Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Just Us System

Convictions Reversed in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's highest court on Thursday overturned hundreds of juvenile convictions issued by a corrupt judge who took millions of dollars in kickbacks from youth detention centers.
In one of the most egregious cases of judicial corruption ever seen, federal prosecutors charged Ciavarella and another Luzerne County judge, Michael Conahan, with taking $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in privately owned lockups.
Prosecutors have described a scheme in which Conahan, the former president judge of Luzerne County, shut down the county-owned juvenile detention center in 2002 and signed an agreement with PA Child Care LLC to send youth offenders to its new facility outside Wilkes-Barre.
The Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center asked the Supreme Court to intervene in Luzerne County last year, citing statistics that Ciavarella was opting for detention in far high numbers than would be expected. The justices rejected the request without comment in early January, then changed their mind after Conahan and Ciavarella were charged.
Yet another example of why inherent government functions shouldn't be privatized. Just like cops and the DEA shouldn't have a profit motive to bust people, (i.e. civil forfeiture laws), and mercenaries & private contractors (i.e. Blackwater & KBR) shouldn't have a role in a combat theater. It always leads to corruption worse than any gov't corruption.

And note the State Supreme Court ignored it completely, until the judge & co were charged with crimes.
Next up:
Missouri retracts police memo which labeled activists as 'militia'

The Missouri Department of Public Safety has retracted a controversial profiling memo which linked libertarian activists, Christians, constitutionalists, supporters of Congressman Ron Paul and other traditionally conservative groups to underground militias.

It also specifically cautioned police to be on the lookout for bumper stickers advertising third party candidates, or people with copies of the United States Constitution.
Well, dog nose the US Constitution is a powerful weapon, and everyone who reads or carries a copy, especially the 4th amendment, should be looked upon with suspicion![/snark]

Not to make light of the growing problem with militias and hate groups who want to kill the president and overthrow the country, but shouldn't the cops be looking for violent groups and not peaceful folks? And one would think they should be looking at the Constitution themselves instead of looking for people holding it. It sounds like they think having a copy is probable cause. (hint to cops: It's easy to tell the violent ones; they have assault rifles and explosives. The peaceful ones vote and hold protests.)
States consider drug tests for welfare recipients

Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.
Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

"Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature
[Christine Nelson, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures said] They also cost less than the $400 or so needed for tests that can catch a sufficient range of illegal drugs, and rule out false positive results with a follow-up test.
Jeebus, where do I start!? It's not 'something for nothing' these are programs that people have paid into for years, it's called FICA, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act!

And this stupidity burns so bad "Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs", uh, yes they are! Jobs shipped overseas, economic meltdown, homes foreclosed due to regulatory malfeasance and removal. Can anyone else tell that that was a republican who said that!?

And if you want to save money, spending $400 per just the 12.5 million unemployed folks in this country is 5 TRILLION dollars! (Somebody check my math.)

And that doesn't include welfare or foodstamp recipients, nor the retesting for false positives!

Not to mention they're searching for drugs without probable cause and that different drugs stay in the system for various amounts of time. Is it really fair to conclude someone wasn't 'able, ready or willing to work' because they smoked a joint 2 weeks ago!?

I have a counter proposal: Test every elected or appointed politician randomly for drugs. Test them everyday they are legislating for alcohol. These folks are behind the wheel of our cities, states and country. They too get our tax dollars, and they can obviously do more harm to more citizens that any drunk driver.

And last but not least:
NJ girl, 14, arrested after posting nude pics

A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on — charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.

The case comes as prosecutors nationwide pursue child pornography cases resulting from kids sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. Legal experts, though, could not recall another case of a child porn charge resulting from a teen's posting to a social networking site.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.
Prosecutors in states including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin have tried stop it by charging teens who send and receive the pictures.

In northeastern Pennsylvania, a prosecutor recently threatened to file child porn charges against three teenage girls who authorities say took racy cell-phone pictures that ended up on classmates' cell phones.
In the last case the girls sent OMG!!1! 'racy pictures!' (jeebus, get a grip! (No not there;-)

OMG, OMG, the sky is falling!!!1!

But seriously folks, can you actually charge a child for 'child porn' for sending or posting pictures of herself to an equally underage boyfriend? And how was this reported to the cops?

BTW, even the mothers of these last children, and the mother of Megan, of Megan's Law fame, object to this persecution.

Hmmm, anyone else think the prosecutors might be up for re-election?

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak