Tag Archives: victimless crime

California Officer (Only) Demoted for Driving Drunk; Texting During Hit and Run in Police Vehicle

I’ve finally found a victimless crime that police are unwilling to enforce. Of course, by some odd coincidence that crime (along with several others that also weren’t enforced) was committed by another Hero in Blue.

In spite of admitting that he had been drinking and was sending a text when he ran into a parked semi in Temecula (a suburb of Los Angeles), a police officer from the Riverside Police Department wasn’t charged with driving under the influence or texting while driving. Nor was he charged with leaving the scene of an accident, even though he had to be tracked down to his house after the accident and at least one motorist had also called to report his car was “swerving all over the roadway” and had hit a curb.

Instead, Chad Milby‘s only punishment was being demoted from lieutenant to sergeant. Although the department used “privacy regulations” to avoid discussing it, or the $9,500 in damages he caused in the process, that presumably resulted from the fact Milby also was driving an undercover police vehicle at the time and hadn’t reported the accident, as is required.

Via the Press-Enterprise:

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which provides police services for Temecula, investigated the crash that happened the night of April 29 on Wolf Store Road east of Mahlon Vail Road.

When a deputy questioned Milby at his home later that night, he did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, the sheriff’s incident report said.

Milby was not cited for violating the state Vehicle Code section requiring the use of a hands-free device to text because an officer must witness an infraction to write a ticket, said Deputy Michael Vasquez, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

The driver of the truck did not want to press hit-and-run charges, Vasquez said, so there was no victim. Some crimes, such as domestic violence, can be prosecuted with the state of California as the victim, Vasquez said, but hit and run is not one of them.

Milby, through a Riverside police spokeswoman, declined to comment for this story.

The deputy who questioned Milby, whose name was redacted from the report provided to The Press-Enterprise, said he was dispatched to a report of a hit and run involving a semi at 10:46 p.m. April 29. Two minutes earlier, the deputy wrote, there was a separate report of a silver car “swerving all over the roadway” and that the car hit a curb about a mile away.

The deputy examined the semi and found only a scuff on a tire. He also found pieces of the city’s car.

Milby reported the crash to the Riverside Police Department, the deputy wrote. The deputy did not specify when. Department policy requires crashes to be “promptly” reported to a supervisor and a collision report filed with the agency having jurisdiction where the crash occurred.

The policy also prohibits using take-home cars for personal errands “beyond a reasonable minor detour,” unless approved, and prohibits driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. It also bans, without permission, drinking any alcohol within four hours before driving.

Milby told the deputy he had drank two beers between 6 and 10 p.m. before the crash.

The deputy contacted Milby in the driveway of his home in Temecula and said he noticed “an odor of either cologne or fragrant soap, preventing me from detecting an odor of an alcoholic beverage.” But Milby did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, the deputy wrote.

Milby told the deputy that his airbag deployed when he hit some unknown object, but he did not stop because he did not see any vehicles or injured pedestrians. He did not immediately check for damage to his car. Milby could not explain why he didn’t report the crash to the Sheriff’s Department.

Milby called the deputy the next day to add that he was responding to a text message from his wife at the time of the crash.

The deputy subsequently talked with a second witness who said he saw a silver car with its hazard lights on and the airbag inflated “doing donuts” near the site of Milby’s crash.

It’s not exactly hard to figure out why he didn’t report the crash or hang around to talk about. Or, for that matter, why there was another odor preventing that unnamed deputy from detecting the smell of alcohol. I’m sure that deputy couldn’t put two and two together, either. I’m also rather sure that if anyone else admitted to drinking and texting while driving during an investigation of a hit and run accident in which witnesses reported their car swerving all over the road and doing donuts (the joke writes itself) with their airbag deployed nearby, they wouldn’t have charged them with anything at all either.

Jeff Mizanskey: A Productive Member of Society Sentenced to Life in Prison for Marijuana

The following videos and post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Derrick Marshall, of Marshall & Associates  Investigations, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This post was originally published at the Marshall & Associates Investigations blog under the title, “Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society.” The accompanying videos were posted at the “Citizens For JusticeYoutube Channel as part of a playlist that includes the interview of  Jeff Mizanskey by Derrick Marshall posted above, as well as a separate interview discussing the lack of medical care in prison that is embedded below.

Below the original post is a personal statement from Derrick Marshall explaining the background of the case, how he became involved, and his personal feelings about Jeff Mizanskey’s release.

Organizations which Jeff Mizanskey is associated with:

Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society

In 1996, Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a non-violent marijuana offense. He would spend nearly two decades in the Missouri Department of Corrections, before a group of family, friends, and supporters built a media campaign that led Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to commute his sentence, allowing him to be released on parole. On September 1, 2015, Jeff was released from Jefferson City Correctional Center to a crowd of loved ones and supporters.

Derrick Marshall of Marshall & Associates Investigations acted as Jeff’s private investigator while he fought for his freedom. Now a little more than a year after his release, Derrick visits Jeff at his worksite to see how he’s adjusting to society.

In the interview Jeff talks about how much money the tax payers spent to prevent him from being a productive member of society, short comings in the criminal justice system, and the failures of the drug war that led to him serving a life sentence for marijuana. He also opens up about how, although he is still somewhat uncomfortable talking in front of cameras, he believes it is absolutely necessary to create a desperately needed change in the system. Jeff strongly encourages others who have dealt with the prison system and lived to tell about it to speak out about their experience.

Jeff is currently running a construction crew, which he uses as an opportunity to teach younger men a valuable skill they can use to provide for their family. At the time of the interview, they were in the process of pouring the foundation for a tornado-resistant, octagon home near Jeff’s hometown of Sedalia, MO. He used the opportunity to demonstrate his skills for camera crew.

The owner of the home they are building, Herb Venable, described Jeff as a blessing and expressed disdain that the state would feel it necessary to waste taxpayer’s money to incarcerate a non-violent offender for such a draconian-sentence.

Jeff wrapped up the interview by thanking all their supporters for their continued support. He also took the opportunity to stress the fact that the current system needs a serious revamping. He firmly believes that unless we stand up to the status quo, we will remain in this position. He simply asks that everyone do their part.

– Derrick Marshall

My name is Derrick Marshall and I’m a private investigator with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Sometime back I became aware that a man was serving life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses through a petition on Change.org. The more I dug into the story, the more outraged I became. The drug war had failed this man horrendously, as well as his family and the taxpayers at large, who were left to foot the bill for his continued incarceration. The anger swelled inside of me until I made a decision; I was going to help Jeff Mizanskey obtain his freedom.

Maybe I couldn’t do much. Maybe I couldn’t go in and secure his freedom, but I could sure do my part. To get in contact with the family, I’d have to do a little detective work. I zoomed in on a picture of Jeff’s brother, Mike, and noticed a bar sign in the back. Following up on the lead, I called the establishment to discover that his brother worked there. I introduced myself and told him I was at his family’s service until Jeff’s freedom was secured.

From that point, I spent hours on the phone with the family and Jeff’s attorney helping to develop a strategy to ensure Jeff was released as soon as possible. I ran background reports and contacted media outlets to spread the word about Jeff’s egregious circumstances and the efforts that were being made to correct this miscarriage of justice.

When I heard that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had commuted Jeff’s sentence to life with parole I had mixed emotions. I was happy that Jeff would be able to leave the confines of the cold grey walls that had held him so long. I was happy he would be able to hug and hold his family whenever he wanted. I was happy he could eat and sleep the way he wanted and enjoy life like a somewhat normal person. But he would still be on parole for the rest of his life. He would still have to pay the criminal justice system for the “privilege” of being monitored by a parole officer. He would still have to ask permission to go certain places and do certain things. He would still be subject to the obstacle course of rules, regulations, and fees that had caused the downfall of so many other parolees before.

But a year later Jeff was thriving. He was running a construction crew and actively speaking out against the system that had tried (and failed) to destroy him. He was teaching younger guys how to do construction work while providing them guidance in life. He was receiving the highest level of praise from all those around him and had graduated to the lowest level of parole possible, which meant he had proved himself to his parole officer. Jeff had come out and proved the system wrong and I couldn’t have been prouder.

I was proud of Jeff for making a way for himself in spite of the incredible odds against him. I was proud of Jeff for being a mentor to others and using his experiences to guide others to the right path. I was proud of Jeff’s family for sticking it out with him for so many years when hope seemed bleak and the opportunity for freedom seemed almost impossible. I was proud of myself for recognizing an injustice and dedicating my time towards fixing it. And I was proud that, at least in a small way, my efforts paid off.

This letter might make it seem like I’m bragging, which in a way I am, but there’s a deeper goal behind it. The private investigation industry is cutthroat. A lot of PI’s are trying to outdo other PIs. One-up them if you will. Many times these competitions have negative implications. Businesses and reputations suffers as two egos battle it out. Maybe for once, the next time somebody tries to one-up me, they will succeed…

Succeed in freeing a man from unjust circumstances brought about by a criminal justice system in need of serious repair. Succeed in returning a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a son to his parents. Succeed in helping turn someone society has been told to forget back into a productive member of society. For once, I hoped my competition would outdo me, and the world would be a little better place because of it.

New York Police Violently Arrest 60 Year Old Man For Selling DVD’s

When an off-duty cop saw a man committing the ghastly violent crime of selling DVD’s on the street in front of a Staten Island supermarket, she sprang into action to protect the neighborhood from cheap DVD’s. Soon after, regular customers at the store were treated to the pleasant spectacle of members of the Seventh Largest Army in the World violently assaulting the 60 year old man who is so dangerous that witnesses who regularly greet him say “he’s never bothered anyone.”

Via SIlive.com:

The arrest of an accused DVD bootlegger this week outside the Stop & Shop in Eltingville was met with criticism by shoppers and store employees who watched it unfold.

Kung Zhow, 60, is described by those who know him and have bought DVDs from him at the grocery store on Amboy Road as a gentle man who wouldn’t hurt anyone.

But he apparently wore out his welcome Tuesday afternoon when, according to witnesses, a female shopper who identified herself as an off-duty police officer confronted Zhow outside the store claiming he did not having a license.

A crowd of onlookers started to gather.

Uniformed NYPD officers arrived soon after, and according to shopper John Le Vine, wrestled Zhow, who stands about six-feet-tall with a slim build, into custody.

“There were two [officers] on his back cuffing him, and another [officer] grabs the back of his head, and grabs where the cuffs were and scraped his face across the ground,” Le Vine said.

Zhow was charged with trademark infringement and resisting arrest, an NYPD spokesman said Wednesday.

Police said Zhow was flailing his arms at the time of the arrest.

He was issued a desk appearance ticket, and was back outside the store Wednesday selling DVDs…

Zhow had bandages on his elbow and hands, injuries he said he suffered during the ordeal. He did not have any visible marks on (his) face.

When asked about the incident, he pointed to what appeared to be surveillance cameras outside the store and in broken English said, “I call a lawyer.”

Stop & Shop employees and shoppers who regularly greet Zhow outside the store  said that while they’re aware it’s illegal to sell bootleg DVDs, he’s never bothered anyone and didn’t deserve that kind of treatment.

“It wasn’t like he was selling drugs or guns or something,” said store employee Jason Gough. “They could’ve just told him to ‘get out of here.'”

Stop & Shop spokesman Jim Keenoy said the store did not call the police or have anything to do with the arrest.

In spite of the quote above, Kung Zhow obviously hasn’t worn out his welcome in front of the Stop & Shop. The regular customers and even the employees, all whom speak well of him, were upset with the way he was treated by police. In fact, Zhow felt welcome enough to return right back to the “scene of the crime” as soon as he was released from jail.

Reality is that the unwelcome party in this little fable is the off duty cop who showed up in their neighborhood and then felt the need to enforce one of the most victimless crimes possible, along with the group of armed thugs that showed up to violently carry out that enforcement against a well liked and non-violent elderly man.

Unlike Kung Zhow, they bothered plenty of people.

Yet Another Cop Caught Stealing Drugs From the Prescription Drop Box in Ventura, California

Senior Deputy Matthew Volpe of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is just the latest in a string of cops caught “sampling the goods” from a police department prescription drop box. The drop boxes are supposed to represent a way for citizens to turn over old or unneeded prescription drugs for proper disposal that eliminates contamination of water supplies or other environmental concerns. It also eliminates the threat of heavily armed, violent people catching them with them after the prescription has expired and assaulting and/or kidnapping them because they no longer have permission from the State to put that particular substance in their body.

Instead, in increasingly numerous instances they’ve become a sort of bargain bin for cops to augment their own supply of drugs to satisfy their habit in between arresting people for drug offenses and other victimless crimes or generating revenue. In fact, just yesterday I posted about the sheriff of Sandusky, Ohio having been indicted for cruising around illegally collecting the contents of drug drop boxes throughout several departments within Sandusky County. Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is now facing 43 charges, including 38 felonies, for his habit of “grazing” for free drugs and also for all the money he stole.

Deputy Volpe wasn’t quite as prolific as Sheriff Overmyer, but he had a good run and he would have gotten away without too, if not for a meddling employee (actually) in charge of emptying the drop box at the sheriff’s office.

Via the Ventura County Star:

Investigators were alerted in early May after a sheriff’s employee who regularly empties the disposal bin noticed a disparity in the amount of medication compared to a day earlier, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

The employee alerted investigators, who then looked at surveillance footage from the East Valley station’s lobby on Olsen Road, where the bin was located. Investigators said they saw someone wearing a sheriff’s office uniform use a key to unlock the bottom of the bin and remove items. They identified the person on camera as Volpe, who was assigned to the Thousand Oaks police motor unit, officials said.

Investigators turned over evidence to the District Attorney’s Office for review and consideration of filing criminal charges of embezzlement and possession of a controlled substance, officials said.

Volpe was placed on administrative leave in May.

Investigators said additional surveillance footage shows Volpe removed items from the bin five other times between April 12 and May 6.

Investigators said they searched Volpe’s home, his work locker and assigned sheriff’s motorcycle. They said they found prescription medication that was not prescribed to Volpe inside a compartment of the motorcycle.

Looks like the Good Cops at the VCSO have already started setting him up with the obligatory Policeman’s Discount, though. In spite of being caught on camera at least six times stealing from the drop box and being caught with the actual drugs on his motorcycle, he’s been charged with just two misdemeanor possession counts and another misdemeanor petty theft charge.

After the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office sets him up with a plea bargain, he’ll likely be facing a stiff fine and a couple days of suspension at the end of the paid vacation he’s currently on before he’s allowed to get back out there and arrest people for drug crimes again.

Utah Police Used SWAT Teams/No Knock Warrants Significantly More Often For Drug Crimes Than for Known Violent Criminals

Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s Radley Balko reported on recent stats from Utah concerning the use of SWAT teams to make arrests within that state. Utah had previously gained notoriety for it’s frequent and unnecessary use of SWAT teams.

(It should be noted that 26% of the state’s police departments refused to provide data regarding the use of SWAT teams and no knock warrants. So the numbers listed below do not actually fully represent statewide totals. However, as noted in the article Utah is the only state in the country which – sorta – requires police departments to disclose such information.)

In terms of frequency, Utah made a slight step in the right direction by reducing the amount of times SWAT teams were used when 2015 is compared to 2014. However, in relation to the purpose for the use of a SWAT team, there is very little to cheer about. Overwhelmingly, SWAT teams were used for victimless and more often than not non-violent drug crimes.

In addition, a substantial majority of those drug raids involved the use of no-knock warrants. Meanwhile, police used no knock warrants for less than 40% of the arrests involving people accused of violent crimes.

Via the Washington Post:

…what we learned for 2015:

  • Overall use of SWAT teams in Utah dropped 18 percent from 2014.
  • Of the 457 SWAT deployments, 281 involved forcible entry into a private residence.
  • About three out of four forcible entries were for drug-related offenses.

SWAT teams were originally intended as a response to active shooters, hostage takings, armed robberies, and other violent crimes-in-progress. So that nearly 75 percent of forced entries were for drug crimes is troubling. The raw data shows that just nine of the 457 SWAT deployments and forced entries were for incidents that could be described as a violent crime in progress. Another six were to arrest warrants for violent felons, and another 26 were to serve warrants against people suspected of committing a violent crime against another person. All told then, just 41 of the 457 SWAT incidents and forced entries in Utah in 2015 were for incidents in which a suspect presented an imminent threat to the safety of someone else — or just under 9 percent.

Interestingly, of the 26 incidents in which the SWAT team was sent after a suspect was suspected of a violent crime, police obtained a no-knock warrant 10 times, well less than half. By my calculations, about 60 percent of the warrants for drug crimes were no-knock warrants. Which means that Utah police were significantly more likely to give you a chance to come to the door and peacefully submit to a search or arrest if you were suspected of a violent crime than if you were suspected of a drug crime.

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Suspects brandished weapons in just 3 percent of the 457 SWAT deployments, and actually fired a gun in just two incidents total, or less than half of 1 percent. Depending on your perspective, there are a couple of ways to look at this figure. It could mean that aggressive SWAT and door-breaking tactics are overwhelmingly being deployed against nonviolent people, or that the aggressive tactics are allowing police to apprehend violent suspects before they can reach for a weapon. I suspect it’s mostly the former. Just 6 percent of the warrants obtained for SWAT deployments and forced entries in the state last year involved a violent crime.

I think from those numbers that it’s pretty clear where the priorities of the police lie and, more importantly (for them), where the money is. We can’t really expect them to be bothered with actual violent criminals when there’s money to be made through asset seizures and drug forfeiture. The myth that the police are there to protect you is a poorly constructed and easily debunked sham.

And if things are this out of proportion within a rural and relatively low population state such as Utah, it’s not exactly hard to figure out that they are as bad, if not even worse, nationwide.

Why You Should Never Talk to the Police (Illustrated)

This post and the video above were shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader who prefers to use the pseudonym “Carrollton Speed Tax,” via the CopBlock.org Submissions page.

It shows why people should never talk to the police even if they act nice and offer to put sugar on top of stuff. In the end, even if they are good at acting friendly in the process, they are talking to you in order to gather evidence and find a reason to arrest you.

In this particular case, the person in the video was arrested for a “paraphernalia” charge. Such charges are incredibly broad and vague in what can be considered a prohibited item and subjective to the officers involved. Plus, they’re pure bullshit in the first place. The War on (Some) Drugs is predicated on victimless crimes and this is one “crime” that goes well beyond even that low bar.

See previous stories “Carrollton Speed Tax” has submitted here.

Date of Incident: February 28, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer Smith, Officer Bright, Officer Smyder & K9
Department Involved: Carrollton (TX) Police Department
Department Phone Number: (972) 466-3200
Department Facebook Page: CarrolltonTXPD

Some stops are more frustrating than others. When you see someone digging their own grave, and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s painful.

This appears to be yet another fishing expedition by Carrollton cops using something trivial to check ID’s, and to find a reason to try to find a way to cage citizens. In this case, they took a BS excuse that they pulled out of a parking lot too fast (WTF is that?), and that was enough to set off a long, world class effort to arrest people.

They tried getting consent without really giving a reason. That failed. They got the K9 in there, and although it appeared to have a coerced “hit”, the dog couldn’t find anything. This probably would have been the end of it, but the simple police tool of being your “friend” and casual conversation was likely their undoing.

Dont Talk to CopsThe most painful thing about this stop is the sheer number of questions being lobbed out there by the cops, and the victims readily answered. The undoing seemed to come after the K9 seemed to fail to find anything. It would seem that this should be the end of the stop (they don’t have unlimited time). So Officer Smith casually asked what might make the dog “hit”, and it looks like the driver gave in……since, you know, it was just a friendly question.

Perp-WalkWith that simple answer, it looks like it went from speculation to admission of guilt. They could take as long as they want now. The rapid fire questioning continued, and they went into heavy search mode. TWO searches, a K9, and a field drug test later, all they had was paraphernalia. Instead of giving him a ticket, they chose to take him in.

Add to that, the cops provided no help to the female passenger, and sent her off into the cold March night alone to make a three hour walk home. Luckily, chivalry isn’t completely dead in Texas.

2015 Was a Record Year For Exonerations of Wrongfully Convicted Prisoners

As originally reported by Mother Jones, a report from the University of Michigan Law School has declared that 2015 set a new record for the highest amount of people that have been freed after it was proven that they were wrongfully convicted. As detailed in the report, there were several reasons why innocent people ended up behind bars. that ranged from outright misconduct by prosecutors and police to those pressured into taking a plea bargain even though they were actually innocent.

Shockingly, there were actually 75 total cases in which no actual crime (even victimless ones) were even committed in the first place. Also, included within the 149 people released were five individuals awaiting the death penalty. Pointed out within the report is the fact that a combination of those two factors led to the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham in Texas, in spite of a wide range of evidence that the fire his three children died in was accidental and not a case of arson, for which he was convicted and subsequently killed.

It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of those wrongfully convicted resulted from the War On (Some) Drugs, many of which even if they had been valid would have involved non-violent victimless “crimes” in the first place.

Included below is the MotherJones.com article detailing the report and its conclusions:

Call it the Serial effect. According to a new report from the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations, 2015 set a record for the number of wrongly convicted Americans who finally found justice. There were 149 people last year who were either declared innocent or otherwise cleared of the consequences of their convictions or guilty pleas. Many had served some lengthy prison time—the average exoneree had served nearly 15 years—for crimes they did not commit.

The data in the report paints a disturbing portrait of a criminal justice system riven with errors and official misconduct. Among the lowlights:

  • Innocent but pleaded guilty: An extraordinary number of the exonerations came in cases in which the defendants had pleaded guilty (65 out of 149), more than in any previous year since the registry started in 1989. These were mostly drug cases but also included eight homicides. Those who pleaded guilty to crimes they didn’t commit tended to be mentally ill, intellectually disabled, or under the threat of an even longer prison sentence should they try to go to trial.
  • No-crime crimes: Seventy-five exonerations came in cases where it turned out no crime had even been committed. A number of these were old murder cases involving arson. They brought to mind the sad story of Cameron Todd Willingham, whom Texas executed in 2004 for allegedly murdering his three children through arson, despite significant evidence that the forensic arson investigation that led to his conviction was mostly bogus. Those same sorts of bogus fire investigations played a role in five of six of the homicide cases that led to exonerations last year in cases where officials ruled that no crime had been committed. In those cases, the defendants were luckier than Willingham: The fires that led to their murder convictions were shown to be accidents, not arson, and their convictions were vacated.
  • False confessions: In 27 of the exonerations in 2015, including 22 homicide cases, the defendants confessed to crimes they hadn’t committed. Many of these people were juveniles, mentally ill, or intellectually disabled—precisely the folks currently overrepresented on death row.
  • Official misconduct: Prosecutors and cops don’t come out looking good in the new report. Official misconduct was a factor in 75 percent of the homicide exonerations, a number that’s even bigger in the cases where there were false confessions. Eighty-two percent of those were the product of misconduct by cops or prosecutors.
  • Death penalty errors: Five of the exonerees in 2015 were death row inmates, three of whom had been there more than 20 years—more evidence of serious flaws in the capital punishment system.

National Registry of Exonerations

The exonerations were clustered in jurisdictions where local prosecutors had made significant efforts to reform their practices to prevent wrongful convictions. The largest number came from Harris County, Texas, where a new assistant district attorney in the post-conviction review section discovered that a lot of the cases coming through her office involved defendants who’d pleaded guilty to a drug crime, only to have lab work come back months later showing that the stuff cops had seized from the defendants wasn’t actually a controlled substance.

Washington Post columnist Radley Balko has dug into this issue and found that Harris County isn’t the only place with the problem. The field tests cops use to test for drugs are notoriously unreliable, and they’ve mistaken everything from chocolate chip cookies to cheese and tortilla dough for drugs. Nonetheless, the false guilty pleas—usually made under pressure and the threat of even longer prison sentences from a jury trial—often aren’t thrown out when later testing finds an absence of drugs. In 2014, the Harris County district attorney’s office launched a Conviction Integrity Unit to try addressing such problems. The result is a startling number of drug crime exonerations just from that one office—73 of them so far.

Such units within prosecutors’ offices offer hope for reforms to the criminal justice system. But the new report suggests they have a mixed record that can depend largely on the drive of an individual prosecutor rather than systemic support. Harris County has shown lots of promise, as has a unit in Brooklyn, which has been responsible for the exoneration of 16 murder defendants in the past two years. A more discouraging example came in New Orleans, which launched a Conviction Integrity Unit during the district attorney’s reelection campaign, in partnership with the local Innocence Project. According to the report, the unit kicked off in January 2015, worked on a single exoneration, and gave it up a year later.

Media accounts and shows like Serial and Making a Murderer have raised awareness about the problems with the criminal justice system and the prevalence of wrongful convictions, but the report urges caution before declaring victory. “As with climate change, the significance of the issue of false convictions is now widely acknowledged, despite committed doubters,” the authors write. “In other respects, we are far behind. We have no measure of the magnitude of the problem, no general plan for how to address it, and certainly no general commitment to do so. We’ve made a start, but that’s all.”

Will Lamar Odom Survive Long Enough to go to Prison for Harming No-One But Himself?

With as many people as there are out there “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” these days, I’m sure everyone is well aware of the most recent prostitute related-incident unfolding where Lamar Odom, who is also the estranged husband of Khloé Kardashian, was found unresponsive and close to death on Tuesday at a Nevada brothel. Odom was famously arrested during a prostitution sting by the LVMPD while attending summer school at UNLV in 1997. That scandal ending up causing Odom to transfer to the University of Rhode Island before he ever played a game at UNLV and led to an NCAA investigation that resulted in a four year probation for the Runnin’ Rebels.

Reportedly, Odom had been staying at the “Love Ranch” in Crystal, NV. for three days prior and had been in the midst of a cocaine and Viagra binge prior to lapsing into unconsciousness. He was found foaming out of his mouth and with blood coming out of his nose. At this point, it’s questionable and has been described as a 50/50 prospect that he will survive. A cadre of reality TV stars and sorta celebrities (including the Kardashians, of course) have begun gathering at Sunrise Hospital here in Las Vegas for what amounts to a deathbed vigil.

The audio of the 911 call

Lamar Odom Drug Overdose BrothelObviously, the immediate concern is whether the coin that he flipped over the weekend will come up heads and he will live through this at all. However, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, where the brothel is located (just north of Las Vegas) has already announced that they will be testing his blood and if he does come out on the top end of those 50/50 odds, he could face drug possession charges.

After initially saying that, they did back track a little by saying they weren’t sure what charges he may face if he lives. Regardless of that, it’s pretty certain that the Nye Cty. police will go after the brothel employees for providing him with drugs, possibly including the cocaine (they’ve denied that, but they also initially denied giving him the Viagra), whether Odom survives or not.

So the next question Odom may face, should he survive, is whether he ends up in prison as a result. The larger question is whether he or anyone else should be in prison for a crime when the only victim is themselves. Not to mention whether employees at the brothel should face prison time for giving somebody something they asked for.

There’s arguments we can have about DUI’s (outside of checkpoints, which are an entirely different story) and the potential for there to be a victim if someone isn’t stopped. However, as irresponsible and self destructive as someone might be in doing drugs, the simple act of doing the drugs themselves doesn’t harm anyone except the person doing those drugs. The majority of associated crimes are actually created and/or facilitated by the War on (Some) Drugs itself and they are all real crimes with identifiable victims that can be prosecuted in their own right.

Realistically, there’s no reason why someone who has a disease that should be treated should instead be thrown in jail. Nor should the vast majority of non-violent, non-addictive drug users be locked up because of those who do have that disease. The abuses, both physical and civil rights related, that the Drug War allows and even encourages among government and law enforcement, along with the abject failure that it represents in terms of stopping drug use, should be more than enough reason to put an end to it. The fact that someone can beat the odds and survive a fight for their life only to be thrust into a fight for their freedom as soon as they recover enough to stand trial is an equal, if not even more compelling reason, to do so.

An Officer Walks Into a Convenience Store…Karma Ensues

On Thursday morning of September 17, 2015, a Philadelphia police officer parked his police bicycle to go into a convenience store.  At around 9 am the officer entered the 7 Eleven located at 23 West Girard Avenue in North Liberties. While inside, a man and women approached the bicycle that was clearly marked as a police bicycle and rode off with it.

The bike that was swiped is a 17 inch Fuji mountain bike.  It has a back saddlebag with Police marked on it.  They are asking that anyone who has information about the bike to call 215-686-TIPS.  I’m sure people will get right on that.

It seems to me that karma has played a part in this as these officers patrol the streets day and night stealing from citizens in the form of citations for victimless crimes.  As a follower of the Non Aggression Principal, I would never steal something from anyone whether they were a cop or not.  I’m also not going to lie and tell my readers that I did not find some joy in hearing about this.

With the way that police seem to be hell-bent on solving any crimes committed against them, I’m quite surprised that they didn’t lock down the neighborhood and do a door to door sweep while kicking in doors and threatening citizens at gun point.  This seems to be the MO of cops these days.  Any other lowly citizen would have reported the theft of their bike and they would have taken a report over the telephone and nothing more would be done to solve the crime.

A fortune-teller told me that it’s in the basement of the Alamo.  Maybe someone should call the TIPS line and tell them that’s where it’s at.  Tell them Large Marge sent ya.

Corrupt Virginia State Police Illegally Search Car Then Plant Drugs/False Evidence

The video and description within this post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the  CopBlock Submissions Page.

All too often police use victimless crimes, such as seat belt or window tint level violations to gain entry “lawfully” into your vehicle for a victimless charge that is more profitable. In this case, for approximately 5 1/2 minutes an officer searched the passenger side of the vehicle and never indicated he had found anything.

Meanwhile, the officer that was searching the other side of the vehicle finished his trunk search,  returned to his vehicle, had a few words with the officer that searched the passenger’s side, grabbed an evidence bag and a drug testing testing kit, returned to the passenger’s side floorboard, and  miraculously without effort instantly found marijuana.

Date of Incident: June 10, 2014
Officers Involved:  Troopers Hobbs and  McGinnis
Department Involved: Virginia State Police
Department Phone Number: (540) 672-1491

Corrupt VA Police – Illegal Search & Seizure/Planting of False Evidence

Tuesday 06-10-2014 at approximately 7pm, I and the driver/owner of the car were bird-dogging for rental property in Central VA, an area unfamiliar to us. On Tower Rd, we were passed by a silver Impala unmarked, but clearly identifiable as a cop car as the vehicle had large antennas on the roof. In the rear view mirror, we noticed him make a U-turn and accelerate behind us. We weren’t driving fast or even speeding as we were taking in the country road. We made a left on Sunnyside Rd. & the Impala continued on straight. As we pulled into a driveway to get our bearings, the home owner walked down his driveway and approached the car. We told him we were just getting our bearings, pulled out from his driveway, and began back up Sunnyside Rd. At that point, we noticed the same unmarked Impala behind us; almost as if he simply circled the area and targeted us. As we were only doing 15/20mph I instructed driver/owner to pullover and allow him to pass, at which point the cop also pulled behind us and turned on his police lights.

He approached the driver side door and told driver /owner that her window tint was too dark for VA. I told him we had never had any problems in our immediate area of Arlington and Alexandria. He went back to his car retrieving a Window tint detector of some sort and slid it over the glass. He then addressed me (passenger seat) noting that I didn’t have my seat belt on, to which I replied that we had just been stopped & intended to pull over. The officer, who was named Hobbs (uniform stated VA state police) then asked for my I.D. I initially refused, asking for what purpose. Officer Hobbs responded by saying that he could pull me out of the car and search me. I complied and he went back to his cruiser. After about 15min. of waiting and several other police cars showing up, including a Sheriff from the Orange County Police Force (Sgt. Dickerson, I believe) and a K-9 cop. At that time, the Sgt. Walked up to the car and informed the driver/owner that her info wasn’t popping up in their computer and requested her S.S. number. I objected stating, “that’s totally unheard of,” but the driver/owner, feeling pressured by the Sgt., relented. After another 10 or so minutes, the officers instructed me to step out of the car and that they were going to search me. I complied and Hobbs patted me down. The driver/owner was then told she would also be patted down, to which she responded that a female should be present. Her request was shot down as Hobbs stated that it’s NOT a state law & thus he was justified – so I told the driver/owner to make sure she was standing in front of the Impala. We asked if the cruiser dashboard camera was recording and we were told YES.

At that point, the K-9 cop ran around the car twice and then scoured the interior of the car, including both front & back seats, with NO signals being given or barking. The K-9 cop (Officer McGinnis) took the German Shepherd back into the squad car, passing Hobbs on the way and whispering something (the driver/owner heard, “It’s clean”) to one another in passing. McGinnis then proceeded to search the car with Officer Hobbs. At this point the driver/owner and I began recording the car search and the officer’s actions via her iPhone, because we couldn’t understand what gave them the thought that we were doing anything illegal or had contraband in the car. They NEVER mentioned to us that they smelled marijuana or anything that they were suspicious of from the start.

The cops knew that they were being recorded as I narrated the day’s events up until that point and panned the phone to the Sgt. standing to our left and toward their cruisers. Two other tactical looking offers in plain clothes 9 Tactical vests) went and sat in their SUV & waited. Hobbs concentrated on the driver’s (left) side while McGinnis focused his search on the passenger’s (right) side. They then both moved to the rear seats at which time McGinnis came back to the driver’s side squatted down going through the floorboard area, where my wallet and a ziplock bag filled with trash (cigarette box, grapefruit peel) were. He then left the car and stood next to the Sgt. who was still standing next to me about 10ft from the rear left of the car. Hobbs proceeded to the trunk area and after taking a cursory look walked back to his car. At that time McGinnis walked over to him (out of cruiser camera view) and exchanged brief small talk out of earshot. IMMEDIATELY, Hobbs darted for the passenger side floorboard with a police evidence bag, squatted down and then held up a small drug testing kit, which he shook repeatedly until it changed to green. As he walked over to us, he stated that it was indeed marijuana and that I’d be given the charge as the drug evidence was found on my side of the car. He then told us both our charges (driver/owner – window tint & myself – No seatbelt & possession of Marijuana). Hobbs escorted the driver/owner over to the hood of his cruiser and asked for her purse to search it – to which she refused. He then stated that he could simply take it, and the driver/owner looked back at me and I nodded sure give it to him, so as not to complicate things further. At this juncture I’m thinking I’m going to be handcuffed and would need to be bailed out someway. The driver/owner signed her paperwork and then it was my turn. We were told the dates to come back to court and that that they would be present. We took several minutes snapping pictures after our ID’s were returned and straightening up the car before we got back on the road to head home.

• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Illegal Search & seizure
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Asking me for my I.D. as a passenger and not posing a risk
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Denial of a female cop for a pat down even when requested
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NOT letting us leave after the Dog found no traces of anything illegal
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NO real probable cause to follow or antagonize us as Hobbs could have pulled us over from from Tower Rd. when we 1st encountered him, for the tint infraction.

SMOKING GUN: If McGinnis had truly found evidence of narcotics he NEVER stopped his search to acknowledge it & thus his actions of stepping away from the car and then meeting Hobbs by his car were highly unusual as they were speaking in private. With Hobbs making a beeline for the passenger side floor board and locating something EVEN as he had been solely searching the left hand side of the car was highly ODD, to say the least.

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