Posts Tagged ‘federal’

Judge: Man Who Gave Pittsburgh Cop ‘Finger’ Didn’t Break Law

March 24, 2009

Federal Lawsuit Claims Flip-Off Gesture Is Protected Speech

PITTSBURGH — A federal judge said a man who flipped his middle finger at a Pittsburgh police officer shouldn’t have been cited for disorderly conduct.

 

David Hackbart, of Pittsburgh, said he made the gesture at another driver while trying to back into a parking space on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill in April 2006.

 

When he heard someone else yelling at him, Hackbart gave the finger again — not realizing that the second person was a police officer.

“While flipping somebody off or using profane language may not be pleasant, it is constitutionally protected speech, especially when it’s uttered towards a public official,” said Vic Walczak, of the American Civil Liberties Union, when he sued on Hackbart’s behalf in September.

 

U.S. District Judge David Cercone filed a 19-page decision Monday, agreeing that the gesture was protected under free speech.

 

Still to be determined at an upcoming trial is whether city police were improperly trained. The ACLU claims city police have filed 188 citations for similar offenses in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

 

 

“The police need to understand that they’re not Miss Manners, they can’t be enforcing nice language, and that it’s inappropriate for them to use the criminal laws to punish somebody because they may use profane language,” Walczak said in September.

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Detention camps? In America?

February 5, 2009

Posted: February 05, 2009
1:00 am Eastern, Joseph Farah WorldNetDaily

© 2009 

 

What goes on here?

Jerome Corsi’s breathtaking story in WND earlier this week is giving me heart palpitations.

In case you missed it, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a former judge impeached in 1981 by a Democratic House of Representatives and only the sixth federal judge ever to be removed by the U.S. Senate, has introduced a bill to establish at least six emergency centers for U.S. civilians in the event of some future, unspecified crisis.

“The bill also appears to expand the president’s emergency power, much as the executive order signed by President Bush on May 9, 2007, that, as WND reported, gave the president the authority to declare an emergency and take over the direction of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments without even consulting Congress,” the story continues.

And here’s some further context: “As WND also reported, DHS has awarded a $385 million contract to Houston-based KBR, Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary, to build temporary detention centers on an ‘as-needed’ basis in national emergency situations.”

I don’t like it.

I don’t trust Washington.

And I sure don’t trust Alcee Hastings.

In 1981, the former judge, appointed by Jimmy Carter, was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify. Borders went to jail.

In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3. Even Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers and Charlie Rangel voted to impeach Hastings. He was then easily convicted by the U.S. Senate and removed from office.

The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but – unwisely – did not do so.

So Hastings came back in 1993 to win his House seat.

Now he is promoting the building of “camps” for U.S. civilians.

It is Hastings who clearly belongs behind bars, not in the House of Representatives sponsoring draconian legislation.

The biggest “emergency” this nation faces is the overreaching of our federal government and its lack of concern over constitutional limits on its power.

Maybe we need detention facilities for out-of-control Washington powerbrokers.

I don’t know what’s behind this move.

Maybe it’s no more than a distraction to make us nervous and persuade Americans to keep their big mouths shut and follow orders.

Maybe it’s no more than an effort to create more make-work jobs for the constituents of Alcee Hastings and his colleagues.

Maybe it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

But, whatever it is, I don’t like the way it smells.

I don’t like the way it tastes.

And I know it is spawned in this the-Constitution-be-damned mentality that pervades Washington.

So let’s expose it.

Let’s kill it.

Let’s lock it up and throw away the key.

And let’s declare a real emergency – one that has already hit us like a smack in the face with a baseball bat: The Constitution is daily being breached by the very people sworn to uphold and defend it. If anyone in America deserved to be rounded up and detained for the good of the country, it is those who are blatantly exceeding the strict limits on their authority and remaking our nation in their own corrupt and power-hungry image.

Congressman Introduces Bill To Create Military Run Detention Camps In U.S.

February 2, 2009

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

 

 

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.

Heed the warning of a former Hitler Youth who sees America on the same path as pre-Nazi Germany in “Defeating the Totalitarian Lie” from WND Books!

The bill also appears to expand the president’s emergency power, much as the executive order signed by President Bush on May 9, 2007, that – as WND reported – gave the president the authority to declare an emergency and take over the direction of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments without even consulting Congress.

As WND also reported, DHS has awarded a $385 million contract to Houston-based KBR, Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary, to build temporary detention centers on an “as-needed” basis in national emergency situations.

According to the text of the proposed bill, the purpose of the National Emergency Centers is “to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster.”

Three additional purposes are specified in the text of the proposed legislation:

  • To provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of federal, state and local first responders;
  • To provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response and recovery efforts of government, private, not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations;
  • To meet other appropriate needs, as defined by the secretary of homeland security.

The broad specifications of the bill’s language, however, contribute to concern that the “national emergency” purpose could be utilized by the secretary of homeland security to include any kind of situation the government wants to contain or otherwise control.

Rep. Hastings created controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign with his provocative comments concerning Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention,” Hastings said, as reported by ABC News. “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”

H.R. 645, which seeks to allocate $360 million for developing the emergency centers, has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and to the Committee on Armed Services.

US Supreme Court to Decide How Long Suspect’s Request for Lawyer is Valid

January 28, 2009

By Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to clarify how long a suspected criminal’s request for a lawyer during police interrogation should be valid, taking on a case where a child molester asked for a lawyer almost three years before admitting to the abuse.

The high court agreed to consider the state of Maryland’s appeal of a decision throwing out child molester Michael Shatzer’s confession.

Shatzer was imprisoned at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown for child sexual abuse in 2003 when police started investigating allegations that he had sexually abused another child. Shatzer requested an attorney and the case was soon dropped.

Three years later, the boy was old enough to offer details. According to court documents, when a different police officer questioned Shatzer again about the case, he was advised of his rights and signed a form waiving them before confessing.

After Shatzer was charged, he filed a motion to suppress his statements, arguing that he had asked for an attorney in the case before. A lower court did not accept his argument, but the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed with his position and threw out the confession.

“After a substantial period of time, however, the presumption that a defendant wishes to proceed only in the presence of counsel is not reasonable,” said Douglas F. Gansler, Maryland‘s attorney general.

State and federal courts have differed on how long a request for a lawyer is valid, Gansler said.

Shatzer’s lawyers say the request is permanent.

“A prior request for counsel prohibits further interrogation,” Shatzer’s lawyers said in court papers. “Even if it did not, this court should recognize, as other courts have, that a police officer who is resuming an investigation has a duty to determine, before questioning a suspect, if that person has previously requested an attorney.”

The Supreme Court likely will not hear the case until the fall.

The case is Maryland v. Shatzer, 08-680.