Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Rate a Judge
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Ground Zero for Wrecking America's Youth and the Economy:
DCF workers are like KGB. They put people under electronic and other surveillance and can abuse citizens and their families, enter property with police without warrants, and are encouraged to tamper with witnesses, suppress evidence, commit perjury, falsify documents, manufacture evidence, and to take as many kids away as is possible to defraud all Federal Taxpayers in all states of their hard earned, paid in, Federal Tax Dollars.
Retaliation against Whistleblowers and abuse of minorities and poorer residents can go on covertly without official criminals fearing arrests and prosecution. This official immorality has gone on far too long. Unchecked it will bring down America if it already has not done so.
It has been reported that $90k per kid and $150k or more is taken in by the State of Connecticut in Federal Tax Dollars to bolster a corrupt state run like an Organized Crime Syndicate.
There are probably more than 10 times more kids taken away than there should be. Children are devastated for life, might commit suicide, end up as dangerous inmates after committing horrific crimes, never be productive, and/or just be another taxpayer drain.
There are probably 10 times more inmates in prisons than there needs to be.
Those that are deemed "White Trash" and are minorities are kept out of most housing, "the good neighborhoods", and out of most jobs due to racism and the Separate and Unequal Policies of Connecticut, that are also infecting the rest of the nation.
Jim Crow is alive and well, just now a modern, "Dirty Little Secret".
This Official Child, Family, and Citizen Abuse has to stop.
What kind of economy or quality of life will we have as a nation if there are just "The Rich" and "The Locked Up"?
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Riverview Still Lacks Order
December 20, 2006
By JOSH KOVNER, Hartford Courant Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN -- Staff members in the Passaic Unit at Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth have a nickname for their ward. They call it Animal House.
On Sunday, the unit, part of the state's only public psychiatric hospital for children, earned its name. Staff members hit the "blue light" - the panic button - as all of the seven deeply troubled teenaged boys in the unit started fighting. Workers from other parts of the 78-bed hospital rushed to respond to the call for "all available."
"One kid said something bad about another," said a veteran staff member. "That's all it takes. The unit was on lockdown after that."
It was one of three flare-ups in the unit between Saturday and Monday, the worker said. He said incidents such as these, and a disturbance at the Lakota Unit in January in which five boys were charged with trying to start a riot, feed into an undercurrent of unease and, at times, near chaos at a hospital that deals with Connecticut's most troubled and vulnerable children.
A new report by the state Department of Children and Families, which runs Riverview, has confirmed a host of fundamental problems and systemic breakdowns at the hospital, where the annual cost of caring for one child exceeds $500,000.
"The hospital remains challenged in effectively meeting the needs of the children it serves," the report says.
As for workers such as those in the Passaic Unit, the report says "the degree of both primary and secondary trauma experienced by staff at all levels appears to be high, and appears to have contributed to varying degrees of desensitization and helplessness."
Joyce Welch, interim superintendent at Riverview, acknowledged Tuesday that there is "a lot of pressure and stress on staff. We need to pay closer attention to staff injuries, and if staff are dealing with particularly hard or difficult cases, then the hospital has to make sure it's lending the proper support."
Welch and DCF's Fernando Muniz said Tuesday that they have been moving for months to implement top-to-bottom reforms, and pledged to have major improvements in place within a year. The officials pointed to statistics - 87 total injuries, assaults, restraints and seclusions for November compared with 149 in June - that they say show the beginnings of a turnaround.
But state Child Advocate Jeanne Milstein, whose office participated in the review, said Tuesday that the findings have an all too familiar ring.
She said concerns about "chaos" and "a disconnect" between treatment units and the administration at the hospital were brought to DCF's attention nearly four years ago.
"The problems at Riverview Hospital should have been obvious and alarming to DCF from the outset," she said in response to the report. She offered more than 20 recommendations to improve oversight, accountability and treatment, and she strongly urged DCF Commissioner Darlene Dunbar to appoint an independent monitor to watch over the reform efforts. DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said Dunbar is considering a monitor.
"My concern," said state Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., "is whether the hospital has the resources to treat children who are referred there from the juvenile justice system. If you overwhelm an institution with cases that are beyond its reach, you're going to have serious problems."
He said DCF would be well served to improve mental health services at the high-security Connecticut Juvenile Training School. The agency, however, has been concentrating on moving children out of the controversial CJTS.
Welch said the hospital isn't in the business of distinguishing between the children who come to the hospital from court or detention centers, and those who don't. She said that with improvements, the hospital should be able to treat them all.
She did acknowledge that problems with communication, treatment approaches and staff support are lengthening the stays of children at the hospital, when DCF's goal is to get them into settings that are less restrictive as soon as possible.
Muniz, executive assistant to Dunbar, said he expects that the planned reforms will ease labor-management tensions at the hospital.
Contact Josh Kovner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To FN Lazy to Protect and Serve?
Connecticut Police are under fire now for being too drunk and high to return police cruisers to the next shift, male police officers drinking in bars with female DCF workers handing out baggies of marijuana, white male officers abusing everyone else, White Police Officers executing Blacks and then the prosecutor purposely botches the case so the racist officer skates, for officers beating and raping citizens, thefts, hanging out with prostitutes, drug dealers, and criminals to manufacture evidence, suppress evidence, tamper with evidence, rig juries, conspire with a corrupt judiciary, etc, etc, etc.
I bought a home in Stafford Springs Connecticut in Oct. of 1994 with my then wife at a HUD auction for $39,000. The four bedroom, one bathroom house had frozen pipes, no heat, needed a roof, electrical work, and so much more. I completely went through the house at 3 Brown Ave. Ext. Brown Ave Ext. was listed as "Cat Alley" on the deed which was down the street from the Connecticut State Police, Troop C, horse barn, Town Hall, a Church, and the restaurants and bars downtown. Stafford Springs is an old mill town and is probably the site of the first Northern Bed and Breakfasts and America's first resort town.
"Cat Alley" was named such, not because there were cats in the alley, but because there were cats of the human variety plying their wares.
I had gone the Connecticut HUD auction because the bank was a day late on getting me the approval for the Massachusetts HUD auction. The Connecticut one was just after.
I then learned about the teen alcoholism, drug, vandalism, and crime problem in downtown Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
Police officers, town and state, told me I was dumb for having bought property in a crime area and said they did not have time for youth crimes or to help out.
I helped start a Crime Watch with other residents and we met weekly. I often was a speaker. I asked Stafford Police Officer Prochaska to take a walk with me on any Friday or Saturday night as I wanted to point out where the teen drug dealers, underage drinkers, vandals, and the underage girls that were on crack cocaine hung out to find "customers" to help them with their addiction.
Prochaska threatened me with arrest if I persisted on wanting police to deal with youth crime, wanted him to walk a beat with me, or to deal with the downtown drug and crime problem.
My wife later fell down the stairs with the Flu while I was sleeping. I dialed 911. Stafford Police Officer Prochaska was there to push and assault me, telling my wife, "He pushed you down the stairs, didn't he?", "You're resisting", as he was slamming me against my house. He could not get my wife to falsely accuse me of anything. And, I called to the ambulance people, telling them that I was doing nothing wrong, why is this officer shoving me around?
I then, after owning the house a number of months took a four country tour of Europe and the former USSR for over a month, going everywhere, walking, taking trains, planes, buses, and having the time of our lives. And, there was not one time we were even concerned about being attacked or robbed.
I came home to Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and soon after happened upon a powdered cocaine dealer, Peter Panciera. He outweighs me by about 80 lbs and in probably 5 or 6 inches taller than me. Panciera accused me of being an undercover cop in front of his drug customers and told me to leave or else, and then when I refused he beat me and bit into my ear after picking me up with my feet dangling and took a bite into my ear.
I dialed 911 with blood dripping down my neck, down my chest, all the way down soaking my underwear.
The drug customers told Peter to leave the scene, because he was "holding" and when the police came the customers did not know who the guy was that attacked me.
I wanted to know if my attacker had HIV, Hep, or some disease as he bit me.
The police wanted to drop the matter. I wanted them to do their jobs, so with 3 cruisers we toured all the bars in town to find Peter Panciera in the Finish Line Cafe.
I called the Lt. Trapp of the Stafford Police Department because I did not want to have to deal with Prochaska a.k.a. "Fat Frank" of what the Connecticut State Police and town residents called, "The Town Clowns".
About 6 weeks later I was arrested in front of my wife. We had been at home just watching television. I found out that police had re-interviewed the drug customers and they "suddenly" remembered their long last friend and that I had attacked him and he was in fear of me. What!!!???
My attacker was not arrested and I was told to plead guilty and go to prison for a year and a half for breach of peace and assault 3rd or face a trial which would have been at taxpayer expense. I told the prosecutor that I would not hire a lawyer, but would just play the 911 tape and have my attacker stand next to me at the trial and then ask the jury directly, "If you were me, would you be out attacking this man?" After going to the court 7 or more times and asked why not plead guilty and then not lose my job. I was a contractor and could make my schedule flexible so that Connecticut weasel court tactic did not work on me.
My wife and I decided the main reason for our getting divorced was our moving to Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and my wanting to stay and buy rental properties that were boarded up to fix them up and rent them out.
After we divorced, I spent 100's of thousands of dollars and years fixing up the properties I bought in Stafford Springs and Somersville Connecticut.
I got fed up and wrote President George W. Bush on 9-15-01 saying I was under siege and needed police protection and service and that small business and downtown property owners needed judicial fairness and protection and service to survive.
I got answers back from HUD, the SBA, and the White House that indicated Bush had actually read my letter. I was attacked on my property 10-11-01, and PLEASE NOTICE THE TWO DATES POSTED IN THIS STORY.
A mugger, a violent felon, attacked me from behind on my property at night from behind. He demanded money and said he would kill me if I did not. Brian Caldwell was never arrested for attacking me, nor for trying to attacking me or trying to attack me at least 6 more times. I called State Senator after each incident, and after police refused to protect and serve, nor to do and honest investigation of the incidents on my property that caused only me to be arrested.
I could never get police to come, of if they did, hours would have gone by. They were right there to arrest me after I was jumped, beaten, nearly robbed, and ended the attack with pepper spray.
Brian Caldwell admitted demanding money from me while threatening to kill me stated this under oath at my trial for assault 3rd and breach of peace. I had tried to have Judge Jonathan Kaplan removed from the bench and the prosecutor that was to prosecute me BEFORE I was attacked on my property. A criminal was given immunity to prosecute me for "overreacting" to being beaten and nearly robbed on my own property for having used pepper spray. Self-defense is not legal in Connecticut.
A video tape of how to find me guilty was played to the jury. The tape did not contain information about reasonable doubt or how to find me innocent.
My lawyer, Michael H. Agranoff, told me that Judge Jonathan Kaplan told him he was not allowed to dispute Connecticut State Troopers, Amaral and Langlois statements and perjury, the prosecutor, and that he was not allowed to defend me.
Agranoff refused to strike a juror at my request that was a worker for the police, possibly soon to be a police officer. This man became jury foreman.
I had no chance.
For having used pepper spray on my property, I was sentenced to a year in prison, 3 years probation, losing contact with my daughter, my pets, my retirement, my home, my credit, health insurance, my ability to get most housing and jobs, and the sum total of my life's work, AND FOR WHAT!!!???
-Steven G. Erickson a.k.a. Blogger Vikingas
Click Here for more information on my case and about move victims of Connecticut Police, Prosecutorial, Official, and Judicial Abuse
The Stafford Springs and Somersville Connecticut properties that I fixed up:
The work I do now to keep warm and fed:
Kristine Blake, formerly of the Connecticut Department of Retardation made a complaint and found herself falsely accused. Had she not been out of the country with a stamped passport, the false allegations that Manchester Connecticut Police knowingly took from other DMR workers encouraged to help retaliate against whistleblower Kristine Blake, she could have easily just gone to prison. Her story on the news:
A teenager allegedly gets beaten up by Colchester Connecticut Officers, Nardella and Thomas of wearing baggy pants. Phil Inkel sees this and lodges a police misconduct complaint. Phil Inkel gets beaten up at the Colchester McDonald's and US Marine Stephen Murzin returning home from service to his parents' sees Inkel being beaten up by Officers Thomas and Nardella. Stephen Murzin, son of now former Hartford Connecticut Narcotics Detective, Richard Murzin, and his brother Ian were pulled out of their parents' house in the middle of the night to be beaten by Colchester Connecticut Police Officers, Thomas and Nardella, and a Connecticut State Police Officer at Troop K HQ. Nardella and Thomas gave police informant Todd Vachon $10,000 to whack Stephen Murzin and/or Phil Inkel and got scared and told authorities. Stephen Murzin was later stabbed 13 times by a Felon on probation, also an alleged police informant. The Felon stabbed two other people, and later was caught, and for attempted murder later dropped to simple assault, received no jail time for almost killing 3 people while on probation. On Connecticut News, Stephen, Ian, and Richard Murzin:
The Difference between being Rich, White, and Connected AND the NOT is:
If you are Black like Ernie Newton, or anyone average and not Connecticut, there is a separate and unequal BBQ Justice System for you.
Click Here for a story on the Connecticut Department of Domestic Spying
It is not ok to take bribes or break the law, but why should White and Connected, former Governor Rowland do 100 more times damage to the public trust, take much more, more often than Ernie Newton, and Rowland gets a year, and Newton faces some real hardship.
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* * * *
Judge: Expect No Leniency
Lawyers Seeking A Reduced Prison Sentence For Ex-State Sen. Newton
December 20, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, Hartford Courant
BRIDGEPORT -- When he was sentenced in February, former state Sen. Ernest Newton got five years in prison for taking a bribe, not paying his taxes and pilfering more than $40,000 in campaign contributions for personal use.
And while an appeals court has ordered the trial judge to explain his reasoning in meting out five years, that trial judge on Tuesday indicated he will show no leniency for the disgraced Bridgeport legislator.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Alan H. Nevas said from the bench that "the grounds for the sentence that was imposed were adequate" and that he has every intention "to impose the same sentence."
At issue with Newton's lawyers is which federal sentencing guidelines for Newton's convictions Nevas used: 2003 guidelines with an upper range of three years and five months, or 2005 guidelines with an upper range of seven years and three months.
Guidelines aside, the maximum penalty under the law on Newton's convictions is 35 years in prison.
Nevas will review legal briefs from both sides and hold a hearing March 6, during which Newton can address the judge. After that, Nevas will make his official ruling - one that he telegraphed on Tuesday.
Newton was not at the proceeding, but will be brought from the prison camp at Fort Dix, N.J., for the March hearing. He is serving time in the same prison as former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, but one of Newton's attorneys declined comment on whether the two former politicians speak to each other.
Newton's once-promising political career came crashing down last year when he pleaded guilty to three felony counts for accepting a $5,000 bribe, evading taxes and using campaign contributions to pay for car repairs, cellphone calls and other personal bills. Less than one week before his guilty plea in September 2005, Newton resigned his Senate seat in a fiery speech, calling himself "the Moses of my people" and saying he would still win in a landslide if he ran for office again.
Known for wearing purple suits in the Navy blue, buttoned-down state Senate, Newton gained a reputation as a champion of the poor and as a longtime proponent of the so-called millionaires' tax on the state's richest residents.
Before his sentencing, Newton had told friends that he expected to receive less prison time than former Gov. John G. Rowland, who was released early after being sentenced to one year and one day.
The difference, prosecutors said, is that Newton pleaded guilty to three felonies and Rowland one - and that an FBI wiretap got Newton discussing a bribe on tape.
In sentencing Newton earlier this year, Nevas - himself a former state legislator from Westport - excoriated Newton. The 78-year-old judge said his own time in the legislature was among the best years of his life and that it was "inconceivable" that any legislator could place his office up for sale.
On Tuesday, Nevas said five years in prison was appropriate because of "the defendant's repeated and continuous betrayal of the public trust" and because Newton was involved in corruption at the same time as the high-profile Rowland impeachment hearings in June 2004.
The battle over Newton's prison time involves the time frame of the crimes.
Nevas used the 2005 federal sentencing guidelines, which called for a sentence of 70 months to 87 months. But Newton's lawyers said the 2003 guidelines of 33 months to 41 months should be used because the bribery took place in September 2004 - before the 2005 guidelines took effect.
Nevas said he would impose the same sentence, regardless of which guidelines were cited.
One of Newton's attorneys, Joseph Martini of Southport, said the older guidelines would bring a ruling that is more fair to Newton.
"You can't increase the punishment for a crime that has already occurred and apply it retroactively," Martini said.
An admitted ex-drug addict from the inner city, Newton is a man of contradictions who is also a former music teacher and an accomplished pianist of classical and gospel music. He was simultaneously a fighter for the poorest of the poor and a politician who admitted taking bribes.
Always known for a quip, Newton was one of the most colorful legislators and one with a reputation for malapropisms. He once expressed his concern about an issue by saying, "I'm just afraid of opening up a panacea's box."
Friday, December 15, 2006
Connecticut State Police can't be trusted to police themselves
Human laziness and other human nature comes out when there is no oversight.
No Troopers On State Police Reform Group4:59 PM EST, December 15, 2006
By TRACY GORDON FOX, The Hartford Courant
But there is not one state trooper on it, an omission that has angered some members of the department's union, who said they asked for the outside inquiry in the first place.
Rell announced she would form the commission on Dec. 4, the day a scathing 168-page report by the New York State Police and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was released on the state police internal affairs unit. The report outlined misconduct and improper influence in cases against troopers that involved domestic violence, sexual assaults, drunk driving and larceny.
Former Republican state Rep. Robert Farr, of West Hartford, who unsuccessfully challenged Blumenthal will chair the commission, and Public Safety Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle will act as an ex-officio member. Boyle was a former federal prosecutor and East Hartford police officer.
Besides Farr and Boyle, the commission will include state Rep. Stephen Dargan, D-West Haven, Co-Chairman of the General Assembly's Public Safety Committee, Superior Court Judge Maureen Keegan of Cheshire, Glastonbury Town Council Chairwoman Susan Karp, who will serve as a member of the public, State's Attorney Walter Flanagan of Danbury, Milford Police Chief Thomas Flaherty, who is also chairman of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council of Connecticut, and former U.S. Marshal John O'Connor of West Haven.
Union President Steven Rief called it "a slap in the face," that not one of the 1155 union members was named to the commission.
"I'm extremely disappointed the union does not have a position on this commission," Rief said. "The only reason we even had the New York State Police and the attorney general's investigation is because this union came forward to the commissioner.
"It's an injustice that defies logic," Rief said.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Election Fraud and Obstruction of Justice out of a Connecticut Governor's Office?:
Report: Top Rell Aide `Misled' CommitteeDecember 14, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING And JON LENDER, Hartford Courant Staff Writers
The report, obtained Wednesday by The Courant, also says that state elections enforcement chief Jeffrey Garfield should face "some form of reprimand or censure" because he deleted important information from an investigative report and released the unedited version only after hearings were completed last spring.
Garfield "exhibited poor judgment and allowed personal relationships to impact his investigation and reporting" of the investigation into Moody's involvement in a Rell fundraiser in December 2005 at the Marco Polo restaurant in East Hartford, the report says.
Neither Moody nor Garfield would comment Wednesday night.
The report, written by Democratic staff members and leaders of the government administration and elections committee, will be considered at a Democratic caucus at 1 p.m. today at the state Capitol complex in Hartford. The document contains 16 recommendations for legislation in an effort to prevent future instances of impropriety and coziness that Democrats said was present in the case.
Moody was suspended by Rell for two weeks after admitting that she handed out invitations to commissioners on state time. Her actions led to seven days of often-contentious legislative hearings in May. Sixteen of Rell's commissioners or deputies were fined $500 each to settle a case under a state law that prohibits those officials from soliciting campaign contributions from their subordinates.
The 14-page report quotes Moody as telling at least one senior staff member, "I am not twisting your arm, but I am," regarding the fundraiser.
The report also states that Moody told one deputy commissioner that "this meeting isn't happening" and another that "it's after 5" - meaning that the workday was officially over for state employees.
Republicans on the committee have complained bitterly that the Democrats were conducting a witch hunt against Moody and had failed to investigate other Democrats for similar campaign-finance violations. The Democrats said they had an obligation to investigate serious allegations regarding the governor's office. The Democrat-written report is strongly worded against Moody.
"Based on the entire record before this committee, we conclude that Ms. Moody's sworn testimony before the GAE Committee was not credible," the report states. "We conclude that Ms. Moody consciously and repeatedly distributed fundraising invitations to gubernatorial staff members and to state commissioners and deputy commissioners with full knowledge that her actions violated the governor's own ethics policy and would result in illegal campaign practices."
Republican committee member Rep. Robert Farr harshly criticized the draft.
"I guess the Democrats didn't realize that the election is over," the West Hartford lawmaker said. "Why are they still running their campaign? Why in the world would you be doing this after the election is over? My assumption was there wasn't going to be a report. To have the report come out and attack Lisa Moody six months after she testified is ridiculous."
The Republicans, Farr said, had been kept in the dark on the issue by the committee's Democratic majority.
"How do we get a copy of the report?" Farr asked.
Moody's actions and the committee hearings were highly publicized, but Rell's poll ratings never suffered. She defeated New Haven Mayor John DeStefano in November's election 63 percent to 35 percent.
Although Moody was investigated, she was never prosecuted by Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane, who ruled in September that "there is no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution" on charges of perjury or other lesser offenses. Kane had studied whether Moody perjured herself on May 16, when she testified at a legislative hearing that she did not fully read an ethics memo that it turned out she had edited.
The draft report makes numerous recommendations, including prohibiting the chief of staff of any governor or the legislative caucuses from soliciting campaign finance contributions. The chiefs of staff for the House speaker and the Senate president pro tem, for example, are highly powerful and can help ensure that certain phrases are inserted into legislation that even many lawmakers don't know about during the crush of legislation at the end of the session.
Other recommendations are:
Strengthening the law to prohibit state employees from delivering fundraising materials on state time.
Clarifying the law about unclassified employees, such as Moody, regarding their use of state phones, copiers and computers for political activities.
Creating a new law that would prohibit the State Elections Enforcement Commission's executive director from being involved in the settlement of any cases.
Strengthening the laws regarding contempt of the General Assembly and interference with investigations.
Mandating that the campaign treasurer - not the campaign manager - must serve as the main contact person for a campaign.
Requiring that the campaign manager's name be added to registration forms filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
The draft report is subject to review and change by the Democratic committee caucus today. Sources said the report, which is signed by Rep. Christopher Caruso, the committee co-chairman, and Vice Chairman Sen. Edward Meyer, was the result of the collaboration of several people.
Reached Wednesday, Meyer declined comment. Caruso said he would not comment on the details until he meets with the caucus. Caruso, a Bridgeport Democrat, said that no Republicans had seen the draft and that the Democrats had been asked to keep the report confidential. He was surprised that the draft had been released, asking, "How did you get it?"
The full committee is to hold a public meeting to discuss the report on Dec. 21, when the panel is expected to vote on the recommendations.
The report calls for Garfield's censure or reprimand because his investigation report deleted certain facts that the committee never knew about until after the hearings were closed. That included deleting the chief state's attorney's "interview notes" from two investigators who had spoken to Rell late last year, and deleting all references to DPUC Commissioner Anne George, "who kiddingly referred to Ms. Moody as `John Rowland.'"
The reference to George, an attorney, came up because then-gubernatorial aide Dan Moreland was said to have told investigators that when Moody handed George the fundraiser invitations, George responded, "Are you nuts?" George then told Moody, "OK, John Rowland" - a reference to the former governor who served a federal prison sentence on a corruption-related charge.
Contact Christopher Keating at email@example.com.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Qualified Immunity means officials can do as they please
Rumsfeld faces personal suit by detainees
Former prisoners accuse him of torture techniques in Iraq, Afghanistan
By Joel Seidman
Updated: 9:59 p.m. ET Dec 7, 2006
On Friday, the U.S. District Court in Washington will be the scene of a parting shot at outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Former detainees represented by human rights groups accuse him — along with a top general of the Iraq war, a former commander of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and a commander of U.S. military intelligence and police forces — with “derelictions of duty and command” and promoting the practice of inflicting “physical and psychological injuries” on civilians held by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The case of Ali v. Rumsfeld, to be heard before Chief Judge Thomas Hogan, pits lawyers from two human rights organizations representing nine former detainees at Abu Ghraib and the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, with attorneys representing Rumsfeld, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski and Col. Thomas Pappas.
The case is an attempt to have U.S. officials held accountable for alleged abuse of Iraqi and Afghan civilians who were never held as enemy combatants or charged with any crime.
The former detainees accuse Rumsfeld and others of being personally responsible for approving torture techniques and violating the U.S. Constitution. Rumsfeld argues that they are all immune from liability.
Rumsfeld, to be replaced later this month by Robert Gates, who was confirmed by the Senate this week, argues “that alien military detainees held outside the United States are not generally entitled to constitutional protections.”
Rumsfeld’s lawyers claim qualified immunity
His lawyers contend that under the qualified immunity doctrine, “federal officials are immune from suit” unless they violate a clearly established constitutional right. They say that aliens held in a military detention facility in the field of battle abroad simply do not have established constitutional rights during their alleged detention and abuse.
The former detainees who filed the lawsuit say they were all eventually released from detention and never charged with any crime or wrongdoing.
The detainees — five were held at Abu Ghraib and four at Bagram — accuse Rumsfeld and the others of subjecting them to “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including severe and repeated beatings, cutting with knives, sexual humiliation and assault, confinement in a wooden box, forcible sleep and sensory deprivation, mock executions, death threats, and restraint in contorted and excruciating positions,” according to court documents.