Civil Disobedience and the Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund

And why the need for a Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund?

By some estimates millions of Californians still find themselves unemployed or underemployed despite a reported uptick in our economy.

As it stands, over 1 million Californians have lost all unemployment benefits and it may in fact be years before we see the light of day on any real job recovery on a state or national level.

Never-the-less, our present day economy has forced many families to live on streets across America in their vehicles and the city of Palo Alto is no exception.

This has given rise to some in the community of Palo Alto to voice their concerns of vehicles parked overnight in their neighborhoods prompting city officials to consider an outright ban on overnight vehicle habitation.

Over the past two years, the city of Palo Alto in a shared community outreach effort has engaged all city vehicle habitation dwellers and their major stake holders to come up with a plan or ordinance which satisfies the needs of all concerned.

Palo Alto’s police Chief Dennis Burns recently presented questionable data on the actual number of vehicle dweller complaints, but failed in presenting any comparable data on the number of calls for service on unruly bar patron’s or for that mater any other calls for service.

This fact alone has many vehicle dwellers claiming fool play to the existence of any real problems at all.  They feel it’s the affluent vs. disenfranchised or “not in my neighborhood” mentality and reminiscent of racial segregation calls of the 60’s .

Some have even gone as far as to believe that Chief Dennis Burns presented the equivalent of “filing a false police report” to the Policy and Services Committee claiming by his personal appearance alone, “Stacked the Deck” against the vehicle dwellers.

They also claim city attorney Molly Stump in collaboration with the chief, ordered members of the press banned from covering public discussion on city government property.

All designed some further contend, without the benefit of any real transparency and open government to quietly enact a new city ordinance designed to purge the disenfranchised off the streets of Palo Alto prompting one civic watchdog and civil rights attorney Aram James to release the following statement:

“I don’t want the city jamming this draconian ordinance down the throats of the unsheltered community–and at this point this is how they are using the Eugene Ordinance–as a threat i.e., either develop and take responsibility for a Eugene like program–or we will be forced to oppose  this oppressive ordinance.

Given my limited time and particular skill set –I will continue to focus my energies on educating CCT members (community cooperation team)–and others in the unsheltered Community–on possible legal strategies to consider–necessity, nullification–and maybe constitutional challenges.”

The history of America is enshrined in acts of civil disobedience.  From the civil rights movement of the 60’s to the modern day Occupy Movement that has taken the U.S. by storm by highlighting the many social injustices impacting the working class.

For this reason we have decided to launch and establish a Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund designed to defend vehicle dwellers against the city of Palo Alto through legal representation should the city of Palo Alto enact a specially designed ordinance to rid its’ disenfranchised vehicle dweller off the city streets of Palo Alto.

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?. . . . . . If the injustice [of the machine of government] has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.” -Henry David Thoreau-

If you wish, you may contribute to the Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund any amount will be welcomed by utilizing the “Donate” feature located on the front page of Palo Alto Free Press allowing your contributions to civilly stop this seemingly unjust city planned ordnance.  You will receive an email acknowledgement of your contribution in addition to a quarterly statement of all monies held in trust.

To assist our readers to understand why the need for “Necessity Defense” and it’s history, the following is being provided……..

A Brief Case Look at necessity defense.

‘Freedom of expression in a free society includes freewheeling public dissent on controversial political issues of the day. Civil disobedience is a form of protest that, while usually peaceful, involves violating the law—usually by trespassing on government property, blocking access to buildings, or engaging in disorderly conduct.

Civil disobedience has been called “the deliberate violation of law for a vital social purpose.”1 In their day in court, civil disobedients have at times sought to interpose the necessity defense to justify their conduct.

The necessity defense asserts that breaking the law was justified in order to avert a greater harm that would occur as a result of the government policy the offender was protesting. Protestors will seek to invoke the necessity defense not so much to gain acquittal from the relatively minor charges, but to advance the more important objective of publicly airing the moral and political issues that inspired their act of civil disobedience.

There is the hope of gaining notoriety for a cause by discussing it in court, and “educating” the jury about political grievances or other social harms. The strategy is meant to appeal to a higher principle than the law being violated—the necessity of stopping objectionable government policies—and to let the jury have an opportunity to weigh their technically illegal actions on the scales of justice.

Acquittal is of course hoped for in the end but may be quite low on the protestors’ list of priorities. The necessity defense is attractive to reformers who practice civil disobedience because it allows them to deny guilt without renouncing their socially driven acts. It offers a means to discuss political issues in the courtroom, a forum in which reformers can demand equal time and, perhaps, respect. Moreover, its elements allow civil disobedients to describe their political motivations. In proving the imminence of the harm, they can demonstrate the urgency of the social problem.

In showing the relative severity of the harms, they can show the seriousness of the social evil they seek to avert. In establishing the lack of reasonable alternatives, they can assault the unresponsiveness of those in power in dealing with the problem and prod them to action. And in presenting evidence of a causal relationship, they can argue the importance of individual action in reforming society. Thus, the elements of the necessity defense provide an excellent structure for publicizing and debating political issues in the judicial forum.

The goal of describing their political motivations to the jury, and implicitly to the media, is subject to numerous hurdles inherent in the necessity defense. In most instances, as we will see, courts will rule as a matter of law that the actors have failed in the offer of proof regarding the elements of the necessity defense so that the jury rarely is given the chance to weigh in on the matter.

On the other hand, if the defense is allowed, the jury is called upon to weigh controversial political issues and to function as the “conscience of the community.” “Reflected in the jury’s decision is a judgment of whether, under all the circumstances of the event and in the light of all known about the defendant, the prohibited act, if committed, deserves condemnation by the law.”

In cases where judges have been persuaded to allow the necessity defense, juries have, often enough, delivered not guilty verdicts. This article will first examine the nature of civil disobedience, and distinguish between direct and indirect civil disobedience. Part II highlights some historical examples of civil disobedience.

Part IV then examines the principles of the necessity defense, analyzing each of the elements that make up the defense, illustrated with cases on point. Next, Part V will turn to an analysis of several abortion-protest cases that raise issues different from other types of civil disobedience cases. Part VI then will examine Viet Nam era civil disobedience cases. Following that, Part VIII will explore a unique defense known as the Nuremberg Principles defense.’

Civil Disobedience and the Necessity Defense

Draconian Pending City Ordinance

Implementation of the necessity defense in case of criminalization of homelessness

Necessary Defense from ending the threat of nuclear war

Why a fundamental understanding of jury nullification is so critical to taking back our criminal justice system

Article up-dated:

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 

DOJ Casts Dragnet Over The Press

In an effort to discover who leaked information to Associated Press reporters regarding the details of a CIA operation that squashed a terror plan the Department of Justice secretly obtained 2 months worth of phone records of 20 phone lines in AP offices of which a 100 reporters used.

The purpose of the Press is to expose corruption in government.  This invasive intrusion into the workings of the Press by the government will have a chilling effect on the ability of the Press and its sources to reveal the truth of what the government wants to hide from the citizens, Ala’ Benghazi.

What they are saying:

Patrick Henry:   “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

John F. Kennedy:  “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.”   

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt:  “These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”     

“We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”  Pruitt has demanded that the department return all records collected and destroy all copies.

Ben Wizner, ACLU:  “Obtaining a broadrange of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power.”   “Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.):  “Any abridgement of the First Amendment right to the freedom of the press is very concerning.”

Senator Patrick Leahy:  “I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”

Congressman Darrell Issa:  “They’re looking at what is considered to be confidential.”

Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Office “The media’s purpose is to keep the public informed and it should be free to do so without the threat of unwarranted surveillance,” “The Attorney General must explain the Justice Department’s actions to the public so that we can make sure this kind of press intimidation does not happen again.”

Freedom demands truth     James Madison:  “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”  

     Thomas Jefferson:  “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”  

 

 

Sources:

Pruitt’s Letter to AG Eric Holder 

AP blasts feds for records

Justice Dept. obtains wide AP phone records in probe

Justice Department secretly seized AP reporters’ phone records

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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Freedom Demands Justice, Justice Demands Truth

Freedom demands truth     When the government can fabricate audio/video recordings in order to incriminate citizens of crimes then we are no longer FREE.

When the government can destroy the evidence of their crimes committed against private citizens with impunity, then we are no longer FREE.

When the government can appoint judges who have dictatorial powers of ruling against the law and the Constitution for the purpose of concealing the crimes of government agents, then we are no longer FREE.

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by any body.”  Thomas Paine

disguise

DA exploits pay loophole

Jeff Rosen DeceiverSanta Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has found a loophole to compensate his employees for a 5% pay cut by giving attorneys paid time off that doesn’t impact their accrued vacation time, his office confirmed yesterday.

In order to skirt 5% cuts for upper management

And, after Rosen said he was not only aware of the practice, but also encouraged it, the county has launched its own investigation into the process.

Rosen is giving some of his upper level attorneys administrative leave thousands of hours in total so that they don’t have to use their vacation time after their bonuses were cut in September of 2011.

An NBC investigation sparked action by county executive Jeff Smith who alerted the board of supervisors county auditor and the County Council of the DA’s policy.

“I directed this to happen. I wanted this to happen. This is exactly what I wanted to happen,” Rosen told NBC.

“It was unfair and unprecedented that there 5% differential was taken away so after long and careful thought and deliberation, I instituted a policy.”

That policy crosses out vacation time hours on time sheets and relabels them and administrative leave. Administrative leave is given to employees at the supervisor’s discretion, generally after extensive over working.

An ‘unfair’ policy

Former Santa Clara County Public defender Aram James told the Post yesterday that he thinks the policy is unfair to the criminal justice system.

“I’m sure that Jeff was well intentioned in wanting to give his employees the best possible pay,” James said. But there are other serious considerations, such as the problems with our budget right now it looks unfair.”

He said other departments work just as hard as the high-level District attorneys such as public defenders, paralegals and administrative assistants.

James said although there are a lot to admire in Rosen, this move strikes him as not one of his best qualities. “I was surprised because Jeff is a very intelligent guy who knows we are in a budget crisis,” he said.

Palo Alto resident and economic critic Wayne Martin told the Post yesterday that Rosen claimed he was going to be an “ethical DA,” yet,”  This little episode doesn’t exactly pass the smell test.”

Martin said it’s possible too that the administrative leave the attorneys are receiving is well above the bonuses equivalent. The base salary for a high level District Attorney was $192,000 in 2012. Last year, Rosen himself made a salary of $283,195.

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By: The Daily Post

When cop’s become sexual predators with a badge

When the unspeakable and the unimaginable occurs; you’re a young female and you’ve just been pulled over by a police officer and you have no idea why?  As he approaches the driver’s side of her car, all seems normal when he asks for her drivers license, registration and proof of insurance.

However, during the course of this traffic stop the officer under the guise of suspecting drugs searched the suspect and “touched the women’s breasts and genital areas”.

This unspeakable and unimaginable event occurred back in 1999 by a once respected Palo Alto police detective.  Some accounts allege, that detective Luis Verbera, during the course of his employment may have raped up to six unsuspecting female motorists during the course of his 9 year career until the day he was finally caught.

When the women initially complained about the officer’s sexual contact during the booking process, law enforcement was “not at all interested in hearing her story.”

When cop’s become sexual predators with a badge

It was only until a local newspaper printed a page one story that the phones apparently began ringing off the hook. The then Daily News editor Dave Price relates;

“You don’t know the half of it. When Verbera was busted, then-police chief Pat Dwyer told me that there were only two women who had filed complaints against Verbera.

That didn’t make sense, since sex offenders typically have many more victims before they’re caught. So I put a headline on page 1 that suggested other victims of Verbera call the D.A. I guess the phone began ringing. Other victims came forward and Verbera was eventually convicted on charges involving four women.

Now here’s what’s interesting. Anybody who grabbed four women off the street, confined them against their will, and had sex with them, would be charged with crimes such as rape and kidnapping.

They would be facing felonies, and decades in prison. And that’s exactly how it should be. Instead, Verbera got a year in the county jail.

You know how county jail goes. You report and, if they have room, you move in. More likely, you get an ankle bracelet or get assigned to some weekend cleanup crews.

Let me remind you what Verbera did. He was on duty, in uniform, when he pulled women over on the streets of Palo Alto. He made up a bogus reason for pulling them over. He threatened them, put them in handcuffs in the back of his patrol car, and then drove them to places where he violated them sexually.

In any other situation, that would be rape-kidnap. In Palo Alto, that was a year in the county jail.

BTW, the judge who sentenced Verbera, Charles W. Hayden, is (was — might be dead???) a guy who liked to ride motorcycles and hang out with cops. He lives (lived) in Mountain View’s Farley St. neighborhood.

This creepy judge was so protective of Verbera that when he realized we had a reporter at his sentencing, he detained everybody in the courtroom (including my reporter/photographer, Emily Richmond), so that Verbera could leave without being photographed or questioned by the press.

Of course, I filed a complaint, but it was of no use since Hayden was on the verge of retirement. No accountability.”

Trust worthiness of police called into question

In matters of police accountability, prosecutorial discretion and the overall trustworthiness of our judicial system, who is the jury going to believe, the police, the person in the orange jumpsuit or the average citizen?

I think we all know too well the answers to that question when the Police, the District Attorney’s office are allowed to investigate sex crimes committed by one of their own with little or no oversight and were the outcome often results in leniency or with almost little jail time as we will see.

As in the case of Ex-Palo Alto cop Luis Verbrea sentenced to one year for fondling women and the most recent account of the Menlo Park cop caught while on the job with a prostitute, a sex crime and where Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney Rob Baker refused to prosecute.

By all accounts, sexual assaults by law enforcement officials have been occurring nationally at an astonishingly level.  In one report, prepared by the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization which tracts police misconduct; released in its 2010 annual report listed, “sexual misconduct was the second most common form of misconduct reported.”

It just so happens that Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney Rob Baker was engaged in a another sex crime and plea deal scandal involving a former cop which suggests a pattern of protection for law enforcement officials by the Santa Clara District Attorneys Office.

Pattern of protection for law enforcement officials

SUNNYVALE – The Placerville resident and former El Dorado County sheriff`s deputy Jon Paul Svilich, 64, charged with nine counts of child molestation in the 1970s, pled “no contest” to all nine charges in the Santa Clara County Superior Court in Sunnyvale on Friday during a pretrial conference.

Superior Court Judge Jean Wetenkamp sentenced Svilich to 7 years, 8 months in prison. Svilich had faced a possible 15 years in prison if the case had gone to trial. The trial was scheduled to be held on April 8. “The de-fense attorney and I talked about the case.

We agreed to settle the case,” said Rob Baker, deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County. Svilich was convicted of molesting three 8- to 11-year-old girls 27 years ago, with six of the offenses committed at his former residence in Sunnyvale, and three in Sonora in Tuolumne County while visiting friends, said Baker.

The victims, now in their mid-30s, had testified at a preliminary hearing held in early-March. Two are members of Svilich`s extended family and the third is a family friend.

“I conferred with each of the three victims on the case to see how they felt about it and each of them was satisfied with the result of the proposed disposition, so I felt comfortable settling the case at that point,” said Baker.

All Svilich`s charges were for incidents that took place before he moved to El Dorado County in 1980, according to Baker. The episodes took place between 1974 and 1979, according to court documents.

Svilich was a Santa Clara County sheriff`s deputy in the 1960s and 1970s and grew up in San Jose. He joined the El Dorado County Sheriff`s Department in 1980. During his 21 years in El Dorado County, of which 13 were spent in Placerville, Svilich was a member of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, was on the Diplomatic Corps, was a member of Hangtown Posse and served on the board of directors of the Northern California Peace Officers Association.

Now, in addition to serving time, Svilich is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and this two-time sheriff`s deputy will not be allowed to carry firearms, according to Baker.

Svilich had originally denied the charges, according to court documents. Although Svilich`s attorney didn`t return phone calls, Baker said he could easily speculate on the reason for Svilich`s admission of guilt.

“The evidence was very strong,” said Baker. “The three victims testified at a preliminary trial and their testimony was very convincing. Each testimony corroborated with the others.

“It`s very clear that this man committed these terrible acts to these poor women when they were just little girls.”

Painful reminder continues to linger – Recent email received

I was one of the victims of Jon Svilich, retired Deputy Sheriff for Santa Clara and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Dept.  His released from prison, after serving only 18 months of an 8 year sentence because the US Supreme Court overturned the 1994 rule that allowed for prosecution of a sexual predator many years after the crime, DEVASTATED me.

In one of my “moments” when I get obsessive and do my internet searches, I located an article from the Placerville Newspaper, “The Mountain Democrat” that was written AFTER he was released early and subsequently allowed to resume his life as if NOTHING had ever happened.

All the requirements of being a sexual predator (having to register for life as such and NOT being able to carry firearms, ever) were simply washed away as if it never happened.  Anyway, the article was written by a small town journalist who, obviously, thought highly of Mr. Svilich.  It basically called me a liar and said he was indeed innocent.  If he was so INNOCENT, why did he plead “no contest”? If I was being accused of something I didn’t do, I’d be screaming and fighting the WHOLE time and NEVER would I admit wrongdoing.

In any case, I am still dealing with the trauma and I have decided the ONLY way I can get passed this is to go after him, again.  I was shut down, last time, trying to do it by the book.  I’m currently trying to locate legal assistance so that I can, possibly, go after Mr. Svilich’s pension.  I have no other recourse.

If you have any recommendations for legal assistance, I’d love a point in the right direction.  I cannot let this go, any longer and I refuse to let this man live in peace because he’s caused so much distress in my life.  It’s just not fair or right.  Any help is appreciated.

A shocking sobering reminder of DA backroom plea deals handed out to former cops 

Jon Paul Svilich – “I conferred with each of the three victims on the case to see how they felt about it and each of them was satisfied with the result of the proposed disposition, so I felt comfortable settling the case at that point,” said Baker. 18 months served for child molestation.

Luis Verbrea – “Deputy District Attorney Joanne McCracken stands behind the plea agreement, saying that it was in the best interest of the women involved”. “One-year jail term”, and “work furlough program”.

Vinh Nguyen – Ordinary citizen – “I’m horrified that somebody can be accused of such a heinous attack . . . and then have the DNA exonerate him,” Street said. “Were it not for the DNA, he could be facing a life term.”

As noted by former editor of the The Daily News, Dave Price, Mr. Price suggests the existence of a two tiered justice system. One for law enforcement and one for the ordinary citizen. Where he states;

“In any other situation, that would be rape-kidnap…and decades in prison. And that’s exactly how it should be. Instead, Verbera got a year in the county jail.”

Commenting on the apparent discriminatory justice system, one for cops and one for the ordinary citizen former Santa Clara County Assistant Public Defender Attorney Aram James sums it up –  “You have laid out the issues with precision –a two tiered system continues to account for much injustice in our system–plea bargaining without standards applicable to all regardless of station in life.

As your comments infer it is a systemic problem which will take courageous citizen journalists like you to change. Keep up the extraordinary work. We must push for a police crimes unit in each jurisdiction within each DA’s office –we must make it an issue at election time–and make certain the community understands that a double standard re the exercise of prosecutorial is unacceptable and that we do have a say in how our local DA exercises his discretion.”

We forwarded the victims email received to Chief Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen including Assistant Chief Santa Clara District Attorney Jay Boyarsky and Assistant Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Robert Baker for comment.  I’m afraid that moment will never arrive!

We beleive the DA’s office continues to demonstrate a pattern of overbalanced lite sentencing in favor of …”When cop’s become sexual predators with a badge” measured to the same jail time given to an ordinary citizen having committed an equal crime. Decades in prison!!

Santa Clara University School of Law – 2013 Alexander Law Prize Recipient

2013 Award Winner: Chen Guangcheng

Chen-GuangchengChen Guangcheng is a Chinese civil rights activist who worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, Chen is frequently described as a “barefoot lawyer” who advocates for women’s rights, land rights, and the welfare of the poor. He is best known for exposing alleged abuses in official family-planning practices, often involving claims of violence and forced abortions.

In 2005, Chen gained international recognition for organizing a landmark class-action lawsuit against authorities in Linyi, Shandong, for what was claimed to be excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. As a result of this lawsuit, Chen was placed under house arrest from September 2005 to March 2006, with a formal arrest in June 2006.

During his trial, Chen’s attorneys were forbidden access to the court, leaving him without a proper defender. On 24 August 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months for “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic”. He was released from prison in 2010 after serving his full sentence, but remained under house arrest or “soft detention” at his home in Dongshigu Village. Chen and his wife were reportedly beaten shortly after a human rights group released a video of their home under intense police surveillance in February 2011.

Chen’s case received sustained international attention, with the U.S. State Department, the British Foreign Secretary, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International issuing appeals for his release; the latter group designated him a prisoner of conscience. Chen is a 2007 laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and in 2006 was named to the Time 100.

In April 2012, Chen escaped his house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. After negotiations with the Chinese government, he left the embassy for medical treatment in early May 2012, and it was reported that China would consider allowing him to travel to the United States to study. On 19 May 2012, Chen, his wife, and his two children were granted U.S. visas and departed Beijing for New York City.

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Up-dated on March 19th 2013 – *Highlights from last night’s award acceptance speech by Chen Guangcheng

Receiving this award I’m very happy.  It’s like the fresh spring time of life is awaken for me to receive this prestigious award.

I’m thankful for the selection committee thankful to Katherine and George Alexander and I’m thankful to the president of the law school. This prize is meant to rise – promote the awareness of injustices and too promote the legal work around it.

US lawyers carry a heavy responsibility to advance justice. Chinese Lawyer will face much oppression when speaking out. Everyone has a responsibility to make society better.

Do you refuse to stand with evilness are we against the dictators anger even if we are sent to prisons?

Still many things are above the constitution like past emperors who enjoy power.  The communist power is one of them.

Power is above the government if they commit crimes government leaders will not be persecuted and the law will prove ineffective and face no prosecution.

They use their organization to control and promote their own propaganda. They use their own tools to speak for them. Anybody who does not obey the law will be oppressed. “Justice is kidnapped”.

Whenever there is an injustice, we have to fight because directorship laws are bad.  We must not to follow their leadership. When the law becomes the voice of the people, people will respect the law.  The injustice can be minimized through our voices nothing else will help.

They promised they would do a thorough investigation of what my family and I had endured. The authorities would go to my house and humiliate and rob us.  Do we have justice in communism?

My family hired an attorney we were threatened and we would not be able to appeal our conviction. This is the trend of stubborn communist Chinese. If you give in, you we will be given a lighter sentence. I lost twenty pounds while in prison.

Only the power of youthful thinking this power can change the world have faith and everything is possible. Never lose your voice, welcome the new legal change and the end the dark ages…..

Thank you all for coming I’m very grateful.

*The above acceptance speech excerpts were translated by a Chinese interpreter into English. We endeavored to provide an accurate depiction.

Receiving Award
Receiving Award
A hug of appreciation
A hug of appreciation

City of Menlo Park Censorship flip flop

Dave Price Editor and Co-Founder of The Daily Post
Dave Price Editor and Co-Founder of The Daily Post

It’s a trend. Governments are releasing embarrassing news on Friday afternoons. This started in the Bush administration and we just keep seeing it happen more and more. The thinking is that people pay less attention to the news on the weekends.

On Friday at 2:35 pm., Menlo Park Assistant City manager Sharla Jerome-Robinson posted the following on the City Council’s website: “last week, approximately a dozen emails to CCIN [that’s the website on which the public can post emails to the council] were deleted.

After reviewing the original postings that were removed and balancing the interest of the employees involved and the public’s interest in the consultation with the city attorney, we will be reposting the original emails.”

Outrage over teacher’s firing

A week earlier, the council’s website was flooded with emails from residents who were outraged at the firing of gymnastics teacher Michelle Sutton from a city-run program for preschoolers.

Every email I saw praised Sutton as an outstanding teacher. Yet somebody at City Hall – we still don’t know who – began deleting these emails. City Attorney Bill McClure said the emails were removed because they might result in lawsuits.

The deleting of public comments appears to be a new policy since people have used the council’s email site to complain about city employees for years, and those messages weren’t removed. Deleting the messages was like turning off the microphone at council meetings when a resident had something controversial to say.

Unanswered questions

While the city has reversed itself on deleting emails, questions remain:

* Whose idea was this?

* Since the emails praised the teacher, who was the city trying to protect by deleting them?

* Why has nobody on city council spoken up about this censorship?

Editorial / Opinion Today – Daily Post by: Dave Price

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Long lines form for first Tri-City gun buyback program

Long Lines to turn in gunsLong lines of car were forming early this morning in front of East Palo city hall  where three city’s were taking part in a first gun buyback program involving East Palo Alto, Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

Funding for the program, fifty thousand dollars, were “privately donated” according to Menlo Park police commander, Dave Bertini in which he stated that no federal, state or locals funds were used.

When ask how long the funding would last based on the number of cars, he said he wasn’t sure but it’s going fast….

The East Palo Alto police department will ultimately be responsible for the destruction of all weapons turned in stated commander Bertini.

We would say, that based on the number of cars waiting thus far, it would appear, to be a very successful program. Thus far, as of this reporting, only one assault rifle has been turned in according to Palo Alto Assistant Police Chief Bob Beacom when asked.

A news conference is scheduled following the event at 2:30 p.m.; in which Police chiefs from East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, including a representative from the event hosting nonprofit Protect Our Children will be held.

Guns for sale only to the police
Guns for sale only to the police

Up-date: During the scheduled follow-up news conference, it was noted that a total of 355 arms were turned in.

Officer Steven Knopp of the Menlo Park police K-9 unit stated that 11 assault style weapons were also turned in including an Israeli Uzi.

The buyback program got underway at 10:00 a.m. with all funds running out in 2 1/2 hours.

As mentioned earlier, the program was funded entirely by private donations with 52 thousand being donated.

Four thousand dollars in public funds were later added by the East Palo Alto police department and passed out in the form of vouchers.

Asked if any rocket propelled grenades were turned in, Officer Knopp said, “None were”.  “Not this time” he further added.  He did mention, in a similar program held in the city of Los Angeles that some were.  “There out their” he said.

A closer look at weapons turned in and displayed during news conference.

Guns of all typesassault style weapons