Category Archives: Criminal Injustice

Cameron Todd Willingham & The Witchdoctors Who Killed Him

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Law, Pseudoscience

As it has been practiced for decades, arson investigations were more voodoo than science, and “arson sleuths” were often dabblers; “old-timers” who lay claim to a “a body of wisdom,” passed down from one old timer to the next arson investigator. The problem? An innocent individual, Cameron Todd Willingham, was “executed for the arson murder of his three young daughters,” in Texas, in 2004, based on this hocus-pocus.

Many arson investigators, it turned out, had only a high-school education. In most states, in order to be certified, investigators had to take a forty-hour course on fire investigation, and pass a written exam. Often, the bulk of an investigator’s training came on the job, learning from “old-timers” in the field, who passed down a body of wisdom about the telltale signs of arson, even though a study in 1977 warned that there was nothing in “the scientific literature to substantiate their validity.”

In 1992, the National Fire Protection Association, which promotes fire prevention and safety, published its first scientifically based guidelines to arson investigation. Still, many arson investigators believed that what they did was more an art than a science—a blend of experience and intuition. In 1997, the International Association of Arson Investigators filed a legal brief arguing that arson sleuths should not be bound by a 1993 Supreme Court decision requiring experts who testified at trials to adhere to the scientific method. What arson sleuths did, the brief claimed, was “less scientific.” By 2000, after the courts had rejected such claims, arson investigators increasingly recognized the scientific method, but there remained great variance in the field, with many practitioners still relying on the unverified techniques that had been used for generations. “People investigated fire largely with a flat-earth approach,” Hurst told me. “It looks like arson—therefore, it’s arson.” He went on, “My view is you have to have a scientific basis. Otherwise, it’s no different than witch-hunting.”

On September 7, 2009, the New Yorker’s David Grann wrote a lengthy expose, “Trial by Fire,” in which he asked, “Did Texas execute an innocent man?”

On March 9, this year, Maurice Possley, of The Marshall Project, all but confirmed that yes, Texas executed an innocent man.

Read the horror story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who “insisted upon his innocence in the deaths of his children and refused an offer to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.”

And the update.


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Free Ross Ulbricht, Proprietor Of Silk Road

Criminal Injustice, Drug War, Justice, Law, Private Property

He operated through “the ‘Dark Web,’ a network of computer servers around the world accessed only through The Onion Router or TOR” (USA Today). He facilitated voluntary, victimless trade in drugs, online. He is “Ross Ulbricht, the operator of Silk Road, a sprawling underground Internet drug bazaar.”

Enter the criminal syndicate known as Uncle Sam. It had outlawed the commerce Mr. Ulbricht had facilitated between consenting adults. In order to catch Ulbricht, Uncle Sam put to work its vast resources, culled from robbing us, its subjects. Now, federal agents are auctioning off Ulbricht’s private property, which is tantamount to legalized theft.

Federal agents shut down the Silk Road site in October 2013 and seized 29,655 bitcoins, now worth about $7.2 million, from the Silk Road server where buyers and sellers stored the currency. The government also seized 144,336 bitcoins, now worth $35 million, from Ulbricht’s computers. A judge in January ordered the sale of Ulbricht’s bitcoins.

The March 5 sale is the federal government’s third bitcoin auction stemming from its Silk Road prosecution. The federal agency will accept e-mail bids from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 5. Bidders must pre-register by March 2 (USA Today).

Not content with stealing a young man’s life and property, the federal government has subjected Ross Ulbricht to a Stalinist show trial, during which due process was practically denied. Via Target Liberty:

The following statement has been issued by the family of Ross Ulbricht, who was recently convicted of being the mastermind of Silk Road:

Ross’ trial is now over.

We were shocked — horrified really — at how unfair it was. Day four saw a reversal from when we last wrote you. Before that we expected evidence favorable to Ross would continue to be presented, and the complete story told.

Instead, the government’s own exculpatory evidence was suppressed; defense witnesses were blocked from testifying; and Ross’ attorney was hamstrung, unable to effectively cross examine government witnesses. It was a one-sided presentation that suppressed facts essential to Ross’ defense.

This is a good overview from Forbes, read here. You can also read about the trial here, and about Ross during the trial here. We will continue to post more.

Ross’ attorney said he will appeal. This is not over! We believe it’s essential for everyone to have a fair trial. When a trial isn’t fair, it is a threat to us all.

Meanwhile, this is a very hard time for Ross and our family. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us. Your love and support mean so much.

Please send Ross a note. It’s easy to feel cut off and despairing in prison. We know it will help him to hear from you. His address is below.

ROSS ULBRICHT
#18870-111
MCC NEW YORK
METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER
150 PARK ROW
NEW YORK, NY 10007

As always, this is an expensive fight. We are facing a mountain of debt from the trial and need funds to pursue the appeal. Please spread the word, and donate if you can.

Thank you,

The Ulbricht family

NICE SITE:

RELATED:
“Addicted To The Drug War.”


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Why So Many Cop Killings?

BAB's A List, Criminal Injustice, Fascism, GUNS, Justice, Law

BY WILLIAM B. SCOTT

In the wake of grand jury decisions to not indict two police officers, who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, persistent protests erupted across the United States. These led to senseless attacks against police officers, including two New York City cops, killed as they sat in their patrol car. Unfortunately, such reprehensible, inexcusable shootings were predictable—and will continue, unless timely, pragmatic action is taken.

Activists, media analysts and politicians have focused on myriad “causes” for the unrest—race-based unfairness, a perceived pro-police bias within the judiciary, mendacious cops, legal system deficiencies, and other issues—to explain the recent backlash against an epidemic of citizen fatalities at the hands of police officers.

Overshadowed by rightful outrage and angst that followed the insane execution of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in New York is an equally alarming fact: In 2014, police officers killed 1,100 people, an average of three every day of the year. (KilledByPolice.net) That figure contrasts with 126 law enforcement officers killed in 2014, according to an annual report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Fifty officers were killed with guns, and 15 of those were via “ambush assaults,” matching a 2012 total. Attacks on cops have been increasing over the past few years, although police work is much safer today than it was in the 1970s.

These statistics should be a loud-and-clear wakeup call for every American. Unless leaders at the federal, state and local levels openly acknowledge that there’s a dark, disturbing correlation between the deaths of 1,100 citizens and a rash of intentional, random attacks on police officers, this nation will be condemned to thousands more heartbreaking funerals in 2015.

Indignant police union leaders’ demands that Congress label attacks on uniformed officers as “hate crimes” have yielded chilly, skeptical receptions. Equally irate American citizens are demanding practical, substantive changes in police policies, practices and training—realistic solutions that hold quick-to-shoot cops accountable, yet protect good, honorable officers, who daily live their oaths to protect and serve.

Worried public officials from the White House to local mayors’ offices and city councils are scrambling to appease angry, fed up, disaffected citizens and embattled police officers, before outright armed rebellion explodes into nationwide chaos. Most public officials fully understand that citizens are fed up with post-shooting patronization: “We’re conducting a thorough investigation to determine exactly what occurred.” “We’ll change policies, procedures and practices to make sure this never happens again.” And the tired granddaddy of all, “We’ll improve officer training.”

On the other side, upstanding, professional police officers are frustrated by protests and repercussions attributed to the misdeeds, questionable shootings, chokings and general abuse committed by their uniformed compatriots. Consequently, the chasm between disheartened cops and exasperated, infuriated citizens continues to widen.

Police officers and taxpayers of all races and creeds, from Los Angeles to New York, must face several inescapable truths: Unless drastic improvements are made, the only elements guaranteed to change will be cops’ annual body count and the number of attacks on police officers. And race isn’t the primary factor driving either police brutality or ambushes on cops. Despite what we’re told by the media, high-profile activists and police unions, many of today’s sworn officers are equal-opportunity abusers and killers. They shoot to kill, without regard for ethnicity or creed.

Something must be done to drastically curb police brutality and killing, as well as egregious attacks on police officers, then rebuild trust between citizens and the U.S. law enforcement community, before outrage ignites a shooting war.

*******
William B. Scott is a former bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and author of The Permit, a thriller based on his eldest son’s death.


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Monkey See Monkey Do

Barack Obama, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Race, Racism

Two New York Police Department officers will not be joining their families for the Christmas festivities, next week. They were gunned down today, Saturday. The culprit was “a black man while the two police officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said” (BBC News.) More about cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, at Mediaite.

It’s fair to say that Brinsley had been incited by race agitators Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who “have blood on their hands,” contended former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Recall that “de Blasio announced that he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers, which caused The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch to claim de Blasio had thrown NYPD officers ‘under the bus.’ … New York City’s rank-and-file police union is urging cops to tell Mayor Bill de Blasio not to attend their funerals in the event that they are killed in the line of duty.”

(Fox News.)

Let us not neglect AG Eric Holder’s contribution to unrest among the perpetually restive. Holder had rushed to Ferguson, Missouri, to racialize the shooting of Michael Brown (but has said nothing about the murder of a string of white girls by, allegedly, one Jesse Matthew, a black man).

Another pimp in the pod was President Barack Obama, who has been mum about “cops and soldiers coming under attack,” but couldn’t put a sock in it when it came to his personal affinity for Trayvon Martin. Obama immediately and ridiculously saddled a “deeply rooted” racism plaguing the US for the mishaps between cops and the communities of color they police.

“This is something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with BET, a portion of which was released Sunday, December 7. “When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias … you’ve got to have vigilance but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time, and you just have to be steady so you don’t give up when we don’t get all the way there.”

(Washington Times.)


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Don’t Conflate The Michael Brown And Eric Garner Cases

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Paleolibertarianism, Race, Racism

Not only the “basics of anatomy and breathing,” in the words of the New York Times’ editorial board, were flouted in “taking down” of Eric Garner, who was doing nothing naturally illicit when he was tackled and placed in the chokehold that killed him.

Flouted too was the humanity, empathy and the most primitive, basic intelligence in dealing with a man who was struggling to breathe. As a mother of an asthmatic, I know that you do not mess with a person’s oxygen supply. Garner’s manner of death, by the way, conjures the manner in which the fragile Carol Anne Gotbaum (a petite 45-year-old, who weighed 105 pounds) met an untimely demise. Gotbaum was likely asphyxiated in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor by a few corpulent cops.

That said, here are the salient factors to bear in mind:

* The cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner: never the twain shall meet. On the facts, the incidents are entirely different. This the tape of Eric Garner’s last moments shows in abundance. The evidence of police wrongdoing there is incontrovertible. Evidence shows exactly the opposite in the case of Brown.

* Garner was a victim of the police (not so Brown). But racism? Nonsense on stilts! Racism is the cudgel with which the “Racism-Industrial-Complex” hits whitey about the head to keep sissified WASPs in line. For the most, the masses marching against the Garner homicide are, as interviews demonstrate, so dumb, they can’t much articulate why they are marching.

* Cops are equal opportunity offenders: They aggress against whites more or less equally, factoring into account the disproportionate representation of blacks among the population of law-breakers. (Except that whites don’t march.) Warns John Lott:

If you’re going to correctly compare the rates at which police kill black and white male teenagers, you have to compare teenage crime rates. You can’t just compare crime rates among the entire black and white populations. The rate that these teenagers commit murder, not including rape and other less serious crimes, also provides a somewhat better measure of the perceived threat that they might pose to police.
Among blacks, teenage crime is much more prevalent. Based on the most recent available FBI crime numbers, black male teenagers were nine times more likely to commit murder than were their white counterparts. That’s right, nine times, and the gap in these urban areas is undoubtedly even larger.
After adjusting for murder rates, black male teenagers are still killed by the police 2.3 times as often as whites. This is a considerable difference — but again, over-representation of urban areas in the data set could be a big part of the explanation.

* Whites practice universalism. They march against injustice, real or perceived, perpetrated against blacks. Not so blacks. Blacks are the quintessential tribal racialists.

* Laws that criminalize naturally licit trade kill. Garner was selling his own loose cigarettes on a street corner. (He had just “helped to break up a fight on [that] busy street in Staten Island.” ) Such items are contraband in the City:

Last January, the city passed stronger penalties for selling loosies and other illegal cigarettes and in early July, reports the Daily News. The NYPD’s Chief of Department, Philip Banks, specifically called for crackdowns on loosie sales in Staten Island. “Among the specific public complaints of illegal activity in that area included the sale of untaxed cigarettes as well as open (alcohol) container and marijuana use and sale offenses,” an NYPD spokesman told the News.

MORE.

Had Garner’s conduct not been criminalized by the criminals of today’s Tammany Hall, he’d be alive.


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UPDATED: Eric Garner, RIP: This is What Murder-By-Cop Looks Like (WRONG Decision)

Criminal Injustice, Law, Natural Law, Regulation, Taxation, The State

I will be appalled—so should you—if a grand jury decides against indicting the NYPD officers who murdered Eric Garner. A decision is nearing in the case of the New York entrepreneur who was doing nothing naturally illicit when he was tackled and placed in the chokehold that killed him.

The city medical examiner has ruled the death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old father whose death in police custody sparked national outrage, a homicide, saying a chokehold killed him.
The medical examiner said compression of the neck and chest, along with Garner’s positioning on the ground while being restrained by police during the July 17 stop on Staten Island, caused his death.

William Norman Grigg documented and deconstructed the murder by cop of Mr. Garner, chocked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, for being entrepreneurial; trading untaxed cigarettes in defiance of the state’s “slave patrol” and “Comrade” Andrew Cuomo’s “Cigarette Strike Force.” As always, Grigg gets to the nub of the issue, and beautifully so:

“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me! I’m tired of it! It stops today!”

Eric Garner, a peaceful and productive citizen, had suffered years of pointless and unnecessary harassment by the costumed predators employed by the NYPD. He told one of them to leave him alone. Such impudence by a mere Mundane cannot be tolerated, so Garner was murdered in the street in full public view.

Several plainclothes officers were prowling Garner’s Staten Island neighborhood on the afternoon of July 17 seeking to harvest revenue by catching harmless people in the act of committing petty infractions. Police Commissioner William Bratton describes this as “stamping out petty offenses as a way of heading off larger ones.” in practice, this means authorizing police to commit actual crimes in their efforts to turn harmless people into “offenders.” …

The first fatal mistake Garner made was to act as a peacemaker. The second was to assert his self-ownership in the face of someone employed by the contemporary equivalent of a slave patrol. Within minutes, five police officers attacked him, one of them slipping behind him to apply an illegal chokehold. Garner died of cardiac arrest after being swarmed and suffocated in front of numerous horrified witnesses, one of whom captured the entire event – from first confrontation to homicide – on camera. …

“Eric Garner’s exasperated proclamation ‘It stops today!’ is cognate with ‘Don’t tread on me,’ and his murder by an army of occupation immeasurably more vicious and corrupt than the Redcoats could precipitate a long-overdue rebellion against the omnivorous elite that army serves. …”

UPDATE (12/3): WRONG Decision.

Manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide: Those are the counts that ought to have been easily authorized by a jury empaneled to decide if to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who was responsible for Eric Garner’s death and oblivious to his helpless pleas for air.

Watch how the cops panic when they realize they’ve killed this poor, innocent (in natural law) man. Watch how they begin ordering observes to leave, so that no witnesses to the REAL crime remain. And observe the absence of any attempt to resuscitate Mr. Garner.


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