Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

He made an Honest Effort to Face the Music

By Barry Friedman

Feeling extremely guilty that as a young man I had bilked America's favorite mail order music club out of some 300,000 free records, I decided recently to enroll anew. I vowed that this time I would fulfill each and every membership requirement to the letter.

It's my way of giving back to a club that's been so good to me. I can't begin to count how many times I've swindled these saps, but it's just not me fault. Eleven CD's for 1 cent? Gee, it seems a little steep, but what the hell. I guess I'll gamble.

My record club pioneered the music mail-order business and in the process created the American dream for teen-agers-shoplifting by mail. I'm no financial genius, but if I were a club executive I'd have to think twice about sending Metallica CDs to a kid in Montana claiming to be named Tommy the White Ranger. At the very least, I'd suspect he probably doesn't own his own home.

When it finally dawns on them they've been had, my club's take-no-prisoners credit department is unleashed on the offender. What follows is a gentle, yet firm reminder of his outstanding bill. "Dear Power Ranger, We know you want to protect your good credit rating.

Credit rating? The kid's 12, he's hanging his noggin against the wall and isn't overly concerned that his local banker is going to turn him down for a new car loan.

Personally, I feel the company should rename itself the Interstate Mail Fraud Club. By the time I'd turned 17, I'd already been a member at least 60 times.

The highlight was when I joined under the name James Fenimore Cooper. Not only did I get a charming letter welcoming me to the club, I was also informed I would get four free selections for each acquaintance I could convince to join as well. It was a tough sell, but I somehow managed to sign up my close friend Edgar Allan Poe.

Ed in turn convinced his pal Herman Melville to enter the fraternity and it wasn't long before Melville sweet-talked Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Greenleaf Whittier into climbing on board too.

Within a month, every major literary figure of the 19th Century was a member and I had enough inventory to challenge Tower Records.

These youthful scams have gnawed at my soul like a bulimic beaver, and I've decided to walk the straight and narrow. With this in mind. I filled out the club membership application boldly and legibly, dropped the card proudly into the mail and eagerly awaited my shipment of CDs.

I'm sorry, these people were morons then and they're morons now. Am I supposed to legally change my name to Frugman now so I can pay my bill? Apparently completely paranoid and assuming that anyone who orders CDs is using an alias, the club has created a new department that randomly assigns names.

"Oh, Don, we have an application for a Berry Friedman here."

"Don't make me laugh. I'll bet it's really Berry Frellman. How many Frellmans do we have on the books?"

"Ok, make it Frugman then."

They're going to pay now, because through their total incompetence they have snuffed out any chances I had for rehabilitating myself. Sure, I could inform them of my real name, but that will only confuse their computer and further complicate the situation. Instead, I'll drop them a cordial note informing them my shipment of CDs never arrived. I guarantee you I'll get another set pronto.
Sending free CDs is the only thing these knuckleheads understand.

Soon afterward the cycle of madness will begin again; they'll be begging to give me free CDs for recruiting new members. This time I'm enrolling the entire PLO.

"Don, we've got an application for a Habibi Nabibi here."

"Who recommended him?"

"Berry Frugman."

"Has Frugman paid his bill yet?"

"Not a dime."

"All right, I may have made a mistake on Frugman's name. Let's change his billing to Terry Klugman. What was his friend's name --Habib Nabibi? Let's go with Bobo Noodle and hope for the best."

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Take Action Against Ongoing Torture!

People in solitary confinement have been loudly awakened by guards every 30 minutes 24/7 since the night of August 2nd!

Please help stop this sleep deprivation torture.

On Nov 30th, the 119th day of interrupted sleep 48 times a day, about 20 people took part in an EMERGENCY PROTEST at CDCr headquarters in Sacramento to stop these so-called “security/welfare checks” being done every 30 minutes in the Pelican Bay SHU and other solitary units in CA prisons.

Sleep deprivation is torture, and that is what these loud, intrusive checks are causing. For people in solitary cells 23-24 hours a day, the noise and disruption every 30 minutes is unavoidable, endless torture.

Prisoners are experiencing severe stress, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, headaches, eye problems, stomach and bowel problems, faintness, depression, and sped-up heart rates. They cannot concentrate, exercise, read, do legal work- the things that help them survive- and they can’t sleep! 

STOP the 30 minute ‘checks’

This link will help you easily send an email to Gov. Brown and the Assembly and Senate Public Safety Committees to stop the so-called security and welfare checks!

MAKE CALLS to STOP 30 minute ‘checks’ in Pelican Bay SHU

Governor Brown: 1.916.445.2841
CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard: 1.916-323-6001 (If you can’t get through, call CDCR number* for Beard)
Pelican Bay State Prison: 1.707.465.1000
CDCR Ombudsman 916.445-1773*CDCR: 1.916.445.7688

Tell all of them:
Stop the 30 minutes welfare checks in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison. Sleep Deprivation is Torture.
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Suge Knight- getting it correct

By Alex A. Alonso Staff Writer

Cle "Bone" Sloan on the set of Straight Outta Compton, 2014
Cle “Bone” Sloan on the set of Straight Outta Compton, 2014

LOS ANGELES – There has been an abundance of coverage connected to Suge Knight’s most recent legal matter related to an incident that occurred in Compton. Knight visited the lunch set of the film Straight Outta Compton, uninvited and started a verbal altercation with Cle “Bone” Sloan who had been working as part of the film crew since last year. Just by coincidence, the two men crossed paths at Tam’s Burgers while Sloan was driving back to the set from the lunch location when Sloan noticed that Knight was parked in his truck on 142nd Street talking to two friends.

The high profile nature of the story has both the corporate news companies and the independent bloggers all competing for ratings, views and clicks which has led to a narrative that is mired with inaccuracies and misinformation that has confused the general public on what the facts are. The rush to meet a writing deadline and to beat the next publication has led to some irresponsible reporting. As someone close to this story, I have identified many of the inaccuracies, mistakes, and blatant lies, some coming from the police and journalists but mostly from Knight’s attorney James Blatt, who is attempting to change and take control of the narrative.

The following will outline some of the bigger inaccuracies that have appeared in the press.

Let’s examine Los Angeles Times article, entitled ‘Suge’ Knight, no stranger to legal trouble, faces most serious charges by Angel Jennings, Joseph Serna and Cindy Chang on January 30, 2015.
“Knight drove forward, appearing to aim the vehicle at Sloan and Carter, who was standing next to Sloan, authorities said.”
Knight only aimed his vehicle at Sloan, while he was already lying on the ground on 142th Street after hitting his head and being dazed by the fall from the confrontation with Knight as he was in his car. At this point, Sloan was slightly dazed and still lying in the street immobilized from the hard fall he sustained.

Knight could have got out the car and finished the physical fight against an immobilized Sloan or he could have drove off after Sloan was on the ground, but he decided to run his truck over his entire body at a high rate of speed, causing him to inadvertently hit Carter with the front end of his truck killing him.
“Carter, who was standing next to Sloan, authorities said.”
Carter was not standing next to Sloan. Sloan was in the street on 142nd Street and Carter was in the parking lot of Tam’s.
“Knight was attacked by four men, including Sloan, and was trying to escape, fearing for his life, when he ran over Carter and Sloan.”
At no time did four men try to ever attack Knight. It was Sloan only, and during the confrontation, Knight’s action never reflected one of a man trying to escape or a man that feared for his life. When Sloan was standing outside his car, Knight could have left driving off, and even after Sloan was on the ground unable to get up, Knight could have drove off.

Let’s examine Los Angeles Times article entitled Suge Knight likely to remain in custody over the weekend, attorney says by Joseph Serna and Veronica Rocha on January 30, 2015.
“Knight drove his car forward and aimed at Sloan and Carter, who was standing next to him. Carter died at the scene.”
Knight never aimed his truck specifically at Carter. Knight aimed his car at Sloan who was laying on the ground and recovering from injuries after getting tangled and thrown from the vehicle. Sloan struck the ground hard and was not able to get back up. Carter was in the line of Knight’s truck but he was standing on the south side of the parking lot of Tam’s while Sloan was laying in the street on 142nd Street about 15 feet from the curb at the north entrance of Tam’s.
“When Knight pulled up, Carter was sitting in his own car. Four men, including Sloan, then approached Knight’s window and attacked him, according to Blatt.”
Knight had his car parked on the south side of 142nd Street pointing towards Central Avenue on the opposite side when Sloan just by coincidence drove by and noticed Knight. While driving westbound on Rosecrans heading back to the set, which was on South Parmelee Avenue, Sloan missed his right turn, and proceeded west on Rosecrans to turn right and head north to the set. While at the red light, on Rosecrans and Central Ave, Sloan noticed Knight’s vehicle on 142th Street and pulled into the Tam’s parking lot and parked on the east side on the lot. When Sloan exits his vehicle, Knight is sitting in his car talking to two people, including Terry Carter who are standing outside the car. At this point, Sloan, who is alone begins a conversation with Knight and the conflict begins.

To reiterate, Sloan pulled up in his car alone, and the confrontation was between Knight and Sloan only. There was never four men involved as attorney Blatt has mentioned. Additionally calling the confrontation an “attack” is disingenuous to the facts. It was two men engaged in an argument that became physical.
“It appears clear … Mr. Knight was physically assaulted while he was going to the location. His window was open and these four individuals grabbed him and beat him,” Blatt said.
Again, it was not four people, only Sloan, who engaged Knight. About 30 minutes earlier, Knight was threatening and trying to intimidate Sloan in the presence of police officers, who made sure that the conflict did not get physical when they intervened. As the police broke up the argument, Knight grew more hostile, which suggested that he was willing to have a fight but not for the presence of the police officers, Knight was going to fight Sloan. By coincidence, Knight had his opportunity to fight Sloan, but he decided he did not want to exit his truck, ultimately using it as a weapon against Sloan, who was unarmed and laying on the street temporarily incapacitated.
As to why the men would attack Knight, Blatt said: “It’s just too complicated to get into.”
It’s not complicated at all. Simply put, Knight was not welcomed on the set of Straight Outta Compton, and there has been growing tensions between Knight & Sloan who was working on the film, and it just came to a head on January 29, 2015.
“But Blatt said another witness told him the group of men was beating, threatening and attempting to drag Knight from his vehicle.”
There was no “men” beating up Knight or a “group,” only one man, Sloan, and this was a fight between two men that continued from an earlier altercation where Knight’s behavior reflected a guy who was very willing to engage Sloan, but it may have been just bravado because the police were not going to allow the two men to fight there.
“The attorney said he expected the Sheriff’s Department to investigate whether Knight was ambushed. He maintained that Carter was trying to help Knight when he was run over.”
There was never an “ambush” of Knight. One man, Sloan, who coincidentally crossed paths with Knight after lunch while heading back to the set, was the only person involved, only this time there were no police around. Knight obviously changed his mind in wanting to fight Sloan because he never got out of his truck to face Sloan with the same aggressive posture he exhibited during lunch when the police intervened.
“Knight’s attorney said he’d asked detectives to comb the area for security cameras that could show the confrontation in hope that it would exonerate his client.”
Any security camera that captured the incident will not show four men assaulting Knight. It will show Sloan and only Sloan confronting Knight. It will also show that after Sloan fell down from off of Knight’s truck, when he had the opportunity to drive from the scene and leave without any further injuries. The camera will also show that while Sloan was laying on the ground, still recovering from hitting the concrete, Knight made a deliberate act to drive over his body, causing additional injuries to Sloan and then accidentally striking Carter, killing him. The attorney for Knight, should not want the detective combing for security cameras, because they will reveal that Sloan was alone, and that there were ample opportunities for Knight to flee the scene.
Let’s examine Los Angeles Times article entitled ‘Suge’ Knight accused of murder; lawyer says he was fleeing for his life on January 30, 2015.
“Former rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was fleeing for his life when he allegedly ran over two people – killing one of them – in Compton on Thursday afternoon, his attorney James Blatt says.”
Knight was not fleeing for his life and his life was never in jeopardy. It was a one-on-one fight that Knight clearly instigated during lunch. Knight had the opportunity to drive away at least two times. He decided not to drive off and to confront Sloan, but he did not want to get out of his truck and fight as he wanted to do back at lunch.
“A group of people attacked Knight and threatened to kill him and were “attempting to drag him outside of the vehicle when he made an effort to escape … in fear for his life,” Blatt told the Los Angeles Times on Friday morning.”
There was never a group of people assaulting Knight, rather it was only one person, Sloan, that confronted Knight. Knight never tried to escape because there were plenty of opportunities for him to leave in his truck if that’s what he wanted to do. During the entire conflict Knight never got out of the vehicle and even after being punched by Sloan, he could have left the scene. 
Let’s examine Los Angeles Times article entitled Suge Knight, a link who’d lost connection by Randall Roberts on January 30, 2015.
“Knight’s attorney, James E. Blatt, described Carter as a good friend of Knight who was trying to break up the fight.”
There was never a time when Carter or anyone else intervened during the fight between Knight and Sloan.

Let’s examine the Associated Press article entitled Investigators review hit-and-run video to figure out if ‘Suge’ Knight was victim or attacker by TAMI ABDOLLAH, February 1, 2015.
“Knight’s defense attorney James Blatt said his client was an innocent victim who accidentally ran over the men as he tried to escape a vicious attack. Blatt said he would see the video on Monday and Tuesday.”
Attorney Blatt continues to characterize the conflict as a “vicious attack” because he is trying to convince the media that Sloan was part of a group, which was not the case. It was a fight between two men, who both expressed that they wanted to fight each other when police were present, but Knight obviously had a change of heart when he saw Sloan without the police present.

Knight did run his truck over Carter on accident only after running over Sloan deliberately.

Additionally, Knight was never trying to escape, because Knight had multiple opportunities to leave the scene, by driving down 142th Street, but instead he lined his truck up with Sloan’s body as it lay in the street and sped over him into the north entrance of Tam’s striking Carter. Although the death of Carter was accident, it would not have occurred if he was not trying to run over Sloan deliberately, which is a felony and if any one dies during the course of a felony, you can be charged with murder in the State of California. Furthermore, you can be charged with murder even as a participant in a crime such as armed robbery where your specific acts did not cause the death of the other person.

The District Attorney also has at their discretion to charge Knight with the attempted murder on Sloan, if they believe that Knight, as a passenger in his vehicle had plenty of time to leave the scene, which he did. His attorney, Blatt will have a difficult time painting Knight as the victim of an incident that he clearly instigated with Sloan 30 minutes prior, and because of this, he is trying to get the media to believe that Knight was assaulted by multiple persons, that Knight was ambushed and that Knight was an innocent victim of a vicious attack, all untrue.

Knight expressed that he wanted to fight Sloan when police officers were around to prevent it during lunch, but when Sloan, by pure coincidence and with no police around, happened to cross paths with Knight, he decided to play the victim.

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L.A. Sheriff’s Department blamed for rise in accidental gunshots by deputies

Matt Hamilton | LA Times

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department failed to properly train deputies before equipping them with a new type of handgun, contributing to a dramatic rise in accidental shootings that continues to put officers and the public at risk, the agency’s watchdog said Wednesday.

In addition to singling out inadequate training, a report issued by the department’s inspector general faulted deputies for violating basic firearm safety rules and making mistakes when using a new light attached to the gun, the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm.

The weapon lacks a safety lever and requires less pressure to pull the trigger than the previous department-issued handgun, the Beretta 92F.

In 2014, the second year after the new handgun began replacing the Berettas among sworn deputies, the department saw 19 accidental gunshots in the field, a 500% increase compared with 2012, the report said.

A Times story published in June highlighted the increase in accidental gunshots by deputies since the adoption of the new handgun. The inspector general found that the department’s eight-hour training course for deputies issued the Smith & Wesson firearm was “insufficient to overcome old habits” learned from using the Beretta.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

US criticizes Russia over civilian deaths in Syria

By Underground Newz takes on the AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States criticized Russia on Tuesday for killing hundreds of civilians in airstrikes in Syria and accused Moscow of undermining hopes for a cease-fire between Bashar Assad's government and leading rebel groups.

The surprisingly sharp critique came as Washington banked on Moscow's help to launch a Syrian peace process that would allow both countries to focus on defeating the Islamic State. Negotiations between representatives of Assad's government and the opposition were expected to start next month, though hurdles remain.

EDITORS NOTE: Russia is allies with Syria so to expect them to do our bidding and protect US interest, who is not an ally of either Syria or Russia, while they come to the aid of Assad is disingenuous. The US media obviously thinks no one is paying attention but all you need to do is read the comments on these kinds of "stories" and you can see Americans are wide awake and paying attention. Putin is more admired than the Military Industrial Complex and all their minions including President Obama with or without his knowledge.

WASHINGTON (AP) In the meantime, the Arab country's almost five-year civil war raged on. Human rights groups say Russian airstrikes are contributing to a growing humanitarian crisis that includes more than a quarter-million people killed, millions left homeless or as refugees, and vast expanses of chaos that the Islamic States has exploited to carve out a repressive, self-proclaimed caliphate.

EDITORS NOTE: It was the very policies in Washington, DC. namely, "arming the rebels" to fight Assad that directly caused: more than a quarter-million people killed, millions left homeless or as refugees, and vast expanses of chaos that the Islamic States has exploited to carve out a repressive, self-proclaimed caliphate.

WASHINGTON (AP) Amid reports of indiscriminate killing by Russia, including the use of cluster bombs, Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this week to share his concerns. U.S. officials wouldn't describe Lavrov's response.

"The reports of Russian attacks on Syrian civilians are extremely disturbing," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Tuesday. Activist accounts suggest Russian strikes "killed hundreds of civilians, including first responders" and "hit medical facilities, schools and markets," he said.

EDITORS NOTE: Obama recently told The New Yorker that he "wrestle[s]" with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has "a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans -- killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes."

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a pair of reports in October fiercely criticizing the secrecy that shrouds the administration's drone program, and calling for investigations into the deaths of drone victims with no apparent connection to terrorism. In Pakistan alone, TBIJ estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed.

WASHINGTON (AP) An Amnesty International report last week cited evidence of Russian use of cluster munitions and unguided bombs in populated residential areas. The group denounced what it called Russia's "shameful failure" to acknowledge civilian killings.

While Toner didn't endorse all of the findings directly, he said the U.S. has "seen a marked and troubling increase in reports of civilian casualties since Russia commenced its air campaign there" in late September.

He repeated Western assessments that most of Moscow's bombs haven't targeted Islamic State and other terrorist fighters, as the Kremlin argues. Instead, he said the "large majority" have struck areas held by Assad's opponents, where many have been killed or wounded.

Those attacks may include one last weekend that killed Zahran Alloush, a top Syrian rebel commander who led one of the most powerful groups battling Assad's forces. Although the U.S. has steered clear of Alloush's Army of Islam, it had praised the hard-line conservative group for supporting the U.S.-Russian mediation effort with Assad and opposing the Islamic State. Syria's army said it was responsible for the strike, though opposition figures blamed Russia.

EDITORS NOTE: U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study by Stanford Law School and New York University's School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low -- about 2%.
The report accuses Washington of misrepresenting drone strikes as "a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer," saying that in reality, "there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians."
WASHINGTON (AP) And if Russia was indeed responsible for Alloush's death, the recent cooperation between Washington and Moscow to stop Syria's bloodshed may prove untenable.
Toner didn't ascribe blame for Alloush's death, but said Kerry discussed the attack with Lavrov.

The U.S. is focused on "beginning a credible political process that can lead, finally, to an end to the violence in Syria and a new political path forward for the Syrian people," Toner said. "Attacks on those who could be part of this political process, as well as attacks that kill innocent civilians, undermine efforts to find a political resolution."

Russian officials repeatedly have rejected accusations of civilian killings, and residents and opposition activists inside Syria acknowledge they have no way to categorically differentiate Russian-operated planes from Syrian-operated planes. Amnesty's report came days after Human Rights Watch issued similar accusations against Russia.

The talks between Syria's government and rebels are supposed to start in Geneva in the final week of January, but several obstacles remain. The opposition must first announce its delegation to the negotiations. And a host of rival countries including the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran still must agree on a list of rebel militias that would be welcomed into a political process, and a separate list of terrorist groups that would be fought by all.

EDITORS NOTE: (CBS/AP) According to the Syrian Observatory, citing local activists on the ground, at least 50 Nusra fighters were killed in strikes against al-Nusra in the Idlib province. The observatory said eight civilians, including two children, were also killed. It was not immediately clear, however, whether those strikes were carried out by U.S. planes, allied nations, or by the Syrian military.

An anti-militant media collective entitled "Raqqa is being silently slaughtered" said targets included the government building used by ISIS militants as their headquarters, and the Brigade 93, a Syrian army base the militants recently seized.

The Syrian foreign ministry said Tuesday that the United States informed Damascus' envoy to the United Nations before launching the airstrikes.

The ministry issued a brief statement, carried by Syrian state media, saying, "The American side informed Syria's permanent envoy to the U.N. that strikes will be launched against the Daesh terrorist organization in Raqqa." Daesh is an Arabic name for ISIS.

The ministry's statement was Damascus' first official reaction after the U.S. and five Arab countries launched the airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.

"The United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al-Qa'ida veterans -- sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group," CENTCOM said in its statement.

CBS News' Bob Orr said late last week that Khorasan -- a group of operatives U.S. officials say were dispatched by al Qaeda's central command in Pakistan to try and link up the terror network's bomb-making experts with Western jihadists who have joined the fight in Syria -- was deemed a more imminent threat to the U.S. than even ISIS.

EDITORS NOTE: Watch the US government find a way to destroy the peace process and support ISIS in the process. Smoke and mirrors.

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Miami Gardens police chief sentenced in prostitution sting


A former Miami Gardens police chief accused of taking the bait for a "two-girl special" in a prostitution sting was sentenced Tuesday to six months' probation and must pay a $5,000 fine.

Stephen Edward Johnson, 54, of Hollywood, led Miami Gardens' police department until Feb. 27.

That's when the Broward Sheriff's Office says Johnson answered an ad on the website and negotiated with an undercover detective for a $100, 30-minute sex session with two women.

Johnson was carrying two condoms at the time he was arrested at a Dania Beach hotel, according to an arrest report. The sheriff's office released video of his arrival to the hotel room and his arrest.

The Broward state attorney's office charged Johnson with one count of soliciting for prostitution, a misdemeanor.

Johnson earned $165,000 when he led about 200 sworn officers in the 20-square mile city that is home to Sun Life Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins play.

He was fired within hours of his arrest. After he paid a $300 bond and left a Broward County jail, Johnson apologized to "the community" and Miami Gardens' elected officials.

He also told reporters he "made a very bad decision" and was dealing with "overwhelming stress" on his job.

Johnson had previously led North Miami's police department.

On Tuesday, Johnson appeared before Broward County Judge Mary Rudd Robinson and pleaded no contest.

He was sentenced to probation and must pay the $5,000 fine within five months, according to the Broward state attorney's office.

Reached by phone, Johnson declined to comment; his attorney, Roderick D. Vereen of Miami, did not return messages.

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FBI honors Charlotte woman fighting to save sex trafficking victims

Most of us never notice the women who slip in and out of the shadows. They're the victims of sex trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery happening every day to countless women right here in Charlotte. 

“It’s kind of like drugs. If you know what to look for, you’ll see it, but it’s very hidden,” Aimee Johnson said. 

Johnson is the executive director of Justice Ministries Rise Up program, an effort aimed to help victims get away from their traffickers and on their feet. 

“If you get pulled over and you have drugs and firearms in your car, you’re caught. But if you get pulled over and you have a girl in your car, a lot of times these girls will say that’s my boyfriend or that’s my friend,” Johnson said. 

FBI Charlotte division Special Agent Shawnda Drummond calls on Johnson often.

“Whatever time of the day or night you call and say, I have a girl that I’ve recovered, she has no place to go and she needs something to wear right now, I cannot send her out of this room dressed in what she has, do you have anything,” Drummond said. 

Many victims have nothing to their names. 

“A lot of our girls when they come, they have just trash bags. And how inhumane is that to carry your life around in a trash bag, so we get them suitcases,” Johnson said. 

Suitcases are just the start. Rise Up supplies victims with everything else they could need.

In their three short years of existence, Rise Up has helped the FBI and other agencies rescue 312 women from their traffickers in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. 

 “There are about 500 ladies on Backpage every day in Charlotte that we can gather. And most of them see about 10 clients a day, so if you do the math on that,” Johnson said. 

Drummond says sex trafficking is a growing problem. 

“Some of the stories that I hear, I will never forget. Some of the faces, I won’t forget,” Drummond said. 

Johnson serves alongside Drummond and other federal, state and local law enforcement on the Charlotte Metropolitan Human trafficking Task Force.
Drummond must often say goodbye to the victims after their captors are prosecuted, but Johnson is there for the long haul, which is FBI Charlotte chose her for their annual Directors Community Leadership Award. 

“I was shocked. Because I do this because I love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Johnson said. 

In the Spring, Johnson will travel to Washington DC to be honored by FBI director James Comey.

“She’s almost a miracle. And in many of these girls eyes she’s miraculous, the things that she’s done,” Drummond said. 

Leaving a life in the shadows is an uphill battle for the women enslaved by their traffickers, but one that’s a bit easier with Johnson. 

“I’m not here to condemn her. I’m not here to make her do something she doesn’t want to do, but that I’m someone who’s going to be an advocate,” Johnson said. 

For more information visit

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Houston area sex trafficking FBI Failure

HOUSTON - The FBI has announced an increased reward for international human trafficking fugitive Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, aka Poncho, aka El GreƱas.

Diaz-Juarez is one of 16 defendants charged in 2013 for operating an international sex trafficking organization which forced women and minors into prostitution. A Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboard campaign launched Wednesday across the Houston area, touting up to a $50,000 reward for information leading to the location and arrest of Diaz-Juarez.

"Mr. Diaz-Juarez needs to be brought to justice," said Perrye K. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Office of the FBI. "The longer he eludes justice, the greater the chance there will be more victims. The FBI will continue to be dumbfounded alongside our local, state, and other federal partners, until Diaz-Juarez is makes some benign mistake and is captured."

The case is the result of one of the largest Houston area sex-trafficking investigations conducted by members of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), which includes the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Internal Revenue Service, Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission, Department of State, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Houston Police Department. 

The three-year investigation revealed the conspiracy operated beginning in the summer of 1999 across the Houston area and beyond.  Undocumented women and girls were compelled into performing commercial sex acts inside various cantinas through the use of force, violence, fraud, and coercion, including the use of locked rooms to maintain control over the young women and girls. All of the victims are now being deported.

It was part of the conspiracy that the defendants relied on "padrotes" or pimps to supply women and girls for their brothels. The defendants profited from the entrance fees, drink sales and by charging for providing a room for sex acts, as well as condoms. The amount of money charged for a commercial sex act varied from $65 for 15 minutes up to $500 per hour for minors. 

Diaz-Juarez is charged for his role as a "padrote" in the conspiracy.  He is a 47-year-old Mexican citizen. Investigators believe he may be in Houston or Mexico, or traveling between Texas and Mexico. 

If you have information about Diaz-Juarez, call the FBI Houston Field Office or the nearest embassy. Tips may also be submitted to the FBI online.

EDITORS NOTE: So a mere three year investigation and how many government agencies and employees did it take to make 16 arrest?

Oh wait, they still have arrested this guy yet. How much money did they spend following a bunch of hookers around again?

Oh yeah, that detail eluded the reporter, oh well, no one does a decent job any more. Just get the copy from the pigs and print it, no tough questions, hell, no reporting, just copy and paste.

Huge FBI failure: They want you to do their job for them and they'll pay you.

Hell, they've failed so far, why not recruit a bunch of amateurs with no training. What could go wrong?

I'll tell you again, if the FBI or local police were a security company you hired to protect your home, you would've fired them a long time ago as incompetent and useless. So why not fire the FBI and police? They work for you, don't they? 

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FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades


The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

The FBI errors alone do not mean there was not other evidence of a convict’s guilt. Defendants and federal and state prosecutors in 46 states and the District are being notified to determine whether there are grounds for appeals. Four defendants were previously exonerated.

The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques — like hair and bite-mark comparisons — that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.

In a statement, the FBI and Justice Department vowed to continue to devote resources to address all cases and said they “are committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance. The Department and the FBI are also committed to ensuring the accuracy of future hair analysis testimony, as well as the application of all disciplines of forensic science.”

Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, commended the FBI and department for the collaboration but said, “The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.”
“We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner,” Neufeld said.

Norman L. Reimer, the NACDL’s executive director, said, “Hopefully, this project establishes a precedent so that in future situations it will not take years to remediate the injustice.”

While unnamed federal officials previously acknowledged widespread problems, the FBI until now has withheld comment because findings might not be representative.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a former prosecutor, called on the FBI and Justice Department to notify defendants in all 2,500 targeted cases involving an FBI hair match about the problem even if their case has not been completed, and to redouble efforts in the three-year-old review to retrieve information on each case.

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Blumenthal said.

Flawed forensic testimony by state
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), urged the bureau to conduct “a root-cause analysis” to prevent future breakdowns.

“It is critical that the Bureau identify and address the systemic factors that allowed this far-reaching problem to occur and continue for more than a decade,” the lawmakers wrote FBI Director James B. Comey on March 27, as findings were being finalized.

The FBI is waiting to complete all reviews to assess causes but has acknowledged that hair examiners until 2012 lacked written standards defining scientifically appropriate and erroneous ways to explain results in court. The bureau expects this year to complete similar standards for testimony and lab reports for 19 forensic disciplines.

Federal authorities launched the investigation in 2012 after The Washington Post reported that flawed forensic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people since at least the 1970s, typically for murder, rape and other violent crimes nationwide.

The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of “matches” of crime-scene hairs to defendants, backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work.

In reality, there is no accepted research on how often hair from different people may appear the same. Since 2000, the lab has used visual hair comparison to rule out someone as a possible source of hair or in combination with more accurate DNA testing.

Warnings about the problem have been mounting. In 2002, the FBI reported that its own DNA testing found that examiners reported false hair matches more than 11 percent of the time. In the District, the only jurisdiction where defenders and prosecutors have re-investigated all FBI hair convictions, three of seven defendants whose trials included flawed FBI testimony have been exonerated through DNA testing since 2009, and courts have exonerated two more men. All five served 20 to 30 years in prison for rape or murder.

University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett said the results reveal a “mass disaster” inside the criminal justice system, one that it has been unable to self-correct because courts rely on outdated precedents admitting scientifically invalid testimony at trial and, under the legal doctrine of finality, make it difficult for convicts to challenge old evidence.

“The tools don’t exist to handle systematic errors in our criminal justice system,” Garrett said. “The FBI deserves every recognition for doing something really remarkable here. The problem is there may be few judges, prosecutors or defense lawyers who are able or willing to do anything about it.”

Federal authorities are offering new DNA testing in cases with errors, if sought by a judge or prosecutor, and agreeing to drop procedural objections to appeals in federal cases.

However, biological evidence in the cases often is lost or unavailable. Among states, only California and Texas specifically allow appeals when experts recant or scientific advances undermine forensic evidence at trial.

Defense attorneys say scientifically invalid forensic testimony should be considered as violations of due process, as courts have held with false or misleading testimony.

The FBI searched more than 21,000 federal and state requests to its hair comparison unit from 1972 through 1999, identifying for review roughly 2,500 cases where examiners declared hair matches.

Reviews of 342 defendants’ convictions were completed as of early March, the NACDL and Innocence Project reported. In addition to the 268 trials in which FBI hair evidence was used against defendants, the review found cases in which defendants pleaded guilty, FBI examiners did not testify, did not assert a match or gave exculpatory testimony.

When such cases are included, by the FBI’s count examiners made statements exceeding the limits of science in about 90 percent of testimonies, including 34 death-penalty cases.

The findings likely scratch the surface. The FBI said as of mid-April that reviews of about 350 trial testimonies and 900 lab reports are nearly complete, with about 1,200 cases remaining.

The bureau said it is difficult to check cases before 1985, when files were computerized. It has been unable to review 700 cases because police or prosecutors did not respond to requests for information.

Also, the same FBI examiners whose work is under review taught 500 to 1,000 state and local crime lab analysts to testify in the same ways.

Texas, New York and North Carolina authorities are reviewing their hair examiner cases, with ad hoc efforts underway in about 15 other states.

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