Tuesday, March 4, 2008

FL - Gov. Charlie Crist's State of the State speech

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Notice the bold text? He is such a lier. He forgot to mention, "except if you are a criminal!" Sugar coating for the sheeple! You are such a hypocrite Mr. Crist!

Remember this quote, when you listen to these politicians spew their BS and your rights are eradicated:

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." - Adolph Hitler (Mein Kampf)

03/04/2008

Good evening. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Lt. Governor, Mr. Chief Justice and members of the court, members of the Cabinet, the Legislature, honored guests, and my fellow Floridians across our state. Good evening to you all.

I also want to recognize my family seated in the gallery, my mother, my father, my sisters and their families. Thank you for your support. I love you very much.

I want to thank SERGEANT ALLISON JEAN JUSTICE from Jacksonville for her service to the American people. Whether serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other places around the world, the members of the Florida National Guard and our Armed Forces are protecting our freedoms in distant places. General Burnett, good to see you. And Representative Mike Scionti, Captain Scionti - welcome home.

It is good to be here with all of you this evening.

In many ways, tonight marks a new beginning. We begin a new tradition of speaking to our fellow Floridians at a time of day when every Floridian can explore the opportunities and challenges that lie before us. So, tonight we open another window into the workings of their government. For the Floridians listening to this address for the first time - a special welcome.

Thank you, President Ken Pruitt and Speaker Marco Rubio for your great work. Because of your leadership and the tireless work of the people in this chamber, and the work I know that you will continue to do, tonight my friends I can report to you that the state of our state is indeed strong.

A year ago I stood here before you as Florida's new Governor. Together, we have faced many challenges - from spiraling property taxes and insurance rates, to devastating tornadoes that claimed 21 lives. And together we have taken on these challenges.

Florida's families and business are faced with extraordinary economic times - sky rocketing gas prices, the threat of foreclosure and a softening housing market. And, like Florida's families, these challenging times will require us to meet the demands of declining revenues.

And how will we do this?

By keeping taxes low, creating jobs, and fueling an economy that ranks ahead of most nations of the world, we set a model at which others can marvel.

Pessimists see problems, while optimists see opportunities. You know I am an optimist, but no matter the perspective, we can dare to be great.

In early 2007, this Legislature passed, and I signed, a law lowering property insurance companies' costs with the condition they pass those savings on to policy holders by cutting rates.

Since then, no new rate increases have been approved. Thank you, Commissioner Kevin McCarty for your great work on behalf of the people. Rates have dropped an average of nearly 16 percent - and we will continue fighting for the people. I would urge my fellow Floridians to visit Shop And Compare Rates.com to find lower rates.

The message was clear: This Governor and this Legislature can, and will, work together to help Floridians realize - and keep alive - the dream of owning a home.

And acting as the people's trustees, you passed a $15 billion dollar property tax cut - the largest tax cut in our state's history. And voters made their voices heard loud and clear with the passage of Amendment 1, bringing another $9.3 billion dollars in property tax relief.

A $25 billion dollar tax cut over the next five years, all right back into the pockets of Florida's families.

And at a time when families need it most. Families like the Randolphs...

These property tax cuts are just the beginning. We can and should continue to fight for property tax relief and I encourage the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, led by our great former Speaker of the House Allan Bense, to give the people the opportunity to vote for another tax cut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just as Amendment 1 gave the people of Florida the opportunity to let their voices be heard, so has the significant Election Reform you passed last year. By moving up our state's presidential primary, Floridians turned out in record numbers to truly make an impact on who will become the next President of the United States. And when we dutifully cast our paper ballots this November, we will do so knowing that the integrity of this process, the very foundation of our democracy, has been protected by the actions of this body. Just 90 miles south of us in Cuba, there are those who dream of having this privilege and we must honor them by casting our ballots in November.

One of my top priorities is making certain that every child in Florida has the opportunity to live in a loving, safe and permanent home. Together, we are increasing the number of successful adoptions. Thanks to the hard work of the Office of Adoption and the Department of Children and Families - Secretary Butterworth, what an incredible advocate you are for the children of our state - and their many workers in the field, who are ensuring that more of Florida's children find loving homes.

Homes like VIVIAN WILSON'S. Vivian chose to adopt three teenage sisters. She is proud of the way the girls have gained confidence socially, academically and intellectually - proud that they are accepting challenges that they used to shy away from.

And as much as we focus on finding adoptive families for foster children, we are also focused on protecting those who remain in the state's care. That's why I've recommended $9.8 million dollars to purchase "all-in-one" case management devices. Developed with our friends in the private sector at UPS, we can revolutionize how we protect Florida's foster children. Up until now, we have done a better job in this country tracking packages than we have tracking the children placed in our care. This tool - will help our caseworkers focus on doing casework instead of paperwork in living rooms instead of behind a desk. Our children deserve no less and I urge you to support this funding.

I believe in second chances. Every child of God is entitled to a second chance. Not only must we compensate those like Alan Crotzer who have been wrongfully accused, we must also forgive those who broke the law and paid their debt to society and provide them the opportunity to restore their dignity and their self worth. Thanks to the good work of my fellow Cabinet members, the civil rights of thousands of Floridians have been restored - Floridians like LISA BURFORD. Here's Lisa's story:

I am proud to say Lisa was able to cast her vote on January 29th.

I am also especially proud of initiatives we have launched in the past year at little or no cost to taxpayers. Proof that government can serve the people without spending their money.

Since December, we have helped over 28,000 Floridians receive discounted prescription drugs through the Florida Discount Drug Card. People like 20 year old Jackie who sent me this e-mail:

"Dear Mr. Crist, I'm a full-time college student and lost both of my parents by the age of 19. I have not been able to go to the doctor due to prescription drugs costing more than my doctors visit. I have applied for the card and I know this will help young adults just like me."

The success of the program lies in the state's ability to negotiate on behalf of millions of Floridians to lower drug prices. Eligible Floridians can go to Florida discount drug card.com to sign up.

And what will we do in the coming year to continue moving Florida forward?

We will plan for the future while still protecting and caring for our most vulnerable - our children, our elderly and our disabled.

Fiscal discipline has afforded us financial reserves to invest in our future while balancing our budget during difficult economic times.

We have reserves for times when we need them.

For times when we need to sustain our commitment to those who rely upon us most,

For times when we need to invest in ourselves and our future,

For times when waiting can be too costly.

My legislative package sets clear priorities and outlines a comprehensive plan for moving Florida forward.

It strengthens the pillars that make our state great, the pillars that must be in place for us to be strong:

Healthy Families

World Class Schools

Safe Neighborhoods

A Vibrant Economy

Sustainable Natural Resources

These pillars must be our priorities.

The lack of health insurance is the primary barrier to accessing health care. In Florida, 3.8 million people have no health insurance - including 650,000 children. And this barrier exists not just for the poor and disadvantaged. Florida's hardworking families and small business owners are facing the same barrier every day - business owners like the Silvermintz family. Here's their story:

This lack of access to health care is unacceptable. Together we can seek a comprehensive, market-based strategy that can provide uninsured Floridians with affordable health and dental care.

I am proposing $63.9 million dollars for the Florida Health Access System. This three-year pilot joins the State, local hospitals and county health departments in partnerships to provide preventive and primary health care services to the uninsured.

Communities across our state have found it difficult to provide access to health care for their people. This is not of their doing, but that of government.

Anti-competitive, bureaucratic barriers to affordable health care must be eliminated.

I propose $60.6 million dollars to be targeted toward enrolling more than 46,000 additional children in the KidCare program.

Child obesity is another threat to Florida's children.

The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness is charged with developing a state plan to promote physical fitness and sound nutrition. Last week, we challenged our elementary students and schools to do even more by participating in the Governor's Fitness Challenge. With us today is one of our state's outstanding PE teachers - SUZY CORACE, Lee County's Teacher of the Year.

We must maintain our commitment to protect Florida's natural beauty and resources. We must establish a successor to Florida Forever. To strive for natural water flow, I also propose that we fully-fund Florida's share of Everglades restoration and continue restoring Lake Okeechobee and downstream coastal estuaries.

Serve to Preserve is this Administration's commitment to lead - and we are leading by example. We will work to conserve energy within State government and, together with the private sector, reduce our carbon emissions.

A recent Orlando Sentinel editorial recognizes that our choice is not whether we can afford to go green... but that - even in this tight budget year - we can't afford not to.

Our economy is inextricably linked to our environment.

Many businesses are recognizing that there is gold in green. Publix is one such business. Allow me to introduce Mr. Dave Duncan, Vice President of facilities for Publix Super Markets.

Thank you, Dave and Publix, for your leadership.

We must continue to fuel Florida's Innovation Incentive Program to bring cutting-edge, world-class research centers to the state. These centers are economic catalysts that drive discovery and collaboration, diversify our economy and bring high-wage, high-skill, secure jobs to Florida.

And this strategy is already working.

What Florida has done for biotech, it can also do for clean tech.

That's why I'm recommending a $200 million dollar economic development package for solar, wind and other renewable energy, and to promote biofuels in Florida and encourage alternative fuels such as ethanol. We have the opportunity to enhance the use of this cleaner fuel, while also providing a broader market for sugar cane and citrus waste. Thank you Commissioner Bronson for your work to explore non-food sources of ethanol production in your Farm to Fuel efforts.

Our current path in education has reaped significant gains in student achievement in reading and math over the past five years. Florida's school performance has now risen from 31st to 14th among all states and risen to 7th in achievement.

While the vast majority of teachers are committed, some demonstrate exceptional creativity in bringing out the best in their students - our children.

In the same way, the Merit Award Program you created last year rewards our best and brightest public school teachers. I recommend we fully fund these teacher bonuses for those who improve student achievement and who work diligently to improve their teaching skills through national peer review.

It is important we continue to tell our best teachers - Teachers like MICHELLE LINGO, Escambia County's Teacher of the Year: Thank You for a Job Well Done.

Florida's universities and community colleges provide the next critical step in the education of our people. These institutions are producing the future leaders of our state, our nation and the world. We must continue to invest in higher education.

My budget provides for more than $5 billion dollars for higher education and that is an increase over last year.
- I would just love to know where all this money comes from (thin air) and goes (their pockets)? They throw out large figures to hype it and make it look wonderful for the sheeple, but where does it go?

Not only is it essential that we stand by our schools, we must also stand by our neighborhoods.

In the Preamble to the Constitution, one of the primary roles of government is defined as ensuring domestic tranquility, which means keeping our people safe.
- Oh don't even mention the constitution, you do not even know what it says. If you obeyed the oath to uphold this constitution, you'd not be passing all the unconstitutional laws you are passing. Here is a link to the Constitution, which I recommend everyone read and learn. And yes, it does say that, and that means ALL PEOPLE, not just who you deem worthy!

We are fulfilling this responsibility with tougher laws and increased enforcement along with crime prevention strategies within the criminal justice system. Effective legislation such as Stop Turning Out Prisoners and 10-20-Life is making an impact on the crime rate, while the Anti-Murder Act will prevent future tragedies. Thank you for passing this important legislation. And we must also work together to address crime in our state, including gang activity.
- Where is the facts to back up what all you are saying? You expect me to take what you say at face value? I think not!!! Anti-Murder act will NOT prevent anything, it's a smoke screen to make people "feel safe" just like all the other BS laws you people pass who do not know what is even in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You address crime by throwing people in prison, thus overflowing the prisons more. Why are you not working on rehabilitation and finding out why crime is so rampant? It's because of people being taxed to death, starving, being tortured by the high and mighty government which is not helping anyone, only imprisoning the sheeple who believe it's working. You are not free, it only appears you are. Ever watch "The Matrix?"

I was proud to launch the Attorney General's Cyber Crime Unit in 2005 to thwart the actions of those who target our children. Attorney General Bill McCollum has made fighting this crime a top priority. Thank you, General.

For families to feel safe, for them to be truly safe, they cannot be worried about losing their home to foreclosure. That's why I recently announced the Florida HOPE taskforce charged with making recommendations to help families who have found themselves victims of the housing crisis. Chief Financial Officer Sink, the Lt. Governor and I look forward to working with you on this very important issue.

All of us in this chamber are guided by our instincts, but we must also continue to be responsive to the people who sent us here. Their wisdom and their experience in the real world makes up a significant portion of the knowledge base from which we must lead.
- No I think you are all guided by money and greed to boost your own income and ego...

Even in this election year, we must remember our first duty is to the people, not to our parties... to work together and as Abraham Lincoln declared is to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
- Yeah, maybe you should read this several times, and this includes ALL PEOPLE!!!!

I admit to not having all of the answers and believe all of you in this chamber will admit to the same. But we know where to find them.
- No you don't or you'd know sex offenders are LESS LIKELY to reoffend than any other criminal, but you ignore the facts and experts. The laws over the last couple years have proven that. You are about saying anything to make you look good to the sheeple, that is what it's about.

We can find answers in the hearts of the people of Florida. They are our most important resources. The people of Florida offer us our daily education and inspiration. They look to us to be their voice.

We too must inspire. Yes, we face some challenges - or opportunities -- but all of us would do well to remember Ronald Reagan's words. He said we must:

"...keep our rendezvous with destiny ... uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill."

Fellow Floridians, President Reagan inspired us to see what is possible and dared us to be great. He was daring us to be leaders.

I love Florida, I love her with all of my heart. Her possibilities are endless, and our optimism should be boundless.

Together we are moving Florida forward.

Thank you and God Bless the Great State of Florida.
- Hypocrite! You say this, but then you turn around and pass unconstitutional laws which are punishing offenders beyond the extreme and also punishing their families and children as well, all for GRANT MONEY!!!


TX - Gainesville to vote on tougher sex offender restrictions

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Video is available at the site.

03/04/2008

GAINESVILLE -- When you are out with your children, you are there to protect them, but most of us can't be with them at all times. Now one city is trying to help keep your kids safe when you can't. Stephanie Brletic explains.

On Tuesday, the city of Gainesville will consider tightening regulations for sex offenders by keeping them farther away from places where children gather.

"Whenever your kid’s running around and everything you can't always keep a closest eye on him, especially in a park like this, with mazes and stuff like that. As soon as he gets out of your sight, you start thinking who else is around and look at other people, and with that law, you just feel a little bit safer," Gainesville father Gary Bowles says.
- And that is all, it makes you "feel safer" but does nothing to actually make you any safer.

Gary Bowles is glad to hear that Gainesville may soon take steps to keep kids like his son, Jareth, safe. Jareth's mom, Christine, says Leonard Park is close to her house, and she hopes that soon sex offenders will be forced to stay even farther away from parks where children play.

"One of the things the council wants to do is protect children that we have from being offended and if we can , if this ordinance protects that child from being offended, and we can get it to the 2,000 foot rule, then it's worthwhile," Captain Steven Fleming of the Gainesville Police Department says.

Currently, Gainesville does not have specific city regulations for sex offenders. Instead they enforce the state laws, which say offenders on community supervision must live at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, arcades, and other similar places.

But if the new ordinance passes as expected, sex offenders will have to live at least 2,000 feet away from places where children gather. Plus, officials can take action if someone violates the policy.

"Because of the $500 fine, it's an added penalty on them, and the big thing is that we can sue them or have a judge order them to leave," Gainesville City Manager Barry Sullivan says.

Offenders already living 1,000 feet away will be grandfathered and allowed to live in their existing homes, but if they move, it will have to be at least 2,000 feet away.

The city council is set to vote on this issue Tuesday night.


TX - Council limits where sex offenders may live

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03/04/2008

On the heels of a judge’s controversial decision to allow a sex offender to live near Gunstream Elementary School, Frisco joined several neighboring cities in restricting where sex offenders may live.

The ordinance, which passed 5-0 at the City Council’s meeting Tuesday night, restricts registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of places where children gather, including schools, day care centers, and parks.

Sex offenders who are already living within the newly restricted areas will not be forced to move, and the ordinance does not apply to those who committed a crime as a minor or committed a crime against someone who was not a minor.

The council passed the ordinance with little discussion, as many of the details were ironed out in a previous council meeting and a work session.

Before the ordinance was passed, the Frisco Police Department was unable to enforce residency restrictions, which were handled by a court of jurisdiction or a board of pardons and paroles. State law prohibits offenders on parole from living within 500 feet of where children gather, while those on probation may not live within 1,000 feet of the same places.

With the new ordinance, the standards will be the same for all registered sex offenders. “What the proposed ordinance does is it clears up all those things,” Police Chief Todd Renshaw said.

The ordinance is similar to those in Plano, The Colony, and Lewisville, which has a 1,500 foot residency restriction. Little Elm has the same distance requirement as Frisco, but it also restricts registered sex offenders from being near places where children gather without a permitted purpose.

Although Frisco police officers have one more way to protect the community, Renshaw said that parents should not be lulled into feeling a false sense of security.

“This is a tool for law enforcement, but it’s not an end all to this kind of offense,” he said. “This is not going to protect a child like parental supervision will protect a child.”

The sex offender who was ordered to live near Gunstream has since been ordered to move.


MI - Police: Alcona County sex offender shot himself to death during arrest attempt

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03/04/2008

GLENNIE - Police said a registered sex offender shot himself to death near this Alcona County town Saturday night as officers tried to arrest him for several alleged crimes.

Ronald D. Dupuie, 53, had not regularly registered as a sex offender - as required by law - since 2003, according to the Alcona County Sheriff's Office.

Officers said they went to arrest him for that alleged crime, and several others, about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Dupuie's home near Glennie in Alcona County's Curtis Township.

After trying to contact the suspect several times from outside the residence, police said they heard a gunshot from inside the home. Police took cover and requested help from tactical officers with the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Emergency Response Team.

The response team entered the home about 11:30 p.m. and officers said they found Dupuie dead inside the residence, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Alcona County officers said they became aware of Dupuie's presence in the county after the Michigan Department of Corrections and the Port Huron Police Department informed them Dupuie hadn't registered as a sex offender for five years.

Under state law, those convicted of most sex offenses must register with police every three months, though a few sex crimes require registration on only an annual basis.


MI - Former Flint police officer sentenced to 60 days in jail

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03/04/2008

Plea deal also called for Ralph Tedford to resign

FLINT (WJRT) -- Ralph Tedford pleaded guilty this morning to a reduced charge so he would not face a longer sentence.

The former police officer was sentenced to 60 days in jail, the judge calling it a sad day for the criminal justice system.

Tedford pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty. In return, prosecutors dropped a charge of felony misconduct.

That would have carried a sentence of five years.

Rather, Tedford resigned from the Flint police department. He had been part of the Citizens Service Bureau.

The bureau is a small group was handpicked by Mayor Don Williamson.

This morning, Tedford admitted he had sex with a woman at the King Avenue Police Mini-Station after a traffic stop last year.

Tedford had been with the police department for 18 years.

"This was, basically, a good cop who made a very bad mistake, and it took him down and it ended his career," said Prosecutor David Leyton.

Tedford's attorney is trying to arrange for his client to serve his 60-day jail term outside Genesee County.

Neither Tedford or his attorney would speak to us after this morning's hearing.

(Copyright ©2008 WJRT-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


Bush: "Civil liberties are well protected"???

He is lying through his teeth....


And now for something completely different

Animusic Homepage | More Videos


OK - Bill would target sexual predators

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Email these idiots. Give them the facts. I did! You can read more about Cyberwatch here.

03/04/2008

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Norman law enforcement may be ahead of the game when it comes to new legislation that would help police officers conduct sting operations against Internet sexual predators.

House Bill 3026, authored by Ryan McMullen (Email), D-Burns Flat, would create a system providing training to state law enforcement officers and provide partial funding for the operations, much like the "To Catch a Predator" TV show on MSNBC.

However, Capt. Leonard Judy, public information officer for the Norman Police Department, said his department already has conducted several such stings.

"We've had participated in several cases usually initiated by CyberWatch," he said. "We have had several successful prosecutions in Cleveland County."

CyberWatch is a company that uses undercover employees posing as children to locate online sexual predators. Once they find someone, they contact local police in the area and if the local law enforcement chooses to, they may join with CyberWatch to catch the predator.

"They (CyberWatch) are very good at what they do," Judy said. "They make sure they don't do anything that can be seen as entrapment and they catch a lot of predators that way."

HB 3026 would give $250,000 through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to supplement costs for the operations, but Judy said the funds, while they would be helpful, were not vital to help protect children from Internet sex offenders.

"It is no more expensive than any other investigation," he said. "It may take more man power, but it is a priority of ours to keep our children safe."

State Rep. Randy Terrill (Email), R-Moore, said as a father of two young children, he would be in favor of the bill.

"I don't have a great deal of sympathy for so-called sex offenders, regardless of the offense, and most of these monsters are repeat offenders and have a higher propensity to do more and more or do it again," he said.

His only concern, however, would be that the operations would not draw more offenders to the state.

"My hope is that the sting operations would be calibrated to not attract sex offenders from out of state to commit crime in Oklahoma because they are drawn here by the operations," Terrill said.

State Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, also said he would be interested in hearing the bill, but had concerns of his own.

"My only concern with the bill is the financial aspect of it," he said. "Where are we going to get the money to make it happen? If local law enforcement wants to, that's great, but I would hope that local municipalities would help fund it."

Martin also said police departments conduct similar stings now for underage drinking and tobacco, but he is in favor of helping local departments.

"I am all for helping local law enforcement to get the bad guys off the street," he said.

The Norman PD would like to conduct more stings, but Judy said they worry about police departments drawing more people into crime, where their current method of going through CyberWatch guards against such.

"We certainly would like to catch even more of these sex offenders, but we would be loathe to see anything that would lead someone to pursue a course of action that they would not normally pursue because they were led into it."


WI - Kenosha City Council tables sex offender residency proposal

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03/03/2008

KENOSHA (AP) - The Kenosha City Council took up a proposed ordinance tonight that would restrict where convicted sex offenders could live, but the proposal didn't get far.

The council tabled it after a number of witnesses testified against it and no one spoke up in favor of it.

The proposal would prohibit convicted offenders who were not previously from Kenosha from living within 2,500 feet of all schools, churches, parks, trails, day cares, places of worship or wherever children gather. The limit would be 500 feet for convicted sex offenders who already lived in Kenosha.

No offender would be able to live within six blocks of another registered offender. And registered offenders would be required to notify the alderman of the district they move into.


AZ - Sex Offender Attacked

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This is a real small article. Seems like they could put more into the article. Click the link above to view the video.

03/08/2008

A Tucson man believes he was viciously attacked because he's a convicted sex offender. Now he fears his family may also be targeted. KGUN 9 On Your Side's Mark Horner has the exclusive story.


NJ - Police Scandal Grows to Include Possible Misuse of Money




HOBOKEN — A police lieutenant in charge of the SWAT team here who has been at the center of a widening scandal has been accused of improprieties in connection with his involvement with several Hooters waitresses, his lawyer said on Friday.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the now-disbanded SWAT unit, people close to the case said federal investigators were looking into accusations that for the past 16 years, a fund ostensibly for equipment and gear was misused.

They said that thousands of dollars from that fund, which was collected from team members at the rate of $20 per officer per month, may have been diverted to nondepartmental uses.

The same lieutenant accused of posing for pictures with the scantily clad waitresses while they held the team’s guns and rifles, Angelo Andriani, was also in charge of the fund, according to a city employee who refused to be identified out of fear of retribution.

Charles J. Sciarra, the lawyer for Lieutenant Andriani, said his client was accused by the city last week of mishandling his weapon when he gave it to the waitresses, but Mr. Sciarra dismissed the charges as “political.” Lieutenant Andriani was suspended this week, and has turned in his gun and badge.

This is not the first time that Lieutenant Andriani has been at the center of a storm here.

In October, five Hispanic police officers filed a lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court, accusing Lieutenant Andriani of creating a racist and hostile work environment and claiming that he had forced some on-duty officers to do work at his home in Verona, N.J. Soon afterward, the Hooters photographs began appearing in newspapers, on television and on Web sites.

Other officers have claimed that the police chief, Carmen V. LaBruno, ordered officers to clean out the basement of his home in Clinton while on duty, though they have not filed lawsuits.

On Friday, officers involved with the case said that four of the five officers who leveled the accusations against the lieutenant face departmental charges for failing to report their claims in a timely manner, and could face 30- to 90-day suspensions.

“There is no question in my mind that the City of Hoboken has deliberately chosen to retaliate against my clients,” the lawyer for the officers, Louis A. Zayas, said Friday, “and they have come up with this sham, so-called investigation to do this.”

For their part, officials dismissed the officers’ assertions, and said that the investigation had been fairly conducted. “I can assure you that all involved are being held to account for their actions,” Mayor David Roberts said.

While the problems within the department have been simmering for some time, officials complained that the appearance of the risqué photographs last fall had turned this trendy riverfront city into a “laughingstock.”

They showed members of the SWAT team posing with waitresses at a Hooters restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where they had stopped on the way to Louisiana in 2006 for a trip the chief later described as a reward for a job well done. The waitresses could be seen cradling and aiming the team’s weapons.

Then, days after Chief LaBruno characterized the photographs as “embarrassing to the city,” more appeared on the Web site of The Jersey Journal showing the grinning police chief sidled up next to what was clearly a bare-breasted woman who was not his wife, though the photos had been touched up to mask the nudity.

But the issue of the money collected over the years from the members of the SWAT team has taken a more serious turn. An officer who refused to be identified for fear of losing his job said that a federal agent interviewed him last fall about the money. “We became suspicious and became curious as to where the money was going,” the officer said he told the agent.

A December 2004 memorandum written by Lieutenant Andriani and sent to Chief LaBruno about the team’s expenditures claimed that over a 13-year period, $42,512 had been spent for “repair and maintenance of city-owned vehicles, equipment and other property.” An attached list showed that the money went to such things as bills, dinners and in one case, $401 to “party plaques.” The city’s corporation counsel, Steven W. Kleinman, said he had “no reason to doubt” the document’s authenticity.

But officers noted that about $68,600 would have been deducted in that period, leaving about $26,000 unaccounted for.

Mr. Kleinman said that how the fund was handled was certainly “a matter of concern,” and said that the fund was terminated when the SWAT team was disbanded last fall after the Hooters episode.

A spokesman for the United States attorney in Newark declined to comment.


TX - Fired deputy pleads not guilty to child restraint charge

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02/29/2008

CONROE — A former Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy has pleaded not guilty to charges of official oppression and unlawful restraint of a child under 17.

Monte Morast appeared before Judge Cara Wood of the 284th state District Court in Montgomery County on Thursday.

Morast is accused of intentionally subjecting a student to mistreatment by allowing Montgomery County Jail inmates to disrobe the student during a tour of the facility in February 2007, according to court records.

The deputy, while performing his duties, was present and observing the incident and restrained the male student, said Montgomery County District Attorney Michael McDougal.

An associate for Morast's attorney, Stephen Jackson, declined to comment after Morast's court appearance. Jackson could not be reached for comment.

Morast was fired after being indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 17, sheriff's officials said. He surrendered to authorities and was released on a personal recognizance bond of $3,000, according to court records.

Morast worked for the sheriff's office for 10 years in various jobs, including patrol, detective and warrant transport officer, sheriff's officials said.

The victim was a student at Excel Academy McDougal said. The Conroe private school is a recovery-focused college preparatory boarding school for teens, according to its Web site.

McDougal said it was either the boy or his parents who filed a complaint.

The incident was investigated by the Texas Rangers, sheriff's officials said.

Morast's trial has been set for July 14.


IN - Ex-Reserve Deputy Charged With Child Seduction

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02/29/2008

Police: Man Admitted Inappropriate Contact With Boy

LEBANON -- A former Boone County reserve deputy is accused of seducing a child in an incident at his home last week.

Randy Wise (pictured), 31, faces one count of child seduction. Authorities said he admitted performing a sex act on a 16-year-old boy, 6News' Renee Jameson reported.

The teen told investigators that he met Wise at a church and spent the night at his rural Lebanon house last Friday after working with him at a school concert.

"The boy is telling us that Mr. Wise, while the boy was sleeping on the couch, started to fondle him … and had him touch him in inappropriate places," said Boone County sheriff's Maj. Mike Nielsen.

Wise resigned as a reserve deputy at the Boone County Sheriff's Department last May. He also once worked at Witham Hospital in Lebanon.

"That is one of the most disturbing things about this case -- that it was against a child and it was somebody that the public has entrusted, used to entrust, to be a police officer in Boone County, to be an EMT, to be a paramedic," Nielsen said. "There's basically no trust there anymore."

Before he bonded out of jail on Monday, Wise told police that the victim had told the truth, that he was sorry and that there are no other victims.

"I can tell you that if we continue this investigation and we find more allegations that have taken place, we will present those to the prosecutor's office," Nielsen said.

Police said they have no indication that additional crimes took place, but they are continuing to investigate.

If Wise is convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.


FL - Former officer convicted after strip-club job

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Looks like all the perverted cops come from Florida.

02/29/2008

BRADENTONEddie Falcone was an undercover officer working drug cases for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office when prosecutors say he took a part-time gig as a floor man at a strip club in Clearwater.

Prosecutors say Falcone got the job at Bliss Cabaret through his cousin, a federal convict from New York who served time for drug trafficking, money laundering and bank fraud. Falcone kept his name off the Bliss payroll.

State laws ban police from working at bars. Taking a job at the club, authorities say, was only the start of a series of crimes that cost Falcone his post at the Sheriff's Office and ultimately eroded some of the public's trust in law enforcement.

A jury Thursday evening found Falcone, 38, guilty of charges that included dealing in stolen property, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and unlawfully disseminating confidential information -- crimes that could put him behind bars for at least four years. The jury deliberated for less than an hour.

"Detective Falcone was certainly not a police officer 24 hours a day," assistant statewide prosecutor Diane M. Croff said in court. "No one is above the law, a point that needs to be made to Mr. Falcone."

Falcone, among a half-dozen men charged after a year-long police corruption investigation, was the only defendant to go to trial. His attorney, Frederick P. Mercurio, tried to convince jurors that the only crime Falcone was guilty of was working at a nightclub.

Falcone is not the criminal the prosecution portrayed him as, Mercurio said. He criticized the truthfulness of the state's witnesses, a group of men who were charged in the same scheme with Falcone, who had been a sheriff's detective for more than a decade.

Mercurio said he will fight to keep Falcone out of prison, considering that he has no prior criminal history and his co-conspirators were sentenced to probation. Falcone, who showed no emotion when the verdict was read aloud in court, is free until sentencing.

Prosecutors Croff and Thomas D. Smith said Falcone was not an innocent bystander swept into the fray through his fast-talking cousin from New York.

Falcone worked at Bliss Cabaret for at least several months in 2006, the prosecutors said. For three months that year, he was paid $3,600 as a "subcontractor." No taxes were taken from his checks, the club's accountant said.

Falcone's cousin, John P. Vitolano, told jurors that Falcone took a job to pay for a steroid habit that cost thousands of dollars a month.

At Bliss, Falcone befriended a big guy named Tony, who was masquerading as a ship's captain whose business often took him to Mexico. Tony had a good friend named Hank, an unemployed multimillion-dollar trust-fund brat who rolled in a Cadillac Escalade.

Behind the cover story, Hank and Tony were undercover officers for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office working a sting targeting police corruption in Manatee County. Falcone was not an initial target.

The most egregious crime, Croff said, was the help Falcone provided to Capt. Tony -- Detective Anthony Bordonaro -- in tracking down information about a man the supposed ship captain wanted to hurt.

Falcone misused a state database to run a license tag for the boat captain, who claimed he wanted to rough up a man he thought was sleeping with his girlfriend.

The story, of course, was a ruse.

Prosecutors say Falcone knowingly put a man's life at risk when he passed on the information. Falcone did not ask for anything in exchange, but he accepted a bottle of liquor.

Passing along confidential information, Croff said, was a "blatant violation" of public trust.

Prosecutors say Falcone also brokered a deal to report a colleague's Chevy Tahoe stolen to break a lease.

The colleague, Al Ainscoe, who was also charged in the insurance fraud scheme, took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Falcone. Ainscoe and Falcone both resigned in 2006.

Ainscoe, a one-time good friend of Falcone, was desperate to get rid of the Tahoe. Breaking the lease would cost thousands of dollars.

Falcone told Ainscoe about Tony, the ship captain, who could move cars to Mexico. Ainscoe turned over his vehicle and later reported it stolen. His insurance paid the lease.

Falcone did not know the cars were going to be reported stolen, his attorney said.

Falcone, along with two Manatee County deputies, Charles Elsenheimer and Gary Harrison, were charged with dealing in stolen property for buying alcohol they knew or should have known was stolen. Capt. Tony said he was ripping off alcohol from ships.


FL - DOD Police Officer Among 12 Arrested in Online Prostitution Sting

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03/04/2008

JACKSONVILLE -- The ad on the internet was for an escort service. The rendezvous point was a Jacksonville motel.

But this time, an escort did not place the ad -- police did.

"Escorts have gotten more sophisticated over the years. We have to try and keep up with the changes," says Lt. Mike Gwynes of JSO's vice unit.

The two-day sting rounded up 11 unsuspecting men who police say were looking for sex. It also landed one woman behind bars.

Police say they know Tina Addy, 23, well.

She was arrested a couple of weeks ago for prostitution.

As for the men, police say some offered from $75 to $300 dollars for sex with the undercover officer.

Police say Stefan Budnick, 34, paid cash to just watch the detective in a sex act. Another paid to see the officer completely naked.

Police say Ross Strumlauf, 45, offered 80 bucks, a hair flat iron and shampoo in exchange for sex with two undercover officers.

The reverse sting also netted Michael Chagnon, 40, who police say is a Department of Defense police officer at Blount Island.

Police also arrested 62-year-old Peter Kirill. Police say Kirill is the former owner of a Suzuki dealership in town.


CA - Drug informant's allegations trigger legal nightmare at Marin Hall of Justice

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03/01/2008

A drug informant's allegations that a Marin narcotics agent offered her leniency in exchange for three-way sex - and then sent a photo of his penis to her cell phone - have left a legal mess at the Hall of Justice that could take months to clean up.

The claims against former sheriff's Deputy Tyrone Williams have so far led to the dismissal of two criminal cases, defense challenges against three others, and at least one subpoena for Williams to testify.

"It appears that an out-of-control officer assembled a coterie of out-of-control informers and in that way polluted the criminal process," attorney Douglas Horngrad, representing a Novato man charged in a Williams investigation, wrote in a legal motion.

Williams resigned from the Sheriff's Office in mid-February.

"He wasn't asked to resign," said Sheriff Robert Doyle. "The attention that's been attracted to him has been grossly unfair, and I think he has resigned because of it. He resigned on his own."

The controversy stems from an arrest last April, when Williams was assigned to the county narcotics squad, formally known as the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force. The suspect was Sarah Gean Rawlins, a 19-year-old woman who lived in Ignacio.

The task force arrested Rawlins on allegations she sold about an ounce of marijuana to an undercover task force detective over three occasions in March and April 2007, police said. Rawlins also conspired with another suspect to sell the agent crystal methamphetamine, according to task force reports.

Rawlins, who pleaded not guilty, agreed to become a task force informant when police said her cooperation might help her get charges dismissed, according to her lawyer, Gary Kauffman. Williams was assigned to supervise Rawlins.

Internal memo

Within weeks, Rawlins came to the district attorney's office and asked to speak with officials about Williams. She was met by Inspector Michael McBride, an investigator at the district attorney's office.

According to an internal memorandum filed by McBride, Rawlins said Williams showed up at her apartment with a bottle of wine and coaxed her into sharing it.

"While they were drinking Williams asked Rawlins if she had any pretty girlfriends," McBride wrote. "She told him she had a couple and Williams then asked her if she would be interested in a threesome. She could work off additional charges if she participated in the threesome."

Rawlins said she was eventually able to get Williams out of her apartment. But the next day she received a photograph of a penis on her cell phone with a text message that said it was another photo for her phone gallery.

Rawlins claimed it was Williams' penis, sent as an enticement to have sex.

"Rawlins stated that she was rearrested and booked into the Marin county Jail on April 20th for the same charges as her earlier arrest. The reason given was that the Task Force felt that she had not been working for them. Rawlins told me she did not have sex with Williams the night of his visit."

McBride then took Rawlins down the hall to meet with sheriff's officials, who opened an internal investigation into her allegations. Rawlins turned over a wine bottle and her cell phone as evidence.

The inquiry confirmed that someone sent Rawlins a picture of a penis, but it was apparently unclear to investigators whether Williams was the source. But authorities did conclude that Williams had violated department policy by contacting an informant without being monitored - either through direct observation or wireless surveillance - by another detective, authorities said.

The aim of the policy is to prevent informants from making unchallenged police misconduct claims that could be used to impeach a detective's credibility in court.

On Dec. 21, the district attorney's office dropped its drug case against Rawlins.

"We did not feel we would be able to sustain our burden of proof," District Attorney Ed Berberian said.

Legal aftermath

The district attorney's office has since released the McBride memo to numerous defense attorneys whose clients were arrested in Williams' cases. District Attorney Ed Berberian said his office was legally obligated to disclose the information, but Sheriff Doyle said the disclosure violated Williams' due process rights as a police employee.

So far, the Sarah Rawlins episode has prompted challenges in at least four other cases involving Williams:

- Joseph Ebeyer, who was arrested by Williams on drunken driving and firearms allegations in 2006, challenged prosecutors over Williams' credibility and demanded access to one of his informants. Prosecutors resisted, and Judge Stephen Graham tossed the case out of court in early February. Ebeyer represented himself with the help of a legal adviser, Mary Stearns.

- William Stewart Smith, charged with selling drugs to Williams while the detective was under cover, has subpoenaed Williams to testify this month at his preliminary hearing. Smith's attorney, Jon Rankin, said the prosecution's case hinges on the word of Williams, so he wants to use the Sarah Rawlins case to impeach Williams' credibility.

"We're talking about impeachment to the only witness to these transactions," Rankin told Judge Paul Haakenson, who set a hearing on Tuesday for Williams to testify. Smith has pleaded not guilty.

- Gerardo Fernandez Costa, charged with selling ecstasy to Williams during an undercover operation, filed a motion demanding access to the internal investigation on Williams. Costa, who has pleaded not guilty, became a suspect based on a tip from an unidentified informant working for Williams. Costa's public defender, Michael Coffino, said the informant might have been Sarah Rawlins.

"Deputy Williams engaged in systematic abuse of his power as a government agent by coercing Sarah Rawlins É to have sexual relations with him," Coffino wrote in the motion.

Judge John Sutro denied the motion last week, and the case is scheduled to proceed on Monday.

- Gerald Paganelli, a 22-year-old Novato man arrested in a task force case in December 2006, has also filed a motion seeking the internal records on Williams. Paganelli was identified as a suspected marijuana dealer by a confidential informant working for Williams, according to court documents.

"Defense counsel has just received astonishing É material from the prosecutor in this case," Paganelli's lawyer, Douglas Horngrad, wrote in a motion in January. "If the allegations against Officer Williams É are true, it will obliterate his credibility."

Judge Kelly Simmons is scheduled to consider the motion on March 19. Paganelli has pleaded not guilty.

The number of cases affected by the Williams controversy might not be known for months. The district attorney's office is still reviewing cases as they come up on the court calendar to assess whether the defense should be formally notified about Rawlins' allegations.

Career officer

Williams was removed from the Major Crimes Task Force in the wake of the Rawlins case and reassigned to the county jail. He was still assigned to the jail when he turned in his resignation last month.

Williams has previously declined to comment on the Rawlins matter, and numerous attempts to reach him in recent weeks have been unsuccessful. Rawlins also could not be reached for comment.

Williams, 39, is a 12-year police veteran who has worked at the local, state and federal levels. After earning a business degree in 1992 at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., he took graduate classes in criminal justice, then completed a four-month police academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.

He was then hired by the U.S. Park Police in San Francisco, where he worked for approximately four years. He left voluntarily in 1999 to work for the California Highway Patrol, said Rich Weideman, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

Williams worked for the CHP until 2005, when he voluntarily resigned to join the Marin County Sheriff's Office, said CHP spokeswoman Jaime Coffee.

Williams' ability to win new jobs over that period suggests that he passed stringent police background checks without raising red flags. But if his career appears to be a smooth flight before Marin, it hit some turbulence thereafter.

Assigned to patrol in Bolinas, Williams generated local resentment and stories in the weekly Point Reyes Light for his by-the-book enforcement of drunken driving and traffic laws. He got even more attention in September 2006, when he heard something hit his patrol car one night and pulled his gun on shadowy figures on a nearby rooftop.

It turned out to be teenagers who threw an apple at his car.

"I don't think he knew at the time who was on the roof, whether they were kids or someone breaking into a business," said sheriff's Lt. Scott Anderson, who was Williams' supervisor. "The sheriff's department did not have great difficulty with his actions in terms of his drawing his weapon on someone on the roof of a closed business at night."

Williams was transferred out of Bolinas not long after the apple incident, but Anderson said the move was not punitive. Williams was reassigned to the Major Crimes Task Force.

Five months later, the task force recorded an undercover marijuana purchase from a new source: Sarah Rawlins.

Contact Gary Klien via e-mail at gklien@marinij.com