09 April 2012

links to legal issues

7 Rules for Recording Police
Things you should and shouldn't do when armed with a camera against the police.

The law in 38 states plainly allows citizens to record police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with their work. Police might still unfairly harass you, detain you, or confiscate your camera. They might even arrest you for some catchall misdemeanor such as obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct. But you will not be charged for illegally recording police.

Rule #1: Know the Law (Wherever You Are); Rule #2: Don’t Secretly Record Police; Rule #3: Respond to “Things Cops Say”; Rule #4: Don’t Share Your Video with Police; Rule #5: Prepare to be Arrested; Rule #6: Master Your Technology; Rule #7: Don’t Point Your Camera Like a Gun.

Read the rest of the DETAILS and be forearmed.
Can the government seize my property without paying me?
From 1970 to early 2000, police who even suspected you of committing a crime such as drug dealing or terrorism could seize any property that might have been involved, whether it was a car, an airplane, a boat, or a house.

After a seven-year legislative battle over civil forfeitures, Congress amended that law. Since May 2000, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act prohibits the government from confiscating property unless it can show "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the property is substantially connected to the crime. This is a much higher standard of proof than "probable cause."

Property owners no longer have to post a bond in order to challenge a civil forfeiture, and they have more time to file the challenge. If a property owner successfully challenges the seizure in court, the government has to pay legal fees. And if the confiscation causes substantial hardship to the owner, the government just may release the property.

Supplemental link providing legal opinion Steven L. Kessler. And go here for a PDF file published by the US Government Printing Office.

U.S. judges admit to jailing children for money
Whores on the bench, two judges pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting more than $2.6 million from a private youth detention center in Pennsylvania in return for giving hundreds of youths and teenagers long sentences.

Judges Mark Ciavarella [the guy on the left ] and Michael Conahan [the guy on the right ] of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, entered plea agreements in federal court in Scranton admitting that they took payoffs from PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare, between 2003 and 2006.

What egregious wrongs did the kids commit?
 • One 10-year-old child was sent to lock-up for 2½ weeks for accidentally setting trash on fire while playing with a lighter.
 • A 13-year-old boy was detained for almost two months for throwing a piece of steak at his mother’s boyfriend at a meal.
 • Another 13-year-old boy went to jail for three months for pushing his mother during an argument about homework.
 • A 15-year-old girl was sent to a detention center for making a MySpace page where she talked about her school principal.
Ciavarella, presided over juvenile court and stocked the private jail with young offenders whose crimes were often minor. Many of the kids had never been in trouble before, and some were locked up even after probation officers recommended against it.

Check here for more details from a local perspective ...and see the official website of Western PA Child Care, the facility that provided the kickbacks.
IMAGE SOURCES 1- Generic Cut Book Image; 2- Sonoma county Lawyer Blog; 3- Wandervogel Diary

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