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The truth shall keep us free — Edward Snowden has awakened a giant, by Andrew Napolitano (June 27, 2013)

June 28, 2013 By: admin Category: Judicial, Politics, Societal

Which is more dangerous to personal liberty in a free society: a renegade who tells an inconvenient truth about government law-breaking, or government officials who lie about what the renegade revealed?

That’s the core issue in the great public debate this summer, as Americans come to the realization that their government has concocted a system of laws violative of the natural law, profoundly repugnant to the Constitution and shrouded in secrecy.

The liberty of which I write is the right to privacy: the right to be left alone. The Framers jealously and zealously guarded this right by imposing upon government agents intentionally onerous burdens before letting them invade it.

Whatever one thinks of Snowden’s world-traveling odyssey he has awakened a giant.

They did so in the Fourth Amendment, using language that permits the government to invade that right only in the narrowest of circumstances.

The linchpin of those circumstances is “probable cause” of evidence of crime in “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

If the government cannot tell a judge specifically what evidence of crime it is looking for and precisely from whom, a judge may not issue a search warrant, and privacy — the natural human yearning that comes from within all of us — will remain where it naturally resides, outside the government’s reach.

Congress is the chief culprit here, because it has enacted laws that have lowered the constitutional bar that the feds must meet in order for judges to issue search warrants. And it has commanded that this be done in secret.

And I mean secret.

The judges of the FISA court — the court empowered by Congress to issue search warrants on far less than probable cause, and without describing the places to be searched or the persons or things to be seized — are not permitted to retain any records of their work. They cannot use their own writing materials or carry BlackBerries or iPhones in their own courtrooms, chambers or conference rooms. They cannot retain copies of any documents they’ve signed. Only National Security Agency staffers can keep these records.

Indeed, when Edward Snowden revealed a copy of an order signed by FISA court Judge Roger Vinson — directing Verizon to turn over phone records of all of its 113,000,000 U.S. customers in direct and profound violation of the individualized probable cause commanded by the Constitution — Vinson himself did not have a copy of that order. Truly, this is the only court in the country in which the judges keep no records of their rulings.

At the same time that Vinson signed that order, NSA staffers, in compliance with their statutory obligations, told select members of Congress about it, and they, too, were sworn to secrecy. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden was so troubled when he learned this — a terrible truth that he agreed not to reveal — that he mused aloud that the Obama administration had a radical and terrifying interpretation of certain national security statutes.

But he did more than muse about it. He asked Gen. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, who was under oath and at a public congressional hearing, whether his spies were gathering data on millions of Americans. Clapper said no. The general later acknowledged that his answer was untruthful, but he claimed it was the “least untruthful” reply he could have given. This “least untruthful” nonsense is not a recognized defense to the crime of perjury.

After we learned that the feds are spying on nearly all Americans, that they possess our texts and emails and have access to our phone conversations, Gen. Keith Alexander, who runs the NSA, was asked under oath whether his spies have the ability to read emails and listen to telephone calls. He answered, “No, we don’t have that authority.” Since the questioner — FBI agent turned Congressman Mike Rogers — was in cahoots with the general in keeping Americans in the dark about unconstitutional search warrants, there was no follow-up question. In a serious public interrogation, a committee chair interested in the truth would have directed the general to answer the question that was asked.

Since that deft and misleading act, former NSA staffers have told Fox News that the feds can read any email and listen to any phone call, and Alexander and Rogers know that. So Alexander’s “no,” just like his boss’s “no,” was a lie at worst and seriously misleading at best.

This is not an academic argument. The oath to tell the truth — “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” — also makes those who intentionally mislead Congress subject to prosecution for perjury.

President Obama is smarter than his generals. He smoothly told a friendly interviewer and while not under oath that the feds are not listening to our phone calls or reading our emails. He, of course, could not claim that they lack the ability to do so, because we all now know that he knows they can.

These Snowden revelations continue to cast light on the feds when they prefer darkness. Whatever one thinks of Snowden’s world-traveling odyssey to avoid the inhumane treatment the feds visited upon Bradley Manning, another whistleblower who exposed government treachery, he has awakened a giant.

The giant is a public that has had enough of violations of the Constitution and lies to cover them up.

The giant is fed up with menial politicians and their media allies demonizing the messenger because his message embarrasses the government by revealing that it is unworthy of caring for the Constitution.

Think about that: The very people in whose hands we have reposed the Constitution for preservation, protection, defense and enforcement have subverted it.

Snowden spoke the truth. Knowing what would likely befall him for his truthful revelations and making them nevertheless was an act of heroism and patriotism.

Thomas Paine once reminded the Framers that the highest duty of a patriot is to protect his countrymen from their government. We need patriots to do that now more than ever.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. His latest is “Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/06/27/truth-shall-keep-us-free/?intcmp=trending#ixzz2XUVuznBc

Beware of Rita Levy

July 20, 2012 By: admin Category: Judicial

It came to our attention that RITA LEVY owner at Work4Stars  in Belgium  ( http://be.linkedin.com/pub/rita-levy/a/81a/7ba  ) is not exactly the person of integrity we would like to expect. Of course, the fact that she is lawyer by profession may explain it, – but should not be an excuse.

It is interesting to note that in her Linkedin.com profile she claims over 500+ connections – yet not a single Recommendation. What does it tell you if someone knows over 500 people and not a single person  has a kind word to say about her? We recommend to stay away from this person, if you do not want to get burnt too!

To what extent is Barry Zimmerman personally responsible for the death of the little Alaina Stockdill?

September 22, 2010 By: admin Category: Judicial, Local Politics, Politics, Societal

One week before she was killed by her mother, the little 8 years old Alaina was complaining to her neighbors that mom was trying to strangle her.  Neighbors reported to Barry Zimmerman’s office. He himself acknowledged this communication in the TV interview.  His office did nothing to protect the little girl.

Barry Zimmerman from the Ventura County Human services has to be held personally accountable for the death of 8 years old Alaina Stockdill. His smug lawyering comments on the KCBS news tonight were disgusting. His services were warned before. See the LA Times article from April 22, 2010 http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/22/local/la-me-molest-20100422 below. This girl’s death is HIS responsibility. When are we going to start holding government employees accountable for their stupidity, negligence or incompetence, Jerry Brown? You want to be governor? Do your job as AG first!


Autopsy Results Delayed For Dead Ventura Girl

September 21, 2010 5:49 PM

VENTURA (AP) — The Ventura County Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy of an 8-year-old girl who authorities suspect was slain by her mother, but officials have not immediately released a cause of death.

Chief Deputy Medical Examiner James Baroni said Tuesday that the autopsy results would likely be released a day later, after further investigative work is completed.

Twenty-five-year-old Blair Stockdill was arrested Monday after police responded to reports of a knife fight between a man and woman.

At an apartment, officers found a man with stab wounds on his arm and inside the home, police found the body of Stockdill’s daughter, Alaina, who had been dead for several days.

Stockdill was arrested on suspicion of murder and remained jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.


Ventura County to review handling of child abuse complaints

Supervisors raise concerns after a local school district board member pleads guilty to sexually molesting a young girl over a five-year period and fathering her child.

April 22, 2010|By Steve Chawkins

The young girl told classmates, who told school employees, who told county social workers.

But her sexual abuse by a school board member continued for years and some of the school officials who worked with him want to know why.

Last week, Brian E. Martin, 49, a member of Ventura County’s Rio School District board since 2006, pleaded guilty to continuous sexual molestation of a girl under age 15 and inflicting “great bodily harm” — by impregnating her.

The girl, now 15, is among four children who Martin and his wife, Cristina Carreño Martin, took in after a relative of hers with drug problems abandoned them six years ago. The girl’s baby boy, born in December, has been placed with an adoptive family.

In the wake of Martin’s guilty plea, Ventura County supervisors have ordered a review of the county’s procedures for dealing with child abuse complaints.

Officials with the Rio district, which covers parts of the Oxnard area, say county social workers did not investigate thoroughly even after receiving reports at least six times over two years.

“We’re pushing for higher standards by Child Protective Services,” said Tim Blaylock, the board’s president. “There are steps they could have taken to validate our concerns.”

Barry Zimmerman, head of the county’s Human Services Agency, declined to comment on the case or his department’s procedures, citing legal requirements for confidentiality.

Martin entered his plea in a brief, somber court appearance last week. At times, his wife held his hand and quietly sobbed. Under his plea agreement, he faces 17 years in prison.

A special election will be set for November to replace him on the district’s board.

Blaylock said the abuse emerged after the girl “confided to some of her classmates.”

“They were very concerned and wanted to help her,” he said. “These kids don’t just make up this stuff. Most of the time, it’s true.”

In interviews with social workers, the girl denied any sexual relationship with Martin, Blaylock said.

But, he said, the investigators should have anticipated that she would be fearful and asked a judge to order a physical exam. They also failed, he said, to interview district Supt. Sherianne Cotterell, who contacted the child protection agency after Martin’s wife shared her suspicions with her.

Reached by The Times on Wednesday, Cristina Carreño Martin, who said she is planning to file for divorce, was not quite as critical of county social workers.

Defending Arizona

July 09, 2010 By: admin Category: Illegal immigration - Arizona, Judicial, Politics

The following thorough argumentation article was just published by Law Prof. Kris Kobach (University of Missouri, Kansas City). It addresses all possible arguments against the Arizona SB 1070


Kris W. Kobach                                                         July 6, 2010 4:30 P.M.

Defending Arizona
From the June 7, 2010, issue of NR.

A law that basically makes a few small, carefully considered changes in police procedure, Arizona’s S.B. 1070, has inspired a vastly disproportionate response. Few laws have ever been so grossly mischaracterized by so many leaders on the left. From President Obama on down, they rushed to the microphone after it was enacted to hyperventilate about an impending police state in Arizona. Excitable bloggers invoked Jim Crow, apartheid, and the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany.

Their charges are completely false. Most stem from misunderstandings, perhaps willful and perhaps merely ignorant, of what the law is about and how it works. The false charges have been numerous, but the three most common are the following.

First, and most outrageously, critics incorrectly claim that the law would promote racial profiling. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) said this, along with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.), and the rest of the race-baiting caucus in Congress. But since so many members of Congress don’t bother to read bills anymore, their error was hardly unexpected. More surprising was the commentary from the country’s top lawyer. Attorney General Eric Holder sternly warned the nation on Meet the Press that the law “has the possibility of leading to racial profiling.” A few days later, when pressed about his comments in a House of Representatives committee hearing, Holder admitted that he hadn’t actually read the law. Another S.B. 1070 opponent, secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano, says she has not read the law either.

If they had read it, Holder and Napolitano would have seen that S.B. 1070 expressly prohibits racial profiling. In four different sections, the law reiterates that a law-enforcement official “may not consider race, color, or national origin” in making any stops or determining an alien’s immigration status. With this language, S.B. 1070 goes to extraordinary lengths to protect against racial profiling; most state and federal statutes do not include such special protection in their text. In addition, all the normal Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment protections against racial profiling will continue to apply.

Second, critics have declared that the law will require aliens to carry documentation that they weren’t otherwise required to possess. President Obama claimed, “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers . . . you’re going to be harassed.” The president would do well to familiarize himself with current federal immigration laws. Since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens not to keep certain registration documents on their person or not to register with the federal government. The Arizona law prohibits aliens from violating these federal statutes (8 U.S.C. §§ 1304(a) and 1306(e)). In other words, the Arizona law simply adds a layer of state penalty to what was already a crime under federal law.

For legal permanent resident aliens, the relevant document is a green card. For short-term visitors from a visa-waiver country (one of 36 countries whose citizens may visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa), the relevant document is an I-94 registration receipt, which is placed in their passport at the port of entry. The consequences of violating the Arizona law are the same as the consequences of violating the federal law: a fine of up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days. Any American who has traveled abroad knows that just about every country in the world imposes similar documentation requirements on U.S. citizens. It is hardly unfair or unusual to enforce our own laws on the subject.

There’s nothing new about police officers’ taking illegal aliens into custody, in Arizona or elsewhere. The documentation provisions of S.B. 1070 simply give Arizona law enforcement one more option in how to deal with them. Previously, when officers encountered illegal aliens in the course of their normal duties enforcing other laws, they could turn them over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for handling under federal procedures, or else make a case under Arizona’s human-smuggling statute. Now S.B. 1070 offers a third course of action: Illegal aliens without documentation can be jailed under state law even if human-smuggling provisions do not apply. If a local police department prefers to turn all illegal aliens that it encounters over to ICE, it can certainly continue to do so.

Third, critics have claimed that the law requires police officers to stop people in order to question them about their immigration status. Here too, President Obama misrepresented the law. Offering the example of a Hispanic family going to an ice-cream parlor, Obama said a police officer might walk up to the father and start interrogating him about his immigration documents. But Section 2 of S.B. 1070 stipulates that in order for its provisions to apply, a law-enforcement officer must first make a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest . . . in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”

The original wording made reference to “lawful contact”; this was revised to “lawful stop, detention, or arrest” to make clear that officers could not stop someone simply on suspicion and ask for his papers. So in President Obama’s example, S.B. 1070 might come into play if the person came running out of the ice-cream shop with a gun in one hand and a bagful of money in the other (and then only if race-neutral indicators that the person was an illegal alien came to light). But an officer could not demand identification without the initial lawbreaking that justified the stop.

The law operates in straightforward fashion. If a police officer, during a detention to investigate another offense, develops reasonable suspicion that the subject is an illegal alien, then the officer must take specific steps to verify or dispel that reasonable suspicion. And contrary to the claims of critics, “reasonable suspicion” is a well-defined concept. Over the past four decades, the courts have issued more than 800 opinions defining those two words in the context of immigration violations.

The most common situation in which S.B. 1070 will come into play is during a traffic stop. Suppose a police officer pulls over a minivan for speeding. He discovers that 16 people are crammed into the van and the seats have been removed. Neither the driver nor any of the passengers have any identification documents. The driver is acting evasively, and the vehicle is traveling on a known human-smuggling corridor. Courts have held that those four factors can give an officer reasonable suspicion to believe that the occupants are aliens unlawfully present in the United States.

At that point, S.B. 1070 kicks in and requires the police officer, “when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person” by verifying it with the federal government (ICE maintains a 24/7 hotline for exactly that purpose). Indeed, many police officers in Arizona were already regularly contacting ICE before S.B. 1070 was enacted. Critics of the law evidently think police officers should turn a blind eye to any violations of federal immigration law that they come across. The Arizona legislature and the people of Arizona felt otherwise.

In sum, the law does not make any radical changes. Rather, it gives Arizona police officers a few additional tools to use when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law-enforcement duties. It also ensures that local cooperation with ICE will occur more regularly. Other provisions that have received less media hype prohibit Arizona cities from restricting enforcement of immigration laws (for example, by preventing their officers from contacting ICE), and make it a misdemeanor for an alien who lacks work authorization to solicit work in a public place.

S.B. 1070 was drafted in the full expectation that the ACLU would sue, as indeed it has. In anticipation of a challenge, S.B. 1070 was designed to withstand any argument that the ACLU lawyers can throw at it — regardless of whether they happen to be working inside the Holder Justice Department or outside of it. Let’s consider their available arguments one by one.

Opponents of the law have been raising a hue and cry about racial profiling, but that argument is a non-starter. Because the initial legal challenge was filed before the law was actually applied, the challenge is a “facial” one — asserting that S.B. 1070 is unconstitutional on its face. Consequently, the challengers are basing their claims on speculation: They hypothesize that police officers might act in bad faith and violate the express terms of S.B. 1070.

The Supreme Court has held that such speculation cannot serve to strike down a law as unconstitutional. In the 1987 case of United States v. Salerno, the Court made clear that a “facial challenge to a legislative Act is, of course, the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.” Here, Arizona need only point out that if its police officers follow the clearly stated terms of S.B. 1070, no racial profiling will occur.

The ACLU’s only remotely plausible argument is that the law is unconstitutional through preemption — meaning that legislation passed by Congress prohibits the State of Arizona from enforcing S.B. 1070. The problem here is that no such legislation exists. While controlling immigration is a job of the federal government, Congress has never enacted a statute that expressly bars states from assisting it in the manner contemplated by the Arizona statute. Without any express preemption to rely on, the challengers must resort to making a more difficult “implied preemption” argument. This is a claim that the Arizona law conflicts with federal law, and therefore interferes with the fulfillment of congressional objectives. However, the numerous judicial precedents supporting the Arizona law will make this an uphill climb.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that states can enact statutes to discourage illegal immigration without being preempted by federal law. In the landmark 1976 case of De Canas v. Bica, the Supreme Court upheld a California law that prohibited employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens. The Court rejected preemption arguments, since “respondents . . . fail to point out, and an independent review does not reveal, any specific indication in either the wording or the legislative history of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] that Congress intended to preclude . . . state regulation touching on aliens in general.” States and cities can enact laws discouraging illegal immigration, and can assist the federal government in enforcing federal immigration laws in other ways, as long as their actions don’t conflict with federal law.

In the case of S.B. 1070, the ACLU will be hard-pressed to find any such conflict. Indeed, S.B. 1070 is a mirror image of federal law. The documentation provisions of the Arizona law penalize precisely the same conduct that is already penalized under federal immigration law: “In addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document if the person is in violation of 8 United States Code section 1304(e) or 1306(a).” Because S.B. 1070 matches federal law so precisely, it is protected by the legal doctrine of “concurrent enforcement.” As the Ninth Circuit, which covers Arizona, recognized in Gonzales v. City of Peoria (1983), “where state enforcement activities do not impair federal regulatory interests concurrent enforcement activity is authorized.”

If the documentation section of the Arizona law isn’t preempted, what about the rest of the law — for example, the section requiring police officers to contact the federal government when they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they are investigating for violating another law is an illegal alien? Here too, Arizona’s law is on solid legal ground. The Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals have all recognized the inherent authority of state and local officers to make immigration arrests.

In Gonzales v. Peoria, the Ninth Circuit specifically held that local police could make such arrests: “The general rule is that local police are not precluded from enforcing federal statutes. . . . Federal and local enforcement have identical purposes — the prevention of the misdemeanor or felony of illegal entry.” And in 2005 a unanimous Supreme Court in Muehler v. Mena recognized the authority of local police officers to inquire into the immigration status of individuals who have been lawfully detained.

Moreover, since the Gonzales v. Peoria decision, Congress has taken numerous steps to promote, not discourage, assistance by state and local police in making immigration arrests. As the Tenth Circuit observed in the 1999 case of United States v. Vasquez-Alvarez, federal law “evinces a clear invitation from Congress for state and local agencies to participate in the process of enforcing federal immigration laws.” In 1996, as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, Congress wisely put in place a federal statutory requirement that federal officials must respond whenever a state or local police officer requests verification of an alien’s immigration status (8 U.S.C. § 1373(c)).

Congress also began appropriating funds in 1994 for the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC), which operates the 24/7 hotline for requests from local police. The purpose of the LESC is to assist law-enforcement agencies in determining whether persons they have contact with are illegal aliens. In fiscal year 2005, the LESC responded to a staggering 504,678 calls from state and local police. That’s an average of 1,383 calls per day. This high volume reflects the fact that police in all 50 states are already arresting illegal aliens, and in most cases transferring them to federal custody. S.B. 1070 does not create state and local arrest authority; it makes that existing authority more systematic and efficient.

The only argument the ACLU has left is the dubious claim that more vigorous enforcement of federal immigration laws in Arizona will conflict with federal purposes, perhaps by compelling LESC personnel to respond to a much larger number of calls from Arizona. But the U.S. District Court for Arizona already rejected that line of thinking in Arizona Contractors Association v. Napolitano (2007), evaluating Arizona’s 2007 law that required all employers to use the E-Verify system to verify the work authorization of employees. According to the court, “the fact that the Act will result in additional inquiries to the federal government is consistent with federal law.” (In that case, Janet Napolitano, as governor of Arizona, defended the law; now, as homeland-security secretary, she opposes S.B. 1070.)

In summary, we’ve heard all these arguments before. Many of the people and organizations that are now declaring S.B. 1070 to be unconstitutional made the same claims regarding previous Arizona statutes: Arizona’s last three major laws concerning illegal immigration were all challenged in court — Proposition 200 in 2004, the Human Smuggling Act in 2005, and the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007. (I assisted in the defense of the last two.) In every case, the Arizona law in question was sustained. Most recently, in 2008 Arizona won an impressive victory in the Ninth Circuit when the Legal Arizona Workers Act was upheld against a preemption challenge. I expect that when the dust settles after S.B. 1070 is litigated, Arizona will still be undefeated in defense of its immigration laws.

Kris W. Kobach was one of the principal drafters of Arizona S.B. 1070. He is professor of law at the University of Missouri (Kansas City) and senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. From 2001 to 2003, he served at the U.S. Department of Justice as Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law and border security. He is currently a candidate for Kansas secretary of state. This article originally appeared in the June 7, 2010, issue of National Review.

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