Holyoke Massachusetts Deputy Fire Chief Timothy J. Moran Suddenly Retires After Photos Of Models With City’s Firetrucks Surface – Also Investigation Into His Involvement In Incident That Resulted In Criminal Charges Against His Brother And Former Acting Chief William P. Moran

July 6, 2012

HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS – This week’s abrupt retirement of Deputy Fire Chief Timothy J. Moran was related to his unauthorized permission for sportswear-clad models to pose for photographs with fire trucks and other equipment on city property, Mayor Alex B. Morse said Thursday.

Another issue that prompted the retirement was an investigation into Moran’s involvement in an incident a year ago that resulted in criminal charges brought against his brother and former acting chief, William P. Moran, Morse said.

It is unclear how the models wound up at Fire Department headquarters at 600 High St. on June 11. A report that the models were posing for photographs for use in a sports fitness publication could not be confirmed by The Republican.

Timothy Moran was suspended five days without pay by Fire Chief John A. Pond after the chief learned of the photo shoot, the mayor said. Moran appealed the suspension to the Fire Commission, which was already investigating Moran’s part in a June 15, 2011, incident with his brother, Morse said.

“It showed poor judgment on behalf of Deputy Chief Moran, and I stand behind chief Pond’s disciplinary action. I wish Mr. Moran the best of luck in his retirement and thank him for his many years of service,” said Morse.

The mayor defended the department’s professionalism and issued a warning.

“This incident should not taint the hardworking men and women of the Holyoke Fire Department. Such behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable, and such actions will be met with consequences, no matter who you are,” Morse said.

Timothy Moran had served 20 years and one month with the Fire Department before his retirement took effect on Wednesday. His gross earnings in 2011 were $90,324, according to the city’s municipal payroll database available online at MassLive.com.
Timothy Moran 2007.jpgTimothy Moran

To a reporter who knocked on the door of his Westfield home seeking comment Thursday, Timothy Moran said, “Get away from me and stay away from me.”

Pond refused to comment when asked what kind of discipline would result if a department employee gave unauthorized approval for models to pose with department equipment, beyond saying such photographs would be unacceptable.

Fire Commission chairman Christopher J. Hopewell said the models posing with department equipment and gear is “unauthorized,” but declined to discuss Moran’s role, citing confidentiality of personnel matters.

“I believe the fire chief took the appropriate actions,” Hopewell said.

On June 15, 2011, William and Timothy Moran were eating lunch at Mrs. Mitchell’s Kitchen, 514 Westfield Road, when William Moran saw firefighters from the station around the corner on Homestead Avenue, entering Strum’s Deli and Meats next door. He called the Fire Department dispatch to report a truck was needed at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, knowing that would require that the firefighters scramble to answer the call, officials have said.

During the response, one civilian driver failed to pull over for the fire truck and a four-car accident occurred at Homestead Avenue and Pynchon Road. The driver was treated at Holyoke Medical Center and released.

In a ruling released on Nov. 22, Springfield District Court assistant clerk-magistrate Barbara Y. Burton said William Moran would have to answer criminal charges because sending the truck on a false call put the public in danger. William Moran admitted on April 5 there were sufficient facts to warrant a guilty finding on a charge of making a false fire call, and he agreed to pay $500 in restitution.

Attorney Jorge L. Neves, who was representing Timothy Moran regarding last year’s incident, said on July 14, 2011, that his client acted appropriately that day, telling the two firefighers who were seen at Strum’s Deli to disregard the call his brother had made. That detail is included in a June 27, 2011, statement that Hampden district attorney Mark G. Mastroianni released on the matter.

The fire truck proceeded to the call anyway, stopping in the parking lot of the deli to pick up the two firefighters, who boarded the truck thinking it was headed to a different call, Mastroianni has said.

City Solicitor Elizabeth Rodriguez-Ross said the three-member Fire Commission, which Morse appointed in February shortly after taking office, is investigating last year’s incident.

The reason the previous Fire Commission, which was appointed by Morse’s predecessor, didn’t investigate the incident was because the district attorney requested the commission refrain from such a probe until the resolution of the criminal case against William Moran, Rodriguez-Ross said.

The commission is investigating to determine if any Fire Department rules were violated and all persons involved disciplined, Rodriguez-Ross said.

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Berkeley California Police Chief Michael Meehan And As Many As 10 Police Officer Searched For Chief’s Son’s Stolen iPhone

May 23, 2012

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, already under fire for sending an officer to a reporter’s house after midnight, ordered police – some on overtime – to look for his teenage son’s stolen cell phone in Oakland, authorities said Monday.

Officers did not file a police report about the January incident, “an oversight that came to our attention when researching your questions,” said police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, a department spokeswoman.

On Jan. 11, Meehan’s son reported that somebody stole his iPhone from his locker at Berkeley High School. The phone was equipped with tracking software. The chief showed his own phone to the property crimes sergeant, who deployed his team and drug task force officers to look for the missing phone, Kusmiss said.

The signal stopped updating the phone’s position near 55th Street and San Pablo in North Oakland. The phone wasn’t found.

“It is common for BPD officers to actively investigate an in-progress tracking signal from a stolen electronic device,” Kusmiss said.

But many officers have been grumbling about the incident, and a source said Meehan himself took part in the search, which at its height involved as many as 10 officers. Kusmiss said four detectives were paid overtime for two hours each.

Meehan has declined to comment on the incident.

The chief has been embroiled in a controversy for sending Kusmiss to a reporter’s home after midnight in March to press for changes in a story about the Feb. 18 bludgeoning death of a Berkeley hills resident.

Meehan is being investigated by a San Francisco law firm at a cost to Berkeley of up to $25,000. The city is also paying up to an additional $24,000 to a public relations firm to review how the police handle media relations.

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Veteran Lawmaker Wants Independent Investigation Of US Secret Service – “…Nothing’s Changed In Washington If Heads Don’t Roll”

April 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A veteran Republican lawmaker says it’s time for an inspector general’s investigation to find how widespread the problems at the Secret Service are.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the nation needs to know whether reports of sexual misbehavior by agents traveling in advance of the president reflect part of the culture of the Secret Service. He says national security and the president’s safety could be at risk.

Grassley told CBS’ “This Morning” that the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general can handle the investigation — so long as that office can maintain its independence from the department and the White House.

Grassley said Friday that officials must be held accountable. As he put it, “You know nothing’s changed in Washington if heads don’t roll.”

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Aransas County Texas Judge William Adams Under Investigation After Career-Ending Video Surfaces Of Him Brutally Beating His Daughter – 2.3 Million Hits On YouTube Before State Took Action…

November 3, 2011

McALLEN, TEXAS – As his adult daughter took to national television, the career of the Texas judge now infamous for the violent beating he gave her as a teenager began to look less certain Thursday. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that it had opened an investigation into the video, now viewed more than 2.3 million times on YouTube, that shows Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams beating his then 16-year-old daughter with a belt for using an illegal file-sharing program. carrer

County officials said Thursday that Adams would not hear any cases related to Child Protective Services for at least the next two weeks. And the top administrator in Aransas County cast doubt on whether Adams could credibly return to the bench.

“I would think it would be very difficult,” said Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills Jr. “Personally I don’t see how he can recover from this.”

Calls to Adams’ office and that of his attorney were not immediately returned Thursday.

Hillary Adams, 23, says the outpouring of support and encouragement she’s received since posting the 2004 video online last week is tempered by the sadness that it’s her father lashing her 17 times with a belt and threatening to beat her “into submission.”

“I’m experiencing some regret because I just pulled the covers off my own father’s misbehavior after so many people thought he was such a good person. … But so many people are also telling me I did the right thing,” she told The Associated Press outside her mother’s home in the Gulf Coast town of Portland, near Corpus Christi Wednesday.

“He’s supposed to be a judge who exercises fit judgment,” she said

And she said the videoed attack was not a one-off. “It did happen regularly for a period of time,” she told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday.

In the same interview, Hallie Adams blamed her ex-husband’s bouts of violence on his “addiction,” calling it a “family secret.” She did not elaborate. Their 22-year marriage ended in 2007.

Police in Rockport, where the 51-year-old judge lives, opened an investigation Wednesday after receiving calls from several concerned citizens, Police Chief Tim Jayroe said.

Adams, Aransas County’s top judge, was elected in 2001 and has dealt with at least 349 family law cases in the past year alone, nearly 50 of which involved state caseworkers seeking determine whether parents were fit to raise their children.

Aransas County Attorney Richard Bianchi said Thursday that a visiting judge would be handling CPS cases on Adams’ docket for the next two weeks. The agreement between the judges was only on those specific cases, but Bianchi said the visiting judge should take on all of them.

“It makes sense to me that as long as he’s (the visiting judge) here, he’ll be travelling from San Antonio, that it might be just as well that he go ahead and handle the whole docket,” Bianchi said.

Asked if he had concerns about Adams’ ability to handle future cases, or about the impact on cases already processed in Adams’ court, Bianchi said his top concern was the integrity of the process going forward.

“We have to do everything we can to protect that process,” he said.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services did not immediately provide comment, but Bianchi said the agency was involved in the decision to bring in a visiting judge to handle those cases.

Corpus Christi television station KZTV caught up with the judge Wednesday, and he confirmed it was him in the video. But he said it “looks worse than it is” and that he doesn’t expect to be disciplined.

“In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing,” Adams said. “And I did lose my temper, but I’ve since apologized.”

When told of her father’s comments, Hillary Adams said, “it’s a shining perfect example of his personality and he believes he can do no wrong. … He will cover up rather than admit to what he did and try to come clean.”

The 13-member Commission on Judicial Conduct comprises judges, lawyers and regular citizens. If this initial investigation leads to a formal proceeding, Adams would have an opportunity to make his case to the commission in a hearing. After that hearing the commission has the authority to censure a judge or recommend to the Texas Supreme Court that the judge be suspended or removed. The Supreme Court would then form a tribunal of appellate judges to review the case and make a determination.

Rockport Police and the Texas Rangers are conducting their own investigation. If criminal charges are brought against Adams, the commission could suspend him.

If the judicial commission and police investigations do not amount to anything, Adams could be safe in his seat on the bench for another three years. The last time he ran for re-election he faced no opposition.

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Feds Sue Crazed Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Amid Criminal Federal Grand Jury Investigation Into His Efforts Against County Workers

September 2, 2010

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics.

The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office’s defiance “unprecedented,” and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminate against people with limited English skills.

Arpaio had been given until Aug. 17 to hand over documents it first asked for 15 months ago.

Arpaio’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, declined immediate comment on the lawsuit, saying he had just received it and hadn’t yet conferred with his client.

Arpaio’s office had said it has fully cooperated in the jail inquiry but won’t hand over additional documents into the examination of the alleged unconstitutional searches because federal authorities haven’t said exactly what they were investigating.

It’s the latest action against Arizona by the federal government, which earlier sued the state to stop its strict new immigration law that requires police officers to question people about their immigration status.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix and names Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the county.

Arizona’s new law — most of which a federal judge has put on hold — mirrors many of the policies Arpaio has put into place in the greater Phoenix area, where he set up a hot line for the public to report immigration violations, conducts crime and immigration sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods and frequently raids workplaces for people in the U.S. illegally.

Arpaio believes the inquiry is focused on his immigration sweeps, patrols where deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases heavily Latino areas — to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders.

Critics say his deputies pull people over for minor traffic infractions because of the color of their skin so they can ask them for their proof of citizenship.

Arpaio denies allegations of racial profiling, saying people are stopped if deputies have probable cause to believe they’ve committed crimes and that it’s only afterward that deputies find many of them are illegal immigrants.

The sheriff’s office has said half of the 1,032 people arrested in the sweeps have been illegal immigrants.

Last year, the federal government stripped Arpaio of his special power to enforce federal immigration law. The sheriff continued his sweeps through the enforcement of state immigration laws.

Last year, the nearly $113 million that the county received from the federal government accounted for about 5 percent of the county’s $2 billion budget. Arpaio’s office said it receives $3 million to $4 million each year in federal funds.

In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining allegations that Arpaio has abused his powers with actions such as intimidating county workers by showing up at their homes at nights and on weekends.

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