Policing for Profit

The controversial legal tool of asset forfeiture allows police officers and other law enforcement entities to seize money and physical property from anyone suspected of wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, as the Drug War and the War on Terror have both escalated over the last decade, national security has trumped liberty and the threshold for determining suspicious behavior has been lowered to include just about anyone.

Is gun ownership a right? UCLA professor analysis

(thanks Prager U, http://www.prageru.com )

Local Police Departments Invest In Cell Phone Spy Tools

As we depend on our cell phones more and more, the tools to peek into our phones are getting better. Local police departments across the country are investing heavily in this technology. And, with few laws governing what police can collect and store, that has a lot of privacy advocates alarmed. NPR's Robert Siegel talks to City Lab reporter George Joseph about the spread of tools that let police collect cell phone data.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Increasingly, police departments are turning to military-grade surveillance tools to help fight crime - a trend that worries privacy advocates. A new investigation by CityLab, which is part of Atlantic Media, documents the spread of tools that let police collect cellphone data. CityLab reporter George Joseph joins me in the studio now. Welcome to the program.

Exoneree makes his first appearance in court as a defense lawyer

Ten years to the month after Jarrett Adams was released from prison for a rape he didn’t commit, the newly minted lawyer was in court this week representing another prisoner in similar straits.

Adams was featured in the ABA Journal along with two other exonorees who went to law school after their convictions were found to be wrongful.

NJ troopers won't be charged in mistaken 911 call shooting

A state trooper was justified when he shot a 76-year-old man last summer inside a home mistakenly linked to a 911 call, an investigation by New Jersey's attorney general has concluded.

Gerald Sykes thought he was defending his Upper Deerfield home from intruders late on July 29. In reality, he was confronting two troopers who went to the home when a disconnected 911 call was mistakenly traced to Sykes' address.

Court explains 'Constitutional Bullshit' to cops

A disabled vet with PTSD accidentally called a suicide prevention hotline when intending to dial the Veterans Crisis Line. Within hours, he was dealing with DC Metro's finest, dispatched to handle an attempted suicide. This brief quote from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals opinion [PDF] -- part of veteran Matthew Corrigan's first conversation with responding officers -- sets the tone for the next several hours of Constitutional violations.

Follow this logic about a gun crime, from the U.K.

Investigators in the case of Sunday’s stabbing believe a reactivated gun could have been used to fire a bullet during the early morning melee.

According to Det Insp David Bowen, of London’s anti-gang unit Trident, the 22-year-old victim was injured when a fight broke out between 500-1,000 party-goers at Praba Banqueting Suite in Ilford High Road at around 4.30am.

Det Insp Bowen, speaking exclusively to the Recorder, confirmed there had been between 500 to 1,000 people at the 21st birthday celebration before the victim was found seriously injured in a car outside.

And the detective revealed one lead the Met were investigating was the possible use of a reactivated firearm during the incident – the source of initial incorrect reports that a man had been shot.

Gun-shaped house key almost ruins couple's cruise trip

A Florida couple's Carnival cruise vacation was almost ruined last weekend as they attempted to board the ship because one of them was carrying a 2-inch house key shaped like a gun.

Henry Echevarria, a deputy sheriff in Pasco County, Fla., was boarding a cruise ship in Port Canaveral with his wife Lisa Jan. 15 when a ship security agent halted them at the entrance. 

"He pulls out my key and says 'Oh, here's the problem," Echevarria told WTSP.

As a law enforcement official, Echevarria says he understands routine security procedures but was shocked that such a small item would cause an issue. The deputy sheriff says he tried to explain that there was no way the key could be used as a weapon.

Man arrested after kitty litter mistaken for meth

“They thought they had the biggest bust in Harris County. This was the bust of the year for them,” Ross Lebeau said.

It was a traffic stop in early December that led to the discovery of almost half a pound of methamphetamine — or so says the news release the Harris County Sheriff’s Office sent out, KTRK reported.

A photo of the find and a mug shot of the alleged dealer, Ross Lebeau, was included, which led to news coverage that spread quickly

“People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord,” Lebeau said. “I was freaking out.”

Ohio Now Requires Criminal Convictions For Many Civil Forfeiture Cases

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill today that will require a criminal conviction before law enforcement can permanently confiscate property for many civil forfeiture cases. Only 11 other states have similar or stricter requirements.


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