Friday, March 31, 2006

Steven G. Erickson Video

I speak candidly in a Windows Media Player download (click)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are Connecticut Cops too stupid and lazy to do their own hits, hiring amateurs, maybe they can take tips from their New York Brethren?

...















Former NYPD detective Stephen Caracappa was Louie Eppolito's partner.

















Former NYPD detective Louie Eppolito is accused of moonlighting for the mob.

Tow truck driver says he dug grave for cops
Former NYPD detectives accused of moonlighting for mob
Tuesday, March 28, 2006; Posted: 6:26 p.m. EST (23:26 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A tow truck driver testified Tuesday that he was forced to dig the grave of a jeweler who was allegedly kidnapped and killed in 1986 by two New York City detectives moonlighting as hit men for the mob.

A gangster involved in the Brooklyn slaying "told me that I had to help bury the dead man," Peter Franzone said at the federal trial of the former detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. "He said if I told anybody, he'd kill me and my family."

The 56-year-old witness said he kept quiet for 19 years because he was convinced no one would believe that police were mixed up with the mob, and because he feared Eppolito might put him in his own grave.

"I was afraid of Louie Eppolito," he said.

Franzone broke his silence last year under questioning by federal authorities reinvestigating the slaying of Israel Greenwald, a Diamond District jeweler who ran afoul of the Luchese crime family.

Authorities allege Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, were involved in the killings of Greenwald and seven other victims between 1986 and 1990 while on the payroll both of the NYPD and Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. Prosecutors said the detectives committed killings for up to $65,000 a hit.

Greenwald was killed in 1986 after being pulled over by Eppolito and Caracappa and taken to a parking garage managed by Franzone, prosecutors said.

On the witness stand Tuesday, the tow truck driver told jurors he had seen a man in a pinstriped suit and a yarmulke being led inside a one-car garage by a Luchese associate, Frank Santoro, and a man fitting the description of Caracappa. Eppolito -- whom he had previously met -- was waiting in a car outside, he said.

Franzone said about 20 minutes later, the garage door opened, and Santoro and the other man emerged without Greenwald. The other man left with Eppolito, and then Santoro took Franzone into the garage, showed him the victim's body and ordered him to dig a 5-foot grave in the garage, the witness testified.

The body was dumped in the hole, and covered with cement. Santoro himself was killed the next year.

Greenwald's body was discovered last April after Franzone told investigators where to find it. Authorities said the jeweler had been shot in the head.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The above from CNN found here on the web

* * * *

Connecticut Police officers got a couple of flunky hoods to try and kill Phil Inkel for making legitimate complaints against officers for having to much fun beating up African American Suspects. (PDF federal court file)

My post on Inkel

When a former high ranking Connecticut State Police Officer blew a gasket killing his wife, and then committing suicide, was he more than angry about the divorce he was facing, or being exposed and asked where he got so much cash to blow gambling?

Are there differences in punishments depending on who rapes you?

Is the USDOJ not following up on cases of police misconduct and retaliation on whistleblowers?

Why would officials be afraid of videotaped confessions?

...

Why would officials be afraid of videotaped confessions?

Well, they can’t just make up a confession. I have seen and heard firsthand where police officers in Connecticut will out and out lie regarding confessions or any other matter. There is no recourse, as there are no real investigations into misconduct, make a complaint against a state judge and almost 100% of the complaints are shredded. The only safeguard or checks and balances has been the media. An un-doctored videotape with audio is compelling evidence and can stir even the biggest doubters to the obvious.

If there are cameras when prisoners are interrogated in Connecticut, officers will have to be retrained in proper techniques and will have to have some semblance of having manners and self-control. The best example of the video camera rule is the reason O.J. Simpson got acquitted after the fact that he had some of the best lawyers out there actually doing their jobs, was that the Judges, Prosecutors, and Police had virtually no practice doing all of what they do, thoroughly, properly, and legally.

I received this email today:





From :
kmdickson@comcast.net

Sent :
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 4:50 PM

To :
SpinLyme@yahoogroups.com, DDickson@SIKORSKY.COM, moran@courant.com, letters@courant.com, jgerberding@cdc.gov, pbaker@niaid.nih.gov, caga@snet.net, trvl@hotmail.com, rjmurzyn@aol.com, cksubs@aol.com, mas1@concentric.net, jhornberger@fff.org, editor@commondreams.org, editor@washpost.com, horgan@courant.com, commissioner.dcf@po.state.ct.us, leonard.boyle@po.state.ct.us, FalNields@aol.com, bransfield@comcast.net, vtsherr@comcast.net, mcneilel@aol.com, oca@po.state.ct.us, dand@davila-dilzer.com, attorney.general@po.state.ct.us, scott.murphy@po.state.ct.us, thomas.carson@usdoj.gov, thomas.ryan@po.state.ct.us, frank@courant.com, cpoitras@courant.com, williams@senatedems.ct.gov, William.Dyson@cga.ct.gov, McDonald@senatedems.ct.gov, Kenneth.Green@cga.ct.gov, meyer@senatedems.ct.gov, lew@lewrockwell.com, kenneth.marcus@po.state.ct.us, institute@thenation.com, james.phillips@yale.edu, ElizabethdelaVega@Verizon.net, paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com, sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com, handley@senatedems.ct.gov, ltgovernor.sullivan@p

CC :
crinminal.division@usdoj.gov, patrick.fitzgerald@usdoj.gov, christopher.christie@usdoj.gov, spinlyme@yahoogroups.com, ctlyme@yahoogroups.com

Subject :
Christopher Morano and False Confessions- Hartford Courant

From the Class Action re Morano: http://actionlyme.org/5_328_Torres_RI.htm

25- H) The Saraceno Case: Plaintiff KM Dickson suspects the integrity of ChiefState’s Attorney Christopher Morano due to what we learned in the HartfordCourant’s Northeast Magazine, Jan 9, 2005, regarding the Saraceno boy’s case:

“Saraceno was convicted and imprisoned but later released after a private investigation discovered that the prosecutor was protecting four other young men who almost certainly did the crime.

The chief state’s attorney’s officeuncomfortably joined in the defense in a motion to overturn the conviction. That should have freed the youth from further jeopardy.

Instead, in 1999, underthreat of extending the legal nightmare that had already cost his parents $100,000, Saraceno accepted guilt for “hindering prosecution by falsely confessing. ”

Under the statute of limitations, the state had allowed the five-year window for prosecuting the known suspects to close.

No one except the wrong man did jail time for the crime.

***

The law officer most responsible for compelling Saraceno to declare it was his fault is Chief State’s AttorneyChristopher Morano”.

*** Did anyone mention "CORRUPTICUT????" courant.com

[link snipped article in its entirety below]

Require Taped Confessions March 27 2006 Although Richard Lapointe was convicted of murder 14 years ago, his case still sticks in the craw of the state's criminal justice system. And it argues for the tape recording of criminal confessions.

A meek, awkward, mentally handicapped man with no history of violence, Mr. Lapointe was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of his wife's 88-year-oldgrandmother in Manchester in 1987.

Mr. Lapointe was convicted by his confession. Manchester police, unable to solve the crime for two years, invited Mr. Lapointe to the station on July 4, 1989, and kept him there for almost 10 hours.

He had no lawyer, and the interrogationsweren't recorded. Over the course of the evening, Mr. Lapointe signed threeconfessions. Two were absurd on their faces - in one he confessed but said hedidn't remember committing the crime - and a third was inconsistent with forensic evidence in the case, a Courant investigation found, and contained details almost certainly fed to him by police.

With no witnesses nor any probative forensic evidence, it was the admission ofguilt, such as it was, that did him in.

A confession is a powerful tool.

Jurors often don't believe that a person would confess to a crime he didn't commit.

Yet, according to experts such as Richard Ofshe, professor emeritus at theUniversity of California at Berkeley, false confessions happen all the time. An Illinois study found that coerced confessions were the leading cause of criminal convictions being overturned.

Particularly vulnerable are mentally handicapped persons, who often wish to please authority figures. Alone, tired, wanting to go home, Mr. Lapointe might have confessed to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand.

Did Mr. Lapointe, who stared blankly out the window at his trial while his public defenders fought to stave off the death penalty, understand what he wasdoing when he confessed? Was he coerced?

We would have a much better idea if the proceedings were recorded. Mr. Lapointe could very well be guilty, but his confession is suspect. For at least a decade, advocates have pushed for a law requiring that interrogations of suspects be recorded.

There's a bill now before the General Assembly that would require any interrogation or statement by someone being investigated for aserious crime, Class B felony or above, to be electronically recorded when feasible. When a statement is not recorded, a defendant would be allowed to so inform the jury. Such a law would be fair to suspects, encourage sound interrogation techniques and protect police officers from false claims of abuse. A handful of other states and many local jurisdictions require taping. Connecticut should as well.

Copyright 2006, Hartford Courant

--http://actionlyme.org



From the Hartford Courant:




EDITORIALS
Require Taped Confessions
March 27, 2006

Although Richard Lapointe was convicted of murder 14 years ago, his case still sticks in the craw of the state's criminal justice system. And it argues for the tape recording of criminal confessions.

A meek, awkward, mentally handicapped man with no history of violence, Mr. Lapointe was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of his wife's 88-year-old grandmother in Manchester in 1987.

Mr. Lapointe was convicted by his confession. Manchester police, unable to solve the crime for two years, invited Mr. Lapointe to the station on July 4, 1989, and kept him there for almost 10 hours. He had no lawyer, and the interrogations weren't recorded. Over the course of the evening, Mr. Lapointe signed three confessions.

Two were absurd on their faces - in one he confessed but said he didn't remember committing the crime - and a third was inconsistent with forensic evidence in the case, a Courant investigation found, and contained details almost certainly fed to him by police.

With no witnesses nor any probative forensic evidence, it was the admission of guilt, such as it was, that did him in. A confession is a powerful tool. Jurors often don't believe that a person would confess to a crime he didn't commit.

Yet, according to experts such as Richard Ofshe, professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, false confessions happen all the time. An Illinois study found that coerced confessions were the leading cause of criminal convictions being overturned.

Particularly vulnerable are mentally handicapped persons, who often wish to please authority figures. Alone, tired, wanting to go home, Mr. Lapointe might have confessed to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Did Mr. Lapointe, who stared blankly out the window at his trial while his public defenders fought to stave off the death penalty, understand what he was doing when he confessed?

Was he coerced?

We would have a much better idea if the proceedings were recorded. Mr. Lapointe could very well be guilty, but his confession is suspect. For at least a decade, advocates have pushed for a law requiring that interrogations of suspects be recorded. There's a bill now before the General Assembly that would require any interrogation or statement by someone being investigated for a serious crime, Class B felony or above, to be electronically recorded when feasible.

When a statement is not recorded, a defendant would be allowed to so inform the jury.

Such a law would be fair to suspects, encourage sound interrogation techniques and protect police officers from false claims of abuse. A handful of other states and many local jurisdictions require taping. Connecticut should as well.

Interact with The Courant:
> Email Reader Rep. Karen Hunter with comments.
> Visit Karen's daily Blog.
> View today's corrections.
> Contact a reporter.
> Subscribe to The Courant.
> Request reprints/permissions.
> Search our archives from 1764-1922 and 1992-2006.

* * * *

Do Legislators knowingly confirm judges that harm children?

Why should you care if a judicial nominee to a criminal and family court system never tried a criminal case and also has no family court experience is confirmed as a Judge by a Judicial Committee, that is more about back slapping and favors, than in actually serving and protecting the public?

The Italian and Jewish Mafia

Niggers and Second Class Citizens

With the Dream of Pediatric Prisons dancing in their heads

This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Click on white envelope below to share this post. This post accepts anonymous comments.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Do you have to be Paul Newman to get any attention for your cause or proposed legislation?






















POLITICS
Actors Give Face Time To Cause
March 25, 2006 By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Hartford Courant Capitol Bureau Chief

It wasn't your typical legislative hearing.

Spectators filled nearly every seat and lined the walls as a half-dozen television cameras panned the witnesses as they testified.

But these weren't your ordinary witnesses:

Three movie stars, led by state icon Paul Newman, came to push for a bill that would protect celebrities from having their images digitally exploited without their consent.

Friday afternoons are sometimes slow at the state Capitol as legislators and their aides ease into the weekend. But the presence of Newman, along with actor Christopher Plummer and actor and former cable talk-show host Charles Grodin, brought out the crowd.

Newman, in particular, was concerned about the huge advances in technology that could steal his image, which has been burnished nationally in high-profile movies and placed on Newman's Own food products.

The judiciary committee discussed the technology that burst into the public consciousness in the "Forrest Gump" movie, which placed actor Tom Hanks in scenes that only could have occurred decades earlier, such as meeting the late President Lyndon Johnson. The technology, however, has improved vastly since that 1994 movie.

"They could make a whole movie that looked like me, acted like me, sounded like me, but wasn't me," Newman told lawmakers Friday.

"Now that I think about it, they could do a porno flick."

The crowd burst into laughter.

"Technology is out there," Newman continued.

"The time to protect yourself is now."

The six-page bill would prohibit the commercial use of anyone's "name, voice, signature, photograph, image, likeness, distinctive appearance, gestures or mannerisms" without their permission.

Recognizing the First Amendment, the bill does not seek to stop political satire or stop look-alikes from impersonating well-known public figures such as President Bush. Saying he had no problem with impersonation, Grodin noted that actor Dana Carvey had impersonated him on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

"We're not talking about satirists and imitators," said Grodin, who was a guest host on the late-night show in 1977.

There is no federal law that would protect public figures whose images and photographs are misused. Instead, 19 states - including New York, California, and Florida - have adopted their own laws.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the problem could be addressed more simply with a federal law that would be uniform and nationwide in scope.

"There's no significant move at the federal level to do it," Blumenthal said.

Aside from the movie restrictions, for example, the bill would also cover anyone who tried to use Newman's likeness on a competing salad dressing that might be named Newman's Best instead of Newman's Own, Blumenthal said.

"In such cases of abuse, Connecticut statutory law fails to provide a clear basis to take legal action or collect damages," Blumenthal said.

"Under present law, Newman could sue, but all he could get would be some speculative damage."

The new law, if passed, would allow Newman to recover all the money that was made improperly through the unauthorized use of his image, Blumenthal said.

Interact with The Courant:
> Email Reader Rep. Karen Hunter with comments.
> Visit Karen's daily Blog.
> View today's corrections.
> Contact a reporter.
> Subscribe to The Courant.
> Request reprints/permissions.
> Search our archives from 1764-1922 and 1992-2006.

* * * *

Do Legislators knowingly confirm judges that harm children?

Why should you care if a judicial nominee to a criminal and family court system never tried a criminal case and also has no family court experience is confirmed as a Judge by a Judicial Committee, that is more about back slapping and favors, than in actually serving and protecting the public?

The Italian and Jewish Mafia

Niggers and Second Class Citizens

With the Dream of Pediatric Prisons dancing in their heads

This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Click on white envelope below to share this post. This post accepts anonymous comments.

Fear of Going Outside

...

I didn’t know anyone, while I was in Mississippi and Louisiana the last 6 months that I was there, that was afraid to go out their own front door.

Higher functioning, sane people, are living in fear, here in Connecticut.

The authorities lie, cheat, steal, and are out to hurt and retaliate. Obviously, not 100% of them, but if the majority are good, the good ones fear crossing the bad ones, so what you have is a State of Fear.

There are laws being proposed by legislators to ease restrictions and lessen the accountability of officials. Does this make sense in a climate where the checks and balances aren’t working, and official misconduct is probably at an all time high cycle?

If you complain about a perjury of Police, a Prosecutor, a Judge, or other misconduct nothing is done. Almost 100% of complaints against Judges were either just shredded shortly after being received or just not investigated. Police themselves in Connecticut can’t even fairly investigate crimes and inappropriate behavior when it involves two or more police officers interacting with each other, citizens don’t even rate for even that protection.

If you were to exam all court cases and all arrests in Connecticut you would have to assume 100% are correct, no errors, as there is no process to fix mistakes, misjudgments, and all out illegal official misconduct.

This can wear on an averages person’s sanity. Alcoholism is high in Russia as there is despair. Living in fear with despair has untold effects on families, citizens, children, here in the United States of America.

Torturing and Killing Off of the Elderly in Connecticut?

Winston Churchill's Black Dog (Depression)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?

...




Enfield Connecticut Judge Howard Scheinblum

Judge Scheinblum went before the Judicial Committee to be reappointed amid all sorts of accusations of improper, and Unconstitutional behavior as a Judge. There are hundreds of stories in newspapers and other publications critical of the Enfield Connecticut Superior Court Judge.

Even with accusations of serious breaches of the law, perjury, obstruction of justice, etc., the panel reconfirmed Scheinblum for another 8 year term. What!!!???

Chris Kennedy says he had proof that the Judge committed perjury under oath at the March 21 hearing at the Capitol in Hartford.

If that Judge can be confirmed there is on bottom to Connecticut cesspool of sleaze and corruption.


* * * *



Chris Kennedy of Ellington, Connecticut, stood alone against a judge that in my opinion, is one of the most blatantly arrogant, acting illegally, Unconstitutionally, and is helping retaliate against whistleblowers that try to expose Judicial, Prosecutorial, and Police Misconduct.

It is a shame that Chris Kennedy had to stand alone on your behalf, March 6, 2006, at the Judicial Hearing, Room 2C, at the Hartford State Capitol, for the whole State of Connecticut.

Chris’ email: cksubs@aol.com

(For a link to a partial rendering of the transcripts of March 6, scroll to bottom)

* * * *

Connecticut: In The News

OPED: ‘War on Drugs’ Not Meant to Be Won
Norwich Bulletin; June 4 2005
Chris Powell

With remarks to a civic group in Enfield recently, Superior Court Judge Howard Scheinblum engaged in what is seldom forgiven in Connecticut’s public life: candor.

The judge asserted what can neither be denied nor acknowledged — that public policy on drugs doesn’t work. Speaking from his 15 years of experience on the bench, Scheinblum estimated 90 percent of criminal cases in Connecticut are connected in some way to the pursuit of illegal drugs, and he asserted that society would be far better off to let users of such drugs obtain them by prescription and to be charged for them according to their ability to pay. More

* * * *

My Open Letter to Chief Justice William J. Sullivan of Connecticut

Police are often too arrogant and lazy in Connecticut to do their jobs regarding helping with quality of life issues for those living in mostly downtown areas. Minorities and those that are deemed worthless, “White Trash”, or what have you, don’t get police protection and service.

The three or more important families in a Connecticut town depend on certain people being kept in their place. Putting minority kids on the right track would mean intact families and less Federal dollars for processing, arresting, and throwing the Elitists’ unwanted citizens away to prisons. Breaking up families, especially those with kids that can be labeled, “Special Needs” is another boon for Connecticut to break up families and keep unwanted citizens, down and out.

If Connecticut wasn’t making a big profit on the drug trade in taxing it as a business in confiscated assets, property, and cash of middlemen, drugs wouldn’t be selling as they now are in the criminal breeding grounds, downtown Connecticut.


To share this post click on the white envelope. This post accepts anonymous comments.
This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

added April 30, 2006, 5:12 PM EST:

The Connecticut Judiciary Committee re-appointed Judge Howard Scheinblum even though they had been informed of what is in the transcripts below. Is that conspiracy and obstruction of justice? Should members of the committee be arrested with the exception of Rep. Green?

A link with some of the Judicial Hearing Transcripts, March 6, 2006, at the Hartford Capitol Building in the Legislative Section, Room 2C.

Smoking Gun Text: My Testimony March 21, 2006, in front of the Judiciary Committee, Hartford Connecticut

Liberty Taken, Free Speech Tested

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Connecticut Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano



Connecticut Chief States Attorney Christopher L. Morano

I talked with Chief State’s Attorney Christopher L. Morano yesterday night at the Capitol in Hartford.

I asked to speak to him and he pulled me out into the hallway outside room 2C of the Legislative Section of the Capitol.

I asked him why he wasn’t going to criminally prosecute any of Rell’s staff for election campaign actions where there were fines of $500 for improper campaign collections of donations during taxpayer paid hours worked.

That is theft and also encompasses a realm of impropriety and stinks of corruption. After Rowland was sent to federal prison for corruption related charges, his former staff, commissioners, and others should have known better.

Something stinks and I think the Chief State’s Attorney and others need to be federally investigated, and the federal investigators should not be from offices in Connecticut where everyone knows each other, socializes with each other, and works together to silence whistleblowers from within and also barbecue anyone out in the public that dare say, “boo.”

It is my opinion that Morano owes favors and is so entwined in the backroom deals, back scratching, and covering up for others, the people of Connecticut will have to suffer and pay for all the illegal acts and waste of a government out of control which includes all 3 branches and every department in the state.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Corrupt Connecticut Courts and Police hide much of this statewide:

CONNECTICUT NEWS
`Sheriff' In The Cross Hairs
March 19, 2006 By JOSH KOVNER And MARY ELLEN FILLO, Hartford Courant Staff Writers

Cheryl and John Hummel of Rocky Hill were looking forward to moving into their new house, but the builder, a fiery fellow named John Raffa, had other ideas.

In 1994, the landscaping had not been finished and there was a pile of construction debris in the back. So Raffa, who said he was owed money by the bank, drove a backhoe onto the front yard of the Sunny Crest Drive house to block the Hummels' moving truck.

Police and lawyers were called, Raffa stormed off, locks were changed by the family, and the Hummels were left with a memory of Raffa that will last a lifetime.

Raffa, now Westbrook's first selectman and facing two felony charges for allegedly abusing the power of his office, can have that effect on people.

A review of his business, political and family life in Rocky Hill, where he remained active until 2003, reveals a hot-tempered man who occasionally lashed out with hostility at anyone in his way. Some of his behavior foreshadowed the situation he finds himself in today.

The image of Raffa atop a backhoe may feel familiar to some in Westbrook. Town employees, contractors and others who have had confrontations with the first selectman have all heard him utter the clarion call of his four stormy months in office:

"There's a new sheriff in town."

But the "new sheriff" is in trouble. He was charged in February with attempted extortion and coercion. Prosecutors allege he tried to get his old Rocky Hill business partner, Richard Tulisano, to drop a 2003 lawsuit over a business dispute by holding hostage a Westbrook housing development being pursued by one of Tulisano's clients.

Sources said last week that the same law officers who arrested him in the Tulisano case are now reviewing for any criminal conduct two unauthorized building inspections Raffa did in December on a Boston Post Road restaurant owned by a campaign donor.

The inspections on a foundation for an addition being built by Pazza owner Louis Polidoro occurred four days after Polidoro made a $200 contribution to Raffa's campaign, and four days after Building Official Roger Zito had issued a stop-work order on the project. In his inspections, Raffa deemed the project in compliance - although his finding carried no weight. The project was allowed to proceed only after an inspection by an outside building official, requested by the Westbrook inspector.

Polidoro said in an interview that he asked Raffa to intervene, and that the first selectman responded "to help out a taxpayer who was trying to get his project in the ground."

The state building inspector rebuked Raffa in January, writing in a letter to Raffa that the inspections violated state statutes and the building code because Raffa isn't a certified building inspector. Raffa was ordered to stop doing inspections immediately.

A Town DividedRaffa is a real-estate broker and developer in his private life. He bought a house near the water in Westbrook in 1994, but maintained a house in Rocky Hill until 2003. He never attended a public meeting and was completely below the public radar for 11 years in Westbrook - until the Republican town committee tapped him in 2005 to oppose two-term Democratic First Selectman Tony Palermo.

At the time, Raffa also was a Democrat. He switched parties, officially becoming a Republican in September 2005, about two months before the election.

Westbrook was a town divided. Voters had rejected a string of budget proposals; pro-education and anti-tax factions were at each other's throats; and the anti-tax group Save Westbrook had begun a powerful anti-Palermo movement.Raffa had to do very little campaigning and parlayed Save Westbrook's anti-incumbent sentiment into an election victory.

"Save Westbrook vehemently opposed me," Palermo said.

"They did all the dirty work for him."Republican leaders were happy to let Save Westbrook and Palermo slug it out.

"You don't step in the middle of a bar fight," said Sidney Holbrook, a former top aide to former Gov. John G. Rowland who is now chairman of the Westbrook Republican Party.

Holbrook said Raffa ran because "he wanted to bring harmony and integrity back to a town divided by budget issues."

"It's unfortunate things have turned out the way they have," he said.

"But people should not jump to the conclusion that because he's been arrested, or because the newspaper editorial says he should go, that that's necessarily the case. I've been around long enough to know it's not."

Raffa has refused to step down from his Westbrook post, a full-time job that pays $58,000 a year, and there is no state law or local regulation that would require him to, nor is there any recourse for the voters. At a brief appearance in Superior Court in Middletown last week, he said through lawyer Jeremiah Donovan that he plans to take the case to trial, a process that could span his entire two-year term.

Raffa refused to be interviewed for this story.

`We Trusted This Man'

"Let each man exercise the art he knows," says the write-up under Raffa's 1966 Rocky Hill High School yearbook picture.

Even then, the high school graduate, who was described in the yearbook as having "a mind of his own," wrote that he was interested in politics, and wanted to be a real estate agent.

In the class will, where others wrote of leaving behind items to the school, Raffa said he was leaving "to see his grandfather," with whom he was very close.

In 1990, he named the main road through his Whispering Woods development Speno Ridge Road, in honor of his grandfather, John Speno.

Raffa's foray into local Rocky Hill politics began as a Republican in the late 1970s when he was appointed to the planning and zoning commission and elected as a constable. He made an unsuccessful run for town council but was drafted by the GOP in 1981 to run for mayor.

Although he lost the mayoral race, he garnered enough votes to win a tumultuous two-year seat on the town council. Later, he switched to the Democratic Party.

Those who know Raffa best say John Speno may have had a hand in molding Raffa's strong-willed and often brazen persona. A well-known landowner who was considered smart, outspoken and bold, Speno, who died in 1983, saw himself as the "godfather" of the close Italian family that lived on Parsonage Street.

Friends said Speno clearly favored his young grandson, who could usually be found at Speno's side, and said it was not surprising that Raffa followed in his footsteps by pursuing real estate and development as a career.

But there were missteps along the way.

The 1994 backhoe incident left the Hummels shaken.

"When we first met him he was nice and polite, the way people are when they want your business," said Cheryl Hummel.

"We trusted this man and that was a big mistake."

Hummel said after the confrontation, Raffa would call the house and leave threatening messages on the family's answering machine. She and her husband ended up footing the $5,000 bill for removing the construction trash and landscaping the yard.

"I'm not surprised at what is happening to him now," she added.

In the early 1990s, Raffa accused Rocky Hill cable TV host Ed Peruta of stealing a $500 donation Raffa had made to the cable-access station. Raffa's claim became part of a police investigation into allegations of fraud against Peruta. No wrongdoing was ever found. Peruta sued the police department and the town in federal court, and won $35,000 in 1995.

On Feb. 17, 1999, Raffa was arrested by Rocky Hill police and charged with threatening another contractor. He was not convicted, and no public record of the case remains.

In 2003, when the planning and zoning commission found problems with the work and pulled the remaining bond on his Whispering Woods development, Raffa spewed profanities at commission members. He would complain regularly during public portions of council and planning and zoning meetings that the planning and zoning staff did not know what they were doing.

"I've had complaints from staff," said Rocky Hill Town Manager Barbara Gilbert about Raffa, who, she said, has never confronted her.

"He knows better."

Raffa had some personal struggles. He divorced twice, and failed to repay his late aunt, Virginia Speno, a $300,000 loan, according to probate records. The son of Elizabeth Speno Raffa, a revered woman in Rocky Hill who died in January, Raffa eventually became estranged from his family. His brother, Thomas Raffa, declined to comment for this story.

Some people were embarrassed or repelled by his aggressive temperament; others admired him for his blunt, direct approach and his drive as a businessman.

"There were times when he would say things and I would want to just crawl under the table," said Donald Unwin, a longtime Republican council member and former mayor in Rocky Hill who served on the town's governing body with Raffa.

"He was the kind of guy who had a short fuse, was passionate and opinionated," Unwin added. "He would publicly disparage employees, and it occurred enough times that I finally said something to him. We locked horns at one point, probably because of his style, and he left the party."

In contrast, Councilwoman Barbara Surwilo found Raffa's "in-your-face style" engaging.

"In my view he is an honest man, a strong man. He had a reputation as a tough businessman and a man who took care of his finances," said Surwilo, a Democrat and former mayor who also served on the planning and zoning commission.

"I would trust John," said Surwilo, a longtime family friend who said Raffa became estranged from his family after some property it owned was given as a gift to his brother.

Raffa recently married for the third time.

Concern Is GrowingThe difference between Raffa in his freewheeling Rocky Hill days and Raffa now is that as Westbrook's chief administrator his demeanor and behavior never mattered more.

In a town of 6,655 that is trying to overcome budget problems, disappointing school test scores and an image that is less glossy than its wealthier shoreline neighbors, Raffa's actions have sabotaged his own reform efforts and inspired more suspicion than confidence in town government.

Though he still has the support of Holbrook and the Republican leadership, a growing number of Westbrook residents, including some Republicans, are feeling angry and betrayed.

"People are proud to be from Westbrook but frustrated and disappointed. Now, when you say you're from Westbrook, wherever you turn, people say, `What's going on in your town?'" said resident Christopher Ehlert, a Democrat who has been active on town commissions.

Some townspeople are worried that the felony charges, the mounting scrutiny of Raffa's interference with the building inspection process and his tendency to question projects linked to the previous administration will jeopardize state grants and town services.

For example, Westbrook learned in November that it had been granted $45,000 by the state to furnish and equip a kitchen in the town's new senior center. The project to transform the basement level of town hall into a senior center was initiated and largely completed during Palermo's administration. Four months later, Raffa's office has yet to send back to the state the paperwork that would release the grant for the kitchen work.

In November, he declared invalid a temporary certificate of occupancy issued for an addition to the middle school in August. Lawrence Lariviere, chairman of the school building committee, was troubled by Raffa's action, which he suspected was politically motivated.

"That was a valid and legal TCO. The committee knew it, the construction manager knew it. The only thing the committee can think of was that John Raffa was trying to say that the former administration, Tony Palermo, had put kids in an unsafe building. We'd never do that, and we didn't do it. This was a political thing," said Lariviere, a Republican who has helped oversee $50 million in school projects for the town.

There is no organized movement to express dissatisfaction with Raffa. Westbrook has an ethics statement that bars town officials from benefiting financially from their positions, but, unlike many communities, there's no ethics board to hear complaints.

"We know he's legally entitled to keep the job," said Marilyn Ozols, the Democratic town chairwoman.

"There's more and more concern on the part of the townspeople about whether he has the ability to effectively lead the town under these circumstances."

Interact with The Courant:
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Propaganda on the Net

...

Governor M. Jodi Rell's Chief of Staff has been accused of violating campaign laws. Many high ranking officials may face fines over improper behaviors. Why hasn't any of these law breakers been arrested?

From the RS RedState blog:





McCain Stumps For Rell

By: California Yankee · Section: Election 2006

Arizona Senator John McCain campaigned for Governor Rell saying that electing Connecticut's Republican governor to a full term would show the nation that now is the time for reform.

The Hartford Courant's Mark Pazniokas reports McCain reinforced Governor Rell's image as an ethics and campaign-finance reformer who restored faith in government since a corruption investigation forced the resignation of Governor Rowland:

"When we elect Jodi again, this time on her own, I think we will send a message to the country that reform's time has come," McCain said. "It's come time in Washington. It's come time in Arizona and California. And we can look to the state of Connecticut as a model for reform."

More


* * * *

CONNECTICUT NEWS
E-Mail Case To Be Probed Hearings Planned On Official's Disclosure Of Confidential Information
March 18, 2006
By JON LENDER, EDMUND H. MAHONY, And MARK PAZNIOKAS Hartford Courant Staff Writers

Lawmakers said Friday that they will investigate the actions of state election enforcement Director Jeffrey B. Garfield after the disclosure that he sent confidential information to Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign manager and let him act as a go-between in negotiations to settle charges of fundraising violations by top Rell administration officials.

"I've got to say I am really upset about these revelations," said Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the legislative elections committee, which plans a hearing within a few weeks. Caruso said he expects to call Garfield, Rell campaign manager Kevin Deneen, and Rell chief of staff M. Lisa Moody, with whom Deneen says he talked about his contacts with Garfield.

Rell responded with an emphatic endorsement of Deneen's actions in soliciting an e-mail from Garfield last month. The e-mail attached a copy of a proposed legal settlement with 16 commissioners and deputy commissioners, all of whom were accused of illegally soliciting money for Rell's campaign.

"It was a campaign violation and a campaign violation that had gone to the elections enforcement commission," Rell said.

"As campaign manager, as an attorney, who wanted to make sure that if there was anything he could do to facilitate it, he had every right to do that."But Caruso and other Democratic officials countered with Garfield's previous pronouncements that Rell's campaign was not a party to the elections case.

"The campaign was not a target, so some questions need to be answered as to why the campaign manager needed to be involved," said Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn.

Friday's developments came after The Courant's disclosure of an e-mail that Garfield sent to Deneen on Feb. 10.

In that e-mail, obtained through a freedom of information request, Garfield told Deneen the attached draft agreement contained "the most neutral language I can provide to resolve this matter, giving the commissioners and deputies the full benefit of all doubt. Let me know how you make out in your discussions."

Garfield this week said that in retrospect he "may have made a mistake" in giving such sensitive information to Deneen, who, although he is an attorney, did not have a client in the case. Deneen acknowledged his motive was "to get this resolved for the sake of the campaign."

The agreements were finally signed and the elections commission on March 8 approved settlements with all 16, calling for $500 fines but no admission of any violation of a law banning commissioners and deputies from soliciting campaign contributions. Moody, who precipitated the officials' troubles by telling them to hand their subordinates invitations to a Dec. 7 Rell fundraiser, did not fall under the law and was spared legal sanctions. Democratic Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, long a Garfield ally, said she was "incredibly disappointed" by his actions, "because it appears that no one is watching the watchdogs."

She said the incident spotlights a need to consider changing state law to establish a now-lacking "mechanism for redress" - possible discipline or even removal of an enforcement official such as Garfield. She said in this case Garfield appeared to be "deliberately trying to curry favor with the governor."

Democratic Lt. Gov. Kevin B. Sullivan said Garfield and his agency "were so focused on settlement that they in effect swept this under the rug, and I am very, very disappointed in the way Jeff handled this."

But Garfield got better reviews from his bosses on the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

"The commissioners intend no further action on this," commission Chairman Stephen Cashman said after talking with Garfield and with two of the three other members of the panel.

"I don't think that it was wrong."

"I think we agreed with his assessment that he made an error in judgment ... that, given the position of attorney Deneen, it perhaps would have been better that he not release the information."

But, Cashman added, "we are comfortable no policies were violated and certainly no laws were violated."

But Democrats said the commission's resolution of the case may now be compromised.

"The commission is supposed to be a watchdog agency, independent of political pressure. Instead, Gov. Rell's campaign manager tainted the investigation and undermined its credibility," said New Haven Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial contender John DeStefano.

"It is clearly improper for a campaign manager to negotiate with a government entity, and to be in touch with state commissioners acting as a go-between," said Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Dannel Malloy, the mayor of Stamford.

"If the special legislative investigation finds that laws have been violated, then the issue has to be referred to the proper investigative authorities for further action, and possibly a grand jury."

"I think we've had the highest regard for Jeff Garfield over the years as a very professional and very thoughtful individual," said committee co-Chairman Donald DeFronzo, the Democratic New Britain senator who joined Caruso at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to announce plans for the hearing.

"We're a bit concerned by the actions in this specific case and are eager to hear his side of the story. We are equally perplexed, though, by the role the Rell campaign has played in this event. An uninvolved third party, obviously with the potential of wielding considerable influence on this process, is essentially acting as a broker for the commissioners that were the subject of this complaint."

Legislative Republicans dismissed Democrats' statements as election-year politics.

"They continue to see their two candidates in various polling pale in comparison, and they need to do something about that," said Deputy House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk.

"They are going to have a hearing for the purpose of embarrassing the governor."

"Quite frankly I don't think the Republicans should participate in the public hearing," said state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield.

Interact with The Courant:
> Email Reader Rep. Karen Hunter with comments.
> Visit Karen's daily Blog.
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> Contact a reporter.
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> Search our archives from 1764-1922 and 1992-2006.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Who is Carla Martin and why is she in trouble?















Government lawyer Carla Martin has been placed on administrative leave.

Lawyer excoriated by both sides after Moussaoui trial blunder
From Phil HirschkornCNN

Thursday, March 16, 2006; Posted: 8:30 p.m. EST (01:30 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Who is Carla Jean Martin and how did she wind up in so much trouble?

Until Monday, Martin, 51, was a mid-career attorney working in relative obscurity at the Transportation Safety Administration.

Now she's a fixture in the news.

It began with the disclosure of conduct that threatens to derail the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to face a U.S. jury in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. More from CNN

I’m not saying whether or not I think she is guilty of anything, but lawyer that actually defend their clients put themselves at risk of being arrested, put in prison themselves, and losing everything they ever worked for in their lives. Bad lawyers can keep charging clients more and more money as they bumble and drag thing out as far as they can. Good doctors that heal their patients, and good lawyers can go broke, and worse.

Help Chris Kennedy remove a Judge









John DiBiase and Chris Kennedy (more info)






From : Cksubs@aol.com

Sent :
Thursday, March 16, 2006 2:19 PM

To :
FATHERS-L@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM, connecticutcivilrightscouncil@yahoogroups.com, usafathers@yahoo.com, f4jnewengland@yahoogroups.com
Subject :
Open the Crack Judicial Armor


Inbox
Here is a chance to remove a corrupt judge.

Following my testimony and evidence presented at a public hearing last week, the Judicial Committee in CT is investigating Judge Howard Scheinblum of Enfield Court. This is the criminal court judge who threatens defendants to plead guilty without council and to take what ever the prosecutor offers.

For 2-1/2 years he delayed my case, remove two of my attorneys and denied every motion I filed for speedy trial, for jury trial, for facts for my arrest...etc, as frivolous. I was arrested for refusing to return the children to the mother when she was gone for the night with her boyfriend. The prosecutor withdrew his agreement to nolle/dismiss this case when judge Kaplan of Rockville family court called him and ordered my prosecution for complaints I had filed against judges in Family court.

Scheinblum issued a protective order to take away my kids and delayed the case so my children went fatherless for 2 years.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2006 at 1:00 at the Legislative office Building (LOB) Room 2C

If you can't come in person to testify of the corruption in the court system then send a letter to the Judicial Committee, Room 2500, LOB, Hartford CT 06106, Reference Judge Howard Scheinblum, Judicial Corruption

WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT HE WILL BE REAPPOINTED FOR 8 MORE YEARS

I have been arrested three times for my complaints against judges like him and I need support to avoid another! I am trying to place ads in the local papers for people who have gone before him.

Chris Kennedy
Ellington, CT 06029
860-871-8538(H)

* * * *

Is the State of Connecticut Defrauding the I.R.S.?

5 to 4 in the Supreme Court, THE DAY FREEDOM DIED

Are there man unfriendly states?

Will Connecticut Judges have free reign to continue to abuse citizens?

...

Panel to squelch constitutional amendment establishing court oversight
By Tom Breen, Journal Inquirer Staff Writer
03/15/2006

HARTFORD -- A measure that would allow citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment stating that the powers of state courts are determined by statute will not likely make it to the next stage of the legislative process.

Three Democrats sitting on the committee the proposal is currently before voted with seven Republicans Monday not to move it forward. Although voting hasn't closed on the resolution yet, 10 no votes in a committee of 20 likely means the measure is dead for the current session, according to a co-chairman of the committee.

"I'm not surprised by the vote," Sen. Donald J. DeFronzo, D-New Britain, cochairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, said.

"It's been a futile effort so far."DeFronzo was one of seven committee members who voted in favor of the resolution, which would put a constitutional amendment before voters establishing that the powers and jurisdiction of state courts will be determined by statute.

Advocates said in testimony last week that judges currently act as de-facto legislators, meeting in secret conventions to pass rules for the courts which function as laws. Opponents of the measure, though, said it would violate the constitutional separation of powers between the different branches of government.

"This goes to basic issues of separation of powers," Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford, said Monday.

"This jeopardizes the independence of the Judicial Department."The Constitution currently says that the powers of the courts are to be determined by law, a stipulation that Rep. James F. Spallone, D-Essex, said made the proposed amendment virtually redundant.

Spallone, who is vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would also have to approve the proposal, was one of three Democrats to vote against it Monday, along with Rep. Demetrios S. Giannaros, D-Farmington, and Rep. Thomas J. Drew, D-Fairfield. They were joined by the seven Republican members of the committee in opposing the measure.

Drew said testimony did shed light on "unacceptable management practices" in the judicial branch, but said ultimately he was convinced the amendment would be a violation of the separation of powers.

Advocates of the measure, though, said the separation clause refers more to the exercise of powers than to the definition of powers. Rep. Christopher L. Caruso, D-Bridgeport, cited a law passed by the General Assembly forbidding courts from releasing the records of juveniles as an example of the legislature defining the powers of the courts.

"The reason this bill hasn't made it too far, I think, is the number of attorneys who populate this building," Caruso said.

The measure has been raised in previous years, usually passing the GAE committee but dying in another body.

DeFronzo said the measure would have given the public a degree of control over the judiciary that other states achieve by electing judges.

"I don't think this is an unreasonable proposal in a state where we have so little control over the judiciary," he said.

Although not getting committee approval doesn't mean a. proposal is completely finished, DeFronzo said it's unlikely in this case that the proposed amendment will return in another form during the current session.

©Journal Inquirer 2006

freespeech.com

...

freespeech.com is down. For those emailing me asking why, I don’t know. You can search my name on yahoo or google and use freespeech.com and a subject, etc, to find old posts. Then click on the cached link. That will allow you to read the old posts if freespeech.com doesn’t come back on line.

Freespeech.com has done a lot of good for many people. It has been a vehicle to preserve Free Speech and has been invaluable keeping many from being ground to a pulp in a state that has no end in sight for its abuse of its citizens, Connecticut.

Thank you, Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas
stevengerickson@yahoo.com

blogsearchengine.com and technorati.com are useful tools for doing word searches in the blog world.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Free Speech takes hits constantly from the Connecticut State Police

...

Way to go Tracy.
-Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas

`Great Day' For Rights State Trooper Wins $450,000 Settlement
March 13, 2006By TRACY GORDON FOX, Courant Staff Writer

The victory of a state trooper who recently won a $450,000 settlement in a free-speech case will have repercussions beyond the Connecticut State Police, legal experts say.

"It will enhance the rights of all whistleblowers in government and will give courage to government employees who see wrongdoing and who have been afraid to say anything," said attorney John R. Williams of New Haven.

Roger Vann, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said his colleagues in the state and nation noted the settlement, and "the comments were that it seemed to be a very significant settlement and development for free speech rights for state employees."

"It was a great day for the Bill of Rights," Vann said.

"It just underscores the importance of recognizing that people in all professions, whether public or private, have free speech rights."

The case stemmed from a complaint lodged by Trooper Mark Lauretano, who alleged that his supervisors violated his right to free speech by preventing him from speaking about a sexual assault case involving a boy at Hotchkiss School in Salisbury in 1997. He also alleged that the department retaliated against him for seeking to exercise that right.

Other public agencies should take notice of the court ruling and the recent settlement with Lauretano, experts say. The settlement, which included attorney's fees, was reached in January, but made public this month.

"This absolutely applies to all government agencies," Williams said.

"It's a federal court ruling, and the state of Connecticut accepted the settlement, not for chump change, but for major, major money. I think it will be hugely significant for Connecticut."

Although the case is not binding in federal districts in other states, it could be cited in legal arguments brought in similar cases, legal experts say.

Judge Dominic J. Squatrito, in U.S. District Court in Hartford in 2004, ruled that a state police policy restricting troopers from talking to the media was unconstitutional.

Squatrito imposed a permanent injunction ending the state police media policy, and enjoined the state police from preventing employees from speaking out freely on matters of public concern.

The judge said the department's administrative and operations manual violated troopers' right to free speech.

"We should have those freedoms and those rights," said state police union President David LeBlanc, adding that the Lauretano settlement should help ensure troopers' free speech rights.

Lauretano in 1999 sued the state, Public Safety Commissioner Arthur Spada, Cols. John Bardelli and Edmond C. Brunt and Lt. Col. Timothy Barry for their refusal to allow him to speak about the investigation of how he conducted the Hotchkiss case, even though they spoke publicly about it.

After Squatrito's judgment, Lauretano was prepared to go to trial for damages, but Attorney General Richard Blumenthal decided to abandon his appeal of the ruling.

"My guess is the attorney general's office had to be aware their chances on appeal were slim," said attorney Karen Lee Torre, who represented Lauretano.

"It is a hefty price, but all I can tell you is I offered to settle these cases early on, and every time my efforts are rebuffed."

Torre and Lauretano declined to discuss the settlement amount, but a portion of it went to attorney's fees.

Blumenthal at first said he was appealing the decision at the request of Public Safety Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle.

But he said he decided to settle to "avoid a lengthy, costly litigation when there can be an agreement that serves the public interest."

"This settlement, in our view, serves the public interest," he said.

Blumenthal said he would advise other state agencies to establish policies similar to the one being put in place by the state police.

"Agencies should be aware of this settlement and the general First Amendment principles that have been applied," he said.

Lauretano, who is Salisbury resident state trooper, said he has had calls from troopers and employees of other agencies since the settlement "because a lot of them are facing the same kind of criticism."

"They know how important it is," Lauretano said of the decision and the settlement.

"It's a mentality that infests the agency," he said Thursday.

He and other troopers believe they now have more freedom to speak, but he said he is troubled that the state police has not changed its media policy in its administrative and operations manual.

Boyle said the state police reached an agreement with Lauretano on what the manual should say regarding media policy. He said the department wants to make sure the policy satisfies its agreement with Lauretano and the judge's ruling.

The media policy "is not done yet, although it will be very shortly," Boyle said.

"The policy is much more expansive and allows employees great access to the media."

The Lauretano case is not the first in which the state has had to pay a significant amount in a free speech case. In 1998, Supervisory Inspector Gregory Dillon sued Chief State's Attorney John M. Bailey, claiming violation of First Amendment rights, and was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages. He eventually reached a $1.5 million settlement. Dillon was a whistleblower who alleged that federal agents on a joint state-federal fugitive task force were fabricating information on arrest warrant affidavits.

Torre said the case against the state police is significant for government employees statewide and nationwide because it addresses flawed media policies, not just individual whistleblowers.

"It's a federal court precedent that can add assistance to law enforcement employees who go to work every day and who are under the chokehold of these agencies," she said.

Interact with The Courant:
> Email Reader Rep. Karen Hunter with comments.
> Visit Karen's daily Blog.
> View today's corrections.
> Contact a reporter.
> Subscribe to The Courant.
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> Search our archives from 1764-1922 and 1992-2006.

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Blogger's Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials- Notice

Testing the First Amendment in the US is Dangerous

Abolish the Connecticut State Police
Connecticut State Police Misconduct?

Is the State of Connecticut Defrauding the I.R.S.?

Former CT Gov. gets released from Federal Prison
More

Does complaining about heroin and crack cocaine being sold off of your downtown American property result in police assistance or false arrests and imprisonment?

Code Enforcement and Revenue CollectionRacist and anti-small business courts?

The informant system taxes the illegal drug delivery system as a business

This post accepts anonymous comments. Share this post by clicking on white envelope below. This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Rat-Squirrel Not Extinct After All



AP Photo

More Photos

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 10, 7:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON - It has the face of a rat and the tail of a skinny squirrel — and scientists say this creature discovered living in central Laos is pretty special: It's a species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years.

The long-whiskered rodent made international headlines last spring when biologists declared they'd discovered a brand new species, nicknamed the Laotian rock rat.
It turns out the little guy isn't new after all, but a rare kind of survivor: a member of a family until now known only from fossils.

Nor is it a rat. This species, called Diatomyidae, looks more like small squirrels or tree shrews, said paleontologist Mary Dawson of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Dawson, with colleagues in France and China, report the creature's new identity in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The resemblance is "absolutely striking," Dawson said. As soon as her team spotted reports about the rodent's discovery, "we thought, 'My goodness, this is not a new family. We've known it from the fossil record.'"

They set out to prove that through meticulous comparisons between the bones of today's specimens and fossils found in China and elsewhere in Asia.

To reappear after 11 million years is more exciting than if the rodent really had been a new species, said George Schaller, a naturalist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which unveiled the creature's existence last year. Indeed, such reappearances are so rare that paleontologists dub them "the Lazarus effect."

"It shows you it's well worth looking around in this world, still, to see what's out there," Schaller said.

The nocturnal rodent lives in Laotian forests largely unexplored by outsiders, because of the geographic remoteness and history of political turmoil.

Schaller calls the area "an absolute wonderland," because biologists who have ventured in have found unique animals, like a type of wild ox called the saola, barking deer, and never-before-seen bats. Dawson describes it as a prehistoric zoo, teeming with information about past and present biodiversity.

All the attention to the ancient rodent will be "wonderful for conservation," Schaller said. "This way, Laos will be proud of that region for all these new animals, which will help conservation in that some of the forests, I hope, will be preserved."

Locals call the rodent kha-nyou. Scientists haven't yet a bagged a breathing one, only the bodies of those recently caught by hunters or for sale at meat markets, where researchers with the New York-based conservation society first spotted the creature.

Now the challenge is to trap some live ones, and calculate how many still exist to tell whether the species is endangered, Dawson said.

The above found here on the web

3 Stooges Ethics Committees

















New ethics regulator mum on backlogged Rowland, Silvester probes
By Don Michak, Journal Inquirer
03/09/2006

The recently appointed executive director of the Office of State Ethics is refusing to say whether the agency will complete as many as 40 investigations initiated by its predecessor, the now-defunct State Ethics Commission.

Benjamin Bycel said in an interview that he would make no comment about plans to tackle the backlog left by the former ethics panel, which included a probe of at least one close associate of the corrupt former Gov. John G. Rowland.

Bycel, who took control of the state ethics office three months ago, said he had a longstanding policy of speaking to the media only after an investigation was completed and a complaint or charge was actually levied. He added that would not deviate from that policy even to respond to questions that were not about specific probes. Bycel also refused to say whether the ethics office would continue to pursue individuals involved in the payment of lucrative "finder's fees" by investment partnerships that did business with state pension fund under its former overseer, the corrupt ex-state Treasurer Paul Silvester.

Such fees were at the center of the secret deals in which Silvester designated his own "finders" and diverted some of the money for political purposes.

Bycel referred questions about the Rowland and Silvester scandal figures to the interim enforcement officer at the ethics office, Dennis Curtis, a Yale Law School professor and former colleague of Bycel's at the Los Angeles Ethics Commission. Curtis did not return telephone calls to his office and home.

Before the demise of the State Ethics Commission, its investigators had mounted probes that involved several Rowland administration figures and assorted cronies - including a longtime friend of the former governor, millionaire developer Robert V. Matthews. Matthews, who now spends much of the year at his landmark mansion by the sea in Palm Beach, Fla., had treated Rowland to a free vacation there. His various companies received at least $29 million in state contracts, subsidies, and rent during Rowland's tenure as governor.

Matthews also was involved in an unsuccessful attempt to convince a Pennsylvania company in which he and former Connecticut Development Authority Chairman Arthur H. Diedrick had invested to become a tenant in a New Haven building owned by the developer. The company's former president has said Matthews promised to use his friendship with Rowland to secure state economic development money to pay for the move and Matthews managed to get Rowland to personally lobby for the relocation during a telephone call after a golf match.

The legislative committee that weighed impeaching Rowland also found that Matthews paid greatly inflated rates to rent and then buy through a straw man at twice its value Rowland's Washington, D.C., condominium.

The Matthews probe, which ethics commission staffers began in 2003, and most of the others involving individuals linked to both Rowland and Silvester, were suspended pending possible action by federal prosecutors.

The Silvester scandal involved more than $12 million in fees collected by "finders" during the former state treasurer's 17-month tenure, including former state Senate President William A. DiBella and other politically connected individuals.

DiBella is challenging a civil fraud complaint lodged against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused him of aiding and abetting Silvester in a scheme that was to deliver DiBella a $525,000 payoff.

©Journal Inquirer 2006

* * * *

3 Stooges National Security Service

Dirty, Sleazy, Dirty, Sleazy ...

...

Legislators grill Morano about decision not to prosecute commissioners
By Tom Breen, Journal Inquirer
03/09/2006

HARTFORD (Connecticut) - The state's top law enforcement official was grilled Wednesday by legislators who said his decision not to prosecute members of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's administration guilty of elections violations effectively means that "crime pays" for Connecticut politicians.

Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano, while trying to avoid discussing specific investigations, told legislators that the standard of evidence required for criminal prosecutions didn't exist in cases such as the ones involving Rell's aides.

That answer didn't sit well with members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

"Because you backed off on the prosecution, what it's done is set election law on its ear," Rep. Christopher L. Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the committee, told Morano.

"In the state of Connecticut, under this law, crime pays," Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, himself a former prosecutor, said.

"It doesn't get prosecuted - crime pays."

Morano, though, told the legislators that a different standard of evidence exists under the law for criminal prosecutions than for civil, administrative punishments.In administrative matters, he said, a minimal standard of evidence exists, but for criminal prosecutions more evidence is needed.

"I didn't set that on its ear," he said.

"That is the law we have to follow."

On Wednesday, 16 members of Rell's administration were issued $500 fines by the state Elections Enforcement Commission for illegally giving subordinates invitations to a campaign fundraiser for the governor.

The 13 commissioners and three deputy commissioners were given invitations to distribute to a Dec. 7 fundraiser at the Marco Polo in East Hartford by M. Lisa Moody, Rell's chief of staff.

Moody was suspended for two weeks by Rell, but wasn't fined because a quirk in the law means the ban on solicitations doesn't apply to chiefs of staff.Last month, Morano concluded a seven-week investigation by saying there wasn't sufficient evidence to demonstrate that commissioners had "knowingly and willfully" solicited campaign contributions from subordinates, which is illegal.

A state Supreme Court case, Morano said, had established guidelines for determining what the words "knowingly and willfully" meant in terms of criminal prosecution.

"What evidence do you need?" Caruso asked Morano.

"Can we honestly say the commissioners weren't knowingly and willingly aware of what they were doing?"

Evidence that some commissioners knew what they were doing was at least wrong, Caruso said, includes that at least one commissioner - public works Commissioner James Fleming - refused to hand out the invitations because he believed it was illegal to do so.

Morano, though, said he was unable to fully explain his reasons for not pursuing criminal charges, because a state law prohibits prosecutors from discussing the details of cases that involve unsubstantiated allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

"I don't want to play games," he said.

"I want to be as open and candid as I can."

Morano was before the committee ostensibly to testify on a bill that would close some of the loopholes in campaign law exposed by the December fundraiser.

The law would include, for example, the governor's chief of staff in the bans on campaigning or soliciting while on state time. But Morano suggested that to make the law consistent, the committee consider applying the ban to all state employees.

Beneath the jousting over the language of the law and the correct way to interpret Supreme Court decisions, though, was the question of politics.

Morano said starting the investigation into the fundraiser in "an incredibly politically charged milieu" was a risky decision, and pointedly said the governor's office had nothing to do with his decision not to prosecute.

"There was nothing from the governor's office, not any intimidation or verbal persuasion, or anything that affected our decision in this case," he said.

The chief state's attorney isn't appointed by the governor, but by a committee appointed by the governor. The General Assembly ratifies the appointment.

At times, the questioning seemed to fall along political lines, with Democratic committee members directing pointed questions at Morano, and Republican members generally offering support for his decision not to prosecute.

"All of you work in a world of politics," Morano told the committee.

"We work in the world of the rule of law."

But Caruso said the perception of political advantage to Rell's aides made it seem as if there are two laws in the state - one for politicians and one for everybody else.

"If it's a politician or someone who's politically appointed, everyone seems to find ways for him to get around the law," he said.

"It's a crock of bull, is what a lot of my constituents are saying."

©Journal Inquirer 2006

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My comment in the electronic version of this story:

This story shows just how thoroughly corrupt Connecticut’s official theifdom really is. Citizens will be continued to be ripped off, falsely arrested, and railroaded to prison as long as officials won’t punish each other for reprehensible behavior.

Civilian Oversight of Police, members of the Judiciary, and all officials, elected and unelected is so need in Connecticut. How much worse can they be collectively?

Morano is the poster child for what is wrong with Connecticut. Former Governor John G. Rowland is the poster child for what a state should be most embarrassed about.

-Steven G. Erickson

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Need For Journalists' Shield Law Argued

March 11, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, The Hartford Courant

Legislators grappled Friday with a proposed shield law for Connecticut journalists, saying they are concerned about who would deserve legal protection in a world of Internet bloggers and talk-radio jockeys that has emerged beyond the traditional definition of news media.

Supporters said Connecticut needs to become the 32nd state with a special law to prevent reporters from being forced to reveal their confidential sources in either criminal or civil cases. They believe that the legislature must strengthen the freedom of the press at a time when there is no federal shield law.

"If reporters can be compelled by courts to reveal sources, there will be a chilling effect on whistle-blowing," said Rep. James Spallone, an Essex Democrat who sponsored the bill.

"This is a good government bill."

The shield law, Spallone said, should be viewed as a part of an overall package of ethics reforms after the scandals that led to the guilty plea of former Gov. John G. Rowland, who was released from prison last month and is now serving home confinement at his West Hartford ranch house.

During a hearing Friday by the legislature's judiciary committee, lawmakers raised questions about who would be covered and how the law would work. When told by a witness that some Web bloggers would be covered by the bill, Sen. John Kissel (an email I sent to Kissel) responded, "That's a little scary to me. It's a real Wild West out there. ... I think that opens up a whole can of worms."

Rhode Island news reporter Jim Taricani, who was sentenced to house arrest after refusing to reveal the source of a videotape in the criminal prosecution of former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, said he could not have broadcast stories on organized crime and public corruption without granting confidentiality to his sources.

"Remember Watergate. Remember Enron," Taricani told the committee.

"Remember the secret wiretapping of American citizens. All these stories were brought to light because of confidential sources."

But Chris Powell, the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, said the law is unnecessary because no one, including reporters, should have any more rights than anyone else in a democracy.

"Freedom of the press belongs to everyone," said Powell, adding that he was speaking for himself.

"The responsibilities of citizenship belong to everyone as well. This legislation would betray that equality by setting up a privileged class."

The Hartford Courant supports the bill, and an attorney read a statement to the committee on behalf of Publisher Jack Davis.

"Confidential sources often were important in enabling The Courant to make its extensive disclosures about corruption in state government over the past two years," Davis said in the statement.

"Compelling reporters to testify about these sources, or about their newsgathering activities generally, threatens the free flow of information, compromises every journalist's ability to report on the news, and undermines reporters' independence and credibility."

Interact with The Courant:
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

John Kerry Live on CSPAN

I’m watching US Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts live, 8:30 PM EST. He’s speaking from Nashua, New Hampshire.

Kerry is really blasting the Bush Administration over the Hurricane Katrina response, the secrecy, the cut back on human rights, the less accountability of polluters, the big money the oil companies are making, how our troops are being let down in Iraq, the abuse of power, and incompetence across the board.

Maybe enough are jaded enough that the gist of what is being said falls on deaf, apathetic ears.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Aren’t Police supposed to nail thieves, not be thieves?

...

AP STATE WIRE
Southington ex-officer charged in computer thefts
March 9, 2006 Associated Press

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. -- A day after resigning from the Southington police force, a 23-year-old Farmington man has been charged with dealing in stolen computer equipment.

Justin Levy had resigned on Tuesday amid allegations of stealing the computers. Levy had been a patrol officer in Southington for more than two years, Sgt. Lowell DePalma said Wednesday.

A police dispatcher told two Southington police employees who had recently bought laptop computers that 12 such computers had been stolen in Rocky Hill from Sysco Food Service and were listed as stolen on a national crime database.

The employees found that the serial numbers on their computers matched the computers listed on the database, DePalma said.DePalma refused to say if it was other police officers or civilian employees who had bought the computers. He said, however, that they were not aware they had purchased stolen goods. They will not be charged, he said.

Police eventually connected Levy to four stolen computers and to Michael Gaffney, a friend of his from college days. Levy was arrested on several larceny counts.

Gaffney, 23, of Southington, was responsible for repairing and replacing computers at Sysco. He was also arrested on larceny charges.

---Information from: Record-Journal, http://www.record-journal.com

Interact with The Courant:
> Email Reader Rep. Karen Hunter with comments.
> Visit Karen's daily Blog.
> View today's corrections.
> Subscribe to The Courant.
> Request reprints/permissions.
> Search our archives from 1764-1922 and 1992-2006.

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Testing the First Amendment in the US is Dangerous

Bandits in Blue

Are Police Officers free to rape and commit sexual assault?

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Fired Police Have It Easy

HARTFORD -- The Hartford police union's defense of two veteran officers who were fired after an internal investigation found them guilty of misconduct would be comical if it weren't so appalling.

One officer, Roy E. McCravey, was arrested at a Wal-Mart in Charlotte County, Fla., where, according to police records, he was caught switching price labels on various pieces of merchandise to pay less for them. more

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