Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 22, 2005

More on Cory Maye

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:30 pm

Radley Balko is continuing to dig up more information on the case of Cory Maye case, the man who shot someone who broke down his door and rushed his daughters bedroom — and is now facing the death penalty because that someone turned out to be a policeman serving a “no-knock” warrant on the drug dealer next door.

He has posted PDF files of the trial transcripts.

One of the main issues in the case — in fact, perhaps the only issue — is if Mr. Maye knew, or even could have known, that the guy breaking down his door was a police officer. The other police testified that they were in uniform and annonced “Police!” as (before?) they broke down the door; Maye, who was asleep at the time, said he didn’t hear anything until they burst into the room in which he and his daughter were sleeping. Now, Radley Balko found the following interesting fact, which really seems to back up Maye’s version of the event:

As it turns out, only one officer from the narcotics task force went along on the raid. Jones seems to have assembled an ad-hoc team of eight police officers to conduct the raid, including himself; a volunteer police officer from Bassfield named Phillip Allday; Darryl Graves, the task force officer; another Prentiss police department officer; and officers from both the Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s department and the Bassfield department.

I think this reflects even more poorly on the way the raid was handled. Only one of the eight officers — the officer from the task force — had any narcotics training at all. He was on the four-man team who executed the warrant for the other apartment, that of Jamie Smith. Which means none of the officers who raided Maye’s home had training in serving a high-risk narcotics warrant.

Here’s another troubling tidbit — it was the ununiformed volunteer cop who kicked down Maye’s door. Also, given his volunteer status, Allday wasn’t authorized to announce “police” prior to entering the apartment. [Italics his, boldface mine. --DR]

So, the one officer who normally is required to announce “Police” did not have they authority to do so — and was not in uniform. This means that either (1) the police are not following their own rules, or (2) they are lying, or (3) both.

Which makes the following even more disturbing:

The jury retired to deliberate at 10:38am on January 23 [2004]. By 11:49am, they had returned with a guilty verdict. At 2:20pm, the death penalty phase of the trial began. The jury retired for death penalty deliberations at 4:35pm. By 6pm they had returned with a death sentence. By 6:27pm, Maye was senteneced to death by the judge. So it took the jury just an hour and ten minutes to convict him, and just an hour and twenty-five minutes to sentence him to death. All in the same afternoon. [Emphasis mine -DR]

Sorry, but I don’t see how, in such a short amount of time, anyone can truly consider whether a person truly should be put to death for a crime — especially for an act which is arguably justifiable to the point that it might not even be a crime. Something is fishy here. Very, very fishy.

Keep in mind that I support the death penalty — but only for people who are actually murderers!

It Seems to be Legal

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:00 pm

Lots of folks with the right experience — both Democrats and Republicans — seem to be coming out with convincing arguments that President Bush’s “impeachable” executive order authorizing certain eavesdropping of terrorist suspects and contacts without a court order is in fact perfectly legal.

First John Schmidt, Associate Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, writes:

President Bush’s post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents.

In the Supreme Court’s 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president’s authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad.

Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

In the most recent judicial statement on the issue, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that “All the … courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence … We take for granted that the president does have that authority.”

In other words, even the court that grants the warrants concedes that in certain situations, the warrants are not needed — and these situations are those under discussion now.

Schmidt also noted, as I did earlier, that Jamie Gorelick, who was Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, and more recently a member of the “9/11 Commission,” testified before Congress on July 14, 1994:

“The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes, and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.”

Liberal Law Professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago is not entirely decided, but he seems to think it’s likely the President has the authority to wiretap people against whom he also has the right to use military force. The alternative is truly bizzarre — he can order a terrorist bombed, but can’t listen to his phone calls?

(Libertarian?) Judge Richard Posner, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (and who also teaches at the University of Chicago Law School) writes in the Washington Post contends that this type of surveillance is not a threat to civil liberties. When a libertarian federal judge is willing to say something like that in public, I think it means he thinks it’s legal, also.

John Hinderaker, also a lawyer, quotes Schmidt, and adds additional case citations to make that case that it’s legal, and takes the New York Times to task for ignoring the relevant court decisions:

This morning, I sent the following email to New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and Adam Liptak (other Times reporters who have participated in the NSA stories do not publish their email addresses):

In your reporting in the Times you appear to have tried to create the impression that the NSA’s overseas intercept program is, or may be, illegal. I believe that position is foreclosed by all applicable federal court precedents. I assume, for example, that you are aware of the November 2002 decision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, in Sealed Case No. 02-001, where the court said:

“The Truong court [United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 4th Cir. 1980], as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. *** We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.”

In view of the controlling federal court precedents, I do not see how an argument can be made in good faith that there is any doubt about the NSA program’s legality. Therefore, I wonder whether you are somehow unaware of the relevant case law. If you know of some authority to support your implication that the intercepts are or may be illegal, I would be interested to know what that authority is. If you are aware of no such authority, I think that a correction is in order.

And, the Justice Department has issued a five-page statement explaining why it’s legal.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times carries the allegation that the New York Times has been sitting on this story for a long time, and brought it up now to either (1) influence Congress’ vote on renewing the PATRIOT Act (which has nothing to do with the eavesdropping here), or (2) to bring attention to the issue ahead of the publication next month of a book by a New York Times reporter on the Bush Administrations spying programs.

Britain to Monitor All Cars, All the Time

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:04 am

A few years ago, I thought of an idea for a futuristic short story, in which the government tracks the location of every car in the country by means of the GPS receiver installed in the car that transmits its own position to a central tracking facility — and possibly other information, such as speed, seatbelt status, and maybe even audio from a microphone secreted in the car — maybe even video showing who’s in the car. I pictured a control center with a huge electronic map, allowing “whoever” to zoom in on roads, pick out individual cars, clicking on a car and listening to the conversation inside it. Of course, they could always search for a particular individual’s car based on DMV data and find out where that person’s car was.

I never wrote the story. But it is becoming reality much quicker than I thought. In Britain. And it won’t use GPS receivers, but cameras with license-plate readers, so there’s really no way a creative driver could disable it. (And it doesn’t have the audio-bug feature — not yet, anyway.)

And of course, it’s being introduced in the name of “crime control.” After all, if you watch everybody all the time, you must be watching all the criminals, too — right?

Matt Drudge points to this story in The Independent:

Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey

From 2006 Britain will be the first country where every journey by every car will be monitored

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 22 December 2005

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.

By next March a central database installed alongside the Police National Computer in Hendon, north London, will store the details of 35 million number-plate “reads” per day. These will include time, date and precise location, with camera sites monitored by global positioning satellites.

Already there are plans to extend the database by increasing the storage period to five years and by linking thousands of additional cameras so that details of up to 100 million number plates can be fed each day into the central databank.

They don’t even have it yet, and they’re already planning to expand it! Maybe they’ll never delete anything…

Senior police officers have described the surveillance network as possibly the biggest advance in the technology of crime detection and prevention since the introduction of DNA fingerprinting.

But others concerned about civil liberties will be worried that the movements of millions of law-abiding people will soon be routinely recorded and kept on a central computer database for years.

Not like anyone cares about those weirdos who are “concerned about civil liberties” … those extremists…

This is bad. Very, very bad.

Synthetic Life?

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:52 am

Matt Drudge links to this story in the Globe and Mail:

Work on the world’s first human-made species is well under way at a research complex in Rockville, Md., and scientists in Canada have been quietly conducting experiments to help bring such a creature to life.

Robert Holt, head of sequencing for the Genome Science Centre at the University of British Columbia, is leading efforts at his Vancouver lab to play a key role in the production of the first synthetic life form — a microbe made from scratch.

I can’t help but be reminded of this joke:

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!”

But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”

The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

Protecting Rapists in the Name of Choice

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:46 am

Dawn Eden found this interesting item:

The Web site for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, the San Francisco chapter of Margaret Sanger’s organization, features a section of “Shared Stories,”, which it describes as “real stories” from its customers. Here is what was, at the time this post originally appeared (Dec. 12), the top story listed in the section, exactly as it appeared on the site (before Planned Parenthood Golden Gate covered its tracks [i.e., deleted the item from its web site --DR]):

It Keeps Us Safe

I was raped at 11, by my 17 year old boyfriend. I chose not to tell my parents because I didn’t think their involvement would help, that was the right choice for me. Planned Parethood helped me deal with the aftermath of the rape allowing me to deal and cope as best as I could in my own way. I was 14 when I decided to start having sex, the day I made that choice I made an appointment to get birth control pills. I’m 17 now, I’ve been with my current boyfriend for about two years. During that time i’ve been HIV and STD tested four times. Right now I’m sitting in the waiting room while my boyfriend gets the results for his HIV test. We love each other so we’re responsible and Planned Parenthood helps us to do that.

- name withheld -

“It Keeps Us Safe”? Safe from what? Safe from parents finding out their little girls were raped? It certainly doesn’t keep children safe from rapists.

To recap: An 11-year-old girl walked into Planned Parenthood, saying she had been raped. Not just statutory rape, either; forcible rape.

Planned Parenthood assured the girl that it would not contact her parents, and it was true to its word. Likewise, it must not have contacted the authorities either, otherwise the parents would certainly have been notified.

Thanks to Planned Parenthood, the rapist remained at large, still free to attack other little girls.

This is, of course, not the first time something like this has been reported. It’s just the first time Planned Parenthood has been caught bragging about it.

Mark Shea summarized it quite succinctly:

If you cover up the rape of a minor and you are a Catholic bishop, this is what is known as “crime.”

If you cover up the rape of a minor and you are Planned Parenthood, this is what is known as “heroism.”

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