This blog is for those that are victims of official, police, attorney, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct. This forum is also for the furthering of rights of non-custodial parents and their children. We will lobby legislators, propose laws, and inform the public. Feel free to post your story, comment, or email your video in.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Fashion Model out to fight for Men's Rights?
Peggy Briggs Brooks, former fashion model, current film producer
She might be the perfect spokesperson for non-custodial parents abused in courts. Whether or not she does, or doesn't, her winning in her case would be a victory for those likewise abused. Peggy wants to see her two sons and they want to see her. The equation is simple and the general public can understand. Money and power have corrupted our legal system. Those that have more money and power should not do as they please and make the rest of us suffer.
Peggy's sons are in boarding schools, they aren't even with their father most of the time. There might be issues of the father not being able to act appropriately with the regimen of prescription drugs and inappropriate verbal outbursts. The father of the sons may have never had a job and is might just be using his sons as "Blood Cows" just for the cash in their inheritance. If the sons are injured or are so mentally tortured they can't cope, it still would play into the father's plans of just wanting the cash, not the interaction with the sons.
Peggy wants the emotional connection with her kids.
It is not a Man against Woman War, it is not Fatherhood vs. Motherhood, women can be just as diabolical in divorce and custody cases. Non-custodial parents might be about 95% and to call it a man's issue is wrong. It is an issue about children having access to loving, caring parents.
Peggy may have spent plus or minus 1.5 million dollars in the divorce/custody court proceedings. Another couple may have spent 6 million. Lawyers that aren't ethical can drag court cases out until one party or both are bled dry. That serves lawyers, not children, not the public. It is a time to bring ethics and public service back into lawyering and into the courts. Peggy speaks:
" ... maybe we can do stuff we wanted to do the last ten years."
Patriot Act - Hate Crimes Made Legal "Hold until clear policy"
A brief history of the Patriot Act, showing the many deceptions brought in by the Bush Administration, including: requesting total secrecy form public input and swapping at the last moment, the original Bill that Congress agreed to sign, with one manipulated by the Administration. The Administration's version of the Bill contained unconstitutional provisions that had been rejected earlier by Congress.
Regardless, Congress rushed to pass an otherwise, unread Bill which sought to greatly expand all federal law enforcement powers -- far beyond their intended means. Hence, America would later discover that the Patriot Act had little, if anything, to do with fighting the actual "war on terror" and much more to do with bypassing the civil protections, granted under the US Constitution.
1000's of individuals held without even being charged!
Patriot Act - Ethnic Cleansing Begins "Constitution: no person [not citizen] to be denied rights ..."
Remember when Hitler started rounding-up Jews? A similar nightmare took place in America, as the Patriot Act triggered an ethnic cleansing spree of government hate-crimes, amidst the panic of 9/11. US detention camps under operation.
Patriot Act - US Citizen Sentenced Without Evidence
The story of one US Citizen who was wrongfully detained without charges and later sentenced to jail without evidence. It is just one of the many examples of scapegoats produced by the ideological-hatred, indifference and incompetence reflected in both the 'under-the-table' Congressional agendas and the Bush Administration's controversial Patriot Act.
Bush/ Cheney Knee Deep - Senator Levin's Evidence to Impeach
FLASHBACK: Bush and Cheney's Pre-War (Iraq) Intelligence Report cover-up-crimes are brought to light by Senator Carl Levin.
Speech delivered before Congress on 09/08/06.
PNAC/ White House CIA Leak - Story of Joseph Wilson- "... disqualifies Bush as President ..."
Documentary: The story of the intentional White House leak against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and CIA Op, Valerie Plame.
Film: "The World According to Bush" [and his leader, Cheney]
Why Connecticut Should Take A Stand Against Real ID.
What is Real ID?
Congress passed the Real ID Act in May 2005 when congressional leaders inserted the legislation in a “must pass” Iraq War/Tsunami Relief supplemental funding bill.Congress did not hold a single hearing on the bill.The Real ID Act federalizes state driver’s licenses by imposing a broad array of regulations on how they are issued and verified – turning them into, for all practical purposes, America’s first-ever national identity cards.Every American will need this new federal identity document in order to enter federal buildings or fly on commercial airlines. With a growing number of states refusing to comply, airlines will face economic hardship if they are forced to refuse access to an entire state’s residents. States have until May 2008 to comply with the legislation.However, the Department of Homeland Security has yet to issue final rules, so no state knows how to comply. Driver licenses should be used to ensure drivers know the rules of the road and have insurance, not to create a national identification card used to track personal data and expand the serious risks of identity theft.
A Real Nightmare for State Government.
Under the Real ID Act, all 245 million existing driver’s license holders will have to apply in person for new licenses.Connecticut will have to remake its driver license, restructure its computer database, and – perhaps most difficult of all – verify the “issuance, validity and completeness” of every identity document presented at DMV offices, including birth certificates, social security cards, utility bills, immigration documents, and any other document that is part of the application.The law does not provide DMV with a way to compel any document issuer, such as utility companies, to cooperate with that verification.If DMV cannot verify documents, citizens will not get licenses.
Beware: The Real Cost of Real ID.
The National Governors’ Association, National Conference of State Legislators, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators have all found that Real ID would cost at least $11 billion to implement.Because Congress ordered but did not pay for these mandates, fees on individuals applying for driver’s licenses will inevitably rise, perhaps steeply. Maine - a state with a population one-third the size of Connecticut’s - has estimated its Real ID cost to be $185 million over 5 years.
A Real Nightmare for Citizens.
Many people who are citizens will not be able to get a Real ID.Some have lost personal records to fire, floods or other natural disasters (such as Hurricane Katrina).Across the country, government offices containing these records have been destroyed, putting millions atrisk of being unable to track down birth documents from 30, 40, 50 or 60 years ago.Millions of foreign-born U.S. citizens come from countries where no birth records are kept or are impossible to obtain.Some people do not even know where they were born, and some were born at home.Those who are elderly, disabled, poor, homeless or who have mental health issues will be directly affected, since many do not have access or the resources to obtain birth certificates or other approved documents.Without a Real ID, they may not be able to get essential public and private services.
A Real Nightmare for Consumers.
Real ID is a giant, unfunded federal mandate that will create enormous costs for states and consumers.Real ID will mean higher fees, increased taxes, long lines and bureaucratic nightmares for all of us. It will force multiple trips to the DMV office as well as hours on the phone trying to obtain original documents, imposing a substantial burden on all of us in cost and time off from work. And because Congress did not allocate funding for state implementation, the costs likely will be passed on to consumers through fees for new and replacement licenses.
A Real Nightmare of Identity Theft
DMV will be storing for up to 10 years copies of every birth certificate, Social Security card and other documents used to establish identity.Real ID requires all states to share a single database, making driver’s license information accessible from tens of thousands of locations across the country for the taking.Unlike the past, this database will now contain critical information such as your Social Security number, a gold mine for identity thieves. The growing consensus among security experts is that Real ID’s creation of a single interlinked database will be a one-stop-shop for personal data, making each of us a sitting duck for identity theft.In addition, if RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology is used, driver licenses can be read by anyone in close proximity who has an RFID reader.
A Real Nightmare of Privacy Invasion.
The Real IDs must include a “common machine-readable technology” that will allow for easy, computerized transfer of the data on the cards.That will make it easy for anybody in private industry to snap up the data on these Real IDs.Already, bars often swipe licenses to collect personal data on customers – but that will prove to be just the tip of the iceberg as every convenience store learns to grab that data and sell it to Choicepoint (a private for-profit data mining company) for a dime.Even if the states and federal government successfully protect the data, it could be harvested by the private sector, which will build up a parallel database on Americans and put it up for sale, not subject even to the limited privacy rules in effect for the government.
Real ID Creates a National Identity Card
The standardized national driver’s licenses created by Real ID will become an “internal passport” that will increasingly be used to track and control United States citizens’ movements and activities.There will be a demand that you “show your papers.”And there is no recourse when the information entered on you is false.The Real ID database will inevitably, over time, become the repository for more data on individuals, and will be drawn on for an ever-wider set of purposes.Citizens who cannot obtain Real ID will encounter increasing set of barriers as the card is demanded before obtaining public and private services.
Real ID Turns DMV Offices into Immigration Enforcement Agencies.
The Act bars non-citizens from receiving driver licenses unless they can prove their lawful immigration status and identity.Real ID turns DMV offices into sub-branches of the immigration service, forcing clerks to decide who can or cannot be given a license - despite the complexity of our immigration laws, which rival that of our tax code.Training for motor vehicle employees could not possibly cover all of the technicalities of immigration law.Moreover, citizens who speak with an accent or are not fluent in English (who may “look” or “sound” “foreign”) may have their documents scrutinized with suspicion and be treated as suspects.
Real ID Will Not Protect Us From Terrorism
Determined terrorists will always be able to obtain fraudulent documents.Moreover, all of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country legally and would have qualified for driver licenses under the Real ID Act.
Other States Are Rejecting Real ID.
On January 29, Maine became the first state to reject Real ID, when its legislature passed a resolution refusing to implement Real ID. Similar measures are under consideration in Arizona, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Missouri, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Connecticut is not ready to implement Real ID.Without federal rules (and funding) necessary to implement the law and with Congress looking to fix or repeal Real ID in 2007, Connecticut should not pass piecemeal legislation this year. We should wait until the 2008 legislative session to take next steps.
For more information visit: www.realnightmare.org or call the ACLU-CT at 860-247-9823, x219.
Videotape police, risk arrest and having your life altered
Police and prosecutors have "open season" to waste taxpayer money and abuse citizens. Poorer Whites and minorities can be labeled criminals for life with little concern given by authorities for the devastation they leave behind.
I would have rather an abusive, out of control judge sawed my leg off than doing this [click] to me.
Francisco Acevedo Jr., 19, walks into Superior Court in Hartford on Feb.1. Acevedo was acquitted Thursday of disorderly conduct, stemming from a 2006 incident at Conard High School in West Hartford. (PATRICK RAYCRAFT)
Feb. 1, 2007
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant
CONNECTICUT NEWS Acevedo Acquitted Of Disorderly Conduct 3:37 PM EST, February 15, 2007 By DAN JONES, Courant Staff Writer
A state judge Thursday acquitted Conard High School graduate Francisco Acevedo Jr., who was accused of disorderly conduct in June 2006 when he challenged an assistant principal's order to stop video-recording the arrest of another student.
Superior Court Judge Eliot D. Prescott granted a motion for acquittal, ruling that evidence presented earlier Thursday was insufficient for a reasonable person to find that Acevedo committed the alleged crime.
Acevedo, his mother, friends and his lawyer Jon Schoenhorn celebrated the ruling with smiles and pats on the back, as Prescott adjourned the court moments after the acquittal.
Acevedo, 19, says he video-recorded what he viewed as excessive force being used by a West Hartford police officer amidst the chaos sparked when unknown students released scores of crickets in the cafeteria as a senior prank. He put off the start of college to fight the charge.
A jury of six people -- four women and two men – heard testimony in the case, before the judge's ruling ended the court proceedings.
Acevedo, who has been working at a West Hartford gas station, has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming his constitutional free-speech rights were violated. He has claimed that school officials retaliated against him for a school walkout by more than 100 students that Acevedo led last May to protest harsh immigration laws.
Just in from probate court: Don't worry about reform, we'll take care of it.
Some very capable lawyers say that I have little understanding of probate court, that in most of the thousands of cases that these small courts handle, they are doing unheralded, positive work, handling estates, adoptions and the peculiar process of taking away all the rights of an elderly person.
There's no need to require that there be an official record of court proceedings, that judges be lawyers and work full time, that rules of evidence be adhered to, that some limits be placed on conservatorships, where the courts can take away all of your liberties.
We really need 117 courts - some open just a few hours a week - because I'm told that probate is different, a link to a time when Pa drove the buggy to town hall for a friendly chat about Grandma's will.
Press them and probate leaders say all that's really needed is better training for judges. To make their case against change, one judges' association has hired a Capitol insider widely known to decision-makers in Hartford - former House Speaker Richard Balducci.
More than anything, they don't want a regional, full-time court system that will eliminate dozens of judges. They also don't want a lot of new rules imposed on them.
There is one small change that the judges do want - move them over to the public dole and pay for their health insurance.
Not that there's a problem or anything, but probate is going bankrupt.
According to the office of probate court administrator Judge James J. Lawlor, the courts will be $5 million in the hole next year. The river of red ink will reach $25 million by 2010.
"We need to be better managing the work that goes through the courts," said Lawlor, a former Waterbury judge who is pushing for limited reform in the legislature.
Of course, a number of probate judges say you can't believe Lawlor. The Connecticut Probate Judges Association for Local Courts Inc., led by Woodbridge Judge Joseph P. Secola, says that the top probate judge is both untruthful and a spendthrift - a charge that Lawlor denies.
"This guy has gone nuts with his staff," Secola told me. "He has spent over a half million dollars in the last four years on outside consultants. ... Nobody checks him."
As for the courts, Secola promised me "there just isn't any good-old-boys network." And the oversupply of courts "is a problem that is going to take care of itself."
I wondered how this might have prevented Dan Gross, a New York resident, from being committed to a nursing home by an overzealous court. Or Maydelle Trambarulo, a New Jersey woman still in a New Haven nursing home, unable to return to her husband and family because a distant relative persuaded the courts to take away all her rights. Or in Southington, where a pending complaint alleged that a local judge might have profited off a land deal that passed through his court.
Cases like these are the exception, said Danbury Probate Judge Dianne E. Yamin, leader of the probate assembly. She told me probate does countless good deeds that the media never report. Yamin, who said she works full time as a judge, told me that there's no need for the General Assembly to shake up probate.
"We need to all work together and make the improvements and reform in our system that will benefit the citizens of our state," Yamin said.
Finally, I talked to state Rep. James Spallone, whose mother was a probate judge and who now is sponsoring the bill that would pick up the health insurance tab for judges. He said that he wants to "preserve some of the best parts of the system without a complete overhaul."
So relax. There aren't any problems. Probate court is just fine.
Rick Green's column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogger's Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials NOTICE [click]
* * * *
Identify Citizen Abuse
and then do something about it.
[click here] for Stark Raving Viking YouTube.com videos
[click here] for the text of letter sent to 187 elected officials mailed out this past Saturday:
Fixing Ethics in Courts and Police through Legislative Action
To All CT Legislators: Lawyers in Elected Office is Completely Unethical (02-10-2007)
[click here] for the open email sent to elected officials sent out Jan. 31, 2007, where legislators are being critical of "elected liars" or should I say "practicing attorneys" also working in the legislative branch for the people, live on Connecticut Government Television CT-N. Lawyers should not be able to double dip in two branches of government when there is supposed to be separation of powers. The lack of ethics in Connecticut and some other states is just plain amazing.
A State's Greed and getting poorer Whites and Minorities off the road
Officials in States don't "care" about us, they are out to collect as much as possible in undeclared taxes. They reward their friends with cushy contracts and jobs with little work and high pay. More and more scams are needed to pay for the corruption and waste. Minorities and poorer Whites that can't pay traffic fines risk arrest, violation of probation, possible prison terms, and maybe a lifetime of not being legal to drive. Cell phone and other fines are just scams meant to perpetuate unfairness, racism, bias, separate and unequal, and make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.
CONNECTICUT NEWS Drivers Mailed $700K In Phone Fines Cases Were Dropped Against 8,900 Others
February 13, 2007 By COLIN POITRAS, Courant Staff Writer
The state took in more than $700,000 last year from people who didn't put up a fight and simply mailed in a $100 fine after being caught driving while talking on a hand-held cellphone, statistics show.
That amount could have been a lot more: Potential fines totaling $900,000 were not pursued because the state chose not to prosecute more than 8,900 other drivers who received tickets for cellphone violations and then showed up for court.
The reasons for not prosecuting the cases vary and are not broken down in statistics provided to The Courant by the state judicial branch.
State law allows first-time offenders to have the fine waived if they can prove they have purchased a hands-free accessory for their phone within 30 days of getting a ticket. In some cases, prosecutors may have accepted a driver's excuse for the violation or proof that using the cellphone was for an emergency allowable under the law.
Whatever the circumstance, the statistics related to enforcement of the law are sure to add grist to the debate over a legislative proposal to raise the fine for a cellphone violation to $250.
A bill calling for a higher fine is currently pending before the Transportation Committee, and one co-sponsor of the legislation is already reconsidering whether a higher fine is the way to go.
State Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, who has been pushing the cellphone ban for nearly 10 years, said his first response to learning the amount of money collected in fines was sympathy for those who chose to pay.
"That's a lot of money, money that could be put to good use I'm sure by the people who were fined," Roy said.
Roy said Monday that he is second-guessing the proposal to raise the fine after numerous police officers contacted him about the bill. He now believes lowering the fine might be the better way to go.
"A seat belt violation is $37," Roy said. "One officer said he had no trouble giving out a $37 ticket, but he would have a lot trouble giving out a $200 fine for a cellphone. That takes food off people's tables."
Having a hefty fine wouldn't be effective if it wasn't enforced, Roy said.
Overall, statistics show that Connecticut law enforcement handed out more than 19,000 tickets for violating the state's cellphone ban in 2006, according to the judicial branch. Of that total, 8,901 people or 46.74 percent of those ticketed were not prosecuted.
Another 7,265 motorists, or about 38 percent of the total, pleaded "no contest" to the charge and mailed in a $100 fine. More than 1,800 drivers, about 9.5 percent of those ticketed, were found guilty of a cellphone violation after challenging their case in court. Only 1.5 percent or 285 people had their cases dismissed by a judge. Three people were found not guilty of a violation when they pursued their case in court.
Some 763 individuals, or about 4 percent of the total ticketed, failed to respond to their ticket by mailing in a fine or appearing in court and had their licenses suspended, judicial statistics show.
State Rep. Thomas J. Drew, D-Fairfield, who is co-sponsoring the raise-the-fine bill with Roy, said the statistics, although intriguing, do not tell the whole story.
"The big question here that is difficult to pick up in the statistics is how many times were there violations that police saw but did not issue a ticket?" Drew said. "What we want to do is cause people to comply with the law in the first place and find a sensible way for people to enforce the law in the second."
The president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, Norwalk Police Chief Harry W. Rilling, said he believes drivers will take the ban more seriously if they know they risk a substantial fine. He was less sure if it would increase enforcement, saying police officers try to maintain the ban along with a host of other - sometimes more urgent - responsibilities they face on their daily beat.
"The amount of the fine really wouldn't have an impact on a police officer's likelihood of enforcing the law," Rilling said. "What it would do is send a very clear message to those people ignoring the law that the legislature is serious about it and it would have a significant impact on them."
Aaron Russo talks with former Chief Counsel and IRS Commissioner Sheldon Cohen. Mr. Cohen also is the AUTHOR of the TAX CODE!
You WILL NOT believe what you hear! The US doesn't want you know know this!
Article XVI which gives the congress the "power" to have a federal income tax, was found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL by the Supreme Court! How congress can ratify anything found UNCONSTITUTIONAL is BEYOND me!
http://www.claremont.org/wr... The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1895. Referring to the explicit prohibition against direct taxation in Article I, the court argued that the income tax would excessively enhance federal power in relation to state power.
http://www.usconstitution.n... In 1895, in the Supreme Court case of Pollock v Farmer's Loan and Trust (157 U.S. 429), the Court disallowed a federal income tax. The tax was designed to be an indirect tax, which would mean that states need not contribute portions of a whole relative to its census figures. The Court, however, ruled that the income tax was a direct tax and subject to apportionment. This was the last in a series of conflicting court decisions dating back to the Civil War. Between 1895 and 1909, when the amendment was passed by Congress, the Court began to back down on its position, as it became clear not only to accountants but to everyone that the solvency of the nation was in jeopardy. In a series of cases, the definition of "direct tax" was modified, bent, twisted, and coaxed to allow more taxation efforts that approached an income tax.
http://www.answers.com/topi... Congress passed the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1909, and the states ratified it in 1913. The ratification of the amendment overturned an 1895 U.S. Supreme Court decision that had ruled a two percent federal flat tax on incomes over $4,000 unconstitutional (Pollock v. Farmer's Loan & Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429, 15 S. Ct. 673, 39 L. Ed. 759). Article I of the Constitution states that "direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states ... according to their respective numbers."
What good is the constitution and the Supreme Court if the Senate and House and ratify anything found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL . It is the Supreme Courts duty to overturn this UNCONSTITUTIONAL ratification.
What about all the other victims of Rogue Police and Kangaroo Courts?
What about the rest of the victims, don't we count?
CONNECTICUT NEWS An Apology From A State February 8, 2007 By COLIN POITRAS, Courant Staff Writer
When Gov. M. Jodi Rell offered James Calvin Tillman a $500,000 tax-free lump-sum payment as compensation for being wrongly convicted of rape, the first response among many listening to her budget address Wednesday was that it was a nice gesture.
That was immediately followed by a question: Would he take it?
Tillman, who was seated just a few feet away from the governor in the well of the House during her speech, acknowledged the offer with a smile and a gentle wave to lawmakers who gave him an extended standing ovation. He had been invited by Rell's office to attend the address along with his mother, Catherine Martin.
"I apologize on behalf of the state of Connecticut. I thank you for your grace and dignity in dealing with this injustice and I wish you well in the next chapters of your life," Rell said, in citing Tillman as an example of why the state needed to do more to reduce the backlog of DNA testing at the state forensic laboratory. It was through that testing that Tillman was exonerated last year after serving 18 years of a 45-year sentence for rape that he didn't commit.
After the speech, Tillman, 45, was circumspect about whether he would accept the governor's offer.
"I'm going to talk to my attorney about it and see what he says," Tillman said. He said he heard about the offer a few days ago, but has not discussed it in any detail with his attorney, public defender Gerard A. Smyth.
His mother, however, seemed to have already made up her mind.
"Oh, no, no, no, we're not accepting that!," Martin said, before quickly shifting gears and referring all questions to her son.
There are no statutes in Connecticut that outline compensation for people in Tillman's situation, although the legislature has adopted special acts granting monetary awards on a case-by-case basis. Tillman and his lawyer have repeatedly declined to discuss any plans for seeking compensation, which could include a lawsuit against the state.
Chris Cooper, the governor's spokesman, said Tillman can accept the $500,000 without waiving any claim of other damages. He said Rell's offer was made "without strings."
Tillman was exonerated last year after updated DNA tests showed he could not have been the man who left semen stains in the victim's underwear even though she had identified him as her attacker in the 1988 assault that occurred in Hartford.
Tillman was the first prisoner to be freed by lawyers working for the Connecticut Innocence Project, a program overseen by the public defender's office which seeks to use DNA technology to free people who have been wrongly convicted.
But those days seemed far away Wednesday as Tillman basked in the attention and took turns having his photo taken with various state dignitaries. He thanked Rell for personally acknowledging the wrong.
"She recognized I was wrongly convicted and she gave me an apology, a real good apology," Tillman said. "She's a very good governor, a very nice lady. She commended my mother for her strength and her courage."
Tillman said he has devoted his life to God and family since his release last July. Those things, he said, matter more than money.
"I'm just enjoying my life and enjoying going to my church," Tillman said. "I'm enjoying my family and spending time with my mother. It's not so much about the money. It's about God and it's about Jesus Christ."
Contact Colin Poitras at email@example.com.
Courant Staff Writer Mark Pazniokas contributed to this story.
The Connecticut State Police "Goon Sqaud", enforcers of the "Secret Enemies List"
Barbara D. Sattal, did she refer to LT Davoren, formerly the head honcho over at Connecticut State Police, Troop C, as "Dad"? Sattal was allegedly offered $10,000 to set me up for an arrest. The original plan was for her to get me to drink alcohol, drive her Chevrolet Blazer to my house where I would be pulled over, beaten, and then charged with DUI, assaulting officers, drug possession (as drugs would be planted), resisting arrest, etc. [click here] for post.
Davoren is now a Colonel in the Connecticut State Police. [Click Here] for more.
It seems that Connecticut Judges and the Connecticut State Police Officers that are involved in retaliation and Unconstitutional activities are on the fast track for promotions and advancement. Those that want quality and ethics within the system seem to face an intense barbecue.
What is up with that?
Could it be that there are an overabundance of practicing lawyers that are elected officials in Connecticut? The Connecticut attorneys have a real ethics scandal of their own stealing from clients, not doing their jobs for clients etc.
* * * *
If you are out protesting or complaining about Connecticut Police Misconduct, is this the goon squad that is out to get your photo and name for the Connecticut State Police "Enemies List" where you are a click away from having your life ruined?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . The above is enhanced from the figure in the window below. .
The New Leader emerging out of the Connecticut State Police
Newly appointed state police Col. Thomas Davoren, who began his duties last week. (MARC-YVES REGIS I)
Feb. 5, 2007
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant
[Click Here]for my beef with Davoren and his number one policy of "Protect the Integrity of the System", when I asked him why was I being nailed by police and not criminals in my Stafford Springs Connecticut neighborhood. I had been critical of police in newspapers and had proposed Civilian Oversight of Police to elected officials. I had also had lodged complaints against police. The "automatic" policy of police is to "arrest and discredit" anyone who is involved in any ONE of the above mentioned activities.
LT Wheeler, now a major was also involved in covering up police misconduct after Phil Inkel and I made separate complaints regarding gross police misconduct. Phil Inkel claims officers shot at his young child, himself, and his wife when they were out for a bike ride. Phil Inkel also talks about Todd Vashon a Police Informant paid to kill Phil for having made a police misconduct complaint. Phil Inkel speaks:
Ritt Goldstein [more]proposed Civilian Oversight of Police to legislators of the Judiciary Committee at the Hartford Capitol in Connecticut in December 1996 and it wasn't long before police were so abusive Ritt fled to Sweden seeking political asylum:
CONNECTICUT NEWS New State Police Colonel Faces `Daunting Task'
February 6, 2007 By TRACY GORDON FOX, Courant Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN -- Friday was a relatively easy first day for newly appointed state police Col. Thomas Davoren, much of it spent accepting congratulations and attending a promotion ceremony.
Monday was the reality check.
From the time he stepped into his new office, Davoren was hurried by his secretary to meeting after meeting, on subjects ranging from how to react to a flu pandemic to the upcoming budget. He ended his day with another meeting in Litchfield before heading back across the state to his Bolton home.
Besides the meetings, Davoren, known as a hands-on supervisor who often showed up at scenes, checked what troopers did over the weekend. By 10 a.m., he knew how many times the major crime squad went out Saturday night, how many people were arrested for drunken driving, and how many accidents were investigated.
He had a printout ready, showing troopers had investigated 301 accidents, charged 23 motorists with drunken driving, and given out 656 citations since Friday. He knew major crime detectives had been out late Saturday and early Sunday investigating a suspicious baby death and then a stabbing in Meriden.
"It's kind of not about me," said Davoren, 50, a 23-year veteran of the state police. "I think it's important the women and men in this agency get the credit for the work they do every day."
Giving state troopers the credit they deserve is one of Davoren's goals, but not the first on his list, he said.
"The biggest thing is we have to restore public confidence in the integrity of the agency," he said.
Davoren is taking over the top sworn position at one of the most tumultuous times for the state police, following a scathing report on the department's internal affairs unit.
In naming Davoren, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said "I have full confidence that this outstanding leadership team will help make [the department] even better."
"It's a very daunting task," Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle said, adding that Davoren is up to the task.
The report found instances in which troopers were involved in drunken driving, domestic violence and larceny but were not properly disciplined or, in some cases, not even investigated.
"Our actions are under a great deal of scrutiny," Davoren said. "The public expects we are going to act in an equitable and honorable manner."
Those who know Davoren say he is the right person to lead the agency toward that goal. Davoren was a major, commanding the busy four-state police barracks in the eastern district, before he was named to his new post. He started his career as an East Hartford police officer, a job he took after working on an ambulance crew in Hartford. Davoren has a bachelor's degree and a master's in business administration from Western New England College in Springfield.
He was credited with being one of the investigators who in 1991 helped solve the ambush-style murder of Trooper Russell Bagshaw, who was shot through the chest outside a gun store in Windham while on early morning patrol. Davoren was one of the detectives who helped obtain a confession from Duane Johnson, which led to the arrest of Johnson and his brother in connection with the crime.
Davoren replaces Edward Lynch, the veteran trooper who announced his resignation in December, just before the release of the internal affairs report.
Windham State's Attorney Trish Froehlich called Davoren "the best thing to happen to Eastern District in the time I've been here."
"Tommy's image is clearly that of the consummate professional: He is competent and capable, fair, reasonable and realistic regarding both criminal investigations and personnel matters," Froehlich said. "It will be a loss to the daily operations in Eastern District but a gain for the agency as a whole and for the people of the state."
Hartford Connecticut Police Officer Robert Lawlor aka "The Teflon Badge"
Are White Officers that execute blacks in Connecticut able to get away with murder? The past policy seems to be for the prosecutor to purposely botch a criminal case involving an officer, so the racist officer skates on appeal.
Should an officer such as Lawlor, a White, shoot Blacks in the back, and then post his picture in front of a badge and an American Flag asking for donations on a website?
To share this post, click on white envelope. This blog accepts anonymous comments.
Connecticut Officials are lax on Non-custodial parent's rights
Chris Kennedy on Judicial and DCF Misconduct:
Part 2 of the Video immediately above:
Three State Marshals Face Hearings
Men Could Lose Their Licenses Over Civilians' Alleged Participation in Deadbeat Dad Sweep
By DAVE ALTIMARI Courant Staff Writer
January 28 2007
Three state marshals are facing disciplinary hearings following an investigation into a sweep of suspected deadbeat dads in Waterbury last October in which two civilians participated.
The State Marshal Commission voted last week to refer charges against John Barbieri, Brian Hobart and Jon Gallup to a three-panel committee to hold a full hearing that could result in the men's losing their licenses or being fined.
Barbieri, who organized the Oct. 21 sweep, is facing three allegations, including using his powers to allow a civilian, Michael Brown, to participate in the sweep and then to sign vouchers and get paid for serving legal documents known as capiases.
Gallup is facing charges of carrying a gun on the sweep, even though he was not properly certified. Hobart, who was not involved in the October raid, is facing charges that he had previously served capiases with Brown and approved payments to him.
The commission voted unanimously that probable cause existed to refer the allegations to the commission's oversight committee, State Marshal Commission Chairman Dennis Kerrigan said.
"They will now get a full hearing in front of that committee," he said.
Brown was one of 14 applicants who had been approved to have a criminal and financial background check done - the final step before becoming a state marshal.
The commission has put his application on hold pending the outcome of the investigation.
The marshal commission started investigating after The Courant reported that two civilians, Michael Brown and Raymond Brown, had gone on the sweep.
The investigation, conducted by board member William Cote and legal counsel Betty Collins, included interviews with all five of the marshals involved in the sweep as well as both Browns. It concluded that neither Michael Brown nor Raymond Brown, who are related, was carrying a gun or marshal badge.
Raymond Brown has denied any wrongdoing and said he stayed in the car during the raids. He has said he went along to make sure the marshals got the right houses. He did not sign any capiases or participate in any arrests, the investigation found.
Michael Brown accompanied Barbieri on 13 cases and eventually signed vouchers to get paid $240 for each capias served. On 12 of the vouchers, Michael Brown signed as an "indifferent person" and on one voucher he signed as a state marshal.
Both Browns may have been wearing jackets with "State Marshals" written on them on the front and back, the commission's investigative report indicates.
Some of the marshals who participated said they saw Michael Brown in the holding area at the police station removing handcuffs from at least one of the suspected deadbeat dads, according to the report.
In his defense Michael Brown said he was accompanying Barbieri as an "administrative assistant" and at no time did anything illegal. Michael Brown did say he removed handcuffs from one man.
"I was at no time trying to identify myself as a state marshal," Michael Brown told investigators. "The purpose of my being with Marshal Barbieri is that I am very familiar with the people and the streets of Waterbury and therefore I can assist in making positive identifications. "
Barbieri acknowledged that Michael Brown accompanied him to the door when he served the capiases. Barbieri, citing state statutes, said that Michael Brown was acting as his administrative assistant and also as an "indifferent person" and therefore was eligible to assist him.
Under state statutes an indifferent person can serve some legal papers, such as eviction notices.
But both the state attorney general's office and the judicial department, which authorizes payment for serving the civil processes in child support enforcement proceedings, have determined an indifferent person cannot serve capiases.
Since 2004, Michael Brown has been paid to serve legal papers on 134 suspected deadbeat dads, according to judicial branch records.
There are 24 more requests for payment that judicial officials have notified Brown will not be paid. Overall the state has paid him $25,720 since 2004, records show.
Brown is not the only person who has submitted requests for payment for serving such warrants under the designation of an indifferent person. In the past two years, the judicial branch has paid 111 bills submitted by indifferent persons, although the majority of them - 87 bills - belonged to Brown, records show.
Judicial officials have met with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to discuss whether the state can seek restitution from Michael Brown for the money already paid to him.
They also are discussing their legal options if one or more of the suspected deadbeat dads rounded up by Michael Brown over the past three years takes legal action against the department on grounds that they were unlawfully jailed because they were served the papers illegally.
Contact Dave Altimari at daltimari@courant. com. Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant
* * * *
[Click Here] for http://thegetjusticecoalition.blogspot.com/
in a special investigation. So, Governor M. Jodi Rell, is yet again, rewarding bad, official, and corrupt behavior?
Should the Connecticut State Police be abolished? There should only be a Connecticut Highway Patrol. Towns and cities should have actual police, their own. There would then be more protection and service and far less abuse of the public by police.
Connecticut’s Unofficial Racist Policies and the “New” Jim Crow
By “unofficially” going after small businesses and rental property owners that “cater” to minorities and poorer Whites a State can discourage them from staying in the State or at minimum keep them contained in ghettos that are pre-concentration camp confinement.
If Connecticut is the most racist and abusive State in modern times, yours might not be far behind.
It is common knowledge that if you are caught “Driving while Black” in Connecticut you face being pulled over and either arrested or fined especially in the "White Only" suburbs.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal doesn't trust his back to a CT Judge
Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General helped swear in Congressman Joe Courtney, today, that wasn't just satisfied with being sworn into Congress in Washington, DC, he wanted second "marriage vows" into public life declared nearest to his closest friends and those, also, in the Judiciary or at least, in the Executive Branch, not the Legislative Branch, in which he is now drawing pay from.
Citizens should now place their hands behind themselves to cover a certain orifice.
Blumenthal made a "joke" while Judge Jonathan J. Kaplan stood behind him today at the Rockville Connecticut Superior Court, that he didn't trust a Judge [in Connecticut] standing behind him. Judge Jonathan J. Kaplan seemed not to like the Blumenthal comment, is Kaplan so powerful, he could even make a mega-rich and connected State Attorney General quiver, or do they have so much on each other to ruin each other with words uttered in a single breath. There are lovers, lovers of the law, and others ...
Was Blumenthal afraid that his orifice was in jeopardy, that it was already taken, or was it a "joke" that he would not turn his back on a Connecticut Judge? What was he really saying in his "joke"?
Well, the world may never know.
Blumenthal is a married man, who is to know what he actually prefers.
Copyright: All material of FECL is for personal information only. Any re-distribution or professional use in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with FECL
FECL 55 (August 1998):
US CITIZEN DENIED ASYLUM IN SWEDEN - USA A 'SAFE COUNTRY'?
A US citizen, Ritt Goldstein, has applied for asylum in Sweden. Goldstein has strong evidence indicating that he was systematically harassed and threatened by police ever since he founded a coalition on civilian oversight of law enforcement. Swedish immigration authorities have turned down his application on the summary grounds that the US is an internationally recognised constitutional democracy. The final outcome of the case is likely to have international implications as regards the right of nationals from stable Western democratic countries to seek asylum in a EU country.
The plight of a US rights activist
In 1993, Ritt Goldstein was a typical representative of America's white upper middle-class. After receiving a BA in Economics, and after university studies in Business, Goldstein worked in a number of marketing and sales positions before starting his own company in 1988. The firm thrived, and Goldstein won all the attributes of a well-doing bachelor and businessman. He had a handsome home, a nice sports car, and a net worth of approximately 1 million dollars.
Politically, Goldstein was thoroughly mainstream. Although a Democratic Committeeman and Justice of the Peace in Norwalk, in the State of Connecticut (CT), he never concealed his sympathies for some aspects of the political agenda of the Republicans.
Just four years later, in 1997, Ritt Goldstein had become a destitute asylum seeker in Sweden, living in constant fear of forceful return to the USA.
Goldstein left his home country on July 3rd, 1997, hoping to escape mounting terror, ranging from constant pepper spray and mace attacks against his person, to the destruction of his home and office, and murder attempts (i.e. somebody disabled the steering of his car).
Goldstein's problem is that he is not just good at doing business. He is also a man who cares. He likes to quote one of the Founding Fathers of American democracy, Thomas Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance". Goldstein's "mistake" was that he acted accordingly. Where others preferred to remain silent, Goldstein spoke out on one of the most sacred taboos, not only in American society, but in about every country of the world: the police.
Goldstein's plight can be traced back to an incident in 1993. That year, a black youth, Keith Sumpter, was shot to death in Norwalk, CT. Four eyewitnesses claimed a police officer shot him, but an internal investigation by the Norwalk Police found Sumpter had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound...1)
Goldstein, who had formed a citizens group to monitor the behaviour of the Connecticut police, questioned the police’s account in the press.
Attacks from "unknown source"
Shortly after, Goldstein and his neighbours in a residential area of Danbury, CT, all became strangely ill. The Health Department detected a "chemical smell".2) Goldstein moved. His former neighbours got better but the problem with the chemical smell that caused headaches, nausea, sneezing, coughing and vomiting followed him. Goldstein complained to Danbury Police Department about "harassment via chemical attack from an unknown source", but the police denied anything was happening.
Meanwhile, as Goldstein's complaints to the police became more substantive, the attacks worsened significantly. In December 1993, his car's steering was disabled. A mechanic from the auto dealership the car was taken to told the police somebody had "purposefully" unscrewed the steering.3) The police took no action and avoided the collection of evidence. A private investigation bureau detected signals from an electronic tracking device in Goldstein's car. Again and again, his home and the ventilation system of his car were sprayed with chemical spray (mace and pepper spray) by unknown perpetrators.
Goldstein has comprehensive documentation confirming his exposure to toxic chemicals, including: laboratory tests, medical certificates, police and private detective reports. But none of Goldstein's numerous complaints elicited any action from the police.
Targeted by "rogue" police
Goldstein began to understand that he had become a target of so called "rogue" police - police officers who engage in unlawful intimidation, harassment and violence to tackle what they regard as "enemies of the force" - that is, anybody from (preferably young and black) petty offenders, to innocent citizens disliked by the force, such as minority leaders and civil rights and liberties activists. This was confirmed for him as he watched police "mace" his car one night.
The problem of "rogue" policing and widespread police abuse in the USA has been highlighted by Amnesty International4) and, very recently, by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in their report 'Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States'.5)
The HRW report gives a chilling picture both of widespread police abuse and a blatant lack of control over the police in 14 cities throughout the country. The report notes that "police brutality is persistent in all of these cities; that systems to deal with abuse have had similar failings in all cities; and that, in each city examined, complainants face enormous barriers in seeking administrative punishment or criminal prosecution of officers who have committed human rights violations".
Among others, the HRW report relates cases from New Orleans. In this city, "at least fifty of the 1,400-member force have been arrested for felonies including homicide, rape, and robberies since 1993". In one incident, an officer was convicted in April 1996 of hiring a hit man to kill a woman who had lodged a brutality complaint against him. On at least one occasion, New Orleans police seem to have been inspired by the murderous vigilante activities of some of their Brazilian colleagues: "After a white officer was killed in November 1980, mobs of police officers went on a rampage in Algiers, a black section of town, killing four and injuring as many as fifty residents. Some of the victims were tortured, including two who were dragged to swamps where officers carried out mock executions".
"Vendetta" operations by "rogue" police have also occurred in many other US cities not examined in the HRW report. Thus, in Portland, Oregon, police were caught spying on local Civilian Oversight activists. Before the Court, they tried to justify their behaviour by arguing that "this group of evildoers was going to do harm to the police through civilian review".6)
The commonality of "rogue" policing in the USA can be partly explained by this country's particular tradition of law enforcement. "Our police chiefs are the descendants of a wild-west tradition, based not so much around dispensing justice as being guardians of property and privilege", says Ritt Goldstein. "They have a hired-gun mentality". This is confirmed by Bill Collins, a former four term Mayor of Norwalk and State Representative of Connecticut: "Guns are looked upon differently here, for familiar historic reasons. So are the police. While other countries feel it's important to install civilian oversight, we feel the opposite. We like to turn our police loose, a bit like vigilantes. Mostly, that preference has to do with race. Many Americans feel that blacks are a menace to their safety, and if police have to rough them up once in a while to keep them in their place, so be it. And if some whites also get mistreated in this exuberance of power, well, that's a small price to pay for security. At any rate, that seems to be the thinking in Connecticut".7
Connnecticut: a record of police abuse
Indeed, Connecticut, in striking contradiction with its image as a liberal and peaceful New England state, has a disquieting record of rogue policing.
Emma Jihad Jones is a remarkable woman. She graduated first in her law school class, and has spent her professional life as an activist and legal council of the black community in New Haven, Connecticut. She told Fortress Europe? that in this city rogue police intimidate, harass and attack innocent young blacks on a daily basis. There is a group of "rogue" police commonly referred to as the "beat-down posse". One of the preferential methods is the abundant use of mace and pepper spray... The "advantage" of chemicals is that they are difficult to trace...
Ms Jones' own experience with the police is appalling. She says New Haven police broke down the doors of her home and ransacked it in alleged "hot pursuit" of a suspect (who was never found). They once arrested her son for driving a "stolen" vehicle (her car!). They repeatedly invented drug issues as a pretext for their terror. Her home was firebombed. Police repeatedly chased and beat her son, Malik.
Malik Jones was killed in one of the state's most recent cases of suspected rogue policing. On 14 April 1997, he was chased in his car by a police patrol and shot dead. Witnesses claim he was executed in cold blood with several shots fired at close range, while his car was standing still. Commenting on the incident, a former New Haven Police Chief, Nick Pastore, remarked bitterly that Malik Jones was "guilty of driving while black". "Pastore was describing what is by far Connecticut's most common offence", says Mayor Bill Collins. "It's even more common than 'driving while young'. That latter sin, of course, one can outgrow."8
Ritt Goldstein is convinced that Malik died because of his mother's work as a human rights activist fighting against police abuse. Two weeks before Malik's death, Ms Jones, in great dispair, confided to him: "They're after my children, they're after my children!"
Goldstein's coalition for civilian oversight angers police union
In 1995, Goldstein founded and led a coalition calling for state and federal legislation to promote elected Statewide Civilian Law Enforcement Oversight Boards. Goldstein drafted a bill providing for legal remedies in cases of police brutality and misconduct. Law Enforcement Oversight Boards would sit in each state's parliament and provide the mechanism whereby cases of law enforcement misconduct could be removed from "local considerations". No member would hear a case involving his own constituency, and the Board would have its own investigators and the power to seek and enforce subpoenas of documents and witnesses. The Board would have the power to terminate an officer's employment, with there being no appeal from a Board decision except in the Courts.9
Goldstein's campaign for better control of police drew support from various and politically quite heterogenous quarters. On the federal level, Congressman Bill McCollum (Republican), the chairman of the House Crime Sub-Committee, offered Goldstein support. At the same time, state legislation campaigns based on Goldstein's bill were launched - through his coalition - in a number of states, including New York, Illinois, Washington State, Arkansas and California.
In Goldstein's home state of Connecticut, the bill received the backing of a Republican Senator and Co-Chair of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee. It was also endorsed by the Caucus of Connecticut Democrats and by the Reform party.
While Goldstein's bill was supported by politicians and experts on the state and federal level, the Connecticut Police Union reacted with barely veiled threats. Commenting on Goldstein's Bill, State Police Association spokesman David Mccluskey said: "Civilian review is an idea that will immediately inspire violent reactions from police" (our italics)10.
It is evident from the HRW report that the problem of powerful police unions, staunchly resisting any move towards a better control of the force, and even covering up "rogue" officers, is not limited to the state of Connecticut. In New York, the police unions "enjoy a great deal of power but have been unwilling to use their strength to support reforms that would lead to a more professional, and less brutal, police force. In fact, the unions have often been a primary obstacle to efforts to implement reforms.
In its statements and lobbying against reform efforts, the PBA [the largest police union in NY] has consistently opposed accountability".In Philadelphia, "the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is exceptionally powerful... - some say it has more control of the police than the Police Commissioner does". The report goes on to note that FOP has "persistently opposed the creation and operation" of a civilian oversight board. In Providence (Rhode Island), FOP repeatedly resisted strong action by police leaders against Providence police officers caught being abusive on videotape.
Goldstein chairs hearing in Connecticut legislature: appalling witness accounts
In December 1996, Goldstein chaired a hearing on statewide civilian oversight...despite mounting threats against his person. The hearing was sponsored by Senator Tim Upson and took place in the Connecticut parliament building. It comprised testimonies of leading US and foreign academics and experts of civilian oversight of the police; there were also accounts from victims of Connecticut police violence. What distinguished these witnesses from many other victims was that they were all white and middle-class.
Notable in the testimony presented was a well publicised attempt by two Connecticut police to murder a local rights activist - Phil Inkel. The two officers involved were never charged with a crime, but merely resigned from their positions. Moreover, in acts of apparent retaliation, the two major figures responsible for uncovering the murder plot - a police informer and a police detective - were subsequently charged with unrelated crimes.11
Noteworthy testimony also came from former Mayor Bill Collins. In alarming detail, Collins (who headed his city's Police Commission, nominally controlling the police) related how local police had even attacked his home. Collins discussed how police had proceeded to "break beer bottles on the porch" and "plaster their police union stickers around the house". He noted that while the attack was quite limited, its message was extremely disturbing: to convey to "even the chief elected official of the town, who's in charge... It isn't him, it's the members of the police department".
Collins also described a police raid in Norwalk where hooded and masked police officers attacked community residents. Some of these people were then taken for "interrogation" to a warehouse on the city's waterfront - not to the police headquarters. After first denying the raid, the police eventually confirmed it. But Collins said at the hearing that "to this day" no police officers will admit they were there.
"A single hearing is no groundswell"
The widely publicised hearing marked both the peak and the beginning of the end for Goldstein's coalition on civilian oversight. In a radio broadcast shortly after the hearing former Mayor Collins predicted: "Legislators hesitate to annoy the powerful police unions. If victims themselves aren't willing to make a big stink, then maybe the problem really isn't so bad. Reforms tend to grow from groundswells, and a single hearing, no matter how moving, is no groundswell. Particularly if the press is tepid. Tracking down fearful victims and persuading them to talk is hard work. TV stations lack the time, and newspapers the money. If 1,000 victims jammed the General Assembly and broke up a session, now that would be news. But unearthing them, one-by-one, isn't going to happen. There is, of course, a price to pay for unresolved injustice. Often it's violence. In my own Norwalk, it's broken out before. No doubt it will again, simply because minorities believe, rightly, that no effective oversight of police violence exists".12
Goldstein himself payed a high price for his challenge of police power. Immediately after the hearing, the level of attacks against him rose even further. Prior to the hearing in Connecticut's legislature, Goldstein met with the legislative committee of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. "They offered me a "deal" for their support, Goldstein recalls. "They wanted effective immunity and the ability to "kill" any investigation - I turned them down. The "deal man", Chief Tony Salvatore of Cromwell, later sought my arrest for making a "false report" about the attacks on me. As retaliation for my hearing, my home and offices were completely destroyed and I began my life as a refugee living in hotels... I continued to be on radio, television, and in the newspapers... and the attacks kept escalating".
Goldstein says he had no chance of obtaining protection and legal remedy inside the USA. His many complaints to state and federal authorities were shelved. A letter from the President of NACOLE, the US Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, to Federal Justice Minister Janet Reno, describing the plight of Goldstein and urging for a quick remedy, remained unanswered...a pattern highlighted in the HRW report.
Quoting from the report: "A victim seeking redress faces obstacles at every point in the process, ranging from overt intimidation to the reluctance of local and federal prosecutors to take on brutality cases. Severe abuses persist because overwhelming barriers to accountability make it all too likely that officers who commit human rights violations escape due punishment to continue their abusive conduct.... Those who claim that each high-profile human rights abuse is an aberration, committed by a "rogue" officer, are missing the point: human rights violations persist in large part because the accountability system is defective". The report goes on to note: "There are many obstacles to successfully prosecuting police officers under the federal civil rights statutes: Due to inadequate resources and, in some cases, an apparent lack of will or interest by investigators or prosecutors (...), federal authorities do not routinely collect and review cases that may be viable for prosecution under federal civil rights statutes. When they do learn of the cases, (...) they choose to pursue and prosecute less than 1 percent".
While conceding that the type of harassment described by Goldstein, and in particular the use of chemical spray as a means to harass and intimidate innocent people, did occur in the USA, some American observers questioned whether police would treat even white middle-class citizens in such a way and suggested Goldstein might be exaggerating. People monitoring police conduct in Connecticut do not share this view. While insisting that non-whites were the prime and regular victims of "rogue" police, Emma Jihad Jones told Fortress Europe? that, given his high-profile as a critic of police abuse, Goldstein would have been a dead man long ago, had he been black.
A leading expert on police abuse, who declined to be quoted for attribution out of fear of police retaliation, stated he knew Connecticut people who had been members of local Civilian Police Review, who "have been stopped, harassed, threatened. And that they had to leave the Board...and that they felt unsafe....Mr Goldstein had a proposal for an Oversight Review on the state level - which is a much broader level. And, if you find controversy and dislike by some police on a local level, imagine how they would feel on the broader level...You've got to understand that police here are very powerful... What was more important [for Goldstein] - to keep fighting this battle that was tormenting him and taking his life, his health, or to give up and start a new life?"
On 3 July 1997, Goldstein finally made his choice and left the USA.
Asylum procedure in Sweden
Goldstein entered Sweden legally as a tourist and applied for asylum with Statens Invandrarverk (SIV: Swedish Immigration Authority).
In September 1997, SIV turned down Goldstein's application. The only reason given for the rejection was SIV's summary assessment that "the USA is an internationally recognised democracy and constitutional state". Consequently, the authority found it "obvious" that there were no grounds for granting Goldstein residence permit based on the right of asylum or another need of protection.13
The rejection was accompanied by a decision of "immediate removal". This meant that Goldstein should be deported even before final decisions on the merits of an asylum application or of the removal order itself. The Swedish Aliens Law allows (but does not require) such immediate removal "where it is obvious that there are no grounds for asylum, and where residence permit shall not either be granted on other grounds". If Goldstein was not able to designate another country willing to receive him, he was to be sent back to his home country.
For Goldstein, the decision entailed several drastic consequences. In order to escape immediate deportation, he had to go into hiding. He still had a right to appeal against the decision of SIV with Utlänningsnämnden (UN: the Aliens Appeals Board), but was denied legal aid on the grounds that his application was "manifestly unfounded".
His lawyer, Robert Camerini, working on a voluntary basis, appealed to UN. Camerini held that SIV "has failed to carry out an individual examination of the applicant's claims and asylum grounds in accordance with law in force" and emphasised the fact that Goldstein had repeatedly and in vain sought protection and legal remedy inside the USA.
The Board rejected the appeal in January 1998. It found that Goldstein had failed to prove that "police authorities in the USA lie behind the purported attacks". Referring once again to the USA as a recognised democratic state based on the rule of law, the Appeals Board found that the harassment claimed by Goldstein "must be regarded as criminal acts perpetrated by individuals - police officers or others".14 Commenting on the decision, an Appeals Board spokesman told Reuters news agency: "He may have been harassed... but it was by individual police and not authorised by police authorities... It could have happened in Sweden as well. The United States is a recognised democracy" 15.
There is nothing to suggest that the Appeals Board carried out any thorough examination of the evidence presented by Goldstein, which included statements in support of his claim by, among others, NACOLE (the US National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement), the '8th Day Center for Justice' (a Catholic human rights group in the USA), and the Swedish section of Amnesty International (AI). In a letter to the Appeals Board, AI emphasised that its 1996 report on police brutality in New York confirmed Goldstein's account in that it described a pattern of police misconduct typical of other cities and states in the US. Hinting at the Immigration authorities' reference to the USA as a recognised constitutional democracy, AI questioned their practice of resorting to "general categorisation resulting in certain asylum seekers being denied due and fair examination [of their claim]". AI noted that "every asylum application must be considered on its individual merits... An individual may have well-founded fear of persecution in his country of origin even where this country respects human rights and can be characterised as a state respecting the rule of law".16
The fate of Ritt Goldstein has raised public attention beyond what is usual in Sweden. Just recently, the country's leading newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, published a debate article signed by a number of public figures such as the senior rabbi of Stockholm's Jewish congregation, the president of FARR (Swedish Network for Asylum and Refugee Support Groups), the head of refugee aid of the Catholic Charity, Caritas Sweden, and a bishop of the Swedish Lutheran church. The article ends with a call to the immigration authorities: "Given the facts, and in the name of justice, Ritt Goldstein should be granted protection".17
The Goldstein case involves a number of extremely sensitive and controversial issues: it is about policing and police accountability in democratic systems; it is about changing asylum law and practice and their implications for individual asylum seekers; and it is about how political considerations such as friendly relations between states and other "state interests" affect the rights of refugees.
Police and accountability
The Goldstein case highlights the changing character of policing in Western democracies. Confronted with the chilling reports of Amnesty International and HRW, and strikingly concurring accounts on police abuse in Connecticut, European readers might be tempted to regard the situation described as an "American problem". However, while some of the disquieting phenomena highlighted by the reports may, partly, find their explanation in the particularities of American history and society, this is no reason to relax.
What the reports describe is a police force upon whom elected politicians have steadily conferred ever more powers in trying to meet the law-and-order demands of their predominantly white, middle-class voters. Faced with increasing social gaps, resulting in the exclusion of ever larger groups of the population and a growing climate of violence and insecurity (real or supposed), government seems all too often have chosen the quick and easy solution of unleashing the police, rather than tackling the roots of the problem. The police were portrayed as the "wonder drug" for the problems politics failed to tackle. The extraordinary publicity made in recent years around the "new" "zero tolerance" and "aggressive policing" policies introduced in New York are an illustration of this tendency. Little attention has, however, so far been paid to a development noted in the HRW report: while "aggressive policing" appears to have contributed to a temporary drop in crime in some cities, this approach also regularly leads to an increase in police abuse.
The pattern of police abuse, and, even more, the fact that "rogue" police (actually a small minority within the force) feel they can act with impunity, protected by the "code of silence", powerful unions and defective systems of accountability, suggest that the development has reached a point where the government and the judiciary are losing control over the police. One can reasonably speculate whether they now have become the hostages of the force they themselves unleashed.
Any observer of the development of policing in Europe will acknowledge that, although European police unions can hardly be compared to US unions, and despite a different tradition of justice, even here, the police have been given ever more powers in recent years, while systems of accountability have not been adapted in consequence on the national level, or do not exist on the supra-national level of EU and Schengen police cooperation. Here too, democratic scrutiny and accountability is steadily being undermined in the name of public order, and the fight against "organised crime", by short-sighted politicians. Here too, the issue addressed by people like Goldstein is a "hot potato" indeed.
Asylum affected by "inter-State concerns"
The Goldstein case is also a striking illustration both of problems most asylum seekers have long faced in seeking protection, and of the less known implications of more recent developments in the field of asylum for a small category of applicants - those coming from western constitutional democracies.
To begin with the "old" and common problems: Goldstein was not able to present evidence proving beyond doubt that the harassment and serious abuse he had been subjected to was actually carried out by police officers. For obvious reasons, such evidence is all but impossible to produce, especially where persecution emanates from police officers acting outside the law but benefiting from both the organisational means of the law enforcement apparatus and the "code of silence" which is a characteristic feature of police around the world.
However, the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention does not require such proof. Instead, a refugee must merely substantiate in a plausible way a "well-founded fear" of persecution. The Swedish Aliens Appeals Board found that Goldstein had not proven that "police authorities in the USA" lay behind the attacks. As a matter of fact, Goldstein never claimed this. "Rogue" police cannot be equated with the police authorities. But thanks to his education and his familiarity with western legal standards, Goldstein was able to present comprehensive evidence showing that he had been the target of attacks for a long time, that these attacks were closely related to his political activity as regards their timing and growing intensity, and that the pattern of police abuse he claims to have been exposed to is well documented both in his home state of Connecticut, and in the US at whole. Moreover, he showed that all his efforts to seek redress and protection from US authorities remained fruitless.
It seems Swedish immigration authorities were well aware of the weight of this evidence that should have led to Goldstein being granted protection. In actual fact, they have not made any attempt to invalidate any of the numerous pieces of evidence and statements in support of Goldstein's claim and have explicitly admitted that Goldstein may have been a victim of criminal acts carried out by "individual police officers". Instead, the Immigration authorities appear to have based their decisions on two arguments:
- their assessment of the USA as a constitutional democracy, i.e. a genuinely "safe country of origin";
- the fact that Goldstein is not a victim of state-sponsored persecution.
As regards the latter, Swedish authorities appear to have acted in line with the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council 1995 "Joint Position" defining the term 'refugee', rather than in compliance with national law (see FECL No.39: "Joint Position on a common definition of the term 'refugee'"). This Joint Position states that persecution generally emanates from an "organ of the state" and that, as a rule, persecution by other parties shall be considered as an asylum ground only when it is "encouraged and authorised" by public authorities.
However, pressed by human rights and asylum groups at home, Sweden was the only member state to add a declaration to the Joint Position stating that the Refugee Convention shall also apply where a state is incapable of protecting a person from persecution by other parties.
As to the interpretation of the term "safe country of origin", the Goldstein case must be considered against the background of recent developments of EU asylum policies.
Indeed a Protocol on asylum applications from citizens from other EU-member states attached to the Amsterdam Treaty provides that, as a rule, a member state of the EU will not admit asylum applications from citizens of another EU country. Implicitly, this amounts to differing between applications from "fairly safe countries" and those from "absolutely safe countries". In Amsterdam the EU governments agreed that their countries belonged to the latter category. At that time, UNHCR voiced strong concern that the principle stated in the protocol could undermine the rights of people in genuine need of protection and could result in other regions in the world introducing similar rules.
As opposed to Belgium (the only member state to do so), Sweden refrained from adding a reservation to the protocol, but in a letter of 21 August 1997 the Swedish Minister responsible for asylum, Pierre Schori, reassured concerned Swedish NGOs that "Sweden has not agreed to any restriction of [EU-citizens'] right to seek asylum in another EU-country" and went on to state that "Sweden will examine asylum applications wherever they come from". Just one month later, SIV turned down Goldstein's asylum application and ordered his immediate removal without any individual examination and on the mere grounds that his country of origin was an "internationally recognised" constitutional democracy - read: an "absolutely safe country".
The Goldstein case highlights a trend, initiated by the Amsterdam Protocol on asylum applications from EU citizens, towards "politicising" asylum. The protocol implicitly establishes the view that granting asylum, or merely examining an application, from a citizen of another EU country, is tantamount to questioning a friendly country's status as a "internationally recognised" democracy and constitutional state, and therefore must be regarded as an unfriendly act.
The problem was addressed by an internal paper of the UNHCR shortly before the EU Summit in Amsterdam:
"By declaring the refugee a social and humanitarian problem, which should not become a cause of tension between States, and by regulating it in this manner, the 1951 Convention [on refugees] works to ensure that no discord is sown among Contracting States. It does so not least by depoliticising the process of refugee status determination through employing a universal definition linked to a judgement of individual circumstances not State behaviour. It also works on the basis that all asylum applications should be processed, without discrimination or favour regardless of inter-State concerns. The new proposal [the Amsterdam protocol on asylum applications from EU countries] would work to the contrary, by making refugee protection depend on highly inter-State consultations and specific judgements about the behaviour of States".18
In light of the above, the handling of the Goldstein case is particularly disquieting. It indicates that, out of "inter-State concerns" (i.e friendly relations with the US) Sweden is already applying the logic of the EU Amsterdam protocol in dealing with an application from outside the EU. The final outcome of the Goldstein case is therefore likely to become a precedent with international implications. As a consequence of EU "inter-State concerns" it might soon become virtually impossible for citizens from "internationally recognised" (western) democracies such as the USA, Canada, and Australia to seek protection in Europe.
Ironically, such concerns do not appear to plague the USA. Last year, a German and a Swiss citizen were granted refugee status in the US. Nobody in Europe drew the conclusion that the USA thereby questioned the status of Germany and Switzerland as stable and constitutional democracies.