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Pro Libertate



Observations and commentary from a Christian libertarian perspective, written by a freedom-obsessed father of six children and husband to one exquisitely lovely wife.



Updated: 2018-02-24T21:15:52.266-07:00

 



Thank You.

2017-06-21T20:35:35.028-06:00

I've never been much of a writer (let alone one of my father's caliber), but I know that I must express my thanks to you all somehow.

The support that we have received over these past few months has been more than I would have ever thought possible. A few weeks before my father passed away, he heard about the GoFundMe page (that our dear friend A.J. Ellis took it upon himself to set up) reaching $10,000 in his support. He said, "I didn't know that many people cared."

I think he knew, though. He was unrelentingly humble about his accomplishments -- sometimes to a fault. But that's only one of the countless reasons that I looked up to him and loved him more than even he would have been able to express.

And remember, though my father may no longer occupy our physical world, he will live on in all of us who continue to fight until our very last breath.

Dum Spiro, Pugno.

- William Wallace Grigg



A "Deal" to Protect the Guilty: Bonneville County's Indecent Proposal to Chris Tapp (IMPORTANT UPDATE, 3/21)

2017-03-21T13:01:21.208-06:00

Danny Clark's 14th Century antecedent administers "justice." See the update belowIdaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp has spent more than two decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit. He was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted from him through psychological torture -- a fact that even the Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office has now grudgingly conceded. Now Bonneville County Prosecutor Danny Clark is reportedlyseeking a face-saving plea bargain on the eve of a judicial hearing that would exonerate Tapp.No physical evidence or eyewitness testimony connected Tapp to the scene of the June 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. Idaho Falls Police Sergeant Jared Fuhriman, who was lead investigator, initially sought to bully Tapp into implicating a friend -- either Jeremy Sargis, whose family had the means to arrange for legal representation, or Ben Hobbs, who had been arrested in Nevada for rape. All three of these young men were excluded as suspects by DNA evidence.A grieving heroine: Carol Dodge. Rather than following the evidence to a plausible suspect, Fuhriman and his comrades at the IFPD made do with the suspect that they had, isolating the 20-year-old from his family, and arresting him after his mother tried to contact an attorney. Polygraph examiner Steven Finn, systematically lying to the victim, convinced Tapp that he was being "untruthful" in denying involvement in the murder, and that unless he offered a "truthful" confession he would face the death penalty. Only by admitting to a "limited" role in a crime committed by others, Tapp was told, could he save his own life.Following a May 1998 trial replete with perjured testimony by Fuhriman and his colleagues, Tapp was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time, Angie Dodge's mother Carol believed firmly in Tapp's guilt. Several years later, she examined the videotaped interrogations -- and has now become the most passionate advocate for Tapp's exoneration.There are two separate appeals underway on Tapp's behalf, both of which will be considered on April 25. The legal advocacy group Judges for Justice, which consists of retired judges, FBI investigators, and legal specialists, is preparing to present a detailed and overwhelming case for Tapp's innocence. In doing so, they will place before the court, and the public, an equally voluminous case for decades of criminal misconduct by Fuhriman (who was subsequently elected Mayor of Idaho Falls), his associates in the Idaho Falls Police Department, and the Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office.Tapp has been relocated to the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls in anticipation of next month's hearing -- which means that Prosecutor Danny Clark and his minions will have more than a month to manipulate him into a plea bargain, which would be a bookend to compliment the process through which he was seduced into a false confession in January 1997.Twenty years ago, Fuhriman and his comrades wanted to close a murder case to avoid an institutional embarrassment. Now, they want to wring the last full measure of usefulness from their victim by having him accept a deal that will protect them at the cost of his exoneration.In aletter to Tapp, Judge Michael Heavey advises him that deal that would likely involve an Alford Plea – under which he would assert his innocence while admitting that the prosecutor could prove his guilt in court. This would allow Tapp to be sentenced to the time he has already served, and perhaps a brief term of probation.“If you accept an Alford deal, then you spent 20+ years in prison for nothing,” Judge Heavey explained. "Fuhriman wins, [former Bonneville DA Kip] Manwaring wins, [assistant prosecutor John] Shindurling wins, Finn wins.... Chris Tapp loses 20 years."No better than a child molester: Fuhriman. Anything short of complete exoneration “is a big loss for you,” Heavey advised him. “The prosecutor’s office has done everything they can to keep you in prison for the rest of your life, they are not honorable people. They have [...]



They're All "Heroes" -- No Matter What Laws they Enforce

2017-03-07T20:27:54.255-07:00

Actually, it was a righteous rebellion, not a mere "riot." Given the rarity of the surname, it is likely that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is related to deputy federal marshal Edward Gorsuch, who was killed an in violent episode that left the nation shocked and terrified, and was an overture to a long and bloody military conflict. Deputy Marshal Gorsuch was 57 years old at the time he received his commission, and was killed on the second day of his service. The US Marshals Service deputized him on September 10, 1851 to enforce a warrant issued under the Fugitive Slave Law to recover two human beings Gorsuch claimed as his property. He and Marshal Henry H. Kline, along with several other deputies, had the “law” on their side when they traveled to Christiana, Pennsylvania, bearing a warrant that authorized them to abduct four men who had freed themselves – and to conscript any white citizen they encountered to serve as accomplices in that act. William Parker Late in the evening of September 10, the kidnappers, who included at least two of Gorsuch’s sons, surrounded a two-story fieldstone home owned by William Parker, a 29-year-old farmer and militia organizer who had escaped from slavery nine years earlier. Operatives of the Underground Railroad had warned Parker of the impending raid. Gorsuch imperiously demanded the surrender of his former captives. When no answer came from inside the home, the marshals invaded the domicile – and were promptly driven out by the occupants, one of whom wielded a pitchfork. Standing in the front yard of the home, the marshals read the warrants to Parker, who looked down on them contemptuously from a second-floor window.“I don’t care about your warrant, your demands, or your government,” Parker replied. “You can burn us, but you can’t take us. Before I give up, you will see my ashes scattered on the earth.”“I want my property, and I shall have it,” bellowed Gorsuch, pretending as if words scribbled by a functionary on a piece of paper gave him title of ownership over other human beings. Realizing that such a claim would avail nothing with Parker, Gorsuch appealed to biblical passages enjoining servants to obey their masters. Parker, who apparently knew the Bible better than Gorsuch, replied by citing New Testament verses teaching the equality of all human beings before God. “Where do you see it in Scripture that a man should traffic in his brother’s blood?” Parker demanded of the deputy marshal. “Do you call a n*gger my brother?” Gorsuch exclaimed.“Yes, I do,” Parker defiantly replied. The situation congealed into a standoff that lasted until daybreak. Shortly after dawn, Parker’s wife used a horn to summon help from Parker’s militia, who arrived bearing whatever weapons they could muster. The alarm also brought two local Quakers named Elijah Lewis, a shopkeeper, and Castner Hanway, a local miller. Both of these white men were well-known for their sympathies toward escaped slaves. Relieved by the arrival of two white men, Marshal Kline waved his warrant in their face and told them that they were required to assist in the recovery of Gorsuch’s “property.” Once again, this demand was in harmony with what the federal government called the “law” – and when Lewis and Hanway replied that they would have no part in an abduction they were told that they were committing a federal “crime.”Surrounded, outnumbered, hungry, and humiliated, Deputy Marshal Gorsuch lost what remained of his composure.“I have come a long way and I want my breakfast,” he snarled at Parker. “I’ll have my property, or I’ll breakfast in hell.”Dickinson Gorsuch “Go back to Maryland, old man,” one of the black militiamen taunted Gorsuch.“Father, will you take all this from a n*gger?” asked his twenty-year-old son, Dickinson, who was part of the posse. Parker snapped at Dickinson to keep a civil tongue, or he’d knock his teeth down his throat. Di[...]



Teaching Kids to Trust the Police is Child Abuse

2017-02-28T22:57:01.988-07:00

Somebody who would do this to a child should be horsewhipped, at the very least. Integral to the American concept of liberty is the right to hold the state at bay, which is why children are never too young to be taught to regard government employees with suspicion and defensive hostility. Some conscientious parents in Northampton, Massachusetts acted on that principle by demanding an end to a program intended to habituate public school inmates to the presence of police officers. The local police department, acting on an initiative that originated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, had dispatched officers to the local elementary school each week for an event called “High-Five Friday,” in which officers would exchange friendly greetings with cops who in practically any other context would treat such physical contact as a felonious assault on an officer. Police Chief Jody Kasper explains that she thought “it was a great way to start building relationships with young kids.”That program was “paused” following complaints from a handful of parents who believe that it is the better part of wisdom to teach their children to avoid contact with the police, rather than seeking it out. In announcing the decision on his Facebook page, the department mentioned that “children of color, undocumented immigrant children or other children who may have had negative encounters with law enforcement” had expressed concerns about the program, which cued up the predictable reactions from the punitive populist faction. “Why don’t you toughen up out there in Northampton, all right?” eructated Bill O’Reilly, offering the jocular suggestion – at least, I think he was kidding – that the principal and the school board should be arrested. Minor-league talk radio personality Charlie Brennan insisted that “this is why Donald Trump’s gonna get re-elected – stories like this.” A contributor to The New American magazine who serves as that publication’s liaison to the white nationalist subculture snarked that “there’s no more `safe space’ for law-abiding citizens than when the police occupy part of it,” and insisted that no true American could possibly object to having an armed, costumed stranger clothed in “qualified immunity” breathing down his neck.  “It’s entirely understandable, for instance, that a child hailing from a Third World nation with corrupt police may feel apprehension at the sight of the men in blue,” he patriot-splained. “But not that long ago people would have understood the proper response: You take the student aside and gently explain that the police visiting his school are there as friends.”“Some might also wonder about the parenting evident here,” he continued in the style of a Soviet commissar tutoring parents about their duty to raise children in the fear and admonition of the state and its human emissaries. “If your child has some irrational cop phobia, do you try and educate and change his mind? Or should you moan and groan and change all of society to accommodate irrationality?” The “Caucasian leftists” and “minority” parents who complained about the police outreach program embody the “snowflake spirit of the age,” concludes the TNA contributor, whose otherwise barren rhetorical pantry is well-stocked with clichés. To be fair, this story does expose a rather shocking failure on the part of parents in the community – that is, those who accepted the program with bovine docility, rather than expressing skepticism about it. If it is “irrational” for parents to teach their children to be leery of police officers, why do police officers and prosecutors cultivate that attitude within their own children? Every parent whose children have been sentenced to attend the Regime’s mind-laundry should review the advice offered by Professor James Duane of Regent University Law School in his slender and indispensable book, You Ha[...]



Sheik Omar: The Death of a Deep State Asset

2017-02-22T23:39:08.649-07:00

It is one of nature’s ironic mercies that the same disease responsible for disfiguring Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman’s face left him blind, thereby sparing him the sight of his Gorgon-like features. The sheik died from complications of that disease – diabetes – at age 78 in a federal prison cell in North Carolina, a peaceful end to a long life largely devoted to terrorist violence. He had lived at taxpayer expense for roughly one-third of that life. For the better part of a decade prior to his June 1993 arrest, Sheik Omar had covertly been on the federal payroll as a CIA asset.Abdel-Rahman was the “spiritual leader” of the terrorist cell that carried out the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people were killed in that attack, which inflicted $500 million in damage and would have been apocalyptic in scope if the bomb-laden Ryder truck used in the plot had been placed in the proper section of the basement parking garage. The plan was to send one of the towers toppling into the other. A native Egyptian, Sheik Omar boasted of his involvement in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Six years later the U.S. State Department placed Sheik Omar's name on its "watch list" of non-Americans believed to be involved in terrorism. That did not prevent the CIA from enlisting Sheik Omar as a "valuable asset" in covert operations involving the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1989, the CIA pumped more than $3 billion in aid into the Islamic resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Following more than a decade and a half of combat in that country, Americans have come to understand how tenaciously Afghans fight to expel foreign occupiers – and the fact that the country’s tribal culture is an impenetrable mare’s nest. It should also be clear by now that the CIA has an uncanny instinct for supporting the worst of the contending factions in any country upon which its gaze descends.  Author Kurt Lohbeck documented in his study Holy War, Unholy Victory: Eyewitness to the CIA's Secret War in Afghanistan that during the mid-1980s the CIA invested most of its aid in the least combat-worthy and most anti-American factions of the mujahideen. Among the CIA's dubious beneficiaries was Sheik Omar. Writing in the May 1996 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, foreign correspondent Mary Anne Weaver recalled that it was in Peshawar, Pakistan, that Sheik Omar "became involved with U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials who were orchestrating the war" against the Soviets, and that the "sixty or so CIA and Special Forces officers based there considered him a 'valuable asset' ... and overlooked his anti-Western message and incitement to holy war because they wanted him to help unify the mujahideen groups." Sheik Omar and his associates created an institution in Peshawar, Pakistan, called the Service Office, which recruited Muslims from around the world as volunteers to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Branches of the Service Office were created throughout Europe and the United States, thereby providing a ready slush fund for terrorists and anti-Western agitators. While the Service Office sluiced money into the coffers of terrorists, Sheik Omar preached his gospel of jihad in Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and in Islamic population centers in Turkey, Germany, England, and even the United States — despite his listing on the State Department's "watch list."  Sheik Omar's status as a “valuable asset” to the CIA didn’t end after the Red Army vacated Afghanistan in early 1989. On May 10, 1990, Sheik Omar was granted a one-year visa from a CIA agent posing as an official at the U.S. Consulate in Khartoum, Sudan, and he arrived in New York in July 1990. In November of the same year Sheik Omar's visa was revoked, and the State Department advised the Immigration and Naturalization Service to be on the lookout for him. So attentive was [...]



Meet the New "Specially Protected Class"

2017-02-13T17:19:32.981-07:00

Adams Lin literally fainted as he read a court order authorizing federal marshals to confiscate his property. The officers seizedhis car, his designer clothes, a flat-screen television, golf clubs, computer, and even his treasured Samurai sword. Unlike countless other Americans who have been pillaged by federal law enforcement officials, Lin was not a victim of the officially sanctioned plunder called civil asset forfeiture. His property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct. Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun. “There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed,” whined Sheriff Bradshaw on the day of the shooting. His department quickly exonerated Lin and promoted him – before the public release of video that proved that the victim had never posed a threat to the deputy. Rather than complying with the court order, Bradshaw filed an appeal. After the award was upheld last May, Bradshaw appealed again – which triggered an injunction leading to the seizure of property from the deputy who was directly responsible for the unlawful shooting of an innocent teenager. Owing to his service as an asset of the state’s punitive apparatus, Lin was able to get his confiscated property back. His victim, of course, remains paralyzed. Lin continues to be held in high regard by Bradshaw, which is why the sheriff selected him to be one of seven sergeants from his department assignedto the presidential security detail at the Palm Beach Airport during the president’s recent visit. This obviously wasn’t a reward for Lin’s exceptional valor. The deputy’s pants-wetting meltdown that led to the near-murder of Stephens, and his fainting spell triggered by enforcement of the court order, demonstrate that he’s hardly Horatiusat the bridge in dealing with adversity. It was a gesture of calculated contempt toward those who believe that police officers should be held accountable for personal misconduct, and an assertion of the institutional sense of entitlement that characterizes law enforcement – and that has been reinvigorated by the current occupant of the Oval Office. Donald Trump has repeatedly describedthe privileged personalities who constitute the state’s punitive caste as “the most mistreated people” in society. In a recent exercise in self-pity publishedby the cyber-journal Law Officer, Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department embellishes Trump’s claim, complaining that law enforcement officers are the victims of what he calls “The New Discrimination in America.” “We see police officers being assaulted,” insisted Yates. “We see police officers being murdered. And much of it, is just because they wear a uniform.” Police officers are occasionally assaulted, and on austerely rare occasions murdered on-duty – much less frequently, as it happens, than they were under the reign of the last self-described law-and-order president, Ronald Reagan. Those who lend credence to Yates’s jeremiad, however, would believe that the desecrated bodies of police officers can be found dangling from hanging trees throughout the length and breadth of this hate-intoxicated, ungrateful land. “From slavery to the KKK to Jim Crow laws, nothing much has changed in this country,” he intones. “We continue to hate and we continue to kill and the only difference now is we are doing it to those in uniform.” This ambient violence sometimes leads people to shun police officers in restaurants, or call them “vile and hateful names.” A si[...]



Strangle the Bastard Child of Prohibition: Abolish the ATF!

2017-02-04T23:25:06.480-07:00

Whatever would we do without helpful people like this goon? Acting on its unerring instinct for expanding its own power while exacerbating the suffering of its subjects, the federal government, at the request of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and with the approval of President Trump, is planningto deploy a contingent from the entityknown as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF) to Chicago.   This will do nothing to abate the problem of violent crime in the Second City, but will provide the agency with continued rationale for its misbegotten existence – which, as it happens, began in that same city decades ago.The ATF was born as the Bureau of Prohibition – a brief experiment in federal behavior control that was made possible by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. Chicago native Elliot Ness, an inveterate self-promoter, headedmuch-celebrated bootlegging task force that spent six months raiding Al Capone’s breweries, which was in effect a price-support program for one of the gangster’s few morally sound enterprises. Self-mythologizing fraud Elliot Ness. Ness and his underlings eventually compiled a 5,000-count bootlegging indictment against Capone, which the US Attorney politely ignored as he filed tax-evasion charges that eventually brought about the gangster’s imprisonment – and enhanced the power of the immeasurably deadlier criminal syndicate called the IRS.  When the 18th Amendment was repealed, the Prohibition Bureau lost any rationale for its lawful existence – yet rather than being abolished, it was rechristened and given an even more expansive mandate. Over the past 25 years, the ATF has been consistently mired in misconduct, often of a murderous nature. The April 1993 slaughter of the Branch Davidians in their sanctuary outside Waco, Texas began with an unnecessary ATF armed raid called “Operation Showtime” – which was staged to deflect attention from an internal corruption scandal. More recently the agency was involved in the “Operation Fast and Furious” imbroglio, in which it pressured federally licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to agents of Mexican cartels in a supposed sting operation. In ways both grand and petty, the ATF has plagued and persecuted its betters. In one telling but long-forgotten episodemore than a decade ago, a college student in Georgia found himself surrounded by a thugscrum of ATF chair-moisteners – one of whom planted his knee upon the victim’s neck, placing the full measure of his tax-enhanced girth behind it – because he was seen wearing a ninja costume as part of a campus event. Unfortunately for the victim, that campus was temporarily infested by ATF hirelings who – no doubt between visits to the local brothels – were undergoing “Safe Streets Training.” The ATF is an appendage of the Leviathan that exists without so much of an echo of a whisper of a hint of constitutional legitimacy, for the sole purpose of providing secure, albeit socially useless, employment for reprobates, criminals, and degenerates. No provision of the US Constitution authorizes any agency of the federal government to regulate alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, and the Second Amendment explicitly forecloses federal infringement of the right to own and carry firearms. This means that the ATF is literally a bastard agency carrying out an illegitimate mission. The only useful activity for federal legislators consists of repealing existing statutes and abolishing federal agencies. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, in defiance of all rational expectations for denizens of the political class, has made himself modestly useful by proposinga bill called the ATF Elimination Act that would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and order its administrators to prepare a report on transferring its existing functions to the FBI, the Drug Enforceme[...]



Don't Trigger Sheriff Snowflake -- Or He May Have You Killed

2017-01-28T10:01:36.149-07:00

Sheriff David Clarke of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County is the most fragile of precious snowflakes, and one of the most self-enraptured petty tyrants in recent American history. While settling in for a January 15 flight from Dallas to Milwaukee, Clarke – attired in Dallas Cowboys fan regalia – was asked by fellow passenger Dan Black if he was, indeed, the sheriff. When Clarke grunted in the affirmative, Black shook his head in well-earned disgust and proceeded to his seat. From behind, Black heard the truculent tax-feeder ask if he had a “problem,” to which the puzzled man shook his head in reply.When Black disembarked at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, he was surrounded by a thugscrum of Clarke’s deputies, who detained and questioned him regarding his views of their boss. Black remained in custody until he was escorted from the airport. After Black filed a complaint with the county commission, Clarke published the document on his department’s Facebook page – supplementing it with a threat to assault any other Mundane who gives him a dirty look. “Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out,” advised the sheriff’s office. “The sheriff said he does not have to wait for some goof to assault him. He reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault.”A non-verbal gesture of disapproval is sufficient to trigger Sheriff Snowflake, who will summon his armed employees to enforce his safe space.  Threats of violence like the one made on Clarke’s behalf by his department have been prosecuted under 18 USC 875[c], which makes it a federal felony to threaten to injure someone if that threat is transmitted in “interstate commerce.” Since Black is a witness in an active investigation that could lead to criminal charges, threatening him could also be construed as witness intimidation. (Idaho resident Matthew Townsend faced a patently spurious witness intimidation charge for publishing a Facebook post urging a police officer who had arrested him without justification to testify truthfully in a pre-trial hearing.)Surrendering himself unconditionally to his irrepressible adolescent impulses, the sexagenarian sheriff compounded his felonious behavior with an overt threat to murder his victim. Clarke instructed his subordinates to create a meme of Black containing the caption: “Cheer up, snowflake – if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.” The Milwaukee County Commission’s ethics board is investigating Black’s complaint – and Clarke, behaving like a generalissimo in a third world junta, has ordered his deputies to obstruct the investigation, claiming that the commission doesn’t have the authority to investigate his office. “In an act of political grandstanding, the political witch hunt continues by Democrat politicians and operatives,” pouted Clarke. “This is nothing more than an attempt to harass and bully Sheriff Clarke. This is fake news.” Like too many others in his disreputable occupation, Clarke has mastered the art of simultaneously swaggering and simpering. He displays a similarly contradictory nature regarding his concept of “authority” – whence it came, and in whom it resides. In chapter nine of his forthcoming ghostwritten book “Cop Under Fire,” Clarke answers a question nobody of consequence ever asked: “Why do I salute the audience when I speak?”“I’m old school,” Clarke’s ghostwriter says on his behalf. “In our representative democracy, elected officials are not sovereign. You the people are sovereign. In keeping with military custom, it is incumbent on the subordinate officer to salute and render that salute first, to the superior officer. I consider myself the subordinate officer. That’s why I salute my audie[...]



The Slow-Motion State Murder of Michael Whiteley

2017-01-24T09:38:15.286-07:00

 The "Black Widow of Bonneville County": Silvia Canido, seen here in Bolivia. Facing the prospect of life in prison – and the plausible threat of execution – Idaho Falls resident Michael Whiteley had every conceivable reason to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree kidnapping, save one: He didn’t commit the crime. “I have to plead not guilty, Your Honor,” Whiteley toldBonneville County District Judge Marvin Smith just minutes after being offered a plea bargainthrough which he would have avoided prison altogether. “I had originally intended to plead the other way, but now that I sit here and run it through my heart and my mind, I don’t feel, your honor, that it is right to lie.”A few weeks earlier, Whiteley had been charged with first-degree kidnapping and rape, and heard a Bonneville County deputy prosecutor inform the judge that “although we are not seeking the death penalty in this case, kidnapping is also punishable by death – first degree kidnapping.” Judge Smith himself had agreed that “This is potentially a death penalty case,” owing to the allegation that Whiteley had committed serious harm to the supposed victim – his ex-wife, known at the time as Silvia Canido. In the lead-up to Michael's May 1991 trial, the Bonneville County Prosecutor's Office was disqualified from the case because of the misconduct of the assigned prosecutor, John Stosich. Deputy Idaho Attorney General Jack Haycock, who was given the case, offered Michael a deal in which he would plead guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping, and the court would retain jurisdiction while he spent four months undergoing rehabilitation at the Cottonwood drug and alcohol treatment facility.  Composite portrait of Silvia and Michael. If Whiteley had been burdened with the guilty knowledge that he had committed the hideous crimes of which he stood accused, he would have eagerly accepted that deal. The most urgent priority for a guilty man in such circumstances, after all, is to avoid punishment – which he could have done by accepting the plea bargain. For a wrongfully accused man in the same situation, the most urgent task is to clear his name. In a case that depended entirely on an assessment of the relative credibility of the accuser and the defendant, Whiteley’s choice to confront the charges, rather than avoid them on absurdly generous terms, should have been dispositive evidence of his innocence. Similarly compelling corroboration is offered by the fact that the Idaho AG’s office was willing to offer that deal: If Deputy AG Haycock sincerely believed that Whiteley had kidnapped and raped a woman, and that he had the evidence to prove those accusations, he acted with culpable irresponsibility in making that offer. The only direct “evidence” against Whiteley consisted of the uncorroborated, and self-contradictory, story told by the accuser. Canido refused to submit to a medical examination, which means that no physical evidence of rape was ever produced. Where is the evidence?The report filed by Idaho Falls Police Officer who interviewed Canido following Whiteley’s January 16, 1991 arrest, did not contain any mention of a rape accusation: “Don’t ask me,” the officer exclaimed when queried about that astonishing oversight during cross-examination. The officer also claimed to have seen a large bruise on Canido’s inner thigh, but did not photograph the alleged wound – and when asked about it by defense counsel Stevan Thompson could not recall which thigh displayed the alleged lesion. At the time of Whiteley’s arrest, he was visiting Canido’s home after returning with her from a trip to southern Utah. He had just endured a severe beating at the hands of Raquel Gonzalez, Canido’s mother, who had attacked him with a baseball bat. When the police[...]



When A Fugitive Dies, "Blue Privilege" Makes All the Difference

2017-01-15T09:48:33.962-07:00

Pleasant Grove, Utah resident Ashleigh Holloway Best killed herself in the early hours of May 17, 2016 when she lost control of the stolen 2002 Lincoln Navigator she was driving and plowed it into a tree. The man who was pursuing the thief, Kenneth Lee Drew, was the authorized representative of the vehicle’s lawful owner. On January 11, Drew was sentenced to prisonbecause the thief foolishly killed herself. If Drew had been a government-employed law enforcement officer, rather than a private repossession agent, he would likely have received a hazardous duty commendation following Best’s admittedly tragic death. After all, police officers in Utah and elsewhere routinely use lethal force in dealing with citizens who seek to avoid being physically “repossessed” by agents of the state that supposedly owns them. Most of those cases don’t involve people being pursued for actual crimes, such as automobile theft. Like too many families, the Bests had been overwhelmed by financial reverses and had fallen behind in their car payments. They reportedly were helping care for ailing relatives, and had only one family vehicle. The desperation that gave rise to Ashleigh’s self-destructive decision is as understandable as her actions were inexcusable. By giving pursuit once Best fled with a car she no longer lawfully owned, Drew acted imprudently. It has never been proven that he deliberately forced Best off the road at the end of the chase, which would have been both criminally irresponsible and self-defeating. In addition to the fact that it is perverse to risk killing someone to recover a stolen car, ramming a vehicle one is seeking to repossess makes no economic sense. It’s likely that Drew’s regrettable decision was a product of frustration, rather than malice.Foolish choice, tragic death: Ashleigh Best. If he had called the police to report an auto theft, the outcome for Best might well have been identical – but the state operative whose actions led to the fatal crash would be protected by the pernicious legal fiction called “qualified immunity.” That privilege enjoyed by state-licensed plunderers is not extended to private property recovery agents, whose jobs are both unpleasant and frequently dangerous. “There was [sic] lots of mistakes made that night,” insisted Brennan Best, Ashleigh’s widower, after Drew was sentenced. “I don’t think what was done [to Ashleigh] was done on purpose. But I do believe we all need to be accountable for our own actions.”Drew made a horrible, perhaps unforgivable, mistake. Brennan and Ashleigh Best conspired to commit a crime – theft through fraud.According to the investigative summary in Drew’s indictment, when he arrived at about midnight to reclaim property for which the Bests were no longer making contractually required payments, Brennan interfered with the repossession and demanded an opportunity to make a new arrangement with the creditor. Drew agreed with that proposal, and began processing the necessary forms. While the repo agent was thus preoccupied, Best covertly instructed his wife to take the automobile to a relative’s home. At that point, Mr. Best became an accomplice in grand larceny: At that point, pending completion of a new payment plan, the automobile was the property of the creditor. If Best had been sincere in his offer to Drew, there was no need to abscond with the vehicle. (In fact, if the couple had filed for Chapter 7bankruptcy, they could have avoided repossession of the Navigator.) After Ashleigh climbed into the car and sped off, Brennan, abetted the theft by “trying to place himself in front” of Drew’s tow truck “to prevent it from following the Navigator,” according to the police account. Ashleigh’s conduct suggests that her husband had instructed[...]



The Perverse Ingenuity, and Routine Lawlessness, of Law Enforcers

2017-01-11T07:42:05.955-07:00

Enforcers of drug prohibition can be perversely ingenious in devising methods to subvert due process guarantees. One tactic widely employed by police officers looking for a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment is to intimidate a subject into giving the officers permission to invade the rights of others – such as residents of an apartment building, or passengers in an automobile. That ruse has been rebuffed in two recent state Supreme Court rulings. Police officers in Berlin, Connecticut who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22ndruling from that state’s highest appellate court. ...but they can murder our dogs with impunity, natch. In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants. The Fourth Amendment’s definition of a reasonable search refers to a particular description of “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; this language was designed to forbid the kind of general warrants that were commonly used by British military and customs officials in the years immediately prior to the colonial rebellion. By getting the owners of the apartment complex to authorize a warrantless search – waiving the rights of dozens of people to be secure in their individual domiciles -- the Berlin Police behaved less like their British forebears than their antecedents in Communist East Germany. The trial court threw out the evidence seized in that search as the product of a Fourth Amendment violation. The State of Connecticut appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court’s decision. The ruling cited a long string of federal judicial precedents – including a recent ruling in a very similar case from Florida – describing the use of warrantless “canine sniffs” as a violation of common law property rights and the un-enumerated right to personal privacy. Given that dozens or scores of SWAT raids occur, on average, every day in the American Soyuz, it’s clear that Americans cannot look upon their homes as a refuge from government abuse. They are at even greater risk when exercising their freedom of movement, given the predatory conduct of opportunistic police agencies empowered to seize cash and other property in the name of drug prohibition. Gerald Cleverly was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his friend Chris Jones when El Dorado, Kansas Police officer Brent Michael Buckley stopped them for not wearing seat belts. Buckley would later admit that he had executed a pretext stop for the purpose of arranging a “consensual” search of the vehicle and its occupants. Both Jones and Cleverly submitted to a pat-down search – which they were not legally required to do – and nothing was found. Buckley issued the citation, and then – employing a deceptive tactic taught by police training programs such as Desert Snow– he told the motorist that although he was free to go, the officer wanted to ask “a few more questions” and requested permission to search the truck. The purpose of what Desert Snow operatives call the “Roadside Conversation” tactic is to elicit potentially incriminating details from drivers who are ignorant of the fact that they have no legal responsibility to tell the officer anything. This a[...]



Sheriffs as Slavemasters: Will Inmate Labor Be Used to Build Trump's Wall?

2017-01-07T17:56:57.461-07:00

“Liberty, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of the subjects within the realm, or of none,” declaredBritish statesman Edmund Burke in an April 3, 1777 message to the Sheriffs of Bristol. “Partial freedom seems to me a most invidious mode of slavery. But, unfortunately, it is the kind of slavery the most easily admitted in times of civil discord: for parties are but too apt to forget their own future safety in their desire of sacrificing their enemies.”The tyrannical measures that had provoked the American rebellion, wrote Burke, threatened liberty throughout Britain’s dominions. Once imposed in a time of crisis, he explained, they “may be advanced further and further at pleasure, on the same argument of mere expediency.”Thomas Hodgson is a sheriff of Bristol -- in this case, Bristol County, Massachusetts -- and a very different kind of "public servant" from those to whom Burke sent his message. Indeed, he seems to embody the preference for authoritarian expediency that Burke condemned, as demonstrated by his suggestionthat the federal government should conscript prison labor to build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.Punitive poseur: Sheriff Hodgson“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” insisted Hodgsonduring the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in their communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”Hodgson usedhis inaugural speech to announce an initiative he calls Project N.I.C.E. – National Inmates’ Community Endeavors – through which prison convicts and inmates of county jails would provide what he calls “volunteer” labor for disaster relief and other government public works projects.“We need to turn this country around and put law and order back in place,” insisted Hodgson. “That’s why today, I am making a formal offer to President-elect Trump that inmates from Bristol County and others from across the nation through Project N.I.C.E. will help build the wall.”Hodgson’s call for a nation-wide levee en masseof prison labor assumes a steady supply of convicts – and the State excelsat making innocent people into criminal offenders.Contrary to what Trump and his most eager acolytes would have us believe, there is no paucity of “law and order” in American society. The level of violent crime remains at or near an historic low, even as the prison population continues to expand.Analyzing the available data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, New York Daily News reporter David J. Krajicek contrastednational crime statistics from 2014 – the last year for which they are available – and 1987. His survey found that the overall crime rate at that point in Reagan’s presidency was 612 instances of violence for every 100,000 people; in 2014; it was 365 per 100,000, a 40 percent decline. There were roughly 320,000 fewer violent crimes in 2014 than in 1987; one notable comparison is offered by the fact that there were 20,096 murder cases in 1987, and 14,249 in 2014.Adjusted for our larger population, there was a fifty percent decline in robbery during the same period, and an overall 48 percent decline in property crime generally.Similar trends are seen in the number of on-duty police officer deaths: During the Reagan era, the average annual rate of officer fatalities was 189, compared to 135 during the Obama presidency.  Last year, there were 140 on-duty fatalities, a little more than half of which (77) were homicides.He beat t[...]



Inside the Tiny, Uncluttered Mind of a Cop

2016-12-30T12:38:21.133-07:00

A retired member of the exalted Brotherhood of State-Sanctified Coercion recently rebuked a heretic:I take umbrage with your article for Lew Rockwell. While certainly I agree with your premise that one should not give to police charities and thereby expect special privileges, you cubby-hole police officers with your example in Idaho.  How utterly disgusting that you berate this officer and his wife for exercising their Constitutional Right to file bankruptcy!  You DO NOT KNOW their circumstances—they may have had extreme medical expenses with themselves or one of their children. I, Sir, served four years in the incomparable Marine Corps, six years in the active reserve and 20+ years as a police officer in two+ major metropolitan arenas, and, I became disabled while ‘on-duty’.  Contrary to your woeful disrespect for the police and your efforts to transport those ideas to the public, I would like you to know that we do not hate the public, we do not sit in donut shops and often, as you are well aware, we give our lives (Dallas, George, California, New York, Pennsylvania, et al) for the safety of our community just as a soldier in Iraq.  Are you going to write to the wives, mothers, fathers and children of these police officers who gave their ultimate gift of life and berate their husbands, sons and fathers for being a member of the thin blue line? Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.  We care about people’s lives, we care about the safety of the citizens of our nation and we love our country; and Sir, we don’t become, by and large, police officers and deputy sheriffs to bully the public and to make life miserable just because we are able.  Police die early deaths from suicide, cancer, strokes and heart attacks because of the stress of being a law enforcement officer.  The mean life expectancy of a retired law enforcement officer is 18 months. Because I was serving the citizens of my community, I am 100% permanently and totally disabled and suffer a lifetime of various levels of pain; and here, I have a miscreant (you) with disgusting disrespect narrative condemning the police and one in particular for filing bankruptcy.  You Sir, are disgusting human and miscreant.  The next time someone breaks into your home or assaults you, call your friends and whine to them, I am sure they will reimburse your losses and they will become a posse and hunt for the scum who violated you and your home/family, and don’t use the facilities that were there to protect you and catch the culprits who violated your home and/or body. May your wife have 10 more children—all different nationalities.  I don’t, generally forget a face or missive, but in your case I’ll make an acceptation.  With disdain and contempt, Seán Mac an Airchinnigh Retired Deputy Sheriff and Police Officer Proud to be an American, God Bless the USA!!The impenitent blasphemer replied:I'm not surprised by the reminder that reading comprehension isn't among the skills tested through POST certification. Law enforcement is an occupation that selects for people who tend to communicate through non-verbal means, after all. Nowhere in my essay did I suggest that people donate to police charities in the hope of receiving "special privileges"; my point is that the people who administer those funds are protected by the legal fiction called "qualified immunity," which gives them an unearned sense of privilege and makes them untrustworthy. This is abundantly demonstrated by the pervasive pilferage from FOP coffers. The recent case in Idaho is merely one of hundreds that have happened nation-wide. You would be wise to call for a forensic audit of your own union[...]



We Don't Need Costumed Overlords and Tax Farmers

2016-12-28T16:01:17.147-07:00

Gone, but not missed: The former Bunker Hill, Indiana Police Department. Bunker Hill, Indiana, is a village of 900 people. It has not been consumed by the maelstrom of criminal violence that – we are told – would descend on any community even briefly deprived of the divine protection offered by a police department. The village obviously didn’t need the department it had until December 12, when the Town Marshal and his four reserve deputies walked off the job to protestdecisions by the town board. “We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Marshal Michael Thomison explained. Most of his complaints had to do with proposed budget cut-backs, and a refusal on the part of the council to purchase body armor for all five members of the department. “I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor,” grouses Thomison. “I told them we have to provide this…. They were just not receptive to having a police department.”It’s just no fun to play dress-up and swagger around the village unless the kids get the full costume and all of the accessories. The historical resonance of the village’s name notwithstanding, Thomison and his buddies were not under siege by heavily armed adversaries, nor was there any realistic expectation that they ever would be.Crime is practically non-existent in Bunker Hill – the most recent report lists one violent and ten property crimes – and the village is fifteen minutes away from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the county seat of Peru (a deranged cartographer was apparently responsible for assigning city and county names). It’s therefore reasonable to consider the police department as an unnecessary expense, and a potential source of avoidable trouble. That latter consideration, ironically, was underscored by the disgruntled officers themselves, who have accused town councilors of asking them to conduct unlawful background checks on each other.  The municipal officials stoutly denyever making such requests. What is the purpose of inflicting a police department on a minuscule settlement where crimes against persons and property are practically unknown? The obvious answer is that while such towns might be welcome havens from private criminal violence, there can be no sanctuary from revenue collection – and this is the core function of government law enforcement agencies, as Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish has recently reminded us."I swear to be a diligent tax collector": Sheriff Soileau takes the oath. Soileau’s office is dealing with budget cuts, layoffs, and a Justice Department civil rights investigation, and is thus determined to pare operations down to the basics. To that end, he asked for, and received, an advisory opinion from the state’s Attorney General regarding the following question: Can he legally operate “without having law enforcement duties,” and simply carrying out the role of a tax collector?The Louisiana State Constitution, replied the Attorney General’s office, specifies that he is to be “the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law.” Where law enforcement is concerned, the sheriff’s duties are a matter of discretion. He is required to “keep the peace and make arrests,” but is not required to appoint a specific number of deputies to carry out that function. “Should a sheriff choose not to appoint deputies to assist in his law enforcement role, we could cite no statute that would forbid such a choice,” concluded the AG’s opinion. Odd as this might seem to people[...]



Get Your Kids Out of the "School-to-Prison Pipeline"

2016-12-27T23:20:01.250-07:00

Ever and always alert to new and inventive ways to turn innocent people into fodder for the State’s carceral apparatus, the Missouri state legislature enacted a measure that will treat teenage altercations as felonies if they occur either on school grounds or between public school inmates in transit to or from their local mind laundry. The Hazelwood School District, in a dispatchto the parents who surrender their children into their daily custody, explained that “if two students are fighting and one child is injured, the student who caused the injury may be charged with a felony. Student(s) who are caught fighting in school, bus, or on school grounds may be charged with a felony (no matter what the age or grade level).”  (Emphasis added.) Yes, even grade school students or kindergartners will face the prospect of being detained, handcuffed, and charged with an offense that could lead to a prison term of up to seven years. Rational people would never inflict such grotesque punishments, of course, but as Springfield resident Gavin Devic can attest, rational people are not at the helm of the Show-Me State’s educational soviet. Devic wasn't shunted through the school-to-prison pipeline, but the local drug prohibition apparat will probably succeed in derailing the disciplined, accomplished young man's academic and athletic goals. Just as some people claim that it is possible to experience a "contact high" through exposure to marijuana smoke, adherents of the prohibition cult believe that it is possible for people to experience "contact culpability" in similar circumstances.Gavin has maintained a GPA very close to 4.0 while working two part-time jobs and compiling an enviable record of 75 wins in wrestling, an achievement that had earned him multiple scholarship offers. On December 2, faced with the unfamiliar prospect of some free time, Devic allowed himself the indulgence of a short nap that was interrupted when a friend showed up to invite him to go to a dance at Parkview High. As Devic got into his friend's car it became clear that the other young man had been consuming the Satanic Communist Demon Weed Marijuana.Since Gavin had not partaken of the substance that makes incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions lose bladder control, he assumed that he wouldn't get into trouble. Like too many other people he underestimated the sadistic resourcefulness of those who act on behalf of the evil fiction called the "State."Shortly after he arrived at the dance, Gavin was pulled aside by one of the "resource officers" who prowl the school's hallways in search of young lives to ruin. In compliance with his training and professional expectations, the officer lied to Gavin by claiming that he displayed all of the indicia of marijuana use, including the fact that his "eyes were low" -- something that could be explained by the student's half-Asian ancestry.As search of the friend's car turned up a small quantity of the prohibited plant and related accessories. Under questioning, and doubtless seeking to mitigate his own punishment, the friend initially said that the pot and paraphernalia were jointly owned (as it were) by the two of them. This was an obviously self-serving claim on his part, but it was sufficient to "prove" Gavin's guilt in the eyes of people predisposed to punish, rather than investigate. The perfidious friend later recanted his story and provided a statement exculpating Gavin. At his own expense, Gavin obtained a drug test proving that there was no THC in his system. An incident report filed by the school resource officers grudgingly admitted that “nothing illegal or prohibited” was found on Devic’s person. All of this matte[...]



Snouts in the Trough, Hooves in the Till: Why You Shouldn't Donate to a Police Charity

2016-12-11T21:34:46.994-07:00

Tax-subsidized embezzlers: Mark and Sara Furniss To understand why the public cannot confide in government-employed police to protect private property, it is useful to consider how frequently police steal from each other – and members of the public who ingenuously donate to police-operated charities. This isn’t because police officers are under-paid; it is because their occupation cultivates a sense of privilege and contempt for other people’s property. The median annual household income in Idaho is roughly $49,000. Mark Furniss, 46, was making almost $20,000 a year in excess of that figure when he resigned from his job as a Boise Police Officer on October 20, the same day that he and his wife Sara filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At the time, Sara was employed as a “safe schools assistant” in the recently created West Ada School District. Together, Mark and Sara Furniss easily cleared $100,000 a year in salary and benefits, which is more than enough for their family of four to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Boise. Yet Mark and Sara allegedly used their positions as president and office manager, respectively, with Treasure Valley Lodge #11 of the Fraternal Order of Police to embezzle$73,000 over a five-year period.   The couple’s pilferage from the FOP’s accounts was noticed no later than February, which is when he was confronted by the organization’s president over his use of a union credit card to buy tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates game and make more than $500 in personal purchases at a department store. A forensic audit was conducted, which quickly discovered that Mrs. Furniss had been systematically overpaying herself (she drew a salary from the FOP), misusing a lodge credit card, and had caused hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. She later disclosed to investigators that she had set up an automatic withdrawal from an FOP account to pay the family’s cable television bill.Detective Gary Marang of the Nampa Police Department, which has investigated the matter to avoid a conflict of interest, recalled in an affidavit that the couple also used FOP funds to make a $2,700 down payment on a travel trailer. They most likely intended to make use of that trailer to flee the jurisdiction: After filing for bankruptcy on October 20 (listing the FOP as among the “creditors” who would be stiffed by them), Mr. and Mrs. Furniss reportedly planned to head north to Alaska in search of a “fresh start.” Like countless others, the Mark and Sara rode the housing bubble and fell hard in 2008 when it burst. Their financial disclosure form lists a total of $572,992 in assets, including a Meridian home valued at $230,000. Their estimated liabilities are $384,095, which includes “more than a dozen credit cards and five charge accounts,” observes the Idaho Statesman. They had also purchased two expensive late-model SUVs. Despite the fact that they both drew very generous tax-subsidized salaries, they listed their monthly income at $869, with $5,742 in monthly expenses. Perhaps the most shocking line item in the form was the disclosure that the total value of the family’s checking accounts was $864. In the two weeks prior to the couple’s November 25 arrest, their FOP chapter had collected more than $73,000 through a GoFundMe account to raise money for three officers – two humans and a “K9 officer” – who were wounded in a shootout with a fugitive. It would have been useful for the public to know that the people in charge of the lodge’s finances had embezzled nearly an identical amount. Nice tie, Mike. Mark and Sara have two very young children, a fact that [...]



"Qualified Immunity": What Cops and Slave Overseers Have in Common

2016-12-04T10:42:56.870-07:00

The late Kelly Thomas, following his fatal encounter with the slave overseers of the Fullerton PD. Michael Slager, the former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer killed an unarmed man and then attempted to frame the victim, will not be convictedof murder. Nor is he likely to be convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Slager’s jury deadlocked because a single member of the panel insisted that he could not “in good conscience” vote to convict Slager of criminal homicide. This is not because the facts of the case are in dispute. Slager was captured on video fatally shooting unarmed, 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he fled a traffic stop, and then placing a Taser next to his fatally traumatized body.The critical issue for that juror, apparently, was whether Slager’s state of mind as he committed these acts transmuted them from criminal homicide and obstruction of justice into an exercise of state-conferred authority protected by “qualified immunity.” Specifically: Was the officer acting out of “total fear,” as he claimed, following what he said was a struggle in which Scott attempted to grab his Taser? Or was Slager acting out of “passion” – in this case, anger and outrage over Scott’s refusal to submit?If Slager weren’t a member of the state’s punitive priesthood, these questions wouldn’t matter.  As a police officer, however, Slager enjoys precisely the same privileged status in the exercise of discretionary violence that was once afforded to slave owners and overseers in the antebellum South. Under what we are required to pretend is the “law,” Slager – like any other police officer – is authorized to detain any citizen who provokes his suspicion, and to obtain that citizen’s submission using whatever increment of force he deems reasonable. From the point of such a seizure, the officer exercises a proprietary claim over the detainee until or unless he decides to release him – and any assertion of self-ownership on the part of the detainee can potentially be punished through summary execution. In “The Constitution of Police Violence,” a soon-to-be published article for the UCLA Law Review, Dr. Alice Ristroph of the Seton Hall Law School describes case law regarding law enforcement encounters with citizens as “a blueprint for police violence. It invites officers to interrupt civilians, sometimes with minimal suspicion and sometimes with no suspicion at all. Once interrupted, the citizen must comply with the officer’s requests [which are more accurately described as `demands’] or risk expanding the officer’s authority. Actual or perceived non-compliance rapidly ratchets up the officer’s authorization to use force, and any non-compliance perceived to be dangerous empowers the officer to kill.” (Emphasis added.) Every police agency in the country teaches its officers a “use of force continuum” that “sets the expectation of escalation,” continues Dr. Ristroph; “after the first resistance, force will escalate until the suspect is subdued or dead.” The resistance in question can be a purely verbal assertion of self-ownership – as in Eric Garner’s exasperated protest about the unwarranted harassment he had experienced, coupled with the declaration, “It stops today!” As Ristroph observes, defiance of this variety constitutes “the uncodified but very real offense called `contempt of cop.’” A Mundane who refuses to acknowledge the proprietary claim made by the officer who detains him can expect summary punishment of the same kind once visited on slaves by their overseers, and for exactly th[...]



"Justice Has No Expiration Date": The Continued Wrongful Imprisonment of Chris Tapp

2016-11-28T10:57:10.315-07:00

Scenes from the Tapp hearing: Bonneville County DA Clark (left), ADA Dewey, Public Defender Thomas. There were about twenty people gathered in an Idaho Falls courtroom on November 22 for a hearing about Christopher Tapp’s appeal for post-conviction relief. That Tapp is serving a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit was known by everyone in that room. Two of them, Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Clark and deputy Prosecutor John Dewey, were there in an attempt to convince Judge Alan Stephens that the truth didn’t matter, and that justice must be subordinated to “process.”Judge Stephens’s proper role, Dewey argued, was to act as a “gatekeeper,” rather than to permit a critical examination of a conviction that an official report commissioned by the prosecutor’s officehas now acknowledged is entirely the product of a spurious confession. Nationally accredited experts on police interrogation have likewise concluded that Tapp’s confession was achieved through tactics that were tantamount to psychological torture.  A few weeks ago, Judge Stephens ruled that Tapp’s appeal could proceed because of evidence that the prosecution had withheld videotaped polygraph examinations in which IFPD Detective Stephen Finn manipulated Tapp into a false confession. Finn had convinced Tapp that the polygraph machine was something akin to a comprehensive archive of objective facts about the July 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. Those “facts” comported with whatever theory of the case was in favor with the IFPD at any given time. The initial theory was that a friend of Tapp’s, a young man named Ben Hobbs who had been arrested in Ely, Nevada for rape, was the murderer. Tapp and another friend named Jeremy Sargis were identified as potential witnesses. Along with Hobbs, each of them gave DNA samples to the police. Sargis was the son of a wealthy and influential family who could afford competent legal representation – which is why he resolutely refused to speak with the police after his DNA sample cleared him as a suspect. Chris and Verna Tapp. Tapp, a high school dropout, was more pliant. He was interrogated by former IFPD Sergeant Jared Fuhriman, who had become acquainted with Tapp while serving as a school resource officer and DARE instructor. With the calculated, sociopathic opportunism of a child molester, Fuhriman groomed Tapp and relentlessly exploited him, playing on the 20-year-old’s ingenuous trust and assuring him that all the police really wanted was his cooperation in identifying the man who had killed one of his friends. The original IFPD plan was to set the three friends off against each other. That scheme collapsed after Sargis and Hobbs were both ruled out as suspects by the genetic evidence. Tapp was also cleared. However, because he was willing to talk to the police – a mistake nobody should ever make – he was the one left without a chair when the music stopped. Because he had regurgitated lies told to him by his police captors, Tapp lost his immunity agreement. His mother, Verna, became alarmed over what was happening and told Chris that he was not to submit to any further interrogation without an attorney being present. When it became known to Fuhriman that the victim of his mental molestation was seeking help from a trusted adult, he arrested Chris on a contrived charge of “harboring a fugitive” – a charge that presumes the existence of a murderer other than Chris. Tapp was not the suspect that Angie Dodge or her traumatized family deserved, but he was the one the IFPD and t[...]



War Crimes Advocate Seeks A Job in the Trump Administration

2016-11-20T23:54:15.091-07:00

The eyes of a fictional psychopath.... President-elect Donald Trump has thousands of executive branch positions to fill, including the spot in the Office of Legal Counsel once occupied by the detestable war criminal John C. Yoo. William C. Bradford, an obscure, disgraced ex-West Point instructor and unabashed advocate of genocide and military rule, might assume Yoo’s station as chief legal apologist for presidential war crimes.The OLC’s stated function is to advise the president regarding the constraints imposed upon his powers by the Constitution and laws made pursuant to it. Yoo specialized in devising intricate rationales for presidential lawlessness. His most famous work is the so-called Bybee Memorandum, one of several documentsin which Yoo defended the claim that the president can essentially order the abuse, torture, and mutilationof detainees, and the military or intelligence operatives who carry out such orders are legally unaccountable. Yoo has publicly stated that the president has the legal authority to order the sexual torture and mutilation of a child if he can contrive a “national security” rationale for such an atrocity.Translating that claim into pop culture terms, Yoo would see nothing wrong in a President Negan torturing Carl in order to break Rick’s spirit – if this is done in the name of “national security.”After promoting an American version of fuhrerprinzip as an advisor to George W. Bush, Yoo found Donald Trump unsuitable to the task of exercising the power to imprison, torture, and assassinate people of his choosing. This isn’t because Yoo takes issue with Trump’s authoritarian disposition, but rather because he is concerned that Trump is not ideologically reliable. Thus it’s doubtful that Yoo will be asked to rejoin the executive branch under Trump. The transition team is looking to re-cast the role Yoo had played as legal enabler to the worst presidential impulses – and disgraced former West Point instructor William C. Bradford is all but wetting his pants in his incontinent eagerness to fill the post.Over the past year, Bradford, an attorney and quondam law professor, has promoted the idea that academic dissenters from the “Global War on Terrorism,” and attorneys who represent terrorism suspects, should be treated as enemy combatants. Thus branded, attorneys and scholars would be eligible for the full menu of punitive options, including extra-judicial arrest and indefinite detention, trial by military tribunals, torture, and even summary execution.....the eyes of a real-life psychopath: Bradford. “The West must shatter Islamists' political will and eradicate those who do not renounce Islamism,” insists Bradford in a 185-page diatribe entitled “Trahsion des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column,” which was published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of the George Mason University National Security Law Journal. “All instruments of national power – including conventional and nuclear force and PSYOPs [psychological warfare operations] – must be harnessed … to capture the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples, break their will to fight for Islamism, and leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated....”In confronting an existential crisis, Bradford asserts, “survival is its own justification.” There is no room for “legal fetishists” who are skeptical of decisions by the executive or military leadership: “Americans are entitled not only to political leaders who employ and all necessary measures [...]



Why Would Anyone Want a President?

2016-11-14T08:46:42.449-07:00

No, he isn't -- unless you consent to be ruled. I don't know why anyone would. “How small, of all that human hearts endure, that part which laws or kings can cause or cure.”When Samuel Johnson wrote those measured words of welcome consolation, kings generally behaved with more restraint than presidents do now. The essential wisdom of his observation remains intact even our era of world-bestriding chief executives who have access to power not imagined by sages such as Johnson, the Framers who created the office, or even, for that matter, unalloyed despots like Lenin and Hitler, each of whom murdered millions but couldn’t vaporize people on a whim. Though he presides over a vast apparatus of coercion and punitive violence, the U.S. president falls well short of the divine status often imputed to him. Most importantly, he has no constitutional authority to “rule” anybody, and is the “leader” only of those who choose to follow him. And, may God be praised for it, the president does not “run” the country. It is difficult for me to comprehend a life so sterile that it becomes meaningless unless it finds validation through the election of a presidential candidate, yet lives of that kind are quite commonplace. This is proven by the flood-tide of pathos resulting from the nation-wide meltdown of campus-dwelling leftist snowflakes – and by the triumphalist gloating from collectivists of a different flavor who believe that the “greatness” of the United States is defined by the identity of the federal government’s executive figurehead. Their continent-spanning conniption fit demonstrates that at a level below sentience they understand the essential function of the state they worship – destruction of property, disruption of productive lives, and violence against the innocent. Frank Herbert’s literary masterpiece was an elaboration on the following insight: “Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.” For all of its substantial flaws the U.S. Constitution does embody, however imperfectly, the insight that corruptible human beings cannot be entrusted with power, especially in an executive capacity.  How Trump's Alt-Right adherents see him....The presidency, as originally conceived, was custom-designed to be occupied by Washington, who was seen by many Americans as worthy of becoming a hereditary monarch. The Framers, acting on John Locke’sinsight that “the reigns of good princes have been always the most dangerous to the liberties of the people,” deprived that office of most of the attributes that would entice those who lusted for power. The president, once again, was to be a servant, not a ruler. Many believed that Washington was well-suited to the exercise of power, but the Framers understood that there is no such thing as a genuinely benevolent ruler. As Locke warned, the acts of such men become inimical to liberty “when their successors, managing the government with different thoughts, would draw the actions of those good rulers into precedent and make them the standard of their prerogative – as if what had been done only for the good of the people was a right in them to do for the harm of the people, if they so pleased….”This point was made more recently by commentator Jimmy Dore of the progressive news site The Young Turks. During the Democratic primary, Dore – like many of his colleagues -- was an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton. After the nominees were selected, [...]



(Not) Keeping Up with the Cardassians: The Regime's Failed Show Trial in Portland

2016-11-05T10:35:32.673-06:00

"A salutary experience": Residents of Cardassia give audience to a show trial. Cardassia is a fictional planet in the Star Trek universe ruled by a totalitarian state with a court system quite similar to our own. Trials on Cardassia do not to examine the charges against the accused, since a guilty verdict is foreordained. The defendant is assigned an attorney called a “public conservator” whose role is not to represent the interests of his client, but rather to assure “the productive functioning of our courts.” “I’m here to help you concede the wisdom of the state, to prepare you to accept the inevitable with equanimity,” one conservator explained to a bemused client unfamiliar with the system. “Whatever you’ve done, whatever the charges against you, none of that really matters in the long run…. This trial is to demonstrate the futility of behavior contrary to good order. Everyone will find it most uplifting.” The federal conspiracy trial of Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five of their associates was supposed to follow the Cardassian script – but the prosecutors lost the plot when they encountered defendants they couldn’t bluff or bully, defense attorneys who conscientiously represented their clients, and a jury that demanded actual proof of the charges being considered.  Wallow in your failure, you smug loser. After spending $12 million plundered from tax victims, US Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams had to wallow in his own failure when the jury acquitted the defendants of all charges but one (it deadlocked on a theft of government property charge against Ryan Bundy). This was not jury nullification – the act of refusing to apply an unjust law, or setting aside a legitimate law because of exceptional circumstances. Had the prosecution sought a conviction on trespassing charges, it would have won – but Williams and his minions arrogantly assumed that it wouldn’t be necessary to prove every element of its case. They mistakenly believed that they were putting on a show trial, but the jury wasn’t on the same page.  In search of consolation the armored geldings from the US Marshals Service assaulted and briefly detained defense attorney Marcus Mumford when he impudently reminded trial Judge Anna Brown that in the absence of the proper warrant all of the defendants were free to leave.  “I said `if the marshals have something to say about it let’s see what orders they have, let’s see what papers they have to take [them] into custody again,’” Mumford told the media following the assault. “Next thing I know they took a hold of me and [were] talking about how I was resisting arrest. They were twisting my legs and put me to the ground and then they tased me.”One of Mumford’s putative colleagues in the criminal defense bar apparently believes that he deserved a beating. “It’s a good result from the defense lawyer viewpoint,” sneered attorney Bob Reid in an email to Mumford and his colleagues following the not-guilty verdicts. “You all stood up to the overly arrogant prosecution and outplayed them, which is your job, and you did that very well.” “But don’t drink the Kool-Aid which the defendants have been drinking,” Reid continued. These defendants “are not `good guys’…. Take your victory and feel great – you deserve it – but remember what it is, and what it isn’t.” It is profoundly doubtful that Reid has ever written a snotty note of that kind to a defense attorney who obtained an acqui[...]



Free Kelsey Osborne!

2016-10-26T15:18:39.573-06:00

Victims of the Prohibitionist Cartel: Kelsey with her abducted children. If 23-year-old Gooding, Idaho resident Kelsey Osborne is sent to prison for using medicinal cannabis to treat her daughter’s seizures, Governor Butch Otter should immediately grant her a pardon. If he fails to do so, he should be dragged into a public square in Boise and horsewhipped. Madyson Osborne, Kelsey’s young daughter, has suffered from seizure-like symptoms since she was 18 months old. Doctors prescribed Risperidone for the child’s condition, despite its serious potential side effects. On October 4, Madyson suffered an unusually severe fit that involved vomiting and disruptive behavior her mother had not previously seen. Desperate to obtain relief for her child, and understandably concerned about the cumulative effect of the dangerous antipsychotic drug she had been taking, Kelsey made the girl a smoothie with marijuana butter – which immediately calmed her down and helped her get to sleep. During a medical appointment the following day, Madyson tested positive for marijuana. At this point, the doctor – acting as an agent of the state, rather than a physician bound by Hippocratic ethics to protect his patients – contacted the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which seized Kelsey’s children. The mother now faces a charge of inflicting “injury on a child” by substituting a healthy but officially banned treatment for a toxic pharmaceutical product that has been approved by the state. Since this happened in Idaho, a felony drug charge will almost certainly be imposed as well.  Last year, acting on behalf of the pharmaceutical cartel, Idaho’s Republican Governor Butch Otter vetoed a measurethat would not have decriminalized the use of medicinal marijuana but wouldhave allowed parents a positive legal defense of necessity if they are charged with an offense for using medicinal cannabis to treat children suffering from seizures.  At the same time, Otter issued an executive order allowing a tiny number of families to participate in an officially sanctioned test project using a marijuana-derived product offered by a government-licensed pharmaceutical company. What this means, of course, is that providing medicinal cannabis to a child is only a “crime” if this is done in a way that circumvents state-approved gatekeepers. If Kelsey Osborne were able to use the defense offered by the bill Otter vetoed, it’s profoundly doubtful that the Jerome County Prosecutor’s Office would bother pursuing the case. Owing to the corrupt entente between the pharmaceutical cartel and the state’s prohibitionist Pharisees, Idaho is burdened with anti-marijuana laws worthy of Saudi Arabia. The irony of this situation is lost on the full-time “creeping Sharia” alarmists who canker the Gem State, the sort of people who are reliably deaf and blind to most varieties of native-grown authoritarian sanctimony. Such people irrigate their skivvies at the thought that somewhere in the state a woman might be wearing a hijab as a gesture of religious commitment, but they aren’t unduly troubled by the thought of children being abducted at gunpoint from a young mother who faces prison for trying to wean her daughter from a foul psychoactive drug that routinely wrecks both minds and bodies. Six years ago, Detroit resident  Maryanne Godboldo – who, like Kelsey Osborne, is a single mother -- held off an attempt by police and “child prot[...]



Sheriff David Clarke: The Warlord of Milwaukee County

2016-10-21T09:22:42.681-06:00

Now that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County faces a possible federal felony conviction that would dislodge him from office, the floor is open for nominations to replace him as the preening figurehead for the Punitive Populist constituency. Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, who has been auditioning for that role over the past several years, is the prohibitive favorite for that position. Like Arpaio, Clarke is a part-time sheriff and full-time media whore, tirelessly seeking opportunities to favor Fox News viewers with a visage set in a sullen pout that he mistakes for an expression of Churchillian pugnacity. Where Arpaio advertised himself as the “World’s Toughest Sheriff,” Clarke has become the most visible exponent of the view that law enforcement officers should be provided with an institutional “safe space” befitting members of a specially protected class.Perhaps the most remarkable facet of Clarke’s public persona is his studied rejection of the idea that sheriffs and other police officials should be peace officers. He espouses the view that law enforcement is a tribe that is at war not only with criminal offenders, but with its law-abiding critics. Clarke, an FBI-indoctrinatedprohibitionist fanatic who was awarded a Master’s Degree in “Security Studies” through the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California, has issued an explicit demand for the suppression – and, if necessary, the “eradication” --  of Black Lives Matter activists and others giving voice to what he calls “anti-cop rhetoric.” Such people, he maintains, are “vulgar, vile, [and] vicious … slime” who should be characterized as “domestic terrorists.”Following a prominent speaking role at the investitureof God-Emperor (in waiting) Donald Trump, Clarke published an essay urging the public and the political class to mobilize for a literal war of extermination – and insisting that citizens must rally to the defense and protection of the police officers whose advertised role is to protect them.“It’s time to come to the aid of our police, our front-line soldiers, by calling this war, and not terrorism,”exhorted Clarke in an essay for The Hill.“Avoiding the truth through wordsmithing – the false narrative of the lone-wolf – is contemptible as more innocent officers perish while our politicians hem and haw. We as a people need to declare that we stand with the rule of law, and not with the false tales of the revolutionary Marxist forces, who most recently have rebranded themselves from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter.”A poseur on horseback. Those who refuse to enlist in that war are “accomplices” in league with “an enemy within our borders [and] without our borders,” Clarke insists. “This slime needs to be eradicated from American society and American culture,” Clark insisted during an August 29, 2015 interview with Fox News host Jeanne Piro. While professing to “love the First Amendment” and “freedom of speech,” Clarke maintained that the right is “not absolute.” You can’t say anything you want in the United States. You cannot threaten people’s lives…. This is not First Amendment-protected.”As he explained in the same interview, Clarke believes that the spectrum of impermissible speech may end with overt death threats, but it begins with the “disparagement” of police in social medi[...]



Who Protects Kids from Predatory Police and Prosecutors?

2016-10-11T11:58:28.694-06:00

Raising teenage girls in the age of Snapchat exhibitionism is a challenging proposition – and it’s not made any easier by ambitious prosecutors seeking to criminalize unwise acts that fall within parental jurisdiction. Last April 6, two parents from Knoxville, Iowa were summoned to a meeting with Lt. Aaron Fullerand Sgt. Kyle Keller of the city police department. A few days earlier, they had been informed by Carolyn Johnson, a guidance counselor at Knoxville High School, that their 14-year-old girl had sent “inappropriate” pictures to a male friend. When confronted by the parents, the young woman sheepishly admitted that she had sent photos to the young man, but insisted that they didn’t involve nudity. She had deleted the photos from her cellphone. Her parents promptly – and properly – confiscated the teenager’s cellphone, until they could examine the photos for themselves and decide what restrictions, if any, would be appropriate. Their primary concern, most likely, was provoked by the girl’s statement that the male friend in question had sent unsolicited and unwanted sexually explicit pictures to her. Lying in wait: Lt. Fuller. In meeting with Fuller and Keller, the parents were chiefly interested in seeing the “inappropriate” pictures their daughter had sent. Earlier that day the police had called to inform the parents that officers were investigating a teen “sexting” ring, and that they intended to interview their daughter at school. The parents quite sensibly ordered the police and school administrators not to speak with their daughter, and told the officials to speak with them instead.The parents were acting to protect their daughter, and discipline her, if necessary. The police were trying to build a case for a criminal prosecution. Those objectives were irreconcilable, which is why the parents should have either refused all cooperation, or insisted on being accompanied by an attorney during their meeting with the police. At police headquarters, the parents were shown two photos that had been printed by the girl’s classmates. In one, she was wearing shorts and a sports bra. In the second she was wearing shorts while using her hair to cover her chest. Neither of the pictures involved nudity or met the statutory definition of pornography.The officers, exploiting the concerns of parents whom they were seeking to ensnare, asked them to identify the young woman depicted in the photos.In response to that question, a reasonably perspicuous attorney (who should also have made an audio recording of the meeting) would have told the parents not to answer, and then told the officers: “Those photographs are not evidence of a criminal offense. Do you have any evidence that their daughter has committed an offense?”When the officers failed to produce that evidence, the attorney should have responded, “Then we’re finished here,” and escorted the parents from police headquarters. The parents had no legal obligation to help two uniformed predators make a criminal offender out of their child. Acting with the devious subtlety of a child molester grooming a potential victim, the officers beguiled the parents into incriminating their daughter. When the parents left, they later recalled, they were incredulous that the photos were the subject of a police investigation. Smugly satisfied that their deception had succeeded, the officers blithely assured the parents that [...]



“Let’s Convict Him and Get It Over With”: The Framing of Lanny Smith

2016-10-05T22:45:56.367-06:00

A picturesque landmark in a troubled county: The Idaho Falls LDS TempleJames Swogger was a terrified 25-year-old awaiting trial on a charge of sexual misconduct with a child when he contacted Detective Victor Rodriguez of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office with an offer to testify against a former cellmate, Idaho Falls resident Lanny Smith. Rodriguez headed the investigation into the murder of Leo and Mary Downard, an elderly couple who lived next door to Lanny, a mentally handicapped 24-year-old man with no prior criminal record or known penchant for violence. Swogger had been arrested before on relatively minor charges, but he now faced the prospect of a lengthy prison term. In his cell at Burley’s Mini-Cassia Jail, Swogger told Rodriguez and Bonneville County Prosecutor Tom Moss that in exchange for “considerations,” he was willing to testify that Lanny Smith had confessed to the murders, thereby supplying the prosecution with a piece of evidence it otherwise couldn’t find. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office had originally arrested Lanny’s adopted brother, Jeffrey Lynn Smith, as a suspect in the murder. Jeff, as he was commonly known, had a lengthy history of violent crime, including rape, kidnapping, theft, and several documented murder threats. The charges against Jeff were quickly dropped, however, leaving the BCSO without a credible suspect.  Former Bonneville County DA -- and Federal Prosecutor -- Moss. No physical evidence connected Lanny Smith to the murders, and he had no known motive to murder a couple he regarded as friends. For reasons that remain elusive, Rodriguez devised a bizarre theory that Lanny was sexually attracted to elderly, heavy-set women like Mary, and that this fixation eventually found expression in murderous jealousy after Mrs. Downard rebuffed the younger man’s attentions. The detective was able to recruit a neighbor named Beverly Huffaker who was willing to share gossipy speculation under oath, and testify that on the night of the murder Lanny was distraught over “something bad” that had happened to the Downards. She was not a direct witness to the killing, however, nor did Lanny make a confession to her. Huffaker’s recollection of an anguished conversation on the night of the murder would later be impeached in court. She claimed that it happened just after she and her son had returned to Idaho from a trip to Nevada that actually happened six weeks prior to the killings. Roughly two years had passed by the time Swogger contacted Det. Rodriguez. He had read about the Downard murders in the newspapers, and discussed the case with both Lanny and his sister Viki. “I took what he [Lanny] had told me and kinda turned it as if he was confessing instead of someone who was confiding in me and was scared,” Swogger would later explain. “He just kinda broke down because they were accusing him.” Lanny was heartsick over what had been done to his friends, and horrified by the prospect of a life sentence or perhaps the death penalty – but he never confessed to his cellmate. This didn’t trouble Rodriguez and his comrades, Swogger recalled. For his part, the prisoner – accused of molesting his daughter – was willing to say anything expected of him in exchange for promises of protection.  Convicted child molesters are particularly vulnerable targets in the Regime’s rape [...]