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Judge Hafen Has Completely Lost It; Excluded Murder Victims’ Family From Court; Threatens to Arrest Reporter

Las Vegas Judge Hafen Straight JacketPreviously, I’ve done a number of stories (See related posts section below) on the train-wreck that Judge Hafen, a soon to be former Las Vegas Justice of the Peace has become over the past several months.

The downward spiral began (and has mostly revolved around) when he ordered Zohra Bakhtary, deputy public defender, to be handcuffed in the courtroom while she was attempting to defend a client, which according to him was intended to “teach her a lesson.”

As a result, hundreds of public defenders across the country criticized Hafen and a local union that represents over 100 defense attorneys also filed a formal letter of complaint against the judge. Not long after the incident, local voters also displayed their displeasure with Judge Hafen when he lost in the primary elections overwhelmingly. In addition, earlier this month the contempt charges Hafen had filed against Bakhtary for the courtroom incident were thrown out by another judge.

Now, with this latest twist in the bizarre road he seems intent on driving down, soon to be Former Judge Hafen has apparently completely lost any sense of proper courtroom procedures and the “decorum” that he has insisted was behind his inappropriate treatment of Bakhtary. In fact, whether it’s bitterness over his electoral loss or just yet another extension of the bullying nature he displayed on the bench that became public during the fallout over the handcuffing incident, he seems like he has pretty much just completely lost it.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen, who lost his bid for re-election in June after the newspaper reported a series of stories about his decision to handcuff a deputy public defender in his courtroom, also refused to give a Review-Journal photographer access to the courtroom, even though television news cameras were allowed in.

The judge’s marshal specifically instructed the newspaper’s reporter not to use a cellphone in the courtroom for any purpose, even audio recording, which is typically permitted throughout the Regional Justice Center. The marshal said the reporter would be handcuffed and taken into custody if he used the phone. Meanwhile, several others in the courtroom continued to operate cellphones.

“Courts are presumed to be open and obligated to be fair,” said Review-Journal Editor J. Keith Moyer. “The Review-Journal will aggressively contest any attempt to limit public access to our justice system.”

A lawyer for the Review-Journal, Maggie McLetchie, plans to file further court documents asking the judge for camera access at future hearings in the murder case.

“Judge Hafen improperly denied the Review-Journal the ability to take photographs, despite the fact that other people were allowed to take photographs,” McLetchie said. “He improperly denied the ability to audio record, and he also improperly denied the public access to open court proceedings. All these issues are at odds with case law and Supreme Court rules, making clear how important the public and media access to courtrooms and court proceedings are. We hope he changes course so the public and the media have full access to the proceedings.”

Relatives of the two victims, 45-year-old Mario Jimenez and 27-year-old Angelica Jimenez, stood in the hallway outside the courtroom, unsure why they were prohibited from observing the arraignment.

The victims were left to die in a burning east valley home in November. They were zip-tied, duct-taped, stabbed repeatedly and doused in gasoline before being lit on fire, according to an arrest report.

Defendants Malik Watson, 27, Darrin Rafael Wilder, 26, and Hakim Rydell Blanche-Jones, 26, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, kidnapping, arson, burglary and robbery charges. Las Vegas police said Watson was extradited last week from Philadelphia…

On Tuesday, the judge did not give representatives of the Review-Journal a chance to be heard regarding the use of a camera or cellphone at the hearing.

The Nevada Supreme Court Rules on Electronic Coverage of Court Proceedings address cameras inside courtrooms.

“News reporters desiring permission to provide electronic coverage of a proceeding in the courtroom shall file a written request with the judge at least 24 hours before the proceeding commences, however, the judge may grant such a request on shorter notice or waive the requirement for a written request,” the rules state.

In addition, the rules state that “there is a presumption that all courtroom proceedings that are open to the public are subject to electronic coverage.”

The Review-Journal’s reporter submitted camera access papers to the judge shortly before Tuesday’s hearing.

In denying the newspaper’s request, Hafen wrote that the reporter failed to provide “good cause” for filing the request on short notice.

A Justice Court media request form suggests that the document be filed within 72 hours of a hearing.

The Supreme Court rules also carve out exceptions for the use of cellphones in court.

“It will be understood that these devices will be used only for accurate transcriptions of the court proceedings, and are not to be used for broadcast,” the rules state. “Use of an electronic device without permission, other than as described in this rule, may result in the confiscation of the device.”

Civil rights lawyer Allen Lichtenstein, who is not involved in the case, said Hafen was “wrong on several counts” and that public access to courtrooms helps guarantee fair hearings.

“Secret justice is no justice at all,” Lichtenstein said. “We’ve learned that through history. When the public has the opportunity to see how our system works, it operates as a check on abuse. … The default position is that in this country, our court system should be open for scrutiny.”

One of the things that I did when I designed the Cop Block Press Passes several years ago was research the rules and legalities of press passes and the granting of press access. As is stated in the LVRJ articled quoted above, when it comes to public officials there are clear legal precedents relating to reasons they can exclude people or media organizations from press access. (Press passes themselves are fairly irrelevant to this.)

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They can legally set up certain criteria for who qualifies for press access, however that criteria has to be equally applied across the board. They can’t base whether you will be approved for formal press access solely on arbitrary things such as whether you are a blogger or internet based media representative instead of print or television media. Nor can they base their decision on editorial direction or you having written (or a media organization having published) something critical of them.

Video and photography can also be prohibited when they are deemed to represent some sort of threat to one of the participants in a court case. However, once again that must be applied universally and not just to specific individuals. Obviously, since their were other media representatives that had been approved and were allowed to film and audio record during the proceedings in question that was not the case and it would seem to be a clear case of bias against a reporter from the paper that has been reporting on Judge Hafen’s negative behavior.

So this latest tantrum by Judge Hafen was not just silly and vindictive, but pretty clearly badly at odds with the law and legal precedent. It’s not hard to figure out why he decided he didn’t approve the request for photography rights of a reporter from the Review Journal and then specifically told a court marshal to pace him in handcuffs if he used his cellphone in a manner that media regularly does. And the part where he (for some unexplained reason) barred the relatives of two people who were viciously murdered from observing the trial of the people accused of those murders is even worse and downright disrespectful to them.

Related Posts:

  1. Contempt Charge Against Defense Attorney Who Was Handcuffed in Court by Las Vegas Judge Dismissed
  2. Las Vegas Judge Who Handcuffed Defense Attorney During Trial Taught Lesson by Voters
  3. An Open Letter to Las Vegas Judge Who Handcuffed A Defense Attorney in Court
  4. Las Vegas Judge Has Defense Attorney Handcuffed During Trial to “Teach Her a Lesson”
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SC Man Who Didn’t Allow Use of His Property Harassed by Kershaw County Sheriff’s Dept.

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Anthony Thomas, via the Submissions Page. Along with the post Anthony says:

“Check out Kershaw County. You have had them on the CopBlock Network before and it’s only getting worse and worse. We need to shed a light on them again.

Spread all the light you can on this situation.”

Date of Incident: June 16,2016
Officer Involved: Officer McKasskle
Department Involved: Kershaw County (SC) Sheriff’s Department
Twitter Account: @Kershawsheriff
Phone No.: (803) 425-1512
Email: Contact us
Address: 821 RIDGEWAY ROAD, LUGOFF, S.C. 29078

This all started six years ago, when I opened a Crazy Crab Seafood Market in an old store. The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department used to park in front of the store’s sign and run radar. The first two weeks they were doing this while I was open. I asked them to move elsewhere and got attitudes.

Finally, I went to Sheriff Mathews and spoke directly to him, telling him it was bad for business. The next day when I went out to the business a cop was sitting there running radar. I asked him to leave and said I had spoken to the sheriff. He responded, “I hope there isn’t a time you need us, we might be real slow getting there.”

So, I got his name, went to KCSD, and filed a complaint. Two days later, a new cop was running radar as I came in to open. I went around back and called 911 to report a strange car in front of my propoerty. KCSD sent two cars and they threatened to arrest me for false 911 calls. That day I went to a judge to ask for a restraining order. He said I can’t get that, but they have to move if I ask.

The very next weekend three DNR agents in the midst of hunting season came to my store and spent three hours going through all of my products. I had ten bushels of crabs in a basket. They dumped all that out into a sink. Even though they only found one in the ten bushels that were undersized, they fined me $450.

After that, I had the store closed for a year before a friend opened it back up. In that year cops had went back to using it as a radar spot. The new lessee asked one to move because it was bad for business. As he went home that evening, he got stopped by KCSD for not using a turn signal.

Right now I am working in Richmond, Va and work Monday – Thursday as a house manager for an inpatient treatment center. I currently live four days in VA and three in SC. I have to have a Virginia driver’s license to drive a van.

On Nov 12, 2015, I was pulled over in inclement weather, because the Officer said I ran a red light. Weather was bad, so I made sure I had a car length and half distance in my Yukon XL. I demanded a jury trial and had photos, a weather report, and the officer statement. I was going below the speed limit. He estimated I was going 40 mph in 45 mph zone. NTSB says stopping for Yukon XL in inclement weather is three and one half car lengths. So I won that case in May.

Fast forward to June 16, 2016. I am mowing the grass by the road and a cop went by real slow. I noticed it was the officer I won the case against. He went down to the next turn and then came back real slow. Over the next two hours, I noticed he was going by my house four times.

I soon forgot about it and ran to get something to eat. As I pulled out, I saw a police car speeding up to and passing by my driveway. When I pulled out, I noticed a police car put their brake lights on and adjust the rearview mirror. Then he made the first left turn into the back of a school parking lot.

I had decided to make the same turn as you can hit US 1 that way. Sometimes, there’s less traffic easier to cross then at light. By the time I reached tree lines the cop who was on other side had to speed up to at least 65 mph in a parking lot. He was trying to loop around on me.

Well, I went straight and out to US 1 and he must have made a bee line for light because we pass each other on US 1 going opposite directions at 55 mph. I make it to McD’s and got out of the car.

He came flying into the parking lot, almost hits me, rolls down his window and says, “do you remember me?” I said no, he replies you don’t remember me, again I say no. Then with no blue lights nothing on he asked to see my driver’s license. I asked him, “what is the offense?” The officer then slammed his car into park and said, “let me see your ID.” Once again I asked, “what is the offense?”

At this point, the Officer jumped out his car and came around to me saying, “get your hand out of your pocket!” and then slammed me on the hood of the car, cuffing me. Now, two more patrol cars had showed up, but not one has their lights on. I was patted down and had my wallet taken.

He asked, “Mr. Thomas why do you have a VA. license if you live in S.C.? I explained my job situation to him. He then said, “where do you pay taxes.” I said, “Both VA and S.C. Next he asked. “where is your home.” I said, “both VA and SC.” Then he asked, “where do you pay taxes on homes?” Again I stated, “VA and SC, which is correct.” He states, “I pulled you over six months ago and you had a VA driver’s license then. Now, six months later, you still have it. I am arresting you for not having a valid South Carolina driver’s license.”

They then searched the car, calling dogs out to sniff the car. Meanwhile, I was in handcuffs in the parking lot for 45 minutes with five police vehicles there, including the K9 truck. I was then sent to jail until I got a personal recognizance bond in the morning.

Then on June 17, which was my daughter’s 16th birthday, I had a party with over 75 kids. One kid, who was out front talking between 8 and 8:30, recorded six times that cops drove by. At 10 pm, I had a movie projector outside with kids watching scary movies. There was no excessive noise, just 30 kids watching “Halloween.” A cop drove by and shined a spotlight in the backyard.

While cleaning up at 11 pm, I was in the front yard and the same cop that arrested me the day before shined a spotlight on me. I waved and he did nothing, but turn the light off and speed away.

I have acquired a lawyer now after all the constant harassment. I have not actually spoken to Sheriff Mathews since the store closed. However, I know he has a strong dislike for me because of my Facebook post.

– Anthony Thomas

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Two Ohio Police Officers Get Off Easy On DUI Charges Using “Blue Privilege”

Blue Privilege Cop Block
The following post (rant) was shared with the CopBlock Network by William (Kia) D.K. Jones, via the Submissions Page. William’s submission has to do with the special privileges that police often receive (also known as a “Policeman’s Discount”) regarding when they are caught committing crimes.

Along with his post he states:

“This rant/essay which I’ve titled ‘Blue Privilege in Ohio’ is going to be QUITE lengthy and for GOOD reason. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to read this to understand just what ‘Blue Privilege‘ is and how it is being used right here locally.

I’m a HUGE fan, supporter, and active cop blocker with MANY possible future submissions. Corruption by the judges and police officers, as well as the reporters and newspapers that cover local issues is RIFE in my area and I would really like to see some accountability in my area.

This all started after I read our local newspaper’s article on the incident and decided to write a short “essay,” if you will, called “Blue Privilege in Ohio” in response, to point out how officers get off on crimes that others would have the books thrown at them. It led me to research a couple different things including the corruption that the judge that heard the officer’s case has been involved in (debtor’s prisons) or imprisoning people who ONLY OWE court costs.

One thing that really bugged me after reading the online version of the same article done by our local newspaper was that they conveniently left out the part where a SECOND Fostoria police officer in UNDER 2 MONTHS was ‘charged’ and not arrested for a similar offense.

In addition, the articles fail to explain many of the details involved, including whether or not the DUI and OVIs were done in their personal or work vehicles. The Advertiser Tribune has been involved in numerous situations similar to this, where they fail to provide details that point to corrupt officer’s actions in MANY incidents in the area.

I decided it was finally time to call them out in a post, since they have blocked me from commenting on their posts (Because my comments are always against them and happen to get the most likes :) )”

As William points out, oftentimes those with Magic Uniforms and Shiny Badges don’t even get charged in those instances in which they are caught breaking laws. Even on the occasions when the Good Cops that catch them can’t or the even rarer occasions where they actually won’t just allow them to walk away without consequence, these Bad Apples typically receive nothing more than a very sharp slap on the wrist.

Date(s) of Incident: February and April of 2016
Officers Involved: Officers Justin Kiser and Cory Brian
Department Involved: Fostoria (OH) Police Department
Department Phone No.: (419) 435-8573
Facebook Page: Fostoria Police Department

“Blue Privilege in Ohio”

The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin OH, Fostoria Police Department, Fostoria-Tiffin Municipal Court,and Judge Dwight Osterud are all DISGUSTINGLY corrupt and work together to cover each other’s asses, supply the public with dishonest, misinformation, and supply you with no actual valuable information at all, even though it is very much so public record. If the same circumstances happened involving any normal civilian, it would be published in great detail all over their newspaper. This is a PRIME example of what is called “Blue Privilege” which I will address later on in this essay.

Firstly, to grill The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin OH. You’ve published VERY different print and web articles on this matter for very good reasons:

  1. Because more people read your stories online now, you’ve chosen to print the ‘full story’ so less people get the ‘full truth.’
  2. To hide the fact that not one, but TWO Fostoria Police Officers, have been charged with DUI or OVI within the past two months.
  3. To cover these officers’ asses.

Front-Page-of-Advertiser-Tribune-4-27-16HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW in the PRINT form of this article in The Advertiser Tribune is a SINGLE SENTENCE that states that ANOTHER Fostoria Police Officer; Officer Cory Brian, was ALSO charged with an OVI and his pre-trial case is set to be heard TODAY in Findlay Municipal Court. Seems kind of fishy to title the article “Officer found guilty of reckless operation” instead of “Two Fostoria Police Officers charged with operating vehicles while intoxicated.”

You’re selling a shitty one-sided story to the public and I thought they should know the TRUTH. Not the bullshit you feed them. Your print article, which is read by far less people, includes MUCH more information than your web article and much more DAMNING evidence of the OBVIOUS “Blue Privilege” in this town (That being that police officers are ‘unintentionally’ but beneficially subject to a separate set of policies and laws with separate, lesser consequences enabling them to act above the law with little to no consequences, and are able to get off on charges, when/if encountered by other police officers, MUCH easier than your average civilian with little to no consequences.)

I would ALSO like to point out that Judge Dwight Osterud, who heard Officer Justin Kiser’s case, is well known for extremely corrupt and flat out ILLEGAL court proceedings which involve the jailing of individuals who ONLY owe court fines:

A federal judge in Toledo has ruled that Perrysburg Municipal Court officials (Judge Dwight Osterud as well as his clerk of courts) “appear to violate the law” by using the Wood County Jail as a “debtor’s prison” for people who owe court costs.

“Imprisonment for debt was long ago abolished,” wrote U.S. District Judge David Katz.’

Fostoria Police Officer Justin Kiser, 34, was pulled over and charged with DUI HOWEVER unlike EVERY OTHER PERSON IN OHIO he did not and WILL NOT serve a single day in jail for this. His case was heard by the infamous Judge Dwight Osterud who changed his FIRST DEGREE MISDEMEANOR Driving Under the Influence charge, punishable by UP TO 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus court costs, to a FOURTH DEGREE MISDEMEANOR Reckless Operation charge, which is ONLY punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, plus court costs.

Judge Osterud sentenced Officer Kiser to 30 days in jail, with 23 of those days suspended. This means the officer would only have to serve seven days in jail. HOWEVER. Unlike EVERY OTHER SINGLE PERSON who gets pulled over for a DUI, Officer Kiser did not go to jail. He was instead taken to his home which is almost impossible for any normal citizen to be able to do. (Blue Privilege)

ON TOP OF only being sentenced to seven days in jail, he will be credited five days for completing a “driver intervention program” conveniently ran by the Fostoria Municipal Court. In addition, Kiser will also receive a two day credit for completing a “victim impact program,” which is also conveniently ran by the Fostoria Municipal Court. That’s a total of seven days credit, which coincidentally cancels out his entire jail time.

This means that because this man is a police officer, he was able to dodge a 180 day jail sentence and a hefty fine. Instead, he will serve ABSOLUTELY FUCKING ZERO days in jail, due to loopholes in the system that favor police officers charged with crimes.

To sum this rant up, let me attempt to quickly explain the differences in consequences a regular citizen would receive compared to the consequences this officer is receiving:

Instead of getting charged with drinking and driving, he was charged with something MUCH LESSER, which includes things such as peeling out.

  • You and I: Up to 180 days in jail with a THREE DAY MINIMUM FORCED JAIL SENTENCE (unavoidable), $1000 fine plus court costs, six driver’s license points, ABSOLUTE one year license suspension, possible 1-5 year license suspension, $450 license reinstatement fee, possible 90 day vehicle immobilization, MANDATORY, highly identifiable, and COSTLY OHIO DUI license plates, possible electronic alcohol (SCRAM) monitor for up to six months, possible electronic house arrest up to six months, two years or more on reporting probation, three day driver intervention program, as well as other possible unforeseen consequences.
  • This police officer: ZERO days in jail, $250 fine plus court costs, four driver’s license points, one year license suspension with credit for the time his administrative license is suspended (exact length of suspension known only to the internal affairs court system), one year non-reporting probation, and two loophole programs designed for lesser jail time.

To conclude, I’d like to point out how much the officer benefits from having his charge lowered from an M1 (maximum criminal misdemeanor) to an M4 (minimum criminal misdemeanor).

He will likely be able to keep his job once his license suspension expires and will likely be able to even keep his job in the same department, as will the other Fostoria officer, whose full court story will likely go unheard of, simply due to the benefits that their jobs carry.

It’s disappointing and disheartening to see that those who are sworn to uphold the law and who are given a duty to ‘punish’ those that break it get such different treatment under the same laws they slap us civilians in the face with. This extreme double standard and special treatment under the law cannot go unnoticed and cannot be left alone to be considered okay practice.

It invites the possibility of further corruption into the very cities that we work very hard in to maintain a community and atmosphere that we enjoy. This situation must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately so that we are not left with entirely corrupt city governments.

– William (Kia) D.K. Jones

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