Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Do you have to be White and Male to be in charge at the Connecticut State Police?

Open Discrimination against women and minorities in the Connecticut State Police. Connecticut officials ought to be ashamed of themselves.

February 21, 2004

Do you have to be White and Male to be inside the Connecticut Police Hierarchy?

This situation should not be overlooked. -Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)


Spada speaks candidly about conflict with worker

(Hartford-WTNH, Feb. 11, 2003 6:20 PM) _ He's been criticized for not tending to the needs of female police officers and today Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada may have added more fuel to the fire.

During his confirmation hearing Spada spoke candidly about his personality conflict with a former staff member.

Commissioner Arthur Spada is a former Superior Court Judge and is very highly regarded but after 2-and-a-half years as head of the state police, his handling of at least one matter concerning a high ranking woman placed him on the hot seat during his reconfirmation hearing.

"Whether they be male or woman, everybody has to hit the golf ball from the blue tees," says Commissioner Spada.

When Commissioner Spada made that remark he apparently was not anticipating that the first question from Committee Chair Donald Williams would be about the demotion of Lt. Col. Marjorie Kolpa, one of the highest ranking women ever in the state police.

"Is it your testimony today, that Marjorie Kolpa couldn't hit the golf ball from the blue tees?"
"It was not...uh. It, of course. I reached her in the mid summer of her career," says Spada.

When Spada regained his composure he admitted that he never got along with Kolpa, who took retirement in December and was today actually playing golf in Florida.

"Comes nose to nose to me and says, 'I don't work for you." Not a very nice thing to say. Number two; when I come on board, doesn't speak to me for seven months," says Spada.

But Spada's most condeming remark was concerning Kolpa's allegation that in addition to her demotion, she lost her plush office in Middletown and was placed in a less than plush one in Meriden.

"That story is a canard, it's a bold, audacious prevariation. It's a lie!" says Spada.
Although none spoke, several female state troopers were watching as the head of Connecticut N.O.W. testified that it was the Kolpa story that caught the group's attention.

Beverly Brakeman says,"Our research indicated a serious lack of such efforts being made by DPS to ensure that women, both sworn and civilian, are given equal opportunitities and access to advancement and leadership positions."

Connecticut State Police Master Sgt. Susan Kumro says,"There's several females on this job that were afraid to come today because they're afraid they'd be the target of harrassment."

This piece was found on the web, (here)

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spada-lg.jpg
The picture is of Arthur L. Spada, Commissioner of Department of Public Safety, Connecticut State Police

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If the head of the Connecticut State Police and other high ranking officials can allegedly abuse women�s and minorities rights within their own ranks, how badly are they abusing the general public? Well maybe bad enough that citizens are leaving Connecticut in droves.
-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)


More on Arthur L. Spada:

Overpaid, overbearing, and all over (Feb. 12, 2004)

Jailing the innocent (Feb. 10, 2004)

Are Cops screwing the Homeland Security Fund for overtime not worked? (Feb. 5, 2004)

The Prison System is a Business (Jan. 25, 2004)

The number one post that comes up when the words, �Arthur L. Spada� is placed in a yahoo search engine (here)

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Editorial found on ctnow.com:
(added 1:25 PM EST, Feb. 21, 2004)

Arthur Spada, Another FOJ
February 19, 2004

Arthur Spada should resign his position as the state's public safety commissioner. It has become clear that his performance in office has not met the high standards expected of his position.

Mr. Spada looks foolish in defending excessive overtime costs rung up by his personal, taxpayer-supported driver, state police Sgt. Richard Alexandre. The commissioner looks incompetent in claiming that he was unaware that Homeland Security Director Vincent DeRosa, who reports to him, has for years violated department policy by having an interest in a used-car dealership.

And Mr. Spada looked weak in admitting to lawmakers last week that he was muscled by Gov. John G. Rowland to hire Mr. DeRosa as homeland security czar in the first place, even though Mr. DeRosa had no special qualifications for the job. Mr. DeRosa had been the governor's pal and driver.

The commissioner showed no respect for taxpayer money when he basically allowed Mr. DeRosa, who will collect a $70,000-a-year pension, to set the terms of his departure. The homeland security chief will leave on his own on March 1. Mr. Spada should have bounced him the second he found out about Mr. DeRosa's violation of state police policy. Moreover, why should Mr. DeRosa get any pension credit for the years during which he broke his employer's code of conduct?

And it goes without saying that Mr. Spada should have been alert enough to discover Mr. DeRosa's used-car moonlighting far earlier than he did.

Mr. Spada has prided himself on being a hands-on commissioner. Instead, he has been just the opposite. Further, it's clear that he developed an unbecoming appetite for costly perks. Over the past two years, his driver, Mr. Alexandre, made $21,000 in overtime, driving Mr. Spada to personal appointments as well as work-related functions in the commissioner's official black Crown Victoria.

Mr. Alexandre is among many state troopers whose earnings top $100,000 per year when overtime pay for working extra shifts and controlling traffic at highway construction jobs is added to their regular salary. The state police overtime situation is out of control.

State law permits public safety commissioners to have a driver. Mr. Spada says he has routinely cleared his use of a driver with his legal staff. He must have an excessively lenient staff. How else could it justify some of the overtime?

Here are examples from overtime records and Mr. Spada's calendar obtained by The Courant through a Freedom of Information Act request:

Mr. Alexandre drove the commissioner from Hartford to Bloomfield at 6:30 a.m. to appear on WDRC's Brad Davis radio show 11 times in 2002 and nine times in 2003, and was compensated for two hours of overtime for each trip. Mr. Spada said he needed the security because a public official was assaulted near the radio station several years ago. Couldn't the commissioner have called the Brad Davis show from home?

Mr. Spada and his driver were both invited to a wedding of a child of a state trooper in December 2002. Mr. Alexandre drove, and logged 16 hours of overtime for the event.

In addition, Mr. Alexandre drove the commissioner to at least one gubernatorial debate, another wedding, a couple of celebrity roasts, a UConn football game and several private dinners, racking up Spada-generated overtime.

Predictably, Mr. Rowland's office has come to his defense. "Commissioner Spada is meticulous about how he uses his state vehicle and how he uses his assistant," says gubernatorial chief of staff Dean Pagani.

Meticulous? Far from it. The commissioner, a former Superior Court judge, should know better about the appearance of excess and the requirements of ethics codes. Instead, he seems to share that sense of entitlement that has gotten Mr. Rowland and his friends and political cronies in trouble and has cast a pall over state government.

Mr. Spada has damaged his credibility beyond repair and should have the good sense to bid his chauffeur and job farewell.

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Good Policing or Privacy Invasion?
Spada's comments on 'MATRIX' heighten CCLU's concern

This piece found on the web, (here)

Kellie A. Wagner
The Connecticut Law Tribune
01-08-2004


Local civil rights advocates are increasingly anxious over a new multistate law enforcement information-sharing initiative. And it's not just due to visions of Keanu Reeves battling world-dominating computers inspired by the program's name: the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or MATRIX, for short.

Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Teresa Younger last week said her organization was alarmed by state Department of Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada's remarks in a December letter to state troopers promising: "The Matrix ... will disgorge a subject's every financial, economic, residence and spending profile. Aldous Huxley's 1983 has arrived," Spada declared in the one-paragraph description of the program in his "Commissioner's Perspective" on law enforcement efforts in 2003.

Huxley's "Brave New World," published in 1932, is a bitterly satiric depiction of a society controlled by technology, in which art and religion are abolished and human beings reproduce by artificial fertilization. It is often compared with George Orwell's "1984."

Younger said she is concerned about Spada's comments, especially because the CCLU is still waiting to hear from him regarding a state Freedom of Information request it filed in October, seeking specifics about the program -- such as what information can be obtained by law enforcement officials, who will have access to it, what will happen to the information once it is used and how much the program will eventually cost the state.

"Are they creating this massive database on residents in Connecticut just because?" Younger asked. "The fact that he [Spada] has announced [the MATRIX program] without giving us the information we requested concerns me," she added. "I am even more frustrated to hear that he [Spada] would use the kind of language [in his letter] that would only elicit more fear."

Reached last week, Spada said he was surprised by the reaction to the off-the-cuff remarks in his letter. (He conceded that he didn't even get his reference right. It should have been to Orwell's "1984," he said.)

Spada said the MATRIX program is up and running, but added that he was uncertain if his staff had utilized it yet. His office, Spada noted, will evaluate whether to keep using the program past March, when federal funding for it runs out.

Even he seems taken back by the government's snooping abilities. "I don't see where you can hide," Spada said of the program. "I am shocked when I am informed that [law enforcement] knows about your investments, [specifics] of your residence and how you are spending your money and on what. It is amazing the information that is out there."

Spada said he has had a brief telephone conversation with Younger, and the group's FOI request is being considered.

The MATRIX program is an effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to build or improve information-sharing programs to prevent terrorist attacks and improve police work -- a process that trades stronger vigilance for complaints of information overload. Eight states now participate in a federally-funded effort: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Utah.

Although most of the initiatives are still in the early stages, they mark a dramatic expansion of law enforcement technology and a shift away from the turf wars that have prevented such efforts in the past, say many law enforcement officials.

"Prior to 9-11, there was a void in intelligence outside the federal arena," said Maj. John Buturla, deputy director of Homeland Security for the Connecticut State Police.

A widespread demand for more law enforcement intelligence began immediately after the 9-11 attacks of 2001 and was the main focus of the 2002 meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. From that meeting, and the yearlong work of a committee of federal, state and local officials, emerged the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, released in October, which outlines 28 technical and policy recommendations to create a national criminal intelligence network.

At the same time, various programs have sprouted to give non-federal investigators more access to sensitive, but unclassified, information about potential terrorists and criminals. Technological advances are also increasing police intelligence by allowing faster access to information in other regions of the country.

"We're in the beginning stages of an information-exchange future," said Gerard P. Lynch, executive director of the Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network (MAGLOCLEN), with headquarters in Newtown, Pa. The organization is one of six existing Regional Information Sharing Systems begun in 1974 to help states fight crime across borders.

In September 2002, those regional networks were linked to the FBI's Law Enforcement Online system, an electronic environment where users can exchange information via ListServes, chat rooms and e-mail.

The National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), a nonprofit owned and governed by the states since 1966, also has a link to the FBI's network. But it is moving to a more web-friendly interface so that users can search for information with an Internet browser and wireless technologies. The system gives police access to motor vehicle and drivers data, INS databases and state criminal history records. More than 34 million messages are transacted each month.

In November, Wisconsin and Kentucky became the first two states to issue criminal histories to NLETS in the new format, and Florida, Maine and Texas have similar projects underway. Several other regional and statewide programs also have begun recently. For example, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York are piloting an information exchange that would give access to federal and state court records, as well as child and human services and motor vehicle agencies, among others.

But all of the information available to law enforcement is not always necessary, said Terry Treschuk, police chief in Rockville, Md., just outside the nation's capitol. The point of local and municipal police departments is primarily to take care of every day needs.

"It's an awful lot of information, and you just have to cull ... through it," Treschuk said.

Most police departments have fewer than 24 officers and cannot devote personnel to monitoring all of the information, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

"Any information overload is a product of our needs in a post-9-11 world," said Connecticut's Buturla. "The information can be cumbersome, but it's better than before 9-11."

To help smaller departments, the Pennsylvania State Police has opened an around-the-clock information gathering and analysis center to filter and disseminate relevant intelligence.

Despite the flurry of new initiatives and the release of a national plan, law enforcement has not yet created a central intelligence framework.

"The ideal is a network of databases," said Lynch of the Regional Information Sharing Systems network.

But the increased focus on information-sharing is a signal that different levels of law enforcement are working together better than in the past, officials said.

Then, federal agencies such as the FBI were reluctant to share information with state and local law enforcement, said Thomas R. Rekus, a former FBI special agent who is now a liaison to local law enforcement for the federal Intelink Management Office.

"There are absolutely cultural differences," he said. "Those are not necessarily a bad thing, unless they get in the way of working together."

"I'm seeing a willingness by most groups to share their toys and play nicely in the sand box," Rekus said, echoing remarks by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

Treschuk also said that attitudes had improved.

"There's always been a little bit of a schism because of the different focus," Treschuk said. "But there's been a vast improvement."

Eric Keldeman of Stateline.org contributed to this article.


*****


The Story of Never Ending Sleaze

Posted by Vikingas at February 21, 2004 01:11 PM | TrackBack
Comments

There is nothing new, just more people talking in a different way.

Posted by: at April 20, 2004 07:30 PM

There is nothing new, just more people talking in a different way.

Posted by: at April 20, 2004 07:32 PM

Eat shit coppers

Posted by: Eat Shit Coppers at April 21, 2004 02:30 PM

Another asshole judge:

WSBTV.com - Atlanta, GA. News

Judge Accused Of Abusive Behavior Removed From Bench
POSTED: 12:17 p.m. EDT May 15, 2004
Dawson --

A municipal court judge accused of giving excessively harsh penalties and displaying abusive behavior on the bench has been fired.

The Dawson City Council voted Thursday to remove Judge Henry E. Williams after hearing complaints by the Terrell County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Americus-based Prison and Jail Project.

Both groups claimed Williams unfairly cited some defendants for contempt and fined them more than the $200 maximum the city ordinance allows. They have protested outside his courtroom and collected 300 signatures from Dawson residents who wanted the judge gone.

John Cole Vodicka, president of the Prison and Jail Project, called Williams' court a "chamber of horrors" and said he was "rude, bullying and mean-spirited."

City Attorney Tommy Coleman also warned the council that the city may lose its liability insurance if it retained the judge.

Williams, who had served in his position since June 2002 and previously from 1992-1996, did not attend Thursday's closed session, but Mayor Robert Albritten defended him, saying Williams was an effective judge but just needed more diplomacy.

"Procedure-wise the court is a lot better," Albritten said. "You can find good doctors with bad people skills."

After the 5-1 vote, councilman J.S. Ward said testimony by Williams' critics left him no choice but to vote in favor of his ouster.

"With the information I heard tonight, it was too much to keep him in," Ward said. "It sounds like he didn't know his job, he didn't know the law."

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Another service from
Citizens for Legal Responsibility
P.O. Box 232
Morton Grove, IL 60053-0232
email: clr@clr.org

Posted by: at May 23, 2004 12:24 AM

NYC Judge Ordered to Stand Trial on Bribery Charges
By Tom Hays
Associated Press Writer, Apr 29, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) - A judge upheld bribery charges Thursday against a fellow judge accused of taking cash and gifts from a divorce lawyer, but threw out several lesser counts of official misconduct.

Most of the dismissed counts alleged that state Supreme Court Justice Gerald Garson broke the law by accepting thousands of dollars to refer case to the lawyer, Paul Siminovsky. Queens Administrative Judge Steven Fisher agreed with the defense that prosecutors had erred in applying rules of judicial conduct to those counts. The rules "were never meant to be used for that purpose," he wrote.

The remaining counts allege that Garson took cash, meals and gifts, including a box of cigars, from Siminovsky in exchange for lucrative legal guardianships and other favors. The Brooklyn judge has pleaded innocent.

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said he will appeal the dismissals but was pleased that the major charges were upheld. Defense attorney Ronald Fischetti said he was "thrilled" with Fisher's decision.

Also Thursday, Fisher rejected a defense request to suppress surveillance videotapes shot with a camera planted in Garson's chambers. Some of the tapes allegedly show the judge accepting the cigars and cash from Siminovsky during a sting operation; the lawyer had agreed to cooperate after his own arrest.

Garson, 70, was ordered to return to court for a June 1 hearing. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.


This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA9328LNTD.html

**********
Another service from
Citizens for Legal Responsibility
P.O. Box 232
Morton Grove, IL 60053-0232
email: clr@clr.org
http://www.clr.org

Posted by: at May 23, 2004 12:27 AM

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February 12, 2004

Overpaid, overbearing, and all over

Are Police Heads and the Rank and file taking more and more of your hard-earned dollars in taxes (and the undeclared taxes, fees and fines)? Some politicians, members of the judiciary, and law enforcement officers are all too eager to push the envelope in �freebies� all the way into the criminal category, openly ripping off the public.

...

Spada's Use Of Driver Criticized
February 12, 2004
By TRACY GORDON FOX, Hartford Courant Staff Writer (ctnow.com)

Taxpayers are footing the bill for thousands of dollars in overtime for Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada's personal driver, who has chauffeured his boss to weddings, dinners and football games.

A review of Sgt. Richard Alexandre's overtime records and Spada's personal calendar shows that Alexandre earned 1,100 hours of overtime during the past two years - about 460 of which were spent driving Spada in his department-issued, black Crown Victoria. In those two years, Alexandre made about $21,000 in overtime as the commissioner's driver, a figure that does not include overtime he earned at highway construction jobs.

That amount of overtime is not unusual. Many troopers earn in the range of 500 hours of overtime per year for controlling traffic at highway construction jobs and for working extra shifts. In 2003, Alexandre earned about $107,000 in salary, including overtime. Many troopers and sergeants earn more.

It's also not unusual that Spada has a personal driver. Public safety commissioners have had drivers available to them for many years, a privilege allowed by state statute.

But some legislators and state police union members are questioning whether driving Spada to personal, after-hours functions is a proper use of taxpayers' dollars and state police personnel.

"If you are going to a political event or personal event, that is certainly highly questionable and should be stopped," said state Rep. James Amann, D-Milford.

Amann, a principal critic of Gov. John G. Rowland, charged that Rowland has created an atmosphere that encouraged an abuse of perquisites. Federal investigators are looking into gifts and favors given to Rowland by political appointees and state contractors.

"This administration - everything they do is over the top," Amann said. "It's almost like they deserve it. It comes from the top. They see their boss doing it and they do it."

State Sen. Donald Williams, D-Killingly, said, "It's another example in the Rowland administration of wasted taxpayers' money and an improper sense of entitlement."

Spada, who was a Superior Court judge for 22 years, said Wednesday he had done nothing wrong. He said he routinely has his legal staff check which events he goes to and whether he should take his driver. He said it is ethical to have his driver take him and his wife to dinner, as long as he sits with them or nearby.

"There have been instances when the staff lawyers have urged me not to take my driver and I have used my own vehicle," Spada said. "I have made every effort to have the highest standard of ethics."

A review of state records shows that over the past two years, Alexandre drove Spada to at least one gubernatorial debate, weddings for the children of colleagues, a football game and dinners.

Spada said that when he attended the weddings of his colleagues' children, he was going as the commissioner of public safety, and "not Arthur Spada."

Spada, who is 71, said Wednesday he has numerous speaking engagements every month to which he is driven, because he is too tired to drive at night. But he said, "When I go to personal affairs, I drive."

He also said that Alexandre was paid only for driving him to the first University of Connecticut football game, but was not paid for the following four to which he drove Spada.

In 2002, Spada was picked up 11 times by Alexandre, who lives in South Windsor, and taken to the studios of radio station WDRC in Bloomfield at 6:30 a.m. for appearances on the Brad Davis Show. The station is about 4 miles from Spada's Hartford home. Davis is a friend of Spada's and Rowland's and has been a staunch defender of both.

In 2003, Spada was driven nine times to appearances on the Brad Davis Show at 6:30 a.m., in each case on a Friday. Each time, Alexandre worked overtime.

Spada said Wednesday he represents the department when he appears on the show.

"The driver takes me and he's compensated an additional two hours," Spada said. Spada said he needs the security because several years ago a deputy mayor was assaulted near the radio station.

On Aug. 29, 2003, Alexandre's day began by driving Spada to the show and ended by taking him to a wedding in Farmington. Troopers reported seeing Spada and his driver at two weddings for children of state troopers; one that day and the other on Dec. 6, 2002, a Friday.

Spada and Alexandre were both invited guests at the December 2002 wedding.Alexandre logged 16 hours of overtime for the event.

On Saturday, April 26, 2003, Alexandre worked 6� hours of overtime when Spada attended a roast for Davis, the radio personality. On Friday, Oct. 10, 2003, Alexandre worked six hours of overtime when Spada attended the Lew Brown Roast & Toast at the Windsor Mariott. Brown is a former WVIT-TV, Channel 30, reporter who retired.

Spada was also driven to a gubernatorial debate in New London on Oct. 7, 2002, a day when Alexandre worked 5� hours of overtime.

Spokesmen for Rowland and Spada said the commissioner had done nothing wrong.

Sgt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the state police, said Alexandre's overtime averages only 1� hours a day.

"That's more than reasonable," Vance said. "You call it a driver. We call it security."

Dean Pagani, Rowland's chief of staff, also defended Spada's use of his car and driver.

"Commissioner Spada is meticulous about how he uses his state vehicle and how he uses his assistant," Pagani said. "I'm sure he is doing it in accordance with the rules of the state police and I'm sure he has checked it with his legal staff. I believe he is making efficient use of his time and his staff."

But Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said the expense is unwarranted.

"I'm sure it's a big ego thing," Lawlor said. "It's great. It's really wonderful. But it's expensive, and it's just not appropriate. If it were me, I would only use a driver when it was necessary. I'm sure it's a tough job, but others who have had tougher jobs drive themselves to and from work."

Alexandre's overtime records and Spada's personal calendar were obtained by The Courant through a freedom of information request. Spada's legal adviser, Dawn Hellier, blacked out portions of Spada's calendar deemed to be personal appointments. There were more than 115 such items in each of the two calendar years released.

State police union officials say they do not dispute the overtime Alexandre has accrued, but question Spada's use of his driver.

"His use of a driver would only be appropriate when he's driving to events representing the department as commissioner," said Mark Wallack, the union president. "Is it an abuse? I guess people would have to come to their own conclusions."

Spada and the union are in the middle of heated contract negotiations in which the commissioner has recommended that troopers receive no raises and purchase their own uniforms.

More on the Connecticut God, Arthur L. Spada

The Story of Never ending Sleaze (and picture of Arthur L. Spada, head DPS, Connecticut State Police)

Drinking , Smoking, Gambling, illegal drug use and other vices fuel America

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Added Feb. 18, 2004, 9:00 AM EST:

Rowland Case Exposes Loophole
Law That Bars Gifts Allows Free Services

February 18, 2004
By MARK SPENCER, And DAVE ALTIMARI Hartford Courant Staff Writers (ctnow.com)

The revelation that Gov. John G. Rowland privately received about $125,000 in free legal services from a Waterbury law firm has exposed a loophole in state ethics law.

Although state law strictly limits the value of gifts state officials can receive, it places no limit on free services.

"That is a glaring loophole in our ethics statute that needs to be tightened up," state Sen. Andrew J. McDonald, D-Stamford, said Tuesday.

McDonald and other members of the judiciary committee were stunned last week when James K. Robertson, Rowland's former attorney, told them he researched the ethics law before his old firm, Carmody & Torrance, performed the free work.

Rowland's appointment of Robertson as a judge late last year requires confirmation from the judiciary committee and ultimately from the full legislature. The committee questioned some judges for less than five minutes, but Robertson testified for about two hours last Friday about his relationship with Rowland

During his testimony, Robertson acknowledged Carmody & Torrance had done 500 to 600 free hours of legal work for Rowland, about half of which came after he was elected governor. Robertson said the free work had nothing to do with the firm's landing close to $6 million worth of state contracts since Rowland became governor. The firm had done virtually no state work before.

The committee took the unusual step of delaying a vote until it could research Robertson's interpretation of the ethics code.

"It was such an astonishing revelation that I wanted to look into it," McDonald said.

Robertson is expected to be confirmed when the judiciary committee meets at noon today. The ethics issue probably will bounce to the committee looking into whether Rowland should be impeached.

"Technically, Judge Robertson is correct that it was OK for his firm to work for free," said Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, a member of both the judiciary and impeachment committees. "This is really not about Robertson. It's about Rowland, who should know this isn't right. If something is wrong here, it's with the governor, not the attorney."

Rowland's actions may have violated the intent of the ethics statute, if not the letter, McDonald said. "There will be a discussion and debate over whether the governor's acceptance of this was appropriate or inappropriate," he said.

McDonald said the loophole appears to have been created by sloppy wording.

The definition of a gift in the statute exempts money donated to a candidate's campaign committee, then goes on to exempt contributions of services, but without specifically linking those to a campaign. McDonald said the statute should be corrected this legislative session.

"It is shocking and shame on us," he said. "We need to tighten that up and eliminate that situation."

Robertson's judgeship also became controversial because of a deferred payment agreement that Carmody & Torrance signed with Rowland in March last year. Rowland now owes the firm about $100,000. The governor has paid only a small amount of his bill.

The firm on Tuesday gave the judiciary committee a copy of the deferred payment agreement that it signed last year with Rowland. Although the agreement called for Rowland to be billed at $350 an hour, Robertson told the committee last week the rate had been reduced to $250 an hour - the rate set by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for outside counsel working for the state.

Robertson also represented Rowland before his election in a freedom of information complaint brought by The Courant. Robertson had estimated the firm did about 200 hours of free work on the case before Rowland was elected. The firm told the committee Tuesday that records were no longer available of how much free work was done after the election, although it described the amount as minor.

The deferment agreement was signed only weeks after Lawrence Alibozek, the governor's former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty in federal court to steering state work to a contractor sources have identified as The Tomasso Group of New Britain.

Robertson represented Rowland before the ethics commission when it was investigating the governor's reduced rate vacations at homes owned by the Tomasso family in Florida and Vermont.

Rowland nominated Robertson for a judgeship shortly after that case was settled.

If disgusting behavior like this goes unpunished, I don�t know how it can be said the Constitution applies in the Constitution State of Connecticut. It is obvious the law usually only applies to the average person for fleecing and fining purposes, �Separate and Unequal� still applies, and the ruling class makes the rules and doesn�t obey them.-Steven G. Erickson

Posted by Vikingas at February 12, 2004 07:40 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Go ahead, just call them, "Armed Revenue Collectors."

Posted by: at February 12, 2004 06:55 PM

Are The Courts For Sale?

After reading the details of Gov. Rowland's appointment of Judge James Robertson, I have no doubt that everything, including the courts, is for sale in this state. Is it any wonder that most people have no respect for our judicial system?

Please keep up the good work in exposing this corruption.

Kenneth Ransom, Barkhamsted

Posted by: at February 18, 2004 09:13 AM

Friday, May 30, 2003

'Secretive' convention of police raises questions

By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

Top FBI and White House anti-terrorism experts will join law enforcement colleagues in Seattle next week for a police intelligence convention that is drawing fire from a coalition of local social justice and minority organizations.

The Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit -- a private group of local and state police intelligence officials -- is for the first time allowing federal intelligence personnel to participate in the conference.

On the table will be initiatives instituted since the Sept. 11 attacks to improve the sharing of federal intelligence with local agencies.

"There needs to be discussion about how we can have a proper intelligence-sharing program in this country that protects its citizens from criminal and terrorist threats," said Dick Wright, general chairman of organization and a police captain from Simi Valley, Calif.

Although the discussions will be among officials from all levels of government, neither the public nor the media will be allowed to attend the conference.

And that concerns members of the People of Color Coalition Against the War at Home and Abroad.

The ad hoc collection of groups considers the response by police to Sept. 11 to be an attack on civil liberties that especially hurts minority and immigrant communities.

At a news conference held by the coalition yesterday next to a Starbucks coffee shop, Dustin Washington of the American Friends Service Committee denounced the "secretive organization of law enforcement officials that have no accountability to anyone."

Eleven Starbucks locations around Seattle have been targeted for demonstrations next Wednesday because the company is one of several local sponsors of the convention. Other sponsors include The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp.

Starbucks spokeswoman Audrey Lincoff said yesterday that "when Starbucks is targeted, it is often because we are a stage.

"I don't think it is appropriate to have an expectation that Starbucks can resolve issues of civil liberties."

Civil liberties were on the mind of Tatsuo Nakata of the Japanese American Citizens League yesterday when he rose at the news conference outside the Starbucks "to speak up against the continuing war on immigrants" being waged in the name of homeland security.

"We disagree with these continued policies of racial profiling," Nakata said.

Michael Woo of the Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office slammed the law enforcement group and the Department of Homeland Security as "the KGBs in our modern era" bent on stripping away our rights and civil liberties.

Wright said, however, that such attitudes reflect a misunderstanding about criminal intelligence operations.

"It is a legitimate tool for law enforcement if you follow professional standards."

Central to those standards, Wright said, is that there be "a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity"' before intelligence is collected.

"This is not Big Brother; this is an attempt to protect the public," Wright said.

P-I reporter Paul Shukovsky can be reached at 206-448-8072 or paulshukovsky@seattlepi.com

Posted by: at February 22, 2004 03:36 PM

* * * *
* * * *

January 18, 2004

The Story of Never Ending Sleaze

spada-lg.jpg
The picture is of Arthur L. Spada, Commissioner of Department of Public Safety, Connecticut State Police

There has been a long rumored relationship between Governor John G. Rowland and top brass in the Connecticut State Police.

As extensive as the alleged corruption goes, there has to be, in my opinion, others in top positions that knew about secret deals and other illegal activities perpetrated out of top leadership positions in Connecticut.

Does the scandal involve law enforcement leadership and members of the Connecticut Judiciary?
-Steven G. Erickson

A Boost From The Top Rowland's Votes Aided Friends' Ventures

January 18, 2004, By DAVE ALTIMARI, JACK DOLAN, And JON LENDER Hartford Courant Staff Writers (ctnow.com)

Excerpt: ��federal investigation into bid rigging in the award of more than $100 million in state contracts.�


(click link below for more)


As chairman of the State Bond Commission, Gov. John G. Rowland has at least twice directly overseen the award of economic development aid affecting business ventures involving people with whom he had personal or financial relationships.

In a 1998 commission meeting at which Rowland presided and voted, the panel granted a $3.175 million loan to a subsidiary of The Tomasso Group, which is now involved in a federal investigation into bid rigging in the award of more than $100 million in state contracts.

Rowland last year paid thousands of dollars to settle an ethics complaint over cut-rate stays at Tomasso family vacation homes, and he has admitted that a member of the family provided free renovations to Rowland's lakefront cottage in Litchfield.

The second vote, in 2000, gave the town of Prospect a $175,000 grant to study the feasibility of building an industrial park on land owned by a partnership called RMK Prospect Associates. That partnership included two men involved in a land deal with Rowland that netted the governor a profit of about $60,000, including more than $2,000 the year the grant was approved. RMK Associates could get $3 million for the land if the industrial park is built.

The bond commission votes further erode Rowland's efforts to distance himself from contracts and other state benefits received by people with whom he had close relationships.

His insistence that his office had nothing to do with the award of contracts was called into question last month by disclosure of documents indicating his former co-chief of staff, Peter N. Ellef, made a practice of signing off on all significant contracts. Ellef is now a subject of the federal bid-rigging probe.

And other documents show that three children of Rowland's partners in the land deal got state jobs or promotions during the years the partnership operated, two of them with the governor's direct sponsorship.

Through all of his apologies for taking inappropriate gifts from subordinates and state contractors, Rowland has steadfastly maintained that he "never - not once - provided any favors" or took any actions in exchange.

But minutes of the State Bond Commission meetings show that he also did not remove himself from the deliberations over state assistance packages that benefited friends. And, as the official who ultimately decides which proposals the bond commission will consider, he took an active role in their approval.

"Knowing what we know now, as a fellow public official, I would have strongly advised the governor that he should have recused himself from these proceedings," said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is also a member of the commission.

Blumenthal's agency is one of several now investigating allegations of unethical or illegal behavior by the governor. He said he therefore cannot comment on whether Rowland's actions as chairman of the commission might expose him to greater legal jeopardy than he already faces.

Rowland's legal counsel, Ross Garber, had no comment other than to say, "The bond commission has probably approved thousands and thousands of projects during the governor's tenure."

A New Venture

The Tomasso name has long been associated with construction and property management, but in the 1990s members of the family formed a subsidiary that now produces water treatment equipment.

In January 1998 the company, called Tenergy, got a $200,000 grant from the Department of Economic and Community Development. The agency also awarded a $2.125 million grant to the city of New Britain that was earmarked for the industrial park where Tenergy was to build a plant.

On Jan. 7, 1998 - before the $200,000 grant was awarded to Tenergy - department Commissioner James Abromitis sent Rowland a letter that anticipated approval of the grant. The same day, Abromitis informed other administration officials that the Tenergy grant needed to be "processed immediately" by Ellef.

On Jan. 30, 1998, Rowland presided over the bond commission meeting at which Tenergy was unanimously awarded the $3.175 million loan, to be used to build its plant in New Britain.

While Tenergy was starting up, other Tomasso Group businesses were booming in the late 1990s, winning major state contracts including a juvenile training school in Middletown, a parking garage at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks and a courthouse in Bridgeport.

All three contracts are now under investigation by a federal grand jury. A former Rowland administration official, former deputy chief of staff Lawrence Alibozek, has pleaded guilty to receiving bribes in exchange for rigging unspecified state contracts.

Rowland's relationship with members of the Tomasso family also was blossoming, particularly with William Tomasso, an executive with The Tomasso Group and subsidiary companies.

From 1999 to 2001, Rowland took three trips to Tomasso-owned vacation homes in Florida and Vermont, paying rates that were well below market value. Last year he paid more than $9,000 to settle State Ethics Commission complaints over those and a fourth trip to a different benefactor's home.

And in 1999, William Tomasso dispatched company employees to work on Rowland's cottage on Bantam Lake in Litchfield. He also arranged for other work, including installation of a heating system that was paid for by Ellef and Alibozek. Federal investigators also have questioned several contractors about the work done to Rowland's cottage.

Attorney Thomas J. Murphy, who is representing The Tomasso Group, said in an e-mail to a Courant reporter Saturday that any suggestion of wrongdoing related to Tenergy is "utterly false."

"First, the Bond Commission's approval of DECD's request for redevelopment money for the City of New Britain - to be used for the construction of Tenergy's physical plant - occurred in an open, public process. State officials approved the bond money to bring high-paying manufacturing jobs back to New Britain.

"Second, the chronology shows that this bond money was not approved `in exchange' for anything: The Bond Commission met in January 1998; the minor work that Tomasso employees reportedly performed at the Governor's cottage occurred long after.

"Third, the Tomassos have not profited on Tenergy. Instead, they have poured millions of their own dollars into the company - far more than the state's investment - as part of their commitment to their home town. Tenergy is doing good things for its community; it has no part in this investigation. To suggest otherwise is a grave disservice."

Partners Prosper

In the late 1990s, Rowland was involved in a lucrative investment partnership called First Development LLC that included Anthony R. Cocchiola, the owner of Cocchiola Paving of Watertown; Michael H. Cicchetti, a Waterbury lawyer whose specialties include real estate development; and Robert Capanna, a now-deceased businessman and landowner in the Prospect area, where the partnership operated.

Rowland put up about $7,200 in seed money, according to a statement his office released last month, compared with about $10,000 each from Cocchiola and Cicchetti and about $11,000 from Capanna. The partners shared the profits from their 24-lot subdivision equally, each receiving about $60,000 before the partnership, formed in 1996, was dissolved in 2001.

It is not clear what Rowland contributed to the partnership in terms of time or expertise, but the other three were experienced in real estate development. Even as they did business with Rowland, the three were putting together another deal: assembling 177 acres in Prospect for a possible industrial park. The partners, doing business as RMK Prospect Associates LLC, paid $1.4 million for the property, town records show.

Cicchetti approached the town in 1998 about buying the land for an industrial park. The town needed to do a feasibility study before a deal could be made.

Cicchetti met with state Department of Economic Development officials to pitch the project in May 1999. Department officials eventually decided to give the town a $175,000 grant, which the town matched.

The bond commission, with Rowland serving as chairman, approved the grant unanimously on May 26, 2000.

Prospect officials are now preparing for a referendum to see if residents will approve building the park. Mayor Robert Chatfield said the town has an option to purchase the property from RMK for about $3 million, more than twice what RMK paid.

Chatfield expects the state will pay half of those costs.

Rowland's relationship with Cicchetti and Cocchiola went beyond First Development. Cicchetti represented Rowland in various matters, including the purchase and renovation of his Bantam Lake cottage in 1997. And Cocchiola did $2,000 worth of site work at the cottage in 1997; he, like other contractors at the cottage, didn't get paid for years.

And an internal patronage list, apparently generated by the governor's office, lists Rowland as the sponsor for Cicchetti's son and daughter, Michael J. Cicchetti and Kara Cicchetti, who both had state jobs while their father was in business with the governor and who both wound up in higher-paying positions.

Although she is not on the patronage list, state records show Melissa Cocchiola, Anthony's daughter, also got a state job in 1998 and now earns more than $48,000. Anthony Cocchiola's paving company has done more than $900,000 in work for the state since First Development was formed.

Rowland's office has said he did not influence any contract awards to Cocchiola. Cocchiola and Cicchetti could not be reached for comment.

May 15, 2004 update to this piece

Past posts:

Mark Gaines Police Abuse Website

A past FreeSpeech.com post, "A Village: What It Takes"

Perceptions of Race and My Journey, by Clifford W. Thornton, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the man and the holiday

Satan012304.jpg

Big Brother in Connecticut

Posted by Vikingas at January 18, 2004 10:12 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Women and those of color have not fared well in the Spada Regime.It is time to remove the sexist, racist head of the Connecticut State Police.

Posted by: concerned citizen at January 18, 2004 11:28 AM

Is he going to be brought up on charges as well?

Posted by: Del Simmons at January 18, 2004 09:36 PM

The rank and file are starting to distance themselves from Spada, and past accusations and stalled investigations are now coming back into play.

Posted by: at January 18, 2004 09:44 PM

Dry Hole a story on governmental misconduct and cover-ups.

Don Christmas' continuing saga of being harassed by Enfield, CT, PD

Posted by: at January 19, 2004 01:12 PM

Fuck you, I'll drive around next time I travel South.

Posted by: Note to Connecticut at January 19, 2004 04:50 PM

Editorial found on ctnow.com:

Arthur Spada, Another FOJ
February 19, 2004


Arthur Spada should resign his position as the state's public safety commissioner. It has become clear that his performance in office has not met the high standards expected of his position.

Mr. Spada looks foolish in defending excessive overtime costs rung up by his personal, taxpayer-supported driver, state police Sgt. Richard Alexandre. The commissioner looks incompetent in claiming that he was unaware that Homeland Security Director Vincent DeRosa, who reports to him, has for years violated department policy by having an interest in a used-car dealership.

And Mr. Spada looked weak in admitting to lawmakers last week that he was muscled by Gov. John G. Rowland to hire Mr. DeRosa as homeland security czar in the first place, even though Mr. DeRosa had no special qualifications for the job. Mr. DeRosa had been the governor's pal and driver.

The commissioner showed no respect for taxpayer money when he basically allowed Mr. DeRosa, who will collect a $70,000-a-year pension, to set the terms of his departure. The homeland security chief will leave on his own on March 1. Mr. Spada should have bounced him the second he found out about Mr. DeRosa's violation of state police policy. Moreover, why should Mr. DeRosa get any pension credit for the years during which he broke his employer's code of conduct?

And it goes without saying that Mr. Spada should have been alert enough to discover Mr. DeRosa's used-car moonlighting far earlier than he did.

Mr. Spada has prided himself on being a hands-on commissioner. Instead, he has been just the opposite. Further, it's clear that he developed an unbecoming appetite for costly perks. Over the past two years, his driver, Mr. Alexandre, made $21,000 in overtime, driving Mr. Spada to personal appointments as well as work-related functions in the commissioner's official black Crown Victoria.

Mr. Alexandre is among many state troopers whose earnings top $100,000 per year when overtime pay for working extra shifts and controlling traffic at highway construction jobs is added to their regular salary. The state police overtime situation is out of control.

State law permits public safety commissioners to have a driver. Mr. Spada says he has routinely cleared his use of a driver with his legal staff. He must have an excessively lenient staff. How else could it justify some of the overtime?

Here are examples from overtime records and Mr. Spada's calendar obtained by The Courant through a Freedom of Information Act request:

Mr. Alexandre drove the commissioner from Hartford to Bloomfield at 6:30 a.m. to appear on WDRC's Brad Davis radio show 11 times in 2002 and nine times in 2003, and was compensated for two hours of overtime for each trip. Mr. Spada said he needed the security because a public official was assaulted near the radio station several years ago. Couldn't the commissioner have called the Brad Davis show from home?

Mr. Spada and his driver were both invited to a wedding of a child of a state trooper in December 2002. Mr. Alexandre drove, and logged 16 hours of overtime for the event.

In addition, Mr. Alexandre drove the commissioner to at least one gubernatorial debate, another wedding, a couple of celebrity roasts, a UConn football game and several private dinners, racking up Spada-generated overtime.

Predictably, Mr. Rowland's office has come to his defense. "Commissioner Spada is meticulous about how he uses his state vehicle and how he uses his assistant," says gubernatorial chief of staff Dean Pagani.

Meticulous? Far from it. The commissioner, a former Superior Court judge, should know better about the appearance of excess and the requirements of ethics codes. Instead, he seems to share that sense of entitlement that has gotten Mr. Rowland and his friends and political cronies in trouble and has cast a pall over state government.

Mr. Spada has damaged his credibility beyond repair and should have the good sense to bid his chauffeur and job farewell.

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at February 21, 2004 01:15 PM

Countless Erickson emails, letters, phone calls may or may not have resulted in O'Reily of the Fox Network exposing Governor Rowland of Connecticut corruption. The attacks on the web predate most other organized efforts.

Spada also had been a regular target of the Erickson rant.

If either end up in Federal Prison unable to see their wives and families again while serving time, maybe they will ponder on how much Erickson had to do with it.

Posted by: at February 25, 2004 11:59 PM

Democrats aren't doing enough. We should stand up and not be afraid.

Posted by: at April 7, 2004 06:48 PM

I think that Governor Rowland has done alot for this state , and he is not going to throw it all away just because of this bullshit. People need to let it go and stop kicking him while he is down we need to come together and support those who lead us , for the sake of CT.

Posted by: Julianne at May 16, 2004 01:20 AM

Julianne,
should Governor Rowland get away with breaking laws and violating taxpayer trust just because he is politically powerful and the current governor?

I disagree with you. Those that break the law should be punished regardless of how much money they have, their political clout, and who they know.

If Rowland was willing to take 'freebies' which I consider bribes and then lie about it, what else is he capable of?

It seems the Connecticut State Police were getting whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. What kind of unholy alliance exists there?

Are they too, covering up for Rowland, or pulling Rowland's puppet strings as Rowland is so corrupt he would do anything to keep from getting exposed and helping his backroom cronies?

Posted by: Steven G. Erickson at May 16, 2004 06:28 AM


1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

May 15, 2004
What if Big Brother is an anal asshole?

The Patriot Act is hard to understand for most Americans.

The name alone should signify it is something good.

It is not, much smaller pieces of legislation should have been voted on, line item.

The Patriot Act, Jr., the Matrix System is now under fire for good reason. You all should pay attention, as if we are, supposedly, the best country in the world, with the best form of government, we should be what we preach.
-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)

Matrix database is causing concern
By Paul Hughes, Record-Journal staff, click link below for more.

...

HARTFORD � When a company gets a name wrong and a delivery goes to the wrong address, civil rights advocates say the mix-up is annoying.

When an interstate computer database spits out incorrect names and addresses to law enforcement agencies, civil libertarians say police officers might knock down the wrong door, or worse.

Civil rights groups in Connecticut are objecting to the state's participation in a multistate intelligence database, known as the Matrix project.

Its defenders say Matrix, short for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, represents the future of law enforcement.

The Matrix databases allow states to combine law enforcement data with information from other public records, including property holdings, professional licenses, Internet domain registrations and business filings.

Its advocates say Matrix offers the capability to immediately search and cross-reference information, saving law enforcement investigations precious time when searching for criminal suspects, missing children or important witnesses.

In Connecticut, law enforcement agencies trying to track down motor vehicles with only partial information often wait days for a computer search of the state Department of Motor Vehicle's records, Public Safety Commissioner Arthur L. Spada advised state lawmakers last week.

A Matrix query can take just seconds to return results, according to Spada.
Civil rights groups and representatives of law enforcement are now battling in the General Assembly over Connecticut's continued participation in the Matrix project.

The two camps differed over concerns about privacy, abuse, accuracy, effectiveness and commercial exploitation in public hearings that the Judiciary and Public Safety committees have conducted.

Daniel Klau, a Hartford lawyer who teaches privacy law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, worries about the threat that large computer databases pose to individual privacy.

Klau, an advisor to the Connecticut Civil Liberties Unions, said the amount of personal information contained in the Matrix databases is "staggering."

The American Civil Liberties Union sees the Matrix project as a step toward the creation of dossiers on every American citizen.

The CCLU obtained a state police memo from December in which Spada touted the Matrix system's ability to "disgorge a subject's every financial, economic, employment, residence and spending profile."

Spada told the Judiciary Committee last week that the Matrix does not track reading lists, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, mortgage and car payments, credit card information, utility bills, bank account numbers and balances, travel records, telephone calls and costs for home additions.

He argued that skepticism of the Matrix project is based on incorrect information and poor speculation.

"I don't think what we are asking for is anything but a level of accountability," said Teresa Younger, executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.

A bill now before the Judiciary Committee would force Connecticut to withdraw from Matrix. The committee has until 5 p.m. Monday to act on the legislation. If not, the bill dies in committee.

Rep. Robert J. Peters, R-Berlin, a retired police sergeant on the Judiciary and Public Safety committees, said pulling Connecticut out of the Matrix project would be a mistake.

Peters is prepared to vote against the Matrix bill. However, Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, the House chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the legislation will not come to a vote Monday. Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, the committee's Senate chairman, said he could not see the Matrix bill winning approval without major changes. McDonald was pessimistic about the chances of compromise between supporters.

Originally, 16 states, representing half the U.S. population, agreed to participate in the Matrix project. Only five states remain involved � Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and one of them may now pull out.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Michigan is now considering dropping out of Matrix. New York and Wisconsin announced two weeks ago that they were withdrawing. Other states that dropped out include Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.

The states that have withdrawn cited concerns about privacy, costs and even dwindling participation in the project.

Lawlor predicted that Matrix will collapse because so many states are pulling out of the federally funded project. Civil rights advocates want Connecticut to withdraw rather than wait for the project to founder.

Lawlor said he supports the concept of an interstate database of law enforcement and public records. However, he said the Matrix project was set up all wrong.

Matrix began in 2002 in Florida, whose Department of Law Enforcement received a $12 million federal grant for a pilot program. The federal government required Florida to make the software available to states for purchase. The grant set a price ceiling of $25,000.

The Florida-based company Seisint Inc. maintains the Matrix project's databases on a super computer it owns and operates. One of its subsidiaries called Accurint Inc. supplies public data to supplement the law enforcement files that states provide to Matrix. Accurint advertises that it offers tens of billions of data records of individuals and businesses in the United States for sale.

One of the chief objections from critics of Matrix is that state legislatures did not have to approve participation in the project. State, county and local law enforcement agencies could enroll themselves, as the Connecticut Department of Public Safety did.

"The decision for the state to participate in this controversial program had no boundaries, no reporting mandates," said Younger, the executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.

The CCLU learned of the Department of Public Safety's participation last October; the department did not publicly announce it.

The civil rights group is now appealing to the state Freedom of Information Commission to discover more about the law enforcement agency's participation in Matrix.

The Department of Public Safety reported last month that state investigators have made approximately 1,000 requests to the database since it went online in November.

Younger said CCLU is trying to ascertain what information was sought, what data was obtained and how law enforcement used the records.

The Matrix bill that CCLU supports would require the legislature approve the state's participation in interstate law enforcement intelligence organizations.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Southington, the Senate vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he supports the idea of legislative approval.

However, Murphy is not inclined to withdraw Connecticut from the Matrix project.
The Judiciary Committee heard conflicting testimony on the Matrix bill from civil rights advocates and law enforcement during a public hearing last Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union described the Matrix as "one of the most dangerous technological developments of the 21st century."

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association argued the Judiciary Committee bill goes too far. "Whatever fears raised by the discussion of Matrix, this bill is an overreaction and should not pass," the police chiefs' group said.

The legislation in the Judiciary Committee would force Connecticut's withdrawal from the Matrix project because the conditions it sets for participation in interstate intelligence organizations.

The bill set the following prerequisites for legislative approval:

� The organization does not buy or maintain data acquired from a commercial database.

� The organization does not engage in so-called data mining, the use of automated computer programs to scan records searching for patterns indicating possible wrongdoing.

� The organization does not maintain records describing how individuals exercise First Amendment rights.

� The organization permits public access to its files in accordance with state freedom of information laws.

� The files that an organization maintains are relevant to a criminal investigation or legitimate law enforcement activity.

� A citizen oversight board with authority to review intelligence files governs the organization, and none of its members are current or former law enforcement officials.

� The organization regularly reviews files to ensure the accuracy and legality of the information, destroys outdated or inaccurate information and establishes privacy protections and penalties for misusing files.

The legislation requires local and state law enforcement agencies immediately withdraw from any organization that does not comply with these requirements. A person who knowingly violates the restrictions can be jailed for one year or fined as much as $1,000.

The bill mandates law enforcement agencies involved in interstate intelligence organizations annually report to the General Assembly the number of times it accessed files from an organizations, the types of file it accessed and the uses made of those files.

The legislation would not prohibit the exchange of information through regular law enforcement channels between authorities in this state and a law enforcement agency in another state, the District of Columbia or the federal government.

Younger, the CCLU executive director, said the proposed legislative oversight and safeguards are essential.
Civil libertarians and privacy advocates believe the ability for the public to access the Matrix or similar databases and correct erroneous information is an indispensable protection.

Klau, the CCLU advisor and adjunct law professor at UConn, said it is akin to the right consumers have to check their credit histories and require credit agencies to correct mistakes.

Lawlor said he believes it is possible to set up an interstate data-sharing program along the lines of the Matrix project that both civil rights advocates and law enforcement can live with, if not support.

Regardless of the fate of the Matrix project, Younger said Connecticut needs to set clear-cut restrictions and protections in state law now.

"We are going to see these systems popping up left and right," she said.

phughes@record-journal.com
(860) 241-9069

piece found here]

* * * *

Is Arthur L. Spada the kingpin of a crime syndicate, The Connecticut State Police?

A letter to me from a high ranking Connecticut State Police Officer defending the Matrix, when I wrote legislators, not police, about potential abuse of the Matrix System.

* * * *

Mr. Arthur L. Spada, yes judges can be complete assholes and then go to prison.

Ex-judge sentenced to prison in scam
TALLAHASSEE -- A former judge was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison for bilking two elderly women out of their inheritances.

Hal McClamma, 66, who spent 25 years on the Leon County bench, will also have to pay $340,000 in restitution to the surviving woman, the estate of the other woman, a nursing home and other creditors. He pleaded guilty in federal court to seven counts of fraud in January and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle. He must report to prison Oct. 30.

McClamma faces charges in state court. Piece found here.


Posted by Vikingas at May 15, 2004 10:15 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Not what if ?? Actually there is a deep anal probe up Big Brother's ass....same as Cartman had
Posted by: Don-Flogg at May 17, 2004 07:15 PM

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:34:00 PM  

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