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Suffer The Little Children, Pennhurst State Home: Eugenics …

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Aug 152015
 

Suffer The Little Children: A Peek into the History of Eugenics and Child Abuse by the State – Pennsylvania Pennhurst. (Full Documentary) The ground-breaking 1968 NBC10 Expose on Pennhurst State School by Bill Baldini. Haunting Similarities to current horrors of CPS Shelters + Group Homes (abuse, money benefits contractors, children worse off). Once called the shame of the nation, Pennhurst was the epicenter of a civil and human rights movement that changed the way the world saw people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The atrocities of neglect at Pennhurst resulted in Supreme Court litigation that sounded the death knell for institutionalization worldwide. Pennhurst was the battleground in a monumental struggle to secure basic human rights for the last group of Americans to attain privileges assumed to be the natural freedoms of all persons. Pennhurst’s historic and beautiful campus is, like Valley Forge and Independence Mall to the east, hallowed ground in the struggle for dignity and self-determination, a western anchor to a freedom corridor, that, though stretching but a few miles, reaches all the way around the world. Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance seeks to ensure that those achievements won at Pennhurst are neither lost nor forgotten. http://www.preservepennhurst.com/defa…

PA & EUGENICS – In 1913, the legislature appointed a Commission for the Care of the Feeble-Minded which stated that the disabled were unfit for citizenship and posed a menace to the peace, and thus recommended a program of custodial care. The Commission desired to prevent the intermixing of the genes of those imprisoned w the general population. In the Biennial Report to the Legislature submitted by the Board of Trustees, Pennhurst’s Chief Physician quoted Henry H. Goddard, a leading eugenicist:- “Every feeble-minded person is a potential criminal. The general public, although more convinced today than ever before that it is a good thing to segregate the idiot or the distinct imbecile, they have not as yet been convinced as to the proper treatment of the defective delinquent, which is the brighter and more dangerous individual.”

More on Eugenics in Pennsylvania – — In 1857 the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision while it held session at Bedford Springs in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Dred Scott and his family walked into the Supreme Court as free people and walked out as slaves. Transferring authority from the parent to the state produced profound subservience and slavery into the entire culture. Millions of American families are now experiencing the very same fate as the Dred Scott family, as “family courts” and bureaucratic slave-makers are committing the very same atrocities in eugenics “kangaroo courts.” http://bedfordsprings.blogspot.com/ — Eugenics in America, Began in Bedford, Pennsylvania and Continues to Destroy through CPS Fraud, Abuse, False Accusations. http://robertscourt.blogspot.com/2009…

— Cases — PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL V. HALDERMAN, 465 U. S. 89 (1984). The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the MH/MR Act required the State to adopt the “least restrictive environment” approach for the care of the mentally retarded, and rejecting petitioners’ argument that the Eleventh Amendment barred a federal court from considering this pendent state law claim. The court reasoned that, since that Amendment did not bar a federal court from granting prospective injunctive relief against state officials on the basis of federal claims, citing Ex parte Young, 209 U. S. 123, the same result obtained with respect to a pendent state law claim. HELD: Eleventh Amendment prohibited the District Court from ordering state officials to conform their conduct to state law. Pp. 465 U. S. 97-124. (a) The principle of sovereign immunity is a constitutional limitation on the federal judicial power established in Art. III of the Constitution. The Eleventh Amendment bars a suit against state officials when the State is the real, substantial party in interest, regardless of whether the suit seeks damages or injunctive relief. The Court in Ex parte Young, supra, recognized an important exception to this general rule: a suit challenging the federal constitutionality of a state official’s action is not one against the State. Pp. 465 U. S. 97-103. http://supreme.justia.com/us/465/89/

EX PARTE YOUNG, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), Whether a state statute is unconstitutional because the penalties for its violation are so enormous that persons affected thereby are prevented from resorting to the courts for the purpose of determining the validity of the statute, and are thereby denied the equal protection of the law, and their property rendered liable to be taken without due process of law, is a Federal question and gives the Circuit Court jurisdiction. http://supreme.justia.com/us/209/123/…

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Suffer The Little Children, Pennhurst State Home: Eugenics …

Portal:Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 082015
 

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remained president and CEO for 35 years until 2012 when he was replaced by John A. Allison, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the second largest privately held company (after Cargill) by revenue in the United States.

The Institute’s stated mission is “to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace” by striving “to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.” Cato scholars conduct policy research on a broad range of public policy issues, and produce books, studies, op-eds, and blog posts. They are also frequent guests in the media.

Cato scholars were critical of George W. Bush’s Republican administration (20012009) on several issues, including the Iraq War, civil liberties, education, agriculture, energy policy, and excessive government spending. On other issues, most notably health care, Social Security, global warming, tax policy, and immigration, Cato scholars praised Bush administration initiatives. During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.

The Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of leading think tanks by James G. McGann, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in “producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research”. It has been called “Washingtons premier libertarian think tank.”

Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, a bestselling author, and the fourth-place finisher in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.

Originally from the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Gettysburg College in 1957, then studied at Duke University School of Medicine; after his 1961 graduation and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone. He later represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (19761977, 19791985, and 1997present). He entered the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican, and placed a distant third.

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Portal:Libertarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religious Liberty Becomes the Byword Among Iowas Social Conservatives

 Liberty  Comments Off on Religious Liberty Becomes the Byword Among Iowas Social Conservatives
Apr 112015
 

TIME Politics 2016 Election Andrea MoralesGetty Images Demonstrators protest during a press conference by the Human Rights Campaign on the steps of the Arkansas State Capital in Little Rock, Ark. on April 1, 2015.

Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats had just one question for the four presidential hopefuls gathered in the chapel at Iowa Wesleyan University: How would they preserve religious liberty?

Its an idea as old as the country, but for the 600 people in the audience and social conservatives elsewhere in Iowa, religious liberty is fast becoming a new litmus test for Republican presidential candidates, thanks to a recent uproar over religious freedom legislation in Indiana and Arkansas.

Hosted by Vander Plaats Family Leader organization, the event Thursday was designed to make Iowa ground zero on the issue. For their part, the candidates responses showed broad agreement that religious freedom in general and Christianity in particular are under assault from the federal government.

It is wrong for our government to discriminate against Christians, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told the crowd at Iowa Wesleyan, listing off a litany of alleged sins, from requirements that employer healthcare plans include contraceptive coverage to anti-discrimination laws that dont allow businesses to reject work on same-sex weddings. It is wrong for our government to force these businesses to choose between going out of business or violating our sincere beliefs.

The event, which also featured former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, capped a day of GOP candidates scurrying to drive up their support with evangelical voters. Earlier in the day theyalong with Texas Sen. Ted Cruzattended a homeschooler conference hosted by the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators in the state capital.

The last few weeks have been heartbreaking with what weve seen in Indiana and Arkansas, Cruz told the roomful of about 1,000 homeschooling parents and children. Weve seen religious liberty under assault.

Religious liberty, Vander Plaats said, will be the key issue of the 2016 campaign in Iowa.

The gatherings drew little in the way of disagreement. I look at them not as opponents, but as colleagues, Huckabee said of his fellow contenders at the evening summit. Perry opened his speech at the Family Leader praising Santorum as a national leader of the pro-life movement and Jindal for his efforts on job promotion at home.

But beneath the agreement was the hard reality that all five hopefuls are depending on the same united social conservative bloc to bring them over the finish line, and right now it is split between all of them as well as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

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Religious Liberty Becomes the Byword Among Iowas Social Conservatives

University of Maryland Wont Expel Student Who Sent Racist, Sexist Email

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Apr 032015
 

TIME U.S. Education University of Maryland Wont Expel Student Who Sent Racist, Sexist Email John GreimLightRocket via Getty Images McKeldin Library and fountain, University of Maryland. Concluded that email was protected by First Amendment, in contrast to other schools dealing with similar incidents

The University of Marylands president has decided not to expel a student for sending an email to his fraternity brothers filled with racist and misogynistic content.

The university learned of the explicit email, sent by a Kappa Sigma fraternity member, in March as it went viral online. The school launched an investigation through the universitys Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct and the campus and local police, but concluded Wednesday that this private email, while hateful and reprehensible, did not violate University policies and is protected by the First Amendment.

The response stands in contrast to how some other universities have handled recent, high profile incidents involving fraternity members and racist and sexist speech. The University of Oklahoma quickly expelled two students in March who were shown in a viral video of a group of SAE fraternity members singing a racist chant on a chartered bus. A few days later, a fraternity chapter at Pennsylvania State University was suspended after members allegedly operated a Facebook page collecting pictures of nude, unconscious women.

But the University of Maryland has taken a slightly different approach, focusing on rehabilitation and education in dealing with a somewhat similar situation. On Wednesday, university president Wallace D. Loh sent a note to the campus community explaining the results of the investigation and the decision not to expel. Quoting Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, he urged students who were harmed by the hateful speech to think in terms of restorative justice rather than legal justice.

When any one of us is harmed by the hateful speech of another, all of us are harmed, Loh wrote. We repair the harm to our community, in part, by restoring the wrongdoer as a responsible member of society. I appeal to the better angels of our nature and ask all members of our University community to join me in forgiving him in our hearts, not for his sake, but for our own.

The student will not return to campus this semester, and will perform community service as well as participate in individualized training in diversity and cultural competence. In an apology released by the university, the student wrote: Im committed to being a better person, a person that appreciates differences.

The University of Oklahoma came under fire from civil liberties advocates after its March expulsions, who said they had violated the free speech rights of the students. Federal law prohibits schools from failing to address behavior serious enough to create a hostile environment for a member of a protected class, such as a woman or a minority student.

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University of Maryland Wont Expel Student Who Sent Racist, Sexist Email

Why Arkansas governor won't sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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Apr 022015
 

Responding to sharp criticism from local businesses and civic groups, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced Wednesday that he would not sign his state’s new religious freedom bill, unless it is amended to reflect federal law.

The bill, which passed the GOP-controlled legislature on Tuesday,would have a negative impact on our states image,” Governor Hutchinson said.

“We wanted to have it [the bill] crafted similar to what is at the federal level,”he said.”To do that, though, changes need to be made. The bill that is on my desk at the present time does not precisely mirror the federal law.”

His decision comesas Indiana lawmakers face a backlash over their ownversion of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which critics say permits discrimination against sexual minorities. The Arkansas measure is similar to the embattled Indiana law and, in some respects, affords even less protection against discrimination.

Prominent businesses and sports associations, such as Apple and the NCAA, put pressure on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to backtrack on the law. But in Arkansas, it was Wal-Mart, the states largest employer, applying most of the pressure. Its appeals appear to have paid off.

The bill “threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state,” said Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon in a statement posted on Twitterurging the governor to veto the bill.

The intensity of the backlash against religious freedom laws stunned many politicians. While 20 US states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that are similar to the federal law, most of the criticism levied against the bills in Arkansas and Indiana focused on how they differed from the federal version.

Unlike the laws in mostother states, the Indiana law was specifically written to ensure that businesses can use it to defend themselves against civil rights lawsuits, critics say.

The Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to the free exercise of religion and to use that as a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by the government. The only other RFRA that affords such protection to for-profit businesses is South Carolina. Louisiana and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, specifically exclude for-profit businesses from such protection.

Both Indiana’s law and the Arkansas bill allowlarge corporations to claim that their religious faith is violated by a ruling or mandate. In other states with RFRA legislation,only individuals or family businesses can make such a claim.

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Why Arkansas governor won't sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Home For Sale: 79 W Liberty Street Hanover Township, Pennsylvania 18706 – Video

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Mar 292015
 



Home For Sale: 79 W Liberty Street Hanover Township, Pennsylvania 18706
For more information visit http://www.century21.com/pa/hanovertownship/79-w-liberty-street-18706/property-C21L6TZCB 79 W Liberty Street Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, 18706 MLS# 15-725 …

By: Century 21 – PA

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Jury says Phila. district violated ex-official's right to free speech

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Mar 192015
 

After four hours of deliberation, a federal jury Tuesday night said a former Philadelphia School District official was wrongfully suspended and lost his job for exposing a $7.5 million no-bid surveillance camera contract.

The jury found that the district, former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman, and a former top lieutenant had retaliated against Francis X. Dougherty because he told The Inquirer and federal and state authorities that Ackerman steered the no-bid contract to a small minority firm, IBS Communications Inc., that had not been approved for emergency work.

The panel, which heard five days of testimony, said the district, Ackerman, and Estelle G. Matthews, a former top human resources official, had violated Dougherty’s First Amendment right to free speech by placing him on leave in December 2010, then recommending his firing.

The School Reform Commission voted in April 2011 to fire Dougherty as acting chief of operations.

The jury concluded that while Dougherty’s right to free speech had been violated, the district had not broken Pennsylvania’s whistle-blower law, which bars employers from retaliating against employees who allege wrongdoing.

For the First Amendment violation, the jury awarded Dougherty $1 from each of the defendants who had wronged him: the district, Ackerman, and Matthews. The trial judge will rule this month on additional damages.

Throughout the trial, Dougherty’s attorneys argued that Ackerman and her administration embarked on a mission to find out who was leaking information after The Inquirer published an article on Nov. 28, 2010, that said she had pushed aside Security & Data Technologies Inc. (SDT), a Bucks County firm that had begun preliminary work on a rush contract to install surveillance cameras in 19 schools the state had deemed “persistently dangerous.”

The defense maintained Dougherty lost his job after outside attorneys who conducted an investigation for the district said he had sent an e-mail about the camera project to an unknown third party and improperly sent 50 e-mails from his work account to his personal account.

The defense said that the recommendation to fire Dougherty was not tied to anything he might have told anyone about the camera project and contended that the district would have moved to fire him regardless.

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Jury says Phila. district violated ex-official's right to free speech

West Chester vs. West Liberty in NCAA 1st round game. – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on West Chester vs. West Liberty in NCAA 1st round game. – Video
Mar 152015
 



West Chester vs. West Liberty in NCAA 1st round game.
West Chester vs. West Liberty in NCAA 1st round game. By: Daily Local Sports – We cover all the high school and college sports in Chester County, Pennsylvania Published on: March 13, 2015…

By: Daily Local

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West Chester vs. West Liberty in NCAA 1st round game. – Video

Santorum advocates fight for religious freedom

 Freedom  Comments Off on Santorum advocates fight for religious freedom
Mar 122015
 

WEST CHESTER TWP.

An increasingly aggressive war on religious freedom is something American Christians must proactively battle back against and not leave to the nations political and religious leaders, according to possible presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who spoke Tuesday evening at a religious freedom rally hosted by Imago Dei Christian Fellowship in West Chester Twp.

Santorum, a former two-term U.S. senator representing Pennsylvania and presidential candidate, told the Journal-News prior to the speech that he expects to decide on a 2016 presidential bid by sometime late spring, early summer say June, give or take a month.

In the meantime, he plans to tour the nation to gauge reaction on his message of religious freedom, including in Ohio, which he said is very important to the presidential race.

We wouldnt have the (2016 Republican National) convention here if we didnt think it was important, Santorum said.

During his 45-minute speech punctuated by Amens and applause, Santorum pressed a crowd of approximately 400 to react to a direct assault on people of faith for living their faith out in the public square.

Were battling and theres only two institutions in America to battle back, said Santorum, a 56-year-old social conservative, practicing Catholic and father of seven. One is the church and the other is the family. Thats why if you look at everything the left is trying to do in America, everything the secular society is trying to do, theyre trying to tear those two institutions down and they are coming after you.

Santorum, who in 2012 scored what he described then as a huge upset in the Iowa Republican caucuses before eventually finishing as runner-up to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on the national level, urged audience members to be more proactive in defense of their faith.

We have to understand that unless we are out there forming and informing, the other side is going to win the battle, he said. You cannot win an argument you dont make.

America, he said, is a product of the American Revolution, which was founded on the Declaration of Independences principle ofWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.

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Santorum advocates fight for religious freedom

Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber Discusses Recent Third Circuit Expansion of Exclusionary Rule

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Feb 252015
 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) February 25, 2015

In its recent decision in U.S. v. Michael Wright, 2015 WL 507169 (3d Cir., Feb. 2015), the Third Circuit extended its recent holding in U.S. v. Franz, 772 F. 3d. 134 (3d Cir. 2014), thereby further diluting the protection of the Fourth Amendment, says federal criminal defense attorney Ms. Hope Lefeber.

According to court documents, as part of their investigation,DEA agents obtained a search warrant, signed by a magistrate judge, for Defendant Michael Wrights apartment. An affidavitsummarizing the Governments knowledge of the conspiracy and containing a list of items the DEA expected to findwas also attached and signed. Subsequently, the Government sealed the affidavit (to preserve details relating to an ongoing investigation). When the DEA executed the search, they were unable to provide Defendant with a list of items to be seized, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Ms. Lefeber explains that the lower court initially suppressed the search, ruling that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule could not excuse a facially invalid warrant under U.S. v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984). The Third Circuit vacated the lower court’s decision and remanded based on Herring v. U.S., 555 U.S. 135 (2009). On remand, the District Court denied the motion to suppress, concluding that the DEAs mistake was simple and did not benefit the Government. Accordingly, Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Defendant Wright appealed his conviction, arguing that denying his motion to suppress reduced the Governments incentive to carefully scrutinize the contents of each warrant before execution. The Third Circuit disagreed and noted that the DEA agents negligence fell below the grossly negligent exception to the good-faith rule, articulated in Herring. Similar to its recent ruling in Franzwhere an officer mistakenly read a sealing orderthe DEAs conduct was held not to be grossly negligent, since the omission of the list was inadvertent, observes Ms. Lefeber. Therefore, though the search violated the Fourth Amendment, the officers could rely on the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule because deterring isolated negligence is not with the social cost of excluded evidence.

Ms. Lefeber believes that this case further erodes the protections of the Fourth Amendment and renders meaningless the requirement to specify the items to be seized. Officers can now “search and seek” and later legitimize the search by listing the items later.

About Hope Lefeber:

In practice since 1979, Lefeber is an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia. As a former Enforcement Attorney for the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Lefeber uses the knowledge she gained while working for the government to best defend her clients facing serious state and federal charges related to drug offenses and white collar crime, including business and corporate fraud, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, financial and securities fraud, and tax fraud. A member of the invitation-only National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Lefeber has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a 2014 Super Lawyer. She has also been recognized by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as one of the Top Ten Criminal Defense Attorneys. She has represented high-profile clients, published numerous articles, lectured on federal criminal law issues, taught Continuing Legal Education classes to other Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys and has been quoted by various media outlets, from TV news to print publications.

Learn more at http://www.hopelefeber.com/

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Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber Discusses Recent Third Circuit Expansion of Exclusionary Rule

City of Pittsburgh Liberty Avenue-Strip SINC Project PM Peak Time Eastbound – Video

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Feb 222015
 



City of Pittsburgh Liberty Avenue-Strip SINC Project PM Peak Time Eastbound
Cycle 1 Signal Re-Timing Project of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

By: Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

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City of Pittsburgh Liberty Avenue-Strip SINC Project PM Peak Time Eastbound – Video

City of Harrisburg asks judge to dump Second Amendment claims from gun lawsuit

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on City of Harrisburg asks judge to dump Second Amendment claims from gun lawsuit
Feb 222015
 

Attorneys for the city of Harrisburg asked a federal judge Friday to dismiss claims by a Pennsylvania gun ownersgroup thatcity ordinances violate their Second Amendmentrights.

The motion filed late Friday by the city’s attorneys concluded the Second Amendment claims are”baseless” because the state and federal constitutions allow cities to adopt reasonable regulations to protect the public.

Harrisburg’s five gun ordinances do not infringe upon gun owners’ rights to bear arms, according to the motion written by Frank Lavery and Joshua Autry, of the Lavery Faherty law firm.

The lawsuit by Firearms Owners Against Crime represents the second one filed against Harrisburg under a new state law known as Act 192. The law allows any legal gun owner to sue any municipality in Pennsylvania to challenge its gun ordinances and seek reimbursement for all legal costs.

A state judge is weighing arguments in the first lawsuit, filed on behalf of a gun rights group called U.S. Law Shield. Attorneys for U.S. Law Shield asked for a preliminary injunction against Harrisburg’s ordinances, but city attorneys argued for the court to wait until the Commonwealth Court rules on the constitutionality of Act 192.

Both lawsuits contend Harrisburg’s gun ordinances are illegal under the state’s preeminence in regulating guns.

The Firearms Owners lawsuit goes a step further by seeking financial damages and alleging the ordinances violate gun owners’ Second Amendment rights. The gun owners said they fear prosecution and can’t defend themselves under the ordinances, which they say make no distinction for lawful gun use.

The motion Friday dismantled the lawsuit’s allegations about the ordinances violating their constitutional rights, one by one:

The motion also asked the judge to hold off rulings on the rest of the lawsuit until the Commonwealth Court rules on the constitutionality of Act 192.

Still, the motion laid out the city’s defense against the lawsuit’s assertion that the city cannot enact any gun ordinances because that right uniquely belongs to the state.

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City of Harrisburg asks judge to dump Second Amendment claims from gun lawsuit

Freedom Swing 2015 J&J Invitational 1st place: Arjay Centeno and Jennifer Deluca – Video

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Jan 272015
 



Freedom Swing 2015 J J Invitational 1st place: Arjay Centeno and Jennifer Deluca
Winning performance by Arjay and Jen at the 2015 Philly Freedom Swing West Coast Swing Jack and Jill Invitational, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. http://www.freedomswingdance.com.

By: John Greenstreet

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Freedom Swing 2015 J&J Invitational 1st place: Arjay Centeno and Jennifer Deluca – Video

Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber Discusses Supreme Court Case Holding That Police Officer's Mistaken …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber Discusses Supreme Court Case Holding That Police Officer's Mistaken …
Dec 262014
 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) December 26, 2014

Last week, the US Supreme Court delivered another blow to 4th Amendment civil liberties. In Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. __ (2014), the Court, for the first time, allowed the police to benefit from not knowing the law. Federal criminal defense attorney Hope Lefeber explains the ruling and discusses its implications.

According to court documents, Heiens car was stopped after a North Carolina patrol car noticed the car only had one working brake light. Believing two working brake lights were required, the officer pulled the car over and ultimately discovered cocaine inside. Petitioner was charged with attempted trafficking in North Carolina state court. Petitioner moved to suppress the search because state law only required vehicles to have one working brake-light. He alleged, therefore, that the officer stopped him for conduct that was fully legal. The trial court denied the motion. (Docket No. 13-604, Nicholas Brady Heien, Petitioner v. North Carolina). Heien then pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking, while reserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress.

On appeal the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed. After careful analysis of the North Carolina statute governing brake lights, the Court of Appeals concluded the stop violated the Fourth Amendment, explaining that “an officer’s mistaken belief that a defendant has committed a traffic violation is not an objectively reasonable justification for a traffic stop”. The Court of Appeals then held that evidence from the search had to be suppressed under the exclusionary rule. The Supreme Court of North Carolina then reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that the officer’s mistake of law was objectively reasonable, and, therefore, the search was justified and constitutional.

The United States Supreme Court affirmed. The Court had long accepted that an officers mistake of fact would not violate the Fourth Amendment. See Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 183-86 (1990). The Court had little difficulty in extending the same courtesy to an officers mistake of lawas long as it was a reasonable mistake. To be reasonable is not to be perfect, and so the Fourth Amendment allows for some mistakes on the part of government officials, giving them fair leeway for enforcing the law in the communitys protection. As such, the majority held that a police officer’s reasonable mistake of law can indeed provide the individualized suspicion required by the Fourth Amendment to justify a traffic stop based upon that understanding.

Ms. Lefeber explains that this is an extraordinary intrusion into our Fourth Amendment rights, as a police officer can now justify a stop and search in any case and it no longer matters whether the person stopped violated any law, let alone a traffic violation.

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Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Hope Lefeber Discusses Supreme Court Case Holding That Police Officer's Mistaken …

Longtime Etan Patz murder suspect might not testify

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Dec 232014
 

Jurors are not likely to see longtime Etan Patz murder suspect Jose Ramos at the upcoming trial of Pedro Hernandez the person charged with the notorious crime.

A Manhattan judge indicated he wont let Ramos, a convicted pedophile who was dating Patz’s babysitter in 1979 when the 6-year-old went missing, take the stand at Hernandezs murder trial if he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Ramos lawyer said he would.

It seems to be if the witness chooses to take the Fifth, that’s it I just don’t see that happening, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley said.

Hernandez’s attorneys Harvey Fishbein and Alice Fontier can still present evidence relating to Ramos’s history as a suspect in Patz’s disappearance, including a 1988 statement in which he discusses his relationship to the sitter, the judge has said.

Ramos who was transferred last week from a Pennsylvania prison to New York City as a material witness for the impending trial is expected to be brought to court on Tuesday to formally be asked about his willingness to testify.

Hernandez gave police and prosecutors a full confession to the crime in 2012, which prosecutors argue is a reliable and key piece of evidence.

Hernandez’s lawyers contend hes mentally ill and was coached into confessing.

Jury selection is slated to begin Jan. 5.

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Longtime Etan Patz murder suspect might not testify

6 Freedom owners, managers, employees charged; company takes plea deal with feds

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Dec 182014
 

Federal prosecutors charged Freedom Industries and six of its owners, managers and employees with criminal violations of the Clean Water Act related to the January 2014 chemical leak that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people in Charleston and surrounding communities.

Dennis P. Farrell, William E. Tis, Charles E. Herzing and Gary L. Southern were each charged with three counts of violating federal environmental laws. Each man is charged with failing to meet a reasonable standard of care in running the company.

Their negligence resulted in and caused the discharge of a pollutant, that is, MCHM, from point sources into the Elk River, stated an indictment, unsealed today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane L. Tinsley.

Farrell, Tis, Herzing and Southern approved funding only for those projects that would result in increased business revenue for Freedom or that were necessary to make immediate repairs to equipment that was broken or about to break, the indictment says. It says they failed to take any action to fund other repairs necessary for upkeep or improvements.

The charges against Farrell, 58, of Charleston; Tis, 60, of Verona, Pennsylvania; Herzing, 63, of McMurray, Pennsylvania; and Southern, 53, of Marco Island, Florida, were spelled out in a 37-page indictment handed up by a federal grand jury that met in Beckley this week.

If convicted, Farrell, Tis and Herzing face a maximum of three years in prison. Southern, who was charged with 10 other crimes, faces a maximum sentence of 68 years in prison.

Also, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin charged Freedom Industries, the bankrupt company, with the same three counts of criminal water pollution violations. The company was charged through a document called an information, rather than an indictment, a move that usually indicates the defendant has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Mark Welch, Freedoms chief restructuring officer, confirmed that the company had entered into a plea agreement with federal authorities and said the move was aimed partly at limiting the possible fines and criminal defense costs if the company were to be indicted. Welch, in a prepared statement, said the plea agreement also stipulates that the U.S. Attorneys Office will not seek restitution from Freedom for victims of the companys crimes, because of the companys ongoing bankruptcy proceeding.

This will permit Freedom to focus its time and limited resources on its environmental cleanup obligations and addressing the claims of its creditors, Welch said.

Two other former Freedom employees, plant manager Michael E. Burdette, and Robert J. Reynolds, an environmental compliance officer, were charged via information with one-count of violating the Clean Water Act. Goodwin said Burdette, 60, of Dunbar, and Reynolds, 63, of Apex, North Carolina, cooperated with the investigation and the disposition of their charges will be clear very soon.

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6 Freedom owners, managers, employees charged; company takes plea deal with feds

Second Amendment challenges to felon-in-possession laws …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment challenges to felon-in-possession laws …
Dec 142014
 

Below is another excerpt from the second edition of Love, Roberts & Klingele, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction: Law, Policy & Practice (West/NACDL, 2d ed. 2015)(forthcoming), this one about challenges to firearms-related collateral consequences based on the constitutional right to bear arms. Note that the government has appealed the district courts decision in Binderup v. Holdercited in note 8, discussed here a few weeks ago.

Binderup is acivil rights action in which the federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that the federal felon-in-possession statute could not constitutionally be applied to an individual convicted of a non-violent sex offense in 1998 and sentenced to probation. This case, the first in which a federal court invalidated a federal statute on Second Amendment grounds, is likely to provide an early opportunity for the court of appeals to consider an issue that most commentators and some courts believe was left unresolved by the Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller.

Alan Gura, who represents Mr. Binderup and argued both Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago in the Supreme Court, has promised to give us a comment about the Binderup appeal and other pending Second Amendment challenges to felony dispossession laws involving people with dated non-violent convictions. The tricky and fascinating question presented by these as-applied challenges is what criteria should be used to test whether an individual with a criminal conviction is within the class historically barredbarred from Second Amendment protections or is no more dangerous than a typical law-abiding citizen. U.S. v. Barton, 633 F.3d 168, 174 (3d Cir. 2011).Criminal defense lawyers representing clients on felon-in-possession charges, and anyone seeking restoration of firearms rights after conviction, should keep an eye on this space.

(I was told several years ago that a substantial percentage of the requests for full pardon pending in the Justice Department perhaps as many as half are from people seeking restoration of firearms privileges. My own clientele bears this out. It strikes me as exceedingly strange that people with dated non-violent federal convictions should have to petition the president himself to regain what we may soon learn are their constitutional rights, but that is the situation the Supreme Court left us with its dubious 1995 decision in Beecham v. U.S. and its equally dubious decision 13 years later in Heller. He should hope the courts will relieve him of this burden, and instruct his Attorney General to stand down on Binderup.)

2:36. Firearms restrictions Second Amendment challenges to felony dispossession laws

In 2008, the Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller[1] that the Second Amendment confers a personal, fundamental right to possess a firearm, thus opening an entirely new basis for defending against the application of statutes making it a crime for convicted felons to possess firearms.[2]Heller itself anticipated and sought to deflect constitutional challenges to conviction-based firearms restrictions by declaring them to be longstanding and presumptively lawful[3]but some lower courts have characterized this statement as dictum, and scholars have questioned its historical accuracy.[4]

While every federal court to have considered the issue post-Heller has rejected a Second Amendment challenge to the federal statute barring convicted felons from possessing firearms,[5] three federal courts of appeal have suggested that categorical firearms bans may not survive rational basis review as applied to individuals convicted of nonviolent felonies.[6]

In U.S. v. Barton, the Third Circuit noted that a successful as applied challenger

must present facts about himself and his background that distinguish his circumstances from those of persons historically barred from Second Amendment protections. For instance, a felon convicted of a minor, non-violent crime might show that he is no more dangerous than a typical law-abiding citizen. Similarly, a court might find that a felon whose crime of conviction is decades-old poses no continuing threat to society.[7]

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Second Amendment challenges to felon-in-possession laws …

UPDATE: Freedom Industries President given bond; travel restrictions

 Freedom  Comments Off on UPDATE: Freedom Industries President given bond; travel restrictions
Dec 102014
 

CHARLESTON, WV –

UPDATE:

A Florida judge set bond for the president of Freedom Industries today in court.

The judge set Gary Southern’s bond at $100,000. The prosecution requested bond be set at $500,000 because they feel Southern poses a flight risk. The defense requested a $25,000 bond.

Southern is scheduled to appear in a West Virginian court on Dec. 18.

______

ORIGINAL:

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia, Southern lied under oath about his role at Freedom Industries prior to the spill in order to deflect blame from himself and protect himself financially.

FBI Special Agent James Lafferty II says in the criminal complaint that Southern engaged “in a pattern of deceitful behavior, which included numerous false and/or fraudulent statements about his role at Freedom, his role in the sale of Freedom to Chemstream, and his knowledge about conditions at the Etowah Facility.

In bankruptcy court, Southern said under oath that his role with Freedom Industries prior to its sale to Chemstream, a Pennsylvania company that bought Freedom on December 6, 2013, was as a “part-time financial-type consultant,” and that his role in Freedom Industry’s sale to Chemstream was “superficial.”

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UPDATE: Freedom Industries President given bond; travel restrictions

Supreme Court weighs free speech, threats online

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Supreme Court weighs free speech, threats online
Dec 102014
 

Facebook and Twitter news feeds are often clogged with opinions written in a bout of rage from old high school acquaintances or distant family members. However, those posts of outrage may not fall under free speech laws depending on the language used in messages.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide whether rants posted on social media such as Facebook can be considered threats or if they are protected by free speech.

The case stems from a Pennsylvania man, currently serving a 44-month sentence in prison, who posted statements on his Facebook page directed at his estranged wife, FBI agents and a kindergarten class.

The comments made by Anthony Elonis were violent and included death threats directed at his wife. Even after a court issued an order to keep Elonis away from his wife, he threatened her again and went on to threaten a kindergarten class, which earned him a visit from the FBI. Following the visit from a female FBI agent, Elonis went on to threaten her as well.

Elonis claims his postings, which were written in the form of rap lyrics, were a way to vent his frustration, first at his wife and later at the FBI agent who questioned him.

The first amendment issue has to do with the fact hes tying to tie it to creative speech rap lyrics and saying that makes it protected under the first amendment, said Dirk Deam, senior lecturer in political science.

Deam said the fact it is online really does not matter in this case. It is more about the way he presented the speech.

In most respects, its not the medium [of spoken word or online] that controls, its the character of the speech, Deam said about whether the form of speech is relevant to the case or not.

For ISU students who use multiple forms of social media, Captain Carrie Jacobs, patrol commander for the ISU Police Department, has some advice.

Jacobs said the ISU PD receives reports a couple times a week about threats and harassment online. She said they frequently receive these types of reports from a third party.

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Supreme Court weighs free speech, threats online

Free speech and terrorism

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Free speech and terrorism
Dec 102014
 

Michigan State University student Michael Matthew Mullen, arrested last month for allegedly threatening to shoot up a school, is charged with terrorism.

In a post on the social media site Yik Yak in November, Mullen supposedly wrote ,I’m gonna (gun symbol) the school at 12:15 p.m. today. There are enough school shootings, enough mentally ill, chronically angry, psychotic people with guns that police acted swiftly to apprehend Mullen.

But terrorism?

In the wake of Sept. 11, terrorism has branded our collective psyche. Thirteen years removed from the attacks that leveled the World Trade Center, targeted the Pentagon and brought down an airplane in western Pennsylvania, we find our laws, government and culture have been shaped by fear.

Our response to terrorism has been government-sanctioned torture, offshore prison and rendition sites, indefinite detention, illegal surveillance by the National Security Agency, militarization of police forces and a new body of draconian laws.

In Michigan, as in other states, terrorism laws often overlap traditional criminal law. The statute officially known as the Michigan anti-terrorism act was enacted in 2002 and has not been changed since then. Some provisions deal with threats that reflect the general definition of terrorism: harmful biological substance, chemical devices and radioactive material.

But in an astounding overreach the law also defines terrorism as:

An act that would be a violent felony under the laws of this state, whether or not committed in this state.

An act that the person knows or has reason to know is dangerous to human life.

An act that is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.

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Free speech and terrorism




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism