Tag Archives: wrongfull convictions

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.”

Free Radical Movie Night Screening of “Let the Fire Burn” Oct. 10th

October Radical Movie Night – “Let the Fire Burn”

 Radical Movie Night in Las Vegas

(via KellyWPatterson.com)

September’s debut of the Las Vegas Radical Movie Night went very well. In fact, it went well enough that we will now be doing two showings per month. So, on every second and fourth Friday of the month at 6:00 pm, the Sunset Activist Collective will host a free screening of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value.

The location where Radical Movie Nights take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with the National Day of Action Against Police Brutality, which is held annually on Oct. 22nd (for more info see: http://www.october22.org/) October’s screenings will involve movies that relate to police abuses. On October 10th, we will be showing “Let the Fire Burn” a documentary about the Philadelphia police department’s response to a group known as the MOVE Organization, which was a radical black liberation group that practiced anarcho-primitivism, during two raids in 1978 and 1985.

Delbert Africa is arrested by police after the 1978 gun battle.

This film raises many questions about the tendency of governments and law enforcement to use legitimate complaints as an opportunistic excuse to go after people or groups they dislike and the heavy-handed ways in which they often do so. As the movie shows, the members of MOVE were very bad neighbors and made things difficult for those living around them. However, the Philadelphia Police Department’s “solution” resulted in most of those neighbors losing their homes when a fire ignited by a police bomb burned 61 surrounding buildings. In addition, 11 of the 13 MOVE members living there , including 5 children, were killed by that fire, which was intentionally allowed to burn until it was out of control.

Further, those residents’ and the city’s years long battle over poorly constructed and massively over budget replacement homes highlights the often corrupt and crony driven nature of politics. One might be tempted to ask if they were actually better off with their noisy neighbors. It certainly does beg the question of whether there were many, many better options to resolve the issues.

About the Movie (via: http://LetTheFireBurn.com)

Let the Fire Burn

“In the astonishingly gripping ‘Let the Fire Burn,’ director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated—and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to ‘…let the fire burn.’ Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.”


Winner – Best Editing in a Documentary Feature – Tribeca Film Festival

Special Jury Mention – Best New Documentary Director – Tribeca Film Festival

Director Jason Osder was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in Filmmaker Magazine July 2013.

Further Information:

The Aftermath

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/-v5ZXAxTGHg

Check out the official website: http://www.letthefireburn.com/

The website of the MOVE Organization: http://onamove.com/

On Cop Block:

Philadelphia – The City That Bombed Itself: http://www.copblock.org/745/pete-visits-the-city-that-bombed-itself/

Call Flood Request for Brian Sumner Arrested for Filming Cops *Update*

Update: Charges Dismissed Against Brian Sumner

Brian Sumner’s Case was Dismissed. (Thanks to a Little Help from Some Freinds.)

Brian Sumner has reported via the FaceBook event page that his charges were dropped He also stated:

“Its all thanks to you. I wish everyone of you could have seen the DAs face. My lawyer told me that she wasn’t sure if the DA was going to inner (sic) the agreement. I’m going to take that as it was a very successful phone bomb. You all have my heart, and our voices will be heard.”

Thanks to everyone that managed to call. Remember, call floods have been very effective at putting pressure on police departments and courts to release people being charged with bogus crimes based on retaliation or intimidation motives. Always call if you can.



Brian Sumner wrote the article included below regarding how “obstruction” charges are often used to punish and attempt to discourage people involved in Copwatch or Cop Block related activities. This is done much the same way that “resisting arrest” is often used to prosecute people who have been arrested, even when the actual excuse for arresting them is thrown out or dismissed, as a way of intimidating them.

Brian is a local activist and copwatcher from the Fresno area. Within a relatively short time he’s made quite a few videos and been involved in several major actions in and around Fresno seeking police accountability as part of the Fresno Liberty Movement. As a result, he has become a target for retaliation by local police and other government employees. In one such instance (not the one in the video included below), he was charged with obstruction simply for filming the arrest of another person from a distance. He will be starting trial for this “crime” today, Sept. 10th 2014, and has asked (via a FaceBook event) that people call the DA to show their support and ask that they drop those bogus charges:

“Brian Sumner was arrested for obstruction of justice while filming a routine traffic stop in Clovis, Ca. Please call the DA’s office as many times as humanly possible and ask them to drop the charges. Brian will begin his first day of trial at 1:30 pm 9/10/14. Vanessa Wong is the DA prosecuting the case against Brian. The phone number to her office is (559) 600-3141. Any and all support will be greatly appreciated. #NoVictimNoCrime #PhotographyIsNotACrime #CopBlock #CopWatch #Solidarity”

“Obstructing” is “Resisting” for Cop Watchers

We have all seen a youtube video where a cop demands ID, or for someone to go with them, and when they refuse the cop threatens them with resisting arrest. Even though no crime was committed beforehand…  If you have not seen one of these videos click the link below.

Threatened with resisting arrest.



I have been filming the police for around a year and a half now, and it has slowly just become apart of who I am. I was just out of the military, and dealing with the poor taste it left in my mouth. I had been Listening to the Adam VS the Man podcast, reading The Free Thought Project, and watching everything CopBlock.org was putting out. I had joined the military to serve, and well lets just say my service was more of a disservice.

The visible wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan these “Wars on Terror” were being flaunted along with 9/11 as major reasons to draft such legislation as the Patriot Act, or NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) to create such organizations as the NSA, and the TSA. While the US military eroded rights, and lowered the living conditions in the middle east, the US government was  systematically removing rights, and lowering the standard of freedom in the USA.

I was drawn to activism and civil disobedience because it was an in your face act of rebellion, and when you do something like block a freeway, chalk up a police station, or take over the streets with a group of people, and the authorities just have to let you do it due the critical mass its very liberating to one’s soul. You make connections, and form bonds with each other much like in the military.

One thing I have noticed is cops don’t take kindly to an unknown person walking up and sticking a camera in their face. Luckily for me, I could care less what a cop wants. Too many times there is no objective record, and cops take advantage of people, or worse hurt them. The supreme court ruled that it is the job of police to enforce the laws, not protect people. With that in mind does it make a little more sense why there are so many victimless crimes?

Police often tell me that my presence is an obstruction of their investigation, they usually try to defend it with “I’m cool with you filming, just from over there, Officer safety, and all” or something along those lines. In reality what the cop is trying to do is place you in a position where you are less likely to capture what he is doing, and/or saying. I have been threatened with arrest for this crime known as “Obstruction of Justice”  on many different occasions. I recently made the connection between resisting arrest, and Obstruction of Justice.

If I am not harming anyone, and I am filming from a distance that I deem is reasonable for both mine, and the officers safety, and if I am not engaging the officer in any unwanted dialogue how can I be obstructing justice, or interfering with his investigation? Is he claiming that my presence with a camera is somehow hindering him from doing his job? Or is he afraid of what the camera will see? Regardless the situation remains where unquestioned obedience to an authority figure, possibly a complete stranger, can and will land  you in cage, even worse you can end up with a criminal record.

The same can be said with resisting arrest. As we saw in the video link above the man was eating a meal at a fast food restaurant. When the man did not want to leave his meal, and go with the officer he was threatened with arrest for resisting arrest. How can your only crime be not wanting to have an interaction with a complete stranger? Does it make sense that you can literally be arrested for refusing to go somewhere with someone who claims authority over you?

Police now can detain and arrest you for not wanting to talk to them. At the same time police can detain and arrest the people who would film these arrest’s in order create an objective record, if they do not follow the orders of a the police officer. I will now share a personal experience from 2 nights ago with the Clovis, Ca police department.

Clovis police officer, and local hero Jesus Santillon, threatened me with arrest for filming him while he detained, and later arrested a homeless man with a bicycle.

This video also may serve as an objective comparison of the behavior of  cops while in certain uniforms. The officer with the tactical vest, and the military haircut was the one to make contact with me, and cry about “officer safety” in an attempt to get me to alter my position.  While the police officer in his regular uniform was very patient, and kept to the matters at hand.

Notice also that even the nice cop was telling me what to do. Officer Santillan was telling me to move, the other person involved Officer Shermanti was telling me that no one threatened me, and the supervisor was telling me to keep my opinions to myself, and to do whatever complete strangers with guns tell me to. In retrospect thats actually not that bad of advice… If a complete stranger came up to me with a gun and told me what to do. I would probably do it. Unless it was a cop. Then I would probably film it.

I hope you also noticed that none of the cops really listened to me, they all just made excuses for each other, and talked at me in a manner that made me feel more like a subject to them. In other news, Officer Jesus Santillan was awarded a hero medal for 80 DUI arrests, and singlehandedly making up 21% of the DUI arrest for Clovis PD.

Hero Cop Jesus Santillan

 “A Clovis police officer was given a California Hero Award on Saturday at the 16th annual Statewide Law Enforcement and Community Recognition Event in Sacramento, said Janet Stoll-Lee, spokeswoman for the Clovis Police Department.

Stoll-Lee said Officer Jesus Santillan arrested 80 drunken drivers during the graveyard shift in 2013, which accounted for 21% of the department’s total DUI arrests. Santillan worked on DUI checkpoints, AVOID task forces and saturation patrols in Clovis.

The event, which is sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, recognizes law enforcement officers and community leaders throughout California for their efforts to stop drunken driving.”

National Jury Rights Day in Las Vegas – Sept. 5th

Sept. 5th is Jury Rights Day

Sept. 5th is Jury Rights Day

A History of Jury Rights Day

People across the country will be celebrating Jury Rights Day September 5th. On this day in 1670, Quaker William Penn of London was arrested for the “crime” of preaching his personal religious beliefs. Penn pled not guilty and subsequently argued against England’s Conventicle Acts, which outlawed the practice of religions other than the Church of England.

At the conclusion of the trial, the judge instructed the jurors to find Penn guilty. However, the jurors’ refusal to enforce a bad law led to the court jailing them for contempt and withholding food and water from the jurors. This became known as “Bushel’s Case” because of Edward Bushel, the jury foreman’s refusal to pay the fines, which had been charged to the jurors.

Afterwards, some of the jurors appealed their fines and imprisonment.  A higher court confirmed the right of the jurors to base their verdict on their best judgment and conscience.  Even though there was a law against freedom of religion, the high court held that juries could not be required to enforce any law they thought was wrong.

Jurors can judge guilt based on both facts and the validity of the law itself.

Jurors can judge guilt based on both facts and the validity of the law itself.

This higher court ruling created the precedent that jurors cannot be punished for their verdict.  It also set a foundation for our rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.

This ruling confirmed important protections for the jury, and firmly established the right of the jurors to refuse to accept bad government laws. This method of rejecting bad laws is called jury nullification or jury veto.  Through jury nullification, people can control their government by refusing to allow immoral laws to be enforced.

Resulting common law concepts firmly uphold the fact that Jurors cannot be punished for rendering or refusing to render a certain verdict. Nor are jurors are required to give any reason for the verdict that they render or justify it in any way. The fundamental right of Jurors to render their verdict based on conscience is basic to the preservation of Justice, in a free society.

William Penn later came to Colonial America and founded Pennsylvania.  Jurors continue to have the authority to nullify bad laws.  This authority is our peaceful protection to stop corrupt government servants from violating our rights.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the history of Jury Rights Day.

More information about jury nullification and jury rights in general can be found at the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA.org)

Schedule of Events in Las Vegas:

Friday ~
10:00 AM Pre-event flyering/outreach
10:30 AM Press Conference
11:00 AM Presentation about Jury Rights

Monday –
8:00 – 11:00 AM We will be handing out information about jurors rights and jury nullification to people going into the court.

Las Vegas will be holding several events that weekend.

Las Vegas will be holding several events that weekend.

Jury Rights Day Events in Las Vegas

The right to trial by jury is not as well respected as it should be or as our founding documents require. In clear violation of the plain text of our founding documents, several criminal defendants, perhaps even a majority of defendants, in Nevada are illegally denied their right to trial by jury. And, in those cases where juries are impaneled, the courts systematically confuse and mislead jurors as to the nature of their service on a jury. A jury trial is a check and balance on unaccountable entrenched government. It began as a check on royal power. It is still needed as a check on the power of the state. A litany of groups and individuals will gather at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas the weekend of September 5th in honor of Jury Rights Day.


Friday 10:00 a.m. , September 5th

A press conference will be held on the steps of the Regional Justice Center, 200 S Lewis. (View map to location) Representatives from several groups will speak on the importance of the right to trial by jury to them and their organization. Groups represented include, Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, Patient to Patient, Compassion Nevada Consulting, Cindy Lake candidate for Clark County Commission, Jim Duensing candidate for Clark County District Attorney and the Fully Informed Jury Association, T. Matthew Phillips a Civil Rights Attorney.

Friday 10:30 a.m., September 5th

An educational presentation at the RJC will be made by Jim Duensing, local attorney and candidate for District Attorney in Clark County. The presentation, geared towards the several homeschooled children attending, will also be enlightening to adult members of the public and press alike. All are invited and encouraged to attend this presentation covering the history and and nature of the right to trial by jury.

Monday 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., September 8th

Volunteers will be distributing informational handouts provided by the Fully Informed Jury Association, www.FIJA.org at the Regional Justice Center. These handouts will educate and remind the public about the nature and importance of the right to trial by jury.

Join Nevada Cop Block at the Anarchist Cafe (A-Cafe) for “Disarm the Police”

This week, Nevada Cop Block will be hosting a special event as part of a local activist get together known as the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe, which will focus on bringing accountability to Las Vegas area police.

This event, “Disarm the Police,” will be an informational and organizing meeting regarding issues with police brutality, lack of accountability, and official corruption. In addition, there will be discussion about setting up regular actions based around bringing attention to and addressing those issues.

Methods, goals, and acceptable outcomes will all be discussed. Also, information about how to get involved with local police “watchdog” groups, such as Nevada Cop Block (NVCopBlock.org), will be provided for those wanting to become more involved on an ongoing basis.

The Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe meets Saturdays, from 6:00—8:00pm, at Sunrise Coffee Shop, which is located on Sunset Rd. between Pecos and Eastern (map below). The A-Cafe is not a place, it’s an event–a social experiment in urban anarchy, organized by the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left and a group of unaffiliated local anarchists. The A-Cafe is a forum for anarchists in the Las Vegas area to get to know each other, to hang out, to shoot the breeze, to talk some shop, to talk about the projects that we are working on, and to organize new projects. Anyone who’s an anarchist, anti-statist, or just anarchy-curious is invited to join us.

Drop in any time — the gathering is informal, and based on chatting and sharing information. There isn’t a fixed agenda. (But if you want to set up an organizing meeting for a particular project with a fixed agenda, A-Cafe is a great place to meet people to invite.) Feel free to drop in at any time and leave whenever you need to.

Bring yourself. Bring a friend. And bring anything — ideas you’ve had, projects you’re working on, literature, zines, flyers, art, whatever — that you’d like to share with some like-minded people.

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#FreeAdemo – Institutionalized Censorship in the “Live Free or Die” State


Three months in jail, plus probation, for requesting accountability? – photo courtesy of Donald Rilea

Earlier this week, New Hampshire’s government, which famously wasted a bunch of money and effort trying to jail a man for covering the state’s motto “Live Free or Die” on his license plate, once again displayed their preference toward the second option within that phrase. Ademo Freeman, a local activist and founder of the main Cop Block site, was charged, convicted, and is currently sitting in jail in what can only be described as an attempt to intimidate and censor someone who has made it one of his life’s purposes to highlight and oppose abuses and corruption by police and other governmental officials.

Although the official charge was wiretapping, the real intent isn’t hard to discern. This case revolves around an incident in which a 17 year old high school student in Manchester, NH was arrested for what amounts to a silly prank and, in the process of being arrested, was violently  assaulted unnecessarily by a member of the school’s police unit. This was brought to the attention of Ademo and other members of Cop Block by another student, who filmed the incident and subsequently forwarded that footage to CopBlock.org.

The extent of Ademo’s “crimes” consist of him recording and later posting online calls he made to three members of the school requesting official statements about the incident and inquiring about what might be done to hold the officer, who was caught on tape doing to a child what would result in an arrest for child abuse if his own parents did the same thing to him, accountable for his actions. There should be little doubt that this was not the intended purpose of rules against wiretapping, nor should there be much of a mystery to the real reason that it was used in this manner against Ademo.

This is nothing more nor less than an obvious and blatant attempt to discourage people from opposing the official power structures within the government and prevent exposure of misconduct by its employees. Furthermore, it’s an attempt to push back against personal attempts by Ademo and others within the Cop Block network to publicize law enforcement and governmental abuses. In essence, Manchester wants to ensure that the old axiom “you can’t fight city hall” holds true, even if they have to fight dirty in order to do so.

As incidents of police abuse become more and more commonplace and public opinion of law enforcement erodes, the importance of holding bad police accountable should be obvious even to their supporters and the police themselves. Covering up those abuses does nothing but reinforce the appearance that the entire police force is corrupt and only makes it that much harder for those genuine good cops, that we are constantly told comprise the majority of cops, to do their job. Going so far as to imprison someone for exposing official abuses, is an affront and not so subtle threat to everyone.

Regardless of how you feel about the police, Cop Block, or even Ademo personally, everyone should be able to grasp the larger issues involved in all of this. If governments and their officials are allowed to twist and bend the intentions of laws in order to attack and censor individuals they dislike and/or are inconvenienced by, then all of us are a little less safe should that target ever be placed on our chest. As Martin Luther King once stated, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Even more dangerous is the notion that governmental officials should be able to hold themselves above the laws that everyone else is expected to follow by doing so, especially when the underlying issue involves violence against defenseless people, including school children.

Parents deserve better from the officials that have been entrusted to safeguard their children and a peaceful society based on true freedom demands better to ensure its continued existence.

Free Ademo2

If you value liberty and freedom support Ademo however you can. (see below)


If you’d like to help, here are some suggestions:

Become active at CopBlock.org

Move to the Shire

Donate to Ademo/CopBlock.org

-Write Ademo in jail

Adam Mueller
445 Willow Street 03103
Manchester, NH 

-Send liberty-orientated stories to Ademo’s roommates

In addition you can contact the public officials that were involved in the case and tell them what you think of their attempts to use the judicial system as a tool for censorship:

Michael G. Valentine – (603) 627-5605
(DA arguing that Ademo deserves to be caged for 21-years)
Hillsborough County Attorney’s Offices, 300 Chestnut Street, Manchester, NH 03101

Michael Delaney – (603) 271-3658
(attorney general who failed to bring charges against Duchesne, Jajuga, Buckley, and Goodno)
NH Department of Justice, 33 Capitol Street, Concord, NH 03301

Jonathan Duchesne, Matt Jajuga, Michael Buckley, David Mara – (603) 668-8711
(first three involved in beating of Chris Micklovich, fourth is “chief”)
Manchester Police Department, 351 Chestnut Street, Manchester, NH 03101-2294

MaryEllen McGorry – (603) 624-6384
(principal, from whom one of Ademo’s wiretapping threats stems)
West High School
9 Notre Dame Ave
Manchester, NH 03102

Ted Gatsas, Thomas R. Clark – (603) 624.6500
(mayor and city solicitor who failed to bring charges against Duchesne, Jajuga, Buckley, and Goodno)
Manchester City Hall, 1045 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101

Las Vegas: Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!

Nevada Cop Block Warning Gang Activity LVMPD Las Vegas

Be on the lookout for these signs of gang membership in your neighborhood. – If you see something, film something.

A gang is a group of recurrently associating individuals with identifiable leadership and internal organization, identifying with or claiming control over territory in the community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behavior. Usually, gangs have gained the most control in poorer, urban communities.

Gangs are involved in all areas of street-crime activities like extortion, drug trafficking (both in and outside the prison system), and theft. Gang activity also involves the victimization of individuals by robbery and kidnapping. Street gangs take over territory or “turf” in a particular city and are often involved in “providing protection“, a thin cover for extortion, as the “protection” is usually from the gang itself.

Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang. Many gang members are proud of their gang and freely admit their membership. Their personal belongings frequently boast the gang’s logo and the member’s gang name. Gangs generally share common characteristics such as the wearing of distinct clothing. However, some individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members.

They are usually armed, often unpredictable, travel in overwhelming numbers, and are not above attacking or even killing innocent people that are unlucky enough to be confronted by them. So, interacting with them individually can be very dangerous. If possible, make sure others are present and ALWAYS carry a camera to document any improprieties and ensure a neutral “witness.”

(This list of gang “identifiers” was compiled from a combination of factors listed in Wikipedia and on the LAPD website. Minus the links, of course.)

Nevada Cop Block Gang Activity LVMPD Flyer

Be on the lookout for these known gang members. They have a history of violence and usually armed. – If you see something, film something.

If you see any of the criminals pictured above, document their activities (preferably by video) and contact Nevada Cop Block immediately, if not sooner. A huge h/t to Dizz (another awesome member of the Las Vegas A-Cafe community) for creating the “warning” poster. Feel free to download the full size version and post it throughout your neighborhood so your friends don’t fall prey to this menace.

Oh yeah, join us!

The Myth of Fingerprint Identification Reliability

It’s a pretty accepted idea that fingerprint evidence is an airtight method of proving that an accused person was at the scene of a crime. However, contrary to what we are told constantly in movies, books, and actual courtrooms; fingerprints are not the judicial bedrock they have been portrayed as. The issue isn’t so much that fingerprints themselves are unreliable, but rather that finding a perfect set of fingerprints to compare to a suspect at a crime scene is very rare. As pointed out in the LA Times, there has been doubt about the reliability of fingerprint identification since shortly after it was first used to convict people and that uncertainty has been revived in recent years:

The year was 1905. Forensic science was in its infancy. Scotland Yard had only recently begun collecting carefully pressed fingerprints from criminals, stashing the cards in pigeonholes of a makeshift filing system…After learning that a man named Alfred Stratton had been seen near the crime scene, he collected the unemployed ruffian’s thumbprint and compared it with the one left at the crime scene. A close inspection showed there were 11 minute features that the two prints shared.

The prosecutor at Stratton’s trial told jurors the similarities left “not the shadow of a doubt” that the crime-scene print belonged to Stratton.

But the defense had a surprising ally at their table: Henry Faulds, a Scottish doctor who two decades earlier was the first to propose using fingerprints to solve crimes.

Faulds believed that even if fingerprints were unique — there was, after all, no scientific basis for the popular assumption — the same was not necessarily true of “smudges,” the blurry partial prints accidentally left behind at crime scenes in blood, sweat or grease.

A single bloody thumbprint, he felt, was not enough evidence to convict anyone of murder…

…Today, fingerprints are once again on trial.

In 2007, a Maryland judge threw out fingerprint evidence in a death penalty case, calling it “a subjective, untested, unverifiable identification procedure that purports to be infallible.”

The ruling sided with the scientists, law professors and defense lawyers who for a decade had been noting the dearth of research into the reliability of fingerprinting. Their lonely crusade for sound science in the courtroom has often been ignored by the courts, but last month it was endorsed by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

The actual question isn’t whether fingerprints themselves are reliable. No case has ever been found of two people with the same fingerprint. Even identical twins’ fingerprints are slightly different. The problem lies in finding a quality fingerprint impression at a crime scene. Unlike when you stick your finger in ink and deliberately roll it back and forth, most fingerprints found by investigators consist of blurry, smudged prints that greatly limit the amount of common points that can be used to identify the actual perpetrators of a crime.

(Originally posted on EYEAM4ANARCHY)

Police Drug Kits Aren’t So Good at Figuring Out the Difference Between Oregano and Pot Either.

A seventy percent rate of false positives is nothing to get alarmed about. Let’s be optimists and think of the glass as thirty percent full.

(Originally posted at EYEAM4ANARCHY)

Live Free or Go To Jail: Irony, Logic and the Government

While searching for images to use on the blog recently I came across a bit of ever-present Government logic.

You can read the full case here, but I’ll give a short summary so you don’t have to wade through all that. Back in 1974, a Jehovah’s Witness named George Maynard decided that the New Hampshire state motto, “Live Free or Die,” contradicted his religious beliefs and began covering it up on his license plates. Not long after, one of the loyal servants of the State of New Hampshire cited Maynard for violating the state statute against altering license plates. In spite of the court’s sympathy with his stance, Maynard was given a fine that was suspended as long as he behaved himself from now on. Maynard was soon cited a second and third time and ended up serving 15 days in jail after refusing to pay the fines, as well as being given a six month suspended sentence. Subsequently, Maynard successfully sued in federal court to have his conviction overturned on First Amendment grounds of freedom of speech and religious freedom.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. New Hampshire was so determined to enforce freedom (or death) upon George Maynard that they appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court. To their credit, the Supreme Court upheld the earlier decision by a 6-3 vote. However, the fact that the State of New Hampshire couldn’t recognize the obvious irony of jailing someone for not displaying a slogan advocating freedom even at the cost of one’s own life amazes me.

(Originally posted at EYAM4ANARCHY)