I’ve written many times about the pathetic excuse for a public defender system we have in this country, one in which justice is not even hypothetically possible, much less real on a practical level. The New Jersey Supreme Court has now said that as long as there is a warm-blooded person standing at the attorney’s …
Category Archive: Civil Liberties
Oct 31 2013
Oct 30 2013
This is a very interesting development that could lead somewhere important. The Department of Justice is now informing defendants if any evidence in their case was procured through a warrantless wiretap. Why is this important? Because it gives them standing to challenge illegal surveillance.
Oct 24 2013
The Obama administration’s argument for why it’s okay to collect everyone’s electronic communications (like the Bush administration) is that it isn’t really a search until a human looks at or listens to all that data. And trust them, they have rules about that. Bruce Schneier explains why that’s absolute nonsense.
Oct 01 2013
The Inspector General of the National Security Agency has sent a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley about cases where NSA personnel have used their ability to listen in on phone calls and other communications to spy on girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives. It’s happened 12 times since 2003. Some examples:
Sep 29 2013
Foreign Policy reports on newly declassified documents that show that the NSA spied on a whole range of people that the LBJ and Nixon administrations considered their political enemies, including at least two sitting U.S. Senators, Martin Luther King and even — for crying out loud — Art Buchwald.
Sep 04 2013
Fascist Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is getting a federal watchdog, which can only be a good thing for everyone but him. A federal judge ordered the appointment of an overseer to monitor his departments conduct after decades of misconduct and abuse.
Sep 03 2013
Tony Capaccio has an article in Business Week that points out that Marin Luther King’s famous I Have a Dream speech, the 50th anniversary of which was marked with celebrations the other day, is what led directly to the campaign by the FBI to use illegal wiretaps and bugs to blackmail King and other civil …
Aug 30 2013
Vanita Gupta of the Center for Justice and Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU have a column at the Huffington Post documenting the ongoing crisis in our public defender system. On the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Gideon v Wainwright, the promise of giving the indigent a competent legal defense remains unfulfilled …
Aug 27 2013
An undercover police officer in Schenectady County, New York has been caught on video planting crack cocaine in a store in order to arrest the store owner after an informant said there were drugs being sold there. Here’s a local news report that contains the video:
Aug 26 2013
Yes, the United States does hold people liable for torture — as long as they’re not Americans. A federal judge has ruled in favor of the victim of torture carried out by a former Somalian military officer, something virtually inconceivable if that officer was in the U.S. military.
Aug 23 2013
I was a bit shocked at the relatively lenient sentence that the military court handed down to Bradley Manning. He got 35 years, but could be eligible for parole in as little as ten years with good behavior and credit for time served. The government was asking for 60 years, so Manning is probably a …
Aug 22 2013
The NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge recently, though she stopped short of ending the program and only ordered some reforms and greater oversight. But it’s probably useful to look at the broader question of when the government can stop and search someone, which this post will do.
Aug 20 2013
Julian Sanchez has a column at Politico that hammers Congress — and rightly so — for its almost complete lack of concern over the NSA’s clearly illegal data mining and surveillance programs. Far from providing meaningful oversight, the leadership of both parties in Congress offer only empty assurances.
Aug 20 2013
The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has admitted to the Washington Post that the court he presides over, which is supposed to be a crucial safeguard against misuse of the government’s surveillance powers, lacks the tools to provide effective oversight.
Aug 19 2013
Don’t worry, we’ve been told by President Obama and many members of Congress, the NSA has strict guidelines and procedures to prevent violations of privacy in their surveillance programs. Turns out that some of the documents that Edward Snowden provided to the Washington Post prove otherwise.