Random Thoughts (Political Edition)

GRtak

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http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2011/victory-recording-public

A Victory for Recording in Public!


The CMLP is thrilled to report that in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe, which the CMLP has blogged previously and in which the CMLP attempted to file an amicus brief, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has issued a resounding and unanimous opinion in support of the First Amendment right to record the actions of police in public.

For those of you not familiar with Simon Glik's case, Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007, after openly using his cell phone to record three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common. In return for his efforts to record what he suspected might be police brutality -- in a pattern that is now all too familiar -- Glik was charged with criminal violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.

As tends to happen in cases like these, the charges didn't hold up, with the Commonwealth dismissing the aiding escape charge and the Boston Municipal Court dismissing the remaining charges. But unlike most arrestees, Glik, with the assistance of the ACLU, fought back against this treatment. He filed an internal affairs complaint with the Boston Police Department, but the BPD neither investigated the complaint nor initiated any disciplinary action.

Undeterred, in February 2010, Glik filed suit in federal court against the officers and the City of Boston under 42 U.S.C. ? 1983 and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act. Glik alleged that the police officers violated his First Amendment right to record police activity in public and that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause to believe a crime had occurred.

Naturally, the police officers moved to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity, but Judge Young was having none of that, denying the motion from the bench and ruling that "in the First Circuit . . . this First Amendment right publicly to record the activities of police officers on public business is established." The police officers then appealed to the First Circuit, but they have now struck out on appeal as well, with the First Circuit ruling that "Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filiming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause."

Pardon me while I bask in the warm glow of that sentence for a moment. Let's see if we can find some more excellent quotations.
? "s there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative."
? "Glik filmed the defendant police officers in the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States and the apotheosis of a public forum. In such traditional public spaces, the rights of the state to limit the exercise of First Amendment activity are 'sharply circumscribed.'"
?"[A] citizen's right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment."
? "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting 'the free discussion of governmental affairs.'"

I've got chills. Let's hope that last quotation helps us find some more room for cameras in the federal courts.

The First Circuit relied on its earlier opinion in Iacobucci v. Boulter, as well as a plethora of decisions from other courts, in holding that the First Amendment right to record public officials in public spaces had been well established. The Court also dismissed the suggestion that the discussion of the First Amendment right to record in Iacobucci was too cursory to clearly establish the right. To the contrary, the Court stated that "[t]he terseness implicitly speaks to the fundamental and virtually self-evident nature of the First Amendment's protections in this area."

"Self-evident." They actually said "self-evident."

The Court also rejected any distinction of those cases based upon the fact that Glik was not a reporter, holding that "[t]he First Amendment right to gather news is, as the Court has often noted, not one that inures solely to the benefit of the news media" and noting the importance of citizen journalists:


[C]hanges in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

(Meanwhile, over in the state courts, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is currently mulling over amendments to SJC Rule 1:19 -- Massachusetts' cameras in the courtroom rule -- that would expand the role of citizen journalists in the courts of the Commonwealth. We're getting there, folks.)

On the Fourth Amendment side, the police officers fared no better with their argument that they had probable cause to arrest Glik under the wiretap law. The argument before the First Circuit turned on the question of whether Glik's recording of audio could be considered "secret," as required by M.G.L. c. 272, ? 99, when he was holding his cell phone out in full public view in broad daylight. The police officers claimed that the audio recording was "secret" as far as they were concerned, because they had no subjective knowledge that Glik was recording audio as opposed to capturing still images or soundless video.

The First Circuit, analyzing Massachusetts state law, found that the question of secrecy turned on "notice, i.e., whether, based on objective indicators, such as the presence of a recording device in plain view, one can infer that the subject was aware that she might be recorded." (emphasis added) That invocation of an objective standard for secrecy doomed the police officers' argument. The Court noted that Glik's complaint alleged that he was recording openly and that the police were aware of his activity, and thus held that Glik's conduct "falls plainly outside the type of clandestine recording targeted by the wiretap statute."

The Court also rejected the police officers' reliance on their claim that they were unaware Glik was recording audio specifically, because Glik's complaint alleged that the police were at least aware that the device could record audio: "Simply put, a straightforward reading of the statute and case law cannot support the suggestion that a recording made with a device known to record audio and held in plain view is 'secret.'" Accordingly, the Court stated:


The presence of probable cause was not even arguable here. ... For the reasons we have discussed, we see no basis in the law for a reasonable officer to conclude that such a conspicuous act of recording was 'secret' merely because the officer did not have actual knowledge of whether audio was being recorded.

So, clearly established First Amendment right to record the police in public - check. Clearly established Fourth Amendment right against being arrested for violating the wiretap act when you're openly recording in public - check. Even though I'm sitting in Cambridge with the eye of Hurricane Irene staring right at me, I can't help but feel that a ray of sunlight has just pierced the clouds.

This isn't the end of Glik's case, of course. The First Circuit's opinion is based on the facts as alleged on the face of Glik's complaint, and the case now goes back to the District Court where Glik will be required to prove those facts. One can only assume that his audiovisual recording will help. But an opinion this strong can only help to halt the epidemic of photographer and videographer arrests that has been sweeping the country.

(On a personal note, I was present at the hearing before the First Circuit, and want to say that I was very impressed by the attorneys for both sides. In particular, Ian Prior, counsel for the City of Boston and a former colleague of mine from my law firm days, did an excellent job arguing a difficult case.)



It is about fucking time!
 

Firecat

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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/teen-gets-branded-felon-life-robbing-man-7-200811947.html

A 15-year-old from Syracuse, Anthony Stewart, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in a juvenile detention facility by Judge William Walsh of Onandaga County for a robbery in which the teenager took a mere 7 cents.

Walsh said he issued the harsh sentence because Stewart declined to plead guilty, choosing to fight the charges. A jury found him guilty of first degree robbery.

The victim had identified Stewart and a friend as the perpetrators, Walsh said, "and yet you still denied it," the Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse reported.

"Well, that cost you," Walsh added.

The other teenager, Skyler Ninham, 16, pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison.

Stewart and Ninham carried BB guns that looked like real pistols when they knocked a 73-year old man to the ground--Stewart punching him in the face--and took all the cash he had on him, prosecutors said. That amounted to 7 cents.

Stewart's lawyer, Laurin Haddad, had pleaded with Walsh to treat her client as a youthful offender, so that a felony conviction wouldn't remain on his permanent record.

"For 7 cents, now you're making someone a felon for the rest of his life," Haddad told the Post-Standard.

..
Yeah, i don't see the problem with that sentence. In fact, maybe it's too light
 

nomix

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Indeed it is. If I could tell this application of wiretapping laws would be unconstitutional, how could the police officers really expect anything else? Stupidity.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/teen-gets-branded-felon-life-robbing-man-7-200811947.html



Yeah, i don't see the problem with that sentence. In fact, maybe it's too light
I think he should be executed, then mauled by a dog and the rest could be minced by a meat mincing machine. Then the remains could be burned and the parents gets the bill for the procedure.
 

GRtak

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Indeed it is. If I could tell this application of wiretapping laws would be unconstitutional, how could the police officers really expect anything else? Stupidity.

They push the bounds of the law just like lawyers and criminals.
 

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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/teen-gets-branded-felon-life-robbing-man-7-200811947.html

Yeah, i don't see the problem with that sentence. In fact, maybe it's too light
Gotta love the colorful journalism there; he got it only because of a mere 7 cents. Right.

I can understand being all "mere" if, I dunno, he took it from a cash register left open or something... but they straight up beat and mugged an old guy at gunpoint. Granted, the pistols had "REPLICA" on the side (and not "DESERT EAGLE .50"), but still...
 

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This reminded me of the mundane burglary of the Watergate Hotel and a low level reporter from the Washington Post was in court to hear that the burglars previous employers were "the CIA".

That was the movie which was probably changed a bit from the reality.

Good story though about the papertrail of the Gulstream flights implicating dubious and probably illegal activites by the then government.

Big Ooops!
 
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Blind_Io

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Salt Lake City's bicycling mayor now wants to pass an "Anti-Idle Ordinance" that would make it illegal to idle your engine for more than 2 minutes.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=17071485

SALT LAKE CITY -- Cleaning up the air is an on-going effort that's starting with a unified effort to go 'idle free'. More cities are joining Salt Lake City's no-idle campaign.
One look at the air some days in Utah, and most people would say they'd do anything to clean it up. At the airport's park and ride lot --a prime spot for idling --an anti-idling ordinance sounds like a good idea to a couple of the people here.
"I think it's certainly necessary. I think it's a good thing to do that, I really do," said Pat Darcey, of Kamas.
"I think everything makes a difference, so I think this is a way to start, definitely," said Pam Radent, of Sandy.
In fact, there are some pretty bad days in some cities in Utah. Air quality is a top issue, yet an easy solution is elusive.
"We have a real problem with PM 2.5, especially in the winter, and Ozone in the summer, and those things are exacerbated by people idling," Mat Carlile of the Department of Environmental Quality.
Salt Lake City is actually looking to criminalize excess idling. Eventually, a they could issue a citation if you sit with your engine running for too long, except under certain weather conditions.
At Mountain View Elementary school, young people seem to be on board.
"Turn your key be idle free."
It's a state-wide effort. Other cities and counties joined the chorus of Mountain View students today.
"It's a small thing, but that's what it's going to take -a lot of small things by individuals," Mayor Peter Corroon said.
But there are critics. Some feel anti-idling doesn't make a difference -that sitting at poorly timed traffic lights is worse.
Officials respond: One thing at a time.
"We're looking at everything we can do: looking at mass transit, show people there are options," said Vicki Bennett, Office of Sustainability.
The DEQ says the haze we're seeing today is from a fire; the kind of thing that will bring Ozone later in the day. Exhaust only adds onto the gunk, the type of situation that just makes a bad situation worse.
The mayor knows jack-shit about cars, like the fact that start-up is the least-efficient thing you can do with an internal-combustion motor, or the added wear and tear on the motor from excessive starts will more than offset any fuel saving. With the amount of fuel it takes to start a car like a Subaru Impreza (very popular here), you could idle that same motor for a couple of minutes. So rather than keep the catalytic converter warmed up and scrubbing the exhaust, the mayor wants to increase the most inefficient operation of motors which will increase pollution and not save any significant amount of fuel.

Dumbass.
 

calvinhobbes

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So rather than keep the catalytic converter warmed up and scrubbing the exhaust, the mayor wants to increase the most inefficient operation of motors which will increase pollution and not save any significant amount of fuel.

Dumbass.
The automotive industry disagrees. Even Porsche put a start/stop in the Panamera.
 

Okaen

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I have heard that it takes 10 seconds to make up the difference between start-up fuel costs and idle. I have no source.
The real question is weather start-up sends more particulates into the air compared to idle.
 

nomix

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- Standing at the lights: Keep engine running as long as you haven't got stop/start.
- Pulling over to let someone off, need to wait to be let back onto road: Keep engine running as long as you haven't got stop/start.
- Going into a kiosk: Turn off your engine.
- Going into the supermarket: Turn off your engine.

I think these four cover most eventualities.
 

Blind_Io

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The automotive industry disagrees. Even Porsche put a start/stop in the Panamera.
That might be the case for cars that are designed for stop-start. I'd imagine that with more starts, the starter system would be significantly beefed up. I've seen cars where the starter motor was fine, but the shaft had stripped because it was too lightly built.

Most cars are not designed for start-stop operation. Anyway, I think that it's a gimmick to pass controlled lab tests and doesn't do as well in the real world. I also would think that cars with start-stop tech would find ways to keep the heater and A/C running when the computer turns the engine off, there would also be no risk of the steering locking and I would hope that the braking assist would still be active.

Remember, we are dealing with the lowest common denominator. Remember all the comments during the Runaway Toyota recalls about how easy it was to avoid that scenario if you knew what you were doing behind the wheel? These are the people who mix up the brake and the gas and we are now going to ask them to continually put their slushboxes in park at long lights and turn off their engines. Most can't even understand headlights or turn signals.
 

GRtak

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[video=youtube;x7Kw9-vTJYs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Kw9-vTJYs&feature=player_embedded[/video]



How dare this guy know his rights! Why are these unstable people allowed to be police?
 

nomix

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Does the officer need a warrant, though? Isn't an officer permitted to carry out a search of a motor vehicle without a warrant if he has probable cause?
 

Blind_Io

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He has to be able to articulate why he has cause to the court. If a cops asks to search then he probably doesn't have cause; if he did, he wouldn't have to ask. Declining permission to search is not cause according to SCOTUS.

In this case, I didn't see anything that would be cause. If the cop saw drug paraphernalia in the car it would be cause, same if the man appeared high or smelled of drugs. Just being pulled over for speeding is not cause for a search.
 
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nomix

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Right, thanks for the clarification. :)
 

Heathrow

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BBC News - Royal Bank of Scotland to fight US mortgage action

BBC News said:
The Royal Bank of Scotland says it will vigorously defend itself against US government claims it misrepresented the quality of mortgages it sold.

The US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has filed lawsuits against 17 banks, including RBS, Barclays and HSBC, over mortgage-based investments.

Values plunged during the financial crisis and a bailout of mortgage firms cost US taxpayers billions of dollars.

RBS says it has "substantial" legal and factual defences to the US claims.

A spokesman said: "We believe we have substantial and credible legal and factual defences to these claims and will defend them vigorously."

HSBC and Barclays declined to comment to the BBC on the legal action.


more via link
Joe Lynam BBC News said:
Analysis


Until a few years ago very poor Americans were sold home loans that they probably couldn't afford.

Those home loans - or mortgages - were repackaged into bonds and they were traded around the world because they were given a risk-free triple-A rated status.

That worked up until 2007 but then the people who had taken out these home loans couldn't afford to pay them any more - because they had been lured in under false premises.

And then the market collapsed.
The US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has filed lawsuits against 17 banks, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Nomura, Citigroup, and Societe Generale, RBS, Barclays and HSBC.

If these idiot bankers have deliberately misrepresented financial products, then maybe the FHFA has a case.

I suspect there will be a deal done in settlement, after thousands of hours of lawyer time has been clocked up. (i.e. more money wasted.)

Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out by the UK taxpayers, who now own 84% of said idiot bankers company.

So the UK taxpayers will be paying back some of the money to the US taxpayers, for something neither party had anything to do with, while the bankers huge bonuses are pretty much back to what they were pre-crisis.

Marvellous. :rolleyes:
 
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