Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best motorcycle Xmas gift

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


Photo copyright The Dragonater


Photo copyright The Dragonater

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

QUANTUM SPIRITS BAND : Riversound Current

SEVA : Moog Synthesizer
SUBAGH : Didjeridu
MARIAN SING : Electric Bass
ELIZABETH FARR : Concert Harp
PAUL WISE : Theremin

SEVA : Music Editor

JOHN LEE : Producer, Cameras, Video Editor

Thanks to First United Methodist Church of Knoxville TN

A Pirate News Production 2012

Broadcast worldwide by CTV
Charter Channel 6
Knology Channel 6
Comcast Channel 12
ATT Uverse Channel 99

Extra Credit for Pellissippi State Community College
Advanced Pro Tools with Professor David Ball
Facebook Recording Arts & Technology, Pellissippi

With Canon T2i HDSLR, Panasonic GS120, Adobe Premier. Over $500 has been invested since then to correct technical issues.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Proof that ETR is censored by the Police State (How to Beat Redlight Camera Tickets)

RE: ETR Forum - Traffic Cameras

"Last month, the New Jersey Department of Transportation released its report on 24 red-light camera intersections in the state and found that rather than preventing accidents, the cameras seemed to increase accident rates. In the year before the cameras were installed there were 577 accidents at those locations, versus 582 accidents in the 12 months after the cameras were installed, thanks in large part to an increase in rear-end collisions. One thing some drivers have pointed to is the seeming shortness of yellow lights at intersections outfitted with cameras. In some instances, such as in June in New Jersey, subsequent examination by local DOTs found that indeed some yellow lights were dangerously short. Now a class action lawsuit in New York is claiming that lights in the city are rigged with short yellows in order to hand out $50 tickets. States are required to adhere to the Federal DOT Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, which states that yellow-light timing should meet engineering standards. Most take that to mean a minimum of 3 seconds or longer according to a formula based on posted speed limit, reaction times, and stopping distances. The yellow timing formula actually recommends a 4.3-second yellow for a intersection on a road with posted 45 mph speed limit. Practically speaking, if the purpose is safety, then many intersections need longer yellows since drivers don't travel at exactly the speed limit (say 40 mph in a 35 mph zone). Furthermore, many intersections are located in less than ideal locations, on hills or curves and set up decades before red light cameras were conceived. So a 3-second yellow may not be sufficient to prevent accidents where panicked drivers are trying to avoid tickets. In fact, in New Jersey the DOT sets such lights on 45-mph roads at 5 seconds (6 seconds is the recommended maximum).

"I personally hate the entire idea of the cameras installed/run by contractors for the sole purpose of issuing tickets and making money. I think if the municipality really thinks the cameras are a necessity, they should install them and use them for accident investigation, not as a means to make money for doing nothing."

"My big issue with the traffic cameras is even if you think you're innocent it will cost you more to contest it then it does to go ahead and pay it. The one camera ticket I got I knew the intersection was a camera intersection. When the light turned yellow as I was coming to it I goosed the throttle just a bit to make sure I cleared it. I didn't realize it was a speed camera as well. The throttle goose got me a ticket where I probably would have not gotten one for the light. Ah well. Gotta love Oak Ridge's back roads, lol."

"Yall remember the Kville hero with the high powered rifle...."

CORRECT Answers:

1. Correct in every jurisdiction including Knoxville and Oak Ridge. No jurisidiction obeys the UMTCD, TDOT or TN Code which requires a traffic engineering survey before installing any traffic control device thus all traffic tickets are illegal. According to the attorney for TDOT, after a public records request filed by the Dragonater, the mandatory traffic engineerign survey speed audit was never performed on US129 "The Dragon" at Deals Gap, thus the posted 30 mph "speed limit" defaults to 65 mph under TN Code, according to the Blount County public defender's office and Blount County district attorney general.

Tennessee Code 55-8-153 Establishment of Speed Zones.
(a) The department of transportation is empowered to lower the speed limits prescribed in § 55-8-152 in business, urban or residential districts, or at any congested area, dangerous intersection or whenever and wherever the department shall determine, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, that the public safety requires a lower speed limit.

"No traffic or engineering study had been performed as required in order to establish a thirty-mile-per-hour speed limit. The judgment of the trial court is hereby vacated, and this case is remanded to the court below for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion. Costs on appeal are taxed to the City of Oak Ridge." -COURT OF APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT KNOXVILLE, CITY OF OAK RIDGE v. DIANA RUTH BROWN, No. E2008-02219-COA-R3-CV, MAY 8, 2009

"Dear Mr. Lee (a/k/a "The Dragonater"): Please find enclosed the Road Safety Audit Review of U. S. 129 from North Carolina State Line to Tabcat Bridge in Blount County, dated July 25, 2007. We have no record of a Traffic Engineering Survey and/or Speed Audit for this location."
-Marion E. Hilt, Staff Attorney, TDOT, Tennessee Open Records Act Request, February 23, 2011

2. These are FOREIGN military contractors in Australia, England and Communist China that keep over 50% of all ticket revenue = TREASON to outsource US police services, US court system and US govt, and TREASON to pay tax revenue to a foreign nation.

"Lasercraft is a member of the Public Safety Equipment PSE group of companies. Public Safety Equipment (Intl) Ltd, Registered Office, Yeadon, Leeds, England. Beijing Mag Science & Technology Development Corp, Beijing, China." -lasercraftinc.com, pse-intl.com, maggroup.org

"Redflex Group is based in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Redflex Holdings Limited was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in January 1997. Redflex Traffic Systems Inc has contracts with more then 130 USA cities, and is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America." —Redflex.com

$500,000 Knoxville Redflex invoice paid to National Australia Bank - Obtained during discovery by defendant Clifford Clark, the accused redlight camera shooter (who won dismissal of his case)

3. Best defense is FREE -- ignore the ticket and never appear in court. Recognize a bluff when you see one. I love red-light camera tickets. I think all police should be replaced with traffic cameras.

"It is extremely easy to beat this type of ticket in court. Your easiest defense is to simply throw the ticket away. If it does not come with a return receipt that requires a signature, there is no proof that you actually got the ticket." -Norman G. Fernandez, attorney, How to Beat a Speeding Ticket - Photo RADAR

"When you receive a general post letter advising you of your photo radar citation, you have the option of just ignoring it. All states have guidelines on how the citation must be served. In effect, your payment or appearance at the courthouse is your acceptance of service. By not responding to the letter, you are refusing acceptance of service. In addition, none of the departments are making personal service to anyone that lists a PO Box as their mailing address on their vehicle registrations."
-Lt "Radar" Roy Reyer, Maricopa County Sheriff Office, Phoenix, Arizona, Your Photo Radar Defense - Ignoring The Letter

"The civilian board that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department has put the brakes on the city’s red-light traffic camera program. An audit last year questioned the effectiveness of the program, finding that a majority of citations have gone uncollected. Commissioner Alan Skobin says that since the courts don’t pursue drivers who refuse to pay the tickets, the camera program lacks enforcement power. The problems for red light cameras go back to 2009 when CBS2/KCAL9 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein found there is no evidence the cameras reduced accidents, deaths or injuries at the intersections where they were placed and in fact, found those numbers actually increased at some intersections."
-CBS News, LAPD Commission Puts Brakes On Red-Light Cameras, June 7, 2011

"Defendants-appellants appeal from a superior court judgment vacating an order of civil sanction entered by the Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court on a civil traffic complaint issued to plaintiff-appellee Jeffrey Tonner. Appellee filed a special action in superior court to vacate the order of civil sanction, arguing that the Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court lacked personal jurisdiction when it entered a default judgment against him. The superior court judge found that service by mail under Rule 4.1(c) of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure (formerly Rule 4(e)(7)) was not completed prior to entry of judgment and that the judgment entered was void. On February 11, 1990, the photo radar device operated by the Town of Paradise Valley detected a vehicle registered to General Motors Acceptance Corporation ("GMAC") traveling at an alleged speed of fifty-six miles per hour in a forty mile per hour zone. A summons and Arizona traffic ticket and complaint were mailed to GMAC alleging a violation of Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann. ("A.R.S.") @ 28-701 (1989), driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent. GMAC forwarded the summons and complaint to appellee and his wife, the lessees of the vehicle. GMAC also sent the Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court a copy of its transmittal letter to appellee. The summons and Arizona traffic ticket and complaint were reissued, naming Tonner as defendant and the vehicle's driver at the time of the alleged violation of section 28-701. On March 7, 1990, a copy of the summons and Arizona traffic ticket and complaint and two copies of the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons and complaint were sent by first-class mail to appellee with a return, postage-paid envelope. The summons directed appellee to appear on March 22, 1990, in the Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court. Appellee never signed and returned the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons and complaint nor did he appear on March 22, 1990. On that date, based on appellee's failure to appear, the allegations of the complaint were deemed admitted, and an order of civil sanction was entered against him. The Town of Paradise Valley argues on appeal that use of first-class mail for delivery of a summons and complaint is sufficient for service and to obtain personal jurisdiction over defendants in civil traffic matters. We disagree. The requirements for service under Rule 4.1(c) are clear. We agree with the superior court judge that the order of civil sanction entered against appellee by the Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court is void for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm the judgment of the superior court."
-Judge Bolton, Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division One, Department C, Jeffrey J. TONNER v. PARADISE VALLEY MAGISTRATE'S COURT, 1 CA-CV 90-429, 171 Ariz. 449; 831 P.2d 448; 1992 Ariz. App., May 12, 1992

TN Rules of Civil Procedure
RULE 4. PROCESS
Rule 4.01: Summons; Issuance; By Whom Served; Sanction for Delay.
(1) Upon the filing of the complaint the clerk of the court wherein the complaint is filed shall forthwith issue the required summons and cause it, with necessary copies of the complaint and summons, to be delivered for service to any person authorized to serve process. This person shall serve the summons, and the return endorsed thereon shall be proof of the time and manner of service. A summons may be issued for service in any county against any defendant, and separate or additional summonses may be issued against any defendant upon request of plaintiff. Nothing in this rule shall affect existing laws with respect to venue.
(2) A summons and complaint may be served by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. The process server must be identified by name and address on the return.
(3) If a plaintiff or counsel for plaintiff (including third-party plaintiffs) intentionally causes delay of prompt issuance of a summons or prompt service of a summons, filing of the complaint (or third-party complaint) is ineffective. [Amended by order filed December 10, 2003; effective July 1, 2004.]
Rule 4.03: Summons; Return.
(1) The person serving the summons shall promptly make proof of service to the court and shall identify the person served and shall describe the manner of service. If a summons is not served within 90 days after its issuance, it shall be returned stating the reasons for failure to serve. The plaintiff may obtain new summonses from time to time, as provided in Rule 3, if any prior summons has been returned unserved or if any prior summons has not been served within 90 days of issuance.
(2) When process is served by mail, the original summons, endorsed as below; an affidavit of the person making service setting forth the person's compliance with the requirements of this rule; and, the return receipt shall be sent to and filed by the clerk. The person making service shall endorse over his or her signature on the original summons the date of mailing a certified copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint to the defendant and the date of receipt of return receipt from the defendant. If the return receipt is signed by the defendant, or by person designated by Rule 4.04 or by statute, service on the defendant shall be complete. If not, service by mail may be attempted again or other methods authorized by these rules or by statute may be used.

Knoxville Code, Section 8-1, Issuance of process.
The city judge shall issue process on the complaint of any person when it appears to the city judge that any provision of this Code or other ordinance of the city has been violated. He shall try no case until process has been regularly sued out, served and returned.

75% of AZ Drivers Refuse to Pay Photo Traffic Tickets

85% of TX Drivers Refuse to Pay Photo Traffic Tickets

4. All charges were dismissed against Cliff Clark after a Knox County deputy sheriff confessed to shooting a redlight camera.

"I originally saw this on Pirate news dot org! John Lee (a/k/a "The Dragonater") is the best journalist in the South!"
-ljrow49, youtube comments, Cliff Clark Wins Redlight Camera Case Flying Heavy Metal Guitar Into Sunset

"You've got all these speed cameras here. In L.A. people would say, 'Why don't you just shoot them out?'" -Jay Leno, BBC Top Gear (crowd cheers wildly)

Green Hornet shoots redlight scamera (theater crowd cheers wildly)"

State Trooper Christmas Wish

CHRISTMAS FAMILY DIARY 2013: FEMA CAMP #291

By Trooper Greg Evensen, Kansas State Police
NewsWithViews.com
December 11, 2012

We had no choice, really. The weather this year has been exceptionally odd with cold spells and drought. Raising a garden was unsuccessful and feeding the livestock almost impossible as hay bales were nearly $15 each. Our cash reserves, which we thought we had plenty of, were down to just enough to pay property taxes with dollars worth nothing on land worth nothing and hardly any income left to save anyway. What electricity was available you could not afford and gasoline was just under $10 per gallon. Family trips and shopping malls were both nearing extinction.

What really angered me the most though, were those “patriots,” sanctimonious Christians, and so called “preppers” that were quiet now that most people blamed then for the unstable government and the sudden shut off of government checks and commodities. Most state governments had nothing left, and the feds were holed up in guarded retreats conducting endless meetings on how to deal with the panic.

In looking back, I should have been a bit more up with what was going on. The job, kid’s sports, and trips to the casino were so much fun and you know, got my mind off all of the bad news. We used to cook out, but the UN Agenda 21 agreements at the county level had pretty much done away with that. Cops were on “sniff” patrol driving slowly through streets looking for old timers who would just not obey the law. They said city hall and the state had everything under control as things heated up, but then it seemed that the constant road blocks, checks for weapons and “terrorists” kept you from being able to get things done on schedule. I mean, you just couldn’t let people run around with guns in their trunks and just inside the door of their homes for God’s sake! What with break-ins so common, think of all those dangerous types with even more guns that the defense nut thought he had to have.

So when the cops got their “final authority” through that UN gun treaty, we finally thought that the insanity with guns would be over. They came on TV and said there were places you could turn them in and you would get two full cases of MRE meals that would last TWO WEEKS! Lines at the cop shop were long and it was cold, but it was worth it for sure to get rid of a gun and get food. Besides, the really over the edge crowd that hung on to their guns didn’t have any ammunition for them anyway. The plants had been told to stop supplying sporting goods stores and all ammo was being shipped to government storage facilities for safety reasons anyway.

Things got really tough though when we decided to start stocking up when we went to the grocery store. $5 a can tuna and $4 a box for mac and cheese were beyond our reach. So, we grabbed a few packs of GMO vegetable seeds and felt like we could really do better feeding our families naturally with good stuff anyway.

Over the months since the horrific war in Syria and Israel, nothing seemed to go well, and the president just kept assuring the public that as quickly as the fighting was under control, the government would divert money and resources back to the states for relief. With the loss of 25,000 sailors and airmen during the surprise Iranian attack on our aircraft carrier task force, many of our most advanced fighters ran into flight problems with systems failures caused by imported flight system computer chips. The marines were left to fight on with no air cover to speak of and for the first time, hundreds of our troops were captured when the Pentagon would not “risk” any more losses in trying to assist those on the ground. One general was shot by security forces assigned to him when he told the Pentagon to “go to hell” and had units ready to send in for a breakout attempt. One military man from our area who returned said it was utter chaos. No one seemed to know what was going on or what to do. Confusion reined. He said if Russia began an offensive, it was over for the US unless it went nuclear. If we had to, nuclear weapons seemed to be a safety net for us.

Our daughter was REALLY sick that fall and we had no pharmaceuticals left. They had just started a program where you had to take a government issued “smart” card to be able to pick up anything that needed a prescription. This was going to expand to just about everything else as well, so we decided right then and there that it was time to stock up a bit more. An “underground” trading system using real silver and some gold for big things was getting to be fairly common. It was a lot easier to swap some things than go through four forms just to get a shovel. You see, shovels were classified as dangerous weapons now since a few home invaders had been killed by residents who tried to defend their homes when that UN gun bill was signed, and the BATFE was checking shovel sales against a list of domestic terrorists which now included highway workers, farmers, and gardeners.

A spade was in the same category as an “assault weapon.” You could be shot on sight for carrying a spade in a school zone or restricted urban neighborhood. You can see why raising a garden has become so difficult and frankly hardly worth it.

One of the most egregious issues though was those damn goats, horses, cows and pets. The loud mouths who insisted on their “right” to raise animals without RFID chips had risked us all with the high probability of disease spreading, since those rogue farmers would not inoculate their stock with the government’s required—and entirely understandable--- mandate to prove all tagged animals had received the 19 injections against any virus that could infect the population. We really wanted clean, safe meat to eat. Some farmers were actually imprisoned and a few died resisting this effort to stabilize the economy and for the USDA to do its job. I just don’t understand that kind of stupidity.

Just before the whole thing kind of unraveled, we realized that maybe we should try to seek some spiritual insight and participate with others who felt the same way. My wife had a couple of friends who convinced us to join them and so we did. Two former regular church types, a priest, a rabbi and some other “different” alternative gay fellowship guy had a natural service in the woods where everyone could come dressed or undressed and express their thanks to each other for the closeness they felt to their friends and the relationship they craved with the trees and the fireflies. It was very uplifting watching those branches sway and enlightening to see those little bugs light up their butts to show us the way, I can tell you for sure. We knew we would rest one day in the loving arms of the tree roots.

Well, as fate would have it, I counted myself so fortunate to be among millions who had believed in the government’s leadership and preparation for those of us caught up in the national difficulties. When the “Yahweh” crowd got together with other wingnuts, we could see why the police and military warned them not to hoard supplies. I mean, how fair is that? They had it and we didn’t. Soon raids started and all their stuff was confiscated and trucked into the cities for the poor folks who had nothing, finally had something. I felt really bad that they had to wait several weeks for relief, since the government could not give them what they had been getting for several years due to the chaos around the country.

Since the weather is forecast to be really bad this winter, I finally made the decision to walk my family TEN MILES to FEMA camp #291 just outside the city. We heard that they had heat, regular meals, shared bedding, TV video games, and the guards were really nice people. We looked at it like finally; we could relax and not be bothered with all the hell outside the camp. I guess a few in the camp who like to “celebrate” Christmas are the same ones who will be sent on soon to meet their god as a result of their crimes against society. I hope this Jesus is worth all their trouble, because at the end of it, they are sure going to find out just how wrong they were. Oh well, life is tough some times.

In the meantime, we will be thinking of you and wishing you were here with us this “Christmas” time. Under the circumstances, it could be far worse. So until next year, we send greetings, one progressive liberal to another, from our little government resort. Thanks President Obama for looking out for us, and as the old saying goes, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

See also:

Trooper Greg Evensen's former radio show Voices from the Heartland

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deals Gap Dragon on STEROIDS

Irish blokes go insane at Ulster GP 2012, North West 200 in Northern Ireland.

What Deals Gap and Isle of Men should be when they grow up, without the martial law.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ultimate Triumph BMW KTM Ducati Victory Polaris closed in Knoxville

Love those Ultimate Destination bikini girls!

Ultimate Toys is closed

Ultimate Motorsports Now Closed In Knoxville TN

Another BMW Dealer Gone - Knoxville, TN

Victory Dealer close in Knoxville

Last time I got my Triumph Daytona 600 hangerqueen worked on at Ultimate Motorsports my bike caught on fire on the ride home, during a bogus traffic stop by THP for "no headlight" (not a law in TN Code), which I had switched off due to the electrical problem. Stator connector was smoking under the fuel tank when I got home. They also failed to notice the Rats nest under the passenger seat. Stators and voltage regulators are defective from the factory, Jap upgrade required.

This is the third store closed by that Triumph dealer in Kville. Crossville next?

Good to know the economy is "recovering" from that "recession" thanks to of Commie dictator. Experts agree its going to get much much worse in the next 4 years. USA RIP no joke.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gold-plated Harley symbolises 9/11 Inside Job, Hurricane HAARP

The press cameras started clicking when the chug of the motorcycle became louder and louder, nearing the room’s front entrance. Paul Teutul Jr., the mustachioed and baseball-hatted owner of biker merchandise company Paul Jr. Designs, revved and wobbled his motorcycle through the door up to the speech podium on the first floor of 90 West Street, a dowdy Financial District building not far from the Battery.

Mr. Teutul was soon joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, World Trade Center contractor Dan Tishman and 9/11 Memorial president Joe Daniels. They all praised the return of the bike to its place in the 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center, which had come under four feet of water one month ago during Hurricane Sandy and had been the chopper’s home since October of last year.

The motorcycle, which includes gold plating and parts modeled after the design of the new World Trader Center buildings, was completely submerged except for a tiny piece of its handlebars. To repair the damage done by the saltwater, Teutul took the bike back to his workshop upstate, from where it made its triumphant return today.

“In many ways this is to me a metaphor for exactly what we’re doing right now,” the governor said. “The 9/11 site was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. I saw the water filling the site from every direction imaginable.” He said that New Yorkers recovered and “We come back better than before. This bike is just a perfect symbol and metaphor for that.”

Though a motorcycle is perhaps an odd recovery symbol for a city where the majority of residents don’t own a car, the best way to get to the southern tip of Manhattan until recently may still have been by motorcycle, as PATH trains began running again this morning and some subway stations around Battery Park remain closed. Also, it may be an especially fitting symbol for the governor, as he is an avowed gearhead.

Apart from using an outlaw-style motorcycle as a visualization for the rebuilding of downtown, Mr. Cuomo spent time praising the bike’s artistry to the audience, which was an odd mix of men in suits, men in motorcycle hoodies and press. He repeated that he is a “motorcycle aficionado,” saying that he rode on Thanksgiving because he rides even in the cold.

The governor, who some progressives may associate with the churlish and rogue stereotype of bikers for his refusal to voice definitive support for a Democratic majority in the State Senate, did not straddle the motorcycle, to the disappointment of pretty much everybody. Mr. Cuomo’s lack of staged motorcycle photos differentiates him from his fellow New York pol, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who probably has a smaller collection of refurbished bikes.


September 911 Surprise by the Dragonater

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

US Supreme Court bans arrest for recording police

"The Illinois eavesdropping statute makes it a felony to audio record “all or any part of any conversation” unless all parties to the conversation give their consent. 720 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/14-2(a)(1). The statute covers any oral communication regardless of whether the communication was intended to be private. Id. 5/14-1(d). The offense is normally a class 4 felony but is elevated to a class 1 felony—with a possible prison term of four to fifteen years—if one of the recorded individuals is performing duties as a law-enforcement officer. Id. 5/14-4(b). Illinois does not prohibit taking silent video of police officers performing their duties in public; turning on a microphone, however, triggers class 1 felony punishment. The question here is whether the First Amendment prevents Illinois prosecutors from enforcing the eavesdropping statute against people who openly record police officers performing their official duties in public. Concerned that its videographers would be prosecuted under the eavesdropping statute, the ACLU has not yet implemented the program. Instead, it filed this preenforcement action against Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief barring her from enforcing the statute on these facts. The ACLU moved for a preliminary injunction. We reverse and remand with instructions to allow the amended complaint and enter a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the eavesdropping statute as applied to audio recording of the kind alleged here."
-JUDGE DIANNE S. SYKES, United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit, No. 11-1286, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF ILLINOIS v. ANITA ALVAREZ, DECIDED MAY 8, 2012 (full text)

"Today, the Supreme Court of the United States denied a request by Cook County State’s Attorney to review a May 2012 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding Illinois’ eavesdropping law. The appellate court ruled for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in the case and the federal district court has entered a preliminary injunction, blocking the Cook County State’s Attorney from prosecuting ACLU staff for audio recording police officers performing their public duties in a public place and speaking loudly enough to be heard by a passerby. The Illinois eavesdropping law has been the subject of much debate of late. Two state court judges have ruled that the application of the law to prosecute individuals for recording police in a public place is unconstitutional. And, a Cook County jury last year acquitted a young woman charged with the offense. We are pleased that the Supreme Court has refused to take this appeal. Now, we can focus on the on-going proceedings in the federal district court."
-ACLU of Illinois, Development in ACLU v. Alvarez – Illinois Eavesdropping Law, November 26, 2012 (click link for all case documents)

FTP. The last time The Dragonater videotaped police on the Dragon it caught Tennessee's top state trooper committing perjury outside of his jurisdiction on federal property, and his bogus speeding case was dismissed by a prosecutor without a single word spoken in court. The trooper claimed to have radar turned on but my video/audio proved that was a lie. Public records published by the Tennessean newspaper proved this cop is paid over $100,000/year to do nothing but write speeding tickets. The Dragonater's video case also proved the speed limit at Deals Gap is 65 mph.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois

By Jason Meisner
Chicago Tribune
November 26, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers.

A temporary injunction issued after that June ruling effectively bars Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez from prosecuting anyone under the current statute. On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit against Alvarez, asked a federal judge hearing the case to make the injunction permanent, said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

Grossman said he expected that a permanent injunction would set a precedent across Illinois that effectively cripples enforcement of the law.

Alvarez's office will be given a deadline to respond to the ACLU request, but on Monday, Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Alvarez, said a high court ruling in the case could have provided "prosecutors across Illinois with legal clarification and guidance with respect to the constitutionality and enforcement" of the statute.

Illinois' unconstitutional eavesdropping law is one of the harshest in the country, making audio recording of a law enforcement officer — even while on duty and in public — a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Public debate over the law had been simmering since last year. In August 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

Judges in Cook and Crawford counties later declared the law unconstitutional, and the McLean County state's attorney cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges in February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.

Alvarez argued that allowing the recording of police would discourage civilians from speaking candidly to officers and could cause problems securing crime scenes or conducting sensitive investigations.

But a federal appeals panel ruled that the law "restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests."

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has said he would favor a change allowing citizens to tape the police and vice versa.

Meanwhile, several efforts to amend the statute in Springfield have stalled in committee amid heavy lobbying from law enforcement groups in favor of the current law.


Eavesdropping law unconstitutional, court says

Victory for activists who want to record police officers

March 03, 2012
By Jason Meisner
Chicago Tribune

A Cook County judge on Friday declared the state's controversial eavesdropping law unconstitutional, securing an important victory for activists who want to videotape the police in public but muddying the legal waters as the city gears up for potentially thousands of demonstrators for the G-8 and NATO summits in May.

In a 12-page decision, Criminal Courts Judge Stanley Sacks ruled that the law is too broad and potentially criminalizes "wholly innocent conduct." He cited as an example a parent recording her child's soccer game and inadvertently capturing a conversation between two bystanders.

"Although it is extremely unlikely that this doting parent would be charged with a felony offense, the fact remains that she could, thusly punishing innocent conduct," Sacks wrote.

The decision came in the case of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in 2009 for selling art on a Loop street without a permit. Drew was charged with eavesdropping after he used an audio recorder in his pocket to capture his conversations with police during his arrest.

In a statement Friday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez defended bringing the charges and said her office plans to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Drew's case joins an increasingly complicated mix of court opinions, pending appeals and proposed legislation that could put enforcement of the law in limbo as thousands of protesters — many likely with electronic devices that could record police actions — descend on the city for the summits.

"I think this decision gives the cause more momentum," said Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago, which has a pending federal lawsuit against Alvarez over the issue. "But I don't think I would argue there is clarity yet."

Illinois' eavesdropping statute, one of the strictest in the nation, makes it a felony to record any conversation without the consent of all parties. It carries stiffer sentences — of up to 15 years in prison — if a police officer or court official is recorded without his or her knowledge.

The debate over the state law began to heat up last year with a series of high-profile cases. In August, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged for recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

The next month, a judge in southeastern Illinois' Crawford County declared the law was unconstitutional in the case of a man accused of recording police and court officials without their consent. Prosecutors there have appealed, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is scheduled to file a brief with the state Supreme Court later this month.

Perhaps most importantly, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could rule soon in a lawsuit by the ACLU against Alvarez that argues the law violates First Amendment rights. Months ago a three-judge panel of the Chicago court, including influential Judge Richard Posner, heard oral arguments, the final stage before a decision.

Depending on how the various rulings shake out, the entire issue could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court at some point, according to legal experts and court watchers.

"Everybody is kind of waiting for everybody else," said Josh Kutnick, Drew's attorney. "But I think in the reasonably near future we are hopefully going to see all of these chips fall into place."

While the court cases wind their way through the legal system, a bill introduced by state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, seeks to modify the current law to make it legal for citizens to record law enforcement officers who are on duty and in public.

The bill cleared a House committee last month following a showdown between law enforcement opponents and supporters who want the law changed before the G-8 and NATO summits begin. Though it could go to a vote in the House this month, it remains up in the air if there is time for it to pass in both chambers and reach Gov. Pat Quinn's desk.

On Friday, Nekritz was encouraged that there appeared to be a growing consensus that the law needs to be changed, but "that doesn't always translate into votes," she said.

Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy has said he doesn't object to audio recording of police officers as they perform their public duties. After all, a key strategy for police at the summits will be to try to manage protests and prevent police brutality lawsuits by recording how officers treat demonstrators. "If the law is changed, it would make our lives a lot easier," McCarthy recently told the Tribune.

But other law-enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, oppose easing recording restrictions, saying that would have a chilling effect on witnesses' coming forward to aid police and could create situations in which victims of crime are re-victimized by viral videos of their suffering.

With the current law under attack, one central Illinois prosecutor is opting simply to not enforce it. Earlier this week, McLean County State's Attorney Ron Dozier in Bloomington cited flaws in the statute when he dropped charges against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.

"I just did not want to be in the position of prosecuting this," Dozier told the Tribune on Friday. "It's just wrong to say someone should get a felony on their record for just recording what's happening in public."

Meanwhile, Christopher Drew will remain free on bond while his case is appealed.

"I'm pretty happy after 21/2 years of dealing with this," said Drew, 61. "It's a good decision."

Behind him, a small group of supporters held up their smartphones, the red lights blinking, recording every word.


Chicago State's Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens Who Record Them

Huffington Post
June 8, 2011

When Chicago police answered a domestic disturbance call at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend in July 2010, the officers separated the couple to question them individually. Moore was interviewed privately in her bedroom. According to Moore, the officer who questioned her then came on to her, groped her breast and slipped her his home phone number.

Robert Johnson, Moore's attorney, says that when Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple wasn't greeted warmly. "They discouraged her from filing a report," Johnson says. "They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer -- from making sure he couldn't go on to do this to other women."

Ten months later, Chicago PD is still investigating the incident. Moore, on the other hand, was arrested the very same afternoon.

Her crime? At some point in her conversations with internal affairs investigators, Moore grew frustrated with their attempts to intimidate her. So she began to surreptitiously record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent, even (and as it turns out, especially) on-duty police officers.

"This is someone who is already scared from being harassed by an officer in uniform," said Johnson. "If the police won't even take her complaint, how else is a victim of police abuse supposed to protect herself?"

Moore's case has inspired outrage from anti-domestic abuse groups. "We just had two Chicago police officers indicted for sexual assault, there have been several other cases of misconduct against women," says Melissa Spatz of the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls & Young Women. "And now you have Moore, who was trying to report this guy, and she gets arrested. The message here is that victims of unwanted sexual advances by police officers have no recourse -- that the police can act with impunity."

If the Chicago cops recently indicted for sexual assault are convicted, they'll face four to 15 years in prison. That's the same sentence Tiawanda Moore is facing for trying to document her frustrations while reporting her own alleged sexual assault: Recording an on-duty police officer in Illinois is a Class 1 felony, the same class of crimes as rape.

ILLINOIS' PROBLEM WITH PRIVACY

Last summer the U.S. media took note of several stories about citizens arrested for photographing or recording on-duty police officers. National coverage of these incidents has since died down, but the arrests haven't stopped.

Some of these arrests have come under decades-old wiretapping laws that never anticipated the use of cellphones equipped with cameras and audio recording applications. Others have come under vaguer catch-all charges like refusing to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, or interfering with a police officer. In both cases, the charges rarely stick, and in most cases, it's the cops themselves who are violating the law.

The media have largely done a poor job reporting on what the law actually is in these states. Technically, so long as a person isn't physically interfering with an on-duty police officer, it's legal to record the officer in every state but Massachusetts and Illinois. Arrests still happen in other states, but there's little legal justification for them, and the charges are usually dropped, or never filed at all.

But Illinois is the one state where the law clearly forbids citizens from recording of on-duty cops. And so it seems likely that if the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court does eventually decide if pointing a camera at a cop is protected by the First Amendment (so far, they haven't), the case will come from Illinois. (Courts in Massachusetts have generally held that secretly recording police is illegal, but recording them openly isn't.)

Illinois' wiretapping law wasn't always this bad. Originally, the statute included a provision found in most other state wiretapping laws stating that, in order for someone to be prosecuted for recording a conversation, the offended party must have had a reasonable expectation that the conversation was private.

So far, every court in the country to have considered the issue has found that on-duty cops have no such expectation of privacy. This makes sense. Police not only work for the public, they're also entrusted with enormous power: They can arrest citizens and detain them or kill them.

In 1986, the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the eavesdropping conviction of a man who had recorded two police officers from the back of a patrol car for just that reason. The court ruled that the officers had no expectation of privacy.

So in 1994 the Illinois state legislature removed the wiretap law's privacy provision. It was an explicit effort to override the decision eight years earlier. Technically the amended law covers everyone -- anyone whose voice is recorded without their permission, for any reason, could file a complaint and ask to press charges -- but it's used almost exclusively to protect police.

So far, HuffPost has yet to find anyone who has actually been convicted under the law. Instead, police arrest and charge someone they catch recording them, but the charges are dropped or reduced to misdemeanors before trial.

In 2004, for example, documentary filmmaker Patrick Johnson was arrested under the law while recording footage for a movie about relations between blacks and police in the Illinois cities of Champaign and Urbana. Johnson fought the charges with help from the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But after the district attorney who was prosecuting him lost in the next election, the new prosecutor dismissed the charges.

THE STATE v. CITIZENS

An actual conviction under the eavesdropping law would likely bring a constitutional challenge, which could well lead to the law being overturned in court. It could also lead to the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit more broadly affirming a First Amendment right to record police, which of course would have ramifications outside of Illinois.

As long as no one is convicted, the law is unlikely to be challenged. That means police can continue to rely on it to harass and intimidate citizens who try to hold them accountable, or who want an independent record of what they believe to be police harassment.

Moore's case may prove to be just the opportunity free speech advocates are looking for. But her case was continued again this week, despite the fact that she's been asking for months to go to trial.

The person pursuing the charges against Moore is Anita Alvarez, the state's attorney for Cook County, home to Chicago. (Alvarez's office declined to comment for this report.)

It's difficult to think of another big city in America where citizens would be more justified in wanting an objective account of an interaction with a police officer. At about the time Moore's story hit the pages of The New York Times earlier this year, for example, former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for lying under oath about his role in the routine torture of hundreds of suspects in police interrogation rooms for more than a decade. Nearly everyone else involved in the tortures, including the police commanders and prosecutors who helped cover them up, couldn't be prosecuted due to statutes of limitations.

Over the last few years, surveillance video has also exposed a number of police abuses in Chicago, including one episode in which an off-duty cop savagely beat a female bartender who had refused to continue serving him. He was sentenced to probation.

In 2008, the city made national headlines with another major scandal in which officers in the department's Special Operations Unit -- alleged to be made up of the most elite and trusted cops in Chicago -- were convicted of a variety of crimes, including physical abuse and intimidation, home robberies, theft and planning a murder.

In a study published the same year, University of Chicago Law Professor Craig B. Futterman found 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004, more than any city in the country. When adjusted for population, that's still about 40 percent above the national average. Even more troubling, of those 10,000 complaints, just 19 resulted in any significant disciplinary action. In 85 percent of complaints, the police department cleared the accused officer without even bothering to interview him.

Yet Alvarez feels it necessary to devote time and resources to prosecuting Chicagoans who, given the figures and anecdotes above, feel compelled to hit the record button when confronted by a city cop.

In addition to Moore's, there are two other cases that may present an opportunity to challenge the Illinois law. One is that of Michael Allison.

This Robinson, Ill., man is facing four counts of violating the eavesdropping law for the recordings he made of police officers and a judge. Allison was suing the city to challenge a local zoning ordinance that prevented him from enjoying his hobby fixing up old cars: The municipal government was seizing his cars from his property and forcing him to pay to have them returned. Allison believed the local police were harassing him in retaliation for his lawsuit, so he began to record his conversations with them.

When Allison was eventually charged with violating the zoning ordinance, he asked for a court reporter to ensure there would be a record of his trial. He was told that misdemeanor charges didn't entitle him to a court reporter. So Allison told court officials he'd be recording his trial with a digital recorder.

When Allison walked into the courtroom the day of his trial, the judge had him arrested for allegedly violating her right to privacy. Police then confiscated Allison's digital recorder, where they also found the recordings he'd made of his conversations with cops.

Allison has no prior criminal record. If convicted, he faces up to 75 years in prison.

In a hearing last week, Allison argued that the Illinois eavesdropping case was a violation of the First Amendment. The judge ordered a continuance so that the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan can prepare a response. (Madigan's office did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment.)

The other case to challenge the wiretap law is that of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in December 2009 for selling art without a permit on the streets of Chicago. Drew recorded his arrest, and now faces four to 15 years for documenting the incident.

In a hearing last December, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Jeff Allen invoked homeland security, arguing that Drew's recording could have picked up police discussing anti-terrorism tactics. Drew's case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

Both Allison and Drew say they won't accept the sort of plea bargain Illinois prosecutors have offered in the past. Both say they're willing to risk prison time to get the law overturned.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANSPARENCY

The ACLU of Illinois is also challenging the law. But in January, U.S. District Court Judge Suzanne B. Conlon ruled against the organization. Conlon wrote that the First Amendment does not protect citizens who record the police. The ACLU has appealed and expects to participate in oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit sometime in the fall.

In a report released just this month, the United Nations noted the importance of Internet access and personal technology in facilitating the recent Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. Technology has given citizens all over the world a remarkable and historic tool to bring transparency to the most brutal and oppressive governments.

But even as Americans have criticized those countries for attempting to prevent protesters from uploading photo, video, blog posts and Twitter accounts of government crackdowns, government officials in the U.S. are still arresting, threatening, intimidating and harassing Americans who attempt to document police abuse in America. (See this example over Memorial Day in Miami.)

No, America isn't Egypt or Yemen or Iran. But while the scale of the suppression is different, the premise is the same: When a citizen and a police officer have a confrontation, the police officer's narrative has always been given deference by prosecutors, judges and juries -- in the same way governments in more oppressive parts of the world have the power to project their own version of events as truth.

Citizens in America and across the globe now have the ability to preserve and present a more objective narrative. This is a positive thing -- for democracy, for good government and for a fairer criminal justice system. U.S. courts and legislatures need to make it abundantly, unambiguously clear that not only do citizens have the right to record on-duty police officers, but that cops and prosecutors who violate that right will be held accountable.


Go-Pro: Man who filmed plainclothes cop pulling gun on him now threatened with life in prison

April 9, 2010

The audacity of the Maryland State Police is not that one of its plainclothes officers pulled his gun out on a motorcyclist after pulling him over for speeding.

We wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

The audacity is that they are threatening the man with prison for posting a video of the incident online.

The motorcyclist, an Air National Guardsman named Anthony Graber, was wearing a video camera on his helmet when he was pulled over. Not much different than the dash cams the cops use in their cars.

And the cop, as thuggish as he came across in the video, had absolutely no expectation of privacy when he pulled Graber over and pulled his gun out on him.

But now police are claiming that Graber recorded the cop illegally because Maryland is a two-party consent state when it comes to recording people, according to WJZ-13.

However, that law usually applies to when people have an expectation of privacy. Not when they are pulling a gun out on a citizen on the side of a busy road in broad daylight.

Here is an analysis of the Maryland law posted on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which reveals that these Maryland cops are pulling laws out of their asses.

State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus, where a person in a private apartment was speaking so loudly that residents of an adjoining apartment could hear without any sound enhancing device, recording without the speaker’s consent did not violate the wiretapping law. Malpas v. Maryland, 695 A.2d 588 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997); see also Benford v. American Broadcasting Co., 649 F. Supp. 9 (D. Md. 1986) (salesman’s presentation in stranger’s home not assumed to carry expectation of privacy).

The obvious truth is that these cops are embarrassed about coming across as thugs on video. In fact, Graber thought he was about to get murdered.

“I was afraid. I thought the person, at the time I didn’t know it was an officer, was going to shoot me,” Graber told the TV news station.

Graber was cited on location for traveling more than 100 mph on his bike. He was also accused of popping wheelies. And Graber apparently paid the fines because the case was then closed.

But police showed up to his house more than a month later after they saw the video he had posted online.

Then they threatened him with prison after accusing him of breaking the wiretapping law.

Maryland is a two-party consent state. That means you can’t record somebody without telling them. It’s a felony to break that law.

That’s exactly what state police told the motorcyclist when they came to his house more than a month after he’d been pulled over.

“I don’t want to go to jail. I haven’t really done anything wrong. It wasn’t a violent crime. No one was injured. No one was hurt,” said Graber.

The Harford County state’s attorney is handling the case but has not charged the motorcyclist.

We’ve seen cops use that same law several times in several states only for it to be thrown out of court. This one shouldn’t even make it to court.



Chris Moore arrested by police state death squad for riding motorcycle with Go-Pro video camera

Sheriff’s Office, Biker Disagree On Memorial Day Arrest

CBS DFW TV
June 20, 2012

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Memorial Day weekend, Chris Moore was riding his motorcycle down Interstate 35 in West Dallas with a gaggle of other bikers when he was pulled over.

He said he’d just bought a Go-Pro camera and strapped it atop his helmet to document the ride, which was “a Memorial ride for some fallen riders,” Moore said.

“Just riding with a group, going down the highway, then the mayhem started,” Moore added.

Dallas Sheriff’s Deputy James Westbrook pulled him over. Moore’s camera captured about a dozen riders headed down the freeway. The deputy then pulls up behind, Moore pulls over and then Westbrook tells him he needs to take the camera as evidence.

Here’s the full conversation:

Moore: Was I doing something wrong? What am I being pulled over for?

Westbrook: The whole group of you, yes.

Moore: No, I was not individually sir; how can you pull me over?

Westbrook: The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m going to take your camera and we’re going to use it as evidence of the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.

Moore: I have not committed any crimes and you cannot take my personal property from me, sir.

Westbrook then goes back to his squad car for a few minutes. When he gets out, he tells Moore he’s being arrested for having an obstructed license plate.

“I was in shock,” Moore said. “Totally surprised; I didn’t think anything I did deserved an arrestable offense.”

The thing is, Moore’s camera may have only caught about a dozen riders, but dash cam footage from a deputy squad car shows it being surrounded by more than 100 bikers. When Westbrook pulled Moore over and told him he was taking the Go-Pro camera, the deputy was hoping it caught higher quality footage that could help incriminate some of that group.

A group that, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carmen Castro says, was caught on dash cam driving the wrong way down the freeway.

However, Hunter Biederman, Moore’s attorney, said they want an apology and “are still exploring all our legal options.”

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said it’s also looking into the way Westbrook acted.

“We acknowledge the incident and currently we are taking a look to see if officer Westbrook’s conduct is in question,” said Carmen Castro, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. “We had been dispatched by DPD to go to the scene because another deputy was being surrounded by a hundred bikers.”

See also:

Sheriff suspends deputy who seized biker's camera


Sheriff suspends deputy who seized biker's camera

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Memorial Day weekend, Chris Moore was riding his motorcycle down Interstate 35 in West Dallas with a gaggle of other bikers when he was pulled over.

He said he’d just bought a Go-Pro camera and strapped it atop his helmet to document the ride, which was “a Memorial ride for some fallen riders,” Moore said.

“Just riding with a group, going down the highway, then the mayhem started,” Moore added.

Dallas Sheriff’s Deputy James Westbrook pulled him over. Moore’s camera captured about a dozen riders headed down the freeway. The deputy then pulls up behind, Moore pulls over and then Westbrook tells him he needs to take the camera as evidence.

Here’s the full conversation:

Moore: Was I doing something wrong? What am I being pulled over for?

Westbrook: The whole group of you, yes.

Moore: No, I was not individually sir; how can you pull me over?

Westbrook: The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m going to take your camera and we’re going to use it as evidence of the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.

Moore: I have not committed any crimes and you cannot take my personal property from me, sir.

Westbrook then goes back to his squad car for a few minutes. When he gets out, he tells Moore he’s being arrested for having an obstructed license plate.

“I was in shock,” Moore said. “Totally surprised; I didn’t think anything I did deserved an arrestable offense.”

The thing is, Moore’s camera may have only caught about a dozen riders, but dash cam footage from a deputy squad car shows it being surrounded by more than 100 bikers. When Westbrook pulled Moore over and told him he was taking the Go-Pro camera, the deputy was hoping it caught higher quality footage that could help incriminate some of that group.


Illinois Man Faces 75 Years in Jail for Filming Police

The Blaze
September 1, 2011

In many states, you can record police in public spaces without their consent, but one Illinois man is facing 75 years in prison for doing just that.

What exactly did he do? The man, Michael Allison, recorded police officers on duty in his front yard inspecting vehicles he was repairing.

Allison was fined for failing to register the vehicles, and so he requested an ordinance hearing, and once again he brought his camera into the court and hit record.

For those simple acts, Allison is facing five felony charges calling for 15 years in prison per each count– a possible total of 75 years. If found guilty, he could easily spend the rest of his life behind bars for “eavesdropping.”

WTWO-TV Channel 2 in Indiana reported on the whole ordeal back in June when Allison was arrested and has more details. According to the outlet, Allison’s spat with police started because he fixed old cars on his mother’s property but refused to register the vehicles (and pay a registration fee, of course). Despite being fined, as mentioned earlier, authorities also confiscated the cars he was working on. That’s the exchange he initially recorded.

Allison then went to the Robinson police department with his cell phone camera in hand for an ordinance hearing. He claimed that officers selectively applied the car registration statutes against him, and told the judge he had recordings of his interaction with the officers. He also recorded those proceedings, and told the judge he was doing so.

It was on his way out from the hearing that Allison was immediately arrested, and charged with the five felony eavesdropping counts.

In Illinois, recording law enforcement officers without their consent is considered a serious crime — or at least the authorities choose to interpret an old eavesdropping statute that way. According to WBBH, 12 other states have a similar interpretation of the law, including Florida, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

But could this be a brazen double standard? Consider that police in Illinois are specifically exempted from the eavesdropping law, and constantly record citizens without their consent. Citizens such as Allison, however, can go to jail for it.

Allison was offered a plea deal for a lesser felony with a guarantee of no jail time, but he turned it down. He believes the law under which he is being prosecuted is grossly unconstitutional, and he is doing a service for fellow citizens of Illinois by seeing the case through.

“You’ve got to stare down the face of this big government that we have,” he told WBBH in an interview about the case, “If you don’t fight for these freedoms here at home, we’re all going to lose them.”

Comments: 228


Man who filmed plainclothes cop pulling gun on him now threatened with prison

The audacity of the Maryland State Police is not that one of its plainclothes officers pulled his gun out on a motorcyclist after pulling him over for speeding.

We wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

The audacity is that they are threatening the man with prison for posting a video of the incident online.

The motorcyclist, an Air National Guardsman named Anthony Graber, was wearing a video camera on his helmet when he was pulled over. Not much different than the dash cams the cops use in their cars.

And the cop, as thuggish as he came across in the video, had absolutely no expectation of privacy when he pulled Graber over and pulled his gun out on him.

But now police are claiming that Graber recorded the cop illegally because Maryland is a two-party consent state when it comes to recording people, according to WJZ-13.

However, that law usually applies to when people have an expectation of privacy. Not when they are pulling a gun out on a citizen on the side of a busy road in broad daylight.

Here is an analysis of the Maryland law posted on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which reveals that these Maryland cops are pulling laws out of their asses.

State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus, where a person in a private apartment was speaking so loudly that residents of an adjoining apartment could hear without any sound enhancing device, recording without the speaker’s consent did not violate the wiretapping law. Malpas v. Maryland, 695 A.2d 588 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997); see also Benford v. American Broadcasting Co., 649 F. Supp. 9 (D. Md. 1986) (salesman’s presentation in stranger’s home not assumed to carry expectation of privacy).

The obvious truth is that these cops are embarrassed about coming across as thugs on video. In fact, Graber thought he was about to get murdered.

“I was afraid. I thought the person, at the time I didn’t know it was an officer, was going to shoot me,” Graber told the TV news station.

Graber was cited on location for traveling more than 100 mph on his bike. He was also accused of popping wheelies. And Graber apparently paid the fines because the case was then closed.

But police showed up to his house more than a month later after they saw the video he had posted online.

Then they threatened him with prison after accusing him of breaking the wiretapping law.

Maryland is a two-party consent state. That means you can’t record somebody without telling them. It’s a felony to break that law.

That’s exactly what state police told the motorcyclist when they came to his house more than a month after he’d been pulled over.

“I don’t want to go to jail. I haven’t really done anything wrong. It wasn’t a violent crime. No one was injured. No one was hurt,” said Graber.

The Harford County state’s attorney is handling the case but has not charged the motorcyclist.

We’ve seen cops use that same law several times in several states only for it to be thrown out of court. This one shouldn’t even make it to court.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/man-who-filmed-plainclothes-cop-pulling-gun-on-him-getting-threatened-with-prison [/quote]


Go-Pro: Judge says man within rights to record police traffic stop

Charges alleging wire tap violation thrown out

September 27, 2010|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

In a decision that could make it easier for citizens to record police officers in Maryland, a Harford County judge ruled Monday that state police and prosecutors were wrong to arrest and charge a man for taping his own traffic stop and posting it on the Internet.

Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr.'s ruling helps clarify the state's wire tap law and makes it clear that police officers enjoy little expectation of privacy as they perform their duties.

"Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public," Plitt wrote. "When we exercise that power in a public forum, we should not expect our activity to be shielded from public scrutiny."

Plitt threw out four counts of the grand jury indictment against Anthony Graber dealing with the recordings he made with a helmet-mounted camera and posted to YouTube after he was stopped by a trooper in an unmarked car on an Interstate 95 off-ramp in March.

"This is one of the best days in my life that I've ever had," Graber said Monday evening. "It's such a huge relief, I can't even explain." The judge left intact only traffic violations that include speeding and reckless and negligent driving.

Plitt cited the videotaped recording of the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles and the explosion of "rapid fire information technology" to note that virtually anyone in a public place should expect their actions could be recorded and broadcast.

The judge wrote that Graber's encounter "took place on a public highway in full view of the public. Under such circumstances, I cannot, by any stretch, conclude that the troopers had any reasonable expectation of privacy in their conversation with the defendant which society would be prepared to recognize as reasonable."

The case was being closely watched to determine the limits of the state's wire tap law, which critics contend was written decades before video cameras fit inside cell phones — even before cell phones — and was designed to prevent people from breaking into phone lines and secretly recording conversations.

Plitt "makes it crystal clear that the conduct Anthony engaged in was not and could not be a crime," said David Rocah, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Maryland, which defended Graber in court.

"I think it means that police officers around the state are on notice that it simply is not a crime to tape a police officer or any other public official engaged in the public performance of their duties," Rocah said.

But Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said the ruling "will make it more difficult for the police to do their jobs" and warned that people armed with cameras might soon point their lenses at car accident scenes "and eavesdrop as police take medical history" from patients. Cassilly could appeal, but said on Monday that he had not yet read the judge's ruling.

The video that Graber posted online showing the plainclothes trooper, J.D. Uhler, jumping from his sedan with his gun drawn quickly became a Web sensation. The trooper had pursued Graber, alleging he was recklessly speeding on the highway and passing cars on one wheel.

Uhler issued the 24-year-old Maryland Air National Guard sergeant several traffic citations and let him go. But after Graber posted the video, troopers obtained a warrant, raided Graber's Abingdon house and seized his equipment.

If he had been convicted, Graber faced 16 years in prison, the loss of his job as a consultant for a defense contractor and his government security clearance.

Hours after the ruling, Graber said that it was "very unfortunate that I had to go through all this." He did not dispute he was driving fast on his 2008 Honda CR-V motorcycle while testing the $300 helmet cam he had just purchased. But he denied accusations from prosecutors that he purposely goaded police to pull him over so he could record the confrontation.

"How could I entice a police officer to pull me over when he was undercover and in plainclothes?" Graber said. "I wasn't trying to record myself doing anything illegal."

Graber said he has since sold the motorcycle for $5,000, far less than the $10,500 he says he paid for it a year earlier. He said he still owed several thousand dollars on the bike but took the loss. "I don't want to ever have a motorcycle again," he said.

Police officers throughout Maryland have cited the law to seize cameras of people at crime scenes or those who are recording their activities. A Baltimore police officer at the Preakness last year sternly told an amateur cameraman to stop recording the arrest of a woman, telling him, "It's illegal to record anybody's voice or anything else in the state of Maryland."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What did Kurt Sutter know and when did he know it?

Feds Let Mexican Cartel Hit Men Kill in U.S., Senior Lawman Told Stratfor

  
by
New American
31 October 2012 

The U.S. government allowed Mexican drug cartel hit men working as “confidential informants” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to murder people inside the United States, an American federal law enforcement supervisor told the private intelligence firm Stratfor in e-mails released by WikiLeaks. ICE neither confirmed nor denied the allegations when contacted by The New American.

The explosive leaked documents containing the claims were part of a massive batch of e-mails stolen by hackers from the Texas-based intelligence-gathering firm. Among other startling allegations, official sources in the Mexican and U.S. governments told the company that American special-operations forces were in Mexico under the guise of fighting the drug war.

Additionally, a U.S.-based Mexican diplomat and other sources claimed that Washington, D.C., was working with certain favored drug cartels — especially Sinaloa — in an effort to put smaller criminal organizations out of business. The e-mails echoed allegations made in numerous reports and statements by officials, drug-cartel operatives, and other sources, indicating that the U.S. government was deeply involved in the narcotics trade.

Perhaps the most astounding information, however, had to do with the U.S. government allegedly allowing Mexican cartel hit men across the border into the United States to murder targets. A Stratfor source identified in the documents as “US714,” whom the firm described as a “US law enforcement officer with direct oversight of border investigations,” made that explosive accusation in an e-mail dated April of last year.

“Regarding ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] screwing up informants: They [ICE] were handling big hit men from Juarez and letting them kill in the U.S.,” explained the federal law enforcement supervisor, who in a separate e-mail also said American troops were already in Mexico engaged in joint operations with Mexican forces.

Instead of expressing shock about the major allegations against ICE, a Stratfor employee responded by mentioning that the intelligence-gathering outfit had already written about the issue, pointing to a 2009 piece published online entitled “Confidential Informants: A Double-Edged Sword.” In that article, Stratfor highlighted the story of a confidential ICE informant, Ruben Rodriguez Dorado, who was involved in the murder of yet another confidential ICE source in Texas.

When asked by The New American about the federal law enforcement supervisor’s allegations in the correspondence with Stratfor, ICE refused to either confirm or deny the accusations. Instead, ICE spokesman Brandon Montgomery with the Department of Homeland Security offered a statement explaining the importance of confidential informants to criminal investigations.

“Confidential Informants (CI) are an extremely valuable and necessary part of law enforcement efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations. One of the most effective ways to do this is by turning insiders within these organizations and utilizing their information as CIs,” Montgomery explained. “Insiders can provide information that cannot be obtained through any other means.”

According to Montgomery, ICE will substitute an undercover federal agent for its confidential informant as soon as possible to ensure that the investigation is carried out by trained law enforcement professionals. “ICE initiates a CI through a regulated and controlled process and ICE takes significant steps, including training of ICE agents and audits of CI files when working with CIs,” the spokesman concluded.

Analysts focused on the Mexican drug war and the roles of U.S. officials, meanwhile, were not surprised by the most recent allegations leveled against ICE either. In fact, as noted by multiple analysts, it would not be the first time that the U.S. government has been involved in eerily similar scandals.

“Though Stratfor source US714’s revelation may seem too dark to be true, Narco News has already documented, via the multi-year House of Death investigative series, that ICE, with the approval of US prosecutors, allowed one of its informants to participate in multiple murders inside Mexico in order to make a drug case,” wrote investigative reporter Bill Conroy, one of the premier journalists covering the broader drug war.

The so-called “House of Death” scandal surrounded another ICE informant, Guillermo “Lalo” Ramirez Peyro, who was simultaneously working with the Juarez cartel. In that case, federal officials knew their paid informant was involved in torture and multiple murders, yet continued to give him what numerous analysts and other officials described as a “license to kill.”

When the truth eventually came out, the federal government fired the customs agent, Raul Bencomo, who was “handling” the murderous CI. But according to Bencomo, he was simply made into a scapegoat to protect higher-ranking officials at ICE and their bosses all the way into the heart of the federal government who knew exactly what was happening.

"He [CI ‘Lalo’] would report a murder, and either we heard it on a phone, nobody told us to stop doing the case," Bencomo told NPR in a 2010 interview after being fired over the scandal. "We were told to continue, so for them to say that they didn't know about it, that is a total lie."

Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council (LEOAC) chief Andy Ramirez told The New American that there were some differences between the “House of Death” scandal and the more recent allegations surrounding ICE. For one, the informant was not killing in the United States — those murders took place at a property in Mexico.

When that scandal began to unravel, though, a cover-up began almost immediately, said Ramirez, who tried to get lawmakers to investigate. “Lalo was locked away with an attempt to deport him to Mexico that lasted several years until we got Congress involved in Lalo's case,” he explained. “But the ‘hey’ here is DOJ and DHS knew and knew the Mexican government knew. Mexico ultimately wanted border and immigration policies changed by Junior Bush's Administration almost immediately.”

According to Ramirez, such facts have become “common” considering what he described as “mismanagement” by DHS, to which ICE answers, as well as the Department of Justice. “CIs are used for what they can gain info-wise and then hung out to dry without thought, just as our Border Patrol Agents are,” Ramirez said.

But there is a reason not much has been done to investigate the problems, let alone hold anyone accountable. “Congress has ignored the criminality of these cases in order to protect their presidents as titular party heads,” said Ramirez, who regularly speaks out against abuses under both parties. “I know because I reported the House of Death case personally to the Hill and was ignored by what up to that point were ‘friends’.”

While working with confidential informants is hazardous by its very nature — they tend to be hardened criminals, often have ulterior motives, and can sometimes be serving as “double agents” — the questions being raised must be addressed. Was ICE deliberately allowing cartel hit men to murder in the United States? What sort of investigation, giving ICE the benefit of the doubt, could possibly justify such a scheme?

Even more importantly, perhaps, are accusations that the U.S. federal government is actually at the heart of the drug trade itself — allegations made by top officials and analysts on both sides of the border as well as by criminal operatives. The Obama administration continues to stonewall congressional investigations into DEA drug-money laundering, ATF gun running in Fast and Furious, and more. The CIA, meanwhile, has also been accused of deep involvement in the drug trade for decades, and even recently.

Whether or not the whole truth will ever emerge about the federal government’s nefarious activities surrounding the drug wars remains unclear. But from what is already known, the picture that emerges is highly disturbing, according to analysts — at least that much is clear. Activists say it is past time for Congress to find out what exactly is going on and hold those responsible for criminal activity to account.

Related articles:

Stratfor Sources: U.S. Troops in Mexico as Feds Aid Cartels

CIA “Manages” Drug Trade, Mexican Official Says

Reports: CIA Working with Mexican Drug Cartels

Calderon: U.S. Officials Involved in Drug Trade

Mexican Drug Trafficker Says He Worked With Feds

CIA Lies and Other Redundancies

Trafficker: U.S. Feds Aided Mexican Drug Cartel

“Drug Lords” Targeted in Fast & Furious Worked for FBI

Congress Probes DEA Drug Money Laundering Scheme

Outrage Grows After U.S. Drug War Kills More Honduran Women, Children

Obama Backs Mexico’s Failed ‘War on Drugs’

The Other Unconstitutional War

Feds Purposely Keeping U.S. Borders Wide Open, Experts Say

Fast and Furious Massacres Spark Fresh Pressure on AG Holder to Resign

Blasted as Whitewash, Fast and Furious Report Blames ATF and DOJ

WikiLeaks Starts Massive E-mail Dump From Intelligence Firm Stratfor

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cops busted as worst speeders in town at 130 mph

Video: Cops in home of Disney caught abusing authority andy posing public danger


Felonious Florida cops cause 300 crashes that murder 19 innocent people


ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- The investigative news team at WKMG-TV in Orlando received tips that there were habitual speeders in the area, sometimes going in excess of 100 miles-per-hour, apparently getting off scott-free. Turns out there was a reason they weren't being ticketed oct prosecuted: they were off-duty police.

The investigators tracked suspected speeding cops heading to work, or leaving work to off-duty part-time jobs. After measuring the exact time it took law enforcers to travel the distances between toll plazas in July, Local 6 mapped those distances and created a computer database to isolate the most frequent and fastest speeders in police vehicles.

The results: Fourteen Orlando police vehicle not responding to a call were clocked at between 90 mph and 115 mph 37 times. Additionally, sixteen Orange County sherrif's deputies--also not being dispatched to a call--were driving between 90 and 109 mph some forty times that month.

Orlando police chief Paul Rooney, after being presented with the evidence, suspended one officer's take-home driving privileges (driving a police car him after shift) and placed eleven other officers under investigation. There are two additional officers the chief said he is trying to identify from the video surveillance.

Habitual speeding cases like this are not uncommon in police departments. But this sting carried out by WKMG-TV with such compelling video has a chance to resonate across the country to deter police from abusing authority when off duty.