Stevenson Alabama City Attorney Parker Edmiston Pisses Away Tax Dollars And Court Time To Make Man Dig Up And Move His Wife’s Grave

August 21, 2012

STEVENSON, ALABAMA – An Alabama man is fighting city officials to keep his wife buried in his front yard.

James Davis told The Associated Press he only buried his wife in front of their log home in Stevenson, Ala., because she asked him to when she died in 2009.

The city sued to move the body elsewhere, citing a need to avoid setting a precedent, and a county judge has ordered Davis to disinter his wife.

However, that order is on hold as the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals considers his challenge to the ruling.

Davis, 73, told the AP he’s shocked by the fight.

“Good Lord, they’ve raised pigs in their yard, there’s horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they’ve got other gravesites here all over the place,” he said. “And there shouldn’t have been a problem.”

City Attorney Parker Edmiston reminded critics that Davis lives in downtown Stevenson, not out in the country.

“We’re not in the 1800s any longer,” he told the AP. “We’re not talking about a homestead, we’re not talking about someone who is out in the country on 40 acres of land.

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Queer Awarded $4.3 Million After Being Stalked, Harassed, And Defamed By Now-Fired And Unemployed Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell – Lawyer’s Obsession, Bogus First Amendment Claims, And Use Of State Computers Didn’t Do Much For His Career…

August 19, 2012

MICHIGAN – A federal court jury Thursday awarded $4.5million to an openly gay former University of Michigan student body president who accused a former state attorney of stalking and defaming him.

The civil case involved Andrew Shirvell, the former assistant attorney general fired in 2010 after he stirred a national controversy with his campaign against Christopher Armstrong, at the time U-M’s student body president.

Shirvell, a U-M alumnus, created the Chris Armstrong Watch blog, calling him “a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar.” He had cast the blog as speech protected by the First Amendment.

Standing outside federal courtin downtown Detroit shortly after the verdict, Armstrong said he was “elated.”

“This is not just a victory for myself — it’s a victory for a lot of other people,” Armstrong said. “It sends a message to bullies.”

Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, had said Shirvell contacted his friends, showed up at his public appearances and insulted his family and friends on the blog.

Shirvell, who represented himself, said the jury award was “grossly excessive” and vowed to appeal with help from the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based nonprofit national public interest law firm.

“It’s just shocking that a jury would trample on my First Amendment rights the way they did,” he told The News. “That’s why the case should’ve been thrown out months ago by the judge. … Juries give First Amendment rights short shrift.”

Shirvell also said he’s unemployed and “there’s no possible way” he could pay the verdict, but he is prepared to fight the case even to the Supreme Court.

Armstrong, who filed the lawsuit in April 2011, had offered to drop the suit if Shirvell apologized and retract his statements.

Attorney Deborah Gordon said the jury’s decision came down to holding someone accountable for unacceptable behavior. “It means the community is not going to stand by and watch this happen to another person,” she said.

The impact also appeared to have swayed jurors, said Larry Dubin, a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.

“The First Amendment does not protect language that defames someone’s reputation or conduct that constitutes stalking or intentionally causes significant emotional damage to an intended victim,” he said. “It seems that the jury in this case was highly offended by the conduct … and expressed that outrage by awarding a very large verdict.”

The award caps a scandal that gained national attention.

The suit claimed Shirvell “developed a bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong in early 2010 after claiming he was a radical homosexual activist.

Shirvell had created a Facebook group under the name of “U of M Alumni and Others Against Chris Armstrong and his Radical MSA (Michigan Student Assembly) Agenda.” Facebook shut down the page, but a blog was created spreading false and defamatory information, the suit said.

Earlier this year, a federal judge declined to dismiss the lawsuit against him. And in March, a Michigan hearing officer upheld Shirvell’s 2010 firing by then-Attorney General Mike Cox for using state computers to wage a campaign against Armstrong.

Shirvell had appealed, saying his conduct was protected by the First Amendment. But William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission said the dismissal was just and the attorney engaged in “hate speech” on a blog and “physical and mental harassment.”

Last year, Armstrong announced he and his family were establishing a scholarship for bullied students. Gordon said money from the verdict would go to the fund.

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House Oversight Chair Issa Predicts Disgraced US Attorney General Will Be Held In Contempt (But of course it will be civil, and less than a slap on the wrist…)

June 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The top Republican leading the House investigation into Operation Fast and Furious said Sunday he expects a “bipartisan” floor vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this coming week.

“I believe they will (vote to hold him in contempt),” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday.” “Both Republicans and Democrats will vote that — I believe it will be bipartisan.”

Issa kept his focus on the Justice Department, clarifying that he has no evidence the White House was involved in any Fast and Furious cover-up. But he repeatedly said Congress is trying to get to the bottom of why the Justice Department “lied” about the operation.

The comments underscored the apparent momentum among majority House Republicans behind the contempt push, following a committee contempt vote against Holder along party lines this past week. That vote proceeded after Holder and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement over subpoenaed documents pertaining to the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious discussions.

Issa said Sunday it’s possible the vote could be delayed or even “eliminated” if the administration produces the subpoenaed documents the House is seeking. He noted the entire schedule is at the discretion of House Speaker John Boehner.

“But we have to see the documents first,” he said.

Barring such a resolution, Issa and his allies are teeing up a major election-year clash this coming week between the Executive and Legislative branches, and between Democrats and Republicans.

President Obama intervened this past week, invoking executive privilege to protect the documents in question, but Republicans dismissed the claim and proceeded with the contempt vote. On the sidelines, minority House Democrats are pleading with Republicans take a step back and work out the document dispute without the threat of contempt. At the same time, both sides are antagonizing each other at the dais and in the press over what Democrats claim has become a political “witch hunt.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that the confrontation was entirely avoidable.

“I think it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “The attorney general has made it clear that he is willing to work with this Congress.”

Cummings called on Boehner to intervene and try to reach an agreement with Holder that involves turning over some documents while also halting the contempt proceedings.

“I think that we have a duty … at this critical moment to get the documents,” he said. “I know we can get them. It’s just a matter of sitting down and talking to Holder.”

Cummings suggested the course of the committee’s investigation has lost sight of one of the major reasons for the probe — the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose murder scene included weapons from the Fast and Furious operation.

But Issa defended the escalation, saying the committee is trying to obtain critical documents to help explain why Congress was initially told — incorrectly — in February 2011 that the government did not knowingly let guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border. The department later issued a correction to that statement.

“We, in fact, are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told a lie,” Issa said. “It’s about the cover-up.”

“Ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on February 4 (2011), and they didn’t make it right for 10 months.”

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Lawmakers Look Into 9th Federal Circuit Court Of Appeals Plan For $1 Million Maui Hawaii Getaway At Taxpayer Expense

May 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – On the heels of the scandal surrounding one government agency’s lavish Las Vegas conference, federal judges in the western U.S. circuit are catching flak from Congress for a planned Maui getaway that could cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

The Maui meet-up is scheduled for August under the banner of the 2012 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and will include judges, attorneys, staff and “special guests” from various federal courts spread across nine western states — including judges on the California-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While in Hawaii, the guests are scheduled to stay in the upscale Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. And they’ll have the chance to kick back with an array of recreational activities — sport fishing, golf, paddle-board lessons, yoga, Zumba, even a floral design workshop.

The official website for the conference stresses that “government funds are not used for any recreational or sporting activities.”

But Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter to Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, called the activities “unrelated to the business of the court” and questioned whether the Ninth Circuit really needed to ship everyone out to the islands — a trip that incurs substantial costs in travel and lodging alone.

“The programs read more like a vacation than a business trip to discuss the means of improving the administration of justice,” they wrote. “We are concerned about the overall cost of this conference and do not believe that discussions about the administration of justice would be less successful were they held somewhere other than a spa and resort in Hawaii.”

A statement from the senators estimated the trip could cost more than $1 million — pegging the cost of accommodations alone at more than $500,000. That factors in room rates of between $230 and $250 per night for four nights.

The government also provides a per diem — according to the conference website, this per diem starts at a base level of $289.

The hotel itself is situated on Kaanapali Beach, in the northwestern corner of the island on the outskirts of the island’s lush rainforests. The resort features a full-service spa, a salon, 1,800 feet of beachfront property, two pools with waterfalls, a rope bridge and an outdoor whirlpool.

The GOP senators, in their letter, fired off a slew of questions for the Ninth Circuit about the cost of past conventions and the rationale for the upcoming one. They referenced the scandal over the General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas, which cost taxpayers more than $800,000.

“Technology is so advanced that people are earning college degrees online and soldiers serving halfway across the world use Skype with their families at home,” Grassley said in a statement.

“Likewise, a judicial circuit court should be capable of using technology to share information without requiring a trip to an island paradise. It’s especially tone-deaf to plan a pricey conference after the GSA debacle. The taxpayers can’t sustain this kind of spending, and they shouldn’t have to. The court should re-examine whether this is the best use of tax dollars.”

A representative with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has not returned a request for comment.

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Manchester UK Police And Prosecutors Didn’t Investigate Gang Of Asians Raping White Children For Fear Of Being Racist – 50 Victims Passed Around While Police Did Nothing

May 9, 2012

MANCHESTER, UK – The nine men from Rochdale were yesterday convicted of abusing five vulnerable teenagers after plying them with alcohol, food and small sums of money in return for sex.

However, the true number of victims, who were “passed around” by the gang, is likely to be nearer to 50, police have admitted.

Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have now apologised after they failed to bring the case of the first victim – Girl A – to trial following her cry for help in August 2008.

One 13 year-old victim became pregnant and had the child aborted while another was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Complaints to social workers and the police were ignored because they were “petrified of being called racist”, former Labour MP for Keighley Ann Cryer said.

Mrs Cryer, who has campaigned to bring the issue of Asian sex gangs to light, said the girls had been “betrayed” and condemned to “untold misery” by the police and social services.

“This is an absolute scandal. They were petrified of being called racist and so reverted to the default of political correctness,” she said.

“They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them.”

Girl A told police that she had been raped and provided DNA evidence from her attacker, however the CPS twice decided not to prosecute him.

The 15 year-old’s abuse continued and at its height she was being driven to flats and houses to be raped by up to five men a night, four or five days a week. She was singled out because she was white, vulnerable and under-age.

Her ordeal only ended when her teachers forced social workers to intervene after she fell pregnant and they became concerned by the number of Asian men picking her up from school.

Girl A said that in a six-hour interview she gave police details about her abusers and where the attacks took place. Crucially, too, she handed officers underwear that proved she had been raped by two men in a single attack.

“I hoped they were going to do something and it would stop,” she said.

“But it just carried on. It just started again with different men and more men this time, and that’s when it started becoming up to five men a day”.

Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were yesterday found guilty of running a child exploitation ring at Liverpool Crown Court.

Greater Manchester Police is now being investigated by the IPCC over the failings of its first investigation in 2008.

When GMP did finally pass a file on Girls A’s rape to the CPS the following year, a Crown lawyer decided not to charge anyone because he said she would not be a sufficiently credible witness to put before a jury. A second CPS lawyer backed that opinion.

It was only after social workers notice an upsurge in cases of child grooming that police reinvestigated and made a series of arrests which led to yesterday’s convictions.

It can be reported that the trial was delayed by two weeks when two Asian barristers quit the case due to intimidation by far right groups outside Liverpool Crown Court.

And a tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin almost caused the trial to collapse when it led to allegations of the jury having a “far-right bias”.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood acknowledged that officers could have dealt with the case “better than we did”.

But he denied that the girl’s complaints had been “brushed under the carpet” because officers were reluctant to confront the issue of race.

“At the time we did what we thought was best,” he said. “We have learned a lot of lessons.

“The issue here is genuinely about vulnerability. It just happens that they are Asian men. In no way did we sweep it under the carpet.”

Steve Garner, head of children’s services at Rochdale Council, denied the teenager had been let down by his department.

“No,” he said. “I think it’s really important to remember that what we know now and what we knew in 2008 is very, very different and what we have done is put the lessons in place”.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said: “What’s become clear is that if police had acted seriously on these concerns in 2008 many of the victims of this appalling case would not have had to go through such horrific trauma.

“It is simply unacceptable that these young women were let down in this way by people they should have been able to trust.”

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“Justice For Sale” Under Obama And Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Department Of Justice Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs Represented By Law Firms Where Holder And His Top Aides Worked

May 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In an explosive Newsweek article set to rock official Washington, reporter Peter Boyer and Breitbart contributing editor and Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer reveal how Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are operating under a “justice for sale” strategy by forgoing criminal prosecution of Wall Street executives at big financial institutions who just so happen to be clients of the white-shoe law firms where Holder and his top DOJ lieutenants worked.

There’s more.

Even as President Barack Obama and Holder co-opt the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric of getting “tough” on the Big Banks and Big Finance, the Newsweek investigative report reveals that Eric Holder has not criminally charged or prosecuted a single top executive from any of the elite financial institutions thought responsible for the financial crash. And why would they? As Boyer and Schweizer report, “through last fall, Obama had collected more donations from Wall Street than any of the Republican candidates; employees of Bain Capital donated more than twice as much to Obama as they did to Romney, who founded the firm.”

Collecting millions from Wall Street was hardly the plan Obama and Holder telegraphed upon entering office. In 2009, the new Attorney General said boldly:

We face unprecedented challenges in responding to the financial crisis that has gripped our economy for the past year. Mortgage, securities, and corporate fraud schemes have eroded the public’s confidence in the nation’s financial markets and have led to a growing sentiment that Wall Street does not play by the same rules as Main Street. Unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators, and common criminals alike have targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans, and in many cases, devastated entire families’ futures. We will not allow these actions to go unpunished….This Task Force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening.

Obama unloaded on Wall Street too. In 2009, Obama created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and announced that its purpose was to hold “accountable those who helped bring about the last financial crisis as well as those who would attempt to take advantage of the efforts at economic recovery.”

But Holder and Obama’s anti-Wall Street “law and order” rhetoric has turned out to be a smokescreen that allows the Obama campaign to talk the talk of the 99% while taking money from Wall Street’s 1%. The result is extortion by proxy. As President Obama put it to the Big Finance executives who met with him at the White House just two months into his presidency, “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Not surprisingly, of the elite bundlers who made up Obama’s 2008 campaign, the second most represented industry after law was the securities and investment industry. It’s a level of hypocrisy that has outraged even committed leftists. Industrial Areas Foundation activist Mike Gecan put it squarely: “I’m from Chicago, I’ve seen this game played my whole life.”

So what have the securities and banking industries received for their political contributions?

As Boyer and Schweizer report, Department of Justice criminal prosecutions are at 20-year lows for corporate securities and bank fraud. And while large financial institutions have faced civil prosecution, those typically end in settlement fees with the major banks that represent a fraction of their profits, often paid through special taxes on mortgage-backed securities.

It’s the most crass and cynical brand of politics imaginable, the Chicago Way writ large: pay to play justice from the nation’s highest law enforcement official.

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Social Security Administration Tells Disability Judges To Stay Off Websites And Social Media While Deciding Cases

May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases — taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud.

Agency officials said reviewers can’t trust information posted online, and also said the mere act of typing in queries could compromise protected private information, so they shouldn’t try to access anything.

Social Security’s ban covers all Internet sites, including social media such as Facebook.

But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a top taxpayer watchdog, said avoiding the Internet means giving up a valuable anti-fraud weapon — one that he said even federal courts have relied upon in some disability cases.

“If an individual claims to be disabled, and then publicly posts a picture participating in a sport or physical activity on a social media website, such information should be used by [adjudicators] to determine if the claimant was truly disabled,” Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter last week to Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.

The dispute raises Internet-age questions about the information people make available about themselves online, and how proactive government agencies should be in seeking out that information when it comes to granting taxpayer-funded benefits.

Social Security officials said they don’t object to using information gleaned from the Internet, but they don’t want the front-line deciders going out looking for it. They said that’s a job for fraud investigators to follow up on later in the process.

“Adjudicators should do what they are trained to do — review voluminous files to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Office of Inspector General fraud investigators should do what they are trained to do — vigorously follow up on any evidence of fraud,” said Kia S. Green, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Disability claims make up two parts of the Social Security system, and an entire legal industry has sprung up to help applicants win their claims.

But Mr. Coburn said without unshackling the judges who review the claims, there’s nobody looking out for taxpayers’ interests in the process.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas W. Snook, who is based in Miami, agreed, saying the public has entrusted adjudicators with the responsibility to make good decisions on behalf of the applicants and the public, and the more tools they have, the better.

“After being a judge for over 20 years, I think I can decide on what weight to give the tools available to me,” Judge Snook said.

The Social Security spokeswoman did not say why the policy was implemented just last month, but some judges had already been using information they found on the Internet to deny claims.

The agency’s move to exclude online information comes a year after Mr. Coburn used material he found online to challenge the disability finding of Stanley Thornton Jr., a man who lives part time as an adult baby.

In addition to appearing on a television show building things such as an adult high chair — which Mr. Coburn said showed carpentry skills — Mr. Thornton ran a website for others who want to live the “adult baby” lifestyle. The senator said that showed he had web development skills that could land him a job, too.

In the wake of Mr. Coburn’s complaint, Mr. Thornton said he was visited by federal investigators, but he told The Washington Times last year that he had been cleared of fraud.

Some administrative law judges have come under scrutiny in recent years for appearing to be too lenient.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year on one judge in West Virginia who approved 99.7 percent of his disability claims cases, while the national average is about 60 percent. That judge, David B. Daugherty, resigned soon after the article appeared.

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