From coast to coast, states are tackling legislation that would protect property owners from abuses of a system that has become known as policing for profit.
Some of the states have seen success with that strategy. But, opponents of the tool known as civil asset forfeiture are also taking their battles to federal courtrooms.
Last week, lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and Perkins Coie filed a lawsuit against top officials in Pinal County, Ariz. — including the county’s attorneys, court officials and law enforcement officers — for its abuse of the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.
The ACLU and Perkins Coie are representing Rhonda Cox, a 10-year resident of Arizona whose truck was seized through civil asset forfeiture in 2013 after her son—who was borrowing the vehicle at the time—was arrested for theft.
Cox attempted to fight the forfeiture to get back her truck and the tools stored inside it, but eventually decided to give up on her efforts after she received an email from Deputy Pinal County Attorney Craig Cameron warning her that if she lost in court, Cox would be required to pay the state’s lawyers’ fees, as is required under Arizona law. Continue reading
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, head of the taxpayer-subsidized abortion giant currently facing a firestorm for allegedly selling body parts harvested from aborted babies, has made personal visits to the White House 39 times since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, White House records show.
According to online records on the White House website, Richards first visited the White House on Jan. 20, 2009 — the same day Obama first took office. Since then, Richards has met with Obama alone at least three times and First Lady Michelle Obama at least twice. She also met with president and his wife together another four times.
Richards also met four times with David Plouffe, Obama’s senior adviser from 2011 to 2013. Following Plouffe’s resignation in 2013, Richards met with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett five times between mid-2012 and the beginning of 2014.
Since 2009, logs show Richards has also met the following White House officials: former White House Chief of Staff William Daley; Obama’s former Senior Advisor for Strategy and Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls and FLOTUS Chief of Staff Tina Tchen; Domestic Policy Council Director Cecelia Muñoz; Obama’s Senior Counsel Christopher Kang; Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach David Simas; Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan; and current Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
Read more at CNSNews.com…
On Wednesday, the actor went to the Los Angeles Superior Court and sued the anonymous individual who is tweeting as “Abe List” for defamation over a derogatory tweet that suggested Woods was a “cocaine addict” — a message that Woods complains was sent to “thousands of AL’s followers and hundreds of thousands of Mr. Woods’ followers.”
Woods is taking a stand. “AL’s reckless and malicious behavior, through the worldwide reach of the internet, has now jeopardized Woods’ good name and reputation on an international scale,” states the complaint. “AL, and anyone else using social media to propagate lies and do harm, should take note. They are not impervious to the law.”
The defendant’s social media profile suggests that he or she is based in Los Angeles, a partner in private equity, possibly Harvard-educated and, luckily, married to an attorney. The “cocaine addict” tweet was actually a reply on July 15 to something the Once Upon a Time in America actor himself tweeted about media priorities.
— Abe List (@abelisted) July 15, 2015
The complaint says Abe List “stepped over the line” here and that Wood “is not now, nor has ever been, a cocaine addict, and AL had no reason to believe otherwise. Rather AL’s outrageous claim is the culmination of a malicious on-line campaign by AL to discredit and damage Woods’ reputation, a campaign which began as early as December 2014.”
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter…
New documentation released by the House Oversight Committee this week again raises questions on how Lois Lerner’s hard drive was physically damaged and whether there was some kind of deliberate act to destroy data on it.
The House Oversight Committee report cites an officially transcribed interview with John Minsek, senior investigative analyst with the IRS Criminal Investigations (CI) unit. Minsek examined the Lerner hard drive in 2011. In the transcribed interview, he notes Lerner’s hard drive contained “well-defined scoring creating a concentric circle in the proximity of the center of the disk.” The Oversight Committee report states:
“Using the CI unit’s digital forensic facilities, Minsek opened the hard drive and conducted additional tests. Once he opened the hard drive, Minsek noticed “well-defined scoring creating a concentric circle in the proximity of the center of the disk.”
So how did the scoring get there?
Last month, testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) revealed that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had “scoring on the top platter of the drive.” The testimony also noted that the IRS technician that inspected the hard drive believed that additional steps could have been taken to recover data, although this did not occur and the hard drive was later destroyed by an industrial strength AMERI-SHRED AMS-750 HD shredder.
Read more at Americans for Tax Reform…
Rand Paul’s politics are a constant source of debate on the libertarian right and left. Some think he’s lurched too far toward military interventionism. Some think he’s too close to the Republican establishment. but Paul’s abortion views are less nettlesome than liberal observers of libertarianism seem to think. In April, ThinkProgress’s Judd Legum wrote confidently that Paul was “not a libertarian”; his first evidence was that the senator “vehemently opposes abortion rights.” This week, Little Green Footballs’s Charles Johnson wrote that “Rand Paul likes to present himself as a civil libertarian, but his stance on reproductive rights is straight from the darkest, most regressive part of the Republican Party’s war on women.”
“If you believe in the Constitution, and the protection of life under our Constitution, it’s perfectly within the scope of libertarianism to protect life at all stages,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who endorsed both Pauls for president. “It’s perfectly reasonable to apply the equal protection clause to protect that. Not just reasonable — essential.”
“The libertarian position is unequivocal: the mother has the absolute right to abortion, period,” said Justin Raimondo, the editorial director of the libertarian AntiWar.com, and a sometime critic of Rand Paul’s political choices. “The ‘right to life’ does not include the ‘right’ to life within someone else’s body. Of course, one may consider abortion — of, say, an 8-month-old fetus — immoral, but many things are considered immoral by many people, and this is irrelevant to the question of whether it ought to be permitted.”
But even libertarian advocates of abortion rights can see the case against taxpayer funds going to a family planning group. And one thing all libertarians have in common is a revulsion toward liberals trying to tell them what they really think.
Read more at the Washington Post…
A Hillview man has been arrested after he shot down a drone flying over his property — but he’s not making any apologies for it.
It happened Sunday night at a home on Earlywood Way, just south of the intersection between Smith Lane and Mud Lane in Bullitt County, according to an arrest report. Hillview Police say they were called to the home of 47-year-old William H. Merideth after someone complained about a firearm.
When they arrived, police say Merideth told them he had shot down a drone that was flying over his house. The drone was hit in mid-air and crashed in a field near Merideth’s home. VanMeter has a 16-year-old daughter who lays out at their pool. She says a drone hovering with a camera is creepy and weird.
“I just think you should have privacy in your own backyard,” she said.
“Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they’ve got under their back yard,” Merideth said. “I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’”
That moment soon arrived, he said.
“Within a minute or so, here it came,” he said. “It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky. I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air.”
It wasn’t long before the drone’s owners appeared.
“Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds,” Merideth said.
“They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am,'” he said. “I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting.'”
A short time later, Merideth said the police arrived.
“There were some words exchanged there about my weapon, and I was open carry – it was completely legal,” he said. “Long story short, after that, they took me to jail for wanton endangerment first degree and criminal mischief…because I fired the shotgun into the air.”
“They didn’t confiscate the drone. They gave the drone back to the individuals,” he said. “They didn’t take the SIM card out of it…but we’ve got…five houses here that everyone saw it – they saw what happened, including the neighbors that were sitting in their patio when he flew down low enough to see under the patio.”
Hillview Police detective Charles McWhirter says you can’t fire your gun in the city.
“Well, we do have a city ordinance against discharging firearms in the city, but the officer made an arrest for a Kentucky Revised Statute violation,” he said.
According to the Academy of Model Aeronautics safety code, unmanned aircraft like drones may not be flown in a careless or reckless manner and has to be launched at least 100 feet downwind of spectators.
Read more at WDRB Fox412, Louisville…