Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Who is really in charge?


Elected Officials or Judges and Cop Brass? (click)

A Police and Judicial Misconduct Story (click)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Of Interest


The only way to improve something is to have the facts and learn.

I found a link to a college course on the American Justice System.

If only a few Americans spents five or ten minutes on this site and voted accordingly, our nation would be vastly improved.

Knowledge is power.

From Instapundit.com


If you are, you may be interested in this blog by Katy Wright.

She's written a book on the subject, too.

posted at 07:18 PM by Glenn Reynolds

The Gripe Zone


You don't have to register to comment. You can do so anonymously here.

What is the advantage?

Well for one this site and the comments section is searchable by search engines.

Let's say, "Father's Rights" "Non-custodial parents rights" "Father's legal issues" "Displaced Dads" "Deadbeat Dads" "Child Support Enforcement" "Dads in prison" etc. Maybe others putting in a name or place in a search engine will see your comment within this post.

I posted this as an addition to this FreeSpeech.com post: Tell your own story

* * * *

It was requested that I share this link: http://www.krightsradio.com which I assume came from one of the non-custodial parent newsgroups that I belong to.

A Justice System really has to be corrupt and out of hand for something to actually change


Connecticut’s system is such a ridiculous embarrassment calling itself an American Justice system, the below happened:

Project Targets Innocent Inmates Seeks To Right Conviction Errors

November 29, 2004 By DIANE STRUZZI, Courant Staff Writer

Connecticut prison inmates who say they are innocent, and whose cases contain evidence that could prove it, will have a place to turn for help early next year when the state public defender's office launches The Connecticut Innocence Project.

The project is the first of its kind in the state and one of about 30 similar programs across the country that focus on exonerating prisoners, often through DNA testing. The idea was popularized by lawyers Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who, in 1992, created a nonprofit legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, which handles cases in which DNA testing can conclusively prove innocence. The undertaking in Connecticut, led by public defenders Brian Carlow and Karen Goodrow, is independent and not directly affiliated with Scheck and Neufeld's legal clinic.

The Connecticut Innocence Project capitalizes on a heightened national awareness of innocence cases. It also complements a Connecticut advisory commission that was set up recently to review wrongful conviction cases and suggest statewide reforms to diminish the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

Some guidelines have been established for a case to be considered by Connecticut's project. For instance, inmates must be indigent and their cases should have new evidence or evidence on which new testing can be performed. Because of the length of time it takes to pursue such cases, the project will generally consider inmates serving at least a 10-year sentence who have at least five years remaining on their term.

"We're talking about only people who have been convicted of a crime that they did not commit and are actually innocent and there's evidence that exists that can establish that," said Chief Public Defender Gerard Smyth.

"I don't think anybody wants an innocent person to be convicted of a crime and incarcerated. ... To the extent that any of those situations exist, I would expect the support of the public, law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure that those convictions are overturned."

The idea that prosecutors would cooperate with defense lawyers in a wrongful conviction claim should not be shocking, said Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano.

"I've always felt prosecutors have been in the `innocence project' business for a long time, long before it became politically popular," Morano said.

"When there is a need for scrutiny, we have no problem with it. ... What we're in for is the search for the truth, and it doesn't stop once someone is convicted.

"Morano said he has been looking at other states where prosecutors have established specialized units to analyze cases after convictions and would like to do something similar someday. But he said he does not have the staff to do that now. Even before the Connecticut Innocence Project, there have been Connecticut cases where convictions have either been overturned or a new trial granted.

Peter Reilly was convicted in the 1973 killing of his mother. But that conviction was overturned because a taped confession convinced a judge that the confession had been coerced. Larry Miller was a former federal corrections officer in Danbury who served 12 years in prison for the 1981 beating of two Danbury teenagers. He was released after a convicted killer admitted to the crime.

Mark Reid was not exonerated of an East Hartford rape, but a judge granted him a new trial last year after DNA testing proved the microscopic hair analysis used to convict him was not accurate. The charges against him were eventually dismissed and he was deported to his native Jamaica on a prior assault conviction.

The Connecticut Innocence Project is already championing the case of Ralph Birch, 37, of New Milford, who was convicted of the 1985 fatal stabbing of a New Milford man. Goodrow said Birch claims he is innocent, and the state has agreed to allow further testing on some evidence.

Goodrow said a private defense lawyer is handling an innocence claim from Birch's co-defendant, Shawn Henning, 36, of Ledyard.

The public defender's office is not receiving additional funding for its project, and those involved will volunteer their time. Initially, the project will take on only a few cases, Smyth said. He pointed out that post-conviction DNA testing is provided for under state law.

"We're doing this in a more restricted way at first to see what the experience is, and if we find we can take on more, then we will," Smyth said.

While some state officials welcomed the idea, others were cautious. New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington said prisoners already have avenues to appeal wrongful convictions and to assert their innocence, such as petitions for a new trial or a habeas corpus petition, which challenges the legality of incarceration.

"It's not entirely clear to me how necessary" this project is, Dearington said.

"We're as interested as anyone in making sure innocent people are not convicted."

West Hartford Police Chief James Strillacci, president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, said any system involving human effort is going to have flaws.

"If people are in jail due to an error, I certainly support someone finding that out and rectifying the situation," he said.

State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said righting a wrongful conviction also helps apprehend the real criminal.

"After all, if the wrong person is in jail," he said, "the real bad guy is out there presumably committing other crimes."

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

With rogue judges and their minions, police officers, do we really live in a Democracy? (post)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Fourth Reich, Connecticut


Can someone make the biggest mistake of their lives, just buying a house or opening a business in the wrong place, in the wrong state?

How about if they think they can propose legislation to elected officials regarding making judges and the police honor the Constitution and serve and protect all equally, acting in the public’s best interest?

What happens if you complain about police harassment and biased judges in newspapers?


* * * *

Free Speech center in the People's Republik of Korruptikut

Are sentences and judgments doled out equally and ethically in U.S. Courts?

A Democracy vs. A Republic, Forms of Government


What is our form of government in the United States of America?

Is America a Republic or a Democracy?

Most don’t or didn’t know, unless educated, and that included me.

Recite in your mind the pledge of allegiance, there lies the answer.

Basic Differences and the definition

* * * *

In both the Direct type and the Representative type of Democracy, The Majority’s power is absolute and unlimited; its decisions are unappealable under the legal system established to give effect to this form of government.

This opens the door to unlimited Tyranny-by-Majority. This was what The Framers of the United States Constitution meant in 1787, in debates in the Federal (framing) Convention, when they condemned the "excesses of democracy" and abuses under any Democracy of the unalienable rights of The Individual by The Majority.

Examples were provided in the immediate post-1776 years by the legislatures of some of the States. In reaction against earlier royal tyranny, which had been exercised through oppressions by royal governors and judges of the new State governments, while the legislatures acted as if they were virtually omnipotent. There were no effective State Constitutions to limit the legislatures because most State governments were operating under mere Acts of their respective legislatures which were mislabelled "Constitutions."

Neither the governors not the courts of the offending States were able to exercise any substantial and effective restraining influence upon the legislatures in defense of The Individual’s unalienable rights, when violated by legislative infringements. (Connecticut and Rhode Island continued under their old Charters for many years.) It was not until 1780 that the first genuine Republic through constitutionally limited government, was adopted by Massachusetts--next New Hampshire in 1784, other States later.

It was in this connection that Jefferson, in his "Notes On The State of Virginia" written in 1781-1782, protected against such excesses by the Virginia Legislature in the years following the Declaration of Independence, saying: "An elective despotism was not the government we fought for . . ." (Emphasis Jefferson’s.)

He also denounced the despotic concentration of power in the Virginia Legislature, under the so-called "Constitution"--in reality a mere Act of that body:

"All the powers of government, legislative, executive, judiciary, result to the
legislative body. The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the
definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers
will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. 173 despots
would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on
the republic of Venice."

This topic--the danger to the people’s liberties due to the turbulence of democracies and omnipotent, legislative majority--is discussed in The Federalist, for example in numbers 10 and 48 by Madison (in the latter noting Jefferson’s above-quoted comments).


The Judiciary in Connecticut is an absolutely unfair F’n MESS


Is it this bad in your state?

Something is said for needing Civilian Oversight of the Judiciary and for police.

It is time they acted legally, Constitutionally, and in OUR best interest, not theirs and NOT primarily for revenue collection scamming mostly honest taxpayers.

* * * *

Probate Judge Told To Pay $23,000

Berlin Colleague Rules Against Him

November 28, 2004 By KIM MARTINEAU, Courant Staff Writer

PORTLAND -- Daniel Kauczka thought he'd be in good hands with Richard Guliani, the lawyer he hired to set up and manage a trust fund for his ailing wife. Who wouldn't? Guliani was also the local probate judge.

But last week another judge confirmed Kauczka's more recent fears that his trust in Guliani had been misplaced. The judge ordered Guliani to pay his client $23,000 for legal work he should have, but did not, perform.

The ruling by Berlin Probate Judge Walter Clebowitz against his fellow probate judge is the latest in a series of complaints about Guliani's performance.

The Statewide Grievance Committee, which investigates complaints of lawyer misconduct, has cited Guliani three times for failing to respond to the committee.

The council on probate judicial conduct has cited Guliani for failing to make timely payments to the probate retirement fund and overpaying himself three years in a row - once by $17,000.

A parental rights case dragged on for months because Guliani failed to transfer the case to juvenile court. Another judge did some of Guliani's work when he disappeared from his probate office for days.

Guliani's conduct has troubled those who two years ago supported his run for judge, a part-time job that pays about $50,000 in salary and benefits. Judge James Lawlor, who oversees the state probate system, is also distressed. He proposed a law earlier this year that would have given him the authority to assign a new judge to cases languishing in a sitting judge's court, but the legislature did not pass it. Currently, he has limited power to act.

"I wish the problems in Portland could have been resolved earlier," he said.

"I don't think it reflects well on the judge, the system or the court."

In several recent interviews, Guliani defended his record as a lawyer and a judge. He downplayed the complaints against him and said he tries his best to respond to clients and those appearing in his court. Although in recent letters to Berlin Probate Court he alluded to an illness, he declined to elaborate.

Guliani stepped down as fiduciary for the Kauczka trust last year. His clients, Daniel and Marilyn Kauczka, spent nearly $28,000 on lawyers and accountants to straighten out the trust.

Clebowitz found that Guliani failed to deposit checks, file annual accountings of his work or even return his clients' phone calls. He ordered Guliani to reimburse his clients all but a $5,000 trustee fee.

"If he had responded to the reasonable requests of the Kauczkas, their accountant and attorney for information, all these fees and costs would have been avoided," Clebowitz wrote in a decision Nov. 22.

Guliani vowed an appeal to state Superior Court. He defended his handling of the Kauczka trust and accused Kauczka's new lawyer, Brad Gallant, of overcharging, calling it "an outrageous money grab."

As an attorney, Guliani has been cited three times by the Statewide Grievance Committee for failing to respond to the committee handling grievances against him. Two of the grievances were upheld, including one from a lawyer who sued Guliani for payment of $5,500 in legal work.

As a probate judge, Guliani was admonished once by the council on probate judicial conduct, which investigates complaints of judicial misconduct. The head of the probate assembly at the time, Newington Probate Judge Sheila Hennessey, complained in 2002 that Guliani made late payments to the probate retirement fund and filed late financial reports, state records show.

Her complaint alleged that Guliani overpaid himself three years in a row, including an overpayment of $17,000 in 2000. The money was eventually returned, with interest. The probate council privately admonished Guliani. When the problems continued, he was publicly admonished a year later.

The Portland Democratic Town Committee endorsed Guliani for a fourth term in 2002.

Chairman Stephen Kinsella said he was unaware Guliani had been cited by either the grievance committee or the probate council, but he said the matter would be discussed when the committee meets next month.

"I wish I had known. I would have taken this up with the town committee a long time ago," said Kinsella, an attorney for the city of Hartford.

"If he's doing anything illegal or unethical, then he needs to step down."

Kauczka and other former clients have indicated Guliani may be running his private law practice, at least some of the time, out of town hall. First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield said she has not received any complaints, but if true, it would probably be considered improper. Guliani acknowledged he sometimes meets with clients at town hall.

"This practice isn't totally unusual," he said.

Probate administration has had to intervene in several cases before Guliani's court in the last two years. In January 2003, his clerk, Janice Visinski, told probate administration that the judge had been gone for days and was not returning calls, state records show.

Someone had come to the court asking for custody of a dead person's remains. Middletown Probate Judge Joseph Marino handled the matter, but also had concerns.

"Janice has a stack of papers, 6 to 10 inches high, awaiting signatures or other action - clearly more than just four days worth," Marino told a staff lawyer, who made note of the call.

In another case, a child custody matter dragged on for months because the file was not transferred to juvenile court promptly, state records show. After his calls were not returned, the juvenile court judge asked state probate court administrators to intervene.

Other complaints were made anonymously. In 2003, a woman claimed she was unable to reach anyone at the court during hours it was supposed to be open.

"This lady did not want her name used as she was concerned that she will have to appear before this judge," another probate administration memo reads.

On Nov. 17, Kauczka, 56, took half a day off from his job as a custodian at the East Hampton library to appear in probate court - in New Britain. Guliani, citing child-care conflicts, did not attend the hearing - one he had asked the court to reschedule twice before.

In court, Kauczka recounted his problems, starting from his first meeting with Guliani, in 1998. Then he began to have trouble reaching his lawyer.

"Basically all he was was an answering machine," he testified.

Unpaid tax bills started arriving at his home, he testified. On the rare occasion he reached his lawyer, he said, Guliani assured him the problems would be fixed. But as time wore on, Kauczka became skeptical.

He hired a new lawyer, Gallant, last year and together they petitioned Guliani to provide an accounting of his work. In November 2003, Guliani provided it. The two-page document accounted for the mutual funds and other assets in the trust. But it showed no record of any work Guliani had done.

"He didn't do any of the things you'd expect a trustee to do," Gallant told Clebowitz.

"You have the poor people relying on him thinking their problems are getting solved, but in fact, their problems are getting worse."

Marilyn Kauczka, 66, has advanced Parkinson's disease and is now in a nursing home. In his decision Monday, Clebowitz found that Gallant's bills, for nearly $23,000, were reasonable and due to Guliani's inattention as a trustee.

More than money, Daniel Kauczka wants an apology.

"I would like him to come up to me and say, `I slipped up on this and I'd like to make it up to you,'" he said. "Evidently I'm never going to hear that."

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

With rogue judges and their minions, police officers, do we really live in a Democracy? (post)

Anti-Immigration Party Banned In Belgium


Can it happen here in America?

I idea to post all below came from a comment recently made in the comments section of this FreeSpeech.com post

[VDARE.Com Comment: Think it can’t happen here?

Look at Ethnic Agitators Suppressing Free Speech in Wisconsin—With Help From Big Business, by Bryanna Bevens]

By Paul Belien

[Recently by Paul Belien: Islamic Imigration And Murder Among The Tulips]

Exactly one week after the political assassination of Dutch journalist Theo Van Gogh in Holland last Tuesday, the Supreme Court in neighbouring Belgium has banned the Vlaams Blok, an anti-immigration party that happens to be the largest party in the country.

[Blow to Belgium's far right, BBC News]

The above found (here)

* * * *

The Blok is dead. Long live the Vlaams Belang?

The people of Flanders are, this evening, contemplating the decision of The Court of Cassation, the final court of appeal in Belgium.

In a case of historic proportions Flanders’ largest political party has been criminalised on charges of racism and, to all intents and purposes, politically assassinated.

It is the most legalistic of convictions obtained on the most specious of grounds. But the means will be seen by the victors as justifying the end, and the end was to preserve the political status quo and, therefore, the existence of Belgium itself.

The stakes could not have been higher. More

* * * *

Monday, November 15, 2004

Not just of Flemish interest

It was written in the skies that the Flemish political adventure which was Vlaams Blok would not end with the decision by the Court of Cassation last week.

The Party Council, comprising delegates from one thousand local Blok chapters, voted at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday morning in Antwerp to disband their Party.

The next vote brought into being a new party: Vlaams Belang – in English, Flemish Interest.

The cost of this historical action is high, put at two million dollars by the old leadership. But that is a small price for freedom of speech and thought in Flanders. More

* * * *

Blow to Belgium's far right

Belgium's highest court has ruled that the country's Flemish nationalist party, the Vlaams Blok, is racist.

The decision means that Europe's most successful far-right party will be forced to disband - and re-form under a new name.

Pictures and more from the BBC

* * * *


(link left in the Del Simmons FreeSpeech.com post, I didn't find anything related immediately)

* * * *

If liberal opinion can do it for Mandela, why not ...

Post contains cartoon of Yassir Arafat as an angel

* * * *

Have an idea to post something here or on FreeSpeech.com?

please contact me at stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Stop Police Brutality



* * * *

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(pictures of young adults brutalized by Hartford Police, a 1978 L-82 Corvette, and the White Victorian I lost to police and judicial corruption)

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

* * * *

Does Leonard C. Boyle, the new police commissioner in Connecticut answer my accusations, line item?

Find out (here)

* * * *

Steven G. Erickson’s Plan for Reducing Crime

Are Connecticut Judges part of the problem and do elected officials do nothing?

Do Connecticut State Police Officers get away with GAY BASHING within their own ranks?

* * * *

FreeSpeech.com post with HBO's Sopranos pic

What is Prison really like?
(and other links)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

A cop, porn, and risk of injury to a minor


All in the day of the life of some Connecticut cops.

Officer Facing Porn Charge Risk Of Injury Count Lodged

November 27, 2004 By KEN BYRON, Courant Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN -- A nine-year veteran of the police department who served a year in Iraq with the National Guard was arrested Friday and charged with risk of injury to a minor in connection with viewing adult and child pornography on a home computer also used by a 14-year-old girl.

Angel Escobales, 35, was staying with the girl, her 3-year-old brother and the children's mother during the time he is accused of viewing the pornography more than two years ago.

According to court records, Escobales had set up the computer so that it went directly to a pornography site when one of the Internet browsing programs was used. The girl discovered this when she used that program and unexpectedly was confronted with graphic pornography, according to an affidavit for Escobales' arrest warrant.

The girl told her mother about it and the woman confronted Escobales. But according to the affidavit, the girl continued discovering links to porn sites on the computer. The woman told police that Escobales had used her America Online account to access porn sites and when she used her AOL account the computer went to sexually explicit sites instead of the AOL home site.

Police Chief William Sencio said in a written statement Friday that Escobales is on a paid administrative leave while the charge is pending. Sencio said the charge against Escobales is not related to his conduct while on duty.

According to the affidavit, when investigators confronted Escobales he admitted viewing pornography on the computer.

Police started investigating when the girl's mother filed a complaint in October. Officials did not make clear the relationship between Escobales and the mother. The woman bought the computer in 2000 while Escobales was staying with her and her children and he moved out a few months later. But he used the computer until early in 2002, according to court records. The most recent pornography investigators found on the computer's hard drive dated to February 2002, according to the affidavit.

The police department hired Escobales in June 1995. He served in Iraq with the 143rd Military Police Company of the National Guard and also is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. It was not clear Friday if he still is a member of the National Guard.

Escobales was arraigned Friday in Superior Court, where a judge set bail at $100,000 and ordered that he be held. At the request of prosecutors, Escobales is being held in protective custody away from the general prison population because he is a police officer.

His lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Lorenzo Smith, requested $25,000 bail. Smith said it is unlikely that Escobales would try to flee the state to avoid prosecution. He also said that Escobales has cooperated with investigators and was fully aware that his arrest was pending.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Do we really live in a Democracy?


Update to this post 10:30 PM EST 11-28-2004:

What is our form of government in the United States of America?

Is America a Republic or a Democracy?

Most don’t or didn’t know, unless educated, and that included me. Recite in your mind the pledge of allegiance, there lies the answer. (post)

Please read below as freedom is important regardless to whether we as Americans think we are in a Republic or a Democracy.

* * * *

I always thought so, until I inadvertently did a little test.

Proposing legislation and speaking out in the letter to the editor section should not end up in prison and loss of family, assets, home, retirement and the sum total of one’s life. (story)

In Connecticut (and probably in your state), legislators must notify liaisons to the judiciary and heads of law enforcement when any new laws are proposed by citizens regarding police or the courts.

The citizen’s name is given and the legislator awaits permission from the liaison to be able to even propose the law for vote, or not.

Does that seem fair and American?
(Anatomy of the Good Ole Boy Network)

(Anatomy of the Good Ole Boy Network, Part 2)

Some emails I sent and received below tell a story:

Cksubs@aol.com Add to Address Book

Thu, 25 Nov 2004 08:22:38 EST

Meeting with Judicial Senator in connecticut


usafathers@yahoo.com, michigandads@yahoogroups.com, Jdibiasejr@aol.com, jmclapp@comcast.net, Ctcrc@aol.com, stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Wednesday, 5 fathers representing groups in MA, CT and RI met with Senator Coleman to push legislation for shared, equal parenting presumption and "update" him as to the problems in family court, namely judges who do not follow legislative laws.

Senator Coleman is a member of the Judicial Committee that Nominates State Judges.

The group spoke to Fox61 News Reporter following the meeting to promote media attention.
(bio and picture of Shelly Sindland Fox 61 News)

Chris Kennedy
Ellington, CT 06029

http://www.indianacrc.org - NCP Civil Suit, CT

http://sharedparentinginc.org - CT

http://www.fatherhoodcoalition.org - MA

http://www.fathers-4-justice.org - UK

(Democrat Connecticut State Senator Eric D. Coleman website)



"Steven Erickson" stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Fri, 26 Nov 2004 19:22:15 -0800 (PST)

Re: [connecticutcivilrightscouncil] The Chris Kennedy fight for rights and Senator Coleman

Hi Evan and all,
Carol Amino of Gov. Rowland's office and now of Gov. Jodi Rell's is heartless.

I told her about how I tried to propose laws about police and to make courts fair and met with opposition and Connecticut State Police officers coming on my property to threaten me telling me to keep my big mouth shut and to leave the state.

Her question to me was, "Why didn't I listen?" when I told her about police telling me to leave the state for proposing Civilian Oversight of Police.

Well because I thought the Constitution applied and Free Speech and other parts of the 1st Ammendment applied.

My problems with the Gov's office and Carol Amino:


P.S. I'm still acting and making them take notice, please stay tuned.

Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083



Evan smithwithaj@yahoo.com

The "do nothing stance":

I have hit the same wall. Everyone points elsewhere.

The TV News Channels and Newspapers I send e-mails tofeel this is not a story.
Perhaps MANY of us, sending e-mail, and calling will
get some attention. While my inquiries where not about
restraining orders, I was ejected from my home in my
divorce by one.

last correspondence I have with the governor's office:

Dear Evan: In response to your question regarding thequestion your raised on the Commission on Custody and Divorce your can contact them at the Office of Policy& Management, 1-800-286-2214.

Carol Annino
Staff AssistantOffice of the Governor

State Rep Steve Fontana sent me this:

Mr. Jones,Thanks for your email. I remember that wecorresponded at length on thesubject of family support, and the rights of non-custodial parents.

Since then, I believe that a Governor's Task Force or
Commission has looked at the issue; I don't know
whether they have made some recommendations as to
how to improve the law, or are still studying it.

--- Steven Erickson wrote:>

> most don't know how much our system sucks until they
> suffer at the hands of it.

> > We may not live in a Democracy, as it now exists.

> > You saw yourself that legislators have to ask

> permission to propose bills regarding police or the
> courts. That is a bunch of crap.

> > The fight for father's and any American's rights has
> to start by putting the power back in the hands of
> the people, by making elected officials able to do
> their jobs for us.

> > If police heads, head prosecutors, and judges are
> the real power in America, they to should face
> public opinion, their needs, and election.

> > Legislators should be able to propose legislation
> with having to alert police and judicial heads
> through liaisons, thus asking permission to do
> anything at all.

> > Thank you,

> > Steven G. Erickson
> PO Box 730
> Enfield, CT 06083

> > stevengerickson@yahoo.com

> > Please check out:

> > http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/2004/11/now-is-time.html

> > and

> > http://freespeech.com/

> > > Cksubs@aol.com wrote:

> Email From Morano in CT - State take "do nothing
> stance"

> > Chris Kennedy

> Ellington, CT 06029
> 860-871-8538(H)
> > http://www.indianacrc.org - NCP Civil Suit, CT

> > http://sharedparentinginc.org - CT

> http://www.fatherhoodcoalition.org - MA

> http://www.fathers-4-justice.org - UK

> > > > > ATTACHMENT part 2 message/rfc822
> Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 15:00:04 -0500
> From: State of Connecticut Division of Criminal
> Justice

> > To: Cksubs@aol.com
> Subject: Re: attention: chief state's attorney

> christopher l. morano

> > It is apparent that you are aware of your avenues to
> complain and have
> utilized them. We can offer no other suggestions.

> > Cksubs@aol.com wrote:

> > > Dear Mr. Morano, Who do I contact to file a
> criminal complaint

> > against Judge Jonathan Kaplan of Rockville
> superior court? I am being

> > selectively and maliciously prosecuted by this
> judge and am being
> > threatened with arrest. Judge Kaplan conspired

> with Attorney Susan
> > Boyan in issuing 2 restraining orders. I was
> restrained from my three

> > children for 6 months, not for abuse but for
> filing a complaint
> > against Judge Kaplan. He stated in a court
> transcript that he called
> > the state prosecutor and instructed him how to act
> in my criminal

> > case. I witnessed him excuse my attorney from a
> conference room and
> > close the door to talk to the State Prosecutor on

> my case. I was
> > told that Judge Kaplan made copies of my family
> case folder and

> > ordered hearing transcripts (at taxpayers
> expense). He personally

> > delivered these documents to the Hartford State
> Prosecutor urging my
> > arrest. Following a hearing for a restraining
> order, despite

> > testimony that no abuse occurred, Judge Kaplan

> stated that I committed

> > a crime and should be arrested. He stated that if

> a warrant was
> > written up the right way, a judge would sign it
> and I would be

> > arrested. 4 weeks later I was arrested for
> assault. The police report

> > and DCF report stated that there was no assault
> and no physical
> > injuries or abuse. Judge Kaplan Denied ExParte
> Communication with
> > attorney Boyan despite 3 witnesses stating they
> saw Boyan search out
> > Kaplan and return saying "I know how the Judge
> will rule" at the RO

> > hearing. I have been contacted by several people

> who have been
> > victims of Kaplan's "Cloak and Dagger", God
> complex, including
> > attorneys. Judge Kaplan brags about taking
> children from a father,

> > openly told me my parenting rules are stupid and
> my children shouldn't
> > listen to me. He told me he's keeping me on a
> short leash and made

> > derogatory comments about my Irish heritage - all

> on the court

> > transcripts. I have repeatedly contacted every
> State Legislator, met

> > with them in person and Governor Rell urging them

> to address ethics
> > violations in the judicial system and judge
> Kaplan. This is

> > definitely an election issue. I have been

> interviewed by the Hartford
> > Courant and every other newspaper I can get hold
> of. I have several

> > News Stations stories pending as well, about what

> Judge Kaplan is

> > doing to the judicial system and his personal
> vendettas. I am not
> > going to stand idle while he abuses his authority
> and influence.

> > Following complaints to the Chief Adminitrative
> judge of CT, Judge
> > Pelligrino, Judge Kaplan was removed recently as
> Tolland
> > administrative judge. What agencies will
> investigate Judge Kaplan's

> > attacks on father's, Irish heritage and other
> people he chooses to
> > selectively persecute and conspire against? Chris
> Kennedy
> > Ellington, CT
> > 860-871-8538
> begin:vcard
> n:State of Connecticut Division of Criminal

> Justice;Communications Officer
> tel;fax:(860) 258 5885
> tel;work:(860) 258-5997
> x-mozilla-html:FALSE
> www.csao.state.ct.us
> org:Division of Criminal Justice

> adr:;;300 Corporate Place;Rocky
> Hill;Connecticut;06067;United States of America
> version:2.1
> email;internet: conndcj@po.state.ct.us
> title:Communications Officer
> fn: State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice
> end:vcard


Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas) favorite links

What is prison really like?

More links

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Now is Time


National Action and Lawsuits Regarding Parental Rights

A fax to a Connecticut Legislator from activist, Chris Kennedy:

Excerpt: Dear Senator Coleman,
Thank you for agreeing to meet with us to discuss options and solutions to the current problems parents face in divorce and custody disputes, particularly, legislation that encourages Shared, Equal parenting.

Referencing the Report from the Governor’s Commission on Divorce Custody and Children (CDCC), the commission found that Connecticut laws need to be modified to promote equal parenting. We would appreciate your help in introducing legislation this session to incorporate improvements to the statutes for a presumption of Shared, Equal Custody, Physical and Legal.

I am working with individuals and groups in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island which promote this presumption. In Massachusetts Shared Parenting was on the ballot and 85% of all voters favored shared parenting and both parent’s having an equal right to raise, nurture and parent their children.

Thank you, _____________________________________, Christopher B. Kennedy

The complete document (a quick download):

http://sharedparentinginc.org -CT

http://www.fatherhoodcoalition.org - MA

http://www.fathers-4-justice.org - UK

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Parental Rights Class Action Suits

* * * *

My letter to the editor printed in the Hartford Courant:

Keep Judges Off Commission

I say “no way” to putting judges on an ethics commission [Associated Press article, Oct. 26, “New Ethics Plan Calls For Retired Judges"].

Appointing judges to an ethics commission would only worsen the problem. Judges have gotten their jobs by hobnobbing, doing favors and being team players, often sweeping away uncomfortable allegations for friends and other officials and barbecuing whistle-blowers. They are used to acting how and when they please. These are all traits you don’t want on an ethics commission.

Judges, prosecutors and police have a larger ability to abuse the public than any governor or elected official. The U.S. Constitution is valid only if the court system and the police are answerable to the public, but they are not.

To put public trust in a Star Chamber of judges would be quite insane if the main objective is to make elected officials and others who are paid with our tax dollars more apt to act legally, ethically and in our best interest.

Steven G. Erickson


More information on the above (click)

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Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas) favorite links

City Ranked Among Most Dangerous


Mayor, Police Chief Dispute Survey, Say Findings Skewed

November 23, 2004 By MATT BURGARD, Courant Staff Writer

A survey by a national research firm has ranked Hartford as the seventh most dangerous city in the United States, alongside such traditional crime hotbeds as New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Detroit.

But top Hartford officials, including the mayor and the chief of police, disputed the survey's findings Monday, saying the ranking is probably skewed by the inclusion of 16 deaths in a nursing home fire last year in Hartford's homicide total of 39.

The deaths were ruled homicides and the woman accused of starting the fire at the Greenwood Health Center has been charged with arson murder, but officials say it is a one-year aberration.

"We don't believe these numbers accurately reflect the situation in the city," Mayor Eddie A. Perez said Monday during a press conference to refute the survey's findings.

"Hartford is a safe city and continues to be a safe city, but unfortunately surveys like this will only make it harder for us to tell the true story."

But Scott Morgan, the president of the survey firm, Morgan Quitno Press, said eliminating the Greenwood homicides from the city's totals last year would barely have removed Hartford from the top 10. Morgan Quitno, based in Kansas, has released its survey annually since 1996. It examined FBI crime statistics for 2003 for all U.S. cities with populations of more than 75,000, and then used a formula that assesses points for every violent crime recorded.

The last time Hartford cracked the survey's top 25 for most dangerous cities was in 1996, when it finished 14th. This year, it cracked the top 10 as homicides rose from 21 in 2002 to 39 in 2003.

If the homicide totals from the nursing home fire were removed from the city's totals last year, it might have lowered Hartford's ranking, Perez and Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett said.

"The ranking was calculated by taking the population of the city and then weighing various violent crimes such as homicides, but we aren't sure if they gave too much weight to the nursing home fire," Harnett said.

But even without the Greenwood totals, Morgan said, Hartford would have an average of about 20 homicides per 100,000 people, well over the national average of 5.7 per 100,000.

"Whether the numbers are inflated or not, the city still has an unusually high average in terms of violent crime," he said.

In reaction to the survey, Perez and Harnett released up-to-date crime statistics for Hartford that show decreases in all violent crimes, including homicides, rapes and robberies. As of Nov. 13 of this year, there have been 54 rapes, compared with 68 in 2003, a drop of 20.6 percent, Perez said. If the Greenwood cases are not counted, homicides have declined from 23 in 2003 to 17 so far this year.

Likewise, the number of robberies - which Harnett called a "bellwether" category in terms of gauging violent crime - fell from 912 in 2003 to 800 so far in 2004.

Other Connecticut cities fared better than Hartford in the survey, with Danbury finishing 16th on the list of the top 25 safest cities in the country and Stamford finishing 25th on the same list.

Springfield, Mass., finished 18th on the list of the most dangerous.

The six cities that fared worse than Hartford on the list of the 25 most dangerous were, in order, Camden, N.J.; Detroit; Atlanta; St. Louis; Gary, Ind.; and Washington D.C.Perez said the announcement of the survey's findings, disseminated across the country, makes it hard for the city to improve its reputation.

"We just have to work that much harder to get our own message out," he said. "Anyone who takes the time to get to know the city will realize that Hartford sells itself."

Matt Hennessy, the mayor's chief of staff, said the survey's findings amounted to an "annoyance" that would probably not affect a business or family considering a move to Hartford.

Lee C. Erdmann, the city's chief operating officer, agreed, saying he did not expect the survey to become an obstacle in Hartford's efforts to attract new businesses and families to the city.

"Not too many people are looking at these national surveys when they decide to move here," Perez said.

The above was found on the Hartford Courant website

Fair use of copyrighted material

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My favorite links


* * * *

Pictures of young, white adults brutalized by Hartford Connecticut Police

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Nation Rots from its City Centers Outward, A National Disgrace


(Originally posted on FreeSpeech.com Aug. 2003)

Night Brings Danger To A Busy CornerDrug Dealing, Robbery Thrive Under Neon Lights, In Shadows

August 21, 2003 By MATT BURGARD And MIKE SWIFT, Hartford Courant Staff Writers, Connecticut

It's barely 20 steps from Seon Channer's home to the Shell Food Mart at 949 Albany Ave. But when night falls and the drug dealers start staking out the corner in search of customers, he and the rest of his family follow a simple rule.

"We never go to the store alone," Channer, 23, said on a recent night from the porch of his home on Sterling Street in Hartford, so close to the convenience store that the glare of its neon lights spread across his front yard. "It's too dangerous. Too many people in the shadows waiting to jump you."

The corner where Sterling and two other streets flow into Albany Avenue looks like a crossroads of normalcy, served by the same business names you'd find anywhere in Connecticut - a Dunkin' Donuts, a Fleet Bank, the Shell station.

By day, commuters stop for gas or coffee. Working people catch the city bus at the corner, and children sometimes run amid crushed beer cans and in the narrow alleys behind the station.

It's a regular place populated by ordinary people. But in part because of that air of normalcy, police say 949 Albany Ave. has become a rendezvous point for outside forces - drug dealers from elsewhere in Hartford and users, many of them from the suburbs, who drift in after dark to do business. Then, an aura of menace descends around the station.

In a city that has seen a surge in gun crime over the past three years, 949 Albany Ave. stands out over any other address in the city as a flash point for robberies and street crime committed with a gun, according to a Courant analysis of Hartford police statistics. Those crimes are ultimately caused by the drug trade, police say.

At least one person has died there, but more frequently, they aren't the sort of crimes that make headlines - an addict's car is stolen by a dealer, or an out-of-towner who's come to the corner to buy drugs ends up dragged off and beaten on a hard dirt patch behind the station.

By night, dozens of people huddle by pay phones or in an adjoining lot, some of them getting high, others calling to potential customers in passing cars. Sometimes the silhouetted figures can be seen getting into a heated argument until one of them pulls out a gun and everyone scatters as shots break out.

The exchanges - of money and drugs - are the root cause of virtually all of the crime at the corner, police and residents say.

"It all revolves around the drug activity there," said Det. Winston Brooks, a Hartford police spokesman who used to patrol the area on narcotics duty. "There's a lot of competition for that corner."

The location of the block, not far from the West Hartford line, and the presence of familiar businesses make the corner a magnet for drug buyers, he said.

"It's a 24-hour location. It's well-lit," he said. "For a suburbanite, you get the sense of feeling relatively safe in the area."

For people like Channer, the constant drug crime is a caustic pressure on dreams of owning a home in a safe neighborhood. Outnumbered by addicts and dealers, Channer and others feel the police don't protect them.

Many residents rarely come outside. Gas station employees won't talk about crime. A woman who lives behind the gas station on Cabot Street refused to answer questions when a reporter knocked on her door.

"It's bad, that's all you need to know," the woman said before shutting the door.


Channer, who moved into the three-story house at the corner of Albany and Sterling with his parents last year, has seen turf battles quickly flare up and get settled with guns.

"Trust me, it ain't like the old days when you settled things with your fists," Channer said.

"These guys don't care about you. If they think you have money and they can get it with a gun, they will. It's crazy out here."

The numbers back him up. Since the start of 2002, there have been 10 robberies at gunpoint near the gas station, seven more than at any other single street address in Hartford over the same period, according to Hartford police crime records.

Since the start of 2000, 949 Albany Ave. has seen at least 26 robberies, eight serious assaults, including five with a gun; a dozen stolen cars, more than a dozen other stolen cars recovered and one homicide. In October 2000, 16-year-old Todd Artis was shot nine times and killed in front of the gas station after getting into a drug-related dispute with a rival dealer, police said. The suburban drug buyers might report the crimes from pay telephones at the gas station address, which is perhaps one reason so many crimes have been recorded at 949 Albany, police said. But they typically give police little help in solving the crimes.

Like others who live or work there, Channer has horror stories about the corner. On a winter afternoon this year, he came home to find a crack addict sitting on his porch, puffing on a pipe.

Channer told the addict to leave, but the man refused. He matter-of-factly told Channer that he had been coming to the house long before Channer and his family bought it last summer.

Therefore, he had a right to smoke his crack on the porch.

"I couldn't believe what he was saying," Channer said.

The standoff continued for several minutes, Channer said, even after his mother, Lyneth Channer, called 911. As he approached the porch again, Seon Channer said, the addict suddenly stood up and pointed a knife at him.

Backing away, he realized this was a critical moment.

"If I back down, then all the crackheads in the neighborhood will know they can continue to come to our house and do as they please," he said.

"I have to let him know we ain't putting up with it, we ain't playin'."

So he said he pulled out a handgun he had recently purchased after obtaining a permit and passing a gun ownership class.

When the man came toward him, Channer said, he pointed the gun in the air and fired a warning shot. That sent the addict scurrying to the gas station, where he called 911 himself.

Channer said that officers didn't respond to his mother's call, but that several officers arrived within minutes of the addict's call. When his mother answered the door, he said, she found herself staring down the barrel of a police officer's rifle as other officers stormed past her. He said they charged him with reckless endangerment.

He said he was placed on two years of probation and his gun was confiscated. The crack addict wasn't charged.

"We learned a lot that day, my parents and I," Channer said ruefully.

"If we want to live here, we can't count on no one to help us, not the police, not the city. We're on our own."

What Next?

As he spoke, people could be seen walking across the family's dusty driveway - a popular spot for drug users and robbers lying in wait for victims.

"From the first day we got here, we had to fight them off," he said of drug dealers and users who once had free rein of the house.

"At night, you can hear them doing their business in the backyard while you're in bed. Sometimes, they still try to come in, even though they know we ain't puttin' up with it."

The Channer family's dream of homeownership - a dream that has driven them since they immigrated to Hartford from Jamaica in 1995 - is proving to be hard-won. Their home, which is more than 100 years old, needed a litany of urgent repairs, including a new heating system and roof patching.

But the biggest problem is the crime. From their porch, they often sit and watch as people stop at the gas station looking to buy drugs, usually crack. The buyers, most of them white, stand out in a neighborhood made up mostly of blacks.

Sometimes the transaction runs smoothly, and the buyers get back in their SUVs or high-priced sedans and drive off, the Channers said. Other times, the buyers are accosted and dragged to the rear of the parking lot, where the family has seen as many as five or six people carry out a beating or a robbery.

One night a few months ago, Lyneth Channer said, she looked out of her window and saw several police officers searching for a robbery suspect. After a half-hour or so, she said, her son went out to the porch and noticed something moving beneath a plastic construction tarp.

"It was the robber," she said.

"He had been hiding there. We were like, `My Lord, what next?'"

Fear Of Retaliation

While robberies and other drug-related crimes are prevalent, the Channers and others who live near the intersection said the gunfire doesn't seem as common as in other parts of the city.

A few blocks away on Adams Street, where the Channers lived until last summer, gunplay was almost a nightly event, Seon Channer said.

"People would get in a fight and then you'd hear the shots," he said.

"Here, you still hear the shots, but not as much. It's the robberies and other stuff that make it bad."

Some Hartford officers with years of experience patrolling Albany Avenue said the Sterling Street intersection did not strike them as any worse than others.

"It's bad, but so are a lot of other corners," said Officer Densil Samuda.

"We're doing the best we can, but right now, we don't have the manpower we'd like to handle the problem."

The department is training a class of 48 rookie officers who are paired with veteran officers in the field. By the end of the fall, they are expected to begin patrolling on their own, bringing the number of sworn officers close to the authorized strength of 420.

But many people who live or work near the corner say more police won't necessarily change anything.

"The police need to take more time to get to meet people and get connected with what's going on here," said Clarence Solomon, a bakery owner who lives on nearby Lenox Street.

"Right now, they just ride by in their cruisers. We don't know them and they don't know us."

Hartford police said they have conducted several drug investigations at or near the corner, especially on Cabot Street and Edgewood Street. Two years ago, a Hartford police undercover operation with the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led to the arrest of seven men considered to be kingpins in the drug trade on Edgewood.

But the vacuum created by their arrests was filled within weeks as other dealers moved in, residents say.

Despite the hardships, the Channers and other residents vow to fight. Lyneth Channer nurtures a garden of hosta plants in the front yard, even though they're constantly trampled by people walking through.

Her husband of 23 years, Gidion Channer, who works at his brother's Jamaican restaurant on Albany Avenue, recently had a large oak cut down at the side of the driveway. He said dealers often hid behind it when the cops chased people off Albany Avenue.

In his basement, Gidion Channer and his friends meet at least three nights a week to play dominoes, sometimes well into the next morning.

"I don't like the life out on the streets at night," he said. "I go downstairs and have a few drinks with my friends. It's more civilized."

Besides working at the restaurant, the family also makes money renting out the top two floors of their home. On one floor, a 30-year-old woman lives with her two children, a 3-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, while studying to become a nurse.

The woman said she did not want her name printed out of fear of retaliation. But she said she regularly sees the robberies and drug dealing in the gas station parking lot and worries about the effect on her kids.

"I never let them out at night, or day for that matter," she said. "If they want to go outside, I'll drive them to a friend's house or over to the park."

One night this month, she pulled up in front of the house and let the kids out of the car as two men began fighting on the corner.

"Get inside," she said hurriedly to the kids.

When asked what the city could do to help families in situations like hers, she didn't hesitate to answer.

"Tell them to get serious," she said.

"Putting a bunch of cops on the street won't do anything if the cops won't get out of the cruiser.
They need to clean up the streets."

Gidion Channer said people at the corner are often reluctant to turn to police because it can place them in danger.

"If I call the cops about some drug dealers over there, the cops show up and tell them who made the call, and then they come after me," he said, pointing to a stretch of sidewalk across the street from the gas station where dealers hang out at night.

"You have to keep your head down and tend to your own business."

The above was found on the Hartford Courant website

Fair use of copyrighted material

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My favorite links


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Pictures of young, white adults brutalized by Hartford Connecticut Police

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My take:

If there was not separate and unequal service, and law enforcement’s main agenda was not revenue collection and asset confiscation from mostly average working people, our nation would be much better off.

Crime and criminals rise to whatever tolerable level of crime that is accepted by the public. Most criminals can be discouraged as youths at an overall saving to all taxpayers and would improve the general quality of life for all in this country, especially those that live, work, invest, and have an interest in downtown USA.

I received a prison sentence after pepper spraying the Connecticut State Police mascot, a drug using alcoholic, violent burglar, who demanded money from me after jumping me in my downtown driveway.

Par for the course, the attempted robber an alleged police informant was not even arrested. The ‘mascot’ is free to urinate publicly on downtown buildings, walk around daily drunk and high, pass out on sidewalks, and harass and threaten downtown property and business owners at will with police turning a blind eye.

The ‘Mascot’ is the preferred downtown resident, probably because the ruling class, the Corporate Elitists in the suburbs probably consider the ‘White Trash’ and minorities that live and work downtown, do not deserve any quality of life, nor do they deserve equal treatment and the protection and service from law enforcement, as they, the corporate elite, receive without question.

Those that know me keep asking me why I sound like a broken record.

Well, I am still estranged from my family, living hand to mouth and could have ended up homeless after working days, nights, and most weekends for 24 years and now have nothing to show for it. Can’t get the job I want or even volunteer for helping the cub scouts as I have a bogus criminal/prison record.

I can’t travel and wanted to go back to Europe to pursue import/export and my days are occupied with reporting to probation officers and going to Anger Management classes where I am being made to go to extra classes with no explanation.

A Somers, Connecticut man, who stole possibly over a $100,000 offering DVD players he had no intention of supplying and was selling bootleg porn bilking 100’s of people, a woman who violated a restraining order while on probation committing felony assault with a weapon, a youthful armed robber, and even a sex offender got off with probation, I have to live with the fact I went to prison for having resisted a robber with pepper spray, at my home, after he had terrorized me for weeks even waking my neighbors up after midnight when he was yelling he would cut off my penis if he caught me outside in my yard.

The police and my sentencing judge were aware that of this.

I was caught out on my yard unable to make it to my back door as I was taking a beating from the alleged police informant that had left me voicemails and threats I could not get heard at trial.

After he first assaulted me, Brian Caldwell again attacked me and threatened me inside the Arizona restaurant in Stafford Springs, CT, just weeks after the first incident with Connecticut State Police refusing to protect and serve me as I had criticized them for doing nothing about drugs and crime downtown and called them “Armed Revenue Collectors” in newspapers.

Another severe beating was prevented by the owner’s son in the 3rd incident of 7 reported to police involving Caldwell where nothing was done and Caldwell spit on the restaurant door, yelling profanities as he was ejected from the restaurant disturbing all the families dining.

Caldwell is the preferred downtown Connecticut citizen and I was ejected out of Connecticut by Connecticut State Police officers as they had allegedly bragged “Big Mouth” is going to be run out of town and taught a lesson before the Caldwell incidents.

I have had no other recourse other than being able to vent on Freespeech.com

-Steven G. Erickson

P.S. I can’t find a lawyer willing to sue on contingency as I have no money for a retainer. If you are an interested lawyer please contact me at:stevengerickson@yahoo.com

I think all should know that those that shoot up heroine, break into houses, commit fraud, neglect their children while out drugging and drinking, harass and attack those that live downtown are welcome in Connecticut and ‘Big Mouths’ who fix up boarded up houses are put in prison and then ejected out of the State.

I face up to 4 years back in prison for any violation of probation as I canspend my entire probation and remaining amount on my sentence in prison for the next 3 years.

Is a 2nd Offense of testing Free Speech worthy of another stint in theConstitution State or as I call it, "The People's Republik of Konnektikut?"

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Saint Casimir's Day


Saint Casimir's Day is celebrated on March 4th. He is Lithuania's only saint and his feast day was very popular among the people. When Lithuanians heard priests speak in church about other saints, it was hard to picture where they had lived, their living conditions and surroundings. The people accepted the saints, loved them, took them to their hearts, but they still remained distant.

Saint Casimir was different. He left his footsteps on the Lithuanian soil, his body was buried in Vilnius where the people could visit him and pray at his casket. Lithuanians believed that St. Casimir understands their prayers and indeed answers them. Was he not the son of a Lithuanian king? Did he not travel across Lithuania, did he not see her people and hear their complaints?

St. Casimir was so cherished by Lithuanians that stories of his life and miracles had gone beyond the church walls and spread through the population, became tales and legends. The saintly prince's special devotion to the Blessed Mother was also very dear to the Lithuanians because Lithuania is Mary's Land, known for its many shrines dedicated to her and sincere veneration. Especially the young were attracted to St. Casimir's youth and high regard for chastity. On June 11, 1948 Pope Pius XII named him the special patron of all Lithuanian youth. Thus, St. Casimir became the patron of youth not only within Lithuania, but in all the world's countries where Lithuanian young people reside. MORE

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I Love Lietuva (Lithuania)

I got my nickname, "Vikingas," while in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Kaunas is know for great food, culture, a wonderful people, but also as a center of the Russian Mafia, Black Marketeers, and other criminals.

Separate and Unequal Housing


`Affordable' Still Not Equal Housing Law Fails To Break Barriers In Affluent Towns

November 21, 2004 By MIKE SWIFT, Courant Staff Writer

Seven years after the fact, Walter A. Twachtman is still angry.

The lawyer remembers the bitter hearings when he represented a developer who wanted to build 159 apartments for renters earning $35,000 or less near the center of Glastonbury, and the residents who decried the harm "those people" would bring to the town.A court ruling under the state's affordable housing appeals law ordered Glastonbury to reverse its rejection of a zone change for the complex. But the effort died in 1997, when the town council paid $1.2 million to buy the land where the affordable housing was to be built.

"This is such an act - in my humble opinion - of injustice," the Glastonbury lawyer said recently.

"If you listen to the town, they would say, `We did that because we wanted to preserve open space land.' Sounds good, doesn't it? They also made it impossible for us to do our project.

"Across the river in Hartford, there's a different story. About four of every 10 homes in Hartford are now government-subsidized for low- and moderate-income people. In Glastonbury, it's about one in 20.

Persistent Imbalance

In 1989, the legislature passed an affordable housing appeals law intended to pry open the gates that affluent towns often erect against housing for working-class and poor people. But 15 years later, an analysis based on state housing and federal census data suggests the law has failed to forge significant progress:

Ten years ago, the poorest quarter of Connecticut cities and towns had about three-quarters of the state's subsidized housing, while the richest quarter had about one-twentieth, according to data collected by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. In 2003, those shares were virtually unchanged.

Between 1993 and 2003, the 20 Connecticut towns with the lowest poverty rates added a net total of 164 affordable homes. The 20 cities and towns with the highest poverty rates collectively added 7,365 affordable homes in that same period.

A few affluent towns, notably West Hartford and Norwalk, have added significant numbers of subsidized homes. But many of the state's richest and fastest-growing towns still have virtually none. More than a third of the 118 towns where household income was higher than the state median had fewer affordable homes in 2003 than in 1993.

In some cases, there are good reasons for the decline in subsidized housing totals that the state uses to measure the supply of affordable housing, officials say. When some homeowners, for example, decided to refinance government-subsidized mortgages in recent years to take advantage of lower interest rates, their properties were no longer counted as subsidized housing under the state's criteria.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates, based on 2000 Census data, that more than 200,000 low- and moderate-income households in Connecticut are "severely burdened" by housing costs - spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing. Experts agree the state's affordable housing shortfall is growing worse, and business leaders, housing advocates and state housing officials say many towns need to do more.

"The affluent communities, for whatever reason, and there are a lot of good reasons and a lot of bad reasons," have not built as much affordable housing, said Michael Regan, an official with the state community development agency.

"Some of it is because of fear. Some of it is because of prejudice. Some of it is because of a decision not to change the rural character of their communities."

The basic principle behind the 1989 affordable housing law was that in towns with little affordable housing - less than 10 percent of housing stock - developers could ask courts to override local zoning to build affordable housing. One goal was to create neighborhoods and communities with a more diverse mix of working-class, middle-class and wealthy people, instead of having separate enclaves of rich and poor, white and minority.

No Local Control

Since the affordable housing appeals law was passed in 1989, the General Assembly has modified it three times. Housing advocates say the law should be stronger, but they are afraid to reopen a debate in the legislature because the law has so many enemies.

Critics say the law is the wrong approach because it tramples on local control, emphasizes punishment over encouragement and allows developers to decide where housing should be built with no direction from local zoning officials.

In Glastonbury, town officials say the proposed affordable housing site was a poor location, in part because of concerns about flooding from the nearby Connecticut River. The town had been interested in buying the land for recreation since the 1980s, said Kurt P. Cavanaugh, a member of the town council.

"I just don't think it was a decent proposal for decent housing," he said.

Noting the "hostile emotional undertones" in the town's legal documents and in public hearings on the housing project, a Superior Court judge rejected all 10 reasons the town gave for blocking the project and ordered Glastonbury to allow a zone change for the homes. Instead, the town bought the land.

The affordable housing appeals law is one of the few state statutes that permit an outside power - in this case, the courts - to trump a local government's decisions over how its land is developed.

"The law has been made a bit better with reforms that have been enacted over the past several sessions," said one critic, state Rep. T.R. Rowe, R-Trumbull.

"But the underlying law remains that local control of zoning is not always going to remain local as long as this so-called affordable housing appeals act is still out there.

"Rowe said the affordable housing developments built in Trumbull as a result of the law have put more stress on taxpayers.

"The developments tend to have children, and children are great. But the fiscal reality is that our schools have grown considerably. We've had to build a new school in part because of our increasing population. We would have had to have built it eventually, but that [affordable housing] sped that along. When you increase your population unnaturally, your emergency services are taxed, your fire department needs more volunteers. ... Your police department has more areas to patrol. There's more streets to pave and plow.

"One reason the law hasn't opened rich towns to more moderate-priced housing is that the legislature's changes made it tougher for developers to use it, said Terry J. Tondro, a University of Connecticut law professor who was co-chairman of the legislative commission that proposed the law. He said the legislature changed the law's emphasis from housing for the working class to housing for low-income people, inflaming local opposition even more.

"The towns fought this thing so energetically that it really made it very difficult to get things done," Tondro said. "I think we need to worry - and I don't see the state worried very much about it - about this growing segregation of rich and poor.

"Other advocates say the state is financing less affordable housing overall. The problem, they say, lies in the large drop in state money available to build affordable housing since the early 1990s, and in the decision to fold the state's independent housing department into a larger department whose main mission is economic development, the Department of Economic and Community Development.

State officials counter that federal money has covered much of the state shortfall and that about $450 million in federal, state and private money has been spent on affordable housing over the past five years. By packaging money from multiple sources, "we're doing more with less," Regan said. But even they acknowledge a significant shortfall of quality affordable housing in some parts of the state.

"The state has really withdrawn from its commitment to affordable housing," said Jeffrey Freiser, executive director of the Connecticut Housing Coalition.

Reward, Not Punishment

Increasingly, in states such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, with similar traditions of strong local government and a wide disparity between rich and poor communities, the issue of affordable housing is being linked to statewide policies intended to fight sprawl and boost economic growth.

Connecticut business leaders say this state, like its neighbors, needs to move away from the punitive approach under the 1989 law. Instead of punishing towns that don't build affordable housing, they say, the state should reward towns that build it.

"The old fight [over affordable housing], the moral issue - it's old, it's tiresome, it doesn't work," said Joseph McGee, the former state commissioner of economic development who is a vice president of the Southwestern Area Commerce & Industry Association of Connecticut.

"Smart communities build good neighborhoods with a range of housing and good schools. And the role of the state should be to [encourage] that.

"He said Connecticut could follow the example of Massachusetts, where legislation passed last year provides state grants to towns that create zoning districts for affordable housing, and additional grants if that housing is built.

The measure also aims to combat sprawl and boost mass transit by encouraging towns to build near developed areas and close to transit. Massachusetts leaders are considering a plan to reimburse towns for the education costs of children who live in that housing.

During the first 10 years after Connecticut's appeals law was passed, state courts overrode local zoning 27 times, ordering local governments to allow affordable housing developments. But, as with the housing proposed in Glastonbury, not all of it was actually built. As of 2000, 384 affordable units had been built or were under construction as a result of those court actions, according to the Office of Legislative Research.

Advocates say the law indirectly has created many more affordable homes, by encouraging towns to approve affordable housing they would have rejected, but for the threat of court action.

Some estimate that the law has produced as many as 3,000 affordable units - about 2 percent of the state's current total - since it was passed.

`A Village'

The Flagg Road Cooperative in West Hartford is one housing complex that got built as a result of the law.

The 10-home complex was completed in 1995 by a nonprofit developer, following a court battle with the town. Nancy Geissler, 56, has lived here since the beginning. She never wants to leave.

A decade ago, Geissler had lost her mobility, her career and her Los Angeles home after losing a leg to diabetes. Having moved back to Connecticut to be closer to family, she was paying two-thirds of her $13,000 income from Social Security for rent in Vernon. She lived under an electric blanket because she couldn't afford to heat her apartment above 55 degrees and she subsisted on 10-cent packets of ramen noodles.

"I never thought I'd live in a place this nice again," she said, speaking on a warm fall afternoon in the tree-shaded courtyard of the three-building complex, as school buses dropped off neighborhood children.

The co-op's buildings are immaculate. The grass is neatly clipped. Residents' housing costs are 30 percent of their income, under a form of ownership in which residents have the rights and responsibilities of ownership, but do not keep the equity from increasing property values.

Residents include an assistant parking lot manager, a nurse's aide and a Home Depot warehouse worker. There are black, Latino and white residents. They split the responsibility for maintenance. There's even a commonly owned pet, a stray cat who wandered in and was adopted by the co-op's children, who named the cat Oreo and helped build her a tiny wooden house of her own.

"We're like a little village," Geissler said.

"We're dependent on one another to get things done."

Half of the 10 original families still live here. Everyone who moved was able to save enough money while living here to buy their first homes, said Geissler, who heads the co-op board.

It's not perfect, Geissler said. While living here comes with the headaches of ownership, residents don't get the corresponding benefits of rising property values most homeowners get.

And Geissler said she's not sure the model would work for complexes much larger than hers.

Geissler doesn't believe the acrimony many towns feel toward affordable housing is gone. When the complex wanted to add six parking spaces recently, the town council rejected its request.

"It's not economic at all," she said of wealthier towns' opposition to affordable housing.

"It's totally fear. They don't want mixed neighborhoods. It's like having a prison. If you asked people, would they rather live next to a prison or affordable housing, they'd probably say a prison."

The above was found on the Hartford Courant website

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Freedom of the Press?


Reporter Convicted; Shielded Source

November 19, 2004 By LYNNE TUOHY, Courant Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE -- A seasoned television investigative reporter was convicted of criminal contempt of court by a federal judge Thursday and is likely headed to prison for failing to reveal the source of an FBI Operation Plunder Dome surveillance tape he broadcast in February 2001.

Jim Taricani faces a maximum of six months when he is sentenced on Dec. 9. If he is incarcerated, he would become the 15th reporter in the United States in the past two decades to be jailed for failing to reveal sources or other information, and the first in New England during that time span, according to records kept by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The Newington (Connecticut) native and award-winning reporter for WJAR in Providence was resolute and composed after the 50-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres. There was no bluster or bravado.He acknowledged being "anxious and nervous about my sentence."

He said the seat he had Thursday - in the same courtroom where he covered the Plunder Dome cases that unmasked the corrupt administration of former Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci - was "not a nice seat to sit in."

Taricani, 55, has won four Emmy Awards, the coveted Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting and a reprieve from death. He received a heart transplant in 1996.

His chief concern now is that imprisonment could prove life-threatening, even in the sophisticated setting that the federal Medical Center Devens in Ayer, Mass., has to offer. He is on a strict regimen of medications and his immune system is weakened. He must be vigilant about contracting viruses and other diseases from those around him.

Taricani has no regrets.

"I made a promise to my source, which I intend to keep," Taricani said. "Although I am willing to go to jail, I think it is wrong that journalists should face this type of threat simply for doing their jobs."

Torres and the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston have a far different take on the situation, which involves an unusual and escalating set of circumstances.

From the day FBI agents raided city hall here in April 1999, the investigation they dubbed Operation Plunder Dome has been hot news. Investigative reporters such as Taricani and Fox Providence WPRI's Jack White - who go back 25 years together - were working phones and sources.

A grand jury in June 1999 indicted Cianci's top aide and chief fund-raiser, Frank E. Corrente.

Fourteen months later, U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux issued a protective order barring the prosecution and defense in the case from sharing any of the FBI surveillance tapes they had in their possession. The investigation was ongoing and trials of those already indicted were imminent.

Despite the order, someone slipped a tape to Taricani. It shows Corrente in his city hall office accepting a bribe from a man seeking to lease property to the city. Nothing new was revealed by the tape; the transaction was outlined in Corrente's indictment 10 months earlier and included in transcribed excerpts of the encounter.

What the tape did was put a human face on a city for sale. WJAR Channel 10 aired the tape Feb. 1, 2001.

It isn't Lagueux's order that Taricani was convicted of violating, though Torres said Thursday he is very much interested in hearing from Taricani on Dec. 9 whether he was aware of the order.

Taricani is under no obligation to satisfy Torres' curiosity or otherwise address the court that day.

Two months after the broadcast of the FBI surveillance tape, Cianci was indicted. The next month, in May 2001, Torres appointed a special prosecutor, respected local lawyer Marc DeSisto, to investigate who leaked the tape. Despite 14 interviews and "several" sworn depositions, DeSisto came up empty and Taricani wouldn't talk. On Oct. 2, 2003, Torres ordered Taricani to tell DeSisto who gave him the tape. Taricani still would not cave, and it is that October 2003 order he has been convicted of violating.

Torres first found Taricani in civil contempt of court in March 2004 and ordered him to pay $1,000 a day. WJAR and its parent company, NBC Universal, stepped in to pay the tab, which was waived while the station and Taricani appealed to the 1st Circuit. The federal appellate court upheld the contempt citation, saying, "There is no doubt that the request to Taricani was for information highly relevant to a good faith criminal investigation and ... that reasonable efforts were made to obtain the information elsewhere."

In refusing to answer DeSisto's questions, Taricani repeatedly stated that he was relying on the free press provisions of the First Amendment and the common law privilege granted reporters to be free of government intrusion in news gathering.

Torres Thursday attempted to dispel any notion, as argued by Taricani's lawyers, that he was being punished for broadcasting the tape."That may play well in the media or to those who have difficulty keeping their eye on the ball," Torres said at the outset of the hearing.

"He faces prosecution for violation of a court order. The fact he aired the tape had absolutely nothing to do with the criminal contempt order."

Taricani's longtime competitor, White, was in court Thursday.

"Jim's doing exactly what he has to do," White said.

"He made a commitment and he has to keep the commitment. He can't give the person up."

White said that what's at stake in the case is far more than the identity of a single source.

Rather, it is the willingness potential sources have to trust a reporter with information they would never convey "on the record."

"The protection of confidential sources is really important to those of us who deal with confidential sources over a long period of time," White said.

WPRO Radio talk show host Dan Yorke was more skeptical, noting that the backdrop to this monumental First Amendment showdown is the broadcast of a surveillance tape that offered no new information and was the subject of a protective order.

"This journalistic rallying around him is a little like the police wall of silence that occurs," Yorke said.

"There's been a little loss of perspective here. ... What are the chances you wake up protecting a source that is already under a previous protection order issued by a judge? Slim to none."

"He didn't break a story," Yorke said.

"I respect Jim. He's a terrific journalist. But the spin that this will erode the confidence of sources down the line is specious. ... This was a ratings scoop."

Taricani after court adamantly defended the tape's news value."

The tape was good TV," he acknowledged.

"It also was a vivid example of a very disturbing scene in city hall, where Mayor Cianci's No. 2 man was taking a $1,000 cash bribe in his office. Granted the information about that had been in the newspaper and on the radio for 10 months, but I still believe that showing people in video form - actually showing them what public corruption looks like - was something the public should know.

"Stephanie S. Abrutyn, counsel to the Tribune Company, owners of the Hartford Courant and numerous media outlets, worked with the team of lawyers who submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the 1st Circuit on behalf of the largest media organizations in the country. In that brief, the media "respectfully submit that the district court overvalued the government's interests here and woefully undervalued the First Amendment principles at stake."

Abrutyn said Thursday that the ability to protect confidential sources is crucial to the newsgathering process.

"Some of our most significant examples of government wrongdoing in this country were uncovered when people gave or told things to reporters, things they weren't supposed to, Watergate being a prime example," Abrutyn said.

"It's about a reporter's ability to gather information from people who have access to important things the public should know - especially about government and elected officials - without fear of being thrown in jail, sometimes by those very same officials."

The above was from the Hartford Courant

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