Posts Tagged ‘florida’

Court to tackle clarity of Miranda warnings again

June 25, 2009
By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer Michael J. Sniffen, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 22, 5:36 pm ET

WASHINGTON – “You have the right to remain silent.” Most people only hear those words while watching cop shows on TV. They usually zone out for the rest of the now familiar Miranda warning to people under arrest.

But in the real world, the Supreme Court is still listening to the words that follow. It agreed Monday to hear another case over just how explicit that phrasing must be.

In its landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, the high court set out to protect the constitutional right of people not to incriminate themselves once in custody. They dealt a blow to those officers who bullied or beat false confessions out of suspects. The justices said the police have to tell defendants they can have a lawyer represent them, even if they can’t afford one.

Since 1966, dozens of prosecutors and defendants have asked the court to clarify its ruling. The court has addressed many of those appeals and reaffirmed its basic ruling in 2000.

Along the way, the justices made clear they don’t insist that every police officer use precisely the same words, so long as the important details are clear, even to people with no legal training or little or no schooling.

Monday they agreed to examine what the Tampa, Fla., police told Kevin Dewayne Powell after his arrest on Aug. 10, 2004. Powell was convicted of possessing a firearm. As a convicted felon, he wasn’t allowed to have one. Powell told Tampa officer Salvatore Augeri he bought the weapon “off the street” for $150 for his protection.

But the Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction on grounds the Tampa police didn’t adequately convey to Powell that he was allowed to have a lawyer with him during questioning.

Florida law enforcement, in the person of chief assistant attorney general Robert J. Krauss, asked the Supreme Court to decide the Tampa police gave Powell a clear enough Miranda warning. On behalf of Powell, Cynthia Dodge, an assistant public defender in Polk County, Fla., argued in a brief that the justices should let the Florida ruling stand because it conformed to previous Miranda rulings and also relied on Florida‘s own constitution.

Before he confessed to Augeri, Powell signed a statement that said he could remain silent and, if he did talk, what he said could be used against him in court. The statement added:

“You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of our questions. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed for you without cost and before any questioning. You have the right to use any of these rights at any time you want during this interview.”

The Supreme Court’s original Miranda ruling said whatever words the police used they had to make clear that a suspect could “have the lawyer with him during interrogation.”

Florida’s highest court found the Tampa warning fell short of this essential element because Powell was “never unequivocally informed that he had the right to have an attorney present at all times” during the police interview and limited the narrower right “to talk to” counsel to the period “before answering any of our questions.” The Florida justices ruled that the last sentence of what Powell signed “did not supply the missing warning of the right to have counsel present during police questioning because a right that has never been expressed cannot be reiterated.”

Dodge said the warning to Powell implied that his right to counsel was limited to a conversation before the police began questioning.

For the state, Krauss argued that only “a strained, literalistic reading, inattentive to context” could conclude Powell could not have a lawyer present during questioning. “While the warning at issue may not be the most elegant formulation of Miranda warnings,” Krauss wrote, “the test is reasonable clarity, not elegance.”

Krauss said the Supreme Court should resolve differences between federal circuit courts of appeals on how explicit police must be that a lawyer can sit in on their interrogations.

The case is 08-1175, Florida v. Powell.

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Feds reverse policy cutting ammo supply

March 18, 2009

Posted: March 17, 2009
9:00 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Respond to senators representing outraged gun owners nationwide

 

Responding to two Democratic senators representing outraged private gun owners, the Department of Defense announced last night it has scrapped a new policy that would deplete the supply of ammunition by requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass.

The policy already had taken a bite out of the nation’s stressed ammunition supply, leaving arms dealers scrambling to find ammo for private gun owners.

Mark Cunningham, a legislative affairs representative with the Defense Logistics Agency, explained in an e-mail last night to the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., that the Department of Defense had placed small arms cartridge cases on its list of sensitive munitions items as part of an overall effort to ensure national security is not jeopardized in the sale of any Defense property.

The small arms cases were identified as a senstive item and were held pending review of policy, he said.

“Upon review, the Defense Logistics Agency has determined the cartridge cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for sale,” Cunningham wrote.

One of the companies that brought attention to the issue is Georgia Arms, which for the last 15 years has been purchasing fired brass shell casings from the Department of Defense and private government surplus liquidators. The military collects the discarded casings from fired rounds, then sells them through liquidators to companies like Georgia Arms that remanufacture the casings into ammunition for the law enforcement and civilian gun owner communities.

But earlier this month, Georgia Arms received a canceled order, informed by its supplier that the government now requires fired brass casings be mutilated, in other words, destroyed to a scrap metal state.

The policy change, handed down from the Department of Defense through the Defense Logistics Agency, cut a supply leg out from underneath ammunition manufacturers.

Learn here why it’s your right — and duty — to be armed.

The policy compelled Georgia Arms to cancel all sales of .223 and .308 ammunition, rounds used, respectively, in semi-automatic and deer hunting rifles, until further notice. Sharch Manufacturing, Inc. had announced the same cancellation of its .223 and .308 brass reloading components.

“They just reclassified brass to allow destruction of it, based on what?” Georgia Arms owner Larry Haynie asked WND. “We’ve been ‘going green’ for the last dozen years, and brass is one of the most recyclable materials out there. A cartridge case can be used over and over again. And now we’re going to destroy it based on what? We don’t want the civilian public to have it? It’s a government injustice.”

As WND reported, firearm sales have spiked since the election of a perceived anti-gun president, and Americans stockpiling bullets have produced a stressed ammunition market.

The Orlando Sentinel reports months of steady, heavy buying have left gun dealers in Florida facing shortages of ammunition.

“The survivalist in all of us comes out,” John Ritz, manager of a Florida shooting range, told the Sentinel. “It’s more about protecting what you have.”

“People are just stockpiling,” said a spokeswoman for Georgia Arms, which has seen bullet sales jump 100 percent since the election. “A gun is just like a car. If you can’t get gas, you can’t use it.”

WND contacted the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Defense’s largest combat support agency, several times seeking comment or explanation for the policy change but received none.

The National Rifle Association confirmed to WND that the DLA had been instructed to require the scrapping of the brass casings but declined further comment at this time.

Other gun advocates, however, sounded off on the issue, eyeing the change in government policy with suspicion and filling the blogosphere with speculation that the effects of the policy change may be deliberate.

“It is an end-run around Congress. They don’t need to try to ban guns – they don’t need to fight a massive battle to attempt gun registration, or limit ‘assault’ weapon sales,” writes firearm instructor and author Gordon Hutchinson on his The Shootist blog. “Nope. All they have to do is limit the amount of ammunition available to the civilian market, and when bullets dry up, guns will be useless.”

A writer named Owen at the Boots & Sabers blog suspects the policy change is an effort by an anti-gun administration to raise the cost of ammunition.

“This policy didn’t come out of the blue,” writes Owen. “The Commander in Chief is clearly sending a message to gun owners that they should be paying more for ammunition. If he can’t do it through regulatory action, he’ll do it by forcing ammunition manufacturers to spend more on production.”

Hutchinson reports Georgia Arms was manufacturing over 1 million rounds of .223 ammunition every month, but without the ability to purchase expended military ammunition, the company may be forced to lay off up to half its workforce.

Cop murder spotlights crisis of killer aliens

February 19, 2009

Posted: September 28, 2006
9:18 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily.com

INVASION USA
No government agency tracks crimes by illegals, not even attacks on police

 


Officer Rodney Johnson

WASHINGTON – Charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl, Juan Leonardo Qunitero had been deported back to Mexico in 1999 as an illegal alien. Nevertheless, last week, he was back in the U.S., living comfortably in a city that prohibited police from asking anyone about their immigration status.

Rodney Johnson was a 12-year veteran on the Houston police force. Married with five children, he was big, kind-hearted and unafraid of working the toughest gang beats or late-night shifts.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, around 5:30 p.m., he pulled over a white Ford pickup driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone in what should have been a routine traffic stop. The driver, Quintero, had neither a driver’s license nor any other identification so, after a pat down, Johnson handcuffed him and placed him in the back of his patrol car. But Johnson missed the gun in Quintero’s waistband. The prisoner pulled it out and fired four times at Johnson at close range.

When Johnson was laid to rest this week after his execution-style murder he joined a growing list of law enforcers gunned down by foreign criminals. Meanwhile, in Florida, a sheriff’s deputy was killed and another shot in the leg yesterday after they pursued a motorist who ran away from a traffic stop.

Deputy Vernon Matthew “Matt” Williams and his K-9 unit were shot dead, officials said. Deputy Doug Speirs was shot in the leg but was expected to recover. Polk County sheriff’s deputies early today said they shot and killed a suspect, described as a black man with a Jamaican accent with dreadlocks.

Though no government agency in the U.S. – not the FBI nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement – tracks violent crimes by illegal aliens, even murders of police officers, a search by WND of news reports in the last three years shows law enforcement personnel are hardly immune to deadly carnage wrought by untracked, undocumented armed predators inside the country.

Less than a year ago, Nov. 12, 2005, Dallas police officer Brian Jackson met the same fate.

It seems Juan Lizcano, an illegal alien who worked as a gardener, had a few too many drinks that Saturday evening before heading to the home of Marta Cruz, according to a witness who accompanied him.

Again, police responded early Sunday morning to a domestic disturbance call at Cruz’s home and were told that Lizcano had threatened his ex-girlfriend and fired a handgun inside the house. He was gone by the time officers arrived.

About 45 minutes later, officers were notified that Lizcano had returned to the home. Officers pursued him on foot as the suspect jumped over fences and ran through yards.

Officer Jackson died of a wound to his right underarm, near his protective vest, suffered in a gunfight with Lizcano. He and his wife, JoAnn, a respiratory therapist, had been married less than four months.

In Denver, Raul Gomez-Garcia, another illegal alien charged with shooting two police officers at a crowded party where both the gunmen’s wife and 2-year-old daughter were seated, was convicted last week.

Gomez-Garcia, 21, faced trial in Denver District Court for second-degree murder of Denver police officer Donald “Donnie” Young and attempted first-degree murder of Detective Jack Bishop. The two officers were shot in the back May 8, 2005, as they worked security at an invitation-only baptismal party.

The officers had turned Gomez-Garcia away from the party. He returned later, intent on shooting the two officers.

Gomez-Garcia has almost no education, is illiterate and explained to investigators that he had carried a loaded gun since he was 13 years old. He came to the United States when he was 8 and lived in south central Los Angeles.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic stories of a police officer being shot by an illegal alien is the case of shooting Arizona sheriff’s deputy Sean Pearce, an 11-year veteran of the force who served a search warrant Dec. 16, 2004, at a Mesa trailer home.

Hiding behind a Christmas tree inside was Jorge Luis Guerra Vargas, a 22-year-old illegal alien who opened fire on Pearce.

Ironically, at the time of the shooting, Pearce’s father, Russell, an Arizona legislator, was in Washington giving a speech about illegal immigration at the Brookings Institution when he got the message to call home. His wife, he knew, “wouldn’t be calling if it wasn’t important. It had to do with the children.” Pearce excused himself from the podium and found a phone to hear the tragic news.

A WND investigation of local news reports found dozens more cases of police officers slain by illegal aliens. They include:


Deputy Brandon Winfield

 

  • Deputy Brandon “Brandy” Winfield, 29, of the Marion County, Ohio, sheriff’s department, was murdered Oct. 17, 2004. Winfield was on routine patrol when he stopped to assist what he thought was a stranded motorist. Winfield later was found shot in the head in his vehicle, which had hit a guard rail and flipped into a ravine. Both of those charges in the crime were illegal aliens. 
  • Detective Hugo Arango, 24, of the Doroville, Ga., police department, was murdered May 13, 2000. Arango was shot and killed after having been flagged down by a club patron who indicated that some men had been breaking into cars outside of a nightclub. Detective Arango located three suspects and detained them. As he searched for weapons, Bautista Ramirez, an illegal alien from Mexico, shot Arango four times. The first shot took off one of his fingers, the second went through his thigh. As Arango lay on the ground helpless, Ramirez intentionally fired one round through Arango’s badge, and then executed him with a shot to his head that severed his brain stem. 
  • National Park Service ranger Kristopher “Kriss” Eggle, 28, was murdered Aug. 9, 2002. Ranger Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument while pursuing members of a drug cartel hit squad which fled into the U.S. after committing a string of murders in Mexico.

    Deputy Saul Gallegos

     

  • Deputy Saul Gallegos, 35, of the Chelan County, Wash., sheriff’s department was murdered June 26, 2003. Gallegos was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle in a routine traffic stop. Jose Sanchez-Guillen, 22, who had been deported three times to Mexico, was found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder.

    Deputy Sheriff David March

     

  • Deputy Sheriff David March, 33, of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department, was murdered April 29, 2002. March was on routine patrol when he made a traffic stop. The driver, Armando Garcia, shot March in the chest and the head – execution style. Garcia had been deported three times, had a long history of drug charges, violent crimes and weapons charges. The illegal alien from Mexico was already wanted for two attempted murders. 
  • Officer Tony Zeppetella, 27, of the Oceanside, Calif., police department, was murdered June 13, 2003. Zeppetella stopped Adrien George Camacho for a traffic violation. Camacho pulled out a gun and shot the officer. Camacho then pistol-whipped the injured officer before shooting him again, killing him with the officer’s own gun. Camacho is an illegal alien and gang member from Mexico with a criminal history that includes five previous felony convictions and several deportations. 
  • A Huntsville, Ala., police officer, Daniel Howard Golden, 27, was shot multiple times by Benito Albarran, 31, an illegal immigrant in August 2005.

While no government agencies specifically track crimes by illegal aliens, there have been some efforts to quantify the loss. Last December, Mac Johnson set out to investigate the number of homicides perpetrated by illegal aliens. Since the federal government would not provide any useful information, he contacted all 50 statehouses. Three months later, he had fewer than a dozen responses. Only one state, Vermont, provided any useful information.

He then set out to statistically estimate the number of murders by illegal aliens based on available crime data and conservative estimates of the actually number of illegal aliens in the country – which, of course, nobody really knows.

He found that between 1,806 and 2,510 people in the U.S. are murdered annually by illegal aliens. If he’s right, that would represent between 11 percent and 15 percent of all murders in the U.S.

In one study of a sample 55,000 illegal immigrants serving prison sentences in the U.S., it was discovered that they are responsible for over 400,000 arrests and over 700,000 felony crimes.

According to Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

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.

Police Officer Deaths Drop in ’08

December 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – Fewer police officers died in the line of duty in 2008 compared to last year, reflecting better training and tactics, two law enforcement support groups reported Sunday.

The findings reversed the trend for 2007 when there was a spike in police deaths, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and another group, Concerns of Police Survivors.

The groups reported fatalities through Sunday.

Officer deaths this year totaled 140, compared to 181 in 2007.

Gunfire deaths dropped to 41 officers this year, compared to 68 in 2007. The 2008 number represented the lowest total since 1956 — when there were 35 — and was far below the peak of 156 officers killed by gunfire in 1973.

Traffic-related deaths also declined, with 71 officers killed this year, compared to 83 in 2007. It was the 11th consecutive year that more officers were killed in traffic incidents than from any other cause.

More than 61 percent of this year’s fatalities involved accidents and 39 percent resulted from criminal acts.

The only downside was deaths of women officers: 15 in 2008 compared to 6 a year ago. More women officers than before are in harm’s way, the groups said, because they’re taking on the same dangerous assignments as men.

Craig Floyd, chairman of the Memorial Fund, said in an interview that officers are getting better training and equipment.

More than 70 percent of policemen use bullet-resistant vests compared to fewer than half a decade ago, he said.

And officers are making better use of Taser stun guns and other non-lethal weapons that keep them a safe distance from violent offenders, Floyd said.

To avoid traffic deaths, officers are better trained in high-speed and defensive driving techniques. Police vehicles now have better safety equipment, including side air bags and a substance installed near the gas tank to suppress fire when the vehicle is struck.

The states with the most deaths were Texas with 14, followed by California with 12, then Florida and Pennsylvania with eight apiece,

Other factors cited by Floyd for the reduction in police fatalities:

_A record 2.3 million adult criminals behind bars, according to a study released earlier this year by the Pew Center on the States.

_A 2007 violent crime rate that held steady at the 2005 level, according to the Justice Department.

The Memorial Fund honors law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and is in charge of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington.

Concerns of Police Survivors provides support and counseling to surviving family members of officers killed in the line of duty.

___

On the Net:

Memorial Fund: http://www.nleomf.org

Police Survivors: http://www.nationalcops