The grand jury is perhaps the most mysterious institution in the American criminal justice system. While most people are generally familiar with the function of the police officer, the prosecutor, the defense lawyer, the judge, and the trial jury, few have any idea about what the grand jury is supposed to do and its day-to-day operation. That ignorance largely explains how some over-reaching prosecutors have been able to pervert the grand jury, whose original purpose was to check prosecutorial power, into an inquisitorial bulldozer that enhances the power of government and now runs roughshod over the constitutional rights of citizens.
Like its more famous relative, the trial jury, the grand jury consists of laypeople who are summoned to the courthouse to fulfill a civic duty. However, the work of the grand jury takes place well before any trial. The primary function of the grand jury is to inquire into the commission of crimes within its jurisdiction and then determine whether an indictment should issue against any particular person. But, in sharp contrast to the trial setting, the jurors hear only one side of the story and there is no judge overseeing the process. With no judge or opposing counsel in the room, grand jurors naturally defer to the prosecutor since he is the most knowledgeable official on the scene. Indeed, the single most important fact to appreciate about the grand jury system is that it is the prosecutor who calls the shots and dominates the entire process. The grand jurors have become little more than window dressing.
At present, Congress seems to be interested only in proposals that will further expand the powers of the grand jury. Recent “anti-terrorism” proposals, for example, have sought to remove critical limitations on the dissemination of grand jury material. Because the grand jury can easily function as a stalking horse for prosecutors to bypass the constitutional rights of individuals and organizations, it is imperative that its powers be scaled back, not unleashed.
“A poor 76 year old farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman from Sandborn, Indiana had the courage and tenacity to fight Monsanto all the way to the Supreme Court, and says he doesn’t have the money to pay the $84,456 he’s been sued for. He barely makes ends meet, making do with old run-down tractors and second-hand seed from granaries.
Let’s help this farmer endure this ridiculous debt so he and his family don’t suffer any more under the pressure of this evil lawsuit. It’s important to stand united and not to let this farmer carry this burden by himself, because he has stood up for all of our rights to not have the world’s food supply controlled by Monsanto.
If people rally around him with support it will show that Farmer Bowman’s got allies and show that Monsanto has a growing groundswell of enemies.
Let’s show how the People truly want our farmers treated.
Let Monsanto know they can’t bully family farms into extinction.
And why would they do such a thing, you may ask? I’ll get to that in a second but first, here’s the story.
from Rand Paul’s office:
Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.
“This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,” Sen. Paul said. “Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”
The White House on Wednesday released 94 pages of emails between top administration and intelligence officials who helped shape the talking points about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that the CIA would provide to policymakers in both the legislative and executive branches.
The documents, first reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD in articles here and here, directly contradict claims by White House press secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the revisions of those talking points were driven by the intelligence community and show heavy input from top Obama administration officials, particularly those at the State Department.
The emails provide further detail about the rewriting of the talking points during a 24-hour period from midday September 14 to midday September 15. As THE WEEKLY STANDARD previously reported, a briefing from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence shows that the big changes came in three waves – internally at the CIA, after email feedback from top administration officials, and during or after a meeting of high-ranking intelligence and national security officials the following morning.
For one police officer, will the ninth strike mean he’s out? This time around, Sgt. German Bosque—who has been fired eight times from three different police departments—has been charged with leaving his assault weapon with his girlfriend’s father, a trained security guard, while on an eight-day leave, according to CBS4 Miami. That’s a no-no, says […]
The Miami cop has managed to return to his post despite his alleged vices. The Miami Herald reports Bosque has beaten back a long list of head-turning charges, including:
- busting the skull of a handcuffed suspect - beating juveniles - having dope and booze in his squad car - ripping off suspects - falsifying reports - participating in an unauthorized chase where four people were killed - calling in sick … from Cancun
“It’s allegations. Allegations are not convictions,” said Bosque’s union-provided attorney, Andrew Axelrad. “We have a system in place, and that system is a fair system.”
To hear Bosque tell it, he just loves his job. “I love serving the community. I love what I do for a living, and I’m very proud,” he said.
Justice Department agreed to issue ‘2511 letters’ immunizing AT&T and other companies participating in a cybersecurity program from criminal prosecution under the Wiretap Act, according to new documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Read this article by Declan McCullagh on CNET News.
New polling numbers suggest that United States citizens are on average more afraid of their own government then the threat of another terrorist attack.
Even after a pair of bombings in Boston two weeks ago injured hundreds, more Americans say they are unwilling to sacrifice constitutional liberties for security than those who are.
A handful of polls conducted in the days after the Boston Marathon bombings show that US citizens are responding much differently than in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed roughly 3,000 people. Not only are Americans more opposed now to giving up personal freedoms for the sake of security than they were after 9/11, but other statistics show that distrust against the federal government continues to climb.
Just one day after the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, pollsters with Fox News asked a sample of Americans, “Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism?” Forty-three percent of the respondents said they would, while 45 percent said no. Comparatively, 71 percent of Americans asked a similar question in October 2001 said they’d be willing to give up personal freedoms, while only 20 percent opposed at the time.
In the dozen years since 9/11, frequent polling conducted by Fox has suggests that the majority of Americans have all the while said they’d give up their freedoms for the sake of security. Only with the latest inquiry though are those answers reversed: the last time a majority of Americans opposed giving up privacy for security was May 2001.
“Whether or not the government overreacted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (and, given the information available at the time, reasonable people can disagree), Americans then broadly supported a vigorous domestic counterterrorism policy,” Alan Rozenshtein writes for Lawfare Blog. “This time around, a rights-restrictive approach might not garner the same public support – if indeed that’s the road the government intends to go down.”
Indeed, a number of cities across the country have already asked for more surveillance cameras and other tactics that could be used to allegedly prevent acts of terror in the wake of the Boston bombing, but lawmakers in Washington have yet to impose the sort of restrictions on constitutional liberties that came in the aftermath of 9/11 – named the PATROIT Act and the establishment of the US Department of Homeland Security and other agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration.
A separate poll conducted by the Washington Post just three days after the Boston Marathon bombing reveals that nearly half of those surveyed say that the government will go too far in trying to prevent future acts of terrorism. The Post asked a random national sample of 588 adults, “Which worries you more: that the government (will not go far enough to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights), or that it (will go too far in compromising constitutional rights in order to investigate terrorism)?” Days after the Boston bombing, 41 percent of respondents said the government will not go far enough, compared to 48 percent saying they’ll go too far. When similar questions were asked in 2006 and 2010, 44 percent and 27 percent said the government will go too far, respectively, signaling that for the first time in years Americans are overly concerned about a misuse of power on the part of Washington.
That isn’t to say that the Boston attack is necessarily inspiring Americans to question authority, though. Two months before Tsarnaev brothers allegedly detonated a pair of explosives near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, 53 percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center said the federal government is threatening their personal rights and freedoms. In November 2011, that statistic was only 30 percent.
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
“All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.
If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.”
Bill to overturn 1992 court decision has support of Obama, Amazon and Walmart â but its future in the House is uncertain
Obama, Amazon, and Walmart all support an internet tax to make the world a “fairer” place which can also be explained as a place where big business and government are equally powerful.
A tax on the internet is not going to create equality for anyone- in fact it will make it even more difficult for internet business start-ups to compete with huge companies like Amazon who can easily deal with the costs of time-consuming regulations to adhere to. It will not help the consumer, as naturally anything you buy online will be more expensive. Taxing business and market transactions stifles an already troubled economy and ensures it stays that way.
I again ask the simple question: if we tax beer and cigarettes to encourage people to not buy them, why is taxing internet business or other products sold in-store any different? Even the government recognizes adding taxes is a hindrance to sales.
Beyond the immorality and thievery of taxation, it is worth mentioning that we are also taxed far, far more than the colonies when they were inspired to rebel and create this “free” country in the first place.
Following a year-long investigation, the ACLU has filed a complaint demanding that Detroit Police halt what it calls the âdisturbing practiceâ of literally driving away the homeless, often leaving them to fend for themselves in unfamiliar areas.
(Reuters) - Two agents with the Department of Homeland Security charged with rooting out corruption in other law enforcement agencies have been charged with faking records, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Eugenio Pedraza served as special agent in charge of the DHS’s Office of Inspector General office in McAllen, Texas, where he was responsible for rooting out possible corruption in other area federal agencies that work along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection.
Pedraza and an agent that reported to him falsified records from seven investigations into Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents accused of accepting bribes to allow drug shipments and illegal immigrants through international ports of entry between 2009 and 2011, the indictment states.
The indictment alleges Pedraza, 49, covered up “severe lapses in DHS-OIG’s investigative standards” ahead of an internal review of the McAllen office, the Justice Department said in its statement.
Also charged in the case is Special Agent Marco Rodriguez, 40, accused of following Pedraza’s orders to falsify records in ongoing investigations. The indictment shows Rodriguez worked on two of seven cases identified in the indictment as containing false information.
Five other agents under Pedraza were assigned to other cases under scrutiny, but were not named in the indictment.
Pedraza was accused of directing his subordinates to draft and place backdated memos into investigative files showing progress in cases that never occurred, as well as records involving case reviews that were never performed.
Pedraza also is accused of failing to promptly notify the FBI that one of its agents was under investigation.
The Justice Department said Pedraza concocted the alleged scheme to make it appear to investigators reviewing his office that cases were being worked properly.
A third former DHS-OIG special agent, Wayne Ball, has already pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to falsify records in federal investigations. His sentencing is set for July 31.
The most severe charges alleged in the case carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count.
No court date has been set for Pedraza or Rodriguez. Federal court records show no defense attorneys for either defendant.
(Reporting by Jared Taylor; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Sofina Mirza-Reid)
Jesse Jackson Jr, a former US congressman and the son of a prominent civil rights leader, has pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he misused $750,000 in campaign funds by spending it on personal items during the last seven years.
Jackson faces up to five years in prison and a fine under the terms of his deal with prosecutors. His wife, Sandra Jackson, also pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of filing false joint federal income tax returns.
Sandra Jackson, who was a member of the Chicago city council until her resignation last month, admitted that from 2006 to 2012 she failed to report $600,000 in income that she and her husband earned from 2005 to 2011.
The list of items purchased with campaign funds includes a $43,350 gold-plated men’s Rolex watch and nearly $10,000 worth of children’s furniture. His wife spent $5,150 on fur capes and parkas, the court documents said. The tab for personal expenditures at restaurants, nightclubs and lounges cost ran to more than $60,000.
Under the plea deal, Jackson must forfeit $750,000, plus tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of memorabilia items and furs.
Before entering the plea, Jesse Jackson told the judge that he had “never been more clear in my life” in his decision to plead guilty. He added later, “Sir, for years I lived in my campaign,” and said he used money from the campaign for personal use.
US attorney Ronald Machen called the case “nothing short of tragic”.
“Jesse Jackson Jr. entered public life with unlimited potential, but squandered his bright future by engaging in a self-destructive course of conduct that was staggering in both degree and scope,” Machen said.
“For seven years, Mr Jackson betrayed the very people he inspired by stealing their campaign donations to finance his extravagant lifestyle.”
Jackson had been a Democratic congressman from Illinois from 1995 until he resigned last November, and was considered a bright political figure with a shot at higher office. His father, Jesse Jackson, is a prominent civil rights campaigner.
Jackson and his wife are both scheduled to be sentenced this summer, and remain free until then.
According to county pay records, in addition to her $301,000 base salary, Muranishi receives:
– $24,000, plus change, in “equity pay’’ to guarantee that she makes at least 10 percent more than anyone else in the county.
– About $54,000 a year in “longevity” pay for having stayed with the county for more than 30 years.
– An annual performance bonus of $24,000.
– And another $9,000 a year for serving on the county’s three-member Surplus Property Authority, an ad hoc committee of the Board of Supervisors that oversees the sale of excess land.
Like other county executives, Muranishi also gets an $8,292-a-year car allowance.
Muranishi has been with the county for 38 years, and she’s 63. When retirement day comes, she’ll be getting a lot more than a gold watch.
That’s because, according to the county auditor’s office, Muranishi’s annual pension will be equal to the dollar total of her entire yearly package — $413,000. She also has a separate executive private pension plan, for which the county chips in $46,500 a year.