Friday, May 31, 2013

Armed march on cop shop on a ticklish Santa Fe line

Armed gun enthusiasts plan to surround the Temple Police Department in a Saturday morning parade

Gun-Toting Oath Keepers on parade

Temple – An 18-wheeler hauling debris from the demolition site of a former municipal court building backed into an electrical transformer pole and left most of the downtown area of this burgeoning industrial and transportation hub in darkness.

That didn't do anything to soothe frayed nerves among city dads in this bustling railroad town situated on I-35, only a few miles from Ft. Hood, where Oath Keepers sworn to uphold the Constitution and to never participate in disarming American citizens plan to march around the gleaming new building that houses the Temple Police Department in a show of armed strength tomorrow morning, Saturday, June 1, starting at 10 a.m., at 212 S. Main Street.

Crews scrambled to repair the damage as men in mufti with a definite military bearing and demeanor fanned out on foot and bicycles along a 15-block parade route that circles the police department and various other power spots to scan the buildings, flower beds, dumpsters and parked vehicles for improvised explosive devices. They were impossible to miss.

Stickers on their cars told of special ops explosive ordnance units of SEALS, Rangers and other special ops outfits. They transmitted their infra red images to a task force officer sitting at a picnic table with a laptop.

The parade is sanctioned by the City of Temple, with police giving a somewhat grudging approval to a permit granted by the Department of Parks and Leisure following the arrest of a recently returned Master Sergeant named C.J. Grisham, a military blogger not known to shrink from controversy, who calls this place his home town.

Like many of his constitutionalist brethren, Sgt. Grisham espouses a limited, constitutional form of government that is contained by the enumerated and listed powers granted under the authority of the U.S. Constitution.

All this happened just at a time of a sudden and swift changing of the political guard amid hints of scandal and corruption. In this town at the confluence of the main stems that lead from Chicago and the Santa Fe lines to Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, as well as through the trans-Pecos hell country and Sonoran deserts to Los Angeles and Chihuahua's Big Bend, trains hump for all routes, and daily hundred-car-loads of petrochemicals, fuels and lubricants travel through from the Houston Ship Channel communities of Texas City, Baytown, Pasadena and Deer Park.
Materials Transport Corporation

It's the kind of town that serves as a king maker for people like former Mayor Bill Jones, who parlayed his Materials Transport Corporation from a rock-hauling trucking company into a forceful player in real estate, road building and the development of industrial and commercial hubs.

The constitutionalists, many of them in military middle management and recently returned from the fighting in multiple deployments during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, know a power vacuum when they see one.

They took the opportunity to chuck Jody on the shoulder on his way out as they filed back in from the foreign wars of long duration. Here is how it was done. C.J. Grisham went before the City Council to ask that a resolution espousing a strict construction of the Second Amendment be passed in favor of the absolute right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. Mayor Bill Jones and others turned him down - cold. They would have nothing to do with it.

That is when M/Sgt. Grisham took his stroll into history, his son by his side, on an Eagle Scout trek for the right to carry a long gun in public.The Temple Police Department responded to the complaint of a citizen upset by the spectacle of a man carrying a rifle.

According to Oath Keepers spokesmen such as Jay Stang, an Oathkeepers state chapter chairman for Texas, and Mike Vanderboegh, a three-percenter member of the patriot community who vow to stand up to the tyranny of any official who chooses to disarm a lawful citizen, it's high time to put their kind of candidates in office.

The quotient for political drama is high, and the stakes are even more of a caution. Like most cities in the agricultural black lands of Texas and the midwest, Temple has its share of fertilizer mixing facilities for ammonium nitrate, a highly volatile blasting agent when its state is changed due to heat or mixing it with petroleum distillates.
Feed, seed and fertilizer silos near parade route

The battle lines are drawn, and the stakes were never higher – because the dangers are as real as real can get.

On the one hand, a President and executive department bent on taking the weapons of war out of the hands of ordinary persons seems only too willing to suspend all the constitutional rules of search and seizure and due process of law in pursuit of that goal.

On the other, recently returned warriors, fresh from the fight, are reacting to the ham-fisted practices of police who insist that they, and they alone, are qualified to keep and bear arms.

It is a recurring theme in a horrific and nightmarish opera that has resounded through the American experience for the past 25 years – at Ruby Ridge, Waco, New York City, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Boston.

Line in the sand - two distinct philosophies

A word from Don't - sponsors of the armed March on Temple...Saturday, 10 a.m. 212 S. Main St.

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

Click here for the minority report:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armed patriots, Oathkeepers to march in Temple

Temple – At 10 a.m. on Saturday, they will gather at the main junction, the Community Market at 212 S. Main St., armed patriots carrying assault weapons.

The march is organized and permitted by the City of Temple Parks and Leisure Department in reaction to the arrest of U.S. Army Master Sergeant C.J. Grisham for alarming other citizens while carrying a loaded AR-15 on a rural road near the airport. "I was thrown in jail and my lawfully owned weapons were confiscated without receipt or notice," said Sgt. Grisham.

He is charged in County Court at Law with the unlawful display of a weapon, though there is no state law against carrying a long gun.

“That's right! Get your guns and get to Temple, TX. They forgot we have rights and we must remind them. If we don't stand for fellow Texans today then we will stand alone when it happens to us in our hometown,” the organizers, Come and Take It Temple, say in a website at

Guidelines for the event are these:

Weapons must be kept slung on the body in some fashion. To hold the rifle in one's hands could be interpreted as a hostile act, one of aggression "calculated to alarm," according to organizers.

“For those concerned about safety we will be implementing the “Solidarity of Safety” (S.O.S) program at the event. Well qualified people will ask to perform a chamber check and flag it with a red straw half inserted into the bolt. This of course is voluntary and does not render your weapon useless like a zip tie at a gun show. We ask everyone proficient in guns to do this as well, as a good example for the new people. Not having a bullet chambered will prevent any unwanted fire. Thanks for helping this event to be remembered for the right reasons...we will show the power of the people and support of our right to bear arms is in full swing.”

Donations for Sgt. Grisham's legal defense are to be collected.

Speakers include:

Jay Stang – Oath Keepers State Chapter President for Texas
Mike Vanderboegh – Three Percenter
Lynn Woolley – The Lynn Woolley Show
Christopher J. Grisham – Black Rain Ordinance
Murdoch Pizgatti – Co-Owner
Phoenix Horton – Founder and Co-Owner

Click here for the minority report:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Frustration evident as judge orders Hasan's physical

War of nerves extends to courtroom
Major Abu Nidal Malik Hasan with the beard that has delayed his trial for many months

Ft. Hood – Colonel Tara Olson struggled to remain stoic as she reviewed her frustrated efforts over the past month to order a physical examination for Major Abu Nidal Malik Hasan.

She is sure he is mentally capable of conducting his own defense, but needs the confirmation of a doctor to assure herself that he will be able to sit upright in a wheelchair during long days at the defense counsel table and equally long nights spent in preparation for the next day's general court martial proceedings.

He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, offenses which could net him the death penalty.

Before the Colonel allows him to fire his lawyers and represent himself, she must first assure herself he is able.

The Major wields a double-edged sword in his quest for justice.

To deny the request without legal justification could result in a reversal of a guilty verdict; to grant the motion carries a similar risk of reversal due to ineffectivity of counsel.

An Army psychiatrist who turned a high-powered semi-auto pistol on unarmed soldiers and civilians at Ft. Hood in November of 2009, the Major is paralyzed from the chest down.

A police officer finally stopped the murderous rampage when his bullet found its mark, damaging the doctor's spinal cord. The Major killed 13 persons in cold blood, including a pregnant woman who begged for her unborn child's life, and he wounded 32 others just steps from his office door at the Soldier Readiness Center at Ft. Hood.

His problem: He was being readied to deploy to Afghanistan, an assignment he loathed because of his devout Islamic faith. He had been in constant contact with extremist Muslim Mullahs for many months. It had become his opinion that many of the men he counseled and evaluated for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder following multiple deployments to that nation and Iraq were guilty of war crimes, if not in terms of international jurisprudence, then in light of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Major has had no physical examination since June of 2012.

The Court's questio is simple enough. Will he be able to sit upright for more than the four to five hours he is presently able to endure.

The Colonel asked him, “Where have you been for the last year?”
His reply, “In jail.”

He spends most of his time there reclining in a hospital bed in an intensive care unit at the Bell County Justice Center in nearby Belton. He is catherized; he voids his bowels in a colostomy bag; his body is heavily bandaged to prevent bed sores. His body is in a much weakened condition compared to his original level of strength following his initial recovery from the wounds he sustained in 2009.

Bearded with a misshapen brush that sprouts from his face and neck, he presents a sallow, sickly affect to the world around him. His features are gaunt, his body grossly bloated, appearing much larger than it actually is due to multiple layers of clothing.

I want to explore your physical health,” said Col. Olson. She referred, rather eloquently, and with great elegance, to certain "logistical" problems with his "health and care."

The judge had originally ordered an exam by a Dr. Gonzalez, but just as the appointment was scheduled, the government denied any further payment for his services, and doctors scrubbed the appointment due to a lack of available funding.

Asked for the name of his current treatment physician, the Major said he simply does not know. “It's changed so many times.”

The problem is simple enough. He has rejected all notion of being examined by members of the staff at Darnell Community Army Hospital.

He alleges that his ill relations with a certain supervising doctor by the name of Wright would likely result in “possible bias or command influence.”

His reason, he told the judge, was compelled “because of my previous experience with them. That was the reason for that.”

He withdrew his objection after demanding “relative assurance that he's (Dr. Wright) not going to have any influence over them (staff physicians).”

The doctor so assigned will examine the Major before Friday and turn in his written report. He will appear in Court on Monday at 9 a.m., ready to testify.

Col. Olson said she is unable to make any further determinations until that is accomplished.

She asked the Major is he is aware that the defense attorneys who represent him now are still his legal representatives until she possible rules otherwise, that they may be retained to assist him, he may retain private counsel, or other military lawyers could be assigned to assist him.

He said yes.

Asked if he understood, Col. Poppe, the lead defense counsel who is joined by two colleagues, replied in a rather dejected tone, “I understand the Court's statement; I do not understand our role...It puts us in a very awkward position.”

Temple Deputy City Attorney - “You are the reason”

Grisham Dashcam witheld over blogsters

Temple – According to Nan Rodriguez, 'The Legendary' investigative reporter and blogster R.S. Gates is “precisely the reason” that a judge ruled the Dashcam recording of C.J. Grisham's arrest is not for public viewing.

She is a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Temple.

One may hear her opinion by clicking here:

Sgt. Grisham first asked the City Council to approve a resolution in full support of a strict construction of the Second Amendment, which guarantees that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

They turned him down cold. Mayor Bill Jones said such a request is improper because it's not the job of a city's government to help reinforce such basic civil rights of its citizens, or to support any such policies as the Bill of Rights.

The City of Temple has other, much larger fish to fry, he implied.

That's when the sergeant took a stroll on a Saturday noon in March with his son, the Boy Scout, an AR-15 suspended from a one-point sling across his chest on a 10-mile hike down a country road near the airport.

He is a military intelligence specialist with multiple overseas tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When a citizen saw him walking thus locked and loaded, she called dispatchers, who sent three police officers to query his right to own and publicly display such a weapon. There is no state law against carrying a long gun in public.

In longer, more extended interviews, Ms. Rodriquez made the following three things clear.

  1. As a result of M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham's experiment, the legal department of the City of Temple has had little time to do anything else other than answer public information requests for the arrest report, affidavit of probable cause, and Dashcam video recording.
  2. When the case gets it day in County Court at Law, jurors will undoubtedly see something they aren't seeing in the videos released on Vimeo by Sgt. Grisham, said Ms. Rodriguez.
  3. It will continue to be the policy of the City of Temple that if the public display of firearms upsets citizens, prosecution will follow, regardless of the pro-gun sentiments of certain blogsters and others of their “ilk.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Clifton mother died amid family tensions with cops

811 Alpha Place, site of a total loss of a residence due to arson on Sept. 3
Meridian – The May 4 jailhouse death of April Troyn, 36, of 502 Avenue D, occurred after months of allegedly felonious family tensions with law enforcement.

As previously reported, she died under mysterious circumstances still under investigation by Texas Rangers following an arrest in the parking lot of a local supermarket where she and her best friend had gone shopping on May 2.
April Troyn Richardson

She was alone in a single cell after jailers released a fellow inmate at about 8 a.m., family and friends say they have learned. When jailers checked on her after lunch, she was “unresponsive,” according to official reports.

An official cause of death is as yet unannounced, according to Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Ray Ballman, who ordered a post-mortem exam at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science at Dallas. “All of that is still under investigation,” he said.

Confidential sources say she allegedly hanged herself. “We don't believe that,” a close friend who has “known her all her life,” said.

The case unfolded over a period of 5 months following a December 16, 2012 incident when her five-year-old son reportedly asked employees of the Dairy Queen to feed him because he was hungry. He told Detective Darrin D. Glenn that his mother sent him there to eat after he told her was hungry.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with Precinct 2 Justice Court in this city, when Ms. Troyn was summoned, she told the officer she did not know her son was at the fast food restaurant.

The Court issued an arrest warrant on Feb. 19, 2013, and her arrest came two and one-half months later, according to the return of service on the warrant for Child Endangerment.

According to close friends, that case hinged on a collision in which she was driving whenthe vehicle hit a tree, rolled, and threw a son and her husband, a man named Richardson, out of the van, which crippled him after it landed on him. His body shielded that of the child, who came through relatively unscathed. The vehicle had no car seats, and seat belts were reportedly not in use.

But the run-ins with law enforcement were not peculiar to Ms. Troyn's family alone.

Her sister Hope Lane and Ms. Lane's husband Michael Green involved Bosque County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Brooks in a bizarre episode on the night their rental house at 811 Alpha Place burned to a total loss at 11:30 p.m. on September 3.

Police arrested the couple for arson amid bizarre circumstances.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, Deputy Brooks detained Mr. Green on suspicion of intoxication as he walked alone at the corner of Avenue J and 3rd St. at 11:03 p.m.

Ms. Lane arrived in their car shortly, and the couple began to argue immediately, according to Deputy Brooks.

Mr. Green demanded to be taken to jail.

In later interviews, Lane states Green likes to go to jail when he is drunk,” Clifton Police Detective Darrin D. Glenn stated in the laconic prose style of the affidavit.

From there, the story meanders along an extremely peculiar route.
One of two adjacent homes that have burned recently

According to Deputy Brooks, “The renters who live there...both of which were not home and did not arrive on the scene while emergency personnel were there...” had been fighting that night, and later gave conflicting statements about what they were doing before, during and after the time when first responders battled the blaze at their home.

Video records made at the police station at 11:38 p.m. show Mr. Green approaching the door and knocking. Receiving no answer, he got back in the car. Ms. Lane then drove away.

As the home burned, the couple paid a visit to Santa Fe #3 filling station. According to a witness, Elizabeth Ramirez of 818 Alpha Place, the fire was reported at 11:47 p.m.

Lane states she went into the store to use the phone to call police because Green still wanted to go to jail.”

She was apparently very concerned about using her name in a conversation with dispatchers.

Another customer had no cell phone for her to use. She asked to use the phone that belongs to the store. She told Detective Glenn the clerk told her she could dial the phone and hang up, thus summoning the police to the station.
Watching the store's video shows that she never really dialed the entire number, only part of the numbers, and all the while, she was watching Mr. Green through the window for his reactions. Mr. Green eventually came inside, “using hand motions in what appeared to be trying to get Lane to hurry up and leave the store,” wrote Detective Glenn.

After they stood in the parking lot for about 25 minutes, they drove to Meridian to stay with Mr. Green's grandfather at 12:16 on September 4.

State Fire Marshals took two samples after a K9 unit alerted on them for accelerants. One tested positive for a grade of accelerant which includes charcoal lighter fluids and lamp oils.

In the interviews with Lane and Green, they both state they did not know their house burned until they checked messages on Green's cellphone the next morning from Lane's mother, Tina Pierce, and sister, April Richardson, stating their house burned down.”


Lane states she received her mother's message about 2 am. on September 4 telling her their house burned down. Lane stated that her mother lies a lot and she did not believe her, so she went back to sleep.

Phone records for Green's cell phone indicate only incoming phone calls that went to voice mail between 6 p.m. September 3 to 11 a.m. September 4. No phone calls were placed from his phone or answered, only voice mails were checked, according to Lane. According to Lane that is the only phone they had...”

Ms. Lane failed to show up for a follow-up interview, and did not return phone calls, the affidavit shows.

Johnson County authorities arrested her on December 23.

In a chilling side detail, two other houses adjacent to the home authorities have accused Mr. Green and Ms. Lane of setting afire by sprinkling it with petroleum distillates have burned. 

Both residences back up to the side yard of 811 Alpha Place and
front on Avenue J between Alpha Place and W. 9th St.

The Army's plan for 'internment and resettlement'

FM3 - 39.40

How do you get put in a government concentration camp?
It says here, you get "captured"...

1-21. Article 5 tribunals are conducted according to Article 5, GPW. An Article 5 tribunal is an administrative hearing that is controlled by a board of officers and determines the actual status of a detainee. This tribunal can take place anywhere, but it most commonly takes place echelons above the brigade combat team (BCT), most generally at the TIF or SIF. The tribunal determines the status of individuals who do not appear to be entitled to prisoner of war status, but have committed a belligerent act or have engaged in hostile activity to aid enemy forces and/or assert that they are entitled to treatment as an EPW.

Note. Sample procedures with additional (optional) procedures for conducting an Article 5 tribunal are included in appendix D. Optional procedures are intended to add appropriate due process measures that are not required by laws or regulations, but improve the transparency and overall fairness of the tribunal as time and additional resources are available to the convening authority. The tribunal is an administrative board process and is not intended to become an adversarial process.

1-22. EPWs have GPW protections from the time they are under the control of U.S. armed forces until their release or repatriation. Any detainee subject to an Article 5 tribunal will be provided and entitled to a—

Notice of the tribunal(in a language he or she understands). ? Opportunity to present evidence at the tribunal.

Three-person administrative tribunal. Preponderance of the evidence standard.

Written appeal to the convening authority upon request.

1-23. The convening authority of the Article 5 tribunal will be a commander exercising general court-martial convening authority, unless such authority has been properly delegated. 

According to AR 190-8 and DOD policies, a competent tribunal will—convene within a reasonable time after doubt arises regarding EPW status, normally within 15 days. 

Processing time for the tribunal procedures should not normally exceed 30 days. Shorter processing times are encouraged, particularly when there is a potential for a status change from EPW to CI or a members of an armed group. 

Determine the status of any individual who does not appear to be entitled to EPW status,but has committed a belligerent act or has engaged in hostile activities to aid enemy armed forces and asserts that he or she is entitled to treatment as an EPW. 

Be composed of three commissioned officers(one a field grade).The senior officer will serve as president of the tribunal and another nonvoting officer (preferably a judge advocate) will serve as the recorder.

- From FM3-39.40 - Internment and Resettlement Operations, U.S. Army, 2010
What this means, dear hearts, is they have already chosen up sides. If you're not a 'local leader,' you don't get much say in the matter.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Emergency committee meetings few, far between

Frank Patterson confronted by WFAA newsman Brett Shipp

Emergency Officials never discussed West Fertilizer Co.

West – The last thing the Matus family ever saw clearly were the bright orange flames and smoke from burning ammonium nitrate at the West Fertilizer Co.

Deidre and Steve stood before a window with their six-year-old grandson Brayden, looking at the fire when the twin explosions a millisecond apart leveled the structures and tanks at the plant and spread a mushroom cloud.

The force of the explosion was felt as far away as Lake Whitney Dam, where a seismograph picked up a shock wave as intense as a small temblor, and in Waco, where people heard the massive boom.

Steve and Deidre Matus and their grandson Brayden
Shards of glass and flying metal riddled the family's faces, totally blinding one, and partially destroying the vision of the other two - as well as destroying their home.

A dozen first responders, most of them members of the West Volunteer Fire Department, some from other departments, were killed instantly, their bodies incinerated, while three elderly patients from a nearby rest home perished when ceilings collapsed upon them.

The immediate question raised by media and finders of fact – whose avowed treatment of the disaster zone was the same they would use in the investigation of a crime scene – was this. 

What had the community at large done to plan for such a horrible emergency?

It is a federally mandated contingency required of all local governments, throughout the U.S.

Citizen journalists and media outlet representatives from out of town and international wire services clamored for details of the local emergency planning committee (LEPC), its drills and contingency plans in case of such a massive explosion of the volatile chemicals stored at the fertilizer and seed company.

Local officials hostile to news inquiries

McLennan County Emergency Services Coordinator Frank Patterson refused to discuss the membership of the committee, its meetings, or reveal the minutes of those meetings. He deflected all inquiries, saying that public information act requests should clear up any such questions. WFAA's newsman Brett Shipp asked if there was a "single shred" of evidence that such a committee exists, or has any members. "I don't see any," he declared.
Brett Shipp of WFAA/TV

Finally, after a half-hour's intense grilling, he admitted to a local broadcast newswoman that, no, there had been no advance planning in case of such an emergency.

Angered, McLennan County Commissioners' Court attorney Mike Dixon called an abrupt halt to the conference. He stormed from the chamber, refusing to identify himself to media representatives whom he had reproved for not raising their hands before they blurted their questions to Mr. Patterson.

One may hear a condensed recording of that discussion by clicking here.

Fighting City Hall for information - a dreary task

Following up on a public information act request, “The Legendary” Investigative Reporter R.S. Gates paid a visit to Mr. Patterson's office in the basement at Waco City Hall. Once he was there, he found no one in the office, so he waited a half hour.

While he waited, he noted that there is no signage directing citizens as to how they may receive public information through written requests. It is a reqirement of the law, which is Section 552 of the Texas Government Code.

He took a snapshot of the bulletin board to show that no such signage, signed by the Texas Attorney General, is on display there.

That's when another employee who observed him responded by summoning Assistant Emergency Services Coordinator Robert Barton from another part of the building. Mr. Barton became very angry because 1) Mr. Gates was waiting for service in a public office, and 2) he had reportedly snapped a picture.

He accused Mr. Gates of breaking and entering.

Waco City Hall on a recent winter's evening
Mr. Barton summoned a police officer, who did a cursory investigation, then told Mr. Gates he was free to leave. He apparently found no violation of the law other than ruffled feathers and a sense of outrage.

The dispute that erupted between the two men centered on the public information act request and the seeming unavailability of information regarding the federally-mandated local emergency planning committee.

Mr. Barton became exercised because it had only been six days since The Legendary had initiated a request for information, and the city's legal department allows itself 10 days for an attorney's review of the request. Apparently, local broadcasting outlets and the daily newspaper published at Waco received this material far in advance, either by request, or by other means.This is not the first time a local official has been only too willing to summon officers to investigate Mr. Gates when he is on the hunt of public information. One may read of a previous tussle with a Deputy District Clerk who jumped to conclusions several years in the past:

One may hear an abbreviated recording of this present tense encounter here.

We received the information so requested on May 10 – with legal claw marks all over it. The package consists of a DVD with 186 documents recorded on it, the first of which is a letter from then County Judge Jim Lewis to Mr. Harvey Henning, who was then the Emergency Services Coordinator, regarding a meeting of the LEPC.

The file continues through 2010 with meetings and sign-in sheets of government emergency services departments such a police and fire, first aid and health officials, as well as local industrial representatives from companies such as Plantation Foods, M and M Mars, Chrysler Technology, and Texaco, as well as broadcast outlets and a daily news publishing company. Meetings were held on a quarterly basis up until the past few years, when they dwindled away to once per year.

The officials and industrial representatives usually dined out at a local luncheon spot – dutch treat – and discussed such items as industrial storm wastewater management, as they did on Feb. 19 of this year, and the like.
Commissioners' Court Attorney Mike Dixon

There are no notations of any particulars such as evacuation in case of fire, hazardous materials explosion, improvised explosive device, Indian attack, freight train derailment, lightning strike, sabotage, arson, or any other disaster, in any of the material we received.

The latest meeting of the LEPC was held in 2010, as acknowledged by Mr. Patterson.

There are no discussions noted that concern explosions of hazardous materials such as fertilizers used as blasting agents in applications other than agricultural cultivation – such as ammonium nitrate.

In the documents obtained, there is no mention of the present County Judge, Scott Felton, an interim replacement for Judge Jim Lewis, who was appointed to fill the former official's unexpired term.

When queried by out-of-town newsmen, he said he had no idea that there is such a committee, nor was he aware, he reportedly stated, that he is the chairman of the committee.

He has made no appearance to date to answer any questions about the matter, but his administrative assistant, Lynne Lockwood, did appear at the ill-fated news conference so hastily adjourned by the Court's legal counsel, Mr. Dixon.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy payday, off-the-books workers – Deficit climbs

April 15 receipts short $2 trillion

When Uncle Sam toted up his IRS returns this year on the ides of April, he got some shocking news.

The receipts are down by $2 trillion in unreported income earned by people who work off the books, don't pay withholding, and could care less about the deficit, profligate government spending or the debt service paid to the world's cold-hearted bankers and coupon clippers.

Two trillion simoleons, U.S. Currency.

According to a long-term student of the off-books economy, the deficit would be a pittance – a triviality - if the government could collect all that coin.

Edgar Feige told “The New Yorker” columnist James Surowiecki, “The best footprint left in the sand by this economy that doesn't want to be observed is the use of cash.”

Working men and women don't trust banks. They don't even use them. Wonder why.

Nannies, barbers, waitresses, cooks, bakers, candle stick makers, web-site designers, construction workers – all pay zero taxes because their bosses save themselves big bucks by making no deductions from their payrolls.

It goes a long way toward pointing a light at a great, deep, dark mystery.

It so happens that, “even though the percentage of Americans officially working has dropped dramatically, and even though household income is still well below what it was in 2007, personal consumption is higher than it was before the recession, and retail sales have been growing briskly,” according to an article by Mr. Surowiecki in the April 29 number of The Magazine.

Here's the best part, proof positive that the light at the end of the tunnel is neither an approaching train, nor is it a special effect straight off a Tinseltown back lot.

“Americans still hold an enormous amount of cold, hard cash – as much as seven hundred and fifty billion dollars...”

Way to fire, oh, ye calloused, footsore and weary working people of the Land of the Big PX. They say the new dynamic is kind of hard on the "social contract." Surely, they mean the same one that applied on that fateful day when Congress and the President approved the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) or the too-big-to-fail bank bailouts. 

Must be. It says here.

But we of The Legendary don't care. We on your side. Keep on Chooglin'! I am sincere. I have spoken.

- The Legendary

Case on point has similarities to C.J. Grisham's

Open carry figures in reversal of N. Carolina case, United States v. Nathaniel Black

In Terry v. Ohio, Chief Justice Earl Warren recognized that police officers need discretion to perform their investigative duties. 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Since Terry, this discretion has been judicially broadened, giving police wide latitude to ful- fill their functions. In some circumstances, however, police abuse this discretion, and we must remind law enforcement that the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Because in this case, we find the police disregarded the basic tenets of the Fourth  Amendment, we reverse. (click)

On a summer night in June of 2010, two Charlotte police officers observed a group of African-American men gathered at a filling station in an area known for violent armed robberies.

The arresting officer made a snap decision based on his experience when he observed that they were standing around a vehicle that was parked at a gas pump, but not delivering fuel into the tank. In his book, the police officer testified, that indicates a drug transaction in progress.

They immediately called for backup and closed in with other four other police officers to question the men.

When they noticed that one of the men carried a pistol openly in a holster, they seized the weapon and secured it in the trunk of the patrol car until they could determine if the man had the right to carry the weapon in the open.

In court, they both testified that their training and experience told them that where there is one firearm, there is usually another. One of them called it “The Rule of Two.”

They began to question the other men, asking if they lived in the apartment complex next door. Nathaniel Black answered by handing over his identification. He began to fidget, according to their testimony.

Then he told them he was leaving, going home. One of the officers told him he was not free to leave, that he must sit down.

When they tried to search him, he ran as fast and as far as he could. They caught him, and they discovered he was holding a concealed firearm. A convicted felon, he was charged with the offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after pleading guilty with the provision that he would be allowed an appeal.

He alleged that the officers violated his guarantee of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. They based their reasonable suspicion on the fact that another person had a firearm, that he carried it in  the  open, in a legal manner, and that the detention of Mr. Black was therefore illegal, his seizure unreasonable. He should have been allowed to leave when he said he wanted to go.

Because his motion to suppress the evidence against him was denied, he appealed to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The three-judge panel ruled that it is unconstitutional for police to detain a person based on a suspicion that arises because of the actions of another person.

In their ruling, they cited an interpretation of a similar case that was based on the landmark decision, Terry v. Ohio.

"The Fourth Amendment does not proscribe all contact between the police and citizens, but is designed ‘to prevent arbitrary and oppressive interference by enforcement officials with the privacy and personal security of individuals.’" I.N.S. v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 215 (1984) (quoting United States v. Martinez–Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 554 (1976)).

In their consideration of the search and seizure that led to Mr. Black's arrest, the judges considered the nature of the suspicion that led to Mr. Black's seizure and detention by the police.

First, “Officer Zastrow’s suspicion that a lone driver at a gas pump who he did not observe drive into the gas station is engaged in drug trafficking borders on absurd.”

To base a decision to search the other men on the fact that one of them was legally carrying a firearm is equally unreasonable, according to the holding.

Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention. Permitting such a justification would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals in those states.”

According to the decision, a person is "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment if, "‘in view of all [of] the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.’" United States v. Gray, 883 F.2d 320, 322 (4th Cir. 1989) (quoting United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980)).3 Specific factors to consider in determining whether a reasonable person would feel free to leave include: (i) the number of police officers present at the scene; (ii) whether the police officers were in uniform; (iii) whether the police officers displayed their weapons; (iv) whether they "touched the defendant or made any attempt to physically block his departure or restrain his movement"; (v) "the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer’s request might be compelled"; (vi) whether the officers informed the defendant that they suspected him of "illegal activity rather than treating the encounter as ‘routine’ in nature"; and (vii) "whether, if the officer requested from the defendant . . . some form of official identification, the officer promptly returned it."

The judges concluded unanimously that for all practical purposes, the officers seized Mr. Black when he told him he could not leave.

The judges' reasoning is plain enough. When considering the totality of the circumstances, especially the actions of six policemen frisking the other men after seizing a weapon legally carried by an acquaintance, “Black’s decision to leave was an effort to terminate an illegal seizure.”

Judges handed down the decision reversing Mr. Black's conviction and vacating the indictment by the lower court on February 25 of this year.

Had he been sentenced under federal guidelines that apply to a previously convicted felon, he would have served 15 years in the penitentiary.

The bottom line:

The facts of this case give us cause to pause and ponder the slow systematic erosion of Fourth Amendment protections for a certain demographic...Viewed in their totality, all the factors recited by the Government fail to amount to a reasonable suspicion justifying Black’s seizure, and the district court erred in denying the motion to suppress.”