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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Georgia Report - News Detail Page > Perdue signs repeal of 'Jim Crow' laws

Georgia Report - News Detail Page: "Perdue signs repeal of 'Jim Crow' laws
by Tom Crawford on 4/28/2005

Calling them a “stain on the state of Georgia,” Gov. Sonny Perdue signed four bills Thursday that repeal racially discriminatory laws adopted by white legislators in the 1950s and 1960s in an attempt to stop the integration of schools and public facilities.

“We all know these were intended as a roadblock to full citizen participation in government,” Perdue said during a signing ceremony in his office. “It was the right thing to do to take them off the books . . . it’s part of the process of racial reconciliation in Georgia.”

Most of these “Jim Crow” laws had long since been negated by court rulings, but two legislators have tried for several sessions to expunge them from the state code as well: Rep. Tyrone Brooks, a black Democrat from Atlanta, and Rep. Mike Coan, a white Republican from Lawrenceville.

Coan was unable to attend the bill signing ceremony Thursday morning, but Brooks and Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) looked on as Perdue signed the bills.

“This stain has been removed to some extent and this is a step in the right direction,” Brooks said. “It does help move us towards the racial reconciliation we are all seeking. It sends the right message to Georgians.”

The bills include:

* HB 25 repeals a law that authorized the governor to close a college if there was any threat of violence.
* HB 26 repeals a law that authorized the governor to suspend compulsory attendance laws in grades K-12.
* HB 27 repeals a law that allowed the General Assembly to provide tax-funded grants for students to attend private schools.
* HB 372 repeals a law that allowed local school systems to lease buildings to private schools.

Perdue signed legislation last week, HB 244, that is strongly opposed by African-American legislators because it will require voters to show photo identification at the polls, a requirement that critics say will suppress the turnout of black voters.

"It is ironic and significant that the governor signed the infamous HB 244, the most discriminatory voting law in the 21st Century, before he repealed the unenforceable Jim Crow laws,” said Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D-Macon), an African-American lawmaker.

“Governor Perdue is preaching reconciliation and peddling the politics of secrecy, exclusion, and division,” Brown said. “He says one thing and does another, but the people of Georgia are not fooled. Ordinary Georgians can see right through the governor’s empty rhetoric.”

Final Exam Times

Graduating Seniors Take Final Exam Thursday April 28th 2:00pm-4:00pm

Class That Met Tues/Thurs 10:50am through 12:05pm- Final Exam: Thursday May 5th 1:00pm-3:00pm

Class That Met Tues/Thurs 1:40pm through 3:05pm - Final Exam: Monday May 2nd 10:30am-12:30pm

Class That Met Wednesdays 2:00pm through 4:00pm - Final Exam: Wednesday May 4th 2:00pm-4:00pm

These will be the only times the exam will be given!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Georgia Report - News Detail Page > Court overturns ‘obscene’ phone call law

Georgia Report - News Detail Page: "Court overturns ‘obscene’ phone call law
by Tom Crawford on 4/26/2005

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously struck down Tuesday a state law that had prohibited the making of lewd or obscene telephone calls, ruling that the statute violated the constitutional right to free speech.

“Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental personal rights and liberties protected from government intrusion by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” the court stated in an opinion written by Justice Robert Benham.

The court ruled that Georgia code section 46-5-21 “is an overbroad infringement on the right to free speech . . . it is clear the statute ‘lacks the precision that the First Amendment requires when a statute regulates the content of speech.’”

The state law thrown out by the court made it a misdemeanor offense for a person “by means of telephone communication in this state to make any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent.”

“Instead of applying only to obscene speech, it applies to speech that is merely indecent,” the court ruled. “Instead of making illegal such speech only when directed at minors, it makes such speech illegal when heard by adults. Instead of applying only to speech not welcomed by the listener and spoken with intent to harass, it applies to speech welcomed by the listener and spoken with intent to please or amuse.”

The court ruled in a case involving Anthony McKenzie, an 18-year-old who made five telephone calls to his 14-year-old girlfriend in 2003 while he was being held in the Forsyth County Detention Center. The calls were routinely tape-recorded at the jail and McKenzie was charged with five counts of making “harassing and obscene telephone calls” after his girlfriend’s mother complained to law enforcement authorities.

McKenzie was found guilty on two of the five counts in 2004 after a bench trial before Forsyth State Court Judge Philip C. Smith, who sentenced McKenzie to two years probation.

McKenzie’s attorney, R. Parker McFarland of Cumming, contended that the obscene phone call statute was unconstitutional in his appeal of McKenzie’s convictions. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a “friend of the court” brief that also alleged the law infringed upon free speech rights.

McFarland argued in his court filings that the Georgia law “permits the unbridled discretion of law enforcement officers to decide which conversation falls into this category.” He noted that the 14-year-old girlfriend accepted each of the five collect calls from McKenzie.

While acknowledging that some of the speech was “sexually explicit,” McFarland added, “when you consider it is being returned by the victim, I don’t know that it rises to the level of being obscene.”

Forsyth Solicitor General Leslie C. Abernathy, the State Court’s chief prosecutor, quoted several of the sexually explicit terms used in McKenzie’s phone conversations and said they were lewd, filthy and indecent “by any reasonable standard.”

McKenzie “is not prohibited from having what he describes as conversation between a boyfriend and his girlfriend; he just cannot have that conversation by telephone,” Abernathy said.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Final Exam PodCasts

Final Exam Review PodCasts Spring Semester 2005

Download these mp3 44.1 bps files to your
computer and listen to them in Microsoft
Windows Media Player on your desktop
computer or transfer it to your mp3 player.
        II)Essay Instructions PodCast

* This addendum clarifies some definitions
that I was not satisfied with after
I completed the the initial Podcast(I).

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Final Class Assignment

The Final Class Assignment is further down on this page. You will see the two"The Boondocks" comics and a PodCast explaining the assignment. Make sure you bring your response to class by Wednesday.

The Boondocks 4-21-5 Your class assignment is further down on this page. There are two comics there plus a PodCast. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The New York Times > Washington > 2 Reporters Suffer Another Court Setback

The New York Times > Washington > 2 Reporters Suffer Another Court Setback: 2 Reporters Suffer Another Court Setback

Two reporters facing up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify about their sources lost another round in the courts yesterday. The reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, now have only one appeal left, to the United States Supreme Court.

The decision, by the full federal appeals court in Washington, declined to reconsider a unanimous decision of a three-judge panel of the court.

The earlier decision, in February, required the reporters to testify about conversations they may have had with government officials concerning Valerie Plame, an undercover C.I.A. agent whose identity was first disclosed by Robert Novak, the syndicated columnist.

Seven judges participated in yesterday's decision, which noted only that a majority of the court's active judges had not voted in favor of a rehearing. Two active judges did not participate, for unexplained reasons. One judge, David S. Tatel, published an explanatory concurrence. None of the judges noted a dissent.

Speaking to the Newspaper Association of America in San Francisco yesterday, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, emphasized the importance of allowing reporters to keep their promises to confidential sources.

"This is not a New York Times or a Time magazine issue," Mr. Sulzberger said. "What's at stake here is journalism at the grass-roots level."

The two reporters have remained free while they pursue their cases in the appeals court. Under the usual procedural rules, they could face jail as soon as a week from now, when the appeals court will issue its mandate and return jurisdiction in the case to the trial court.

But legal experts say the reporters may try to make a deal with the special prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, or ask one of the courts involved to issue a stay. In exchange for their continued freedom, the reporters may agree to move quickly enough for the Supreme Court to be able to decide whether to hear the case before its summer recess.

Mr. Fitzgerald has consistently urged the courts to take quick action, adding in a recent filing that his investigation into the disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity is all but complete. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald declined to comment yesterday.

Judge Thomas F. Hogan, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, ordered the reporters jailed in October unless they agreed to testify. Judge Hogan said a 1972 decision of the Supreme Court, Branzburg v. Hayes, provided reporters with no First Amendment protection when grand juries sought their sources.

In a speech in Montana, Judge Hogan suggested last week that he expected the Supreme Court to hear the case, according to reports in the local newspapers there.

In his concurrence, Judge Tatel, who also participated in the February decision, suggested yesterday that the reporters' arguments were best addressed to the Supreme Court.

"Only the Supreme Court can limit or distinguish Branzburg," Judge Tatel wrote.

But Judge Tatel conceded that decisions of his own court's interpreting Branzburg were "somewhat conflicted." Other federal appeals courts, too, have read Branzburg in various ways, and the Supreme Court often accepts cases to resolve conflicts among federal appeals courts.

"The courts are all over the lot," said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a Los Angeles lawyer who filed a brief supporting the reporters on behalf of 25 news organizations. "This case has nationwide implications, and given what's at stake here for the public - not just the journalists - it seems like an ideal case for the court to take."

Judge Tatel also defended much of the secrecy attached to the case, including his decision to redact eight pages that were part of his concurrence in February, which presumably set out grand jury evidence supporting the need for the reporters' testimony. Lawyers involved in the case have speculated that the pages described Mr. Novak's mysterious role in the matter, and they have argued that the secrecy that has permeated the case violated the reporters' due process rights.

Judge Tatel disagreed.

"Telling one grand jury witness what another has said," he wrote, "not only risks tainting the later testimony (not to mention enabling perjury or collusion), but may also embarrass or even endanger witnesses, as well as tarnish the reputations of suspects whom the grand jury ultimately declines to indict."

Katharine Q. Seelye contributed reporting for this article.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Forum on Communications Law - American Bar Association

Representing Your Local Broadcaster

Download Conference Brochure below in the PDF file format:
Representing a broadcaster

ABA National Conference for the Minority Lawyer, Forum program on 'Celebrity Justice: Press Freedom and Fair Trials,' June 23-24, 2005, Seattle Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Seattle, WA."

Download Conference Brochure below in the PDF file format:
National Conference For The Minority Lawyer

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Class Assignments For The Week of April 18th 2005

Complete and hand in the Boondocks assignment(immediately below) by the date of your first law class of the week (either Tuesday or Wednesday). In addition make sure you have read the rest of chapter five. Focus on the Florida Star v. BJF case page 188, the "Red Kimono" case pages 188-189 and the section inthe text discussing "False Light" found on pages 191 through 193.
"Thought Question" Does the "False Light Doctrine" apply to the Boondocks comics below? You might want to discuss this in your answer to the question below.

PodCast > Boondocks Class Assignment Instructions

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Boondocks class assignment

Boondocks 4-13-5

The Boondocks 4-14-5 Does McDonalds have a tort claim against the creator and/or publisher based upon this comic, if so how , if not why not? This might make a good test question! Write an analysis of the proceeding question and bring it to class next tuesday or wednesday depending on when your class meets. No late assignments will be accepted. You will receive a grade on the response with comments that will assist you on your "Final Exam".

Program and Obituary for the Johnny Cochran Jr Funeral April 5th 2005

This post, a pdf file was submitted by Katie Smith, an excellent "Communications Law" student from the Fall semester 2004. You will need to have "acrobat reader" on your computer to view this file. You may download the free version of this program at Adobe Customer Support

Johnny Cochran Funeral Program

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

International Journal of Communications Law and Policy

International Journal of Communications Law and Policy: "Welcome to the IJCLP

Welcome to the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy. Founded by an international team from the Universities of Münster, Oxford, Warwick and Yale and edited by legal scholars from the Universities of Yale, Milan, Singapore, Münster and the European University Institute, Florence, the IJCLP is an electronic journal devoted to the changing law, policy and technology of media regulation around the world. As a result of technological convergence, we understand 'communication' to include the content and carriage of traditional broadcasting and cable as well as internet and telecommunications and welcome the submission of intellectually rigorous and challenging articles, working papers and editorials in these areas of inquiry.

This is a very interesting journal featuring articles discussing Communication Law. There is a whole issue just on cybercrime. You may also submit research papers to this journal

Monday, April 11, 2005

Communications Law Class Assignment For The Week of April 10th 2005

Make sure you have completed your reading of chapter five of the text book. We will be completing our discussion of "Invasion of Privacy" this week. In class we will be discussing "False Light", page 193, "Intrusion" and the "Expectation of Privacy". You must read at least to page 200 in the text. - Paper apologizes 'without reservations' - Paper apologizes 'without reservations': "
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Paper apologizes 'without reservations' news services

ONTARIO, Calif. -- A Southern California newspaper on Sunday apologized to Bo Jackson and retracted part of a story saying the former football and baseball star used steroids.

"Jackson has stated publicly he has never used steroids," the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin said on its Web site. "We retract the quote and the further statement that the speaker personally witnessed this damage to his life. We apologize to Mr. Jackson, without reservation."

In a story published March 24 under sports editor Jim Mohr's byline, dietary expert Ellen Coleman was quoted as saying she knew personally that "Bo Jackson lost his hip because of anabolic abuse."

Jackson responded last week by suing the newspaper, MediaNews Group Inc., MediaNews Group Interactive, Inc., Mohr and three other employees for unspecified general and punitive damages in Illinois.

"I've got nothing to hide," Jackson said. "If anyone wants to check into my medical past, go get blood tests, go check up on those blood tests and see if there was any anabolic steroids in it. You're more than welcome."

Jackson's defamation suit would continue, his attorney Dan Biederman said Sunday, adding that he had no comment on the newspaper's retraction.

"The statement released today is the first step towards a resolution of this matter," Jackson's attorney Dan Biederman said in a statement to ESPN. "The statement confirms what we knew all along -- Bo Jackson never used steroids. The statement does not change the fact that this reporter printed a reckless lie and must be held accountable. Professional journalistic standards demand that there be controls in place that prevent such a reckless statement to be published across this nation over the internet. Perhaps this reporter and the editors of the newspaper can explain how you un-ring a bell."

Jackson said he found the newspaper's story online. Coleman later denied making any statements about Jackson.

The newspaper, based about 30 miles east of Los Angeles in Ontario, didn't immediately respond to messages left Sunday morning.

Jackson, the only player to be named to the NFL's Pro Bowl and appear in baseball's All-Star game, injured his hip playing for the Oakland Raiders in 1991 in a playoff game. He had a hip replacement the following year.

Jackson, who retired in 1994, is now a businessman who lives in suburban Chicago. He talks to children about health and nutrition issues and has denied ever using or even seeing steroids in any form.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Nike sees dollar signs in the ball Woods used in his Masters chip-in

Tiger Woods At The Masters
A Golf Shot for The Ages
16th Hole 4-10-2005
"Just Did It" 

Nike sees dollar signs in the ball Woods used in his Masters chip-in

Marketing experts believe that Tiger Woods' shot reinforced Nike's message that it is a leading performance golf brand.

04.13.2005 08:44 pm (EST)

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) -- It was a Masters moment that will forever linger in memory: Tiger Woods' chip shot crawling to the lip of the cup, the ball teetering for what seemed like an eternity, its tiny swoosh slowly rolling up into view before dropping in.

For Woods, it was a triumph. For Nike, it was a marketing coup -- and a lucky one.

Some 2,750 miles away from the 16th hole at Augusta National, Nike Golf's director of marketing Chris Mike was scrambling for the phone. Nike, he suggested to a colleague, had the makings of its new ad campaign.

Through its nearly decade-long alliance with Woods, Nike has sought to gain ground in the golf equipment and apparel market. The company currently has a 9 percent slice of the golf ball market that's dominated by Titleist and Callaway Golf.

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial Observer: Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial Observer: Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite: April 10, 2005
Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite

The 1998 DNA study that linked Thomas Jefferson to the final child of his lover Sally Hemings has settled one argument and fired up another. Most historians who had argued that Jefferson was too pure of heart to bed a slave have re-evaluated 200 years of evidence and embraced the emerging consensus: that Jefferson had a long relationship with Hemings and probably fathered most, if not all of her children.

Having acknowledged the relationship, these historians are now trying to explain it. This has sent them scrambling back to the 19th-century accounts of life at Monticello by two former slaves: Jefferson's former servant, Israel Jefferson, and the founder's son, Madison Hemings. This represents the rehabilitation of Madison, who was being vilified as a liar even 10 years ago.

Madison's memoir, based partly on family history conveyed to him by his mother, is as close to the voice of Sally Hemings as we will ever come. But neither of these brief accounts, published in an Ohio newspaper in 1873, reveals anything about the intimate texture of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. They tell us a great deal, however, about the circumstances that created the black intelligentsia that sprang to life during Reconstruction and that dominated African-American cultural, intellectual and political life through the first half of the 20th century.

This black intelligentsia did not spring fully formed from the cotton fields. It had its roots in the families of mixed-race slaves like the Hemingses, who served as house servants for generations, often in the homes of white families to whom they were related. Employed in "the big house," these slaves often learned to read, at a time when few slaves were literate. They also absorbed patterns of speech, dress and deportment that served them well after emancipation.

Many of them were set free by their guilt-ridden slave owner fathers long before the official end of slavery. The Hemings children were all free by 1829 - or more than a third of a century before slavery was finally abolished. Not surprisingly, mixed-race offspring who were well educated became teachers, writers, newspaper editors. They formed the bedrock of an emerging black elite and were disproportionately represented in the African-American leadership during Reconstruction and well into the 20th century.

Not all of these mixed-race children fared so well, however. Many were sold or passed on as chattel to relatives in their fathers' wills. This was in fact the case with Sally Hemings, one of several children born to a mixed-race slave named Betty Hemings and a white lawyer and businessman named John Wayles - the father of Thomas Jefferson's wife, Martha. When Wayles died, Martha inherited some of her enslaved half siblings, including Sally Hemings.

Sally Hemings was just a child when she accompanied Jefferson and his daughter to France for more than two years. Madison tells us in his memoir that his mother became pregnant by Jefferson in France, where she was considered free. She refused to return to America, he said, until Jefferson agreed to free all of the children born of their relationship.

Madison recalls that he and his siblings were favored at Monticello, and allowed to spend their time in the "great house," where they could be close to their mother. Madison further asserts that they knew of Jefferson's plans to emancipate them. "We were free from the dread of having to be slaves all our lives long, and were measurably happy," he says.

Jefferson's favoritism, however, did not include affection. Jefferson's black children, who seem never to have received so much as an embrace or a peck on the cheek, watched in what must have been painful silence as the great man doted on his white grandchildren. Madison says, "We were the only children of his by a slave woman."

The "great house" at Monticello offered abundant opportunities for encounters with the great minds of the day. Israel Jefferson, for example, recalls being present when Jefferson and Lafayette debated the question of slavery.

Raised in such a context, the Hemings children - and others like them - were probably better prepared for middle-class life than most people, either black or white. Indeed, historians who have followed the Hemings descendants through time have found that the cultural capital acquired by Hemings children at Monticello translated into upward mobility.

Historians who are now searching for ways to understand the Jefferson-Hemings relationship have several models from which to choose. Some masters developed caring, de facto marriages with enslaved women and tried to leave their children money and property in their wills. Other masters were serial rapists or plantation potentates who made harems in their slave quarters and were profoundly indifferent to their offspring.

For the time being, however, the last word on this issue should go to Madison Hemings, who flatly and dispassionately describes the relationship as a bargain, in which his mother consented to share Jefferson's bed in exchange for the emancipation of her children. That she had the courage to articulate this deal - and stand firm on its terms - makes her more than a mere concubine. It makes her the architect of her family's freedom.

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Revising the Patriot Act

The New York Times > Opinion > April 10, 2005
Revising the Patriot Act

When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who is not exactly a renowned civil libertarian, says the Patriot Act may need some adjustments, it clearly has serious problems. The act, which was rushed through Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, gives government too much power to invade the privacy of ordinary Americans and otherwise trample on their rights. Congress, which is now reviewing the act, should rewrite the parts that violate civil liberties. But it is important to realize that most of the worst post-Sept. 11 abuses did not stem from the Patriot Act. If Congress wants to restore the civil liberties Americans have lost in the last three and a half years, it must also look more broadly at the problems that have emerged from the war on terror.

After Sept. 11, Congress was in such a rush to pass the Patriot Act that, disturbingly, many members did not even read it before they voted for it. Fortunately, Congress made some of the most controversial provisions expire by the end of 2005. Last week, it began a series of hearings on the act, focusing on the parts that need to be reauthorized.

The debate over the Patriot Act is too often conducted in bumper stickers, in part because the details are so arcane. Parts of the law are reasonable law enforcement measures that have generated little controversy. But other parts unquestionably go too far, and invite the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the White House to spy on Americans, and suppress political dissent, in unacceptable ways.

Libraries and Medical Records Section 215, often called the "library provision," is one of the most criticized parts of the act, with good reason. It allows the government to demand library, medical, and other records, and makes it a crime for the record holders to reveal that the request was made. Section 215 is written far too broadly. It lets the government seize an entire database - all the medical records of a hospital, all of the files of an immigration group - when it is investigating a single person. It also is far too invasive; it is hard to believe the F.B.I. needs to monitor library book circulation. If the searches are allowed, Section 215 should be tightened to give the government access only to records of a specific person it has legitimate reason to believe is involved in terrorism, not an entire database.

The "gag rule" that makes it illegal for the record holder to talk publicly about the search also is disturbing, because it prevents the public from knowing if the government is abusing these sweeping powers. If the gag rule remains, it should be limited, so record holders can speak about the search after a suitable period of time, or talk about it right away without revealing who the target was.

Secret Searches Section 213, the "sneak and peek" provision, lets the government search a person's home and delay telling him about it. These delayed-notification searches fly in the face of the strong American tradition that the government must announce when it is entering a home. Delayed-notification searches were of questionable legality before the Patriot Act, and Section 213 - which does not expire this year, but is still generating considerable debate - clearly goes too far. At the very least, it should apply only to terrorism cases, and not, as it now does, to all investigations. It should also have clear guidelines for how long notice can be delayed.

Secret searches are an area where focusing only on the Patriot Act misses the larger picture of civil liberties violations. There is another law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that allows a worse kind of secret search - one in which, unlike the delayed notification of Section 213, the subject may never be told about the search at all.

One way for Congress to deal with searches under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - as well as those under Sections 213 and 215 of the Patriot Act - is to monitor them closely, which is not being done now. Congressional staff members with appropriate security clearance should review all requests for warrants or subpoenas, and should follow up on the results of the searches. If the F.B.I., C.I.A. or other units of government are using these tools to spy on Americans without sufficient justification, Congress needs this information to rein them in.

Information Sharing Giving different units of government more power to share information about suspected terrorists is a laudable goal, but the Patriot Act's approach is flawed. It authorizes the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and even the White House sweeping access to confidential information gathered about Americans, including telephone and e-mail intercepts. The access is not limited to officials working on terrorism. And it sweeps in information, like confidential material acquired by grand juries, that has always been closely guarded. There is a real danger that the new regime established by the act could produce a massive database on Americans, freely available to all units of government.

The Patriot Act makes the same mistake the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have long made: favoring information quantity over quality. The universe of data that is shared should be narrowed, to focus on information closely related to suspected terrorism, and rather than being indiscriminately dumped, it should be given only to officials, at whatever agency, engaged in investigating terrorism. In the case of data collected subject to the special powers of a court, such as wiretaps and secret grand jury material, a judge's approval should be required before it is simply dumped into a general database.

Beyond the Patriot Act At last week's hearings, Mr. Gonzales conceded that the Patriot Act may need some adjustment, while the Justice Department is largely standing by the law, and the F.B.I. is even seeking to expand it. But a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, backed by such unlikely allies as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Conservative Union, is pushing for changes. In the coming weeks, there will be more hearings on how the act can be improved.

These hearings should look beyond the Patriot Act, to the larger picture of civil liberties and the war on terror. After Sept. 11, the government rounded up illegal immigrants, and put hundreds with no ties to terrorism behind bars for months, often in deplorable conditions. The Justice Department's own inspector general found that the government made "little attempt" to distinguish people with ties to terrorism from those without. In conducting this roundup, the Bush administration gave itself far more power than the Patriot Act does. Under the act, aliens are to be held no more than seven days before immigration or criminal charges are brought.

Nor did the Bush administration rely on the Patriot Act for its lawless "enemy combatant" doctrine, the basis for holding American citizens suspected of terrorism indefinitely, without access to family members or lawyers. And the administration now claims that the C.I.A. has the right to secretly transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation. Critics of the process, known as rendition, say it is being used to subject these suspects to torture. The authority for rendition comes not from the Patriot Act, but from a classified directive that President Bush signed shortly after 9/11.

If Congress becomes too bogged down in the minutiae of the Patriot Act in coming weeks, it will be in danger of missing the larger picture. Revising the law should be the start, not the end, of its work.

Khaleej Times Online > United Arab Emirates

Khaleej Times Online

Jackson attorneys brace for new onslaught

10 April 2005

SANTA MARIA, California - Michael Jackson’s lawyers are bracing for another week of potentially devastating testimony, after a string of witnesses told lurid tales of alleged child sex abuse at Neverland.

Court-watchers say the defense is certain to redouble its efforts to tear down the character and credibility of prosecution witnesses the Jackson team portray as scheming money-grubbers.

Already in past days the jury has been given the tough task of weighing the compelling testimony against often gaping inconsistencies in the witnesses’ accounts of goings-on more than a decade ago at Jackson’s fantasy-themed estate.

The “King of Pop” is on trial for allegedly fondling a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland ranch two years ago, but the prosecution hopes the prior cases will demonstrate a pattern of child abuse in his past.

In coming days jurors are expected to hear more testimony from witnesses to the alleged abuse of five young boys in the early 1990s and events in the current case.

Among those expected to take the stand is the mother of an alleged molestation victim who won a 20 million dollar out of court settlement from Jackson in 1994.

Christopher Carter is likely to be another key prosecution witness, but the defense is sure to have a field day with the former Neverland security chief who will show up under police escort because he was recently arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau has already made some inroads in his all-out campaign to destroy the credibility of the prosecution witnesses.

In recent days, witness after witness gave lurid accounts of alleged incidents in which they said Michael Jackson fondled and kissed young boys, showered with them and in one case performed oral sex on a 13 year old.

But the defense could later call to the witness stand some of the alleged victims who have denied Jackson ever behaved improperly toward them.

The prosecution appeared likely to wrap up its presentation of the prior cases within days, and could then move on to claims of kidnapping it has had a tough time demonstrating so far.

Prosecutors claim that Jackson not only fondled a 13-year-old cancer survivor two years ago, but also plied him with alcohol and conspired to hold him and his family against their will in a bid to force them to clear his name.

Lead prosecutor Tom Sneddon has said he may rest his case soon, though the trial itself is expected to continue for several months.

“I can see light at the end of the tunnel as far as resting our case,” Sneddon told Judge Rodney Melville on Friday.

The no-nonsense judge, who likes to occasionally leaven the proceedings with humor, asked the attorney facetiously if that meant December or January.

“I think the light is a little brighter than that,” Sneddon replied.

Jackson who could face 20 years behind bars if convicted has pleaded innocent to all 10 charges against him.

CBS 46 Atlanta - Sheriff offers part of courthouse report

CBS 46 Atlanta - Sheriff offers part of courthouse report:Sheriff offers part of courthouse report
Apr 8, 2005, 12:23 PM

ATLANTA (AP) -- A Superior Court judge expects to rule early next week on whether he will release the remainder of a report into the deadly shootings at the Fulton County courthouse.

Defense attorneys for shooting suspect Brian Nichols and the prosecutor told Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller today that they object to the release of the 33 witness statements. The statements were taken from people in the courthouse the day of the shooting March eleventh and those who had direct contact with Nichols.

They argued releasing the statements would prejudice the grand jury pool and damage Nichols' right to a fair trial. Several of the statements refer to comments that Nichols apparently made.

A media attorney, Peter Canfield, argued that the court records were prepared by the sheriff to analyze courthouse security and should be released.

A portion of the report released yesterday shows rape defendant Brian Nichols was able to enter Judge Rowland Barnes' chambers and hold occupants hostage because the door was unlocked and a buzzer system was NOT activated.

Authorities say Nichols overpowered Deputy Cynthia Hall and later stole her gun.

Nichols is being held without bond. Authorities have NOT yet charged him in connection with the shootings that left Barnes dead, along with his court reporter, a deputy and a federal agent.

The defense also has asked the judge to issue a gag order for attorneys, law enforcement and potential witnesses in the case.