Supreme Court Flunks Test On Privacy Rights

“Supreme Court Flunks Test on Privacy Rights” by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

Privacy rights were on trial; and The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 decision that police don’t need a search warrant to take your DNA by use of a mouth swab. What’s next? Fecal and urine samples? Blood draws? Sperm samples? If they get away with that, they can expand the program to requiring the same sampling for people getting driver’s licenses and registering to vote. Think about how many criminals they could find if they did house-to-house searches. Think about how safe that would make you feel.

 

Gun Free Zones-An Oxymoron in the Gun Control Debate

“Gun Free Zones-An Oxymoron in the Gun Control Debate” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The only real gun free zones are closed and secured locations with controlled access, staffed by armed guards and requiring inspection of persons entering, including anything they are wearing and carrying. Areas marked with gun free zone signs, either required by law or policy, are a fraud on the public and are, in fact, a threat to public safety.

If a licensed citizen carries a gun into such an area, that person commits a crime even though the only crime is violating the law or policy establishing that zone.

If a person with criminal intent wants to go into that zone to actually use that gun to shoot one or more people, what makes anyone think that the sign would deter that person with that intent from that behavior? And, if an otherwise lawful citizen were to violate the law or policy and deploy a prohibited weapon to stop the person with murderous intent, why should that citizen be declared a criminal? Since when is exercising the right to self-defense, a Constitutional and Human Right, a crime?

Irrational, feel-good measures, such as gun free zones do not stop criminals or the insane. Such laws and policies only disarm those who are no threat to anyone. Gun free zones create an illusion of safety only to those deluded enough to believe they work.

Public officials who promote such ideas are either deluded themselves or are acting in a calculated and cynical manner in pandering to the fears of the public they work for. Do you hear me, Seattle Mayor McGinn? And Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and all the other mayors in this country who have joined your club.

 

Understanding the Second Amendment Easy, If…

“Understanding the Second Amendment Easy, If…” by John F Hays, Seattle Private Investigator.

You don’t have to be a lawyer and a constitutional law expert to understand the Second Amendment. The meaning of the Second Amendment is obvious to anyone who knows (1) our history, (2) knows that the Bill of Rights is about individual rights, not government rights and (3) understands grammar.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment acknowledges our human right, pre-existing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, while stating the interest of the government in not restricting or interfering with that right.

A study of our history leading up to the formation of our country and the writing of the Constitution, shows no evidence of government interest in controlling citizens’ possession of arms. If you know of any evidence to the contrary, provide it to me as a comment to this post.

Stipulated: The Bill of Rights is about individual rights, not government rights. Any argument?

The action part of the wording of the sentence that makes up the Second Amendment refers to a right that “…shall not be infringed.” This wording obviously recognizes a right that pre-exists the Second Amendment, as you can’t infringe on something that doesn’t already exist. The first part of the sentence does nothing more than state the government’s interest in maintaining and not interfering with that right. Does anyone reading this post claim that our language has changed so much since then that my interpretation is wrong.

If you accept this argument but you believe that the Second Amendment is an anachronism that should be eliminated from the Bill of Rights within the Constitution, good luck getting that changed.

 

Is Self-Defense a Social Evil?

“Is Self-Defense a Social Evil?” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

The issue

Is self-defense an anachronism and a social evil?

Do you believe you have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence? Who is responsible for insuring that right? At the societal level, it’s the government aided by the community. At an individual and family level, it’s the individual, the family and community, aided or not by the government.

I’ve heard people claim that personal security is the job of the police and that self defense is an anachronism in our modern country, especially when the means of self defense is a gun. This claim is often made by otherwise intelligent people who are too frightened to see the truth and who are afraid to recognize their own responsibility. Recognizing and acting on this responsibility requires people to do the work to prepare to protect themselves and their families and it requires them to suppress their fear of getting their hands dirty. It’s odd that these same people are OK with hiring mercenaries to do their dirty work for them. Is this the self-righteous piety of the pseudo-pacifist? Is it fear? Is it cowardice? Is it self-delusion? Is it some combination of these factors or something else entirely.

The truth

The police are not responsible for your individual security. Rational/logical argument: it’s the math. Legal argument: it’s the law.

The math argument only requires that you determine two numbers, the number of police officers in your community and the population of your community. The ratio of the first number to the second gives you a small fraction, doesn’t it?

The legal argument is that the courts have ruled on a number of occasions that the police aren’t responsible for your personal security. Just read the following references.

A 2005 Supreme Court decision: http://nyti.ms/V9cUKG

An example: Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: ” Courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community. . . .”

A good general discussion: http://bit.ly/V9dDvl

The question

It’s obvious that you have both the right and the responsibility for your own self defense and that of your family. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

 

Can the Drug War Be Nullified By Jury Nullification?

Can the Drug War Be Nullified By Jury Nullification? by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

The Drug War is a total failure. What started out and continues as a way to target minorities for discriminatory police attention has become one of the biggest domestic and foreign policy failures in our history. One set of beneficiaries of this domestic and foreign “war” are the police officers, the prosecutors and the judges who are paid drug-war-subsidized salaries. The only other beneficiaries are the cartels and gangs that were formed to take full advantage of this controlled, high value market. The gun-toting gangs and the shootings on our streets are the bloody pay-off we get along with the tax bill we pay to support this deadly boondoggle. We continue to pay for years for each conviction, resulting in the largest per-capita prison population on the planet. Don’t you just love getting so much value for your hard earned tax dollars?

When legislators pass bad criminal laws and police, prosecutors and judges continue the charade by enforcing the bad law via the criminal justice system, the public has few options to stop the ongoing tragedy.

The root of the problem is bad law; so going after the law makers is one route to take. But this is very slow and subject to the usual political BS. Washington and Colorado have recently passed laws legalizing limited pot sales, possession and use. The Feds will probably try to coerce the states to counter the voters’ will. We do not have to sit still for that.

There is a tool we have as citizens that is little known and seldom invoked that might break the back of the Drug War. It’s not a total solution; and it has some potential negative side-effects to consider. But it might speed up the process of converting the “war” into the medical/mental health issue it actually is.

[At this point I feel the need to state that I am not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice. I am a citizen and voter and have a right to speak out. The law belongs to the people, not the lawyers.]

What I propose is a minor rebellion. What if no court of law, federal, state or local, could get a jury to convict a person technically (under Federal law) guilty of limited drug sales, possession or use in the States of Washington and Colorado? What if this rebellion spread across all 50 States? See my earlier post on jury nullification and think about it.

Of course, the legislators who pass irrational, illogical, unenforceable laws and the police, prosecutors and judges who get paid to enforce these laws don’t want the public to be fully informed about such a subversive concept. So get informed and spread the word. If we can cripple the courts on these cases and, at the same time, pressure the law makers to eliminate the laws and funding underlying the war, we can have success in years, rather than generations.

What do you think?

 

 

A Seattle Shootout: Some Lessons for Citizens, the Police and Mayor McGinn

“A Seattle Shootout: Some Lessons for Citizens, the Police and Mayor McGinn” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The shootout

At about noon on a Saturday in July, my wife and I were standing, talking, on the SE corner of an intersection in the business district of a popular Seattle neighborhood. We were with friends and were on our way to a day of fun at a festival in the International District. We had stopped at a coffee shop so our friends could go inside to get coffees-to-go. It was a beautiful morning with lots of people out strolling and going in and out of restaurants and shops.

My attention was attracted to yelling coming from the north side of the cross-street we were on, mid-block and east of our position. I looked to see a stocky black male, 30-something, in a green shirt, yelling while facing west towards our location on the arterial street. I couldn’t make out what he was saying; but his voice had an angry tone.

While making these observations, I became aware of a 30-something, tall, slim black male and a short, slender black female crossing from a restaurant on the NE corner of the intersection, toward a point just east of us on the cross-street. These two people were obviously together and would have been unremarkable but for three things. One: She was paying a lot of attention to the yelling man up the street and seemed to be reluctant to follow the man she was with. Two: He gave a couple of sharp and abrupt hand signals to her, indicating that she should come along with him and quit lagging behind. Three: When he made these gestures, he pulled up his gray t-shirt and exposed what appeared to be a gun tucked in his dark colored pants. The view I had was so brief in duration that I couldn’t be sure I had seen a gun. She continued to hold back as he headed east on the sidewalk, moving closer to the yelling man. When she finally speeded up to catch up with her companion, I turned my attention back to my wife. Then the shooting started.

I pulled my wife to me and took cover behind a metal utility pole. Simultaneously, our friends came out of the coffee shop. I ordered them and the people at the tables in front of the shop to get down and stay down. Thankfully, they complied.

The shooting lasted only seconds. When it stopped, I looked east up the street and saw the woman who had been with the guy in the gray t-shirt coming out of a hairdressing salon behind the coffee shop. I saw a black SUV leaving the scene headed east. People flooded out onto the street. The woman headed east and away from me; I followed her.

When the police started to flood into the area, I directed the attention of one officer to the woman, an associate of one of the shooters and a material witness. When I tried to explain why he should talk to her, he asked me if I was a cop. When I told him no, he said “Then be quiet”. Not wanting to risk arrest for interfering, I stood and waited, listening to her lie about not being involved. I expected him to next turn to me. Instead he turned and walked away. A second attempt to get the same officer’s attention resulted in another rebuff when he directed another officer to talk to me. At that point all I could tell this officer was that the woman had already left the scene but that she had been in the salon and the folks in there might be able to ID her. Having done all I could, I rejoined my wife and friends. We went on to have a great day.

I was left angry and frustrated by the way I was treated by the officer who rebuffed me twice, allowing a material witness to leave a crime scene, unidentified. Rather than forgetting the matter, I sought out a meeting. I wanted to talk to the officer, his boss and the watch commander for the unit involved. The watch commander set up a meeting at the precinct.

Without going into the details, I’ve got to say that I left the meeting pleased that we had been able to talk openly about the situation. They listened actively and attentively to my concerns and were able to explain to my satisfaction how officers responding to such situations can be, or can appear to be, a bit rude. The safety of the public and the responding officers and securing the scene of the crime takes precedence over everything else.

They also informed me that the woman had been ID’d by the folks in the salon and that she and the shooters were gang associated.

The lessons for the public? Chill; it’s not about you. Oh, and get out of the line of fire.

Don’t expect polite and respectful behavior from police officers at active crime scenes, especially when the crime is violent and the scene is still chaotic. They are under a lot of pressure and are trying their best to re-establish safety and order.

Do demand answers when you have not been treated with respect; but do it after the situation is over.

When the shooting starts, don’t stand up and gawk. Don’t move closer to the action. Take cover or escape safely. Stay out of the fight unless it comes to you. Then fight as if your life depended on it, because it might.

For those who legally carry concealed firearms, the situation I describe did not warrant drawing a weapon. None of us standing or crouching behind cover on the corner were being directly threatened. We were within range of the bullets being fired; so cover and/or escape were our best defense.

Lessons for the police? Lighten up.

Command and control doesn’t require rudeness. Polite but firm will work for most otherwise good citizens who want nothing more than to help you do your job, if they can.

Unnecessary use of authority can be a barrier to getting the cooperation and information from the public necessary to do your work. Use your authority only as much as you have to in getting the job done.

Lessons for Mayor McGinn? It’s the gangs, not the guns.

Rather than trying to constrain our Second Amendment rights, strictly enforce existing gun laws. They are more than adequate, if enforced.

Aggressively go after the gangs that are the cause of the vast majority of gun violence in Seattle. And to help you accomplish that…

Go to Olympia and ask legislators to introduce mandatory, minimum sentences for those convicted of crimes where guns are used in crime or where persons committing violent and non-violent crimes are found possessing guns.

There should be no compromise with violent felons who endanger the public as well as each other. Ask the legislature to change the law to disallow plea bargaining on gun charges associated with any other felonies.

 

Bite Mark Analysis Fair Basis For Criminal Conviction?

Bite Mark Analysis Fair Basis For Criminal Conviction? by: John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.  

A forensic dentistry methodology known as bite mark analysis came up in the news today. The story is about a former Akron, Ohio, police captain who has spent 14 years in prison for allegedly murdering his wife. It appears that bite mark analysis was the sole evidence supporting the charges against him. The Ohio Innocence Project is working to get him exonerated.

The story raises an obvious question in my mind. How can evidence derived from a very controversial forensics methodology be used to convict a person of a crime with no other evidence to support the charges? It seems to me that the the controversial nature of the methodology should raise the “reasonable doubt” question in our innocent-until-proven-guilty criminal justice system.

Until the controversy is resolved, no one should be convicted solely on bite mark analysis.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/forensic-dentistry4.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensic_dentistry#Bite_mark_analysis

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-25/news/ct-met-bitemark-lawsuit-20111225_1_bite-mark-evidence-wrongful-convictions-dna-evidence

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916123515.htm

 

 

McGinn’s Oxymoron: Common Sense Gun Control Laws in Seattle

“McGinn’s Oxymoron: Common Sense Gun Control Laws in Seattle” by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

Mayor McGinn wants “common sense” gun control laws in Seattle. And he wants to define the term. Common sense should focus on root causes, not empty, feel good measures that create the illusion of  safety in the city. He should listen to Danny Westneat, a columnist for the Seattle Times.

Common sense is enforcing the laws on the books. Common sense is focusing on the criminals, in this case, gangs, not legal gun owners and inanimate objects.

Instead of going to Olympia demanding that Seattle be allowed to draft its own, stricter gun-control rules, he might want to consider demanding that the Legislature pass laws that make the punishment for illegal gun possession and crimes committed while in possession of a gun much more severe than they are. Punishment should be mandatory. Plea bargaining should be strictly limited or eliminated entirely for gun crimes.

It’s time for the police to be allowed to declare war on gangs; and it’s time for severe minimum sentencing for illegal gun possession and use.

But I don’t expect our short-timer Major to do anything that makes “common sense”.

 

Privatized Prisons, Corruption Guaranteed?

“Privatized Prisons, Corruption Guaranteed?” by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

American prisons already put us in the #1 position in the world for percentage of our population incarcerated (There’s a whole rant I’ll not pursue here and now). The corporate prison industry apparently sees the potential for big returns in the privatization of what has always been a function of the public, criminal justice system.

With ROI being the guiding principle of corporate existence, it is inevitable that corruption will be part of the deal when state and local governments farm out the People’s business to the Corporate Prison Industrial Complex.

How many public institutions can you name that the profit motive has corrupted or is in the process of corrupting? Let me start.

The Presidency

Congress

The Supreme Court

The health care system

Education

Public parks

National defense

…(Feel free to add to the list)

 

The Death Penalty – Anachronistic State Sponsored Violence

The Death Penalty – Anachronistic State Sponsored Violence by: John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The death penalty is still on the books in 33 states plus Federal and U. S. Military cases. Former Whatcom County Superior Court Judge David Nichols says “In my 20 years on the bench, I came to recognize the death penalty as inherently unfair, arbitrary, costly and ineffective”.

The reasons for wrongful convictions are inherent in a flawed and inhumane legal system.

 

How many wrongfully convicted people do we have to read about in the news before we open our eyes to the immorality of capital punishment? How many wrongfully convicted people have already been executed or are now on death row? How can a nation claiming the high and mighty principles and morality we espouse be so complacent while the State kills innocent people in our names? A moral nation? Certainly not!

 
© 2012 HSI Investigations, A Seattle Private Investigator