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they're right. If by 'stay the course' they mean we will not permit al Qaida to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven for terrorists and a launching pad for attacks on America, they're right as well. If by 'stay the course' they mean that we're not learning from our experience or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong."
He did not say that the terrorists now in Iraq had anything to do with the 2001 terror attacks in the United States, but he powerfully linked the two, saying they "share the same ideology."
Bush said many Iraqi forces have made real gains over the past year.
"As the Iraqi forces grow more capable, they are increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists," Bush said. "Our goal is to train enough Iraqi forces so they can carry the fight against the terrorists."
Bush's speech did not break new ground or present a new strategy. Instead, it was intended to bring together in one place the administration's arguments for the war and explain existing strategy on a military, economic and political track. The president's address was accompanied by the release of a 35-page White House document titled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."
"Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy," Bush said. He said the document was an unclassified version of the strategy that was being pursued in Iraq.
Bush said that Iraqis are stepping forward to provide security for their embattled country, torn by suicide bombings, kidnappings and other violence. "Iraqi forces have made real progress," the president said. "We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission. If our military leaders there tell us we need more troops, I will send them."
He said that more than 120 army and police combat battalions are already in the fight against insurgents, and that 80 of those battalions are fighting side by side with coalition forces and 40 are taking the lead in the fight.
"They're helping to turn the tide in the struggle in freedom's favor," the president said.
Turning to criticism at home, Bush said, "Some are calling for a deadline for withdrawal. The many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing are sincere. But I believe they're sincerely wrong.
"Pulling our troops out before they achieve their purpose is not a plan for victory.
... To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge, America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander in chief," Bush declared.
The 35-page fighting strategy released Wednesday maintains increasing numbers of Iraqi troops have been equipped and trained, a democratic government is being forged, Iraq's economy is being rebuilt and U.S. military and civilian presence will change as conditions improve.
"We expect, but cannot guarantee that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience," it said. "While our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize."
Bush's wife, Laura, said earlier Wednesday she "absolutely" would like to see an acceptable resolution there. "We want our troops to be able to come home as soon as they possibly can," she said during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" while giving a White House Christmas tour.
"It's really remarkable how far they've come," she said, "but I really feel very, very encouraged that we're going to see a very great ending when we see a really free Iraq right in the heart of the Middle East."
Sixty-two percent of Americans, in an AP-Ipsos poll taken in November, said they disapproved of Bush's Iraq policy. Thirty-seven percent approved of his policy - down from 43 percent in May. The president's overall job approval rating is at 37 percent, the lowest level of his presidency.
There are about 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has not committed to any specific drawdown of U.S. forces next year beyond the announced plan to pull back 28,000 troops that were added this fall for extra security during the election.
On the Net:
White House - http://www.whitehouse.gov
the 1st amendment is just a worthless piece of paper that doesnt county any more.
FCC warns cable TV to clean up the smut
Jennifer C. Kerr
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Sexed-up, profanity-laced shows on cable and satellite TV should be for adult eyes only, and providers must do more to shield children or could find themselves facing indecency fines, the nation's top communications regulator says.
"Parents need better and more tools to help them navigate the entertainment waters, particularly on cable and satellite TV," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told Congress on Tuesday.
Martin suggested several options, including a "family-friendly" tier of channels that would offer shows suitable for kids, such as the programs shown on the Nickelodeon channel.
He also said cable and satellite providers could consider letting consumers pay for a bundle of channels that they could choose themselves: an "a la carte" pricing system.
If providers don't find a way to police smut on television, Martin said, federal decency standards should be considered.
Martin spoke at an all-day forum on indecency before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Cable and satellite representatives defended their operations and said they've been working to help educate parents on the tools the companies offer to block unwanted programming.
do i really need a government nanny go give me permission to buy cold medicine?????
Cold-pill access targeted by cities in meth fight
Cities weighing rules for stores
Christine L. Romero
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
City leaders weary of methamphetamine's march through the Valley are proposing tougher restrictions on some cold and allergy medicines.
Phoenix, the nation's sixth-largest city, sparked the crackdown with two laws that will require buyers of such common medicines as Sudafed and Benadryl-D to show photo identification and sign a purchase log starting in early December.
Law enforcement officials and council members from Gilbert to Goodyear are considering whether to match that enforcement in an effort to keep meth users and dealers from crossing their borders.
Supporters say cities need to pass tighter restrictions now or have residents face a flood of meth "tweakers" in their back yards, cooking a dangerous brew by using thousands of cold pills containing pseudoephedrine. That is the key ingredient in meth, a cheap, illegal stimulant that prompts violent behavior and hallucinations. Users' teeth can fall out, and their skin can develop ulcers.
"If we don't all start, they will start coming to our community to purchase these precursor drugs," Goodyear Police Chief Mark Brown said.
Arizona leads the nation in meth use by children 12 to 17 years old.
Sgt. Rich Burden, who serves on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office methamphetamine task force, , said meth's devastation spans generations. He has had a 9-year-old tell him how to cook meth and has seen 89-year-old addicts.
"That's what methamphetamine is right now," Burden said. "It's the devil."
And its effects are trickling down to law-abiding residents who have to take extra measures to get over-the-counter medicines.
"I think it's so sad," Goodyear's Fran Baca said. "Before, you could just get what you needed and not have to think about things like this, but now, everything is being abused."
Scottsdale, Surprise, Tucson and Bullhead City have already placed certain restrictions on so-called precursor drugs.
In Scottsdale, for example, consumers are required to show identification and provide their name, address and date of birth. The Scottsdale data will be kept for 90 days and made available to police. Phoenix requires retailers to hand over the information every month.
Phoenix's two new laws kick in Dec. 6 and mimics Oklahoma laws considered among the toughest in the nation.
Oklahoma requires that pseudoephedrine products be kept behind pharmacy counters and requires a signature and photo identification for purchase. Oklahoma has seen a decrease of about 90 percent in meth labs in the 19 months since the law passed, according to Mark Woodward, spokesman for Oklahoma's narcotics bureau.Another advantage is that Oklahoma law enforcement was able to divert attention from domestic meth operations and instead now concentrates its attention on an even greater foe: the flood of meth into this country from Mexico. That also is a lesson for Arizona, Woodward said.
After Oklahoma's tougher laws kicked in, drug abusers drove several hours to neighboring states to buy the needed cold and allergy pills, Woodward said. Local leaders in Arizona need to keep that in mind when they consider more-restrictive regulations, he said.
Oklahoma's neighboring states saw escalating problems and responded with tougher laws, Woodward said.
Now, 22 states have emulated Oklahoma, and 15 more, including Arizona, are expected to try next year.
Last session Arizona lawmakers passed what critics say is a watered-down bill that took effect Nov. 1. But Attorney General Terry Goddard and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns are pushing for a more restrictive statewide law.
The current state law does not require retailers to keep a record of sales and restricts public access only to medicines with pseudoephedrine as the only active ingredient. It does limit customers to about three packages, or 9 grams of the chemical, per transaction; that is about 150 doses.
"Come on, if you use that much Sudafed . . . you need to go see a doctor," Burden said.
The Arizona Retailers Association's Michelle Ahlmer, executive director, said her group supports limiting the amount in each purchase and placing the cold and allergy pills that contain only pseudoephedrine behind the counter.
But the logs demanding name, address and date of birth along with photo identification go too far and won't cure the problem given the robust Mexican meth market, Ahlmer said.
"Retailers already are taking steps," she said. "Most already are putting controls in place. That's a stop gap for people buying by the bus loads."
She argues that pharmacists, who are in short supply statewide, are overburdened and that this adds unnecessarily to their workload.
"The underlying feeling is that you are a criminal if you want to buy this stuff," Ahlmer said.
She and her daughter, for example, use about 9 grams each monthly in allergy drugs.
"My daughter is under 18. If we lived in Oklahoma only one of us could treat our allergies," she said.
Some retailers, including Target Corp. and Bashas', have voluntarily pulled products behind the counter. Wal-Mart limits the amount in each purchase, while Target refuses to sell the products at stores without a pharmacy.
Critics say that forcing customers to give their name, sign a log and show identification is intrusive and could lead to identity theft. They also argue that the sheer volume of purchases is too much for any police department to monitor.
Although many point to Oklahoma's experience, some wonder if roadblocks on these drugs will help Arizona.
"I have a brother-in-law that's a meth addict. He robbed my in-laws last year. That drug just destroys you; it changes you," Avondale resident Jeffrey Payne said. Putting the medicine behind the counter "won't stop it; it won't help anything, but it probably won't hurt anything, either."
Others say this is just one more hurdle and an inconvenience for ill consumers seeking cold and allergy relief. Some consumers also worry about a privacy breech and don't like the idea of showing identification to buy Sudafed, Benadryl-D and the like.
Goodyear resident Baca said "it's inconvenient" to put the drugs behind the counter.
But law enforcement's heart-felt arguments to be even tougher than that may win the favor of city officials.
"I don't think anybody could be against this," Goodyear City Councilman Dick Sousa said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-4140.
Reporter Marianne Refuerzo contributed to this article.
U.S. to tell Europe about CIA
Allies are angry about possible secret prisons
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration pledged Tuesday to respond to a formal inquiry from the European Union over reports of covert CIA prisons for al-Qaida captives in Eastern Europe, acknowledging for the first time that the controversy over the secret prison system has upset European allies.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, writing on behalf of the European Union, sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a letter Tuesday seeking "clarification" about the matter, the British Embassy said. Franco Frattini, the EU's top justice official, warned Monday that any EU country discovered to have hosted CIA prisons will face "serious consequences," including losing its voting rights.
The controversy over the prisons has threatened to overshadow Rice's planned five-day trip to Europe next week, and she used a meeting Tuesday with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's new foreign minister, to respond to the growing clamor for answers.
"The United States realizes that these are topics that are generating interest among European publics as well as parliaments and that these questions need to be responded to," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, adding, "These are certainly legitimate questions."
McCormack said Rice assured Steinmeier that the United States has not violated either its own laws or international treaties, but he sidestepped questions about whether the prisons, the existence of which he did not confirm or deny, violate European laws. Intelligence officials and legal experts have said that the CIA's internment practices would be considered illegal under the laws of several host countries.
The Washington Post reported early this month that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe as part of a covert prison system that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe. The Post did not identify the East European countries at the request of senior U.S. officials, who said the disclosure could disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and could make them targets of retaliation.
The report spawned a frenzy of investigations and news reports in Europe, dismaying administration officials who have painstakingly tried to repair U.S.-European relations this year after they ruptured over the Iraq invasion.
it looks like the state of virginia doesnt want to have the honor of murdering the 1,000th person since the supreme court legalized state sponsered murders.
Killer's execution canceled
Nov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's governor on Tuesday spared the life of a convicted killer who would have been the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
Robin Lovitt's death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole a little more than 24 hours before he was to be executed by injection for stabbing a man to death with scissors during a 1998 pool-hall robbery.
In granting clemency, Gov. Mark Warner noted that evidence from the trial had been improperly destroyed, depriving the defense of the opportunity to subject the material to the latest in DNA testing.
"The commonwealth must ensure that every time this ultimate sanction is carried out, it is done fairly," Warner said in a statement.
Warner, a Democrat, had never granted clemency to a death row inmate during his four years in office. During that time, 11 men have been executed. Virginia is one of the most active death-penalty states, having executed 94 people since 1976.
The 1,000th execution is scheduled for Friday in North Carolina, where Kenneth Lee Boyd is slated to die for killing his estranged wife and her father.
The 999th execution was Tuesday morning, when Ohio put to death John Hicks, who strangled his mother-in-law and suffocated his 5-year-old stepdaughter to cover up the crime.
Lovitt's lawyers, who include former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, and death penalty opponents had argued that his life should be spared because a court clerk illegally destroyed the bloody scissors and other evidence, preventing DNA testing that they said could exonerate him.
Ashley Parrish, another of Lovitt's attorneys, called Warner's decision "entirely proper, given the extraordinary circumstances of Mr. Lovitt's case."
Lovitt was convicted in 1999 of murdering Clayton Dicks at an Arlington pool hall. Prosecutors said Dicks caught Lovitt prying open a cash register with the scissors, which police found in the woods between the pool hall and the home of Lovitt's cousin.
Lovitt admitted grabbing the cash box but insisted someone else killed Dicks. DNA tests on the scissors at the time of the trial were inconclusive. But more sophisticated DNA techniques are now available.
The governor, who is considered a possible Democratic presidential contender in 2008, said he was "acutely aware of the tragic loss experienced by the Dicks family."
"However, evidence in Mr. Lovitt's trial was destroyed by a court employee" before post-conviction DNA tests could be done, he said. "The actions of an agent of the commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law, comes at the expense of a defendant facing society's most severe and final sanction."
The state Attorney General's Office released a statement acknowledging the governor's authority to grant clemency and adding, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family."
In addition to Starr, Republicans such as Mark Earley, Warner's GOP opponent in the 2001 gubernatorial election, had also denounced the planned execution.
i guess this is kinda like the TSA thugs saying their program is a big failure
Air passenger screening to be revamped
New York Times
Dec. 1, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration is making some of the most significant changes in the screening of airline passengers since procedures were revamped after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The changes include a new type of random search and a revision of the pat-down process, as well as the end of a ban on small scissors and certain other sharp tools in carry-on luggage.
The goal of the changes, which will be announced Friday and go into effect on Dec. 20, is to try to disrupt the now-familiar routine associated with security screening, a routine that federal officials fear would-be terrorists may have studied to figure out ways to circumvent it.
"We don't want the predictability of the system to be used against us," said Yolanda Clark of the transportation agency. "So we are introducing an element of randomness that makes it more difficult to manipulate."
The summary document says that the elimination of the ban on metal scissors with a blade of 4 inches or less and tools of 7 inches or less - including screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers - is intended to give airport screeners more time to do new types of random searches.
Passengers are now typically subject to a more intensive, so-called secondary search only if their name matches a listing of terror suspects or because of anomalies such as a last-minute ticket purchase or a one-way trip with no baggage.
The new strategy will mean that a certain number of passengers, even if they are not identified by these computerized checks, will be pulled aside and subject to an added search lasting about two minutes. Officials said passengers will be selected randomly, without regard to ethnicity or nationality.
What happens next will vary. One day at a certain airport, carry-on bags may be physically searched. On the same day at a different airport, those subject to the random search may have their shoes screened for explosives or be checked with a hand-held metal detector.
"By design, a traveler will not experience the same search every time he or she flies," the summary of the new policy said. "The searches will add an element of unpredictability to the screening process that will be easy for passengers to navigate but difficult for terrorists to manipulate."
The new policy will also change the way pat-down searches are done to check for explosive devices. Screeners will now search the upper and lower torso, the entire arm and legs from the midthigh down to the ankle and the back and abdomen, significantly expanding the area checked.
when some dumb cop accidently gets himself killed they always try to make the cop look like a hero instead of painting him as a dangerous idiot that was endangering the lives of us citizens.
this dumb pig killed himself thru reckless driving and he could have easily killed someone else. but the pigs and media are painting him as a hero
Rookie officer dies after rollover crash
Friends say that he loved his new job
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 1, 2005 12:00 AM
Officer Paul Salmon's police academy classmates anticipated they would lose a brother at some point in their careers.
They didn't think it would be so soon. And they certainly didn't think it would be him.
Salmon, 22, died late Tuesday after being pulled from life support at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. A rollover crash early Monday left him with massive head trauma.
Salmon was an officer with the Phoenix Police Department for only six months. Memorial services are pending.
Investigators have not determined what caused the crash.
"There's a lot of speculation that something ran in front of him or something happened to him before (the accident)," said Sgt. Lauri Williams, a Phoenix police spokeswoman.
Officers Christian Bailey and Matt O'Halloran on Wednesday described their friend as a cut-up who provided much-needed comic relief after days of intense training at the academy.
"Anytime we were getting stressed out as a class, we'd be in the locker room and there would be Paul and another classmate singing songs like You've Lost that Loving Feeling by the Righteous Brothers," O'Halloran said. "He'd have everyone in stitches."
But he was also quick to point out that Salmon was a competent officer, the kind he'd want as backup "on a bad call."
Salmon's last communication with dispatchers was at 12:52 a.m. Monday, when he agreed to assist with a domestic-violence call in south Phoenix. It was considered a "hot," or "Priority 1," call, which means the suspect was still on location and the scene was considered dangerous.
That means Salmon would have been trying to get there as quickly as he could, Williams said. It appeared he was traveling westbound on Baseline Road near 31st Avenue when the car flipped. He wasn't wearing a seat belt, and there was no indication he tried to hit the brakes, police said.
Stephen Williams, a security officer at a nearby development, called 911 to report the accident. He was sitting in his car filling out paperwork when he saw a flash of light out of the corner of his eye and heard the crash.
He said it took him a while to find Salmon inside the overturned cruiser: The windshield was splintered and Williams had trouble seeing into the wreckage. He tried to comfort Salmon and hold his hand until paramedics arrived.
Family, friends and co-workers stayed by Salmon's bedside until his death.
"It's been very hard to see him," Bailey said. "There's an understanding you would lose someone in your career, but we never knew it would be so soon, and we never thought it would be Paul."
Bailey said Salmon's family and fiancée are "trying to grieve. They're trying to let Paul go. They're very aware our academy class is behind them, and we'll be behind them forever."
After their graduation June 3, the three friends parted ways: Salmon to Phoenix, Bailey to Scottsdale and O'Halloran to Avondale. But they remained close. In a recent e-mail, Salmon told Bailey he loved the job and was "having so much fun."
"There's no doubt in my mind Paul had a fantastic career ahead of him," Bailey said.
Phoenix officer dies after car crash
By Katie McDevitt, Tribune
December 1, 2005
A rookie Phoenix police officer from Chandler died Tuesday after his patrol car went off the road, rolled and struck a utility pole.
Paul Salmon, 22, died about 8:40 p.m. at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix shortly after he was taken off life support, a Phoenix police spokesman said.
The South Mountain Precinct officer’s cruiser was found overturned about 1 a.m. Monday in the 3100 block of West Baseline Road about five minutes after he notified dispatch he was responding to a domestic violence call, police reported.
Salmon graduated from Hamilton High School in 2001 and was student body president his senior year.
His colleagues, friends and teachers remember him as a man with a good sense of humor who could talk with anyone.
"His school spirit was so high and he would resort to anything to get a laugh," said Lucee (Siter) Buchanan, his Hamilton honors English teacher who knew him since eighth grade.
Hamilton principal Fed DePrez smiled while recalling Salmon’s jovial nature.
"I always thought he’d be on Letterman or something like that, never a police officer or teacher," DePrez said. "While other kids used humor to tear people down, Paul did the opposite."
Police said Salmon suffered serious head injuries in the crash. Salmon was headed to the urgent call using lights and sirens, police said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Salmon’s family and fiancee Shannon Grismore, a Jacobson Elementary School kindergarten teacher, were by his side when he died.
Grismore and Salmon were planning to marry in March.
Contact Katie McDevitt by email, or phone (480) -898-633
13 year old steals mesa cop car!!!
Teen thief joy rides in Mesa police car
By Mike Branom, Tribune
November 30, 2005
Thirteen-year-old Brandon McDaniel wants to be a policeman when he grows up. Mesa officials wish he hadn’t borrowed one of their patrol cars for an impromptu training session.
McDaniel fled a juvenile counseling center, jumped a fence surrounding Mesa Police Department’s parking lot and stole a police car for a joy ride early Tuesday, police said. After two hours, the Fountain Hills teen called 911 and turned himself in.
"I was at the detention thing and, um, I snuck out and I stole a police car," he told the 911 operator.
Minutes later, McDaniel was arrested in a fast-food restaurant parking lot at Lindsay Road and Main Street. He was booked into the Maricopa County Southeast Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of auto theft, burglary and curfew violations.
Although the incident ended harmlessly, Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Chuck Trapani said authorities were alarmed by the idea that the patrol car — in the hands of someone else — could have been used in a plot against President Bush, who was spending the night at an east Phoenix hotel after a fundraising appearance.
The incident began around 10 p.m. Monday, when McDaniel’s mother brought the teen to Mayfield Youth Alternative Center. Mayfield serves as a crisis intervention program where minors can stay for up to 23 hours, director of youth services Jesse Eller said.
McDaniel went to bed, but when a headcount was conducted around 11:30 p.m., he was missing. Eller said he believes McDaniel left through a bathroom window.
While Mayfield staffers contacted police and McDaniel’s mother, the teen walked about a mile, came across the police department in the 100 block of North Robson, then climbed a fence to get into the parking lot.
There, he found a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria with keys in the ignition because an officer had left them there while he went inside to write a report. At 11:45 p.m., the officer returned to the parking lot and discovered his car missing.
McDaniel told authorities he drove for about three hours through Tempe and Mesa, listening to the search for the cruiser until the radio was remotely disconnected.
Not long after, he used the officer’s cell phone to call 911.
Contact Mike Branom by email, or phone (480) 898-6536
Iraq War Extends To The Media
Some Fault Information Operations' Extent
December 1, 2005
Combined Wire Services WASHINGTON -- Not only has the U.S. military been secretly arranging to pay Iraqi newspapers to print pro-American stories written by U.S. troops, but a separate report indicates U.S. information operations in Iraq have been far more extensive.
A Knight Ridder investigation has found that U.S. Army officers have been secretly paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about the war. The U.S. military also has used psychological-warfare officers to write news releases, officials said. The report came on the heels of a Los Angeles Times report on pro-American reports in Iraqi newspapers.
U.S. officials said the payments to Iraqi journalists were made through the Baghdad Press Club, an organization they said was created more than a year ago by U.S. Army officers. They are part of an extensive information campaign run by the American military - including psychological warfare experts - intended to build popular support for U.S.-led stabilization efforts and erode support for Sunni Muslim insurgents.
Members of the Press Club are paid as much as $200 a month, depending on how many positive pieces they produce.
Under military rules, information operations are restricted to influencing the attitudes and behavior of foreign governments and people. One form of information operations - psychological warfare - can use doctored or false information to deceive or damage the enemy, or to bolster support for American efforts.
Many military officials, however, said they were concerned that the payments to Iraqi journalists and other covert information operations in Iraq had become so extensive that they were corroding the effort to build democracy, and undermining U.S. credibility in Iraq. They also worry that information in the Iraqi press that's been planted or paid for by the U.S. military could "blow back" to the American public if it is picked up from the Iraqi press by news organizations or Internet bloggers.
In addition, military and defense officials said, the more extensive the information operations, the more likely they'll be discovered, thereby undermining the credibility of the U.S. armed forces and the American government.
"It's a culture of being loose with the truth. We'd better stop it or we are going to end up like we did in Vietnam," said a senior U.S. defense official in Washington. "The problem is if you get caught, it destroys everything, and they don't realize the collateral damage potential."
Spokesmen for the American command in Iraq and for the Tampa, Fla.-based U.S. Central Command, which has overall responsibility for American military operations in the Middle East, said they had no immediate comment on the Knight Ridder report.
The U.S. military did not deny the Los Angeles Times report that the U.S. is planting pro-American stories in Iraqi newspapers.
Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq, called the program "an important part of countering misinformation in the news by insurgents." A spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, took the contrary tack, calling the report troubling if true. The statement said Rumsfeld was looking into the matter.
Besides the Army's secret payments to Iraqi newspaper, radio and television journalists for positive stories, U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders, two defense officials said.
On at least one occasion, psychological warfare specialists have taken a group of international journalists on a tour of Iraq's border with Syria, a route used by Islamic terrorists and arms smugglers, one of the officials said.
Usually, these duties are the responsibility of military public-affairs officers.
In Iraq, public affairs staff at the American-run multinational headquarters in Baghdad have been combined with information operations experts in an organization known as the Information Operations Task Force.
The unit's public affairs officers are subservient to the information operations experts, military and defense officials said.
The result is a "fuzzing up" of what's supposed to be a strict division between public affairs, which provides factual information about U.S. military operations, and information operations, which can use propaganda and doctored or false information to influence enemy actions, perceptions and behavior.
Knight Ridder Newspapers and Associated Press reports.
1st Taser liability trial opens
Former deputy says stun gun hurt his back
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 1, 2005 12:00 AM
The first product-liability trial against Taser International opened Wednesday in Phoenix with allegations from a former sheriff's deputy who said that a one-second jolt from a stun gun in 2002 fractured his back and ended his law enforcement career.
Lawyers for former Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Samuel Powers claimed Taser officials misled officers about the safety of the stun gun by misrepresenting medical studies, failing to perform adequate tests and downplaying the potential for injury.
In their opening statements, lawyers said that before being shocked during mandatory training, Powers was given constant reassurances that the stun gun "did not, has not, and could not . . . cause any long-term injuries."
Taser's lawyers countered by challenging Powers' medical history, saying evidence showed he had years of back problems and a bone disease that left him vulnerable to the shocks. They denied Taser misled police departments about the safety of its stun guns.
High stakes for Taser
The case before county Superior Court Judge Paul Katz is critical for Scottsdale's Taser International, which says it has never lost an injury claim. Powers' trial comes at the end of a year in which questions about Taser safety led some police departments to shelve the stun guns, prompted an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and caused the price of Taser stock to drop by nearly 80 percent.
Tasers are supposed to provide a safe way for officers to immediately incapacitate suspects with 50,000 volts of electricity. Although Taser maintains that its guns have never caused a serious injury or death, coroners have cited them as a cause, a contributing factor or have been unable rule them out in 21 deaths since 1999.
In September, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Taser agreed to change the way it marketed its stun guns after an inquiry raised questions about company claims "that we felt may have understated the risks of serious harm."
Powers' claims cut to the heart of Taser's key marketing strategy, which involves selling guns to police departments by getting officers to first experience the shock in training. Taser officials for years said their safety claims were backed by more than 100,000 police officers who had been shocked during training without suffering serious injury.
But an investigation by The Arizona Republic found that officers nationwide have complained about severe injuries after being shocked during Taser training.
In August, police officers in five states filed lawsuits against Taser. Among them is a Missouri police chief who says he suffered heart damage and two strokes when he was shocked while hooked up to a cardiac monitor as a way to demonstrate the stun gun's safety.
Others alleged injuries including multiple spinal fractures, burns, a shoulder dislocation and soft-tissue injuries.
In the Powers case, a doctor hired by Taser International found that the stun gun was responsible for fracturing the deputy's back.
In a 2004 memo to Taser lawyers, Phoenix orthopedic surgeon Stephen Brown said Powers was at risk for the injury because he suffered from osteoporosis.
Were it not for the bone disease, Brown said it is unlikely the stun gun would have caused the fracture.
In court Wednesday, Taser lawyer Christina Reid-Moore focused on Brown's findings. She said osteoporosis would have forced Powers to resign whether he suffered any damage from the shock.
Powers was a 16-year veteran of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He is now 47, lives in Ohio and works as a home inspector.
Taser originally blamed the Sheriff's Office for Powers' injury.
A day after Powers filed suit, Taser said that the Sheriff's Office should be held responsible for "unreasonably requiring" officers to be shocked.
"If there is evidence that the shock from the (Taser) caused any injuries or damages to the plaintiff," Taser said in a Feb. 24, 2004, motion, "(the Sheriff's Office) and/or Sheriff Joe Arpaio are at fault for unreasonably requiring the plaintiff to be shocked by the Taser . . . as part of its non-lethal weapons training."
A judge tossed out the motion.
Pictures of Powers getting shocked were shown to jurors Wednesday. They showed Powers standing between two deputies, who were supposed to keep him from falling. Electrodes were attached to his left ankle and right shoulder. The shock, which lasted no more than a second, appeared to cause Powers to yell in pain as his body contracted and he fell forward.
Before being shocked, Powers watched 12 other deputies get shocked and sat through a training course that included videos of other officers receiving the shock.
Reid-Moore told jurors that Powers was given ample warnings about the stun gun's risks and, despite his previous back injuries, agreed to go forward.
"The warnings provided to Samuel Powers, as well as warnings to any other police departments, were adequate," she said.
Reid-Moore dismissed claims made by Powers' lawyers that Taser intentionally misreported Powers' injury as way to avoid admitting the stun gun hurt an officer.
In repeated filings to the SEC, Taser said Powers was alleging that he "injured his shoulder" and that the company made no mention of the fracture.
Reid-Moore called it a simple mistake.
"What the big beef here is they just didn't amend SEC filings," she said.
But lawyer John Dillingham, who represents Powers, said Wednesday that it wasn't the first time Taser had misreported critical information. He pointed to a study that Taser cited for years as proof of the stun gun's safety.
The study, a 1987 report by a California emergency-room doctor, compared gunshot injuries and Taser injuries.
Dillingham said the company used the study to say that Tasers caused "0 percent long-term injuries" without mentioning that was only when compared with gunshot wounds. Reid-Moore said the study's findings were reported accurately.
Gary Ordogg, author of the study, who is expected to testify, has previously said that Taser misused his study and that he has believed for two decades that stun guns can cause deaths.
Feds to help employers check citizenship
Dec. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff provided little detail Thursday on how a new system would work to help U.S. employers verify the immigration or citizenship status of new hires, saying only that an announcement would be made in the next several weeks.
But senior officials at Homeland Security said one change would probably involve revising the notification that employers receive when a Social Security number or other identification information provided by a new hire is rejected as invalid by the Social Security Administration.
"We owe the employers tools to verify their employees in a prompt and accurate manner," Chertoff said during a news conference. "Once we give them those tools, though, they owe it to us to use those tools, and if they don't, we then have to sanction them."
"Employers have not been provided with a good explanation of what they need to do and what is expected of them within eyes of the law" when they receive such a notice, said Russ Knocke, a Homeland Security spokesman.
Homeland Security also wants to expand the use of an Internet-based system, called Basic Pilot Project, which allows employers to use information provided by a job applicant to quickly verify the person's immigration or citizenship status.
Today, only about 5,000 of the nation's approximately 7 million employers use Basic Pilot, according to Citizenship and Immigration Services, which operates the program. The Bush administration is considering mandating use of the system, Chertoff said.
Such a move might require legislation, and even then would take months if not years to initiate because a more robust computer system would be needed to handle the enormous surge in use, Homeland Security officials said Thursday.
In addition, the existing Basic Pilot system is vulnerable to abuse by job applicants who have assumed false identities, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office said.
Few employers in the United States now face fines or criminal charges for hiring undocumented immigrants.
Chertoff said he recognized that his department must expand its enforcement efforts. The department has begun hiring 750 criminal investigators, immigration enforcement agents and deportation officers, as provided in the 2006 fiscal year budget.
"We are digging ourselves out of a hole which it took 20 years to dig ourselves into," Chertoff said. "And it's not going to happen overnight."
Chertoff also said that any overhaul of immigration law must include a guest-worker program to accommodate businesses' need for labor and to ease pressure on law enforcement.
Compiled from reports by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
fight the police state - learn how the piggies operate!
Phoenix College's CSI class growing popular
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
On TV, it's a glamorous affair where forensic scientists often pull up to crime scenes in $55,000 Hummer H2s and then solve the most intricate whodunits in about 45 minutes.
But 20 Phoenix College students know better.
They recently spent hours collecting evidence at makeshift crime scenes, including searching for bullet casings outdoors, as part of the school's Evidence Technology Program.
"Actual searches can take all day," said student Chris Harris, 34, of downtown Phoenix. "Real life isn't like TV. This search isn't even the half of it."
The exercise is required by the Criminalistics: Biological Evidence class, a three-credit crime-scene analysis course where students learn the art of collecting and preserving DNA, fingerprints, blood spatter, drugs, hair, footprints and other evidence.
Popular TV shows like CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Without a Trace have fueled interest in forensic science, prompting more community colleges to offer the coursework. But even high schools are jumping into the fray and offering forensic-science courses or camps to draw youngsters to science.
Students enrolled in Phoenix Union High School District's law enforcement program at Metro Tech High School undergo crime-scene investigations training. The district's Bioscience High School, which opens in fall 2006, will also offer forensics, district spokesman Craig Pletenik said.
"The interest in forensics is so great that we definitely plan to offer it there," he said. "Students love it because it's so hands-on."
Phoenix College offers a two-year forensics degree, with about 30 students now graduating annually compared with seven graduates in 1999.
The central Phoenix campus also offers shorter, specialized certificate programs, such as fingerprinting, police photography and evidence technology.
"We encourage students to earn their associate's degree, though, because it requires more chemistry, which makes them more marketable in the workforce," said Rick Wilson, Justice Studies program director.
In Arizona, starting annual salaries for entry-level positions, such as laboratory technicians, police photographers and fingerprint analysts, range between $31,000 and $36,000. Those with bachelor's degrees typically start at about $40,000, said instructor Bret Little, a criminalist with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Demand for the jobs has swelled along with the Valley's population spurt and jurors' demand for forensic evidence, he added.
One of Little's students, west Phoenix resident Sylvia Lara, 30, enrolled after getting hooked on medical examiner documentaries.
"I love that I'll have so many different challenges and will be able to help solve crimes," she said.
Earlier this month, Lara's team of "criminalists" scoured a mock crime scene, which to a novice's eye seemed a suicide. "This wasn't a suicide at all," Lara said.
"That's why this stuff is so cool," she said."The science explains it all."
1,000 government murders will have occured since 1977 when the state of north carolina murders this man today.
N.C. man set to be No. 1,000 executed
U.S. reinstated penalty in 1977
Dec. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
RALEIGH, N.C. - A man who killed his wife and father-in-law awaited lethal injection early today in the nation's 1,000th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1977.
Kenneth Lee Boyd, set to die at 2 a.m., spent the day receiving visitors. Among those expected to visit were two sons who watched Boyd gun down their mother and grandfather in 1988.
Late Thursday, Gov. Mike Easley denied Boyd's clemency request. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected final appeals by Boyd's lawyers.
Larger-than-normal crowds of protesters were expected at the prison in Raleigh, and vigils were planned across the state. Prison officials planned to tighten security.
The defense unsuccesfully sought clemency from Easley, a Democrat. The governor granted condemned inmates clemency only twice in nearly five years in office, during which time 22 inmates have been put to death.
Boyd, 57, did not deny that he shot and killed Julie Curry Boyd, 36, and her father, 57-year-old Thomas Dillard Curry. Family members said Boyd stalked his estranged wife after they separated following 13 stormy years of marriage and once sent a son to her house with a bullet and a threatening note.
During the slayings, Boyd's son Christopher was pinned under his mother's body as Boyd unloaded a .357-Magnum into her. The boy pushed his way under a bed to escape the barrage. Another son grabbed the pistol while Boyd tried to reload.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 ruled that capital punishment could resume after a 10-year moratorium. The first execution took place the following year, when Gary Gilmore went before a firing squad in Utah.
In Arizona, 22 people have been executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty. Since 1910, Arizona has executed 86 prisoners, according to the state Department of Corrections.
The last inmate executed in Arizona was Donald Jay Miller, who was put to death by lethal injection on Nov. 8, 2000, for shooting a woman to death in Tucson in 1992.
There currently are 107 inmates, including two women, on Arizona's death row.
Boyd spent his likely last hours Thursday visiting family and eating his final meal, a strip steak, baked potato with sour cream, green salad with ranch dressing, a roll with butter and a Pepsi.
Boyd told the Associated Press in a prison interview that he wants no part of the infamous distinction of being No. 1,000. "I'd hate to be remembered as that," Boyd said. "I don't like the idea of being picked as a number."
The 1,001st could come tonight , when South Carolina plans to put Shawn Humphries to death for the 1994 murder of a store clerk.
In Boyd's plea for clemency, his attorneys argued his experiences in Vietnam - where as a bulldozer operator he was shot at by snipers daily - contributed to his crimes.
As the execution neared, Boyd was visited by a son from a previous marriage, who did not witness the slayings.
Smith's wife planned to witness the execution, as did two other family members of the victims.
Republic reporter Judi Villa contributed to this article.
24 November 2005
Thank you for your letter and news updates and for looking up that info on the delusional disorder. I am given to understand that upon release from prison, I will be given $50 and a bus ticket at the minimum. I will also receive a money order for wages and other money on my books. I don’t know if they would release someone with no home to go to but usually in such cases they try to arrange for a halfway house or a homeless shelter to take in that former inmate for a time. I know that Desert Vista hospital, where I stayed from June to October 2004, would not release someone to the streets. If a patient had no home, he or she would usually be sent to a group home.
I have access to a word processor at work, but if I used it for my own letters, I might get in trouble for using DOC equipment for personal use, so for the time being my letters will be handwritten.
I am very surprised that the letters I have sent to you have arrived with a Phoenix postmark. I can’t imagine why that would be so. I’m sorry to hear that a letter you sent to me has been returned. I have not been sent to an out-of-state prison and am not am not aware of any plans to send me away.
I did receive a very large package from you a few weeks ago, but I have not had time to go through it at length. I am glad they are no longer opening the mail I send to you.
Thank you for transcribing Laro’s letter in your letter to me. I don’t know if any Aryan Brotherhood people here building a campfire and worshiping Oden. I do know one inmate on this run who has a Thor’s hammer medallion round his neck. There is one interesting ritual I have observed here. The Native American inmates have a small enclosure for their use equipped with a sweat lodge and some firewood. Every Sunday morning they are in there banging drums, chanting and using the sweat lodge.
It is interesting that Laro is allowed to view and check out videos. There is no provision for that here. I don’t know if they allow that on the lower security yards.
There are no vocational education classes here, though there are programs on employability parenting and substance abuse. GED classes are not mandatory but 8th grade literacy is.
Although work on the first edition of the inmate newsletter is complete it has not been photocopied or distributed. Mr. Holler said he will sit on it for an indefinite length of time. He made that decision after the deputy warden changed the name of the newsletter from the “Rincon Straight Thought” to the “Rincon Recorder”.
I read a small filler article in the newspaper indicating that British historian David Irving was recently arrested in Austria for holocaust denial. I would appreciate if you could find articles giving more details. Thanks.
normally i consider cops thugs who help the government opress us but in this case this pig is right!!!!
Closure of Tempe courts is detrimental to justice
Dec. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
Raise your hand if you're a resident of Tempe and know how to get to 201 East Chicago Street in downtown Chandler, the proposed site of the Santan Consolidated Justice Court Building. Here's a hint. It's 15 miles from the main campus of Arizona State University. How's that for convenience?
The existing East Tempe Justice Court is two miles from ASU, on the southeastern corner of Broadway Road and McClintock Drive. Thanks to Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, among others, a four-mile round trip is about to mutate into a 30-mile road trip.
As such, the supervisor's effort to save money through court consolidation is going to cost everyone more time and more money. Last year, in excess of 75,000 "everyones" traveled to Tempe's two Justice Courts. In the future, they had better pack a compass and a lunch.
The ASU connection is important because everyone cited or arrested (felonies aside) by the university's Department of Public Safety has his case adjudicated by the Tempe Justice Court. In fact, everyone cited or arrested within the boundaries of Tempe (felonies aside) by any police agency other than the Tempe Police Department has his case adjudicated by Tempe's Justice Courts.
In fiscal year 2004-05, Tempe's Justice Courts issued 532 orders of protection and injunctions against harassment. These orders and injunctions are currently served by the constables assigned to the Justice Courts.
Now, people will file their requests in Tempe's Municipal Court, the net effect of which will increase the court's caseload. No savings there.
Furthermore, Tempe police are going to find themselves serving those orders and injunctions. No savings there. And, in time, much the same thing is going to happen to requests for search warrants and telephone records.
In other words, the Tempe Municipal Court is going to get a whole lot busier, and Tempe detectives and sworn officers are going to become process servers. Alas, no savings there either.
Then, there's the issue of justice. It's a concept that relies on access to the courts. You can't have your day in court if you can't get to the courtroom. Unlike the members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, not everyone has unlimited access to a free county car at taxpayer expense.
The bottom line is this. The closure of Tempe's two Justice Courts is bad public policy because, first and foremost, it's detrimental to the cause of justice. It will deny fair hearings to thousands of people. It will inconvenience many thousands more. For lack of ready access to orders of protection, people, mostly women, are going to be further victimized by their violent husbands and boyfriends.
The closure of Tempe's Justice Courts will increase the caseload borne by Tempe's municipal court. Hiding the Justice Courts in downtown Chandler will cost the Arizona State University Department of Public Safety and the Tempe Police Department more time and therefore more money.
Supervisor Brock owes the residents of Tempe an explanation. How are they better served by this most ridiculous of ideas?
Dan Durrenberger is a 32-year resident of the Southeast Valley who lives in Tempe and works in Mesa. He can be reached at DJDurrenberger@ aol.com.
cry baby piggie!!!! if you can't take getting beat up don't take the job!!!! and your not really stopping crime. liquor law violations are victimless crimes that harm no one and just allow the government rulers to shake down us citizens for money
Officer beaten outside Tempe bar battles to recover
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 2, 2005 02:16 PM
The punch knocked James Click out.
The Tempe police sergeant wasn't conscious for at least a half hour. The impact broke his eye socket, broke his nose, fractured his cheekbone.
Two weeks after being hit while on duty outside a Tempe bar, Click still struggles with the ordeal that shook the department and his family.
"One of the hardest things was seeing the looks on my family's faces, to see the looks on my children's faces when they saw me," he said. "It scared them. My little boy asked me if I was going to die."
Click had surgery to repair his face, and now is home, waiting for his bones to heal. He can't drive because his concussion was so severe it affected his vision.
"It was hard going from being in charge of everything and being in control to coming home and not being able to walk up the stairs by myself."
And he's still trying to calm his children, ages 6, 8 and 12. One was afraid to look at or talk with Click while he was in the hospital.
"They still feel like they are in danger and I'm in danger," he said. "It rattled them so much that I think this is the first time they realized that it is a bad world out there sometimes and Dad can get hurt."
That realization isn't new for many in Click's family, though. His father, brother and sister are all police officers.
His father, Ben, was with Phoenix Police Department for 29 years and later served as the Dallas police chief. His brother, Tim,is a sergeant for the Chandler Police Department. His sister, Katherine, is a Tempe police bike officer.
Click is anxious to get back to his job. Part of it is boredom - he said he's tired of surfing the Internet and watching TV. Mainly though, it's out of drive: "I want to get back and get back into the game."
While he recovers over the next few weeks, he's at home, reliving the punch in his head.
Click can't remember what happened after it came. He woke up in the ambulance. Yet he vividly remembers what happened leading up to the hit.
Click oversees a squad of roaming patrol officers call the ACTION team - short for Attacking Crime Trends In Our Neighborhoods - for the Tempe Police Department.
The squad was almost done with its shift, having started the workday at 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 and spent the hours undercover, patrolling bars for liquor violations.
The squad got a call to come help with a fight about 2 a.m.; ACME Roadhouse Bar was in the process of closing and when they got to ACME a fistful of fights were in progress in the parking lot.
As the officers ran toward the melee, Click peeled off a green shirt to reveal one with POLICE on the black fabric, in bright yellow lettering.
Click said he ran toward one fight, and the men punching each other took off. He headed toward another fight.
Three guys were piled on top of a fourth man. They held him down, punching him in the face. Click grabbed one of the punching men, while reaching into the back pocket of his jeans for handcuffs.
The next thing he remembers was coming to in the ambulance.
Investigators say Nicholas Patrick Johnson, 21, punched Click in the head. Johnson, at 6 feet 4, 275 pounds, is a former Chandler High School and Arizona State University football player.
Johnson was arrested outside the bar that night and was booked into Maricopa County Jail on suspicion of felony and misdemeanor assault.
"From the time we took the call to the time I was knocked out was probably two minutes," Click said. "I never saw the punch coming."
when i said "chile peppers" i was refering to any chili pepper in general or in my case any hot chile pepper with lots of capsaicin in it. capsaicin is the stuff that makes chile peppers hot. but you probably knew that. i know it too and i still cant even prounce it.
i dont like jalapeno peppers. they give me hicups when i eat them as they slide down my throat. and they are not very hot either.
i do eat tobasco peppers or the ones they make tobasco sauce out of. you can buy them in bottles filled with tobasco peppers and vinager. they are about an inch long and yellow. they are very hot. i eat them raw to clear up my sinuses. they dont give me hickups. i usually keep a jar of them with me at work.
i also eat chile tepin peppers. they are unique to arizona and northern mexico. they are VERY HOT. 3rd hottest pepper in the world. i dont eat them raw but i grind them up and mix them with olive oil to put in my food, or i grind up about 25 or 30 of them and mix them with french dip mix and a half pint of sour cream to make a dip mix if i eat it my self. if i take the dip mix to a party where normal people will eat it i will only use 10 peppers. chile tepin peppers are small round red peppers about a third of an inch in diameter or less. you can buy a pack of dried chile tepin peppers in the produce section of any grocery store in phoenix or tucson for about a buck and you will get maybe an ounce bag. the american indians often call them christmas peppers because they are round and red. i have never seen them out side of arizona. when i worked in los angeles i mailed smitty grocery story $5 and asked them to send me $5 worth thru the mail - they did.
i also eat chile habano peppers. they are the hottest peppers in the world. i have always seen them sold fresh as opposed to the dried chile tepin peppers. they are about the size of a walnut and either red or yellow. normally small chile pepper will always be hotter then a large chili pepper. but the habanero is an execption to that rule. it is very hot and also very large compared to other very hot peppers which are usually much smaller. i will usually chop up a habanero pepper and mix it with a potato. i dont eat them raw either. i dont buy habanero peppers very often because they are very expensive compared to chili tepin peppers which are dirt cheep. also i prefer dried peppers.
also i will buy dried japanese or thai peppers in the oriental grocery stores. they are usually fairly hot. the rule is to always buy the small peppers because they are usually hotter.
i also eat a lot of chile sauces. my favorite sauce is cholula which is a very hot sauce from mexico. it has a round wooden cap on it. i drink the stuff.
i also eat sciracha sauce. it is hotter then shit. most people think it is from thailand because it has writting on it in chinese, thai and a whole bunch of other languages. but they are wrong. it is made in good old east los angeles. well rosemead but that is close to east los angeles. i dont like sciracha because it has too much sugar in it. i also drink this stuff.
last if i cant get any of the above hot sause i will drink good old american tobasco sause. it is pretty hot. but i dont like it because it has too much vinigar in it. it is made in louisiana with tobasco peppers which were orginally from the mexican state of tobasco.
at one of the cafeterials i eat they have all three sauces and i have gotten a reputation as a fire eater because i always drink large quanities of cholula sause. and if thats not around i will drink the sciracha sause. when i get a tuna melt i will tell the cook to cover one whole side of the sandwich with hot sause. i was really suprized when either the owner of the place or the manager of it gave me a 12 ounce bottle of cholula as a gift a couple of weeks ago.
dont do this when you get out!!!!!!! it doesnt work!!! and besides your both political prisoners - not criminal!!!!!
Article Launched: 12/02/2005 01:00:00 AM
Swiping goes high-tech in bar-code scam
Police say CU freshman bought big-ticket items cheap after printing his own labels
By George Merritt
Denver Post Staff Writer
Boulder - Jonathan Baldino might be off the "nice" list.
Police say Baldino used homemade bar codes to buy electronic gadgets at prices far below any legitimate discount. The 19-year-old is facing three counts of being naughty - one of them a Class 5 felony.
Baldino was detained by Target security Wednesday after he purchased a $150 iPod with a bar-code label of $4.99.
Baldino, a freshman electrical-engineering student at the University of Colorado, told police that he made phony bar codes from real bar codes taken from inexpensive merchandise, then glued those bar codes on to big-ticket items at Target, according to the police report.
Baldino's alleged holiday caper actually worked - once.
On Nov. 16, he downloaded a program called "Barcode Magic" in his dorm room and made a bar code for a CD player that cost $24.99, police said. Then he went shopping - sticking his homemade bar code on a system for using iPods valued at $249.99, police said.
But Baldino's alleged scam was thwarted Wednesday when he returned to Target and was recognized by the store's security specialist, according to police. The specialist watched Baldino check out, discovering that Baldino paid for headphones worth $4.99, while he was walking out with an iPod worth $149.99.
Busted, Baldino begged for a little yuletide forgiveness.
"I will NEVER EVER DO THIS EVER AGAIN and I am once more terribly sorry," Baldino wrote in a statement for police. "Please let me go for I am terribly sorry!!! I'm only a kid! Help me out. I just want to go home. I did this not knowing of the serious penalty that lies behind it. Please! Please! Please!"
Police, however, did not acquiesce. He faces a felony count of forgery and two misdemeanor counts of theft.
"Price switching has been around forever, but this is certainly an advanced form," police spokeswoman Julie Brooks said. "We're seeing a lot more computer involvement in crimes that used to be almost juvenile in nature."
Baldino's bar-code bargains pale in comparison with other national cases. In November, a Reno, Nev., man was arrested for stealing more than $200,000 worth of Legos in a bar-code scam. Baldino is accused of stealing $370 from Target.
Baldino told police he got the idea from a friend in California, where Baldino is from. "Once Baldino got here at college, he didn't have any money to buy things," officer Don Schuler wrote in the report. "He remembered his friend's idea and did a Google search for 'Barcode Magic."'
According to its website, Barcode Magic allows users to "generate bar codes for home, hobby and retail with our easy to use bar-code software. Simply select a bar-code style and font, enter desired text and numbers, and a bar code is automatically created."
Baldino signed up for the 15-day trial software, according to police. He went to Target to get the bar-code numbers for inexpensive items, then typed the bar-code number into the software on his computer to make his own bar-code sticker.
Baldino told police that he didn't have an accomplice at Target. "He looked for female checkers that he thought did not know enough about electronic items to catch the switch," Schuler wrote in his report.
When police went to Baldino's Sterns West dorm to get his computer, a detective noticed the box for Baldino's printer.
"The code on the box has been covered with a code sticker I recognized as the one the Target employees confiscated that Baldino had self-printed," Schuler wrote.
Baldino could not be reached for comment Thursday. In a follow-up statement to police, he wrote: "I am extremely sad now, and I just want to go to bed," he wrote. "Please let me sleep in my own bed tonight."
Staff researcher Barry Osborne contributed to this report.
Staff writer George Merritt can be reached at 720-929-0893 or email@example.com.
Remember the Bush gang also paid American writers and journalists money to write spin articles saying what a great job the Bush gang is doing!!
U.S. military details its Iraq propaganda
Dec. 3, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Military officials for the first time Friday detailed and broadly defended a Pentagon program that pays to plant stories in the Iraqi media, an effort the top U.S. military commander said was part of an effort to "get the truth out" there.
But facing critics in the United States, including lawmakers from both parties, the military raised the possibility for the first time of making changes in the program.
"If any part of our process does not have our full confidence, we will examine that activity and take appropriate action," said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq. "If any contractor is failing to perform as we have intended, we will take appropriate action."
Johnson did not specify what changes, if any, might be considered.
The remarks came after days of reports and criticism that the military was covertly planting in the Iraqi media stories that, while factual, gave a slanted, positive view of conditions in Iraq.
U.S. military officials in Iraq said articles had been offered and published in Iraqi newspapers "as a function of buying advertising and opinion/editorial space, as is customary in Iraq."
Coalition forces compiled the material, and the Washington-based Lincoln Group was authorized to pay Iraqi papers to run the articles, which were supposed to be identified in that way, said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Warner, who went to the Pentagon on Friday for an explanation, said the program was carefully monitored by military leaders and was reviewed by attorneys to ensure it complied with the law.
Warner said that if true, the practice of to plant favorable stories without disclosing it would be wrong, and he was confident the military leaders would agree.
"They do not support any practices . . . not in keeping with the long-standing traditions of our journalistic profession in this country," he said. "I'm sure . . . they would strongly object to any practices that were inconsistent, particularly involving payoffs."
But Warner and military leaders including Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the program.
"Things like this happen. It's a war," Warner said.
i guess this is kind of sort of a half ass way of the TSA admitting that shaking down old ladies with knitting needles and seizing cigaretters won't stop terrorists!!!!!
Easing security rule at airports spurs criticism
Ryan G. Murphy
Los Angeles Times
Dec. 3, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration said Friday that it would allow airplane passengers to carry such previously restricted items as small scissors and tools starting Dec. 22, but that it would expand random security screenings in an effort to increase protection of airplanes and passengers against onboard bombs.
The agency said the changes would let it focus "on more serious threats."
Several legislators, flight attendants and families of the victims of the Sept. 11 hijackings said that allowing sharp objects on airplanes might lead to terrorist attacks.
"While changes to the prohibited-item list may attract the most attention, they are not the most important piece," said Kip Hawley, director of the agency.
He said that after evaluating potential threats and vulnerabilities, the agency decided to focus more "on higher-threat areas, like explosives."
Under the new plan, randomly selected passengers will undergo body searches, and their carry-on items will be given increased examination. The agency said that the new screening could include checks for explosives in shoes, the use of hand-held metal detectors to check individual passengers for weapons, and pat-down searches.
Passengers also may notice more bomb-sniffing dogs roaming airports. Hawley said there are 420 teams of such dogs, 70 percent more than in 2003, at about 80 airports. The administration also plans to increase the number of walk-through bomb-detection machines from 43 now to 340 by September, he said.
The now-standard screening at security checkpoints will continue for all passengers and the items that they carry on board.
No longer prohibited from airplanes will be: scissors less than 4 inches long and such tools as screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers measuring less than 7 inches because, an agency spokeswoman said, "those size items are easiest identified by the screener." She said that agency policy prohibited her from being identified by name when expanding on the director's remarks.
Brian Sullivan, a retired Federal Aviation Administration special agent, expressed skepticism about the new plan. He said that locked cockpit doors might be opened by someone with a sharp object.
The transportation agency, he said, "may be acting prematurely, focusing all of their attention on bombs."
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a telephone interview that the agency was trying to save money, but the result would be less security.
Hawley said at a news conference that from March through September of this year, airport screeners found more than 9.5 million prohibited items in carry-on bags.
"We are opening a lot of bags to take away objects that do not pose a great risk," he said. Hawley said that small scissors and tools account for approximately 25 percent of the prohibited items found in passenger carry-on bags.
Passengers' willingness to confront terrorists - along with other post-Sept. 11 security changes such as air marshals, armed pilots and bulletproof cockpit doors - are why the Safety Administration believes bombs are now a bigger threat than objects.
Airline attendants and families of the Sept. 11 victims criticized the decision.
"This seems like a step backward in aviation, and it hasn't been thought out," said Corey Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants. "This seems to be a staffing issue in TSA. They want to develop more resources to search for explosive devices but in order to do that, they shouldn't have to sacrifice another portion of security."
But flight attendants said more needs to be done to make commercial aviation safe. The flight attendants' unions have been lobbying for mandatory self-defense training and for screening of the cargo that's loaded onto passenger airplanes.
Tommie Hutto-Blake, president of American Airlines' flight attendants' union, said, "We are appalled that we are not being listened to by the federal government as they downgrade cabin security standards."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Humanitarian aid isn't a crime
Dec. 3, 2005 12:00 AM
The holiday season represents a time of giving, a time when we try to be less selfish and think of others less fortunate than ourselves.
So imagine if you came along three individuals in dire need of medical attention. One was severely dehydrated and vomiting.
You called a doctor who advised you to get them to a hospital as soon as possible.
So you did.
But before you got to the hospital you were pulled over by police and arrested for transporting these people.
You would likely protest. On principle you might reject a plea bargain offer of admitting your guilt on a lesser charge.
You would ask how can it be illegal to try to bring medical assistance to someone in need?
In the Bible, the parable of the Good Samaritan tells a similar tale. A man is beaten and robbed and left to die by the road.
A priest scurries past, then a Levite (a priestly order of Jews) does the same, but the Samaritan stopped.
The priest and the Levite held to a doctrine of religious purity which forbids contact with those who did not strictly follow the rules of the faith, including contact with non-believers. They thought themselves to be upholding God's law by ignoring the man, yet it was the Samaritan, the outcast, who nursed the injured man and paid for his stay at an inn.
This summer in southern Arizona, the Good Samaritan was arrested.
The crime that Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss are charged with is helping reviled people who were crossing into this country illegally. They came across a father and a son and a third man, Emil, who were severely dehydrated. Emil was vomiting and had bloody diarrhea.
In this condition people often vomit when they try to hydrate by drinking water. They need an IV or can soon die. Shanti and Daniel consulted a doctor and a lawyer affiliated with their organization, No More Deaths, before acting. Time was of the essence, and they acted as I hope all of us would. They sought to save another's life.
To the U.S. government, this act of humanitarian concern is considered a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison with a $500,000 fine.
The holiday season reminds us of what our values are supposed to be. It's easier to call illegal border crossers aliens than confront our shared humanity and, for many, our shared religious traditions. So perhaps it's fitting that their trial is scheduled to commence Dec. 20 in Tucson.
What do you do when faced with an instance of unjust prosecution? Rosa Parks knew. On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was unjustly arrested for refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger. By Dec. 5, the community responded with a bus boycott involving thousands of ordinary people who worked together praying, singing, walking and carpooling for 380 days until they succeeded. Many of us hope if given a similar opportunity, we, too, would be part of the long walk for justice.
While I appreciate your reading this far, I ask you to go one step further and follow the spirit of Rosa Parks.
Sure you're busy, but take a few minutes and clip this article or a write a note and mail it to:
Mr. Paul K. Charlton
United States Attorney
District of Arizona
Two Renaissance Square
40 North Central, Suite No. 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4408
Tell him to drop the charges because humanitarian aid isn't a crime.
Set aside Saturday, Dec. 17, for a march in Phoenix.
Then mark your calendar for Dec. 20 in case you need to travel to Tucson to bear witness.
Dave Wells of Tempe holds a doctorate in political economy and public policy and teaches at Arizona State University. Reach him at Dave@MakeDemocracyWork.org.
Kenneth Lee Boyd, a North Carolina double murderer who said he didn't want to be known as a number, became the 1,000th person executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed 28 years ago.
Boyd, who brazenly gunned down his estranged wife and father-in-law 17 years earlier, died at 2:15 a.m. Friday after receiving a lethal injection.
Boyd, 57, did not deny killing Julie Curry Boyd, 36, and her father, 57-year-old Thomas Dillard Curry.
In his final words, Boyd said: "God bless everybody in here."
S. Carolina inmate is 1,001st executed in U.S. since 1977
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.03.2005
RALEIGH, N.C. — The 1,000th and 1,001st executions in the United States since capital punishment resumed in 1977 occurred Friday within a 16-hour span.
Shawn Humphries was the 1,001st person executed. He was convicted of the 1994 murder of a store clerk.
Humphries, 34, mouthed "I'm sorry" to his victim's two sisters before fatal chemicals were pumped into his veins in South Carolina.
One of the sisters nodded in response. It appeared that a tear rolled down Humphries' cheek after the exchange.
His death came about 16 hours after North Carolina executed Kenneth Lee Boyd, the 1,000th person to receive capital punishment since 1977, a year after the Supreme Court ruled that it could resume.
Boyd, who gunned down his estranged wife and father-in-law, did not want the numerical distinction. But Humphries' attorney said he had told her "he would rather be 1,000 because if he has to die, No. 1,000 will be remembered. No. 1,001 won't."
Humphries was convicted for the shooting death of Mendal Alton "Dickie" Smith on New Year's Day 1994. Prosecutors said Humphries and a friend decided to rob the Simpsonville store where Smith was working after they drank beer all day.
Humphries' attorney Teresa Norris read a handwritten statement from the death chamber in which Humphries apologized for the killing and criticized the death penalty.
"We are all sinners, so what gives you the right as a sinner to take away a gift that God gave," the statement said in part.
Boyd's execution drew global attention because of its symbolism.
It helped spur renewed debate over U.S. capital punishment and came on a day that executions in Singapore and Saudi Arabia also sparked international concerns.
"God bless everybody in here," Boyd said in his last words to witnesses from the death chamber at Central Prison in North Carolina's state capital, Raleigh.
Boyd, who was 57, was a Vietnam War veteran with a history of alcohol abuse. He was executed for killing his wife and father-in-law in 1988, in front of two of his children.
"This 1,000th execution is a milestone, a milestone we should all be ashamed of," his lawyer Thomas Maher said.
With polls showing that a declining majority of the American public backs the death penalty, the White House reiterated President Bush's support.
"The president strongly supports the death penalty because he believes ultimately it helps save innocent lives," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
Bush is a former governor of Texas, which has accounted for 355 of the 1,000 executions — more than three times as many as any other state.
Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, which prosecuted Boyd, defended the execution. "Tonight justice has been served," he said, and he urged people to pray for the murder victims.
Thirty-eight of the 50 U.S. states and the federal government permit capital punishment, and only China, Iran and Vietnam held more executions in 2004 than the United States, according to rights group Amnesty International.
A Gallup Poll in October showed 64 percent of Americans favored the death penalty — the lowest level in 27 years and down from a high of 80 percent in 1994.
Shawn Humphries was put to death about 16 hours later in South Carolina for the 1994 murder of a store clerk, becoming the 1,001st person executed in the United States.
Humphries, 34, mouthed, "I'm sorry" to his victim's two sisters before the lethal injection. One of the sister nodded in response. It appeared that a tear rolled down Humphries' cheek after the exchange.
Humphries was convicted for the shooting death of Mendal Alton "Dickie" Smith on New Year's Day 1994. Prosecutors said Humphries and a friend decided to rob the store where Smith was working after they drank beer all day.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that capital punishment could resume after a 10-year moratorium. The first execution took place the following year, when Gary Gilmore went before a firing squad in Utah.
-- Associated Press
a long time ago you filed out a notarized paper to allow me to do a freedom of information request to the secret service and get the shit they have on you.
the bastards have never answered it and i think i should start complaining about it.
regnant driver pleads innocent
By Rick D'Elia, Tribune
December 3, 2005
A pregnant Ahwatukee Foothills woman who gained national attention for claiming to a police officer that her unborn child was a passenger in the carpool lane pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix Municipal Court to a traffic violation.
Candace Dickerson, 23, was given a court date for next month to fight the $383 ticket she received Nov. 8 while driving to work in the carpool lane.
A Phoenix officer pulled Dickerson over on Interstate 17 at 6 a.m. and cited her for being alone in the vehicle.
The near full-term woman argued there were two people.
Dickerson did not return phone calls Friday.
"I don’t have the money to pay it, plus it’s the principle of it," Dickerson told the Tribune on Nov. 15. "I’m not willing to just stand down. It’s ridiculous. The principle of the fact is he could’ve given me a warning."
Arizona law does not define a passenger as someone actually occupying a seat, nor does it give an age limit.
"What’s the difference between a 1-year-old and in my womb?" Dickerson added.
A Nov. 16 Tribune story on the case set off a firestorm of opinions — many laced with biting sarcasm — on national television, Internet news sites and blogs.
The case also piqued the interest of a Georgetown University law school class.
A judge is set to hear the case at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 10.
Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss - political prisoners in Arizona
Testing America's tolerance for the criminally humane
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
One day last week, 23-year-old Shanti Sellz was asked to speak to a class of students at the University of Arizona about the lifesaving work she did during the summer on the U.S.-Mexican border, for which the federal government wants to put her in prison.
"It left me very discouraged about my peer group's apathy and outright ignorance about what is going on in their own back yard," she said. "I don't believe that they have many of their own thoughts. It was more as if they were repeating what they'd heard rather than having investigated things for themselves and made up their own minds."
I couldn't bear to tell her that among more mature adults it's even worse.
Border Patrol agents arrested Sellz and Daniel Strauss in July while they were attempting to take a couple of migrants to the hospital after finding them lost and hurting in the desert. The young people were with a faith-based group called No More Deaths, which attempts to lower the number of people who die each summer trying to enter the country by crossing the Arizona desert. It offers food, water and medical assistance to those in trouble.
"The questions I got from the students kind of shocked me," Sellz said. "They didn't seem to understand the difference between helping people to live and breaching national security. These aren't people who have crossed the border in the dead of summer because they want to harm America. Crossing is a last resort for them. It has to be. And all we were trying to do is to prevent some of them from dying. But a lot of those in the classroom didn't see that."
Neither does the federal government, which indicted Sellz and Strauss on one count each of conspiracy to transport an undocumented immigrant and transporting an undocumented immigrant. If convicted, they could spend 15 years in prison.
The two were offered a plea bargain in which they would have had to admit to a crime but would have avoided any jail time. They turned it down. I asked Sellz how her parents feel about that.
"When I called my mom and told her that I was not going to accept the plea, she kind of paused a little then told me that she was very proud of me," she said.
Sellz grew up in Iowa. Her mother is a social worker. Her father spent years as a chiropractor. They worry about her. A trial is set for Dec. 20, though lawyers for Sellz and Strauss are attempting to have the charges dismissed.
In the meantime, Sellz continues her botany studies at Prescott College and talks to media types who want to know how she feels about the prospect of going to prison.
"A lot of Americans are frustrated with the way immigration is going," she said. "All we're trying to do is show that this isn't just a political issue. It's a humanitarian issue, a human rights issue."
If she's lucky, a jury will see it that way, too. If not, she'll pay a fairly heavy price for her idealism. And all at a time when she's still not sure what she wants to be when she grows up.
"The botany interests me, but I see my work more in the social services and human rights," she said. "Although first I have to see this through."
And so do we. Unless we already have. After all, we have no problem with the college students to whom Shanti spoke, the ones who were "repeating what they'd heard rather than having investigated things for themselves."
The curious young adults, however. The committed ones. The ones who believe that freedom is meaningless without a humane purpose, we indict as criminals.
Reach Montini at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8978.
Afghan prison break brazen
Terror suspect escape called 'amazing'
Eric Schmitt and Tim Golden
New York Times
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The prisoners were considered some of the most dangerous men among the hundreds of terror suspects locked behind the walls of a secretive and secure U.S. military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Their escape, however, might as well have been a breakout from the county jail.
According to military officials familiar with the episode, the prisoners are believed to have picked the lock on their cell, changed out of their bright orange uniforms and made their way through a heavily guarded military base under the cover of night. They then crawled over a faulty wall where a getaway vehicle was apparently waiting for them, the officials said.
"It is embarrassing and amazing at the same time," one U.S. defense official said. "It was a disaster."
The fact of the escape was disclosed by the U.S. authorities shortly after it set off an intense manhunt at Bagram, 40 miles north of Kabul, on July 10. But internal military documents and interviews with military and intelligence officials indicate that it was a far more serious breach than the Pentagon has acknowledged.
One of the four escapees was identified as al-Qaida's highest-ranking operative in Southeast Asia when he was captured in 2002. Another, a Saudi, was also described by intelligence officials as an important al-Qaida operative in Afghanistan.
Although a U.S. military police guard was initially suspected of having helped the prisoners, he was eventually cleared. Half a dozen other soldiers, including officers and sergeants, have received administrative punishments, a senior military official in Afghanistan said.
The two prisoners believed to have led the escape, Omar al-Faruq, a Kuwaiti who was the former Qaida operative in Southeast Asia, and Mohammed Jafar Jamal al-Kahtani, the Saudi, had been awaiting transfer to Guantanamo Bay, officials said. For reasons not yet explained, the military authorities gave different names for both men in announcing the escape last summer.
the mayor uses his job to get free sex. well kinda sorta
Wash. mayor facing recall after exposé
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
SPOKANE, Wash. - Mayor Jim West, a former Boy Scout executive and sheriff's deputy, says he no longer engages in gay sex and has stopped visiting Internet chat rooms.
"Basically, that's what I'm asking the public for: a second chance," he said.
However, polls indicate a second chance isn't likely when voters decide Tuesday whether to recall West from office.
He was caught in a newspaper's sting operation in which he offered a city job to what he thought was an 18-year-old man he met in a gay chat room on the Internet.
West, 54, has acknowledged having relationships with young men but denies doing anything illegal. The FBI is investigating.
Polls indicated 60 percent of registered city voters would vote to recall the Republican state Senate leader.
i guess trigger happy pigs are equal opportunity killers and kill just as many pigs with guns as they kill innoncent civilians
Police rethink policy of 'always armed'
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An old police tradition of requiring off-duty officers to carry their weapons - "always armed, always on duty" - is being scaled back in police departments nationwide after the shootings of off-duty officers by colleagues who thought they were criminals.
The policies require officers to respond to crimes even when they're not on duty. Supporters say that also protects officers from criminals bent on revenge.
But critics point to the shooting of officers in Providence, R.I.; Orlando; Oakland and elsewhere as reasons for change.
Providence's policy is now at the center of a $20 million civil rights lawsuit over the shooting of Sgt. Cornel Young Jr., who was killed in 2000 while he was off duty and trying to break up a fight. He was dressed in baggy jeans, an overcoat and a baseball cap, and he was carrying a gun.
"Our situation is the extreme example of what can go wrong," said Sgt. Robert Paniccia, president of the Providence police union.
Young's mother, Leisa Young, says the rookie officer who shot him was not adequately trained to recognize off-duty or plainclothes officers.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has called "always on duty" policies a costly tradition.
The group, which has more than 20,000 members, recommends that off-duty officers who witness a crime call for assistance rather than pull a weapon.
According to the FBI, 43 police officers have been killed since 1987 by friendly fire. Some were caught in crossfire, or killed by firearms mishaps. A handful, like Young, were mistaken for criminals and shot by fellow officers.
Earlier this year, an Orlando police officer fatally shot a plainclothes officer who was investigating underage drinking outside the Citrus Bowl. The plainclothes officer had gotten into a scuffle with tailgaters and fired his gun into the air when the Orlando officer shot him, witnesses said.
In 2001, two uniformed officers shot and killed an undercover detective when he pointed his gun at a suspected car thief in Oakland.
In 1994, an off-duty police officer in New York City shot and seriously wounded an undercover transit officer who was chasing armed suspects through a subway station. The transit officer survived.
In Providence, carrying a gun is now optional for off-duty officers, who are encouraged instead to be good witnesses if they see a crime, Paniccia said. The police union in Washington, D.C., succeeded in securing similar rules after three off-duty officers were killed in separate incidents, said Officer Gregory Greene, the union's chairman.
The Los Angeles Police Department allows its officers to carry their weapons off duty but doesn't require it, department spokeswoman April Harding said.
David Klinger, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, formerly worked as a Los Angeles police officer and said he usually carried a gun off duty. If police officers are properly trained, officers should have the option of carrying a gun for their own protection, he said.
Threatened officers instinctively focus on the perceived threat and tune out other information that could be crucial to split-second decision making, Klinger said. That's why it's important to have protocols in place to identify each other, he said.
Bush's 'impressions' are more bad signs
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
Your photo of President Bush standing on the platform decorated "Plan for Victory" reminded me of a similar photo-op years ago with Bush standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier declaring "Mission accomplished."
Your headline on Thursday's editorial "Standing firm: President makes case for winning war" also reminds me of similar declaration you made years ago that Bush made a case for going to war.
You state in the editorial, "Bush's speech left the impression that the Iraqis are not . . . hapless bystanders. . . . " Remember Bush's speeches that also left the "impression" Saddam had WMDs.
You may be impressed with Bush's "impressions." I am not.
Wow!! A strategy for Iraq at last
Dec. 4, 2005 12:00 AM
After nearly three years of war, 2,000 plus Americans dead, 16,000-plus Americans seriously injured, 100,000 Iraqis dead and untold billions of American taxpayer dollars spent, President Bush has developed a strategy for victory in Iraq.
Who says this guy doesn't know what he's doing?