Caetano: The Second Amendment and Stun Guns

Caetano:  The Second Amendment and Stun Guns

There are a few arguments advanced by the anti-Second Amendment crowd that have always been too frivolous to take seriously.  The first was the now-defunct "collective right" theory that said the Second Amendment wasn't an individual right, despite being right there in the Bill of Rights will all the other individual rights.  That argument was put to rest (finally) in the Heller case.

The other argument people advance is that the Second Amendment protects only those arms in existence at the time the Second Amendment was written.  If applied to the First Amendment as well, only hand-printed newspapers would have First Amendment protection.  Television, radio, the internet, and any other form of communication requiring electricity wouldn't be protected, since they didn't exist when the First Amendment was written.

That second argument has now been put to rest by the Supreme Court in Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. ___ (2016). 

In this case, the State of Massachusetts (a notoriously hostile state to the Second Amendment), ruled that the Second Amendment didn't protect a woman (Jaime Caetano) who wanted to carry a stun gun for her protection.  The Supreme Court of Massachusetts twisted all sorts of logic to come to that conclusion, but SCOTUS finally set them straight. 


Open Carry of a Firearm Isn't PC to Detain, Says 4th Circuit

Do Homeless People Have The Same 2nd Amendment Rights As Homeowners?

Have You Been Denied a Weapon Carry License in GA? Sue The Judge!

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A Village Named Tyranny

A Village Named Tyranny

A man in Connecticut has been cleared to continue his suit for being arrested for his response to a ticket:  

U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains ruled last week that Willian Barboza's rights were violated when the Fairfield County, Connecticut, resident was arrested on an aggravated-harassment charge three years ago. The New York Civil Liberties Union publicized a transcript of the proceeding Tuesday.
Barboza protested his speeding ticket by writing three curse words on his payment form. He also replaced the village's name, Liberty, with "Tyranny."
The village, 100 miles northwest of New York City, refused to let him pay by mail after one of its clerks, who were all women, told a local judge his profane phrase, which referred to them as "bitches," upset and alarmed them, according to court records. The judge referred Barboza's speeding payment form to a prosecutor and ordered Barboza to appear in court.
When Barboza showed up, the local judge reprimanded him for his comments on the form and told him he would be arrested, Seibel said in her ruling. Barboza was handcuffed and taken away before his release on $200 bail.
Seibel said the arrest violated Barboza's First Amendment rights, and she noted the criminal charge eventually was dismissed on those grounds. She said Barboza's phrase was crude and offensive to some but "did not convey an imminent threat and was made in the context of complaining about government activity."

This is similar to the Amy Barnes case here in Cobb, where she was arrested for voicing her opinion and later received a hefty civil settlement.  What's different is that Mr. Barboza's statements were written and directed not at police but court personnel.  Nevertheless, no matter how crude his response, it is Constitutionally protected.  

But never forget one of the Steakley Golden Rules that just because something is Constitutional, that doesn't make it a good idea.  

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F*ck The Police, She Said

Last year, Cobb County Police arrested Amy Barnes for using profanity at them.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, while using profanity or profane gestures at the police is a bad idea, it's not a crime. (It is one of Steakley's Golden Rules that just because something is Constitutional does not mean it is a good idea.) 

Ms. Barnes stood her ground on Free Speech principles.  She had the Constitutional right, she asserted, to express her extreme dissatisfaction with the local law enforcement authorities. To vindicate herself, she was willing to face trial, a jury, and the risk of a wrongful conviction. Fortunately, it did not have to go that far.

The outcome:  

Amy Barnes admits to making obscene statements Easter Sunday 2012, when she saw two Cobb County police officers questioning a burglary suspect about 7 p.m. on Austell Road. As she was riding by on her bicycle, Barnes said, among other things, “F— the police,” and “police suck,” [her attorney Cynthia] Counts said, calling the statements “a protest of police abuse.”

“Upon hearing her statements, the officers left the suspect to pursue Ms. Barnes, who they stopped and arrested,” said Counts. The burglary suspect got away. Barnes was arrested and taken to jail, charged with one count of disorderly conduct under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-39(a)(4), which bars “without provocation” the use of “obscene and vulgar and profane language in the presence of a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.”

The police justified this charge by alleging that a child was present when Barnes made her statement, Counts said.

“After hearing testimony from two officers and viewing a video of the incident taken from a camera in one of the officer’s cars, the judge concluded that the officers simply took issue with what Barnes had said and were determined to arrest her,” Counts said.

Clayton also concluded that the alleged presence of the child was “inconclusive” and “irrelevant,” because, “the mere presence of children does not transform the defendant’s statements into ‘fighting words.’”

“Her criticism of the police was certainly caustic, but criticizing the police and other public officials is a basic right,” Counts said. “Certainly, the police cannot arrest someone for disrespecting them by the use of a curse word.”

Ken Hodges and Alex Bartko of Rafuse, Hill and Hodges also defended Barnes, saying her “First Amendment rights were clearly violated by the arrest and prosecution.”

Hodges, a former prosecutor, said, “It is a travesty that Ms. Barnes spent 23 hours in jail, including six hours in solitary confinement. She should also not have had to spend the last year awaiting vindication. The officers should have thicker skin. There was no reason to arrest a woman on a bicycle who presented no threat.”


 A couple of thoughts:  It's not only police officers who should have thicker skin.  We all should. 

 The attorney who won the case for Barnes was Cynthia Counts, who also points to a NY case where "the bird" directed at police was considered free speech as well, so this case isn't outside normal court rulings.  On the contrary, I think Cobb County State Court Judge Melodie Clayton did exactly the correct thing.

 That all being said, allow me to remind you of the Steakley Golden Rule that says that just because something is Constitutional - protected by law, protected by free speech - that doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do.

 UPDATE:  Ms. Barnes settled her case for $100,000.   So maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to do what she did.  

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Recordings Cut Both Ways

Recordings Cut Both Ways

It difficult to make an argument against recording police-citizen encounters.   As I've said before, no one has anything to fear from it if they aren't doing anything wrong.  And as I've written about, there may be a Constitutional right to do it anyway, even if the police object.

More and more police departments are jumping on the bandwagon.  Here is a good example of how recordings can save an honest officer from baseless claims


Albuquerque Police Department union president Stephanie Lopez said in a statement to KOB, “The desire to frame officers for wrongdoing is a growing issue facing officers every day. We believe that the public should be held accountable for filing false reports against police officers. These incidents can be very damaging to an officer’s career, so we hope that this individual and others face appropriate consequences for their malicious actions.”


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No Incarceration = No Lawyer = Debtor Prison

No Incarceration = No Lawyer = Debtor Prison

It seems that North Carolina has may try to save money by reclassifying certain crimes to carry no jail time and thus carry no entitlement to a taxpayer-funded attorney

Earlier this month, in an attempt to cut $2 million from its budget, North Carolina eliminated access to public counsel for thousands of poor criminal defendants each year. That’s not what the new law says: Tucked inside the state’s new budget, it reclassifies more than a dozen crimes into misdemeanors that cannot result in jail time. This is part of a pattern. Over the past two decades, swelling caseloads and fiscal belt-tightening have led several states, including Virginia and Minnesota, to create classes of crimes that can only be punished with a fine. In other states, the same thing happens case by case in the courtroom, where judges and prosecutors routinely declare they will not pursue jail time for minor infractions.

What’s not to like, if you’re caught with a small amount of drugs or driving without a license? The problem is that, left to fend for themselves in the courtroom, most defendants lack the basic legal skills to argue their innocence or reduce their punishment, and they’re often not told of the lifelong consequences that even minor convictions can carry. In an era when getting marked as criminal is often the severest punishment in itself, it makes increasingly little sense for only those facing incarceration to have a right to counsel.

The significance of petty convictions has changed a great deal since 1979, when the Supreme Court solidified this standard. Over the past three decades, the Internet has made criminal records available at a click, while public and private institutions have created myriad new restrictions on those with past convictions. More than ever, people with a record of misdemeanors, as well as felonies, are excluded from employment opportunities, student loans, food stamp eligibility, and professional licensing. A guilty plea to one of North Carolina’s new array of misdemeanors can enhance punishments for subsequent convictions. Also, an immigrant who racks up three or more misdemeanors can be deported. The same can happen with any one misdemeanor involving what the government deems “moral turpitude,” such as prostitution, selling drugs, or even writing a bad check.

Even before North Carolina’s new law took effect, judges commonly waived appointed counsel on small yet criminal marijuana charges, according to Matthew Suczynski, a criminal defense lawyer. “Most people being charged with marijuana possession are African-Americans, when they’re 17, 18 years old,” Suczynski told me. “Once they get convicted and have that mark against them, it’s nearly impossible to overcome. Those records are out there forever. It’s a system that just runs people over.”

More than 80 percent of defendants across the country are considered poor enough to be eligible for free defense counsel. At least 90 percent of all defendants will plead guilty to the charges they face. Research shows that defendants who don’t have lawyers are even more likely to simply enter a guilty plea, pay a fine, and be done with the process. That makes it cheaper for courts to run efficiently. The price, though, is often a clear understanding of the ramifications of pleading guilty.

In response, the effort is to reclassify crimes as not carrying incarceration so they defendants are not entitled to attorneys:

These efforts ease the caseloads of overburdened public defenders, allowing them to devote more time to the cases that do land in court. Last year the Brennan Center found that, on average, public defenders often spend a scanty total of six minutes with their clients at arraignment. By focusing on just one crime—driving with a suspended license—Boruchowitz says that Spokane’s diversion program reduced public defender caseloads by a third. That sounds a lot better than saddling poor defendants with consequences they’ve had no help thinking through.

Six minutes at arraignment?  If that's not enough to send someone running to hire a private attorney, I don't know what is.

Coincidentally, a recent and relevant Georgia case on this issue is the Ham v. State, 307 Ga.App. 485 (2010) holding that people have a right to an attorney in traffic cases because in traffic cases people can be sentenced to incarceration: 

In Jones [Jones v. Wharton, 253 Ga. 82,  316 S.E.2d 749 (1984)], the Supreme Court held that under Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25,  92 S.Ct. 2006,  32 L.Ed.2d 530 (1972), regardless of whether the charges are felony or misdemeanor charges, when an accused is put on trial and faces a term of imprisonment, he is constitutionally guaranteed the right to counsel. Id. The accused may make a knowing and intelligent waiver of this right, but we may not presume such a waiver from a silent record.

 Ham v. State., 307 Ga.App. 485, 705 S.E.2d 301 (Ga. App., 2010)

Ham prevailed because there was no record of what happened in traffic court, so the appellate court had no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But this all raises another question.  Without incarceration, what are these places supposed to do when people don't pay?  Apparently, this

[P]eople struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States.

Critics are calling the practice the new "debtors' prison" -- referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.

Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it's been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it's against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees -- or they just haven't been called on it until now.

Opponents say that the use of incarceration to collect fines and fees costs more than it collects.

"It's a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system," Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, told

"The problem is it's not actually much of a money-making proposition ... to throw people in jail for fines and fees when they can't afford it. If counties weren't spending the money jailing people for not paying debts, they could be spending the money in other ways."

. . .

Fines are the court-imposed payments linked to a conviction -- whether it be for a minor traffic violation like driving without a license or a small drug offense, all the way up to felony. Fees are all those extras tacked on by the court to fund administrative services. These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with some courts imposing more than others.

As states and counties grapple with shrinking budgets and yearly shortfalls, new fees are often imposed to make up the difference, though they can be quite overwhelming to individuals passing through the system -- 80 percent of whom qualify as indigent (impoverished and unable to pay), according to the Brennan Center. Florida, for example, has added 20 new fees since 1996, according to the center. North Carolina imposes late fees on debt not paid and surcharges on payment plans.

 . . .

At the very least, according to the high court, the courts must inquire and assess whether a person is indigent and might benefit from an alternative method of payment, like community service, before sentencing.

"Even though a lot of jurisdictions do have statutes on the books that allow judges to waive fines and fees, it doesn't always happen," explained Lauren Brooke-Eisen, counsel for the Brennan Center's Justice Program.

Much of the time, probation or the conviction itself will hinder individuals from finding employment (Brennan estimates that some 60 percent are still unemployed a year after leaving jail). But another incarceration over debt could either ruin the job they managed to get or make it even harder to find one.

To try to make it more efficient, municipalities are turning to private probation companies:

Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate if they can't pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South, including the popular Judicial Correction Services (JCS).

In 2012, Circuit Judge Hub Harrington at Harpersville Municipal Court in Alabama shut down what he called the "debtors' prison" process there, echoing complaints that private companies are only in it for the money. He cited JCS in part for sending indigent people to jail. Calling it a "judicially sanctioned extortion racket," Harrington said many defendants were locked up on bogus failure-to-appear warrants, and slapped with more fines and fees as a result.

Repeated calls to JCS in Alabama and Georgia were not returned.

I happen to be good friends with a JCS probation officer.  Nice guy. 

Defenders of the collection programs say the money is owed to the state and it's the government's right to go after it. "When, and only when, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are required fees and court costs," Pamela Dembe, president of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which oversees Philadelphia, said in a statement to reporters in May. An earlier review by the courts found an estimated 400,000 residents owed the city money. "If the defendant doesn't pay, law-abiding taxpayers must pay these costs."

The ultimate power of the state over the citizenry is physical force.  "It's all physical in the end", some say.  There has never been a civilized society in the history of mankind that didn't eventually use force to compel its most misbehaving members to either behave in a certain way or be segregated from the rest of society. 

For the guy who owes the city $100 and simply refuses to pay, what's the solution?  Ask him nicely?  Beg him?  Say "pretty please"?  At some point the state will incarcerate that person to make the point to other people that if they don't pay they will be incarcerated too.  It isn't about money.  It's about setting an example for everyone else out there. 

I think it's a little misleading to compare the cost of incarceration to only the money collected from the incarcerated people.  You have to compare the cost of incarceration to ALL the money collected because that money was collected under the believable threat of incarceration.  Keeping that threat believable isn't cheap, but it's an effective tool for collecting fines and fees from everyone else. 




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Mass Man Arrested for Recording a Cop From His Own Porch

Mass Man Arrested for Recording a Cop From His Own Porch

Police in Massachusetts are at it again

FALL RIVER (CBS) – A Fall River man says he was recording a police officer who was out of control, but instead, he was arrested and his cell phone was seized.

Now the video he recorded is gone. Police say he erased it, even though they were the ones holding the phone.

Imagine that. 

George Thompson says last January he was just sitting on his front porch, watching a Fall River police officer working a paid detail. Thompson says the officer was on his phone and was swearing very loud.

That’s when Thompson pulled out his phone. Thompson says Officer Tom Barboza then rushed him and arrested him, charging him with unlawful wiretapping.

Note:  "sitting on front porch."  This guy is on his own property, not in public.  He's not interfering with anything or anyone.  But apparently, Officer Barboza didn't want to be recorded talking however he was talking to whoever he was talking to.

But in Massachusetts it’s perfectly legal to record video and audio of a public official, including police, as long as they are performing their duties and the recording isn’t hidden.

Even that is Constitutionally questionable.  If the person doing the recording is also the suspect being questioned, they may very well have a Due Process Right to record police, even secretly. 

“I think we all have our basic rights and I think people should not record others secretly or surreptitiously,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine told WPRI.

Oh really?  Because police do that to people all the time.  That's why police departments are full of special interrogation rooms with hidden cameras. 

Thompson claims that two days after his arrest, his phone, which was locked up at the police station, somehow had all of the video erased.

Funny how that happens.

“If a Fall River police officer erased that video, he’s fired,” Chief Racine said. “And I would suspect the district attorney would take out charges.”

George Thompson is not buying it. “They’re investigating themselves and there’s a code of blue and everybody knows that,” Thompson says.

Nothing will happen.  There's no evidence who did or didn't erase the video and no one will confess to anything.  It's too bad that Mr. Thompson wasn't using my iphone app or the ACLU app or Eye Got You Covered.  If so, the video would be stored away safely out of police reach.




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Know Your Place, Citizen

Law enforcement is quick to post mugshots of people they arrest, even when those people are later found not guilty. But what happens when an arrestee posts a picture of the officer?  Well, that gets removed by court order.  Know your place, Citizen.   While the ACLU hypocritically refuses to advocate the Second Amendment, at least they will still fight for the First Amendment.

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Sex Offender Registers His Registerers

A convicted sex offender forced to join a sex offender registry is fighting back by creating his own registry, reports the Washington Post:

If nothing else, Dennis Sobin is not your typical ex-con.

At first glance, he looks like the model returning citizen: After serving more than a decade in prison, Sobin, 70, returned to the District, started a gallery for prison art and ran for mayor. 

His nonprofit organizations have received grants from George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts and, in 2010, he appeared on the cover of the Washington City Paper .

But Sobin is also sex offender. A former pornographer who’s appeared on “The Sally Jesse Raphael Show” and “Geraldo,” Sobin was convicted of sexual performance using a minor in 1992 in Florida.

So, every 90 days, Sobin must report to D.C.’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), and his photo appears on D.C.’s public registry.

Sobin thinks it’s unfair. So, for his latest act, Sobin has decided to protest his treatment by creating his own online data base and registering the people who monitor him at the sex offender registry.

Now, in an unusual case that will be heard on Tuesday, a D.C. Superior Court judge will decide whether a court employee can file a civil protection order to prevent Sobin from posting her photo on his anti-registry registry, , and distributing her photograph on fliers.

“Here at you will find the names of politicians and public figures who have encouraged the creation of, or have refused to denounce, government registration websites that target citizens for harassment,” Sobin’s site reads. “In the tradition of Nazi registration of Jews and Gypsies and the Salem lists of alleged witches, modern government registries are unfair and un-American.”

So basically Sobin is calling out the government employees and naming names.  Bad names. 

“Face of Evil: ‘Registry Specialist’ Stephanie Gray shoots icy stare,” Sobin posted under a photo of Gray. “Gray requested and received a transfer due to the guilt she felt in her loathsome job.”

Gray sued. 

“He writes derogatory information about me,” Gray wrote in her request for a protection order. “I have been move[d] from the Sex Offender Registry and he continues to trash the bldg. where I am with pictures he has taken of me without me knowing.”

I fail to see the problem.  As far back as the founding of this country, the Founding Fathers disparaged the hell out of each other.  A quick internet search will reveal the legendary back-and-forth between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  ("A mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father," the Adams campaign wrote of Jefferson.)

I'm sure Ms. Gray loves her cushy government job, but as a public servant in the public eye, her activities are more open to public scrutiny than a person in non-government employment.  If we can't use the First Amendment to call out public employees, what good is it?


 F*ck The Police, She Said

The Bird is Free Speech



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Do Homeless People Have The Same 2nd Amendment Rights As Homeowners?

Do Homeless People Have The Same 2nd Amendment Rights As Homeowners?

Recent 2nd Amendment cases have focused on citizens' right to keep firearms in their homes.  But what if you don't have a home?  Do you still have 2nd Amendment rights?

If you don't have a home, you still have your other rights (free speech, free expression, free press, religion, etc), but what about firearms?  Does the 2nd Amendment apply to a person or to that person's residence?  Is the 2nd Amendment limited only to those citizens wealthy enough to own a home?  Why should homeless people be denied the Constitutional right to defend themselves as is enjoyed by homeowners?

A Boston case may answer the question:

So there are two questions here.  First, does the Second Amendment cover stun guns?  Most people think of firearms when they think of the Second Amendment, but the Amendment says "arms" not "firearms."  That means the Amendment covers all sorts of arms, possibly including stun guns.

The second issue is whether a right to keep "arms" in your "home" confers to homeless people the right to keep arms on their person (since they have no home). 

Noticeably absent here is the ACLU.  They claim to be the defender of the Bill of Rights and are frequent advocates for the homeless, but when it comes to the Second Amendment, the ACLU wants to pretend it doesn't exist.  Why?

Considering how the Supreme Court has dodged the issue of Second Amendment jurisprudence for almost a century, it's an exciting time for court watchers.  A 200+ year old right is being defined as we go. 

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Open Carry of a Firearm Isn't PC to Detain, Says 4th Circuit

Open Carry of a Firearm Isn't PC to Detain, Says 4th Circuit

In a good federal case for open carry of firearms, the 4th Circuit holds that the open carry of a firearm, alone, does not constitute probable cause to detain someone absent some other evidence that the person is engaged in criminal activity. 

Gun rights are civil rights, from right there in the Bill of Rights beside freedoms of Speech, Press, Expression, Religion, etc.   Anyone who considers themselves defenders of the Bill of Rights (like the ACLU claims) and individual freedoms should applaud this ruling.  But don't hold your breath for the normal civil rights crowd to cheer.  When guns are the issue, some people want to pretend the Second Amendment doesn't exist.

Note, however, that Georgia is NOT an open carry state, so this may not help Georgia residents directly.  Don't carry openly in Georgia without a weapons permit. 

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County Pays $645,549 To ACLU For Unconstitutional Prosecutions

County Pays $645,549 To ACLU For Unconstitutional Prosecutions

Taxpayers in Illinois are on the hook for more cop/prosecutorial abuse of people who record the police in public:

In 2012, Illinois saw a rash of cases involving the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which forbade making audio or visual recordings of people without explicit consent from everyone in the recording. In practice, the law made recording on-duty police officers a felony in the state. The prosecutions of citizens that ensued prompted the ACLU to challenge the state's Eavesdropping Act, and it was eventually ruled unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds in the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2010, the [ACLU] group brought a case against Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who had been prosecuting ACLU staff members for recording on-duty police officers. . . . And now this month, the judge ruled that Cook County taxpayers must foot the $645,549 legal bill the ACLU racked up. 
“The Illinois Eavesdropping Act... violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as applied to the open audio recording of the audible communications of law enforcement officers (or others whose communications are incidentally captured) when the officers are engaged in their official duties in public places,” a January ruling by Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman read. 

Entire article here.  

In addition to paying the ACLU legal bills, I think the prosecutors and police officers involved should be assigned some homework about A Due Process Right to Record Police.  It should be required reading in police academies and prosecutor conferences. 

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Half of Americans Now Have Smartphones

Half of Americans Now Have Smartphones

Apparently we are at the 50% mark of citizens that have smartphones (mostly iOS, Android, and Windows).  I imagine almost all of those telephones have the ability to record audio and video in better quality than digital cameras could just a few years ago. 

With the rise of cameras in everyone's pocket, I anticipate we will see more and more conflict between citizens who want to film the police and the police who do not wish to be filmed.  As a general rule, anyone can film anything in public, so long as they aren't causing a problem by doing so.  Your rights to film in public do not includ the right to film from the middle of the street at rush hour, for example. 

For my work and thoughts on the issue, look here and here.   As always, if you find yourself in a bind because you recorded an officer, give us a call.

Some Cops Never Learn

The Sad Case of Lester Eugene Siler Founder Adam Mueller Appeals Convictions

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Wireless Telephone Tapping

Wireless Telephone Tapping

In many criminal cases the police use "tapped" cellular telephone data to help build their case.  Unfortunately, this can sometime be done even without a warrant. 

"[T]he Senate voted to grant blanket immunity to companies like AT&T, which conspired with the NSA to monitor American digital conversations without government oversight after 9/11. Today's vote continues that immunity, and provides further carte blanche for the American intelligence-gathering apparatus. Phone calls, texts, and emails are all fair game—and a judge doesn't have to give the OK, so long as it's in the name of counterterrorism. Which is a very easy guise.

Read more here.

Compare this to the FBI's Carnivore program from the late 1990's. 

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Indigent Defense Horror Stories

The failings of the indigent defense system are so widespread that the ACLU is building a bank of horror stories to raise awareness of just how bad the problem has gotten. The ACLU project has just started as of the posting of this blog entry, but it should be available soon so people can see for themselves just how bad the various systems around the country have gotten. 
If you're facing criminal charges, it is always in your best interest to hire a lawyer. Private attorneys typically have smaller caseloads and thus more time to spend per case.
Far too many people don't consider hiring private counsel until after their trial with a public defender has gone badly. By that point, many of the rights they had before trial are gone. The time to win your case is BEFORE trial, not after.
If you are serious about your case, your rights, your freedoms, and your reputation, then you also need to be serious about hiring the best lawyer you can afford as soon as you can. Call us.

- John
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ACLU-NJ Launches Smartphone App That Lets Users Secretly Record Police Stops lets-users-secretly-record-police-stops/

So far it's just for Android. My app does something similar but is only for iPhones, so one of us has you covered either way!

Here's my App:

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