Freedom Is An Illusion

Would you be celebrating freedom, would you feel that America stands for freedom if you were sitting in prison for a crime you did not commit knowing that prosecutors used falsified evidence to put you there and that the Attorney General knew what the prosecutors have done but refused to reveal the truth, refused to allow you to be judged by the truth and refused to hold the prosecutor accountable for using falsified evidence?

Today we celebrate our Freedom.  Freedom from who; freedom from what; freedom from an oppressive, unjust and dictatorial founding fathers government.  We could enumerate dozens of despotic and persecutory acts committed by the British upon the American Colonists which would validate the Colonists creation of a new government accountable to the people justified.

To help ensure that this new government could no longer commit acts against the well being of its citizens, our Founding Fathers had the foresight to establish the 1st Amendment guaranteeing Freedom of Speech, the right of any person to openly and publicly criticize the actions of the government without fear being persecuted for doing so.

It goes without saying that should our government repeal this right through the enactment of new Constitutional Amendments and new laws we would agree that we would have no reason to celebrate our freedom today.

Suppose under the prescriptions of these new laws violators would be subjected to imprisonment for making statements critical of the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  Under these new laws a citizen is found guilty of violating these new laws even violating these very laws during his trial in protest of the very laws of which he is being tried for and subsequently convicted of.

Now suppose a citizen is convicted and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit despite the fact that the prosecutors, the accusers, know or should have known that the person is innocent.

The former conviction was obtained through the proper administration of justice which revealed the truth during the trial and the latter conviction was obtained fraudulently, that is by the prosecution presenting false and erroneous evidence to secure a conviction.

Logic would dictate that the latter is a more egregious loss of freedom than the former, yet are national response to the two indicates the opposite.

Despite the former person being convicted by the truth and the proper administration of justice, if a person were tried and convicted for simply speaking his mind regarding the actions of the government there would be a national protest against such acts led by thousands of journalists that no government could withstand.  If we would demonstrate such contempt for a lack of one freedom, how come we don’t show the same fervor and zeal for the lack of freedom of the other?

As we enjoy the fireworks, hot dogs and ice-cream while celebrating Mandelaour own freedom today, there are many who are languishing in prison convicted of a crime they did not commit, who are not free and that we could just as easily be in a cell with them proving that we are not as free as we would like to believe.  (1)

If you were a prosecutor, entrusted with the power of the government to send people to prison based upon the information you present to a judge and jury, so long as no witnesses provided false testimony, could you ever convict an innocent person of a crime if you did not want to?

If it’s impossible for you to convict innocent people of crimes it stands to reason that your integrity should apply to all current prosecutors, for prosecutors are just like you, human beings, U.S. citizens whose job happens to be to enforce the laws fairly and equally upon all of us .

What is impossible for you should also be impossible for prosecutors, yet every year thousands of citizens are convicted of crimes they have not committed, thus prosecutors must not be like you in not wanting to convict innocent citizens crimes.

It is not a matter of ability; it is a matter of want to.  If prosecutors do not want to convict innocent people then they wouldn’t.

There is not enough space in this article to elaborate about the various psychologies that represent the plethora of personalitiesscales cheated regarding wrongful convictions, however there is one core practice that plays a very large role in wrongful convictions which is common to most prosecutors, it is the practice of suppressing evidence that is beneficial to the defense.  It is not the only cause but it is a biggie in which most other improper tactics stem from.

Why do prosecutors suppress evidence, they suppress evidence because they are not obligated by the law to produce the truth, prosecutors are only obligated to put on a case to compete against the defense in our “adversarial system” of justice.  In its most basic sense it is the competitive nature that takes over to the detriment of the rule of law and a sense of universal justice.

Prosecutors want to win.  On another level it has to do with personal or societal prejudices which motivate prosecutors to suppress and or manipulate evidence to their own benefit enabling them to violate the Constitutions free from a convicting conscience.

Additionally there is the camaraderie within law enforcement, a bond that creates an inherent conflict of interest preventing colleagues from holding one other accountable when their actions violate the law, (a police officer destroying evidence or providing perjurious testimony), sometimes referred to as the, “blue wall of silence” which extends from small town beat cops to police chiefs of major cities to County DAs, to federal prosecutors and to Attorney Generals and all the way up to judges to which many have graduated to their position through the departments of justice.

How else can you explain the U.S Supreme Court decision in Connick v. Thompson which grants prosecutors the right to violate the U.S. Constitution regardless of how egregious the act or the magnitude of harm caused to the innocent.  (2)

Proof is in the pudding

According to Professor Marvin Zalman’s study, 5,000 to 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted each year in the United States.   (3)

Of the 1,159 exonerations documented by The National Registry of Exonerations 516 wrongful convictions were due in part to official misconduct by the police, prosecutors and government agents. (4)

140 Death Row inmates have been exonerated since 1973.  If you had a million dollars at your disposal to reveal the truth, do you think you would accidentally produce a lie to send someone to death for a crime they did not commit.  (5)

In addition to the National Registry, there have been 300 exonerations documented by the Innocent Project.  The heart wrenching stories can be found here.   (6)

In California it is against the law for police officers to suppress and or destroy evidence, PC 135, or to falsify the evidence of a crime scene, PC 141(b).

A survey was sent out to 80 high ranking law enforcement officials, 20 police chiefs, 130 Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorneys, 10 County District Attorneys, 40 California State Prosecutors, 10 U.S. Prosecutors 6 State Attorney Generals asking if police officer who have suppressed evidence or destroyed evidence or falsified evidence pursuant to PC 135 and 141(b), have they violated the law?  (7)

Not one of the 295 high ranking officials from the justice system were willing to go on record stating that fellow officers should be held accountable for violating the law.

Notable among them who refused state that they would hold culpable officers accountable: L.A. DA Jackie Lacy; L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck; S.F. DA George Gascon; S.F. Police Chief Greg Suhr; Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, Santa Clara DA Jeff Rosen, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Sutter County DA Carl Adams who is President of the California District Attorney’s Association.

DA Adams responded to the request by declining to go on record because he assumed to know the future before the future happened by falsely asserting that the information provided from the survey would not be used for anything.

The adversarial system of justice is a game with two opponents in which one opponent can cheat to win with impunity.

Prosecutors and cops are allowed to cheat to win because they are not only a competitor in the game, but they are also the referee who enforces the rules on the competitors, on themselves.  Unfortunately prosecutors and cops don’t apply the rules to themselves when they cheat to win.  That is a conflict of interest which results in the wrong competitor winning when he/she shouldn’t.

That sums up the fundamental flaw with the justice system.  One competitor enforces the rules while the other does not.  If the game is to be fair then both competitors need to abide by the rules which cannot be accomplished if only one is in charge of enforcing the rules.

There is a simple solution to the problem, provide citizen oversight Freedom demands truthand accountability of our public servants, the prosecutors and law enforcement agents by establishing Public Integrity Units that are completely segregated from prosecutor and law enforcement agencies and staffed with conflict free citizens providing those citizens with all of same powers of District Attorneys and Bureau of Investigations yet whose sole purpose is to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents, cops and prosecutors for violating the Constitutions and the laws.

Prosecutors and law enforcement agents become defensive and hostile to such suggestions of transparency and accountability.  And why is that, that’s because prosecutors and cops sit in a position of power which they use to insulate themselves from being held accountable falsely claiming to the public that they are capable of doing it themselves.  However, the facts and history show this not to be true.

There is no financial, logical, legal or ethical argument to prohibit citizen oversight of prosecutors and the police, thus the refusal of the justice system to subject itself to invasive public scrutiny demonstrates that it wants to hide its activities from the very public it claims to serve.

If you are not doing anything wrong then there is nothing to hide.  Hence the justice system conducts its affairs in a manner that it knows the public would not approve of, a manner which results in wrongful convictions and therefore refuses to allow someone other than itself to hold itself accountable.

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”  John F. Kennedy

The Founding Fathers of our nation despised the British for monopolizing the mechanisms and powers of government refusing to provide any legitimate participation by the governed.  The result was the creation of a New Nation in which the mechanisms and powers of government were to be shared among all citizens.

What is the test of a true American Patriot?  A true American Patriot is a person who has an aversion to possessing control of others and who wants to share the powers of the government with as many minute mancitizens as possible.  The fact that law enforcement officials and prosecutors from one end of the country to the other resist and refuse to share the power they have with the citizens whom they serve proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they are the impostures of pretended patriotism that George Washington warned us about.

We as a society do not tolerate cheating in grade school, high school or college often subjecting cheaters to suspension and expulsion.  We as a society condemn cheaters in amateur and professional sports subjecting violators of the rules to extreme discipline and ostracism.  We as a society punish cheaters in business to criminal remedies.  If we as a society will not allow cheaters to prosper or exist in every venue of conceivable, why do we allow cheaters to exist and prosper in the justice system where the consequences are significantly more damaging to the underpinnings of society.

Contrary to common belief, according to the United States Supreme Court and Justice System in Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), it is not a violation of the Constitution to imprison and or execute innocent citizens.  (8)

The fireworks; the Star Spangled Banner; the hot dogs and ice-cream are just an illusion or more precisely a diversion to what truly is.

“As citizens, we must always be on guard for the terrors of a justice system run amok by those who are charged with legal authority, yet show no fidelity to the Constitution or the notion of justice underlying it.”  Judge James E. Rogan
“The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice.”   John Adams

 

SOURCES:

(1)  Example Cases:

One:  Michael Morton freed after spending 25 years in prison being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife because the DA withheld evidence.

     A, B, C

Two:   Ryan Ferguson serving 40 years for a murder he did not commit, wrongfully convicted by false testimony and false misidentification.

      A, B, C

Three:  Rick Walker wrongfully convicted

     A, B

Four:  Central Park Five

     A, B

Five:  Joshua Kezer wrongfully convicted

     A

(2)  Connick v. Thompson

     A, B, C, D

(3)  Professor Marvin Zalman’s study

     A, B

(4)  The National Registry of Exonerations

     A, B

(5)  Death Penalty Information Center

     A

(6)  Innocent Project

     A

(7) Survey

     A

(8)  Herrera v. Collins

     A, B

(9)  A case study of corrupt justice system

     A

(10)  Complicity of Judges 

     A

(11)  Justice Denied

     A

(12)  EXTRA

Eyewitness misidentification is a leading cause of wrongful convictions, however any prosecutor who wants to reveal the truth to obtain justice will weed out the false witnesses nor rely solely on eyewitness testimony, for to do so would still constitute deliberate negligence.  Snitches seeking favors; coerced false confessions; and faulty forensics all fall in the lap of prosecutors when used to seek a conviction rather than the truth.

If prosecutors seek the truth instead of a conviction the information obtained form the above sources will not manipulate the outcome of the trial nor harm justice.  For example the case of Nicole Harris is one in which prosecutors knowingly used a false confession to obtain a wrongful conviction:

[A prosecutor has spent a lot of time and resources to build a solid murder case against suspect “A.”  It comes to the prosecutor’s attention that there is a piece of evidence that has blood on it.  The prosecutor refuses to test the blood to determine whose blood it is because if the blood belongs to someone other than the victim or suspect “A” the case built against suspect “A” falls apart.  Rather than risk the loss of his time and resources put into developing his current case and instead of revealing the truth the prosecutor chooses not to use the evidence falsely claiming to the defense that it does not exist to ensure the success of his own case.  It just so happens that the blood did not belong to suspect “A” but to the true perpetrator of the crime, yet suspect “A” gets convicted by the prosecutor based upon the factual evidence presented to the judge and jury.]

“The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.”  Thomas Jefferson

PA racial profiling goes unchecked – Citizens’ encouraged too report police wrongdoing

Very little progress it seems has taken place since 2008 with the resignation of former Palo Alto police chief Lynne Johnson concerning her controversial orders to stop all African Americans wearing a “Doo-rag” during a series of robberies having taken place in Palo Alto involving an African American.

We believe an alleged racial profiling vehicle stop occurred in Palo Alto on University Ave and requested to review the actual Mobile Audio Video recording (MAV) which recorded the stop to confirm our uncertainties under a California Public Records Act as a third party complaint. That request was denied in complete defiance of the law.

CPRA – Section 6255. “The agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not making the record public clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.”

Listen closely to Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns commitment to the community on open government and transparency concerning the ability to review the actual vehicle stop recording (MAV) to eliminate even the slightest perception of unconstitutional motivated racial profiling by the Palo Alto Police Department.

As citizens, what should we do if we encounter or witness police engaged in wrongful racial profiling? It’s all about “citizen participation”. “It’s incumbent upon you, it is imperative; it is your responsibility to let the authorities know”. “Take responsibility”! Say’s Harold Boyd who is a former member of the Police Chief’s Community Advisory Group. And we have…….

Up-date: At a recent city council meeting I approached city attorney Molly Stomp to advise her that the California Public Records Act mandates a legal explanation. “Do you mean you received no response”?

Yes, we received a response but it was a one line code section [“MAV is exempt from the CPRA under Government Code 6254(k)-Penal Code Section 1054.5.”] of the CPRA without any legal “justification”.

“Send it to me again but I’m not going to spend a lot of time providing a “legal summary”. We got nothing to begin with!!

All this from a seemly innocuous benign front license plate traffic stop. We believe there’s more to this story and further believe the city of Palo Alto and its Police Department, is attempting to mislead the public’s trust by not revealing the MAV recording which would demonstrate that no such selective racial profiling had taken place.

What’s new pussycat? Woah, Woah

How naked cop, got job back

An attorney who represents Jeffrey Vasquez, the police officer who was found naked with a hooker wearing a catsuit in a Sunnyvale motel room, has broken the silence in the puzzling saga by posting an opinion piece online in which he details how the former detective got his job back and $188,000 in back pay.

Sean Howell, who represented Vasquez, accused the Menlo Park Police Department of breaking the law during its investigation into the matter.

In the commentary, Howell alleges numerous violations on the part of former police chief Bryan Roberts now retired Cmdr. Lacey Burt, such as secretly recording conversations and revealing confidential information about Vasquez.

Because Menlo Park still uses binding arbitration for employee disputes, Vazquez’s case was heard by an arbitrator who ruled that the veteran cope could not only keep his job, but that he was entitled to $188,000 in back pay.

With binding arbitration, an employee facing the disciplinary a matter can opt to have an independent arbitrator decide the outcome, all the while keeping the matter hidden from the public. The results are final and cannot be appealed by either party.

How said the arbitrator ruled that Menlo Park and investigators failed to prove the allegations against Vasquez by a “clear and convincing ” standard, which is a much lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is required for a criminal conviction.

He said the arbitrator ruled that the actions of Roberts and Burt were criminal.

“After a hearing in we which we exposed numerous due process violations committed by former Police Chief Bryan Roberts, a commander, and the lead internal affairs investigator, Arbitrator James Margolin issued findings that the department violated Vasquez’s right to due process…,” Howell wrote the opinion piece, which is posted on the Peace Officers Research Association of California’s website.

Menlo Park police spokeswoman Nicole Aker said the department could not comment on employee matters, but City Attorney  Bill McClure said Howell’s characterization of the department’s actions as criminal was not accurate.

“The city has always complied with court interpretations and rulings on how to conduct internal affairs investigations,” McClure told the Post. McClure said that he was confident that if a judge were to review the investigation, no wrongdoing would be found.

Charges dropped

Vasquez was arrested in February 2011 after he was found naked on his knees in the bathroom of a Sunnyvale motel room with a prostitute. He was on duty at the time. Vasquez was arrested by Sunnyvale police along with 32-year old Natalia Ramirez, a known prostitute with prior drug convictions.

Criminal charges against Vasquez were dropped after the arresting officer was unable to testify due to an illness in the family. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen later said his office “made a mistake “by not attempting to refile charges against him.

The investigation and subsequent hearing against Vasquez took more than a year with a final ruling released on Aug. 30, 2012.

Most of the details of the case, including the arbitrator’s name and findings, have been kept secret until Howell broke the silence. Howell never mentions in his commentary that Vasquez was arrested with a prostitute.

Sunnyvale pushed on police report

Howell said Cmdr. Bert, who is now retired, was found to have broken federal law when an interview was recorded without permission and when investigators revealed confidential details of the case to a witness.

“During the course of the investigation, the investigator disclosed Detective Vasquez’s confidential information to at least one witness in an attempt to prompt the witness to provide specific information the investigators sought,” Howell wrote. He said such an action can be a misdemeanor.

At arbitration, a Sunnyvale police officer testified he was not planning on completing a crime report until he was ordered to do so by his supervisor nearly two weeks later.

Howell said then Menlo Park Police Chief Bryan Roberts asked the Sunnyvale Police Department to write the report, which Howell said violated state law.

“Chief Roberts” actions to request another Police Department generate a crime report to use as evidence against Vasquez… is in violation of… due process,” Howell wrote.

Vasquez was given his job back in either September or October of last year. The city has refused to give an exact date of his reinstatement.

The Daily Post Today
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DA Rosen Can’t Find The Evidence

rosen trainAs reported in several media outlets, murder charges have been dropped against Lukis Anderson who had been implicated in the killing of Raveesh “Ravi” Kumra based upon DNA evidence.

Unfortunately no one in mainstream media is asking the most pertinent question, what would have happened to Mr. Anderson had he not had a rock solid alibi placing him some place else?

Mr. Anderson was at Valley Medical Center incapacitated from 0.40% blood-alcohol poisoning prior to, during and after the crime which occurred at the Kumras’ Monte Sereno home.

Here’s a scenario for you. In stead of ending up at the hospital let’s say that Mr. Anderson passes out in an alleyway. What happens to him then? How does he beat DNA evidence that is incriminating him of a murder especially when he is referred to as a “transient” in order to minimize his value as a human being under the law and reduce his integrity based upon his economic status?

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s staff allowed eyewitness testimony to trump DNA evidence. Would eyewitness testimony provided from two homeless people been given the same credibility and weight that DDA Kevin Smith has given to hospital staff?

If Mr. Anderson fights the charge he probably gets convicted and sent to prison for life. If Anderson accepts a plea deal utilized by the prosecution to coerce a false confession he does 25 years to life with the possibility of parole.

And why does Mr. Anderson go to prison, because the prosecution’s job is not to reveal the truth but to put on the best prosecution possible even if it means withholding evidence that would be beneficial to the accused.

Why did it take four months for the Jeff Rosen’s staff to figure out that Mr. Anderson could not have been at the crime scene but at the county hospital during the commission of the crime? Four months that Mr. Anderson was locked up denied access to the very hospital that had the evidence which proved his innocence.

As one can see, it is quite easy to convict people of crimes they did not commit if the objective is not to reveal the truth.

The Asphalt Jungle, Cubberley Community Center, The city under the city!

asphalt_jungleWe can’t imagine any of the actors having starred in this once famous movie becoming homeless and impoverished. I believe it would be safe to say that those associated with the movie industry are gainfully employed with movie gross receipts reported at an all time high.

The picture is quite different for a disturbing number of California unemployed, that number now topples over 1 Million.

Although claims are being made were on the road to recovery, with a drop in unemployment on a national level, and a solid boon recently reported in financial circles, has causes many to give way to a much needed sigh of relief.

However, left in the wake of what has been described as the worst depression in modern times, many, many continue to find themselves without a traditional place to reside. Having lost their jobs, homes and their savings accounts has forced countless numbers of unemployed families and others to look beyond an already heavily taxed social service system for subsidized housing assistance.

Faced with savings accounts depleted and no other emergency back-up recovery system in place and a dismal economic forecast despite favorable predictions, its now becoming a matter of the “survival of the fittest”. Survival, quite often means finding oneself and or whole families living on the streets across America, living in cars in what some have defined as living in an Asphalt Jungle.

A tent with a view
A tent with a view

A subculture known as vehicle dwellers. “The city under the city”. The exact number of vehicle dwellers nationally is unknown. However, here in Palo Alto, the number hovers around 100 as previously reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Living on the the streets of Palo Alto has been a thorny issue for years prompting one local newspaper to address the problem head-on in its editorial by Jay Thorwaldson; “It’s long past time to ban ‘vehicle dwelling'” and of recent, the editorial written by Dave Price of the Daily Post; Cubberley Shelter.

In our opinion, both editorials gave rise, not to the plight of the disenfranchised or unemployed but to a seemly conscious biased attitude of, “not in our neighborhood” driving home the point further by stating; “Palo Alto has a right, and responsibility, to protect the quality of life in its neighborhoods” All to reminiscent of the media’s bigotry displayed during the 20’s directed towards African-Americans and other minorities.

Disturbing is Palo Alto’s city council’s actions being planned against the homeless vehicle dwellers and in many ways no different today. Including the powerful words of Henry Dodson, the president of the Colored Citizens Club of Palo Alto saying;

“Shame on a race that…holds in its hands the wealth of the continent and yet, not only refuses to lift his less fortunate fellow man…but seeks through humiliating, illegal ordinances and discrimination to sink him to the lowest depths of ignorance and vice”.

The fact is, people need a safe place to live, to reside, even if it’s temporarily in their cars or otherwise.

Life in The Asphalt Jungle

Located on Middlefield Road, The Palo Alto Cubberley Community Center has become that safe haven or oasis for approximately 18 vehicle and shopping cart dwellers that occupy the rear parking lots and hallways on any given night according to Alfredo Padeilla from Monterrey Mexico who has lived on the Cubberley campus for the past 18 months hoping to locate long lost relatives.

Alfredo Padeilla
Alfredo Padeilla

I asked Alfredo what life has become for him while living in this small city within a city. For the most part, living on campus is “uneventful” he stated, he’s happy and he feels his basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are cared for.

But, more importantly he feels safe. And in the 18 months living on campus he hasn’t witnessed any crime or violence. He did mention the Armories, which are used for temporary housing will be closing at the end of March. So he expects to see an increase in campus population. BTW Mr. Padeilla holds a BS degree in Anthropology.

I interviewed Adam Howard, supervisor for the City of Palo Alto who currently manages the Cubberley Community Center to describe his observations and concerns of life for homeless on campus and what he feels to be the real pressing issues. “Mental health”; he stated, “We just don’t have the proper services available to care for them”.

Aside from the occasional complaint of people sleeping in the front doorways or human waste found occasionally on the hallways, life on campus is like any other small city. Its status quo. When asked if he was aware of reported drug or alcohol related problems on campus, he was aware of police being called out, but not aware of the exact numbers.

Reported crime on campus

According to an email received from Lt. Zach Perron, media spokesperson for the Palo Alto police department, outlines some interesting statics on the number of police calls for service on the Cubberely campus.

He states;  “In 2012, the police department responded to 173 calls for service at Cubberley Community Center.  In 2011, that number was 200.

In 2010, that number was 210. Those numbers include any call for service at 4000 Middlefield Road (i.e., suspicious people, medical calls, missing people, theft reports, auto burglaries, etc.), either in one of the buildings or in one of the parking lots, to which a police officer or animal control officer responded.”

Our officers will respond to calls of suspected criminal activity at Cubberley (like we will do anywhere in town, of course) and only take appropriate enforcement action if a municipal code or state law is being violated.  Every call is evaluated on a case-by-case basis with the information available to the officers on scene.”

For the moment vehicle dwellers will remain

Vehicle Habitation
Vehicle Habitation

The city of Palo Alto for the moment is the only city that does not prohibit vehicle dwellers from sleeping in their cars. In fact, Palo Alto vehicle dwellers received a reprieve to a planned proposal which would outright ban vehicle dwellers from inhabiting our streets.  City council voted against the proposal by the Policy and Services Committee in a vote 3 to 1 back in November of last year.

However, the uncertainty and future of this ban still remains unclear.  Lt. Perron further adds; “Since any proposed vehicle habitation ordinance is still under consideration from City Council based in part on input from City staff, there is currently no municipal code in effect that prohibits anyone from sleeping in their vehicle overnight anywhere in Palo Alto.”

So for the moment, it’s a wait and see, based on community input, and the police we may add, which will determine the continued fate of; “The Asphalt Jungle-Cubberley Community Center-The city under the city!”

Los Altos Police Department Press Release

PURSUANT TO GOVT CODE SECT 6254 (f)

Los Altos Police Department

Press Information Office

1 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA 94022

Ph: (650) 947-2821    Fax: (650) 947-2704

TYPE OF CRIME: ROBBERY CASE NUMBER: 130529-1415

LOCATION: 1001 FREMONT AVE DATE: 05/31/2013 TIME: 11:45 AM

SUSPECT: Thomas Andrew Cronin AGE: 26

DETAILS:

On May 29, 2013, at about 10:18 AM, a robbery occurred at U.S. Bank located at 1001 Fremont Avenue, Los Altos. The suspect entered through the front door of the bank and approached a teller. The suspect displayed a handgun, demanded money from the teller and obtained an undisclosed amount of cash. A witness observed the suspect fleeing and provided a vehicle description for responding officers. Officers located a vehicle matching the description provided by the witness, near the intersection of Rosita Avenue and Anderson Court in Los Altos. Officers stopped the vehicle and detained the single occupant. The driver, identified as 26-year-old Thomas Andrew Cronin of Los Altos, was arrested at the scene of the car stop. Cronin was booked at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on one count of robbery.

During this investigation, Los Altos Police Detectives were able to link Thomas Cronin to several other recent robberies in Los Altos. Today, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed seven additional counts of robbery pertaining to the following crimes:

February 2, 2013: Robbery at Standard Liquors, 303 First Street, Los Altos
February 11, 2013: Robbery at Bank of the West, 176 Main Street, Los Altos
March 6, 2013: Robbery at Comerica Bank, 275 Third Street, Los Altos
March 19, 2013: Robbery at Standard Liquors, 303 First Street, Los Altos
April 11, 2013: Robbery at Comerica Bank, 275 Third Street, Los Altos
May 13, 2013: Robbery at Shell Gas, 929 Fremont Avenue, Los Altos
May 17, 2013: Robbery at Round Table Pizza, 399 First Street, Los Altos

Anyone with any information pertaining to these crimes is encouraged to contact the Los Altos Police Department Investigative Services Division at (650) 947-2770. Press inquiries may be directed to Captain Andy Galea at (650) 947-2770

BY: S. McCrossin AUTHORIZED BY: A. Galea
DATE: 05/31/2013 DATE: 05/31/2013 TIME: 11:45 AM

SUSPECT Thomas Andrew Cronin AGE 26

KKK Criminalizes Palo Alto Homeless

During last nights Policy and Services Committee meeting Council members Liz Kniss, Larry Klein and city manager James Keene have resurrected the segregated south by officially recommending that the City of Palo Alto make it illegal for homeless people to possess and or own a vehicle.

“Injustice fights with two weapons, force and fraud..  A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law.”    Cicero – On Moral Duties

“The law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”     Thomas Jefferson

The Vehicle Habitation Ordinance last night was first brought to City Council almost two years ago but shelved after dozens of residents stated that an ordinance was not necessary and was a cruel and merit-less tactic to push the homeless out of Palo Alto into neighboring communities.

COMMUNITY MEETING:

In response the City created a “Working Group” to discuss alternatives to an ordinance.  Contrary to Curtis Williams’ assertion last night that only one alternative was presented during the Working Group’s meetings, there were several other options placed on the table that he, the City Attorney and Police Chief have refused to consider or bring to City Council’s attention.

Interestingly most of the discussion during the P&S meeting  revolved around the problems associated with the homeless in general and not about the use of vehicles by the homeless, “Vehicle Dwellers.”

At one point city staff person Minka Van der Zwaag was referring to problems in public showers and bathrooms.  What does a shower inside a building have to do with a person placing his belongings in his vehicle and sleeping there at night?

It became apparent that city staff was mixing apples with oranges to fictionalize a mountain of a problem when there is less than a mole-hill.

Police chief Dennis Burns presented some statistics regarding calls for service specifically related to Vehicle Dwellers isolated to one location in town, Cubberley Center, where as many as 30 homeless sleep at night in addition to 5 to 10 vehicle dwellers.

Chief Burns stated that there were 10 calls for service in 2010, 18 calls for service in 2011, 39 calls for service in 2012 and 9 calls for service for the first four months of 2013.

Chief Burns could not present the number of calls for service at Lytton Plaza or public domain  bar 2outside the local bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants for those same years which is assumed to be well over 300.  The problems at some of these locations are sourinating 2 pervasive that police officers actually station themselves there for hours on end.  I wonder how much the city spends each year on its officers to hang out in front of “The Patio” sports bar and Lytton Plaza?

Is there any reason why the city cannot proactively patrol Cubberley Center in order to head off any problems with the homeless and or Vehicle Dwellers?

Chief Burns neglected to identify the nature of the calls at Cubberley and how many different people they are attributed to or the outcome of those calls.  For instance, was a call for service over a Vehicle Dweller urinating in public or just being there in his/her vehicle?  Was it a legitimate complaint or one fabricated out of a paranoid prejudice against Vehicle Dwellers?

Minka Van der Zwaag presented a case in how the current laws work when enforced by describing how one vehicle dweller was storing belongings in the public parking lot which resulted in that person removing the debris after complaints were made.

Councilman Klein justified his support for an ordinance by relying on the Chief’s unsubstantiated statistics of an increase in Vehicle Dwellers.  What does that have to do with behavior?  In justifying the ordinance based upon the number of Vehicle Dwellers living in Palo Alto Klein empirically reveals that the ordinance is not about disrespectful or unlawful behavior but based upon the economic color of Vehicle Dwellers’ skin.

Perhaps it is Klein who needs medication and not the homeless.   Heart drug, propranolol, may curb subconscious racism:

Council member Kniss asserted over and over that this ordinance does not criminalize the homeless or vehicle dwellers, but is just a tool for the PAPD to deal with those few Vehicle Dwellers who are causing problems and that the ordinance would only be used on a complaint basis.

The problem with this assertion is that Kniss, City Attorney Molly Stump, City Manager James Keene and Police Chief Dennis Burns have not identified what a legitimate complaint is.

Based upon the current ordinance:  John Doe who lives on the 100 block of Addison the new homelesscalls the police to report a person sleeping in his vehicle; the police show up and arrest the person because the person is homeless and has no permanent address and has been contacted by the police before for refusing to leave Palo Alto or avail himself of homeless services despite the fact that this person drives a taxi-cab full time.

This Vehicle Dweller is not violating any nuisance laws, his only offense is his existence in Palo Alto in a vehicle.

Council Member Liz Kniss, Police Chief Dennis Burns, City Attorney Molly Stump and City Manager James Keene state that the ordinance is necessary to punish Vehicle Dwellers for violating current laws such as urinating in public, littering, disturbing the peace, etc… because when Vehicle Dwellers violate current laws the police are never around to catch them in the act.

If that is the true motivation behind the ordinance, then Larry Klein, Liz Kniss, Dennis Burns, Molly Stump and James Keene need to explain to the citizens of Palo Alto how they intend to go after homeless people who do not have vehicles who never get caught urinating and littering etc… in public because the police are never around to catch them?Illegal to carry suitcase

There are a 70 homeless people living in Palo Alto who do not have vehicles whom this ordinance will not affect who will still be urinating and littering when the police are not around to catch them.

Perhaps Kniss and Klein will make it illegal for homeless people to walk around with a sleeping bag and a back-pack full of clothes or even ride a bicycle.

urinating 1Based upon the City’s rational for criminalizing the use of vehicles by the homeless, one has to conclude that the City will pass an ordinance outlawing the use of bicycles and eliminate the bars from downtown.

Who would be more likely to pass a Vehicle Habitation Ordinance; Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. or would Jefferson Davis, Hitler and the Klu Klux Klan be more likely?

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”  John Wooden

”We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”         Will Rogers

Klein, Kniss, Keene, Burns and the others will no doubt take umbrage to the above characterization, however instead of contemplating how their own actions are perceived by those whom they will be affecting they hide in denial refusing to allow their position to be challenged from true debate where legitimacy or illegitimacy of any position is revealed.

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).” Ayn Rand 

kkk1 

Vespa rider arrested for road rage

Vespa Road RagePalo Alto police said yesterday they have arrested a Vespa scooter rider who threatened to hurt a woman driver after the two got into a road rage fight on Alma Street.

Police said a Palo Alto woman call them on May 1st after she and the man on the scooter, later identified as Patrick Little, 49, of Mountain View, got into a road rage.

Police said that the woman was driving her sedan south on the 800 block of Alma Street at 6 p.m. when she and Little, who was behind her, change lanes at the same time, cutting off Little.

When the two vehicles stopped at the intersection with Homer Street, the woman said Little began arguing with her and accusing her of cutting him off.

The woman said she became scared and told Little she was going to call police and he in turn threatened to hurt her, according to police.

Once the light turned green, Little continued yelling threats at her and drove in front of her, pumping his brakes to make it harder for the woman to drive, police said.

The woman took photos of Little’s license plate and he drove away. Police arrested Little on suspicion of threatening the woman with serious bodily injury or death, a felony. Police said Little was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on May 2nd.

See related Modern Vespa blog comments:

The Daily Post

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Menlo Park – Narcotics Arrest

Menlo Park PoliceRelease Date: May 8, 2013

On May 7 th,2013 at approximately 2pm, the Menlo Park Police Department’s Narcotic Enforcement Team along with East Palo Alto’s Special Investigations Bureau, and the San Francisco Office of the FBI served a search warrant in the 2300 block of Menlato Avenue in East Palo Alto.

The search warrant was the result of a several week-long investigation into John Wayne Price, 38 year old male out of Menlo Park. The investigation revealed Price was selling cocaine base out of a residence in the 2300 block of Menalto Avenue in East Palo Alto.

At the conclusion of the search warrant, Price was arrested after a large quantity of cocaine base and a loaded stolen firearm was located inside of the residence.

Price was booked into San Mateo County Jail for possession for sales of cocaine base and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Price has since posted $100,000 bail and has been released from county jail. Also arrested in the residence was Yoland a Wright, 49 year old female out of East Palo Alto. Wright was found to have a no-bail probation warrant for her arrest. Write was booked into San Mateo County jail.

For more information on this release contact:
Acting Commander Eric Cowans at
escowans@menlopark.org
or (650) 330-6357

Police chief backs use of cameras, ShotSpotter

Menlo Park Police Chief Robert Jonsen said last night that he wants to follow a consultant’s recommendation to dramatically increase police camera surveillance throughout the city and equip officers with Tasers.

Among other things, the report recommended that the city install cameras in high-crime areas as well as a “ShotSpotter” system like the one used by the city of East Palo Alto. Such systems are used to pinpoint where gunshots come from and alert police.

The proposal to acquire multiple kinds of new law-enforcement cameras and technology came in a report written by the consulting company Belcher, Ehle, Medina and Associates. The report, presented at last night’s City Council meeting, analyzed the police departments performance and areas for improvement.

License plate readers

The report presented by consultant Steve Bletcher, also recommended an automatic license plate recognition system, which would photograph and document the license plates of cars going in and out of the city.

The report also advocated buying multiple video cameras for police cars. According to Jonsen, body cameras that will be worn by officers have already been ordered. If further recommended installing cameras and audio recorders in the lobby and jail area of the police station.

Alternatives to guns

Bletcher said his group also concluded that Menlo Park should consider arming its officers with Tasers, which he called a useful alternative to guns.

The 2012-2013 budget for the police department is $14.7 million. There are 47 sworn officers and 22.75 civilian employees.

The Daily Post Today

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