San Bernardino County California Sheriff’s Department Hides Details After Off-Duty Huntington Park Officer Opens Fire On Four Men, Wounding Two

October 14, 2012

CHINO HILLS – The Sheriff’s Department is refusing to release any information related to an Oct. 4 officer-involved shooting at the Shoppes Lifestyle center in Chino Hills.

Sheriff’s officials have refused to name the off-duty officer involved in the shooting or any of the victims and have declined to elaborate on the circumstances of the shooting, which they initially described as a “road rage” incident.

In refusing to provide the information, sheriff’s Lt. Brett Williams said providing any information would “endanger the successful completion of a criminal investigation and endanger the safety of persons involved in an investigation.”

Williams also noted that a law enforcement agency’s criminal investigative records are privileged for an indefinite period of time, and providing such materials would violate the privacy of involved police officers, witnesses and a victims.

Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, said the Sheriff’s Department is wrong to withhold all information.

“When someone who is an off-duty law enforcement official is involved in a public violent episode such as a shooting, officials can’t hide behind public confidentiality rules,” Scheer said.

“They need to explain the best they can to the public, and they can do that consistent with protection the civil and privacy rights of all people involved.

“They are certainly in the position to tell the public more than `no comment,’ and they have an obligation to explain the circumstances,” Scheer said.

“And if it turns out to be the case that the off-duty police officer at the time of the shooting is being investigated in his personal capacity … then the special confidentiality rules for police should not apply at all.”

Investigators confirmed the shooting had been sparked by road rage, but did not release who detectives believe was the aggressor or provide details on the incident.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said the officer involved was considered an average citizen at the time of the shooting and was carrying a concealed weapon legally.

She declined to release his name.

According to sheriff’s officials, the altercation began on the 71 Freeway. Both drivers pulled off the freeway and stopped at the Shoppes.

The off-duty officer told investigators that the four men exited their vehicle and approached him. The officer said he saw objects in the hands of two of the four men.

The officer then opened fire, wounding two.

Sheriff’s officials have refused to identify the wounded or provide any information on their current condition.

Dozens of witnesses and shopping center patrons were stranded for several hours as sheriff’s homicide detectives conducted interviews and surveyed the scene.

Business resumed normally the next morning, with customers coming and going from various stores.

Little evidence remained of the previous night’s events except for vehicles from television news outlets.

No one has been arrested, leaving some puzzled and concerned.

Assistant Sheriff Ron Cochran said the Sheriff’s Department stands by its decision to withhold further information.

The off-duty Huntington Park police officer is a victim in this case, Cochran said, adding that it is still under investigation.

“We have no other comment at this time,” Cochran said.

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US Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Case Of Illegal Spying Against Americans By US Government And Nation’s Communications Providers

October 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court closed a 6-year-old chapter Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s bid to hold the nation’s telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans’ electronic communications in violation of federal law.

The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower court’s December decision (.pdf) dismissing the EFF’s lawsuit challenging the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program. At the center of the dispute was 2008 congressional legislation retroactively immunizing the telcos from being sued for cooperating with the government in a program President George W. Bush adopted shortly after the September 2001 terror attacks.

After Bush signed the legislation and invoked its authority in 2008, a San Francisco federal judge tossed the case, and the EFF appealed. Among other things, the EFF claimed the legislation, which granted the president the discretion to invoke immunity, was an illegal abuse of power.

The New York Times first exposed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls to and from Americans in 2005. A former AT&T technician named Mark Klein later produced internal company documents suggesting that the NSA was surveilling internet backbone traffic from a secret room at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco, and similar facilities around the country. Klein’s evidence formed the basis of the now-dismissed suit, Hepting v. AT&T.

Cindy Cohn, the EFF’s legal director, said the group was “disappointed” with the outcome because “it lets the telecommunication companies off the hook for betraying their customers’ trust.”

The Bush administration, and now the President Barack Obama administration, have neither admitted nor denied the spying allegations — though Bush did admit that the government warrantlessly listened in on some Americans’ overseas phone calls, which he said was legal.

But as to widespread internet and phone dragnet surveillance of Americans, both administrations have declared the issue a state secret — one that would undermine national security if exposed.

After six years of legal jockeying, the merits of the allegations have never been weighed in the litigation. But some portions of them still might.

That’s because litigation on the surveillance program continues. After U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker tossed the case against the telcos, the EFF sued the government instead. Walker dismissed that case, too, ruling that it amounted to a “general grievance” from the public and not an actionable claim. But a federal appeals court reversed, and sent it down to a trial judge in December.

Judge Margaret McKeown, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the EFF’s claims “are not abstract, generalized grievances and instead meet the constitutional standing requirement of concrete injury. Although there has been considerable debate and legislative activity surrounding the surveillance program, the claims do not raise a political question nor are they inappropriate for judicial resolution.”

A hearing on that case is scheduled next month in San Francisco federal court.

The Obama administration is again seeking it to be tossed, claiming it threatens to expose state secrets and would be an affront to national security. When the state secrets doctrine is invoked, judges routinely dismiss cases amid fears of exposing national security secrets.

On Monday, President Obama said that in the presidential contest with Republican challenger Mitt Romney: ”We haven’t talked about what’s at stake with respect to civil liberties.” One might say that hasn’t been heard in the courts, either, under Obama’s tenure.

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US Libyan Embassy Was Attacked And Threatened 13 Times Before 9/11 Terror Attack That Killed 4 Americans – Asked For More Security, But Was Turned Down By Obama Administration

October 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Two House Republicans say they have been informed by whistleblowers that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked and threatened 13 times before the incident last month that killed four Americans.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter on Tuesday that detailed the whistleblowers’ allegations.

“Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012,” Issa and Chaffetz wrote. “It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”

The congressmen said the consulate asked for more security to deal with the growing threat but was turned down by the administration.
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Savage Black Beast Killed Victim For No Reason – Just Started Shooting In Mobile Alabama, Until His Clip Was Empty

October 2, 2012

MOBILE, ALABAMA -– The girlfriend of a homicide victim described the events leading up to the fatal shooting last year and pointed to defendant Kendramei Jones when asked if the shooter was in the courtroom.

Jurors heard a recording of the hysterical 911 call that Nicole Eldridge made after the shooting. She told jurors that the shooter knocked off her boyfriend’s hat and then shot him as he was making his way back to the car.

“Then the guy just started shooting,” she testified, “He shot until his clip was empty.”

Eldridge acknowledged under cross-examination, however, that she picked two other men out of a photo lineup despite telling investigators that she got a good look at the man who fired the shots that killed Willie Gunn at the Texaco station on Prichard’s St. Stephens Road in March 2011.

“They got the wrong guy,” defense lawyer Jason Darley said during his opening statement. “This is a very, very unfortunate case, obviously. But this is not the guy who did it.”

Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood told jurors in his opening statement that other witnesses did identify Jones as the shooter. One of those was Crystal Johnson, who was with Eldridge and Gunn on the night of the shooting.

Johnson testified in the navy blue inmate uniform of Mobile County Metro Jail, where she has been since Monday when she failed to honor a subpoena to come to court, prompting prosecutors to get a material witness arrest warrant.

Johnson testified that she had gone with Eldridge to the Trinity Gardens Mardi Gras parade the day of the shooting and then stopped at the gas station to pick up Gunn. She told jurors that she got into an argument with Gun in the parking lot.

“Next thing I knew, the shooter came out of nowhere,” she said, adding that she never had seen him before.

Johnson said she and the shooter got into an altercation that turned violent.

“I don’t remember what he was saying. I don’t remember why I slapped him,” she testified.

But Johnson testified that the shooter responded by slapping her and then pulling a gun and threatening to kill her. She testified that the shooter then walked toward Gunn, who reached for his pocket before the gunman opened fire.

During cross-examination, Darley picked apart at inconsistencies between Johnson’s testimony and statements she made to investigators. For instance, Johnson described the shooter as having a caramel complexion, which in fact is skin color is quite dark.

Johnson’s account also differed somewhat from Eldridge. Whereas Eldridge reported that the assailant put his gun against her friend’s head, Johnson testified that he did not.

Later today, Blackwood told jurors, law enforcement officials will testified that they found five shell casings at the gas station that ballistics experts determined came from the same 9mm handgun. He also told jurors that the defendant’s behavior follow the shooter points to his guilt. He was hiding when police arrested him, Blackwood said, and he already had changed his appearance by shaving his head.

As for Gunn, Blackwood said, he simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time and did nothing to justify the murder.

“He was a quiet, laid-back guy,” Blackwood said. “He was shot down by a man he never met. He was shot down in cold blood for no reason.”

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Massachusetts Pedophile Who Impregnated 14 Year Old Girl And Received A Tiny Slap On The Wrist From Norfolk Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire Now Demands Visitation With Resulting Child

September 26, 2012

MASSACHUSETTS – A Massachusetts man who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old in 2009 is now seeking visitation rights for the child he fathered — a sensitive case that could force the victim to maintain contact with her rapist.

That possibility has left the teen mother in an emotional tailspin, according to Fox 25 Boston, and she doesn’t want to interact with the man — a then-20-year-old she had met through the same church.

“She got raped at 14,” the victim’s mother told Fox 25. “She decided to keep her baby. And now she has to hand her baby over for a visit with her rapist?”

“He threatened me,” the girl said of the rape. “He told me that he could make my life upside down, and I wouldn’t have anybody and he would pin it all on me. So I was scared.”

The victim’s rapist, who was not identified by Fox 25, was sentenced by Norfolk Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire to 16 years probation in 2011.

Prosecutors were seeking three to five years in prison for the man, who pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape of a child, Fox 25 said.

But the probation was part of an arrangement in which he had to acknowledge he’s the baby’s father and follow probate and family court rules, according to the station.

That requires him to pay child support — but also gives him the chance to seek visitation.

An attorney for the man wouldn’t comment about visitation requests but said the initial relationship between the victim and his client was consensual.

But an attorney for the victim told the Daily News she filed a motion Aug. 1 asking the Superior Court judge to amend the sentencing conditions: Instead of child support, he would pay “restitution,” which would prevent him from gaining access to the child through family court.

“What was the criminal court judge thinking punishing the man with the privilege of parental rights?” attorney Wendy Murphy asked Wednesday. “That’s way past irony.”

By allowing the rapist access to family court, he would theoretically have a say in the child’s education, where she lives and her religious beliefs, she added.

“This family has been very clear from the beginning that they want nothing to do with this guy,” said Murphy, who teaches classes on sexual violence at New England Law-Boston.

“What legal system requires a toddler to have a relationship with the man who raped her mother?”

A Georgetown Law Study from 2010 found that 16 states have protections for women who’ve been raped, either prohibiting the rapist from visiting the child or allowing the victim to terminate the other parent’s rights.

Massachusetts is not one of those states.

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Dickhead Clover South Carolina Code Enforcement Officer Joe Funderburk Goes Out Of His Way To Target Elderly Man Who Is Only Trying To Keep His Home And Pay For Medication That Keeps His Disabled Wife Alive – Faces A Month In Jail If He Can’t Pay $500 Fine

September 21, 2012

CLOVER, SOUTH CAROLINA — The Town of Clover court has rescheduled a contempt of court hearing for the 79-year old Clover man who was scheduled to appear in court Monday and potentially faces 30 days of jail time for not cleaning up his yard.

Patty Ramsey, wife of John Ramsey, said Friday afternoon that police hand-delivered a new summons to Ramsey that changed his court date to October.

John Ramsey, a Korean War veteran, was convicted in January of having too much junk in his yard, and ordered to clean up the yard or face jail. In August a judge found him in contempt after town officials argued the clean up was not satisfactory. Ramsey had used the junk he collected for resale to pay household bills.

He says he does not have $500.

In January, the town of Clover successfully prosecuted Ramsey for the misdemeanor offense of keeping too much junk in his yard. Ramsey collects everything from washing machines to bricks and wood, then cleans, fixes, strips and sells what he can.

That money pays for lights, running water and the medications to keep his disabled wife alive.

But keeping that stuff on his property was against the law of this town of about 4,000 people.

Last month in court, Ramsey was found in contempt because his cleanup efforts were deemed not good enough. He was fined $500 and given two weeks to pay it.

On Wednesday that deadline passed, so Ramsey, who lives on $898 a month in Social Security and veterans benefits, went to the Clover Police Department to turn himself in and “go to jail.”

But he was told by Clover town officials that he has a show-cause hearing Monday on the contempt of court charge. That has since changed to October.

Municipal Court Judge Melvin Howell will decide if Ramsey should spend a month in jail if he does not pay his fine.

On Thursday, Ramsey pointed to a fence that is under construction that he said will keep his bricks and other stuff from view. He is asked who is building the fence and digging the post holes deep in the earth.

“Me,” said Ramsey. “Ain’t got a dollar to pay fines; I sure ain’t got money to pay nobody.”

Ramsey said he has cleaned up much of the junk. All the washing machines and some of the other items are gone. Remaining stuff, such as windows and bricks, are neatly stacked.

Still, Ramsey will be back in court Monday because in Clover, rules are rules – even if only one set of eyes has ever complained of a problem.

No neighbor has complained to the town, court testimony showed in January. Nobody has ever complained about John Ramsey’s property except the code officer.

But the law is clear, the courts have ruled. Not once but twice.

Ramsey claimed in January, and claims now, that he bothers no one and his property is not unsightly except to one town official.

That’s why he went to trial in the first place.

In January, Ramsey was the world’s most honest defendant. He was so honest he admitted everything. He admitted he had junk, he even called it “junk” in court several times.

His lawyer at the time, spirited Judah VanSyckel from the York County Public Defender’s office, argued the town law was vague and illegal, that Ramsey was supporting his family in a way that should be cherished and not prosecuted, and that he was singled out by a rogue town department looking for violators.

A jury of six people was instructed by Judge Howell to follow the law only. In the time it takes to order coffee, Ramsey was found guilty. The judge gave Ramsey months to clean the place up, or face alternative punishment of 30 days in jail.

An appeal of Ramsey’s conviction by VanSyckel, the public defender, went nowhere.

Clover’s law states: “It is illegal for occupied and vacant lots upon which building materials, glass, wood, discarded and unused products and machinery, junk, or other matter or debris which is unsightly or detrimental to public health, sanitation, or safety is allowed to accumulate.”

Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III ruled in July that law prohibited Ramsey from collecting and keeping the junk on his property.

The law provided Ramsey with “fair, reasonable and clear notice” of what is prohibited in Clover, Hayes wrote, noting “the artful contention” by VanSyckel and Ramsey that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and “one man’s garbage is another man’s art.”

The problem, Hayes wrote, was facts.

“The facts of this case render these proverbs inapplicable,” he wrote.

Hayes added how the state Supreme Court has ruled: “One to whose conduct the law clearly applies does not have standing to challenge it for vagueness.”

So with an appeal denied, Clover’s code enforcement officer, Joe Funderburk, said that at the Aug. 27 hearing, he showed Judge Howell pictures and told the court that Ramsey’s progress was not adequate.

The judge ordered Funderburk to go back out to Ramsey’s property and take more pictures and bring them to him, Funderburk said Thursday. The judge looked at the pictures and ruled Ramsey was in contempt of his order to clean up his property.

The town has “bent over backwards” to give Ramsey every opportunity to comply with that order, Funderburk said Thursday.

“Mr. Ramsey has failed to do what the court ordered him to do,” Funderburk said.

So now Ramsey waits.

Ramsey is a former Ku Klux Klansman who once was convicted of burning a cross on the front lawn of the former police chief in York. Ramsey served time in prison before the conviction was later overturned on appeal, and Ramsey has maintained he took the fall for two other guys.

Ramsey said he is now reformed, that all of that is in the past. He flies American flags in his yard – yes, there are Confederate flags on his old 1993 truck with 300,000 miles on it, too – and a Mexican flag flies in the yard on a pole.

“My neighbors, Mexicans, they are the nicest people in the world and they asked me to fly it on my flagpole and I said I sure will,” Ramsey said. “All they do is work.”

His front yard is filled with rocking horses and even a miniature carousel of horses that he lets neighbor kids play on. The grass is cut and neat. There are plants and flowers, artwork, and the classic Southern painted plywood board staple of an old woman bending over with her bloomers showing. A sign that reads “Merry Christmas.”

To complete the picture of Southern-ness, there is one old dog of unknown lineage and another old pit bull held at bay by links as thick as a ship’s anchor chain.

“Johnny doesn’t bother nobody,” said Wendy Christopher, a neighbor of 12 years. “I don’t know what the big deal is for this town. You can’t see what he has on the other side.”

Inside the mobile home is Ramsey’s wife, Patty.

“They want to put my husband in jail for trying to help his family,” Patty Ramsey said.

Ramsey has one grown son in Afghanistan, on his fourth deployment to war. Ramsey’s own left leg, wounded in Korea 60 years before, requires a special orthopedic shoe paid for by veteran’s benefits.

“They tell me I gotta wear sandals in the jail, can’t wear my shoe,” said Ramsey.

So between now and October, John Ramsey will likely continue to build a fence. He will dig the post holes himself. He will wave to the neighbors and offer them a drink. He will take care of his wife.

And then, Ramsey will go back to court to see if he has committed such grave acts against his hometown of 20 years that he deserves a month in jail.

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High Profile Detroit Michigan Attorney Anthony Chambers Accused Of Leaving 2 Clients High And Dry And Subject To Arrest On Warrant For Not paying Child Support

September 18, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Anthony Chambers is nationally recognized as one of the premier criminal defense attorneys in Michigan.

His list of high-profile cases includes the Underwear Bomber and one of Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson’s business partners in a bid rigging trial.

But now he’s having some legal troubles of his own. The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission accuses him of leaving two clients high and dry. And an Oakland County judge issued a bench warrant authorizing his arrest after his wife accused him of owing more than $7,000 in child support.

Chambers told the Problem Solvers last week that he did not know about the bench warrant. He denies the other charges and says that, even though he earned the fees he was paid, he will send back some of the money.

That’s not good enough for David Root, who hired him help his son with a drug charge.

Root lives in New York and hired Chambers after asking around for one of the best lawyers in town. According to documents Root submitted to the Attorney Grievance Commission, he hired Chambers Jan. 29th, 2011, wired a $10,000 retainer on Jan. 31st, had his last phone conversation with Chambers on Feb. 3rd. and got no calls, texts, or emails after Feb. 24th.

“How could he have left my son dangling out there with a warrant served for his arrest?,” Root wrote in an email he submitted to the grievance commission.

Even Root’s New York attorney, the guy who recommended Chambers, couldn’t get in touch with him. He emailed Chambers, saying, “Anthony, You’re making me look bad. Send me and update, please.”

Root says he hired another Michigan lawyer for peanuts, and his son got probation.

Shannon Williams wasn’t so lucky.

Williams, tried in Nebraska for dealing weed, says Chambers flew out to see him three times. He says Chambers never forgot to take home his pay. But he did forget one crucial detail: he was supposed to try getting Williams out of jail.

Williams also complained to the grievance commission. In his statement of fact he claimed Chambers pocketed $53,000.

In a letter replying to the complaint Chambers countered that Williams never paid him 53 grand, “nor did anyone on his behalf.”

He says he dropped Williams as a client, writing “Mr. Williams’ threatening behavior about what would be done and what he would do was unacceptable.”

Williams is no angel

Even after getting new lawyers, he was convicted of dope dealing and money laundering.

He’s currently serving a 20 to 40 year sentence in the federal pen.

But Grievance Commission officials believe chambers broke some rules himself.

For starters, in their Formal Complaint, they say he refused to cooperate in their investigation.

Their offices were only four floors above chambers’ offices in the Buhl building, but they say Chambers refused to provide billing records or provide any other documents that would clear up the complaints by Williams and root.

They have essentially accused chambers of ripping off clients — one of gravest sins an attorney can commit.

If convicted, Chambers’ legal career could be put on hold for months … Or more.

While Chambers wrote the commission letters responding to their initial inquiries, he has not responded to the discipline board and is in default.

That is a serious matter.

John Van Bolt, executive director of the discipline board, says he cannot comment on Chambers’ case. He says attorneys in default are considered guilty of the charges they are accused of.

And that means that the hearing panel that will decide Chambers’ fate must sentence him to some form of discipline.

That could range from a written reprimand to a suspension.

Van Bolt says suspension is a serious matter for attorneys, because during their suspension period they cannot practice law. Even a suspension for 30 days can be a difficult sentence.

Suspended lawyers can’t take on new clients.

Even worse, he says, “You can’t do anything that a lawyer can do. You can’t appear in court, you can’t sign pleadings, you can’t hold yourself out as a lawyer. Technically, your name should not be on correspondence, at least not identified as attorney at law. If you have an office that says Office of John Jones, Attorney at Law, for those 30 days to be in compliance … you can put tape over (attorney at law). But you are not a lawyer for those 30 days.”

It can be bad news for their clients, too, who will either need to put their business on hold. Or look for another lawyer.

There is a chance Chambers can avoid discipline if he can convince the hearing panel to give him another chance to respond to the charges against him.

The Problem Solvers will attend Chambers’ hearing Tuesday and let you know what happens.

——

Anthony Chambers provided the following statement to Fox 2:

“You have recently made inquiry of my office regarding a previous fee dispute with two clients. Please be advised that the matter is currently pending with the Attorney Grievance Commission. I must note that, in my 27 years of practice I have never been disciplined, reprimanded or otherwise sanctioned by the Commission. In short, the Attorney Grievance Commission is the proper forum to address and adjust private disputes between attorneys and their clients.

In my career, which spans nearly three decades, I have stridently and zealously represented thousands of clients – ranging from the famous to the infamous. In this matter, I have elected to aggressively defend myself against these allegations in the appropriate forum. I fully anticipate that the parties to this matter will be afforded a fair hearing.

In short, I have great respect for our system of jurisprudence and I will continue (to) avail myself of the remedies available to me in this matter. Although private legal disputes between Attorneys and their clients are typically not news items, I fully understand that my profile and past successes have caused this matter to be a newsworthy item.”

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