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old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

27 October 2005

it's the end of the world as we know it, i feel fine

CD by Hip Hop/New School artist G-STAK,

Look out the window! Did you see those flying pigs?

The Weather Channel just announced that Hell's freezing over!

Down at the cemetery, the dead are climbing out of their graves! Thousands of them!

And in another Sign that the Apocalypse is Nigh,

a federal judge just threw out all the wiretap evidence that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) had collected from the cell phones of twelve alleged major-weight cocaine dealers.

This is bad, right?

These were Evil Drug Kingpins, right?

And what do we do with Evil Drug Kingpins in America? (Especially if they're Off-White.)

We frame 'em and fast-track 'em to 50 years in Supermax prison!

That's the way it always works on the TV Cop Shows, like "Marvin Sloodge, Federal Narc" and "LuAnne Stevens, State Narc" and "Bo & Peep, Identical Twin County Narcs" (that one's my fave, it's a new Fox show starring the Olson Twins).

We provide Evil Drug Kingpins with a comatose underpaid overworked incompetent public defender, and then give these Evil Sleazebags a Kangaroo Kourt Trial, based on all kinds of invisible, intangible, spectral evidence from sworn drug-sniffing dogs and professional informants with a long certified record of lying under oath.

We depend on our District Attorneys and US Attorneys to lie their asses off, suborn perjury, and pack the jury with all-white 75-year-old grandmothers knitting GUILTY to send the Evil Drug Kingpins to the slammer forever.

That's what Americans want, that's what Soccer Moms expect, that's how Diane Feinstein and Orrin Hatch re-write the laws every year. That's how Congress and the state legislatures pumped up the drug laws and made them exempt from the protections of the Bill of Rights.

Because we must protect Our Precious Children from the Scourge of Drugs.


Well, this newspaper must be high on drugs, because they're just not getting it.

And this federal judge must be high on drugs, because he's just not getting it.

And this Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (I think maybe he was one of those ACLU Jewish lawyer guys) obviously didn't get it.

The World Will End Tomorrow!

But until then -- check this out. Check this out. Check this out. Twelve alleged Kokaine Kingpinz are about to walk out of jail as free as Michael Jackson.

Can this truly be America?

Color me ...

[x] astonished
[x] happy
[x] relieved
[x] proud to be an American
[x] proud of the editorial writer at the Courier-Journal, I want to have his/her baby
[x] deeply grateful to this federal judge

{ [ ( o ) ] }

[VLEEPTRON ADVISORY: The boldface and italic emphasis below is Vleeptron's.]

Louisville Courier-Journal (Kentucky USA)
Tuesday 25 October 2005

Following wiretap rules

Electronic surveillance is a powerful tool, one that law enforcement must use prudently to safeguard the privacy of innocent citizens.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell's recent ruling -- which bars prosecutors from using wiretap evidence in a major drug case -- is a firm reminder of the importance of following the rules before tapping private conversations. It is believed to be the first time a federal judge has issued such a ruling in Kentucky.

The front-page headline -- which noted that 12 drug suspects could walk as a result of the decision -- could serve to inspire anger against the judge.

Certainly, it is deeply troubling that a man who seems to be a drug kingpin for this region may not be convicted as a result of the ruling.

But Judge Russell deserves praise, not condemnation, for having the courage to decide as he did. It is more than a bit useful to note that the defendants who may benefit from the ruling were represented by a team of seven former prosecutors.

They understand that specific procedures must be followed to obtain a wiretap warrant. In this case, an FBI agent went to another federal judge, who was allegedly given misleading information about steps that had been taken to justify the tap.

Those steps (which include using traditional investigative procedures first unless they would prove too dangerous) are not mere formalities.

They are vital constitutional safeguards that the Fourth Amendment provides for individual liberty and protection of those accused, but not yet convicted, of wrongdoing.

Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1928:

"Our government teaches the whole people
by its example. If the government
the lawbreaker, it breeds
contempt for law;
it invites every man
to become
a law unto himself;
it invites anarchy."

That truth is the same today. Judge Russell deserves praise for having the courage to reassert it.

* * * * * * *

Louisville Courier-Journal (Kentucky USA)
Sunday 23 October 2005

Wiretap ruling could
free 12 drug suspects

By Kay Stewart
The Courier-Journal

After wiretapping two of his cell phones and recording thousands of conversations, federal authorities charged Reggie Rice with heading a major drug-conspiracy operation in Louisville.

The seized evidence was startling -- nearly 50 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $2 million, expensive gold and diamond jewelry, $250,000 and loaded assault weapons.

But Rice, 32, and his 11 co-defendants -- who all face charges that carry possible life sentences -- might soon go free because a judge has ruled that the wiretaps weren't justified and can't be used in court.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell's ruling this month is believed to be the first time a federal judge in Kentucky has suppressed evidence gained from wiretaps, one of law enforcement's most intrusive and regulated investigative techniques.

Although the case is significant and the government's motives understandable, Russell wrote, "despite the consequences, the court must apply the law as written, in good faith and in its intended manner."

Russell said that agents with a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration drug task force failed to seriously consider or attempt less intrusive investigative methods before they tapped Rice's phones, in violation of federal law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Chance wouldn't comment on Russell's ruling, which came in response to a defense motion. But Chance argued during a prior hearing that the wiretap was appropriate and necessary.

Chance said a decision will be made whether to appeal Russell's ruling. He acknowledged the case is "heavily reliant" on wiretap evidence but said prosecutors are considering what charges would be possible without it.

A significant case

The ruling comes in a case that is significant because of the large amount of cocaine involved, plus the fact that several defendants, including Rice, have long arrest records and previous drug convictions, Chance said.

All 12 defendants are charged with conspiracy to traffic in 15 to 50 kilograms -- 33 to 110 pounds -- of cocaine from June to August 2004 in a federal indictment that says Rice organized and led the enterprise. Rice and three of the other defendants also face additional charges related to drug activities.

The drug-conspiracy charge against all the defendants carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A known drug dealer

Rice, whose phones were tapped from June 23 to Aug. 7 of last year, was a known drug dealer, based on comments from defense lawyers, Russell said in his ruling suppressing the evidence.

But the judge said the wiretap was illegal because it was the first step law-enforcement officers took in their investigation into his alleged drug dealing.

Before resorting to wiretaps, the law says other investigative methods -- such as physical surveillance, confidential informants, search warrants, grand jury testimony and searching suspects' trash -- should be attempted or rejected as ineffective or too dangerous, the ruling said.

"Other than some uncorroborated thoughts and opinions, there is no evidence that any other investigative technique was ever used or even seriously considered," Russell wrote.
The judge said in his 27-page opinion that the 40-page affidavit submitted by an FBI agent and approved by Chief U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II authorizing the wiretap was misleading and lacked specifics relating to the Rice inquiry.


Federal law restricts wiretaps by law enforcement because they are intrusive:

* Wiretaps must be authorized by a federal judge based on an affidavit submitted by law enforcement.

* Before a wiretap is authorized, officers must show that traditional investigative methods were unsuccessful or would be ineffective or too dangerous.

* A judge can require periodic reviews to determine whether the wiretap remains necessary.

* A wiretap is authorized for no more than 30 days, but law enforcement may apply for an extension.

* Judges may order that conversations unrelated to criminal activity should not be recorded by monitoring officials.

Source: Court records, U.S. Attorney's office

Copyright 2005 The Courier-Journal.


Blogger SteveHeath said...

La dah dah dah, I feel fine......


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