18 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to President of the United States

Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life for a Website

My son, Ross Ulbricht, is serving a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross―an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur―had all non-violent charges and no criminal history. This is a sentence that shocks the conscience. The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where individual users chose what to list for sale. Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly small amounts of cannabis. Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for dealing drugs himself but for a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people. Ross’s investigation, trial and sentencing were rife with abuse.  This includes corrupt federal investigators (now in prison) who were hidden from the jury, as well as prosecutorial misconduct, constitutional violations and reliance on unproven allegations at sentencing. Ross did not get a fair trial and his sentence was draconian. Justice was not served. We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. He told the court that Silk Road was a terrible mistake that he deeply regrets, that he never intended harm, and that he has learned the heavy price of breaking the law. Ross’s life history clearly shows he is a compassionate young man with much to contribute. The judge received 100 letters attesting to his excellent character and how much he has helped others. These include those in prison, where he has tutored, led classes, and generally helped fellow inmates.  Keeping Ross caged for life helps no one; will cost taxpayers about $2 million; and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person. Even in the face of his walking death sentence, Ross clings to the hope of a second chance and dreams of a future where he can be reunited with his loved ones, and use his education, knowledge and skills to give to his community and society as a whole. Please sign this petition and help us bring Ross home. Learn more about Ross Ulbricht here.
60,360 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Governor Ralph Northam

Decriminalize Autism and Save Drew

Our son, Drew Harrison, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is currently serving three active years of a 50-year prison sentence. Drew’s Autism was not taken into consideration at trial or sentencing. We are petitioning Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. Drew reconnected with a woman he had dated in high school. The evening before inviting him to her apartment she shared her interest in BDSM, submissive sex. She told Drew that her boyfriend was too tired after work to please her sexually. Upon arrival she laid a blanket on the floor, she allowed him to massage her shoulders and feet, she showed him her semi-nude, erotic photos of herself and engaged in sexualized talk. In the bedroom he easily removed her shirt and pants. Drew gave the woman oral sex and put a finger in her vagina. When she told him to stop he stopped. The two of them texted and emailed back and forth hundreds of times post event. They even got together a few times. On one occasion they went to a bookstore where she pointed out an erotic BDSM book for Drew to buy. Six months after the evening in her apartment she reported to the police that the contact in her bedroom was nonconsensual. Those with ASD typically have a strike or two against them when entering a courtroom. The pace of questioning often exceeds their ability to process everything that is heard. Their high anxiety and repetitive statements can be mistaken as indicators of deception or guilt. Without an understanding of their unique way of processing information and their difficulty expressing anger appropriately a court can easily question credibility and reach a faulty conclusion.  Drew’s therapist testified that Drew has a strong desire to please, that he has learned to fake well in order to fit in. The judge interpreted this as our son’s ability to be deceitful and he used it as part of the reason for convicting Drew. He never asked the autism experts in the courtroom for clarification regarding Drew’s social and communication deficits.  In a letter presented to the judge Drew’s probation officer noted that Drew complied with all probation conditions for over two years. She stated that if this were a regular case without the appeal process she would request early release from probation. She added that Drew passed the state-issued polygraph without deception. Results were consistent with the not guilty plea Drew has maintained from the beginning.      The judge stated that he didn’t view Drew as a threat to the community or the woman. He emphasized that he was sending Drew to prison as a general deterrence to others because that is what the community would want him to do. Drew’s therapists are convinced that Drew is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. They warned the court that incarceration would be torture for our son. In prison Drew suffered a break down after abrupt medication changes and being moved from isolation into general population. To deaden his senses from loud clanging doors, the bright buzzing lights and the chatter of inmates Drew often wears ear plugs and wraps a shirt around his head. He struggles to navigate the unwritten rules of inmates. Drew lives in fear and overwhelm. He begs us, “Please get me out of here”. Prison visits are bittersweet. We are grateful to spend time with our son, but heartbroken as we see him deteriorate. We are asking Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. We ask for your support by signing this petition. My blog gives additional details and excerpts from transcripts. It shows the considerable reasonable doubt and injustice.  Thank you, Judy and John Harrison       

Judy (Jude) Harrison
5,743 supporters
Started 2 months ago

Petition to President of the United States, Donald Trump, Office of the Pardon Attorney, Larry Kupers

Grant DMX a Presidential Pardon

On March 28, 2018 Earl Simmons (pka DMX) was sentenced to one year in jail for felony tax evasion. The rapper will then have three years of supervised release. Simmons was first hit with tax evasion charges in July 2017, when he was arrested for “engaging in a multi-year scheme” to hide his income and faced 14 charges of tax fraud. He initially pled not guilty and posted $500,000 bail. Simmons subsequently pled guilty to one count of tax fraud in November 2017, and in January, he was placed in jail on a bail violation. In addition to serving one year in prison, DMX will also have to pay $2.3 million after being released. He will be allowed to pay in installments that total 10% of his gross monthly income. DMX will also have to attend an outpatient substance abuse program as well as an outpatient mental health program. DMX has 15 children, and is behind in his child support payments by approximately $400,000. If he is left to sit in jail for the next year AND pay the government in excess of 2 million dollars, his children will suffer even more. The President has the authority to grant Mr. Simmons a pardon and allow him to perform. With DMX able to perform, he can raise money to support his large family.  Most pardons reward, or otherwise benefit, the person being pardoned. In this case, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, the pardon would be "for the children". President Trump has called upon the NFL players for recommendations on who to pardon. He has taken suggestions from famous actors on who to pardon. Why not ask the general public, and help 15 children at the same time? We are asking that Larry Kupers, the Acting Pardon Attorney, prepare application and recommend to the President of the United States to pardon Earl Simmons.

Mr. Throwback Thursday
20 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Larry Kupers

Pardon for 4 CT police officers charged under the Obama administration's war on cops.

Not all police are good civil servants, but 4 East Haven, Connecticut Police officer's, Officer David Cari, Officer Dennis Spaulding, Officer Jason Zullo and Sergeant John Miller served proudly and honorably as East Haven Police officers with a combined, over 40 years of police service. The four officers were among the town's most decorated and proactive police officer’s, received numerous awards, medals of Valor, Unit Citations, Commendation medals and a Purple Heart in that time. The group included members of the Swat Team, K9 Division and Search, Rescue and Recovery Dive Team. Officer David Cari, was shot in the line of duty and Sgt. Miller has twice had to use deadly force to protect innocent citizens and save the lives of police officers.    During their time as police officers, Officer Dennis Spaulding had discovered a major fraud occurring within East Haven as well as in the "sanctuary city" of New Haven, Connecticut. The illegal immigrant population was using forged documents to obtain vehicle registration plates from Pennsylvania and other states, as well as obtaining fake insurance cards and fake driver's licenses. Officer Dennis Spaulding’s investigation led to approximately 1500 license plates being cancelled by Pennsylvania motor vehicle officials. This fraud resulted in over $2 million dollars exchanging hands with those involved in this organized crime. Illegal immigrants were paying approximately $1500 to obtain these license plates and documents. Dennis' investigation led to two arrests of the woman who masterminded this scam and the arrest of hundreds and hundreds of illegal immigrants. This investigation made Officer Dennis Spaulding and the East Haven Police Department a target.  They were targeted by politicians in Connecticut, and activist groups led by Yale University law students, who claimed "racial profiling" and "targeting" of immigrants by the police department. The four officers were targeted as members of the East Haven Police Department that suffered from a questionable pattern and practice discrimination investigation that led to a federal consent decree. The Obama administration and the Department of Justice’s Civil Litigation Unit, which was led, at the time by Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman, Tom Perez, attempted to meet with town officials and immigrant rights groups to order the town of East Haven to make changes to the police department. These types of “pattern and practice” investigations were popular under the Obama administration and are no longer used as attorney General Jeff Sessions is quoted as saying “One of the most dangerous, and rarely discussed, exercises of raw power is the issuance of expansive court decrees,” he wrote in the introduction to a 2008 policy paper on the practice. “Consent decrees have a profound effect on our legal system as they constitute an end run around the democratic process.” “It can impact morale, it can impact and affect the view of citizens to that police department.”     When town officials pushed back against the civil litigation unit, the case was turned into a criminal investigation against the town’s police officers, in what the Department of Justice called “a broad reaching investigation”.  Some believe this term to be code for  “witch hunt”, or  “find something or someone to prosecute”. The police department and their officers became political pawns. After years of investigations under President Obama and Eric Holder's Department of Justice, these four police officers, were charged with a "conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate" illegal immigrants in violation of their civil rights. All four police officers were sentenced to prison sentences ranging from a few months to 5 years. The 4 police officers are still seeking justice. Pardon and commutation paperwork has been submitted to the Trump administration. We are looking for help and support to get these decorated police officers pardoned from their politically motived prosecution and to give them a fresh start on life.  Their families deserve it, their community deserves it and most of all they deserve it for the years of decorated service they provided to the Town of East Haven, Connecticut.  Please sign this petition and help us ask President Donald Trump to pardon these officers.   Thank you for your support.   The following are letters and editorials written by well-known attorneys, members of law enforcement, politicians, and citizens and residents of Connecticut and Town of East Haven.  Sample headlines from the letters include the following:  -East Haven case showed system’s flaws - East Haven Cops Hung Out To Dry - Cop going to prison for doing his job - Fair Play Mocked in case of East Haven Cop -E. Haven ‘victims’ were the real lawbreakers: - What a pathetic country we now live in                                                              -East Haven Case “reeks of Identity Politics                                                                -Police not the problem in East Haven   1. East Haven case showed system’s flaws I always thought that only guilty people went to jail. I now know that our criminal justice system that is sworn to protect us is flawed. Innocent men are going to jail based on perjured testimonies from criminals and an activist priest. Throughout the trial, the government kept harping on the fact that police officers aren’t above the law. However, during the trial, illegal immigrants admitted to committing dozens of crimes, many which were federal felonies. The government will never prosecute them; instead they were rewarded with visas that allowed them to stay in this county. So, in essence, they are above the law. Illegal immigrants have more rights than United States citizens. It’s a sad day for our justice system. Father James Manship’s personal vendetta against the Eat Haven Police Department single-handedly destroyed families and victimized innocent children. They suffer without their fathers because a priest needed vengeance! Father Manship saw past forgiveness and needed justice more. Is that what the Catholic Church is teaching our priests? Leviticus 19:18, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Father Manship should study his Bible to learn about forgiveness and should realize that all sins need to be forgiven, not just forgiving the sins of his own parishioners. Father Manship will be judged for his sins and inconsistent statements under oath. He will be the one that has to answer for them. I hope he’s proud of what he has accomplished here, destroying the lives of beautiful, loving families and leaving innocent young children fatherless. He is the one that will have to live with that for the rest of his life. I am the one praying for him and for the forgiveness of his sins. —    Jerry Wilkins Branford —     2.  East Haven Cops Hung Out To Dry   According to the New Haven Register, a number of police trained by East Haven and some veterans are leaving the E.H. force for other towns' police positions. While the federal authorities finished the cops off, the cops received no support from the town of E.H. I believe that being an illegal immigrant is perpertrating a crime in this U.S. Most of the problem here is the E.H. cops were doing their job attempting to detain some people thought to be illegal immigrants. What happened after that was blown totally out or proportion.   The cops may have been out of line somewhat, but what happened to the illegal immigrants? There are a lot of wrongs here, but the cops were left out and hung to dry.   Do illegal immigrants have civil rights? A book could possibly be written on all of the facts in this case, and if people have to be in jail it should be more than just the cops. This situation is possible cause for the cops to leave E.Haven.   3. Cop going to prison for doing his job   January 21, 2014, was a sad day in America. A truly brave hero is sentenced to federal prison because of his race. He was a white police officer from East Haven, Conn., and doing his job that night, backing up his fellow officer investigating illegal activity in his town. He decided to stay on the job he was thinking of retiring from after being shot in the line of duty, and now, he is facing several years in federal prison.   After a trial in which the judge tied the hands of the defense so much they were not allowed to present evidence on their behalf so relevant to their case. Yet, the judge allowed testimony involving incidents by police officers other than the 2 defendants on trial by the overzealous prosecutors.   Several years in federal prison for reporting to duty one evening, when he could have chosen to follow another path in life, but was persuaded to stay on the job as the town K9 officer. Several years in federal prison, based on testimony by persons who testified under oath to violating federal laws over and over again. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a sad day in America!   —    Tom Ravizza Branford —     4.  The antics of the Rev. Manship shouldn’t be overlooked-   In conjunction with Bill Lucas’s recent letter about the East Haven police, the antics of the Rev. Manship shouldn’t be overlooked. His condoning of illegal activity by undocumented immigrants is well-known. What is particularly troubling is the application of a comment made by the one who the Rev. Manship professes to be a follower of. Jesus once said that his disciples were “not part of the world.” Does this mean that Jesus would have become actively involved in such a situation as the Rev. Manship did? Did Jesus become actively involved in overthrowing the Roman conquerors as the Jews of his day wanted him to, or did he preach that Christians were to hold themselves apart from such activities in proving their worthiness for the kingdom.   I could never have the Rev. Manship preach to me about morality because his brand of it includes breaking the law. The policy of social activism which the Church has made part of the gospel only leads to confusion about what is right and wrong and if the Church is confused no wonder society is in the state it’s in.   —    Frank DePino Hamden —   5.  Fair Play Mocked in case of East Haven Cop   Friends were surprised that I crossed the line to represent Jason Zullo, an East Haven cop accused of harassing Hispanics while on duty. And when he was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge, some of those same friends thought he wouldn’t be going to prison long enough. But the decision to represent him was easy. Truth be told, I view him as a victim of our failure to have a sensible immigration policy. Jason and three other East Haven cops were indicted and accused of being bullies with badges in East Haven, a town not exactly known for its racial and ethnic sensitivity. Among the charges were claims that they targeted Hispanics for stops, falsely arrested Hispanics and a crusading priest and used unreasonable force. I put kids through college suing police officers for violating the civil rights of people of all colors, ethnicities and races back in the days when the Justice Department couldn’t care less about police misconduct. In recent years, federal judges have slammed the courthouse doors in the face of ordinary civil litigants suing cops by creating a doctrine nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution — qualified immunity. This pernicious judicial doctrine is the product of an activist and conservative federal judiciary that apparently believes that the nation’s lawmen are engaged in too important a set of affairs to be accountable to ordinary citizens. Qualified immunity empowers a judge to throw a case out of court before a jury ever sees it, if, in the judge’s eye, it is a close and questionable call about whether a cop used too much force, falsely arrested or stopped someone unlawfully. In sum, it tilts the courthouse floor in favor of police officers, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Qualified immunity protects all but the patently incompetent, the cases say. In the East Haven case, cops stopped drivers who they suspected were driving cars with illegal plates. They had suspicions that plates from several states, including Pennsylvania, were traded among illegal immigrants. So they stopped drivers with Pennsylvania plates after checking to learn the plates did not belong on the cars they stopped. They searched a shop they thought sold illegal plates. In a civil case, the officers would have had an articulable suspicion that something was wrong, the legal standard for a stop. They might also have arguable probable cause to detain people, the legal standard in the federal courts for a seizure of a person. The officers’ private feelings, their subjective thoughts and impressions, would not be relevant for determining whether the stop was justified. The law evaluates an officer’s conduct from what is called an objective standard — do the observations the officers made support the stop?There’s no doubt in my mind that stops and searches were objectively reasonable. It is an open secret in Connecticut’s federal courts that plaintiffs lose almost every claim they raise against the police for unreasonable searches and seizures. Qualified immunity and the various exceptions to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures have made litigation of Fourth Amendment claims in the federal But in the East Haven case, an activist priest and students at the Yale Law School persuaded federal prosecutors to turn the law inside out. Now the officers’ state of mind would be placed front and center because, in a criminal case, the police officer’s specific intentions mattered. Their emails and text messages would be read. Any wisecrack about a detainee was suddenly admissible evidence of racial animus. This was a political prosecution plain and simple. Were I a cop, I’d be terrified to stop a person for driving an unregistered car; what if they are an illegal immigrant, and I once made a wisecrack? I could be going to prison, too, just like Jason Zullo. Jason Zullo never pleaded guilty to race-based charges. He entered a plea to one count, obstruction of justice, involving another Italian-American. That didn’t stop Justice Department public relations men from chest-thumping about race and ethnicity, however, claiming that my client’s plea had something to do with race. The cynicism of it all is breathtaking. Mr. Zullo tried to stop a motorcycle operator who violated the rules of the road. When the driver fled and tried to evade, Mr. Zullo gave chase, just as he was trained to do. When the driver of the bike swerved to evade Mr. Zullo, he crashed his bike. He told a New Haven officer at the scene he lost control of his bike. In the course of the chase, Mr. Zullo’s cruiser and the bike collided. After the feds got their hands on the biker, he told a judge Mr. Zullo rammed him and tried to kill him. It was a preposterous claim. The only thing Jason Zullo pleaded guilty to was failing to mention any collision between his car and the motorcycle in a police report. Period. Federal prosecutors knew that was all he would plead to. They accepted the deal. Two of Mr. Zullo’s colleagues went to trial on the race-based charges and lost. Mr. Zullo did not go to trial. At sentencing the other night, the feds could not talk enough about the trial they won against Mr. Zullo’s co-defendants, the trial Mr. Zullo was not present at, the trial he avoided when the feds agreed to let him plead to one simple count not involving race.  The judge before whom Mr. Zullo appeared for sentencing told Mr. Zullo he wanted to promote respect for the law by imposing a stiff sentence. He never paused to explain why punishing a man for a crime to which he did not plead guilty was just. He did not ask federal prosecutors why they were arguing for prison time for crimes for which no guilty finding was made. The law was not honored; fair play was mocked. Rather than promote respect for the law, the law was shown to be a political tool, putty in the hands of the Justice Department when it seeks to score a point or two at the expense of a street cop, but a dead letter in the hands of ordinary citizens looking for money damages. I am proud to have represented Jason Zullo. It’s the law that fills me with shame and regret.   6.  East Haven cops ‘overzealous,’ but were doing job   I have been following the trial of the East Haven cops and was quite surprised to learn of their convictions. There is no doubt that they were overzealous and may have used some poor judgement in their actions, but to think they deserve jail time up to 20 years is far from proper punishment. Other letters to the editor published recently addressed the underlying problem here that there was a lot of criminal activity committed by the immigrants and the Latinos involved. As a supervisor in the West Haven Police Department over many years, I would want officers that possessed qualities of a very diligent, dedicated and thorough officer. I once initiated a program that targeted residents that had out-of-state plates on their vehicles, and I would have welcomed officers such as David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, as many of my officers at the time did not participate in the program, even though we identified hundreds of violators. We also found, as in East Haven, that 40-50 people all had their vehicles registered out-of-state at the same address. The point I am making is that these East Haven officers identified a problem, and they were dedicated enough to do something about it, instead of turning away and letting the criminal activity continue, and yet they have been crucified for it. I hope Judge Alvin Thompson will be lenient at sentencing, and I hope to remind him that the Rev. James Manship admitted to going to East Haven some 30-50 times solely to lay in wait and monitor the actions of the police officers, but when the officers tried to monitor the actions of the lawbreakers, they were condemned for their actions. Seems like some kind of double standard to me. —    Bill Conlan D/Chief retired WHPD West Haven   7. Mike- Branford   To me, the most disgusting and atrocious case of police being mistreated is in East Haven. Where cops, doing their jobs protecting the citizens of that community are arrested for just that- doing their jobs. Sure, a couple mistakes were made. No doubt given a second opportunity these cops might have done things differently. However, the government, OUR government has destroyed their lives. Destroyed. Why, because one officer stopped illegal immigrants at a disproportionate rate. Gee, no one has ever mentioned how many of them that were stopped wound up having no license, insurance, or registration. What would the naysayers say if one of these illegals had run over their child and killed them or struck their car leaving their husband, wife or child paralyzed only to find out that they had no insurance and therefore could not collect any money to compensate them or pay for their medical bills. The naysayers would no longer be saying "hey, stop picking on them" they would be screaming "Where were the cops? Why didn't they stop them?" A priest, a man of the cloth, someone tasked with forgiving us mere mortals runs around videotaping officers doing their jobs. Why does he not pull them aside and counsel them. Tell them they are wrong and try to forgive them. No, instead a cop who had been shot in the line of duty and nearly died protecting the community he swore to protect is forced from his profession and now faces jail time ( wow, prison should be a real walk in the park for him! "Hey, don't I know you from somewhere"?) Another highly respected officer who, without question, had saved lives is arrested by OUR Justice department (funny name for a department that seems to care about everything but justice. Hey, Atty General Holder, how's that "fast and furious" operation working out for you. You know, the one where you lost track of thousands of guns where at least one was used to kill a border patrol agent.) I'm sorry. I guess I'm just old school. My parents taught me right from wrong and made me respect the police. They didn't blame the police for any failures they may have made raising me. Today, everything is the cops fault. It's almost ironic that the outstanding work done by law enforcement in Boston in identifying immigrants turned terrorists is being praised when here in Connecticut police officers are arrested and face jail time for investigating individuals that COULD be planning or involved in similar incidents. Gotta love the federal government!!! Please do not misconstrue my comments as being anti-immigrant. All of us were immigrants at one time. However, we seem to have followed the rules and not used the brave men and women of our police departments as scape goats. People who would give up their lives for you in a heart beat that are now facing prison time for being willing to do that.   8.  E. Haven ‘victims’ were the real lawbreakers:   Now that your personal crusade to destroy the lives of two police officers is over, I have a few questions for you.   During 2008 and 2009, when the amount of cars in the New Haven area, especially the Fair Haven section, were fraudulently registered in Pennsylvania, which was in the hundreds if not thousands, many to the same address, how many of those cars were parked outside your church on Sunday mornings?   When the local police caught on to that scam and license plates from other states started to show up, for instance South Carolina, Tennesee, Wisconsin and Washington state, just to name a few, and again all fraudulently registered, how many of those cars were parked outside of your church on Sunday mornings?   When local police caught onto that scam, cars were being registered to phony businesses with Connecticut combination plates, as we all know DMV does not require license numbers to register to a business. How many cars with fraudulently acquired combination plates were parked outside your church on Sunday mornings?   Well, Rev. James Manship, all of those scenarios occurred, I witnessed them firsthand. As well, I have witnessed drivers who have bailed out and ran away after being involved in accidents because they were “undocumented citizens,” and more then likely driving illegally anyway. Do you, Rev. Manship, condone this type of illegal activity?   During the trial of David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, your parishoners admitted to entering this country illegally, one of them three times. Also, they had admitted to obtaining false Social Security cards. Do you, Rev. Manship, condone this type of illegal activity also?   Just my thoughts for the Rev. Manship; congratulations on destroying the lives of men who upheld the law.   —    John J. Conway East Haven   9. Lawyer: East Haven Police Case 'Reeks of Identity Politics' Norm Pattis, attorney for one of four East Haven officers indicted for alleged civil rights violations, argues the charges "look flimsy" and has filed for a dismissal. And another CT lawyer has also publicly criticized how the DOJ has handled the case.  Pattis is not the only Connecticut lawyer who has been publicly critical of the U.S. Department of Justice's handling of the case against the East Haven police officers. In a recent opinion piece published in the Connecticut Law Tribune, Karen Lee Torre argues that the timing of the release of the Justice Department's civil investigation findings that East Haven Police had mistreated Latino residents and engaged in racial profiling was "deliberately" and "unconscionably timed to coincide with the criminal indictment." The New Haven-based attorney continues, writing that the announcement of the indictments last month was also "made most public way," and filled with "inflammatory rhetoric and gratuitous aspersions on the accused," which federal officials knew "would be TV broadcast, newspaper headlined, and Internet viral." "Among the improper commentary: statements denouncing the accused officers as a 'cancerous cadre' and 'bullies with badges," the Connecticut lawyer wrote, Torre added that the U.S. Attorney’s office usually announces indictments by paper press releases only, which usually steer clear of "any statements that amount to personal attacks, undermine the legal presumption of innocence, or work to poison the jury pool." 'Rhetoric by Federal Offiicals' The lawyer also asks readers to consider whether "you would ever hear such rhetoric by federal officials" at a press conference held to announce the arrests on criminal charges and the holding for deportation of 12 Ecuadorians or Mexicans illegally in the U.S. "Imagine one of them taking to a public podium to denounce those arrested as a 'cancerous cadre' and 'low-lives with stolen Social Security numbers.' I could just see the headlined condemnations in the press, and hear the hysterical screams in the hallways of Yale Law School," Torre wrote, referring to the brought against East Haven Police last year.   10. Vinnie Penn- Fox New Connecticut Radio show host  The response to my reading former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding's letter on the air this past Friday was overwhelming. Spaulding, one of four East Haven officers who have lost their badges in the high-profile profiling case, was sentenced to five years in prison last week, a sentence that shocked many, including Spaulding's most outspoken critics. A portion of his letter to me - the majority of it really - was a letter he read to the judge on the day of his sentencing. Imprisonment in general seems extreme to me, never mind for five years. After all, one of the very businesses Spaulding was such a thorn in the side of, where folks could purchase phony license plates hanging on a wall, remains open to this day, plates still for sale. So I ask you...did this judge just make East Haven any safer, or seal its fate? Part 2 of the letter will be up tomorrow. Read more:     11. East Haven Accuser Quietly Exits, Stage Left   Last month, I mentioned that locals I met view the allegations of “racial profiling” and other abuses by East Haven police officers against Latinos as politically motivated and suspect. The ink wasn’t dry on that column when one of the plaintiff-accusers in Chacon v. East Haven Police Department managed to validate their assessment. On Dec. 12, 2011, plaintiff Yadanny Garcia unilaterally moved to dismiss all of his claims against East Haven police officers. Filed by his counsel, David N. Rosen, the motion was curiously bald. Rosen merely represented to the court that Garcia chose to abandon his claims, but notably added the dismissal should be “with prejudice.”   Wait a minute, I thought. A plaintiff in a media-soaked bias case, represented by a lawyer who unabashedly claims the ability to maximize damage awards, just figured he’s got better things to do? I practiced law too long not to recognize this as flagging the existence of an undisclosed back story. Sure enough, the backdrop was provided in subsequent objections to Garcia’s motion, filed by the town and the accused officers. Underscoring the significance of this are Garcia’s allegations, set forth in a complaint freighted with melodrama and broad histrionic sweeps against the whole police department. There are chapters describing the plaintiffs’ alleged experiences with police officers cast as lawless, bigoted, brutes, each chapter introduced by a theatrical headline.   Garcia sued four officers, the whole department, its chief and the town itself in connection with a single incident on Aug. 8, 2009. Garcia claimed he was a passenger in a car driven by a cousin, that the two stopped at an East Haven bar to use the bathroom, and that upon exiting, he was accosted by four officers, tased three times, punched, called a “f---ing Ecuadorian,” and subjected to a “phantom arrest.” End of story.   As Garcia would have us believe, he had done absolutely nothing wrong, was minding his own business, and was selected for police abuse because of his “race” and “ethnicity.” (Since Latinos are white, the reference to “race” is inaccurate, as is the suggestion that officers know one’s ethnicity by looking at them). That story alone strikes me as implausible, and recent filings flesh it out. The defendants assert that Garcia withdrew his claims because they “are demonstrably false” and he has no credibility. What actually occurred, they say, “is that [Garcia] was intoxicated and was operating a [car] registered in his name …when he came upon a sobriety checkpoint that had been previously advertised in the New Haven Register.” He reportedly tried to evade the DUI checkpoint by shifting his car in reverse and driving backwards over a curb, nearly striking the driver behind him.  Officers gave chase, eventually finding Garcia hiding behind brush in a parking lot. He had abandoned his car and fleeing on foot, leaving behind his keys and cell phone. Garcia also reportedly lied about whether he had been drinking. He first denied it, then admitted having a few beers. He failed a horizontal gaze test, and then refused to take a breathalyzer after being warned in writing that refusal would result in a license suspension. Garcia was charged with DWI, unsafe backing, and interfering with police. Some “phantom arrest,” huh?   Seeking to avoid suspension, Garcia testified at a DMV hearing that his cousin was the driver. His testimony in other respects varies from his complaint (for example, he claims “two or three” cops came at him, not four, and mentions one tase, not three). Apart from Garcia’s ipse dixit, there isn’t a shred of evidence to support the “my cousin the driver” claim. The hearing officer did not find Garcia credible, concluded he was the driver (of his own car), and suspended his license.  The East Haven officers object to Garcia’s motion because it fails to dismiss all defendants sued based on Garcia’s claims. The town goes further, demanding that Garcia be sanctioned for filing patently meritless allegations that Garcia and his lawyers allowed to “sit in the public sphere for over an entire year,” while they garnered mass media attention and cast the officers and the town in a “terrible light.” Worse, the town notes, the plaintiffs and their lawyers “added sensational charges that the officers’ conduct was based on the plaintiffs’ race and ethnicity, a libelous claim that would be actionable were it not cloaked with the immunity of the litigation privilege.”   East Haven has been hammered by the media, which has all but declared the Chacon plaintiffs proven victims. The Obama Justice Department has launched a corresponding assault on the town, attempting to goad it into voluntarily ceding the management of the police department over to a federal judge. Could it be that the DOJ hopes East Haven will roll over, lest the DOJ actually have to prove its case – and prove it with what, witnesses like Yadanny Garcia? Worse, the media suggests, a grand jury will soon indict numerous officers based on the very sort of claims made in the Chacon case. On what evidence will law enforcement officers face criminal prosecution? The stories told by those they arrest, like Yadanny Garcia? That is truly scary.   Recently, DOJ officials flew in from Washington, D.C., and, before a gaggle of invited reporters, publicly defamed the East Haven Police Department, notwithstanding ongoing grand jury proceedings. What did they know about Yadanny Garcia and when did they know it?   At minimum, this cautions all to pause and decline to throw stones until these allegations are put to the test of cross-examination and adversary process. • Karen Lee Torre, a New Haven trial lawyer, litigates civil rights issues in the federal courts. Her e-mail address is   12. Police not the problem in East Haven   What’s with this nonsense about East Haven spending an outrageous amount of money to retrain police. Excuse me, but the fixing needs to be with people breaking the law. The money should be put toward programs to help individuals go about doing things properly. East Haven and the police department should have the courage to stand up for what’s right. Stop criminals from taking over the town.   Instead of the Rev. James Manship spending time helping his parishioners go about things properly, he put all his energy into crucifying police, who were doing their job arresting criminals.   People should petition to have this priest removed. He never practiced love, forgiveness and unity. The only thing he accomplished was ruining peoples lives and creating hatred between people. This is not the function of a priest.   It’s a sad day in American when our justice system can send dedicated police, like Dave Cari, who put their lives on the line doing their job, to jail and nothing is done to the criminals. Plus, these criminals then want to sue the towns. When does this stop, and when does the term racial profiling allow individuals to do anything they want?   —    Elaine Dowling East Haven

Thin Blue Line
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