Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lawyer in MN nursing-home abuse case raises Miranda issues

Associated Press

Last update: May 30, 2009 - 7:51 AM
ALBERT LEA, Minn. - The attorney for one of the young women charged with abusing nursing home residents in Albert Lea is questioning whether her statements to police were legally obtained.

Larry Maus was in court in Albert Lea on Friday with his client, 19-year-old Brianna Broitzman.

Police allege that over several months in 2008, Broitzman and co-defendant Ashton Larson sexually and psychologically abused a number of patients at the Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea while they worked there.

Maus argued that investigators should have formally advised Broitzman of her Miranda rights during interviews at the law enforcement center.

Detective Deb Flatness testified she tried to communicate to the women that the interviews, which were done before their arrest, were voluntary.


Information from: Albert Lea Tribune,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Miami attny sues & wins anti-BSL

Where are the NYC attnys?
Mon May 25, 2009 7:03 pm (PDT)

From: Garo
Miami attny sues & wins anti-BSL- where are the NYC attnys?


WE are allowing the Housing Authority to violate the NYS anti-Breed Specific Law when other cities are suing and winning


Rima Bardawil is the attorney who successfully argued and WON an appeal for
a man's pit bull in Miami-Dade, the only county in the state of FL with a
BSL ordinance. Dahlia Canes organized a group to support Rima's work, and
Edel Miedes a wonderful dog trainer is also involved. Altho the below
article centers on Dahlia it was a group effort that won the appeal. The
same group plans to file suit in court this summer to hopefully overturn
the ordinance once and for all. (After the court case, Animal Svcs. stepped
up its harrassment and confiscation of pits BIG time, often leaving notices
on people's doors when they weren't home that they'd be fined $500 if they
didn't turn their pits in. The announcements say nada about KILLING their
pets but that's the gruesome outcome they face. Many who haven't the money
to fight or the education let their dogs go to be killed ... it's a

There is hope; the article below is wonderfully written and Dahlia who is a
true hero for the breed deserves to be congratulated for managing front
cover billing for pits' cause!

Click on title above to read article;

p.s. Please also contact the Miami New Times and express your gratitude
for such wonderfully positive, supportive coverage for animals and
especially for a very much maligned breed that is ultimately one of
America's favorite family dogs! And if you reside somewhere BSL exists or
is being discussed THIS MAY BE THE ROUTE TO GO. It's for that reason I've
forwarded the article outside just FL.
Garo Alexanian
Companion Animal NetworkTV

High Court says suspects can be interrogated w/out lawyer

Goodbye Constitution, Goodbye Bill of Rights, Goodbye America as we Knew It;

The Supreme Court overturned a long-standing ruling that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects.
The high court, in a 5-4 ruling, overturned the 1986 Michigan v. Jackson ruling, which said police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present.

The Michigan ruling applied even to defendants who agree to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.

The court's conservatives overturned that opinion Tuesday, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying "it was poorly reasoned, has created no significant reliance interests and [as we have described] is ultimately unworkable."

Justice Scalia, who read the opinion from the bench, said their decision will have a "minimal" effects on criminal defendants. "Because of the protections created by this court in Miranda and related cases, there is little if any chance that a defendant will be badgered into waiving his right to have counsel present during interrogation," Justice Scalia said.

The Michigan v. Jackson opinion was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the only current justice who was on the court at the time. He dissented from the ruling, and in an unusual move read his dissent aloud from the bench. It was the first time this term a justice had read a dissent aloud.

"The police interrogation in this case clearly violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to counsel," Justice Stevens said. Overruling the Jackson case, he said, "can only diminish the public's confidence in the reliability and fairness of our system of justice."

The decision comes in the case of Jesse Jay Montejo, was found guilty in 2005 of the shooting death of Louis Ferrari in the victim's home on Sept. 5, 2002.

He was appointed a public defender at his Sept. 10, 2002, hearing, but was never indicated that he accepted the lawyer's help. Mr. Montejo then went with police detectives to help them look for the murder weapon. While in the car, Mr. Montejo wrote a letter to Mr. Ferrari's widow incriminating himself.

When they returned to the prison, a public defender was waiting for Mr. Montejo, irate that his client had been questioned without him being present.

Mr. Montejo was convicted and sentenced to death. He appealed, but the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the conviction and sentence.


Monday, May 25, 2009


2009-05-06 00:58:00

The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 28 attorneys, disbarring 10, suspending 16 and placing two on probation. Some attorneys
received more than one form of discipline. Two attorneys were reprimanded. Two
were ordered to pay restitution.

As an official agency of the Florida Supreme
Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with
administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of
professional conduct for the 86,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in
Florida. Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys’
individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at and/or downloaded from
The Florida Bar’s Web site,

(Bloggers Note: This is a great service, all about truth & TRANSPARENCY in government and the JustUS system. Why cant every state have one? Just try getting any info on attorney dicipline in New York. That stuff is treated like priority top secret here!)

The following lawyers
are disciplined (Please note that court orders are not final until time expires
to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a
motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline):

James Harutun
Batmasian, 215 N. Federal Highway, Suite 1, Boca Raton, suspended for three
years, effective retroactive to Aug. 30, 2008, following a March 5 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 1974) In April 2008, Batmasian pleaded guilty in federal
court, to one count of willful failure to collect or pay over tax, a felony. He
was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised
release and penalties of $30,000. (Case No. SC08-1445)

Daniel Antonio Benito,
2423 SW 147th Ave., No. 362, Miami, suspended until further order, following a
March 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) According to an emergency
suspension order, Benito appeared to be causing great public harm by
misappropriating and/or diverting client funds entrusted to him. In one
instance, a client sent $80,000 to Benito to be held in trust for the purpose of
funding a marital settlement agreement. When the settlement did not materialize,
the client demanded the return of the funds and Benito refused, claiming he was
entitled to them for attorney’s fees. (Case No. SC09-372)

Roger Besu, 233
Palm Ave., Miami Beach, suspended until further order, following a Feb. 5 court
order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) According to an emergency suspension order,
Besu appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating and/or
diverting client funds entrusted to him. In October 2008, a client filed a
complaint with The Florida Bar, alleging that Besu was holding more than $3.5
million of his money in escrow and he had not been able to reach Besu by
telephone or at his office. Besu did not respond to a Bar subpoena. An audit
revealed nearly $2 million was missing from a trust account that he
controlled.(Case No. SC09-187)

A. Clark Cone, 8607 Wendy Lane E., West
Palm Beach, suspended until further order, following a March 19 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 1981) According to an emergency suspension order, Cone
appeared to be causing great public harm. The Florida Bar’s investigation found
that in several instances, Cone misappropriated client funds. After settling a
personal injury case, Cone asked a client to endorse her $38,940.38 settlement
check. Cone then deposited the money into his trust account and converted it to
his use. (Case No. SC09-474)

Katherine Denise Crase, 2804 W. Aquilla St.,
Tampa, suspended effective 30 days from a Feb. 25 court order. (Admitted to
practice: 1991) In July 2008, Crase was found guilty of seven felony counts of
conspiracy and mail fraud. She was sentenced to 30 months in prison. (Case No.

Joseph R. De Lucca, 5089 Greenwich Preserve Ct., Boynton Beach,
suspended until further order, following a March 11 court order. (Admitted to
practice: 1971) According to an emergency suspension order, De Lucca appeared to
be causing great public harm by misappropriating client trust funds or property.
A Florida Bar audit found that De Lucca had a negative balance of $35,572.91 in
his trust account, after using client funds for his own purposes. (Case No.

Susan Lynn Eberle, 4437 Koger St., Orlando, suspended for 91 days,
effective 30 days from a March 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985)
Eberle is being held in contempt of court for noncompliance with Florida Supreme
Court orders. In March 2006, Eberle was suspended for 30 days and placed on
probation for two years. She violated the terms of that probation and in August
2007, Eberle was given an additional two years probation to run consecutively
after the first. (Case No. SC08-2405)

Nadege Elliott, P.O. Box 121711, Fort
Lauderdale, disbarred, retroactive to Dec. 15, 2008, following a Jan. 30 court
order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) In three separate cases, Elliott provided
incompetent representation, charged excessive fees and mishandled his trust
accounts. (Case No. SC07-2)

Delaila Jannette Estefano, 9200 S. Dadeland
Blvd., Suite 204, Miami, suspended until further order, following a March 9
court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) According to an emergency suspension
order, Estefano appeared to be causing great public harm. A criminal case
pending in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court alleges that Estefano, working
with two others, engaged in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent
to defraud and/or obtain property from a mortgage lender by false pretenses. An
investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department revealed the use of Estafano’s
law firm escrow account in the alleged fraudulent activities. (Case No.

Stephen Jay Goldstein, 13899 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 307, North Miami
Beach, disbarred effective April 10, following a March 11 court order. (Admitted
to practice: 1972) Goldstein wrote checks from his trust and operating accounts
in the amounts of $22,290.00, $527.83, $50,000 and $43,725. All were returned
for insufficient funds. (Case No. SC09-329)

Christina Gomez, 4440 S.W. Archer
Road, Apt. No. 726, Gainesville, disbarred effective retroactive to Sept. 8,
2008, following an April 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Gomez
participated in at least three fraudulent financial transactions, one of which
resulted in her receiving approximately $835,000. Because she failed to provide
all the required subpoenaed records, The Florida Bar has so far been unable to
conduct a complete audit to determine the magnitude of fraud and
misappropriation that may have occurred. (Case No. SC08-2139)

Gonzalez, 6309 Wild Orchid Drive, Lithia, suspended for three years, effective
30 days from an Oct. 2, 2008 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Gonzalez
was initially suspended for 14 days in September 2007 and violated the terms of
the court’s order by practicing law. (Case Nos. SC07-2314 and SC08-434)

Greenfelder, P.O. Box 353, San Antonio, suspended for 91 days, effective
immediately, following a March 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998)
Greenfelder was arrested when police investigated a domestic violence incident
at his home. Charges were later dropped. Greenfelder has been ineligible to
practice law since October 2005 as a result of not paying his Florida Bar dues.
He is also delinquent with his continuing legal education requirements. (Case
No. SC08-1497)

Gloretta Hankins Hall, 221 S.E. Osceola St., Stuart, to
receive a public reprimand, following a March 5 court order. (Admitted to
practice: 1991) In May 2006, Hall was the supervising lawyer on a malpractice
case and her associate was assigned to manage the case. Hall failed to monitor
the associate’s activities in the case and hired her sister to act as an expert
witness, because the associate had not hired a nurse expert. At a later date,
Hall learned that her sister provided testimony at the deposition that was not
truthful regarding their familial relationship. (Case No. SC08-1730)

I. Harrison, 800 S. Douglas Road, Suite 450, Coral Gables, disbarred for five
years, effective 30 days from a March 20 court order. (Admitted to practice:
2006) Harrison was further ordered to pay restitution totaling $90,800 to two
clients. In at least three separate cases, Harrison charged excessive fees but
provided no significant legal services. He deposited funds in his operating
account instead of a trust account as required and knowingly made false
statements to a third party. (Case Nos. SC08-76, SC08-575 and SC08-804)

Robert Heil, 2324 Lee Road, Winter Park, suspended for 10 days, effective 30
days from an April 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) In December,
2002, Heil was hired to represent a client in a personal injury case. In October
2007, without giving prior notice to the client, Heil filed a notice of
voluntary dismissal and subsequently, the statute of limitations ran out on the
case. (Case No. SC08-1748)

George Nicholas Konstantakis, 44 Cocoanut Row,
Suite M210, Palm Beach, disbarred for five years, effective 30 days from a March
5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) He was further ordered to pay
restitution of $26,680 to a client’s living revocable trust. In 2004,
Konstantakis agreed to represent a client in civil proceedings. Thereafter, he
failed to attend the hearings, show up for trial and communicate with the
client. The client was unaware of the final judgment until she was served with
an order of contempt in December 2006 for failure to provide financial
information. (Case Nos. SC08-917 and SC08-1550)

Mark Lawrence, 801 Brickell
Ave., Suite 900, Miami, disbarred effective 30 days from the date of a March 5
court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Lawrence admitted to failing to
preserve and apply trust funds as required by Florida Bar rules; issuing checks
from his trust account to pay his child support obligations; and engaging in
dishonest conduct. (Case No. SC09-310)

Jeffrey Merrill Leukel, P.O. Box 8004,
Sanford, suspended for 90 days, effective retroactive to Oct. 20, 2008,
following an April 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Leukel was
further placed on probation for three years and ordered to enter into a contract
with Florida Lawyer’s Assistance. In September 2008, Leukel pleaded no contest
to driving while his license was permanently revoked, a third-degree felony.
(Case No. SC08-1957)

Jerona Charmaine Maiyo, 6996 Piazza Grande Ave., Suite
309, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately, following a March 26 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 2001) Maiyo failed to perform her duties as a lawyer. She
accepted retainer fees from clients and did not perform work. In some instances,
Maiyo abandoned the cases without giving notice. She did not inform The Florida
Bar of her correct address, so at one point, all correspondence mailed to her
was returned as being unclaimed and not forwardable. In December 2007, Maiyo was
suspended for failure to complete her continuing legal education requirements.
(Case No. SC08-1747)

Andrew William Menyhart, P.O. Box 541739, Merritt
Island, suspended until further order, following a March 19 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 1992) According to an emergency suspension order,
Menyhart appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating funds from
his trust account. In one matter, a $19,000 check written on Menyhart’s trust
account was returned due to insufficient funds. On another occasion, Menyhart
wrote a check to a client as partial payment of a settlement. That check was
also returned. An audit by The Florida Bar found that Menyhart altered bank
statements to show that he was still holding funds for a $100,000 estate, when
in fact, he was not. (Case No. SC09-475)

Gary Michael Murphree, 142 Beacon
Blvd., #A, Miami, suspended for one year, effective retroactive to Sept. 15,
2008, following an April 2 court order and placed on probation for three years,
effective immediately. (Admitted to practice: 1994) In May 2008, Murphree was
found guilty in circuit court of possessing cocaine and drug paraphernalia with
intent to use. Murphree failed to notify The Florida Bar, as required, of the
charges. (Case No. SC08-1534)

Gregory F. Pillon, 730 NW 40th Ave., Miami,
disbarred effective retroactive to Sept. 12, 2007, following an April 2 court
order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) In May 2007, Pillon pleaded no contest to
obtaining a mortgage by false representation, a felony. The plea agreement
provided that Pillon would surrender his license to practice law. (Case No.

David Philip Ryan, III, 250 Catalonia Ave., Suite 804, Coral
Gables, suspended until further order, following a March 3 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 1997) According to an emergency suspension order, Ryan
appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating and/or diverting
funds entrusted to him. A Florida Bar audit revealed that Ryan used client funds
to satisfy personal matters. (Case No. SC09-338)

Richard Brian Simring, 5400
LaGorce Drive, Miami Beach, disbarred effective retroactive to Sept. 9, 2008,
following an April 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) In July 2008,
Simring pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money
laundering, a felony. (Case No. SC08-1672)

Fred Rowan Tokarsky, 11156 Cypress
Trail Drive, Orlando, suspended for three years, effective immediately,
following a March 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) In August 2008,
Tokarsky was found guilty in federal court of three felonies: devising a scheme
to defraud through mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and
theft of government funds. (Case No. SC08-2100)

Kendrick Gerard Whittle, 3646
N.W. 98th St., Miami, disbarred effective retroactive to Oct. 23, 2007,
following a Feb. 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) In several
instances, Whittle misappropriated client funds. He used approximately
$297,781.73 to pay clients as well as personal bills including rent, utilities
and credit cards. (Case No. SC07-2394)

James Dean Wood, 870 115th Ave.,
Treasure Island, to receive a public reprimand, following a March 5 court order.
(Admitted to practice: 1994) Wood received $25,000 to handle a case. He
initially traveled from Pinellas County to Miami to meet with the client. After
that, there is no evidence that Wood researched the case or communicated with
the client. (Case No. SC08-1767)

Supreme Court Imposes New Pro-Defendant Pleading Standard on All Civil Litigation

Subject: [federalrights] SCOTUS: Court Imposes New Pro-Defendant
Pleading Standard on All Civil Litigation

In a sweeping decision with the potential to impact every plaintiff in
a civil lawsuit, the Supreme Court announced a new pleading standard
Monday-abandoning the liberal pleading rules which have prevailed for
decades. Writing for the Court's five conservatives in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal (Click on title above for courts opinion) ---
S.Ct. ----, No. 07-1015, 2009 WL 1361536 (May 18, 2009), Justice
Kennedy created a two step test which all civil complaints must now
comply with in order to survive a motion to dismiss in federal court.
Additionally, the Court held-despite a concession to the contrary by
the defendants-that a senior federal official cannot be subject to
"supervisory liability" arising from the actions of their subordinates
under the Court's decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Justice Souter wrote the principal
dissent on behalf of the Court's four moderates, with Justice Breyer
also writing a brief dissenting opinion.

Iqbal arose in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007). Twombly required an
antitrust plaintiff to plead specific facts in their complaint in
order to survive a motion to dismiss, sparking confusion in the lower
courts regarding whether this pleading standard applies in all cases
or simply those which are likely to produce sprawling and costly
discovery. Justice Kennedy's decision resolves this question in favor
of defendants-the Twombly pleading standard now applies to all civil
suits-but Iqbal also expands upon Twombly's holding to create a two
step test governing motions to dismiss cases on the pleadings.
Under the new pleading standard announced in Iqbal, a court must first
examine the plaintiff's complaint to determine which of its
allegations are "legal" and which are "factual." Although factual
allegations remain entitled to the traditional presumption of
truthfulness, legal allegations are now deemed "conclusory," and they
play no role in determining whether or not a complaint pleads
sufficient facts to survive a motion to dismiss. After sorting
factual wheat from legal chaff, the Court then asks whether the
plaintiff's factual allegations, standing alone, "plausibly suggest"
that the defendant engaged in illegal action.
Although the suggestion that a court should not assume either party's
conclusions of law to be true is hardly inappropriate, Iqbal appears
to blur the lines between just what sort of allegations are legal in
nature, and which allegations are factual.. Iqbal's claim that former
Attorney General John Ashcroft was the "principal architect" of a
policy that subjected him to harsh conditions of confinement "solely
on account of [his] religion, race, and/or national origin" is
dismissed as a legal conclusion because it "amount[s] to nothing more
than a 'formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional
discrimination claim." Conversely, Iqbal's claim that former FBI
Director Robert Mueller "arrested and detained thousands of Arab
Muslim men . . . as part of [the FBI's] investigation of the events of
September 11" was deemed to be a factual assertion. Nevertheless,
having culled the meat of Iqbal's complaint by declaring most of his
allegations to be conclusory legal assertions, the Court determined
that Iqbal's claims against Ashcroft and Mueller must be dismissed for
failure to allege facts which plausibly could lead to the conclusion
that these officials engaged in purposeful discrimination.
Despite no briefing on the question by the parties, the Court also
determined that a Bivens defendant cannot be liable on a theory of
"supervisory liability." Although the defendants' conceded in their
brief that they would be subject to liability if Iqbal could prove
that they "had actual knowledge of the assertedly discriminatory
nature [of Iqbal's detention and treatment,] and they were
deliberately indifferent to that discrimination," the Court sua sponte
determined that such liability does not exist under Bivens.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the opinion, however, is dicta
suggesting that the damages remedy available under Bivens may not be
available to plaintiffs raising claims under certain constitutional
amendments. Noting that "implied causes of action are disfavored,"
the Court stated that "while we have allowed a Bivens action to
redress a violation of the equal protection component of the Due
Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment . . . we have not found an
implied damages remedy under the Free Exercise Clause." Nevertheless,
the Court "assume[d], without deciding" that First Amendment claims
are actionable under Bivens. Because this decision arose in the
Bivens context, the Court's dicta focused exclusively on implied
causes of action for a damages remedy and did not directly address the
availability of other remedies against federal officials, such as
declaratory or injunctive relief.
Justice Souter focused most of his dissent on the Court's decision to
sua sponte hold that supervisory liability is not available under
Bivens-a question he would have deferred until a future case which
presented both parties the opportunity to brief the issue. Souter-the
author of Twombly-also took issue with the new pleading standard,
disagreeing both with the majority's decision to sort many of Iqbal's
seemingly factual allegations into the legal wastebasket, as well as
its determination that a court may dismiss a case at the pleadings
stage because it is skeptical of the plaintiff's factual allegations.
Though he also joined Justice Souter's opinion, Justice Breyer wrote
separately to argue that discovery rules provide an adequate means for
judges to protect against "unwarranted litigation," and that the
majority's decision to screen cases at the pleading stage goes too

Ian Millhiser
Public Policy Staff Attorney
Herbert Semmel Federal Rights Project
National Senior Citizens Law Center
1444 Eye Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-6976 x 212

Sunday, May 17, 2009

DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot during Gun Safety Class in Childrens School Sues U.S.

Seeks damages for distribution of humiliating gun accident video

APRIL 11--A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape's release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he's become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip's distribution. Lee Paige, 45, blames the video's release on DEA officials in an April 7 federal lawsuit filed against the U.S. government. According to the lawsuit, Paige was making a "drug education presentation" in April 2004 to a Florida youth group when his firearm (a Glock .40) accidentally discharged. The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon. The accident was filmed by an audience member, and the tape, Paige claims, was turned over to the DEA. The drug agency subsequently "improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally" allowed the tape to be disseminated. As a result, Paige--pictured above in a still from the video--has been the "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments" directed at him in restaurants, grocery stores, and airports. Paige, who writes that he was "once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA," points to the clip's recent airing on popular television shows and via the Internet as the reason he can no longer work undercover. He also notes that he is no longer "permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations."


Click on title above to see the amazing video and also at the bottom of the page a copy of the 5 page complaint. Notice towards the end of the vid,...just after shooting himself in the foot, the DEA officer attempts to down-play the event and incredibily, goes on to continue with his safety lecture, and even has another gun (a rifle) bought into the room to display to them, but the children are crying, scared and upset and not interested in seeing anymore guns. One even screams to the holder of the weapon to "put the gun down!" which they did, promptly. It was then and only then after the little girl screamed out, that the adults began milling about, slow & confused but at last now taking action in moving towards escourting the wounded officer out of the building and (presumably)to a hospital.) Amazing. The children seem to have more on the ball than the agent or, for that matter, any of the other adults in the room that just stood there, jaws agape and said or did nothing as this idiot went on and on......

I do think not allowing him to give any more gun-safety lessons at schools is a little harsh. Other than being an idiot, he does a pretty good job of it, and, other than that "little incident," he seems to enjoy that kind of work. Just take away his guns and he'll do fine. Afterall, he is now, like it or not, the new official "American Idiot " poster-boy for gun safety, a la DEA.

Court Orders Child to Undergo Chemo

In yet another assault in health freedom, a Minnesota court has ruled that the parents of 13-year-old Daniel Hauser must subject him to toxic chemotherapy treatments or they will be arrested and have their son taken away by state authorities.

It's an outrage, of course, and it puts the State in the position of requiring parents to poison their own children (or go to prison).

Click on title above to Read the astonishing news;

Then cut and paste the URL below into your web browser to see new vid posted today, May 17th, 2009;

Friday, May 15, 2009

3 Utah counties, oil companies sue Interior

Justice » Uintah, Carbon and Duchesne allege Salazar broke law by voiding 77 leases.
By Patty Henetz

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 05/15/2009 09:52:23 AM MDT

Letter to Bennett
Three petroleum companies and three Utah counties are suing the U.S. Interior Department, alleging that Secretary Ken Salazar broke the law in setting aside 77 disputed oil and gas lease parcels in the Beehive State.

The twin lawsuits, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, argue that federal mining law required the Bureau of Land Management to proceed with issuing leases to winning bidders after a Dec. 19 auction at the BLM's Utah headquarters.

The plaintiffs -- Uintah, Carbon and Duchesne counties and Impact Energy Resources of Colorado, Peak Royalty of Utah and Questar Exploration and Development of Texas -- claim the BLM had to issue the leases within 60 days of the auction.

But those claims could be rejected for lack of standing and the plaintiffs' inability to prove harm, a conservationist attorney said Thursday.

The Dec. 19 auction already was in federal court that day because the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and several other conservation groups had sued to stop it. Ultimately, the groups successfully argued the BLM didn't properly follow environmental law when setting up the sale of 77 parcels on 103,000 acres of public land near Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Dinosaur National Monument and Nine Mile Canyon.

Soon after it commenced, the auction fell into disarray when University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher won 14 bids with no intention of paying for them as a protest against Bush



administration drilling policies. BLM Deputy Director Kent Hoffman afterward allowed any of the bidders to withdraw, if they wished, with no penalty.

On Jan. 17, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the auction, finding fault with BLM's air-quality and historic-preservation analyses. The BLM subsequently returned the legitimate bidders' money.

On Feb. 4, shortly after his confirmation, Salazar announced he would shelve the 77 disputed leases pending "a fresh look" at the adequacy of BLM's environmental reviews. At the same time, Salazar refused to bar the parcels permanently from drilling.

Mike Lee, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s former general counsel and attorney for the counties, said even though Salazar made his move after the federal judge's ruling, that didn't give him the authority to suspend the leases.

Salazar's action, Lee said, harmed the counties' economies because they base their budgets on oil and gas royalty revenues as well as taxes realized from gas-field jobs.

"These are local economies, small communities heavily dependent on ... oil and gas production," Lee said Thursday. "It's not just money going to some fat cats."

The Denver-based attorneys for the oil and gas companies didn't respond to a request for comment. Nor did the BLM. But the agency repeatedly has said it is not bound to issue leases just because someone won a bid. If individuals or organizations have protested the leases -- and all of the 77 parcels were under protest -- the BLM must resolve the objections before issuing the leases, a task that can take years.

While SUWA is not a party to the latest lawsuits -- not yet, anyway -- attorney Heidi McIntosh said she doubted the counties or drillers would get far with their claims.

"The counties are trying to base the lawsuit on speculative injury to someone else," she said.

The real crux of the issue is the restraining order, which bars the Interior Department from finalizing the leases, McIntosh said. "Secretary Salazar cannot reinstate those leases at this point."

Salazar challenged
Two lawsuits filed in federal court claim Interior Secretary Ken Salazar acted illegally when he shelved 77 disputed oil and gas lease parcels after the Bureau of Land Management auctioned them in December.

Maine Becomes Sixth U.S. State to Ban Extreme Confinement

May 13, 2009

Veal producers often tether calves in crates where they can barely move. Maine will prohibit this. ©Takemoto/Stock.xchng

Maine Governor John Baldacci signed landmark legislation preventing two controversial factory farm confinement methods.

Effective January 1, 2011, the new law will prohibit gestation crates and veal crates—individual cages that virtually immobilize breeding pigs and veal calves for nearly their entire lives.

LD 1021 was sponsored by Senator John Nutting (D-Androscoggin County), Senate Chair of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. It passed the committee and both chambers unanimously.

The Humane Society of the United States strongly backed the legislation.

"It's cruel and inhumane to confine animals in cages barely larger than their own bodies for months on end," said Katie Lisnik, Maine state director of The HSUS.

"We're grateful to Senator Nutting for his humane leadership on this important legislation and hope its enactment sends a message to other states that they should follow suit."

A Wave of Progress

Californians overwhelmingly passed a similar measure, The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, by ballot initiative last fall.

In addition to California, four other states have passed similar reforms, including Colorado, Florida, Arizona and Oregon.

Major national retailers like Safeway and Burger King are increasingly phasing in crate-free and cage-free products due to consumer demand. And the top veal and pork producers in the country—such as Smithfield Foods, Strauss Veal and Marcho Farms—have begun to phase out crates and move toward group housing systems for pigs and calves.

Related Links

Think Outside the Crate Campaign

The HSUS's Campaign to Ban Battery Cages

Californians Make History by Banning Veal Crates, Battery Cages, and Gestation Crates

Click on title above for article with video;

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kansas Supreme Court hears dispute in abortion case

Associated Press

TOPEKA - The Kansas Supreme Court's ruling in a legal dispute over subpoenas could determine whether a criminal case against an abortion clinic goes forward, the prosecutor said Wednesday.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe made his comment after the court heard arguments from one of Howe's assistants and an attorney for the clinic, operated by Planned Parenthood in Overland Park. The court did not say how quickly it would rule.

The dispute involves subpoenas issued by Phill Kline, Howe's predecessor as district attorney, to four potential witnesses over records sought for a hearing to determine whether the case goes to trial. The clinic faces 107 charges accusing it of falsifying records and performing illegal late-term abortions, which it denies.

Last year, a Johnson County district judge quashed the subpoenas and the district attorney's office appealed. The criminal case remains on hold.

Howe acknowledged that if the court rules against his office, it might not have enough evidence to go to trial.

As state attorney general, Kline began investigating abortion providers under the supervision of Shawnee County District Judge Richard Anderson. Eventually, Kline obtained access, through Anderson, to edited copies of records from patient files at Planned Parenthood's clinic.

Kline lost his 2006 bid for re-election as attorney general but became Johnson County's prosecutor immediately afterward. He continued his investigation of the clinic, using evidence that he had forwarded to Johnson County.

Assistant District Attorney Steven Obermeier told the court Wednesday that the allegations of falsifying documents involve discrepancies between reports filed by the clinic with the state and copies of the same records later provided to Anderson during Kline's investigation.

Even before Kline filed his criminal case in October 2007, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against him with the Supreme Court, hoping to force him to turn over his evidence to the attorney general's office.

While Planned Parenthood's lawsuit was pending, Kline subpoenaed Anderson, as well as an attorney appointed to review patient records and two state health officials with oversight of abortion reports.

The court told Anderson he couldn't testify, and that was one reason the judge presiding in the criminal case quashed the subpoenas.

The Supreme Court ruled on Planned Parenthood's lawsuit in December, declining to order Kline to turn over his evidence to the attorney general. Anderson's status as a witness -- and the four subpoenas -- remained in limbo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Qui Tam Actions

Civil actions maintained by private persons on behalf of both themselves and the government to recover damages or to enforce penalties available under a statute prohibiting specified conduct. The term qui tam is short for the Latin qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means "who brings the action for the king as well as for himself."

Qui tam actions are unusual in that the plaintiffs do not allege injuries to themselves but rather claim injuries to the government. In a successful qui tam action, the plaintiff, who is known as a relator or informer, shares any monetary recovery with the sovereign (the government).

Qui tam actions are created solely by statute. Legislatures authorize qui tam actions to encourage private citizens to assist the government in enforcing its statutes. By authorizing a qui tam action, the legislature creates a dual enforcement scheme where both private citizens and the Executive Branch may redress violations of the statute creating the action. In some respects a qui tam action is similar to the more common citizens' suit, which allows a private citizen to sue to redress injuries to the public. For example, environmental statutes often authorize citizens' suits as a means for members of the public to redress injuries to the environment. In a citizens' suit, however, the plaintiff citizen alleges an injury to herself as a member of the public at large, whereas a plaintiff in a qui tam action alleges a specific injury to the government.

Although qui tam actions are relatively unknown, they have existed in England for hundreds of years and in the United States since the foundation of the government. And although qui tam actions were authorized by the very first Congress, the most important statute creating qui tam actions was the False Claims Act of 1863. During the Civil War, defense contractors frequently defrauded the Union government. In response, Congress enacted the False Claims Act, which sought to encourage private citizens who had information concerning corrupt defense contractors to come forward.

Under the original False Claims Act, a successful relator in a qui tam action was entitled to one-half of the damages and forfeitures recovered and collected from the defendant, while the other half went to the federal treasury. This procedure was frequently abused, however, as plaintiffs brought qui tam actions when the government had already instituted criminal investigations against defense contractors. Thus, private citizens profited from the government's efforts to stop Fraud by defense contractors. In response, Congress barred qui tam actions based on information already known to the government at the time the civil suit was filed, even if the government had taken no action on the information. Because of this restriction and the repeal of many qui tam statutes, the qui tam action was almost extinct until 1986.

In 1986 Congress revitalized qui tam actions under the False Claims Act in response to the widespread procurement abuses by defense contractors during President Ronald Reagan's defense buildup. The 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C.A. §§ 3729 et seq.) increased the financial incentives for bringing a qui tam action while easing the jurisdictional requirements for instituting a suit. Specifically the 1986 amendments permit relators to bring qui tam actions even if the government is aware of the information on which the action is based, unless the relator obtained the information from public disclosures by the government. As a result of the amendments, the number of companies sued in qui tam actions under the False Claims Act has greatly increased. In addition to defense contractors, Medicare and Medicaid providers have frequently been the target of qui tam actions. The False Claims Act is currently the only widely used statute authorizing qui tam actions.

The 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act have been challenged by defendants and other critics who assert that qui tam actions unconstitutionally delegate the executive branch's obligation to enforce statutes to unaccountable and self-interested citizens. In addition, defendants have argued that relators in qui tam actions lack legal standing to bring a lawsuit. The U.S. Constitution requires a plaintiff in a lawsuit to allege a distinct injury to himself; when a plaintiff fails to allege such an injury, he lacks standing to sue. Critics of qui tam actions point out that qui tam relators are alleging an injury to the government rather than themselves.

Despite these challenges, no court has held the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act unconstitutional. In early 1997 the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a qui tam action under the False Claims Act but declined to review the Ninth Circuit's determination that the act's qui tam provisions are constitutional (Hughes Aircraft Co. v. United States ex rel. Schumer, 520 U.S. 939, 117 S. Ct. 1871, 138 L. Ed. 2d 135 [1997]). Defenders of qui tam actions point out that the individual members of the public are, at least indirectly, hurt by fraud against the government because the government is financially supported by the public. The courts have also repeatedly recognized Congress's authority to legislate the means for implementing its policy objectives. By authorizing qui tam actions, Congress has determined that allowing citizens to sue on behalf of the government is a valid and effective means for enforcing statutes. Thus, the qui tam action remains an important weapon in redressing fraud against the government. In 1996 qui tam actions led to nearly $1.5 billion in recoveries.

Further readings
Boese, John T. 2000. Civil False Claims and Qui Tam Actions. 2d ed. New York: Aspen.

Cahoy, James. 1996. "U.S. Supreme Court to Review Scope of Qui Tam Lawsuits Under Federal False Claims Act." West's Legal News (October 17).

McGreal, Paul E., and DeeDee Baba. 2001. "Applying Coase to Qui Tam Actions Against the States." Notre Dame Law Review 77 (November).

Shane, Peter M. 2000. "Returning Separation-of-Powers Analysis to its Normative Roots: The Constitutionality of Qui Tam Actions and Other Private Suits to Enforce Civil Fines." Environmental Law Reporter 30 (December).

West, Robin Page. 2001. Advising the Qui Tam Whistleblower: From Identifying a Case to Filing Under the False Claims Act. Chicago: General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Section, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, ABA.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

How to thank TFD for its existence? Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, add the site to iGoogle, or visit webmaster's page for free fun content.
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Qui Tam Actions

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

H.R. 2159: The Un-Arming of America Act

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., sponsor of the Act.

Bill empowers attorney general to forbid firearms for those 'suspected dangerous'

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A new gun law being considered in Congress, if aligned with Department of Homeland Security memos labeling everyday Americans as potential "threats," could potentially deny firearms to pro-lifers, gun-rights advocates, tax protesters, animal rights activists, and a host of others – any already on the expansive DHS watch list for potential "extremism."

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has sponsored H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009, which permits the attorney general to deny transfer of a firearm to any "known or suspected dangerous terrorist." The bill requires only that the potential firearm transferee is "appropriately suspected" of preparing for a terrorist act and that the attorney general "has a reasonable belief" that the gun might be used in connection with terrorism.

Gun rights advocates, however, object to the bill's language, arguing that it enables the federal government to suspend a person's Second Amendment rights without any trial or legal proof and only upon suspicion of being "dangerous."

"[Rep. King] would deny citizens their civil liberties based on no due process," objected Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "A 'known terrorist?' Look, if the guy has committed an act of terrorism, we shouldn't have to worry about him being able to buy a gun; he should be in jail!"

Pratt further warned WND of the potential overlap of H.R. 2159 and a recent DHS memo that warned against potential violence from "right-wing extremists," such as those concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

"By those standards, I'm one of [DHS Secretary] Janet Napolitano's terrorists," Pratt said. "This bill would enable the attorney general to put all of the people who voted against Obama on no-gun lists, because according to the DHS, they're all potential terrorists. Actually, we could rename this bill the Janet Napolitano Frenzied Fantasy Implementation Act of 2009."

Pratt's biggest concern, however, is the sidestepping of the Constitution and due process that the nebulous language of this bill could permit.

"Unbeknownst to us, some bureaucrat in the bowels of democracy can put your name on a list, and your Second Amendment rights are toast," Pratt told WND. "This is such an anti-American bill, this is something King George III would have done."

As WND reported, right-wing "extremists" aren't the only Americans on the DHS watch list.

Two weeks before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security penned its now notorious warning against "right-wing extremists" in the United States, it generated a memo defining dozens of additional groups as potential "threats."

That memo, the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" expanded the list from typical "right-wing" causes to include left-wing extremism, animal rights activists, black separatists, anarchists, Cuban independence advocates, environmental extremists, the anti-war movement and more. It even insisted some of these groups were prone to violence.

For example, the lexicon defined the "tax resistance movement" – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as "groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. (Bloggers Note: They do) Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, (Bloggers Note: Thats "taxable" income, you dolt! There is NO authority in law that gives the govt a right to tax our wages!) that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified." (Bloggers Note: It wasent)

It further states that tax protesters "have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals." (Bloggers Note: As well as winning legal challanges to the income tax in several courts, you forgot to mention!)

The DHS memos were meant for distribution to law enforcement officials around the country, prompting some to worry the definitions might be used to classify Americans who simply disagree with government policies as being dangerous.

As WND reported, the relative of a Louisiana driver claims her brother-in-law has already been unfairly targeted by police simply for having a supposedly subversive, "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his car.

According to the relative, it happened this way: Her brother-in-law was driving home from work through Ball, La., which has a local reputation for enhancing its budget by ticketing speeders. He was pulled over by police officers who told him "he had a subversive survivalist bumper sticker on his car."

"They proceeded to keep him there on the side of the road while they ran whatever they do to see if you have a record, keeping him standing by the side of the road for 30 minutes," she told WND.

Finding no record and no reason to keep him, they warned him and eventually let him go, she said.

WND has withheld the driver's name and the relative's name at their request.

H.R. 2159 has six co-sponsors, from both parties, and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

WND contacted Rep. King's office for comment on the bill, but received no response.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Media myths and falsehoods about the Supreme Court

Media Matters, May 05, 2009 8:07 pm ET

With Justice David Souter's recently announced retirement, Media Matters presents a list of myths and falsehoods advanced by the media about the Supreme Court.

With Supreme Court Justice David Souter's recently announced retirement, Media Matters for America presents the following list of media myths and falsehoods about the High Court.


MYTH: Liberals -- but not conservatives -- engage in "judicial activism"

Media frequently suggest liberal judges, but not conservative judges, engage in "judicial activism" -- which media figures often characterize as legislating from the bench. For example, Fox News contributor Fred Barnes said of the process of replacing Souter, "Republicans do have a role here, and it's to talk about judicial activism and the dangers of it"; Barnes also stated that "liberal judicial activism" is "entirely results oriented." And radio host Laura Ingraham recently asserted that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, whom media have cited as a possible Supreme Court nominee, has "been described as judicially liberal, which means you don't favor the principle of judicial restraint." Ingraham later added that Sotomayor is "a traditional liberal and does not believe in, I think, a strict adherence to separation of powers."

But a 2005 study by Yale University law professor Paul Gewirtz and Yale Law School graduate Chad Golder showed that among Supreme Court justices at that time, those most frequently labeled "conservative" were among the most frequent practitioners of at least one brand of judicial activism -- the tendency to strike down statutes passed by Congress. Those most frequently labeled "liberal" were the least likely to strike down statutes passed by Congress.

A recently published study by Cass R. Sunstein (recently named by President Obama to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) and University of Chicago law professor Thomas Miles used a different measurement of judicial activism the tendency of judges to strike down decisions by federal regulatory agencies. Sunstein and Miles found that by this definition, the Supreme Court's "conservative" justices were the most likely to engage in "judicial activism" while the "liberal" justices were most likely to exercise "judicial restraint."

MYTH: Diversifying the court would be inconsistent with nominating justices based on merit

Some media figures have suggested that a deliberate effort by Obama to diversify the court by nominating a woman and/or a member of a racial or ethnic minority would mean that Obama's nominee was not chosen based on merit. Such arguments ignore a different explanation -- that the over-representation of white males means that qualified women and minorities have been consistently excluded from the court.

For example, when CNN host Lou Dobbs asked why all of the potential nominees that CNN's Jeffrey Toobin listed were women, Toobin said that "[m]ore than half the law students in the United States are now women. Almost half the lawyers in the United States are women. There's only one out of nine justices on the Supreme Court who are women. I think President Obama, who believes in diversity, thinks it's time to even out the balance a little bit more." Nonetheless, Dobbs responded by asking: "Are you talking about the death of meritocracy on the court? ... Wouldn't it be strange that this court ruled against affirmative action, racial quotas, and ruled in favor of a truly sex -- gender- and race-blind society that then Justice Souter be replaced on the basis of group and identity politics? ... Wouldn't that be captivatingly ironic?" Toobin then explained that "Obama would say diversity is not opposite of meritocracy. Those are very qualified candidates."

Similarly, Buchanan said that Obama should pick a "liberal, Democrat John Roberts who has real stature, impresses people, maybe even gets Republican votes. But I think what he will do is I think he's gonna go for a minority, a woman and/or a Hispanic because he sees that as their turn."

Some conservatives also reject Dobbs and Buchanan's argument. On the May 4 edition of MSNBC Live, for instance, host Andrea Mitchell asked Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) whether, "all things being equal," Obama should nominate a woman. Gregg replied: "I think that in the legal system which we have today, we have a huge amount of talent out there. And you can -- if you feel that the balance on the court should be addressed relative to women being on the court, which I happen to think is a good idea, you can certainly find a lot of extraordinarily talented people who are -- happen to be women also. And that would probably be good."


MYTH: Obama suggested he will nominate someone who shows "empathy" rather than a commitment to the law

Media have falsely suggested that Obama has said that he will seek a replacement for Justice Souter who demonstrates the quality of "empathy" rather than a commitment to follow the law. In fact, Obama has said that judges should demonstrate both. After saying that the clip he was about to air offered a "description of how the president hopes his nominee will interpret the law," Fox News congressional correspondent Major Garrett showed Obama saying on May 1: "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes." Garrett then said: "That aggravates those who believe justices should follow the Constitution and legislative intent."

But Garrett omitted Obama's very next sentence, in which Obama stated: "I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role." Obama added, "I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time."

MYTH: Obama said it was a "tragedy" that the Supreme Court had not pursued the "redistribution of wealth"

On October 27, 2008, the Drudge Report featured the following false headline: "2001 OBAMA: TRAGEDY THAT 'REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH' NOT PURSUED BY SUPREME COURT."

In fact, as the YouTube audio that Drudge linked to demonstrates, during a 2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ, Obama did not say it is a "tragedy" that the Supreme Court has not pursued wealth redistribution. The "tragedy" Obama identified was that the civil rights movement "became so court-focused" in trying to effect political and economic justice. Obama stated: "And one of the -- I think the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movements became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing, and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."

Later during the same 2001 interview, Obama stated: "You know, maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but, you know, I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way." He later added, "You know, the court's just not very good at it, and politically, it's just -- it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that, although, you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally -- you know, I think you can, any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts -- I think that, as a practical matter, our institutions just are poorly equipped to do it."

Numerous media figures echoed Drudge's false headline about Obama's 2001 remarks.


MYTH: The GOP has taken a consistent position on the appropriateness of judicial filibusters

The New York Times, the Politico, and Roll Call all recently reported on Senate Republicans' threat to filibuster Obama's judicial nominees under certain circumstances without reporting that a number of these same Republican senators previously took the position that filibusters of President Bush's nominees were unconstitutional or otherwise ran counter to constitutional principles.

Numerous conservative media figures also denounced judicial filibusters of Bush's nominees -- with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Donald Lambro all asserting that Democrats' use of such filibusters was unconstitutional.

MYTH: Dems attacked Alito's ethnicity, suggested he went easy on the mob

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Buchanan, and Limbaugh were among the media that distorted a Democratic National Committee (DNC) document to claim that the DNC had attacked Alito's ethnicity or had accused him of being "lenient on the mob." In fact, the document simply noted that Alito, as a prosecutor, lost a high-profile mob case -- it made no mention of Alito's ethnicity, nor did it assert or suggest that Alito was "lenient" on the mob.

MYTH: Dems invoked a "religious test" for Bush's nominees

Various media figures baselessly suggested that Democrats opposed Bush's judicial nominees based on the nominees' religious faith. The New York Sun editorial board went so far as to assert that a question Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) reportedly asked of Roberts amounted to an unconstitutional "religious test" -- without noting that Durbin's reported question was similar to one reportedly posed to Roberts by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (OK).

Moreover, despite suggestions by Hannity and other conservatives that opponents of Bush's nominees were injecting religion into the confirmation process, it was, in fact, supporters of Bush's nominees who made religion a key issue. Indeed, both The New York Times and Time magazine reported that the White House and its allies touted Roberts' Catholic faith in attempting to gain support for his nomination from Christian conservatives.

Similarly, during an October 12, 2005, press conference, a reporter asked Bush: "Why do people in this White House feel it's necessary to tell your supporters that [then-Supreme Court nominee] Harriet Miers attends a very conservative Christian church? Is that your strategy to repair the divide that has developed among conservatives over her nominee?" Bush responded, in part: "People ask me why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers' background; they want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."

–D.C.P., J.S., & M.W.

W.R. Grace & Co Found Not Guilty on all 10 Counts / yeah right.

Click on title above to read case history;

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anthrax Prosecution 2001: At last, a little disclosure from the FBI

Date: Wed 6 May 2009
Source: Science Insider, American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) [edited]

FBI anthrax investigation under scientific review
A long-awaited review of the scientific evidence relating to the
investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks is finally getting
off the ground. The study, to be conducted by the National Academies,
will check the validity of the scientific techniques used by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in solving the case. What the
study will not do, as spelled out in the academies' official
description of the study, is issue a verdict on whether US Army
researcher Bruce Ivins was indeed guilty of the crime, as concluded
by FBI officials.

The FBI has been under pressure to disclose its full case against
Ivins since 29 Jul 2008, when the researcher committed suicide. The
death precluded a trial and prompted accusations from some quarters
that the FBI had hounded an innocent man to a tragic end. FBI
officials responded with press conferences detailing some of the
facts of the case including the scientific methods used to trace the
anthrax in the letters to a flask under Ivins's charge at the US Army
Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick,
Maryland. At a September hearing last year [2008] before the House of
Representatives Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller
announced that the agency would ask the academies to vet the science
behind the conclusion.

The FBI will pay the academies USD 879 550 for the study, which is
expected to take up to 15 months. According to a statement of task
from the academies, the areas of scientific evidence to be studied
include but may not be limited to:
1. genetic studies that led to the identification of potential
sources of _B. anthracis_ recovered from the letters;
2. analysis of 4 genetic mutations that were found in evidence and
that are unique to a subset of Ames strain cultures collected during
the investigation;
3. chemical and dating studies that examined how, where, and when the
spores may have been grown and what, if any, additional treatments
they were subjected to;
4. studies of the recovery of spores and bacterial DNA from samples
collected and tested during the investigation; and
5. the role that cross contamination might have played in the evidence picture.

The committee will not, however, undertake an assessment of the
probative value of the scientific evidence in any specific component
of the investigation, prosecution, or civil litigation and will offer
no view on the guilt or innocence of any person(s) in connection with
the 2001 _B. anthracis_ mailings, or any other _B. anthracis_ incidents.

[Posted by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee]

Communicated by:
Martin Furmanski

[Martin commented further: "As usual with politically sensitive
National Academy of Science (NAS) studies, the charge contains a
restriction that prohibits an assessment of the government's actions
in the investigation or the conclusions of the DOJ/FBI regarding
Ivins's guilt or innocence. This is completely analogous to
restrictions imposed when the NAS was charged with evaluating
mycotoxins as CBW (chemical and biological warfare) agents during the
Yellow Rain affair: in that case the NAS was prohibited from
examining the evidence or making conclusions on the scientific
viability of claims of actual mycotoxin use in SEA and Afghanistan.
But hopefully at least we will get some more specifics on the science
of Amerithrax. Not so much transparency as translucency?"

Our thanks to Martin for this report and his insightful remarks. - Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (02): evidence 20090227.0817
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA: review 20090104.0033
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (12): comment 20080928.3074
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (11): review 20080924.3019
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (10): evidence 20080828.2696
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (09): evidence 20080819.2591
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (08): evidence, drugs 20080818.2566
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (07): letters, evidence 20080812.2492
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (06): letters, evidence 20080811.2488
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (05): letters, evidence 20080807.2428
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (04): letters, evidence 20080806.2412
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (03) 20080805.2406
Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (02): letters, evidence 20080805.2392
Anthrax, human - USA 2001: letters, new suspect 20080803.2371
Anthrax, human - USA: 2001 review 20020920.5367]

New Montana Gun Law Flaunts Federal Rules

Executive Summary – The USA state of Montana has signed into power a revolutionary gun law. I mean REVOLUTIONARY.

Posted May 6th, 2009 by dunnowhat2use

The State of Montana has defied the federal government and their gun laws. This will prompt a showdown between the federal government and the State of Montana. The federal government fears citizens owning guns. They try to curtail what types of guns they can own. The gun control laws all have one common goal – confiscation of privately owned firearms.

Montana has gone beyond drawing a line in the sand. They have challenged the Federal Government. The fed now either takes them on and risks them saying the federal agents have no right to violate their state gun laws and arrest the federal agents that try to enforce the federal firearms acts. This will be a world-class event to watch. Montana could go to voting for secession from the union, which is really throwing the gauntlet in Obamas face. If the federal government does nothing they lose face. Gotta love it.

Important Points – If guns and ammunition are manufactured inside the State of Montana for sale and use inside that state then the federal firearms laws have no applicability since the federal government only has the power to control commerce across state lines. Montana has the law on their side. Since when did the USA start following their own laws especially the constitution of the USA, the very document that empowers the USA.

Silencers made in Montana and sold in Montana would be fully legal and not registered. As a note silencers were first used before the 007 movies as a device to enable one to hunt without disturbing neighbors and scaring game. They were also useful as devices to control noise when practicing so as to not disturb the neighbors.

Click on title above to continue:

Mexico Legalizes Drugs for Personal Use

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Congress approved a bill Friday decriminalizing
possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use — a measure sure to raise questions in Washington about Mexico's commitment to the war on drugs. *,2933,193616,00.html

The only remaining step was the signature of President *Vicente Fox*, whose office indicated he would sign it.

Supporters said the law would let police focus on drug smuggling, rather than on busting casual users. The bill also would stiffen many drug-related penalties: for trafficking, for possession near schools, and for possession of even small quantities by government employees.

Criminal penalties for drug sales would remain on the books.

"We can't close our eyes to this reality," said Sen. Jorge Zermeno, of Fox's conservative National Action Party. "We cannot continue to fill our jails with people who have addictions."

The administration of U.S. President *George W. Bush* scrambled to come up with a response.

"We're still studying the legislation, but any effort to decriminalize
illegal drugs would not be helpful," a U.S. diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Related - Stories

- *Fast Facts: *What Would Be Legal in
- FOX News CountryWatch:

The bill, passed by Mexico's Senate on a 53-26 vote with one abstention,
had already been quietly approved in the lower house of Congress and was
sent Friday to the president's desk. Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar
indicated Fox would sign it.

"This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug
crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children," he said.

If signed into law, the bill could have an impact on Mexico's
relationship with the United States — and on the vast numbers of vacationing
students who visit Mexico, often to take advantage of its rarely enforced
drinking age of 18.

The bill says criminal charges will no longer be brought for possession
of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, five grams of marijuana — about one-fifth
of an ounce, or about four joints — and half a gram of cocaine — about half
the standard street-size quantity, which is enough for several lines of the

"No charges will be brought against ... addicts or consumers who are
found in possession of any narcotic for personal use," the Senate bill
reads. It also lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other
drugs, including *LSD*, MDA, ecstasy — about two pills' worth — and

Some of the amounts are eye-popping: Mexicans would be allowed to possess
a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of peyote, the button-sized hallucinogenic cactus
used in some native Indian religious ceremonies.

Mexican law now leaves open the possibility of dropping charges against
people caught with drugs if they are considered addicts and if "the amount
is the quantity necessary for personal use." But the exemption isn't

The new bill drops the "addict" requirement — automatically allowing any
"consumers" to have drugs — and sets out specific allowable quantities.

Sale of all drugs would remain illegal under the proposed law, unlike the
Netherlands, where the sale of marijuana for medical use is legal and it can
be bought with a prescription in pharmacies.

While Dutch authorities look the other way regarding the open sale of
cannabis in designated coffee shops — something Mexican police seem unlikely
to do — the Dutch have zero tolerance for heroin and cocaine. In both
countries, commercial growing of marijuana is outlawed.

In Colombia, a 1994 court ruling decriminalized personal possession of
small amounts of cocaine, heroin and other drugs. But President *Alvaro
Uribe*, who is almost assured of re-election next month, wants to change
that with a constitutional amendment.

"Allowing the personal dosage of drugs is inconsistent with a country
committed to fighting the war on drugs," Uribe said at a campaign stop.

The effects could be significant, given that Mexico is rapidly becoming a
drug-consuming nation as well as a shipment point for traffickers, and given
the number of U.S. students who flock to border cities or resorts like
Cancun and Acapulco on vacation.

"This is going to increase addictions in Mexico," said Ulisis Bon, a drug
treatment expert in Tijuana, where heroin use is rampant. "A lot of
Americans already come here to buy medications they can't get up there ...
Just imagine, with heroin."

U.S. legalization advocates greeted the bill with glee.

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance,
called it "a very good move," saying it removed "a huge opportunity for
low-level police corruption." In Mexico, police often release people
detained for minor drug possession in exchange for bribes.

Sheldon (Shelly) Waxman

"Empathy" Versus Law

Part III
by Thomas Sowell

There is a reason why the statue of Justice wears a blindfold. There are things that courts are not supposed to see or recognize when making their decisions-- the race you belong to, whether you are rich or poor, and other personal things that could bias decisions by judges and juries.

It is an ideal that a society strives for, even if particular judges or juries fall short of that ideal. Now, however, President Barack Obama has repudiated that ideal itself by saying that he wants to appoint judges with "empathy" for particular groups.

This was not an isolated slip of the tongue. Barack Obama said the same thing during last year's election campaign. Moreover, it is completely consistent with his behavior and associations over a period of years-- and inconsistent with fundamental principles of American government and society.

Nor is this President Obama's only attempt to remake American society. Barack Obama's vision of America is one in which a President of the United States can fire the head of General Motors, tell banks how to bank, control the medical system and take charge of all sorts of other activities for which neither he nor other politicians have any expertise or experience.

The Constitution of the United States gives no president, nor the entire federal government, the authority to do such things. But spending trillions of dollars to bail out all sorts of companies buys the power to tell them how to operate.

Appointing judges to the federal courts-- including the Supreme Court-- who believe in expanding the powers of the federal government to make arbitrary decisions, choosing who will be winners and losers in the economy and in the society, is perfectly consistent with a vision of the world where self-confident and self-righteous elites rule according to their own notions, instead of merely governing under the restraints of the Constitution.

If all this can be washed down with pious talk about "empathy," so much the better for those who want to remake America. Now that the Obama administration has a Congressional majority that is virtually unstoppable, and a media that is wholly uncritical, the chances of preventing the president from putting someone on the Supreme Court who shares his desire to turn America into a different country are slim or none.

The only thing on the side of those who understand this, and who oppose it, is time. Reshaping the Supreme Court cannot be done overnight, the way Congress passed a vast spending bill in two days.

Replacing Supreme Court justices is something that can only be done one at a time and at unpredictable intervals. What this means is that Senators who do not have enough votes to stop an Obama nominee for the High Court from being confirmed nevertheless have an opportunity- and a duty-- to alert the public to the dangers of what is being done.

This does not mean turning confirmation hearings into a circus or a kangaroo court with mud-slinging at judicial nominees, the way Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas were smeared. But it also does not mean taking the path of least resistance by quietly voting for people like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer, who treat the Constitution as a grant of arbitrary power to themselves, rather than a restriction of power on the government as a whole.

It is all too easy to say "a president has a right to appoint the kind of people he wants on the Supreme Court." He does. But that does not mean that those who don't have the votes to stop dangerous nominees from being confirmed are obliged to vote for them or to stand mute.

Since Justice David Souter is likely to be replaced by another liberal, it is all too easy to say that it is no big deal. But with all the indications already as to how the Obama administration is trying to remake America on many fronts, the time to begin alerting the public to the dangers is now.

Given the age and health of other Supreme Court justices, more replacements are likely during Obama's time in the White House. Time is an opportunity to mobilize public opinion and perhaps change the composition of the Senate that confirms judicial nominees.

But time by itself does nothing. It is what we do with time that matters.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

US gov. sues SoCal slaughterhouse over beef recall

By DAISY NGUYEN Associated Press Writer
May 1, 2009

The federal government said Friday it is suing a Southern California slaughterhouse whose workers were caught on videotape abusing cattle, leading to the nation's biggest beef recall last year.

The Department of Justice is intervening in the Humane Society of the United States' lawsuit against Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. The federal lawsuit seeks $150 million in taxpayer money awarded to the company during a five-year period.

The lawsuit claims the slaughterhouse, at one time the second largest supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program, fraudulently claimed that all cattle slaughtered at the plant were handled humanely and that no meat from so-called "downer" cows entered the food supply.

However, undercover video released by the Humane Society showed workers dragging cows too sick or injured to stand with chains, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their faces. The video led to the February 2008 recall of 143 million pounds of beef out of fear downer cattle, which pose a greater risk of illnesses such as mad cow disease, entered the food supply.

The Humane Society filed the lawsuit the same month of the recall. By law, the lawsuit was kept under seal until this week when the government, which conducted its own investigation, intervened.

"The alleged misrepresentations by Hallmark and Westland could have impacted the health of many of our nation's most vulnerable citizens — our schoolchildren," said Tony West, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's civil division. "Our intervention in this case demonstrates how seriously we will pursue allegations such as these."

The slaughterhouse closed after the recall. The company's phone line was disconnected and an e-mail message to company president Steve Mendell was not immediately returned Friday night.

The lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government to recover damages and civil penalties.The government plans to file an amended lawsuit in the case.

"We commend the U.S. Department of Justice for joining (us) in seeking to hold federal meat suppliers accountable when they failed to provide humane treatment of animals in accordance with federal law," said Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for the Humane Society.