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G M
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« Reply #200 on: May 03, 2010, 08:44:40 AM »

Believe me, this is not the only avenue they are looking at. A lot of detective are running down leads from about every conceivable angle aside from this video.
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G M
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« Reply #201 on: May 03, 2010, 09:18:45 AM »

From the AP:

Investigators were also looking to speak with a man in his 40s videotaped shedding his shirt near the sport utility vehicle where the bomb was found.

The surveillance video, made public late Sunday, shows an unidentified white man apparently in his 40s slipping down Shubert Alley and taking off his shirt, revealing another underneath. In the same clip, he's seen looking back in the direction of the smoking vehicle and furtively putting the first shirt in a bag.

The NYPD and FBI also were examining "hundreds of hours" of security videotape from around Times Square.

Police said the crude gasoline-and-propane bomb could have produced "a significant fireball" and sprayed shrapnel and metal parts with enough force to kill pedestrians and knock out windows. The SUV was parked on one of America's busiest streets, lined with Broadway theaters and restaurants and full of people out on a Saturday night.

___
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G M
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« Reply #202 on: May 03, 2010, 10:20:35 AM »

http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/nyc-times-square-car-bomber-surveillance-video-10536898

Thoughts?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #203 on: May 03, 2010, 10:55:17 AM »

Amateur hour. No diesel, wrong fert, timers and fire crackers to initiate, no redundancy. Hope they sort our who these folks were working for.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #204 on: May 03, 2010, 11:03:14 AM »

I think GM was asking whether we were glad to have video from a surveillance camera , , ,
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G M
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« Reply #205 on: May 03, 2010, 11:18:30 AM »

Either/or.

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Sections/NEWS/NYPD-London.pdf

Note the last page.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #206 on: May 03, 2010, 11:38:59 AM »

I've a fair amount of experience with security cams; had footage of mine appear on America's Most Wanted that helped secure arrests and convictions. Cams are a very mixed blessing. You get something redhanded as I did, you still got to match the face to one of the 3 billion plus people crawling the planet. In my case pawned merch narrowed things down to the point that became possible, though the guy we had the most frames of was also very good at changing his appearance so software that matched features had to be employed.

And that's just the glory stuff. To get to that point you have to wade through a lot of data. My system was analog at the time, which meant I had to eyeball each cam in more or less real time. Had frames caught on 5 cams, which means real time x 5. Talk about utterly tedious. Oh wait, did they case the place? We keep 60 days of footage. 5 x 60 days gets you into mind numbing territory. I helped, thank goodness the cops did most the work. We've since gone digital which allows us to use some software cheats and there were some I employed with the analog footage, but this stuff is utter tedium and leads to more blind alleys than it does gotchas. One thief had an odd gait; imagine watching 300 days worth of video looking for someone who walks funny. Just thinking about all that fun makes me want to scream. Very easy to zone out and have to start over again.

I could go on, but my take is the film they got of someone stripping off a shirt won't amount to much. The MSM is vid starved so I think the vid got tossed out as a bone they could replay umpteen times. Hoping something meatier is being held in reserve, but know from hard experience that a fuzzy vid of some random guy does not a closed case make.

Big reorg around work tomorrow that'll have me inheriting headaches. I might be scarce over the next week or so as this stuff sorts out.
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G M
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« Reply #207 on: May 03, 2010, 03:38:35 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/03/AR2010050300847_pf.html

Officials increasingly see international link in Times Square bomb attempt

By Spencer S. Hsu, Anne E. Kornblut And Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 3, 2010; 3:52 PM



The failed car bombing in Times Square increasingly appears to have been coordinated by more than one person in a plot with international links, Obama administration officials said Tuesday.

The disclosure, while tentative, came as the White House intensified its focus on the Saturday incident in New York City, in which explosives inside a Nissan Pathfinder were set ablaze but failed to detonate at the tourist-crowded corner of Broadway and 45th Street.
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G M
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« Reply #208 on: May 03, 2010, 03:45:23 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7674080/Two-men-hunted-over-Times-Square-car-bomb.html

Two men hunted over Times Square car bomb
Police investigating a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square are hunting two men filmed acting suspiciously at the scene.
 
By Tom Leonard in New York
Published: 7:04PM BST 03 May 2010

Link to this video They released security camera footage shot just after the car was abandoned with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.

It showed a white man in his 40s stopping in the street near the car, looking around and taking off his dark shirt, revealing a red one underneath.

 Stuffing the shirt into a bag, the man glanced back towards the now smoking car and he walked off in the opposite direction.

Raymond Kelly, the chief of New York's police, said the man was acting in a "furtive" manner.

Investigators were also expected to release another videotape, shot by a tourist, which was expected to show a man running north on Broadway away from the area.
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G M
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« Reply #209 on: May 03, 2010, 03:53:18 PM »

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/times-square-car-bomber-police-release-video-suspect/story?id=10534834

Persons of interest.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #210 on: May 03, 2010, 04:59:48 PM »

Let's take this to the Homeland Security thread.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #211 on: May 04, 2010, 11:58:59 AM »

This has me looking like a Jewish Don King

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8EjQrrsZIU&feature=player_embedded

especially when combined with this:

Bailout Bill Would Require Banks to Track and Report Personal Checking Accounts to Feds

Published on 04-30-2010

It’s amazing to watch the civil libertarians hide when Democrats propose the most sweeping intrusions of privacy in generations.  In addition to the litany of bad policies contained in the Dodd Financial Reform bill is this nugget on pages 1039-1040.  In short, it extends government reach to every deposit account of every citizen.

Required Acct MonitoringSubtitle G of the Dodd discussion draft bill requires that records be maintained and reported “for each branch, automated teller machine at which deposits are accepted, and other deposit taking service facility with respect to any financial institution, the financial institution shall maintain a record of the number and dollar amounts of deposit accounts of customers.”

What’s worse, banks will be required to submit these records to the new super regulatory agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (page 1041).  The CFPA will be allowed to use this information for any purpose “as permitted by law” under CFPA rules—rules set by CFPA themselves.

So, lets get this straight—the law requires banks to snoop on its customers MOST PERSONAL INFORMATION and submit it to another government agency so it can be used anyway the CFPA see’s fit.

Must submit to CFPASo, if the CFPA Czar see’s fit, information about your deposit account activity could be shared with the IRS, immigration officials, state officials, or any other entity that the Administration and their various Czar’s think beneficial.

But CFPA will impact your life even before they give away your personal data. Remember that part of the excuse for including this authority is to make policy recommendations. So, be careful not to run your credit limit too high above the amount of money you are depositing in the bank or the CFPA will know you can’t pay your bills and make the appropriate “policy recommendations”.

This is exactly why conservatives have fought so hard against things like national ID cards—if the government is authorized to collect and utilize data, there is no way to prevent the government as a whole or certain individuals within the government from using the information against the citizens.

But passage of the CFPA will settle the whole ID card thing once and for all. There will be no need for them because if you have a bank account, you already have a number and the CFPA will have it.

The breadth of sweeping new powers given to the federal government by these three pages is astonishing.  Yet we have heard nary a peep about this provision.

After capitulation and surrender, Republicans will have a chance to amend the legislation when it comes to the floor of the Senate and protect the private details of your banking account.

But if they don’t, smile the next time you go to the ATM because Big Brother will be watching.

article: http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-8469-0-13-13--.html

 
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G M
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« Reply #212 on: May 04, 2010, 03:59:33 PM »

The PA. ad is silly.

The 2nd is a real issue, especially with the costs involved in archiving the data, which we all get to foot the bill for.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #213 on: May 04, 2010, 04:40:05 PM »

IMHO storage technology is accelerating exponentially and costs are dropping dramatically.  No firewall to be found on that front.
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G M
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« Reply #214 on: May 04, 2010, 04:49:26 PM »

There are still administrative costs related to storage, audits. I know banks already have to hire staff just to meet current financial reporting statutes. In the big picture, the feds or other LE can already pick apart your financial transactions without much effort anyway.

www.fincen.gov
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Rarick
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« Reply #215 on: May 05, 2010, 04:44:37 AM »

I think a lot of Libertarians have given up the political fight and are just "shrugging" out of the city.  Maybe it is that crucial percentage that allowed the Rebublicans to go Neocon, and the Dems to go progressive.........
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #216 on: May 11, 2010, 09:01:16 PM »

http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/11/a-drug-raid-goes-viral

A Drug Raid Goes Viral

A violent drug raid posted to YouTube catches fire online. But the only thing unusual about the raid is that it was caught on video.

Radley Balko | May 11, 2010

Last week, a Columbia, Missouri, drug raid captured on video went viral. As of this morning, the video had garnered 950,000 views on YouTube. It has lit up message boards, blogs, and discussion groups around the Web, unleashing anger, resentment and even, regrettably, calls for violence against the police officers who conducted the raid. I've been writing about and researching these raids for about five years, including raids that claimed the lives of innocent children, grandmothers, college students, and bystanders. Innocent families have been terrorized by cops who raided on bad information, or who raided the wrong home due to some careless mistake. There's never been a reaction like this one.

But despite all the anger the raid has inspired, the only thing unusual thing here is that the raid was captured on video, and that the video was subsequently released to the press. Everything else was routine. Save for the outrage coming from Columbia residents themselves, therefore, the mass anger directed at the Columbia Police Department over the last week is misdirected. Raids just like the one captured in the video happen 100-150 times every day in America. Those angered by that video should probably look to their own communities. Odds are pretty good that your local police department is doing the same thing.

First, some background on the raid depicted in the video: On February 11, the Columbia, Missouri, police department's SWAT team served a drug warrant at the home of Jonathan Whitworth and Brittany Montgomery. Police say that eight days earlier they had received a tip from a confidential informant that Whitworth had a large supply of marijuana in his home. They say they first conducted a trash pull, and found marijuana residue in the family's garbage. During the raid, police shot and killed the family's pit bull. At least one bullet ricocheted, injuring the family's pet corgi. Whitworth, Montgomery, and their 7-year-old son were at home at the time. The incident was written up in the Columbia Daily Tribune, noted on a few blogs that cover drug policy (including a post I put up here at Reason), and then largely forgotten for several weeks.

On April 28, I received an email from Montgomery. She had seen my post at Reason and read an account of some of my reporting on SWAT teams published in Reader's Digest. She said she was reading to her son in his bedroom at the time of the raid. Her husband had just returned home from work. Police fired on their pets within seconds of entering the home.

"I've never felt so violated or more victimized in my life," Montgomery wrote. "It's absolutely the most helpless and hopeless feeling I could ever imagine. I can't sleep right ... and I am constantly paranoid. It's a horrible feeling ... to lose the safety and security I thought I was entitled to in my own home. Nobody protected us that night, my son and I were locked in the back of a police car for nearly four hours on a school night while they destroyed my home."

According to Montgomery, when the couple's neighbors inquired about the raid, they were told that the SWAT team had merely conducted a drill, and no shots were fired. When neighbors learned from the family that this was a lie, they began writing to the department and the Daily Tribune to demand answers. When the couple discovered the police had videotaped the raid, they requested a copy of the video. Montgomery said in her email that the copy they were initially given had no audio, and the incriminating (to the police) portions of the video had been removed.

On February 23, the Daily Tribune published its first story on the raid. The paper made its own request for the SWAT video, which the police department initially denied. On April 20, Jonathan Whitworth pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He wasn't even charged for the minor amount of marijuana in his home (marijuana for personal use has been decriminalized in Columbia). He was issued a $300 fine. On April 27, the Daily Tribune made a formal request for the video, which it received on April 30, with full audio and with no visuals removed. The paper posted the video with an accompanying article on May 3. On May 5, I posted it here at Reason, and the video went viral.

The police department has since conceded it was unaware that there were pets or a child in the home at the time of the raid. A spokesman for the Columbia Police Department initially said police had to conduct the raid immediately before the drug supply could be moved, a statement later shown to be false when police revealed the raid was conducted more than a week after the initial tip.

According to surveys of police departments conducted by University of Eastern Kentucky criminologist Peter Kraska, we've seen about a 1,500 percent increase in SWAT deployments in this country since the early 1980s. The vast majority of that increase has been to serve search warrants on people suspected of nonviolent drug crimes. SWAT teams are inherently violent. In some ways they're an infliction of punishment before conviction. This is why they should only be used in situations where the suspect presents an immediate threat to others. In that case, SWAT teams use violence to defuse an already violent situation. When they're used to serve drug warrants for consensual crimes, however, SWAT tactics create violence where no violence was present before. Even when everything goes right in such a raid, breaking into the home of someone merely suspected of a nonviolent, consensual crime is an inappropriate use of force in a free society.

The overwhelmingly negative reaction to the video is interesting. Clearly, a very large majority of the people who have seen it are disturbed by it. But this has been going on for 30 years. We've reached the point where police have no qualms about a using heavily armed police force trained in military tactics to serve a search warrant on a suspected nonviolent marijuana offender. And we didn't get here by accident. The war on drugs has been escalating and militarizing for a generation. What's most disturbing about that video isn't the violence depicted in it, but that  such violence has become routine.

As horrifying as the video from Columbia, Missouri, is, no human beings were killed. The police got the correct address, and they found the man they were looking for. In many other cases, such raids transpire based on little more than a tip from an anonymous or confidential informant. Nor is it unusual for raids just as violent as the one depicted in the video to turn up little in the way of drugs or weapons. (Whitworth wasn't exactly an outstanding citizen—he had a prior drug and DWI conviction. But he had no history of violence, and there were no weapons in the home.) Surveys conducted by newspapers around the country after one of these raids goes bad have found that police only find weapons of any kind somewhere between 10-20 percent of the time. The percentage of raids that turn up a significant amount of drugs tends to vary, but a large percentage only result in misdemeanor charges at worst.

Shooting the family's dogs isn't unusual, either. To be fair, that's in part because some drug dealers do in fact obtain vicious dogs to guard their supply. But there are other, safer ways to deal with these dogs than shooting them. In the Columbia case, a bullet fired at one dog ricocheted and struck another dog. The bullet could just as easily have struck a person. In the case of Tarika Wilson, a Lima, Ohio, SWAT officer mistook the sounds of a colleague shooting a drug dealer's dogs for hostile gunfire. He then opened fire into a bedroom, killing a 23-year-old mother and shooting the hand off of the one-year-old child in her arms.

The Columbia raid wasn't even a "no-knock" raid. The police clearly announced themselves before entering. The Supreme Court has ruled that police must knock and announce themselves before entering a home to serve a search warrant. If they want to enter without knocking, they have to show specific evidence that the suspect could be dangerous or is likely to dispose of contraband if police abide by the knock-and-announce rule. As is evident in the Columbia video, from the perspective of the people inside the home that requirement is largely ceremonial. If you were in a backroom of that house, or asleep, it isn't at all difficult to see how you'd have no idea if the armed men in your home were police officers. The first sounds you heard would have been gunfire.

But because this was a knock-and-announce raid, the police didn't need to show that Whitworth had a violent background or may have had guns in the home to use the violent tactics in the video. They didn't need to show that Whitworth posed any sort of threat at all, other than the fact he was suspected of dealing marijuana. Though SWAT teams are frequently defended as necessary tools reserved for the most dangerous of drug offenders, the reality is that in many communities, all search warrants are served with forced entry and paramilitary tactics.

The militarization of America's police departments has taken place over a generation, due to a number of bad policy decisions from politicians and government officials, ranging from federal grants for drug fighting to a Pentagon giveaway program that makes military equipment available to local police departments for free or at steep discounts. Mostly, though, it's due to the ill-considered "war" imagery our politicians continue to invoke when they refer to drug prohibition. Repeat the mantra that we're at war with illicit drugs often enough, and the cops on the front lines of that war will naturally begin to think of themselves as soldiers. And that's particularly true when you outfit them in war equipment, weaponry, and armor. This is dangerous, because the objectives of cops and soldiers are very different. One is charged with annihilating a foreign enemy. The other is charged with keeping the peace.

Soon enough, our police officers begin to see drug suspects not as American citizens with constitutional rights, but as enemy combatants. Pets, bystanders, and innocents caught in the crossfire can be dismissed as regrettable but inevitable collateral damage, just as we do with collateral damage in actual wars. This is how we get images like those depicted in the video.

It's heartening that nearly a million people have now seen the Columbia video. But it needs some context. The officers in that video aren't rogue cops. They're no different than other SWAT teams across the country. The raid itself is no different from the tens of thousands of drug raids carried out each year in the U.S. If the video is going to effect any change, the Internet anger directed at the Columbia Police Department needs to be redirected to America's drug policy in general. Calling for the heads of the Columbia SWAT team isn't going to stop these raids. Calling for the heads of the politicians who defend these tactics and promote a "war on drugs" that's become all too literal—that just might.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
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Rarick
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« Reply #217 on: May 12, 2010, 04:51:34 AM »

that is the point that needs to be made- these raids are happening for realtively minor crimes.  There was one last year that was for an alleged Xbox theft, and several others made based on unverified informant statements.  You add these 3 factors up and there is a shift to what is increasingly looking like punative raids to encourage the others.........

Even smaller departments that do not need a swat team are getting them, which is creating a bad trend towards a police state, once they have a team the start finding uses for it.......
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G M
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« Reply #218 on: May 12, 2010, 11:06:21 PM »

Drug dealers present potentially serious threats. Using a tactical team is entirely reasonable to serve a search warrant. As usual, Radly Balko fills his writing with misinformation, if not outright lies.
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G M
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« Reply #219 on: May 13, 2010, 08:40:13 AM »

http://www.shouselaw.com/search-warrants.html

Although the above is Cali. specific, most all of applies to other states as well.
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G M
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« Reply #220 on: May 13, 2010, 08:57:56 AM »

http://www.fletc.gov/training/programs/legal-division/podcasts/4th-amendment-roadmap-podcasts/4th-amendment-transcripts/search-warrants-podcast-transcript.html

Search Warrants (podcast transcript)Miller:    We’re back.  This is Tim Miller and Jennifer Solari.  We’re making some progress don’t you think, Jenna?

Solari:    I think so.

Miller:     Ah, we’ve explained that a government intrusion into a place where one has a reasonable expectation of privacy triggers the 4th Amendment, and that once triggered, the search has to be reasonable and to be reasonable the courts are typically going to require probable cause supporting a warrant.  Now Jenna you did an excellent job explaining probable cause.

Solari:    Thanks.

Miller:    Now I’m going to ask what’s a search warrant?

Solari:    In a nut shell, it’s judicial permission to search a particular place for specific evidence of a crime.

Miller:    Who can issue one?

Solari:    Federal judges or state court judges of record, as long as they’re neutral and detached.  And, when I say neutral and detached, I mean they’re just not partial to either side. 

Federal judges obviously can issue warrants and there are magistrate judges, district court judges, appellate court judges and of course we have justices of the Supreme Court.  I really don’t envision too many agents knocking on the doors of the Supreme Court to get a warrant.  For the most part, they’re going to be dealing with federal magistrate judges and as I stated state court judges of record can also issue warrants. 

I’m doubt a whole lot of federal agents use state court judges of record, but I would imagine that it probably comes into play when we have people, say working for Bureau of Land Management, where they may be a single agent by him or herself, way out in the wilderness, and they just don’t have easy access to a federal court.  Whether a court is a  court of record, a state court of record, is determined by state law, but an essential feature of that is a permanent record - a record of proceedings be kept and be made in that state court.  That’s what makes it a court of record.

Miller:      Sounds to me like most federal agents are going to be going before federal judges.  Do you agree?

Solari:    That’s right and for the most part; it’s going to be a magistrate court judge.

Miller:    Federal magistrate?

Solari:    Yes.

Miller:    Do the judges have any kind of jurisdictional limits?

Solari:    Yes; since federal search warrants can be issued by federal judges, or again from a judge in the state court of record.  They’re issued to search for and seize a person or property located within that judge’s district.  So, with a few limited exceptions, the person to be searched, or the place to be searched has to be found within that judge’s district.

Miller:    What district does Georgia fall into?

Solari:    First, federal districts don’t cross state lines.  Each state consists of one or more districts.  Kansas is only a single district.  Georgia has three districts - the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia.

Miller:    Suppose an agent wanted to search a house here in Brunswick, Georgia; where would the agent go for a search warrant?

Solari:    Well, since Brunswick is in the Southern District of Georgia, the agent would go to a federal magistrate within the Southern District.

Miller:    Makes sense.

Solari:    Mmmhmm

Miller:    What if the person or thing to be searched moved outside of the district before the search?

Solari:    Well as long as the place to be searched is within the judge’s district when the warrant’s issued, the warrant can still be executed outside the district if that item or place happens to move.

Miller:    Are there any exceptions to these jurisdiction requirements?

Solari:    A couple.  Nation wide warrants are authorized in certain cases.  Say for instance terrorist activities occur within a certain district; the judge in that district can issue a warrant that’s good in any other district, as long as some of those terrorist activities took place in that judge’s district.  Also, in cases of stored electronic communications, nation wide search warrants are possible by a judge with jurisdiction over the offense that’s involved.

Miller:    Now we talked about this before when we were talking about probable cause; but, how does an agent get a search warrant?

Solari:    With a search warrant application; and, again that application consists of three primary pieces of information.  The agent has to set forth where he or she wants to search.  We have to particularly describe the place to be searched to a reasonable certainty. 

The agent has to set forth what he wants to search for.  Again, with particularity so we know what the agent’s authorized to search for and seize. 

And, of course, probable cause.  This is the meat of the application describing the facts that support probable cause.  It shows that the things to be searched for are located in the place to be searched.

Miller:    Now let’s, let’s talk a little bit about each of these three parts.  How does the agent describe the place to be searched?

Solari:    Well, first let’s talk about where the requirement comes from.  The 4th Amendment actually states that no warrant shall issue without a particular description describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. So agents have to describe the place with reasonable certainty.  I’d like to explain that.  Let’s say, someone’s not involved in your operation at all.  You’re running a case and you’ve obtained a warrant from the court, but for some reason you and your team can’t execute it that day.  You need someone else to come in and do it for you.  That person should be able to pick up your warrant and based on your description of that place, they should be able to get to that place and identify it to a reasonable certainty - so they know they’re at the right place when they execute that warrant.

Miller:    So somebody’s given directions to a party before, he ought to accomplish this task.  Don’t you think?

Solari:    I think so.

Miller:    What can agents search for?

Solari:    Well you can find that list in Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures 41C.  There’s a laundry list of things like evidence of a crime, and that seems like it includes just about anything, but let me give you a for instance. 

Bloody clothes would be evidence of a crime if you suspect someone of an assault, rape, or murder.  We can also search for contraband and by that, I mean stuff that’s illegal to possess, like drugs, explosives, or child pornography; just unlawful to possess in of themselves.  We can search for fruits of a crime, so the fruits of a larceny maybe a stolen t.v. set or something else that was stole from a premises.  We can search for instruments of crime, things that were used in the offense, like the gun used in the bank robbery, or we can search for a person to be arrested or a person who is being illegally held. 

Miller:    I guess that agents also have to be pretty careful about how they describe those things, don’t they?

Solari:    Yes.  Again, the 4th Amendment requires that the things to be seized be described with particularity, which makes sense.  The particularity requirement makes sure that a search is confined in its scope to the particular described evidence that relates to the crime for which the agent demonstrated probable cause.  So if the agent’s looking for contraband, then he has to tell the magistrate what kind of contraband  You can’t just say contraband or items illegally possessed.  You have to be specific and say for instance marijuana.  If the agent is looking for a stolen TV set, or the gun that was used in the robbery, he has to describe those items and if possible give the make, model or even a serial number if one is available.

Miller:    Now the third piece of this puzzle is that probable cause affidavit.  Now we discussed this a little bit earlier when we talked about probable cause.  Ah, can you reiterate a little bit?

Solari:    Sure.  The affidavit establishes, or should establish a nexus between those items you’re looking for - the evidence you’re seeking - and the place that you want to search. The standard proof again is probable cause - facts that would lead a person of reasonable caution to believe that that search is going to reveal specific evidence of the crime that you suspect. So, factors to consider in determining whether you satisfied that nexus requirement would be direct observations. 

Suppose an informant with a reliable track record tells you that he saw narcotics in the suspect’s home.  So there we have a nexus between possession of illegal narcotics and the suspect’s home.  The nature of the crime and the items sought. 

We talked before about the sale of counterfeit currency.  It’s only natural to think that if a person has something of high value, they are probably going to secure it in their home.  Sometimes agents have to rely on inferences rather than a direct observation.  Umm and we have to be mindful also so that the information can’t be stale, and this probably comes into play most often with drug offenses. 

If your informant came to you and said he saw narcotic in the suspects home, the very next question you probably need to ask is “when?.”  If this was six months ago, narcotics  might not be there any longer.  The information is stale.  The age of the information is going to be a critical factor in determining probable cause, depending on the item that you’re looking for.

Miller:    Okay, thanks.  I tell ya, let’s take a break and when we come back, we’ll talk about how these warrants must be executed.  You know like who can execute them, the method of entry, locations that can be searched, durations of search, and the need to inventory what’s taken.

Solari:    All right.
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Freki
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« Reply #221 on: May 13, 2010, 08:58:34 AM »

John Stossel - A Cops License to Steal



To me Private property is the foundation this country is built on and should be held almost sacred  in nature.
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G M
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« Reply #222 on: May 13, 2010, 09:02:22 AM »

I don't mind the seizure of assets, but it should only happen after a conviction. It should never happen with charges not being filed.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 09:10:41 AM by G M » Logged
G M
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« Reply #223 on: May 13, 2010, 09:08:55 AM »

http://www.fletc.gov/training/programs/legal-division/podcasts/4th-amendment-roadmap-podcasts/4th-amendment-transcripts/execution-of-a-search-warrant-i.html

http://www.fletc.gov/training/programs/legal-division/podcasts/4th-amendment-roadmap-podcasts/4th-amendment-transcripts/execution-of-a-search-warrant-ii-podcast-transcript.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #224 on: May 13, 2010, 10:22:22 AM »

Quote
Drug dealers present potentially serious threats. Using a tactical team is entirely reasonable to serve a search warrant. As usual, Radly Balko fills his writing with misinformation, if not outright lies.

Wasn't aware that dealable amounts of drugs were found. Balko certainly isn't the the only source for this story and the facts aren't in dispute: off an informants tip SWAT swarmed a family's house and shot their dogs in front of their child. This is not an uncommon set of circumstances, what makes this case unique is that there is a video of it that allows American citizens to draw their own conclusions about the efficacy of SWAT tactics v. an American family and a minuscule amount of pot. The past 3 presidents, as the article mentioned, partook of these small quantities; George Washington's estate records hemp being grown. How 'bout we error on the side of the Bill of Rights for a while and quit scaring the sh!t out of families and killing their dogs over laughable amounts of dope claimed by dubious informants?
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G M
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« Reply #225 on: May 13, 2010, 11:17:27 AM »

It appears that a dealable amount wasn't found, however this does not mean that they were not there earlier. Dealer implies that the drugs are being sold. A search warrant was issued by a judge, who obviously found there was probable cause to believe there was evidence of a crime to be seized at the residence. Pardon the officers serving a search warrant for not wanting to be a pit bull's chew toy. Shooting an aggressive dog is quite reasonable and to be expected under those circumstances.

So, when G. Washington grew hemp, was it legal? Yes.

Has any court anywhere ruled that drug laws are unconstitutional? No.

Can you offer any evidence that the search warrant in Radly Balko's little propaganda piece was unlawful or unconstitutional? You may not like drug laws or tactical teams and search warrants, but the general public does, so I guess you'll just have to adjust to the concept.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #226 on: May 13, 2010, 11:55:31 AM »

I think the concept of intercepting everyone's electronic correspondences is fundamentally un-American. I think the idea of police forces kicking in citizens doors more than 100 times a day in the name of the WOD is fundamentally un-American. The Founders were quite clear in their feelings on these matters--see the Federalist Papers et al--and I so have little sympathy for arguments that go "that's the way it is and a judge signed the paper so deal with it." Something every bit as wrong as BHO's appropriation of the healthcare system has occurred, and if you are unable to see it no amount of keyboarding on my end is going to change that.

Do you have a source for your ad hominem attacks on Balko? His pieces appear well documented, his stats are sourced, the incidents he speaks to are easily found; is there some piece of information out there I'm missing that would taint him as a source? I've already mentioned the case of the local Mayor who had his two friendly, fleeing dogs shot by SWAT as part of an abject intelligence failure and raid; the viral nature of the video certainly ought to give you an idea what American citizens think of this use of force, and if these raids are indeed occurring at a rate of up to 150 per day isn't it appropriate for citizens to weigh the benefits and costs and then speak accordingly? Or is there nothing to see here and we should just move along and perhaps reinforce our doors?
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G M
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« Reply #227 on: May 13, 2010, 12:08:53 PM »

I think the concept of intercepting everyone's electronic correspondences is fundamentally un-American. I think the idea of police forces kicking in citizens doors more than 100 times a day in the name of the WOD is fundamentally un-American.

**These are your opinions, however you are in the minority.**

The Founders were quite clear in their feelings on these matters--see the Federalist Papers et al--and I so have little sympathy for arguments that go "that's the way it is and a judge signed the paper so deal with it."

**THe 4th amd. says No UNREASONABLE search and seizure, not No search and seizure. **

Something every bit as wrong as BHO's appropriation of the healthcare system has occurred, and if you are unable to see it no amount of keyboarding on my end is going to change that.

Do you have a source for your ad hominem attacks on Balko? His pieces appear well documented, his stats are sourced, the incidents he speaks to are easily found; is there some piece of information out there I'm missing that would taint him as a source? I've already mentioned the case of the local Mayor who had his two friendly, fleeing dogs shot by SWAT as part of an abject intelligence failure and raid; the viral nature of the video certainly ought to give you an idea what American citizens think of this use of force, and if these raids are indeed occurring at a rate of up to 150 per day isn't it appropriate for citizens to weigh the benefits and costs and then speak accordingly? Or is there nothing to see here and we should just move along and perhaps reinforce our doors?


I've never seen anything from Balko that wasn't hysterical misinformation. Oh my, the widdle puppies got shot! Sad eyes...... cry
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G M
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« Reply #228 on: May 13, 2010, 01:15:22 PM »

"In many other cases, such raids transpire based on little more than a tip from an anonymous or confidential informant."

Ok, first of all, there is a big difference between an anonymous and a confidential informant. I'm sure Mr. Balko understands the difference, but he doesn't want the truth to get in the way of stirring the the uninformed into a hysterical froth.

I know that reading all the real case law and police procedure I post isn't nearly as satisfying as getting upset that the hemp that our first president grew is now geting sad-faced doggies shot, but if you want to make a reasoned arguement you're going to have to employ logic rather than waving bloody dog collars.

Ok good info on CIs: http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/articles/lom/0311/establishing_informant_reliability.html

Now on using anonymous informant for a search warrant: http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=172539

Intended for police training, this report summarizes the facts and reasoning that led to an appellate court decision that a court was not justified in issuing a search warrant based solely on information provided by an anonymous informant to a law enforcement officer.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #229 on: May 13, 2010, 03:31:10 PM »

Balko: ad hominem is all that's needed, check.

Dogs: tough sh!t, check.

Quote
I think the concept of intercepting everyone's electronic correspondences is fundamentally un-American. I think the idea of police forces kicking in citizens doors more than 100 times a day in the name of the WOD is fundamentally un-American.

**These are your opinions, however you are in the minority.**

You aren't paying attention. Finally a video of one of these grossly counterproductive raids emerges and the reaction clearly leaves your side of the argument in the minority. I say film 'em all and then broadcast 'em on Spike. Call the program "Dope Raids." Betcha Americans only to to see so many grannies get their heads kneeled on before the hue and cry cuts this stupidity by 75 percent.

I've mentioned the mayor raided in the DC area a couple time with scant response. Are you defending that dog shoot, grandma head kneeling too? Are only the raids launched clearly in error and the ones caught on video questionable, or is perhaps the percentage higher than the few we actually have documentation for?
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G M
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« Reply #230 on: May 13, 2010, 03:49:50 PM »

So exactly what is your policy suggestion for search warrants?


I'll bet a keg of Guinness that next year and the year after that tactical teams are still shooting the occasional dog and even kicking in the wrong door every so often to serve search warrant.

I quoted Radly Balko from the article you posted and then showed how he deliberately placed confidential informant in with anonymous informant for propaganda purposes. Either that, of he knows less on the topic than anyone who read this thread and half-way paid attention. Either scenario does not lend credibility to his writing on the topic. Call that an ad hominem if you want.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #231 on: May 13, 2010, 07:31:04 PM »


"I don't mind the seizure of assets, but it should only happen after a conviction. It should never happen with charges not being filed."

AMEN!!!  And, to be perfectly clear, nor should it happen with only charges filed.

As for my recommended search warrant policy, it would start by dramatically limiting or ending the WOD.  I suppose that one can make a case that certain drugs physiologically bypass free will, hence personal responsibility, but that really cannot be said of pot.

IMHO the pot prohibitions violate our 9th Amendment rights to pursue happiness as we see fit and as such should be voided by the Supreme Court.  This would make for a lot less door kicking.
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G M
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« Reply #232 on: May 13, 2010, 10:58:37 PM »

I'll never say never, but it's very doubtful that any search warrants are being issued/served anywhere for personal use quantities of marijuana. I'd also note that I doubt very many, if any originalist scholars would interpret the 9th to mean that weed smoking was an inherent right.

The WOD will continue until you see a serious shift in numbers from what this polling says: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20002941-503544.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #233 on: May 13, 2010, 11:07:44 PM »

Weed was legal until 1936, yes?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #234 on: May 14, 2010, 10:06:44 AM »

Okay, so you've dismissed the whole of Balko's work because of some confidential informant/anonymous informant verbiage issue. Think his work is sourced and so stands on it's own despite any semantic dispute. Yes he takes a strong Libertarian stand every bit as ardent as your Authoritarian stand. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I find value in the data he presents.

I've rolled/sparred with a lot of cops in my martial training. About 80 plus percent have been clowns who thought their innate authority should somehow impact my offense. Few of 'em lasted in class any longer than any other of the testosterone addled punks we'd have come through class.

I've shot with a lot of cops. About 80 percent plus have been clowns who have no business unholstering a weapon in a violent encounter. None have proved any more educable than the MA folks noted above.

I volunteer at the local police academy as a role player. About 80 percent of the candidates I've dealt with have no business being cops. Their takedowns are laughable, their cuff use sucks after 12 weeks of training, their baton skills would leave a Filipino in hysterics. And so on.

Now I'm willing to cede that you are not a member of that 80 percent, but those guys get in, move up the ranks, and if they are particularly good at scenting the political winds and tonguing a$$ they become command staff where budgets are made or broken off what you confiscate, as the feds shower them with shiny new boomsticks and armored toys, while the WOD turns a huge swath of otherwise average citizens into fodder for confiscations, high profile raids, and successful arrest stats. And amid these buffoons showered with perverse incentives we are supposed to believe all but the rare raid where there happens to be a non-PD controlled source of information available are good? I don't buy it.

Here's one that happened earlier this week, sending a granny to the hospital with a coronary:

WSB News      
Woman Hospitalized Following Botched Raid
By Jon Lewis @ May 13, 2010 6:52 AM Permalink | Comments (30)
(WSB Radio) An elderly Polk County woman is hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a heart attack when drug agents swarm the wrong house.  Machelle Holl tells WSB her 76-year-old mother, Helen Pruett, who lives alone, was at home when nearly a dozen local and federal agents swarmed her house, thinking they were about to arrest suspected drug dealers.
"She was at home and a bang came on the back door and she went to the door and by the time she got to the back door, someone was banging on the front door and then they were banging on her kitchen window saying police, police," said Holl.
 Holl says her house was surrounded and she was scared to open the door.  When the Polk County Police Chief finally convinced her she was safe, she let them in.
"They never served her with a warrant.  At that point, she said the phones were ringing with the other men that were in the yard and they realized that it was the wrong address," said Holl.
Chief Kenny Dodd says they realized the subject they were looking for was not there.
"She made us aware that she was having chest pains and we got her medical attention.  I stayed with her and kept her calm and talked with her, monitored her vital signs until the ambulance arrived," said Dodd.
"My mother has had a heart attack. She has had congestive heart failure and she is in ICU at the moment. She is not good condition and her heart is working only 35 percent," said Holl.
Holl admits that her mother has had three heart attacks but has been doing well for the past couple of years.
"She was traumatized.  Even the doctor said this is what happens when something traumatic happens.  He said it's usually like a death in the family or something like that just absolutely scares them half to death, and that is what has happened," said Holl.
Police say they have had her mother's home under surveillance for two years.   
Holl says if that's true, how could police get the wrong address?
"We have just found out from a neighbor that they (police) went into some other elderly woman's home who was on oxygen and took her oxygen off of her and scared her half to death," said Holl.
Holl remembers the Kathyrn Johnston, the elderly woman shot to death in a botched drug raid in Atlanta, and thinks thinks this kind of thing happens too often.
"They have totally made a really bad mistake.  You would think that with the officers and the SWAT team and the DEA they would make sure that all of their I's are dotted, all of their T's are crossed before they go bursting into someone's home like that," said Holl.
Dodd says he has gone to the hospital to check on Pruett and apologize to the family for what has happened.
Police did end up making seven drug arrests relating to the two year investigation, but the DEA is investigating to see how this mix-up happened.
Categories:local

http://wsbradio.com/localnews/2010/05/woman-hospitalized-following-b.html
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G M
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« Reply #235 on: May 14, 2010, 11:02:09 PM »

Okay, so you've dismissed the whole of Balko's work because of some confidential informant/anonymous informant verbiage issue. Think his work is sourced and so stands on it's own despite any semantic dispute. Yes he takes a strong Libertarian stand every bit as ardent as your Authoritarian stand. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I find value in the data he presents.

**The law is all about the specific use of words with specific definitions. When alarmists such as Balko misinform the public with the idea that a single phone call from an unidentifed person can cause a search warrant to get issued, it's untrue and damaging to both law enforcement and the public. He is the Al Gore of this topic with an agenda that won't let the facts get in the way of emotional propaganda.**
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #236 on: May 15, 2010, 12:42:28 AM »

Valid points, yet so too is the point that cavalier responses to grannies being given heart attacks and family pets being shot is also not good for law enforcement's rep.
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G M
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« Reply #237 on: May 15, 2010, 09:05:39 AM »

There is nothing cavalier in my response, just a statement of fact. Just as innocents and friendlies die of "friendly fire" in combat. As an example, no one bust their hump to become a military aviator just so years down the line, they can accidentally drop a bomb on troops they are trying to support in a firefight with the enemy. I remember seeing footage from Desert Storm where If I recall correctly, a Apache crew chewed up what they thought was a column of Iraqi armor, just to find out they were Bradley fighting vehicles filled with our troops.  I recall the pilot of the helo saying "Oh god" as the vehicles burned. Can you imagine living with that? Do you think cops want to kick in doors in the wrong house and give an elderly woman a heart attack? Do you think there are no consequences for these officers, both formal and informal?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #238 on: May 15, 2010, 09:11:24 AM »

If you read my post again I think you will see that there was no suggestion whatsoeverthat those who make mistakes take it any less lightly than the good human beings that they are.  Rather, the aspersion was on your response here  grin  Humorous reparatee aside, part of the calculus needs to be that such things do happen and need to be weighed with respect for their true meaning and value.
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G M
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« Reply #239 on: May 15, 2010, 09:36:46 AM »

I can assure you that most everyone in law enforcement spends a huge amount of time and energy worrying about the civil and criminal liabilities that come with the job. The vast majority of people that get into this job do it to do the right thing. We do what we do because we want to get the job done and go home at the end of the shift in the same condition we reported for duty in. I have been injured in the line of duty more than once and as I type this I have fresh, open wounds obtained in a struggle that wasn't going to end with us being friends at the end of the day.

I don't want to shoot someone's pet, but I don't want to be someone's pet's chew toy even more. When I first pinned on a badge at 22, I wanted action. Now, I just want to make sure that me and everyone I'm responsible for goes home safe, with as little drama and paperwork as possible.

No one in their right mind says "I want to go out and fcukup so profoundly that I get IA'ed, named in hostile press reports, sued and potentially investigated and prosecuted at the state and local levels.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #240 on: May 15, 2010, 10:17:05 AM »

Understood and agreed!   , , , and not the point as far as I am concerned.  You asked what my suggestions were to decrease these tragedies and invasions of the sanctity of the homes of innocent Americans and I responded by suggesting that we dramatically curtail the WOD.
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G M
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« Reply #241 on: May 15, 2010, 10:23:44 AM »

And unless/until the general public changes it's collective mind on the topic, the WOD will continue. Even if every drug became legal, there would still be drug enforcement, just as there is still enforcement of laws related to alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #242 on: May 15, 2010, 11:53:18 AM »

Of course!  It is simply that there would be less of it!  With less profit in crime, criminals would become less violent, our police's jobs less dangerous, less doors would be kicked in by accident, less grannies with heart attacks, less puppies with sad eyes getting shot, etc etc etc.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #243 on: May 15, 2010, 01:58:14 PM »

I would rather move toward decriminalization than legalization.  What you self-grow and self-consume on your own property would already be legal if the constitution was interpreted with any meaning or consistency.  As much as I want to move with you in a libertarian direction, I already don't appreciate Viagra/Cialis commercials during prime-time family television much less want to see the beginning of ad agencies glamorizing pot.  I am not anti-pot but don't have any desire to see it more out in the open nor to have government expanded to take over the control and distribution, and don't kid yourself - they would. (IMHO)

I assume you would look at cocaine, crack, meth, the date rape drug and hard narcotics differently, but also I have seen pot over-use mess up plenty of people's lives.  It comes down to what is government's role when some  can enjoy it for relaxation and for others it becomes an obsession if not an addiction.

I remember the story about the lab mouse given one dispenser of cocaine and one of food, then he starved to death based on his choices.  Also the story of the pot addicts who held up the bakery but forgot to empty the register - but i digress.

If we wanted to move this large ship in a gradually more libertarian direction there are a lot of other less controversial steps we could take first before drug legalization.  Legalizing the lemonade stand would be a start; it violates literally dozens of ordinances in most municipalities.  Minneapolis shut down a church-based clothing shelf right before Christmas one cold winter for license and zoning violations. A landlord with a PhD in EE can't change his own smoke detector without a contractor license and an informed patient can't authorize their own pain remedy.

The bulk of street drug abuse in my observation is tied to our welfare system.  Generalizing a bit about the inner city, but the breadwinner of the family is the woman who can have children and qualify for increasing amounts of assistance leaving the male not needed for support and free to pursue other interests.  If we cleaned up the free lunch / free ride from within our public system and forced the able minded and able bodied to self-support, they might traffic less and indulge more responsiblibly with their own hard earned money and their own need to get up and be sharp the next morning.

The war on drugs was a failure, okay, so we go back to more traditional methods like re-evaluating penalties and arresting and prosecuting only after evidence of a crime has come to the attention of law enforcement.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #244 on: May 17, 2010, 07:31:51 AM »

An AP piece:

AP IMPACT: US drug war has met none of its goals
By MARTHA MENDOZA (AP) – 3 days ago
MEXICO CITY — After 40 years, the United States' war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.
Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn't worked.
"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."
This week President Obama promised to "reduce drug use and the great damage it causes" with a new national policy that he said treats drug use more as a public health issue and focuses on prevention and treatment.
Nevertheless, his administration has increased spending on interdiction and law enforcement to record levels both in dollars and in percentage terms; this year, they account for $10 billion of his $15.5 billion drug-control budget.
Kerlikowske, who coordinates all federal anti-drug policies, says it will take time for the spending to match the rhetoric.
"Nothing happens overnight," he said. "We've never worked the drug problem holistically. We'll arrest the drug dealer, but we leave the addiction."
His predecessor, John P. Walters, takes issue with that.
Walters insists society would be far worse today if there had been no War on Drugs. Drug abuse peaked nationally in 1979 and, despite fluctuations, remains below those levels, he says. Judging the drug war is complicated: Records indicate marijuana and prescription drug abuse are climbing, while cocaine use is way down. Seizures are up, but so is availability.
"To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous," Walters said. "It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcment, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."
___
In 1970, hippies were smoking pot and dropping acid. Soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on heroin. Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win.
"This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people," Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: "Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive."
His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.
Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than:
_ $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.
_ $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.
_ $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.
_ $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.
_ $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.
At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways. The Justice Department estimates the consequences of drug abuse — "an overburdened justice system, a strained health care system, lost productivity, and environmental destruction" — cost the United States $215 billion a year.
Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron says the only sure thing taxpayers get for more spending on police and soldiers is more homicides.
"Current policy is not having an effect of reducing drug use," Miron said, "but it's costing the public a fortune."
___
From the beginning, lawmakers debated fiercely whether law enforcement — no matter how well funded and well trained — could ever defeat the drug problem.
Then-Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who had his doubts, has since watched his worst fears come to pass.
"Look what happened. It's an ongoing tragedy that has cost us a trillion dollars. It has loaded our jails and it has destabilized countries like Mexico and Colombia," he said.
In 1970, proponents said beefed-up law enforcement could effectively seal the southern U.S. border and stop drugs from coming in. Since then, the U.S. used patrols, checkpoints, sniffer dogs, cameras, motion detectors, heat sensors, drone aircraft — and even put up more than 1,000 miles of steel beam, concrete walls and heavy mesh stretching from California to Texas.
None of that has stopped the drugs. The Office of National Drug Control Policy says about 330 tons of cocaine, 20 tons of heroin and 110 tons of methamphetamine are sold in the United States every year — almost all of it brought in across the borders. Even more marijuana is sold, but it's hard to know how much of that is grown domestically, including vast fields run by Mexican drug cartels in U.S. national parks.
The dealers who are caught have overwhelmed justice systems in the United States and elsewhere. U.S. prosecutors declined to file charges in 7,482 drug cases last year, most because they simply didn't have the time. That's about one out of every four drug cases.
The United States has in recent years rounded up thousands of suspected associates of Mexican drug gangs, then turned some of the cases over to local prosecutors who can't make the charges stick for lack of evidence. The suspects are then sometimes released, deported or acquitted. The U.S. Justice Department doesn't even keep track of what happens to all of them.
In Mexico, traffickers exploit a broken justice system. Investigators often fail to collect convincing evidence — and are sometimes assassinated when they do. Confessions are beaten out of suspects by frustrated, underpaid police. Judges who no longer turn a blind eye to such abuse release the suspects in exasperation.
In prison, in the U.S. or Mexico, traffickers continue to operate, ordering assassinations and arranging distribution of their product even from solitary confinement in Texas and California. In Mexico, prisoners can sometimes even buy their way out.
The violence spans Mexico. In Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of drug violence in Mexico, 2,600 people were killed last year in cartel-related violence, making the city of 1 million across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, one of the world's deadliest. Not a single person was prosecuted for homicide related to organized crime.
And then there's the money.
The $320 billion annual global drug industry now accounts for 1 percent of all commerce on the planet.
A full 10 percent of Mexico's economy is built on drug proceeds — $25 billion smuggled in from the United States every year, of which 25 cents of each $100 smuggled is seized at the border. Thus there's no incentive for the kind of financial reform that could tame the cartels.
"For every drug dealer you put in jail or kill, there's a line up to replace him because the money is just so good," says Walter McCay, who heads the non-profit Center for Professional Police Certification in Mexico City.
McCay is one of the 13,000 members of Medford, Mass.-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens and others who want to legalize and regulate all drugs.
A decade ago, no politician who wanted to keep his job would breathe a word about legalization, but a consensus is growing across the country that at least marijuana will someday be regulated and sold like tobacco and alcohol.
California voters decide in November whether to legalize marijuana, and South Dakota will vote this fall on whether to allow medical uses of marijuana, already permitted in California and 13 other states. The Obama administration says it won't target marijuana dispensaries if they comply with state laws.
___
Mexican President Felipe Calderon says if America wants to fix the drug problem, it needs to do something about Americans' unquenching thirst for illegal drugs.
Kerlikowske agrees, and Obama has committed to doing just that.
And yet both countries continue to spend the bulk of their drug budgets on law enforcement rather than treatment and prevention.
"President Obama's newly released drug war budget is essentially the same as Bush's, with roughly twice as much money going to the criminal justice system as to treatment and prevention," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance. "This despite Obama's statements on the campaign trail that drug use should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue."
Obama is requesting a record $15.5 billion for the drug war for 2011, about two thirds of it for law enforcement at the front lines of the battle: police, military and border patrol agents struggling to seize drugs and arrest traffickers and users.
About $5.6 billion would be spent on prevention and treatment.
"For the first time ever, the nation has before it an administration that views the drug issue first and foremost through the lens of the public health mandate," said economist and drug policy expert John Carnevale, who served three administrations and four drug czars. "Yet ... it appears that this historic policy stride has some problems with its supporting budget."
Carnevale said the administration continues to substantially over-allocate funds to areas that research shows are least effective — interdiction and source-country programs — while under-allocating funds for treatment and prevention.
Kerlikowske, who wishes people would stop calling it a "war" on drugs, frequently talks about one of the most valuable tools they've found, in which doctors screen for drug abuse during routine medical examinations. That program would get a mere $7.2 million under Obama's budget.
"People will say that's not enough. They'll say the drug budget hasn't shifted as much as it should have, and granted I don't disagree with that," Kerlikowske said. "We would like to do more in that direction."
Fifteen years ago, when the government began telling doctors to ask their patients about their drug use during routine medical exams, it described the program as one of the most proven ways to intervene early with would-be addicts.
"Nothing happens overnight," Kerlikowske said.
___
Until 100 years ago, drugs were simply a commodity. Then Western cultural shifts made them immoral and deviant, according to London School of Economics professor Fernanda Mena.
Religious movements led the crusades against drugs: In 1904, an Episcopal bishop returning from a mission in the Far East argued for banning opium after observing "the natives' moral degeneration." In 1914, The New York Times reported that cocaine caused blacks to commit "violent crimes," and that it made them resistant to police bullets. In the decades that followed, Mena said, drugs became synonymous with evil.
Nixon drew on those emotions when he pressed for his War on Drugs.
"Narcotics addiction is a problem which afflicts both the body and the soul of America," he said in a special 1971 message to Congress. "It comes quietly into homes and destroys children, it moves into neighborhoods and breaks the fiber of community which makes neighbors. We must try to better understand the confusion and disillusion and despair that bring people, particularly young people, to the use of narcotics and dangerous drugs."
Just a few years later, a young Barack Obama was one of those young users, a teenager smoking pot and trying "a little blow when you could afford it," as he wrote in "Dreams From My Father." When asked during his campaign if he had inhaled the pot, he replied: "That was the point."
So why persist with costly programs that don't work?
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, sitting down with the AP at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, paused for a moment at the question.
"Look," she says, starting slowly. "This is something that is worth fighting for because drug addiction is about fighting for somebody's life, a young child's life, a teenager's life, their ability to be a successful and productive adult.
"If you think about it in those terms, that they are fighting for lives — and in Mexico they are literally fighting for lives as well from the violence standpoint — you realize the stakes are too high to let go."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iLZNYd6C9SGpa2oeiZIqT-HKVrCQD9FMCM103
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #245 on: May 17, 2010, 08:08:56 AM »

We need to start with the "war" metaphor as that headset justifies all the excesses that follow.

We need to acknowledge that abject failure is all the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the WOD has bought us.

We need to consider if the pursuit of altered mental states is somehow hardwired into the human psyche and, if so, let that understanding guide our response.

We need to remember that we've been down this road with Prohibition with results that very much mirror the current cluster frack. What makes that experience so hard to learn from?

There was a time when black people were considered to be three fifths of a human being and could be beaten into submission or worse if they failed to perform as demanded.

There was a time when handing out smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans and then forcing them to undergo a thousand mile journey on foot with scant shelter and few provisions was considered an effective policy.

There was a time when women were disenfranchised chattel subject to marital abuse and sexual assault with little in the way of legal recourse.

All these commonplace things are now looked on in horror. Someday I expect the WOD will be viewed through a similar lens. We ban substances that are cheap to produce and distribute thus driving up their costs geometrically. Unsavory folks willing to risk police confrontation perform a benefit cost analysis and find the rewards irresistible, establishing a correlation between profits and utter ruthlessness along the way. Lawmakers finding their edicts unheeded direct law enforcement officials to enforce the unenforceable. LEOs, in turn, demand resources with which to tilt at windmills, gravitating toward the tools and tactics employed by the armed forces as there's no reason to reinvent that wheel. Drug dealers respond by using their buckets of money to subvert LEOs and governments, passing on the most dangerous duties to low income cannon fodder who, if they prove particularly ruthless, work their way up the organization. And this only outlines the unintended consequences and perverse incentives this process spins off by the gross.

Enough. This stuff is madness and folly, producing results that would horrify this nation's founders. It's time to stop talking about the citizens who find themselves in this meat grinder as collateral damage and start speaking of them as victims of a process run horribly amok.
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G M
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« Reply #246 on: May 17, 2010, 09:37:05 AM »

"gravitating toward the tools and tactics employed by the armed forces as there's no reason to reinvent that wheel."

Law enforcement has been structured under a paramilitary model since Sir Robert Peel founded the London Metropolitan Police, which was the model for police forces in the US. Law enforcement has always adopted the tools and tactics employed by the armed forces, subject to the needs of policing and the appicable laws and policies governing their use.

Read up on Graham v. Connor. You'll find that no matter how a LEO is dressed, or exactly how they are armed, the legal standards in using force are identical. There is no "SWAT" exemption in the law or caselaw.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #247 on: May 17, 2010, 10:03:28 AM »

BBG: "We need to start with the "war" metaphor as that headset justifies all the excesses that follow."  - agree

"We need to acknowledge that abject failure is all the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the WOD has bought us."   - agree

"We need to consider if the pursuit of altered mental states is somehow hardwired into the human psyche and, if so, let that understanding guide our response."   - Yes with limits.  I see this under the area of the privacy of your own home and your own time but am not interested in bus drivers, air traffic controllers or eye surgeons pursuing altered states on the job, for examples.

The comparison with prohibition I can follow; the comparisons to smallpox and slavery I cannot.

My questions remain, do you see any value in political incrementalism here such as my suggestion of decriminalizing over legalizing or distinguishing between softer recreational drugs and harder narcotics?

In spite of the failure and unintended consequences of the WOD, do you see any unintended consequences or potential failures of instant and full legalization?

Do you welcome the barrage of advertising the new legalized industry would bring, especially in the context of those of us who have a teenager at home, or would then be a prohibition on that form of free speech?

Do you suggest putting full legalization front and center in the 2010 and 2012 campaigns despite polling data GM posted and the fact that parties that have already done that typically receive 1% of the vote or less?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #248 on: May 17, 2010, 12:20:37 PM »

"I would rather move toward decriminalization than legalization.  What you self-grow and self-consume on your own property would already be legal if the constitution was interpreted with any meaning or consistency.  As much as I want to move with you in a libertarian direction, I already don't appreciate Viagra/Cialis commercials during prime-time family television much less want to see the beginning of ad agencies glamorizing pot."

I would be quite comfortable with this.

Haven't read BBG's posts yet, I'm off to teach.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #249 on: May 18, 2010, 12:14:56 AM »

Did the legend of Robin Hood steal from the rich and give to the poor as some say or did he fight for liberty and against tyrannical authority?  Interesting commentary in the context of the new Robin Hood film by Cathy Young, contributing editor at Reason magazine.  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/05/17/the_new_robin_hood_libertarian_rebel_105613.html
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