Legislature attacks California property rights

May 18, 2012

By Katy Grimes

A bill was passed by the Assembly Thursday which would allow a newly created, protected class of individuals to legally hide ownership of property by claiming a public safety classification.

Constitution

By hiding their ownership information, these individuals would be able to conduct business outside of the scrutiny of the public, undoubtedly resulting in different classes of property owners, as well as the demise of California’s constructive notice property rights system.

AB 2299, by Assemblyman Mike Feurer, D-Los Angeles, “authorizes the board of supervisors of a county to establish a program whereby the names of certain public safety officials may be redacted upon request from any property record of principal residence that is disclosed to the public by that county,” the bill analysis states.

In his floor speech about AB 2299, Feurer shared dramatic stories of gang murders, drive-by shootings and violence as the reason public safety officials need to be able to hide their property ownership records.

But the bill violates the historic “constructive notice” laws, which means that persons are assumed to have knowledge of something by virtue of the fact that it is in the public record. The legal status of property ownership, for example, is available through public records.

Another legal example is the symbol ®, which provides “constructive notice” that a trademark or service mark has been registered, is no longer in the public domain and is unavailable for anyone else to use.

“Property records are public records—the public has a right to know who owns property,” said Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton. “Public officials hide behind this.” Norby said he was concerned about the definition of public safety because it has been so broadened.

Norby gave the example of the city of Vernon, which declared as public safety officials its entire legal staff as well as contract legal staff.

Norby said that there already is protection for public safety officials. He asked where the definition would stop—teachers, other public employees or even the legislative body?

Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, an attorney, said he was tempted to oppose the legislation, but felt that the bill did not overreach because public safety officials must opt-in to participate, if they feel threatened.

The bill analysis says that the public safety officials eligible for the protections are: a) employees of federal, state or local law enforcement agencies (except clerical and non-operational staff); b) judges, magistrates, court commissioners and referees; c) criminal attorneys with a federal, state or local prosecutorial or defense agency; d) employees of a federal, state or local prosecutorial or defense agency routinely in contact with suspects; and e) employees of a federal, state or local agency responsible for inmates, or those acting as a custodian, probation or parole officer.

Elected officials are explicitly excluded from the program.

Opposition

County Recorders across the state opposed the bill. Kammi Foote, Inyo County clerk-recorder, explained her opposition: “Under the provisions of AB 2299, certain documents would no longer be open to public inspection creating a system where only the government could verify real property ownership. If certain records were removed or hidden from the public it would be impossible for California citizens to independently prove ownership of their own homes.”

“Historically, governments have used control of land ownership to be oppressive in governing those they rule,” Foote added.  “In many countries today citizens are prevented from knowing who owns land unless the ‘government’ allows them to know.”

Other opponents of AB 2299 argued at a recent hearing that there are many different issues arising from the bill, including that the current clerk-recorder computer systems are not designed to permit wholesale redaction. “According to the California Land Title Association, the sponsors of AB 2299 have an inaccurate understanding of how county recorder records are held, maintained and shared with interested parties” the bill analysis states. “Unlike traditional ‘databases’ held by many governmental and private companies and individuals, county recorders do NOT hold scanned documents in a pure data format that can be queried, sorted, cloaked, and manipulated any number of ways within the database program. Thus, AB 2299 is difficult, if not impossible, to implement.”

The Santa Clara County Assessor estimates that the cost to develop a system to comply with this bill would range from $150,000 to more than $500,000.

And AB 2299 would make it impossible for a member of the public to verify ownership of their own home. Under AB 2299, only the government could verify real property ownership.

Potential for fraud

The California Newspaper Publishers Association is opposed to AB 2299 and expressed concerns at a recent hearing about how a confidentiality program might be used to perpetrate fraud: “AB 2299 would bar journalists and the public from investigating the situation unfolding in Los Angeles where the assessor is accused of collecting campaign contributions from property owners in exchange for lowered property assessments. The bill would completely insulate and protect any public safety official who might be involved in this type of scheme and would eradicate any public scrutiny, oversight or accountability.”

In an op-ed to her local newspaper, Foote wrote, “If even one document was removed from the records or shielded from the public eye, the entire system is compromised. To safeguard the real property rights of Americans, Congress and state legislatures, designed a system of recording land records that was open to public inspection and safe from the interference of government control.”

Foote said that property ownership can be proved if all recorded documents remain open to public inspection. “This is the way that property rights have been verified since the founding of this country.”

42 comments

Write a comment
  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 09:03

    Yep. Another way for cops and firewhiners and whoever else it would apply to to game the system. Like the ‘gold card’ in LA that allows those of a special class to get parking tickets dismissed. Show me one public safety official in California who has been harmed due to his home or homes being part of the public property records. I wonder how much public unions paid off the pols for this one??? heh. Same with the confidential license plates. 1M government employees in California have those and can break traffic laws and evade toll road fees at will. Why doesn’t the DMV pull a sample of those confidential license plate drivers and see how many tickets they get, per capita, for moving violations or toll road fines. heh. And compare it with a same of the other non-confidential licence plate drivers. I would quadruple down that the difference would be mind-boggling. But the DMV would never do that because it is owned by the oligarchs in Sactown who would never allow it!!! HAH! 😀

    This proves that we are no better than Mexico. Probably even worse in many respects.

    Reply this comment
  2. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 09:06

    Katy– The bill does not “violate” constructive notice laws. It seeks within the legislative process to modify them. You see the difference, right? You write as if their is something unlawful with the process and the proposed measure. It will pass, be signed and become law or it won’t.Why do you right fringe folks like to write with such cliched volitility?

    Judges, cops and prosecutors need to be able to do bad things to bad people during the course of the proper administration of justice. The bad guys, and they exist, get intel on where these folks live on a regular basis. The war stories of threats, attacks, and homicides are real. I still remember the unsolved murder of that LA County judge and his wife from a few years back.

    “A step back for private property rights”? Oh please. That is a dull and tired mantra.

    Your humble reader– Ted ™

    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 09:20

    Ya know, there’s a lot of other so-called ‘dangerous jobs’ than working as a cop or a fireman. What about a divorce lawyer? What about a bill collector? What about a private investigator? What about an investigator who goes after crooks who jumped their bail bond? What about the guy who confiscates automobiles when the purchaser defaulted on his loan?

    All of them are kicked to the curb, aren’t they??? They don’t get any special privileges. You must belong to a PUBLIC UNION to get those, eh? heh.

    The system is dirty to the core, folks. Connect the dots here. Absolutely disgusting. More padding of the pockets to get favorable legislation.

    Reply this comment
  4. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 09:21

    You must be a retired oinker, eh Ted???

    Reply this comment
  5. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 18 May, 2012, 09:26

    I have received threats from union members. Doesn’t that qualify my job as ‘dangerous?’

    Katy

    Reply this comment
  6. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 09:33

    Beezy? “I am a retired Oinker”? What does that mean?

    Katy—I have no idea of the nature of the threats you’ve received so I can’t say. I do know, and a google search reveals the amount of judges state and federal in the US that have been attacked or murdered. I am sure police stats are similar. I have no idea how and why this relates to other workers. If you can’t protect the people paid to protect you, you are in a bad spot.

    The Enormous Ted Method ™

    Reply this comment
  7. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 09:49

    “I have received threats from union members”

    I’d love to have a union member threaten me. I’d be all over him like stink on crap. I’d be on him so quick that his head would spin in circles like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 May, 2012, 09:59

    This is a sneaky move toward the command state!

    The political class is worried since the congress gal from Arizona was shot in the public square.

    You are witness to the politicos and their union goon security personnel melting away from view with total freedom to serve us up as they please!

    Reply this comment
  9. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 10:10

    “The political class is worried since the congress gal from Arizona was shot in the public square”

    Where did you read that???

    That congresswomen was shot by a complete nutcase and it had NOTHING to do with her property records! That nutcase was walking the streets even though he had previously threatened other citizens at the college that he attended once. He was a nut off his meds who law enforcement refused to deal with. Read the history of the situation.

    “You are witness to the politicos and their union goon security personnel melting away from view with total freedom to serve us up as they please!”

    Yes. And that is what Websters refers to as a “police state”.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 10:19

    Mr. Uhaul–“the Congress gal”?

    nice

    Reply this comment
  11. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 10:21

    Katy—I have no idea of the nature of the threats you’ve received so I can’t say. I do know, and a google search reveals the amount of judges state and federal in the US that have been attacked or murdered. I am sure police stats are similar. I have no idea how and why this relates to other workers. If you can’t protect the people paid to protect you, you are in a bad spot.

    The Enormous Ted Method ™

    Reply this comment
  12. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 May, 2012, 10:28

    Every politican fears private reprisals from freaks, the demented, the wanton unproducers, the angry over taxed and regulated street mobs.

    How can unfairness end otherwise?

    Reply this comment
  13. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 10:42

    Mr. Uhaul—

    How can unfairness end otherwise?

    You think only “reprisals” settles unfairness?

    Really?

    Is this site a magnet for the lunatic fringe or what?

    Reply this comment
  14. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 11:03

    “How can unfairness end otherwise?”

    In their infinite wisdom our beloved Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment.

    And our original leaders made it quite clear why they did that: To guard against tyranny.

    They truly understood the nature of mankind.

    Geniuses. All of them.

    Reply this comment
  15. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 11:14

    wow Beezypoo— so you’re doubling down with Palin’s now famopus idiotic statement—-mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm perfect.

    Reply this comment
  16. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 11:24

    “wow Beezypoo— so you’re doubling down…..”

    I said “quadruple down”, you misfit. That’s doubling down x 2.

    You can’t even get that fact right!!! HAH! 😀

    Reply this comment
  17. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 11:31

    geez– I didn’t even see where you said doubling down– I was just asking– man are you a bit crankier than usual today?

    Sad Ted ™

    Reply this comment
  18. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 May, 2012, 11:35

    Your better get your bug out kits packed.

    Entitlements caput!

    They are coming-

    Reply this comment
  19. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 12:04

    Roger that Mr. U haul— I am headed down to the bunker at this time!

    Reply this comment
  20. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 May, 2012, 12:17

    Watch out your block union goon commissar may be watching you!

    Sorta TSA- type on steroids.

    Reply this comment
  21. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 13:02

    Mr Uhaul— It’s hard to hear you from the din of black helicopter ™ rotor wash overhead…

    Reply this comment
  22. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 18 May, 2012, 13:03

    Unreal. How would you be able to attach their property in a lawsuit if they are able to get away with htis BS…….

    Reply this comment
  23. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 18 May, 2012, 13:06

    I do know, and a google search reveals the amount of judges state and federal in the US that have been attacked or murdered

    At last count there were only THREE federal judges murdered in the last 100 years. One was by Woody harrelson’s Dad. That is one every 33 years, I have a feeling judges are not in any danger whatsoever.

    Reply this comment
  24. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 18 May, 2012, 13:11

    Katy– The bill does not “violate” constructive notice laws.

    LOL..now Teddy Steals is a lawyer and a real estate broker.

    Our real estate system is and has been built around constructive notice, via public filings and recordings. It is the ONLY way the system can work, a public record open tot he PUBLIC.

    Ask the dork who came up with this lame butt idea to document one, JUST ONE instance fo a cop getting murdered from a public property records search. This was the exact same argument the cops used when they said they needed their discipline records hid from public disclosure, because of “retaliation” by “gang members”, and yet they could not document a single instance of retaliation.

    Reply this comment
  25. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 13:31

    Poodle— your research skills on google are lacking— your assignment– recheck your facts and also look for assaults and threats and include state judges too… Do it now.

    Reply this comment
  26. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 13:32

    “This was the exact same argument the cops used when they said they needed their discipline records hid from public disclosure, because of “retaliation” by “gang members”, and yet they could not document a single instance of retaliation”

    It was the same excuse for confidential license plates too. Right out of the same playbook. This is corruption plain and simple. And it received unanimous or near unanimous votes in the Assembly. So you just can’t blame it all on the democrats. This is the anatomy of a police state. It’s in full swing. Anyone who doubts that is in full denial.

    Reply this comment
  27. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 May, 2012, 13:37

    “Poodle— your research skills on google are lacking— your assignment– recheck your facts and also look for assaults and threats and include state judges too… Do it now”

    You little weasel. Post your proof source or shut up. You must walk around all day long with your tail stuck between your legs!!! HAH! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  28. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 18 May, 2012, 15:49

    Now you call me a little weasel? Yikes you have bad manners little buddy…

    There is so much out there on murdered and threatened cops and judges I would not know where to start— this book has compiled a bit of it— I won’t buy it for you though— Can you get some one to read it to you down in the bunker?

    http://www.susanpbaker.com/html/murdered_judges.html

    Reply this comment
  29. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 May, 2012, 16:15

    Ted, the poodle coddler: You seem to take a beating on a regular basis. Maybe if you roll over like a senior’s beagle you will get more love!!!

    Reply this comment
  30. Ted Steele, Beet Framer
    Ted Steele, Beet Framer 18 May, 2012, 16:44

    LOL ™ Mr. Uhaul— By golly I think you’re correct!

    Reply this comment
  31. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 21 May, 2012, 15:19

    Ted, the poodle coddler: You seem to take a beating on a regular basis.

    Teddy Steals has been slapped around so much he is livign in next week 🙂

    Like I said, there have only been # federal judges murdered int he last 100 years….spanking Teddy is like taking candy from a baby;

    John Howland Wood, Jr. (March 31, 1916–May 29, 1979) was an American lawyer and judge from the U.S. state of Texas. He served on the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas before being assassinated by Charles Harrelson outside Wood’s home in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979. Wood’s killing was the first assassination of a federal judge in the 20th century. (Two other federal judges were assassinated in the 1980s, Richard J. Daronco in 1988 and Robert Smith Vance in 1989.)

    Reply this comment
  32. Ted Steele, Beet Framer
    Ted Steele, Beet Framer 21 May, 2012, 15:47

    I get so tired of beating the little poodle down——but—–

    Judges and prosecutorsThreats against federal judges can include threats of vigilantism. For instance, in 2004, gun-rights activist, Denver businessman and former Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Rick Stanley was sentenced to six years of imprisonment for sending two judges, Thornton Municipal Judge Charles J. Rose and 17th Judicial District Judge Donald W. Marshall Jr., a “notice of order” demanding that they reverse his conviction for a weapons violation or face arrest by Stanley’s Mutual Defense Pact Militia and a trial for treason. Stanley was also ordered to pay $8,250 restitution to police who worked overtime to protect the judges.[38]

    Threats against federal judges and prosecutors have more than doubled in recent years, with threats against federal prosecutors rising from 116 to 250 from 2003 to 2008,[39] and threats against federal judges climbing from 500 to 1,278 in that same period,[40] [41] prompting hundreds to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals. The problem has become so pronounced that a threat management center has been opened in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia, where a staff of about 25 marshals and analysts monitor a 24-hour number for reporting threats, use sophisticated mapping software to track those being threatened and tap into a classified database linked to the FBI and CIA.[42] In 2009, a radio host was indicted for, after criticizing three appellate judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit who affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss challenges to Chicago’s handgun ban as “cunning, ruthless, untrustworthy, disloyal, unpatriotic, deceitful scum,” allegedly saying, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed.”[43] He also allegedly posted blog entries providing a photo and a map of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, where the court is located, with arrows pointing to “anti-truck bomb barriers.”[44] That case resulted in two hung juries.[45] The sending of white powder as part of a threatening communication has become not uncommon since the 2001 anthrax attacks.[46]

    The making of these threats coincided with high-profile violence against federal officials in that same period, including Baltimore Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna, who was stabbed 36 times with his own penknife and drowned in a creek, and Thomas C. Wales, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle gunned down at his home. Such incidents lead U.S. officials to take threats seriously. However, actual attacks on government officials are still rare in the U.S. relative to many countries with more unstable governments (e.g. so-called “banana republics” that frequently experience coups and assassinations) as evidenced by the fact that the most famous judge to be assassinated in recent times was John H. Wood, Jr. back in 1979.[47]

    Case law records that many threats are made from prisoners dissatisfied with the handling of their own case or fellow inmates’, or wanting to serve time in the federal system.[48] Often the penalties for making the threat are more serious than those imposed for the original offense.[49] Threats by inmates are taken seriously if the person has contacts on the outside who are capable of carrying out the threat. Federal officials attribute the rising threat rate to disgruntled defendants, terrorism and gang cases that bring more violent offenders into federal courts, frustration over the economic crisis and the rise of the “sovereign citizen” movement – a loose collection of tax protesters, white supremacists and others who don’t respect federal authority.[50]

    Reply this comment
  33. Ted Steele, Beet Framer
    Ted Steele, Beet Framer 21 May, 2012, 15:51

    I could do this all day long…yaaaaaawn—–another flat Poodle!

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/06/blogger-threatened-to-murder-judges-feds-say/

    Reply this comment
  34. Ted Steele, Beet Framer
    Ted Steele, Beet Framer 21 May, 2012, 15:55

    Of course there are mountains of these threats, attacks and even murders of State and federal prosecutors and judgeas. But the Poodle can’t read! OOOOOOOOuc!!

    http://postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1487538

    Reply this comment
  35. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 21 May, 2012, 18:06

    Like I said, there have only been THREE federal judges murdered in the last 100 years BAM……spanking Teddy is like taking candy from a baby ;

    Reply this comment
  36. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 21 May, 2012, 18:47

    My father was a district court judge in Michigan and frequently got death threats phoned in. That was before it was easy to trace phone calls. He always carried a loaded gun and knew how to use it. Our phone number and address were listed in the phone book. He was an elected official who believe himself one of “the people,” not a remote functionary. He believe that America should be an “open society,” the government accountable to the people, and in touch with their needs. He was highly respected in the community, and still is.

    Obituary:http://www.wayneretirees.org/retireenews.htm

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  37. The Ted Steele System
    The Ted Steele System 21 May, 2012, 21:29

    John– God Bless your Dad—- but that anecdotal experience does nothing for the increased level of threat today for cops and Judges and certain others—- it is well beyond dispute. I remember when Republicans were conservationists and pro law and order— What the hell happened to you folks? Sad…

    Reply this comment
  38. The Ted Steele System
    The Ted Steele System 21 May, 2012, 21:32

    I hope your Dad enjoyed his pension for awhile– he earned it!

    Reply this comment
  39. The Ted Steele System
    The Ted Steele System 21 May, 2012, 21:35

    Threats to judges taken seriously in age of Facebook and Twitter, authorities say
    Published: Friday, February 24, 2012, 4:53 AM
    By Sarah M. Wojcik | The Express-Times
    Follow

    5

    Share
    Email
    Print

    View full sizeExpress-Times File Photo
    Warren County Sheriff David Gallant said authorities worked quickly to ensure state Superior Court Judge Kimarie Rahill was not in danger after a threat to her life was posted on Facebook by a man due in before her Wednesday.
    Authorities say they had no choice but to take seriously a Facebook threat by a Sussex County man who said he wanted to kill a New Jersey Superior Court judge presiding over family court matters.

    Jesse D. Harvey, 24, of the 400 block of River Styx Road in Hopatcong, N.J., was taken into custody on a single charge of making terroristic threats Wednesday afternoon when he visited the Warren County Court House for an appearance before Judge Kimarie Rahill.

    According to court records, Harvey posted comments on Facebook threatening Rahill’s life. The records say Harvey wrote he would kill the judge and “use her blood to paint an upside-down cross on her forehead.”

    Court records say the threat was posted Wednesday. It comes a week and a half after a Pennsylvania judge took time in open court to question a lawyer about perceived threats posted online.

    New Jersey State Police spokesman Lt. Stephen Jones said threats against public officials, such as judges, are taken very seriously. An entire squad within the New Jersey State Police, called Central Security Unit, is devoted to investigating such incidents, he said.
    “Venting is only considered venting when it goes so far,” Jones said. “When rants turn into threats against one’s life, that’s when the line is crossed and a crime is committed.”
    Authorities learned of the threat prior to Harvey’s arrival and were ready to detain him once he arrived at the courthouse in Belvidere, according to Warren County Sheriff David Gallant. The sheriff said Harvey’s scheduled court appearance prompted authorities to intercept the 24-year-old as soon as he arrived in Belvidere.
    “We took some immediate action to make sure Judge Rahill’s safety was not compromised,” Gallant said. “We deemed the threat to be credible enough to take action.”

    Courtesy of the Warren County Department of Corrections
    Jesse D. Harvey is in Warren County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
    Authorities say Harvey was slated to appear in court on a family matter, but they would not go into further specifics about the nature of his case. Police also refused to say how they learned of the threat.

    Harvey was sent to Warren County jail in lieu of $100,000. His bail conditions include a mental health evaluation and no contact with Rahill or her family.

    A message left at Rahill’s chambers was not returned Thursday.

    A visible symbol of the court system

    Judges can make easy targets for people moving through the justice system who are unhappy with the results of a criminal, civil or family matter, according to Aman McLeod, assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden.
    “Judges are the most visible symbol of the judicial system,” McLeod said. “If you’ve got a beef, you look to them. The judge is the one that bangs the gavel, pronounces the sentence and addresses you, if you’re the one accused.”
    A Northampton County judge made headlines Feb. 10 when he interrogated an attorney whom he thought knew something about threatening comments posted about the judge on the website of The Morning Call newspaper.

    Judge Michael J. Koury said he wanted to find out who posted the comments because he did not want it to interfere with his partiality in a sentencing for former Easton Area Middle School teacher Stephen A. Sullivan, accused in a child pornography case. One of the comments called for Koury to “get clipped one night outside the courthouse.”

    It later came to light that George Charles, cousin of Sullivan’s defense attorney Dennis Charles, had posted the comments. No charges have been filed, but Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Thursday an investigation is continuing.
    “We’re just trying to tie up some loose ends,” Morganelli said.
    McLeod said judges are usually well aware of the sacrifices they make in their personal lives and potential risks when they take the bench.
    “Judges do their business in the open,” McLeod said. “It is something where you do lose a modicum of your privacy, your anonymity. And also you’re putting yourself at risk.”
    More venues to publicize threats

    Data on personal threats leveled at New Jersey state-level judges are hard to come by, but the U.S. Marshals Service reports a marked increase in the number of threats leveled at judiciary officials on the federal level.

    According to the service’s website, the agency handles an average of about 1,400 such threats annually across the country. McLeod said he’s seen data from the U.S Marshals Service that shows a climb in federal court threats from 509 in 2003 to 1,278 in 2009.
    “This stuff is a serious problem,” McLeod said.
    Jones said one thing for certain has changed: the many modern ways such threats can be disseminated.
    “I think these types of threats have always existed, but now there are many more venues to publicize them,” Jones said.
    Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are still thought of by some people to be private spaces, Jones said, even though many profiles are still visible to a much larger audience. Threats posted on these sites are not going to be treated as frustrated comments on the system, Jones said.
    “You can’t tell when someone’s just spouting off or if they really mean what they say,” said Gallant, the Warren County sheriff. “It’s a new kind of day.”
    Reporter Tom Shortell contributed to this story.

    Related topics: belvidere, crime, david gallant, dennis charles, george charles, jesse harvey, john morganelli, kimarie rahill, michael koury, new jersey state police, news poll, stephen sullivan

    Sponsored Links

    Share this storyPrintEmailStory tools

    More sto

    Reply this comment
  40. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 21 May, 2012, 21:43

    Obituary:http://www.wayneretirees.org/retireenews.htm

    – John Seiler

    John, me and your dad graduated from the same law school-DCL.

    Reply this comment
  41. The Ted Steele System
    The Ted Steele System 21 May, 2012, 21:43

    John– Like your anecdotal experience– here are a a few more.== Ted

    U.S. judiciary facing rise in death threats
    by Robert Anglen – Jul. 9, 2009 12:00 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    A prison informer gave up details of a planned hit in April: A drug dealer wanted a federal prosecutor dead. The prosecutor had put him away; now he was willing to pay someone to kill her.

    The informer came forward on a Monday afternoon.

    On Tuesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Mosher in Tucson was alerted to the threat on her life. The next day, Mosher was under the protective guard of a team of deputy U.S. marshals who would cover her every move for the next 10 days while another team investigated the threat.

    Federal judges and prosecutors across the country, including in Arizona, are confronting a growing number of threats against their lives. The U.S. Marshals Service, which provides security for federal court personnel, reports that the number of threats nationwide against such officials, jurors and witnesses has more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 to nearly 1,300.

    In Arizona, U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said deputies who once investigated a handful of threats, typically hurled by defendants at a judge during sentencing, are now fielding three to four threats a week.

    The threats come via e-mail, text message and telephone. They are posted in the blogosphere and sometimes fed by polemic radio talk-show hosts. In response, some federal judges have taken to arming themselves with handguns. Others are tapping into federal funds to install or upgrade home-security systems.

    The need to investigate and assess the threats led to the creation this year of a special unit of four full-time deputy marshals in Arizona who monitor “inappropriate communications.”

    Marshals also have stepped up preventive measures, giving personal-security lessons to federal court staffers and their families, training them in evasive maneuvers and evaluating home-alarm systems.

    The increase in threats is being fueled partly by the Internet. A person who would never write a threatening letter to a judge does not have qualms about posting the same anonymous message online, Gonzales said.

    Other factors are the country’s worsening economic condition, reflected in bankruptcy cases, where desperate people lash out in frustration at judges who adjudicate their financial losses.

    Gonzales also said the court system is seeing increasingly violent defendants in cases related to immigration, terrorism, drugs and hate crimes.

    “A lot of times, you find threats are made by guys covered with Cheeto dust and still living in their mother’s basement,” he said. “We still have to neutralize all of those threats.”

    Threats change lives
    Mosher said the threat on her life hit her like a brick. She spent the next 10 days learning to live a completely different lifestyle.

    “I’ve been doing this for this office for 20 years, and I have never had a death threat,” the 50-year-old prosecutor said. “It is very disturbing. . . . You realize you are a victim. I do feel vulnerable.”

    Deputy marshals accompanied her when she went to work, the grocery store, and to lunch and dinner appointments. They drove her car, prepared to use defensive-driving techniques if attacked.

    Deputy marshals went with her on hospital visits to her ailing mother. Upon arriving at her home each night, they would go through every room of her house, looking under beds and in closets, before she was allowed to be alone.

    Outside her house, Pima County sheriff’s deputies, working with the marshals, ran extra patrols. They were intentionally visible, sending a signal.

    “Basically, I had two people with me 24 hours a day,” she said. “They really impressed me with the training they had.”

    Mosher said marshals upgraded her home-security system. They taught her to be aware of her surroundings. Every day, they would brief her about their investigation.

    Ultimately, they learned the informer was trying to use jailhouse chatter to cut his own deal on a sentence. The drug dealer was a big talker but had no intention of carrying out the threat.

    Gonzales said that most threats fizzle into nothing and that almost none leads to prosecutions.

    “The vast majority of these things are just individuals expressing their opinions,” he said. “It’s one thing to (make a threat). You also have to have the means to do it.”

    Security for court staff
    Security concerns intensified in 2005 after a man who was angry over the dismissal of his civil-malpractice case murdered the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow of Chicago.

    On any given day now, the U.S. Marshals Service is running 20 protective details of judges and court staff across the country. Deputies are shared with other jurisdictions to ease the manpower burden.

    The Marshals Service this year opened a national threat-assessment center at its headquarters in Arlington, Va., with links to FBI, CIA and other law-enforcement databases. The center fields hotline calls from court personnel, assesses the threat and can gather intelligence about the person who made the threat.

    Some federal court employees are linked to the system via a panic button that alerts marshals at the center to their location and links them to local emergency dispatchers.

    Besides working details, marshals also evaluate the personal security of judges, court staff and their families and coach them on safety techniques. That could include observation training, advice on proper landscaping around a house and how to react to a potential threat.

    Gonzales said marshals also evaluate security at federal courthouses across the country. Specific security measures are different in each jurisdiction. Gonzales said the reason cameras and audio recorders aren’t allowed in Arizona’s federal courts is to prevent potential bad guys from identifying court staff, witnesses and jurors.

    Gonzales said deputies work on identifying high-profile cases that will generate controversy and outrage before they begin.

    In February, when U.S. District Judge John Roll presided over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher, the Marshals Service was anticipating the fallout.

    When Roll ruled the case could go forward, Gonzales said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats.

    In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

    “They said, ‘We should kill him. He should be dead,’ ” Gonzales said.

    Roll, who is the chief federal judge in Arizona, said both he and his wife were given a protection detail for about a month.

    “It was unnerving and invasive. . . . By its nature it has to be,” Roll said, adding that they were encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible. “It was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service.”

    At the end of the month, Roll said four key men had been identified as threat makers.

    The Marshals Service left to him the decision to press charges but recommended against it. Roll said he had no qualms about following their advice.

    The recommendation was based on the intent of those making the threats.

    “I have a very strong belief that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a judicial decision,” he said. “But when it comes to threats, that is an entirely different matter.”

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/07/09/20090709threats0709.html#ixzz1vZQXkeJV

    Reply this comment
  42. The Ted Steele System
    The Ted Steele System 21 May, 2012, 21:48

    Los Angeles County’s one judicial murder remains unsolved — that was of course the 1999 murder of Commissioner George Taylor and his wife.

    You people live in a Beckian dream fantasy.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment



Related Articles

Hydropower AB 32 scam as bad as one L.A. Times detailed

The Los Angeles Times had a good analysis over the weekend of how AB 32 is being gamed in ways

Would-be San Diego mayor plans to nullify reform approved by city voters

In 2006, San Diego voters took a bold and unprecedented step: They lopsidedly approved a “managed competition” process under which

Robert Gates scorns the RINOs who don't get ripped enough

One of the wonderful things about the rise of Ron and Rand Paul and the increasingly libertarian tone of some