Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘arrest’

Angry ex-boyfriend, or casualty of war?

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Military, Obituaries, Personal Responsibility, US Government, War on April 2, 2008 at 2:05 am

Acevedo After returning from his third tour of duty in Iraq in three years, Lance Cpl. Eric Acevedo just wasn’t the same, his relatives said.The previously athletic teen, who had enlisted in the Marines just after graduating from high school a few months after the war began in 2003, suffered from nightmares, fought with his girlfriend and gained weight. The 22-year-old, whose breaks between deployments were less than a year, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said his father, Andres Acevedo.

Early Saturday morning, 13 months after returning from his last tour, he went to his ex-girlfriend’s townhouse, broke through a ground-floor window and stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife, police said. A blood-covered Acevedo then paced in the parking lot as officers rushed to the tan wood-and-brick townhouse complex and arrested him, neighbors said.

Eric Acevedo, 22, is charged with capital murder, which carries the death penalty, and remained jailed Wednesday on $1 million bond. Acevedo’s court-appointed attorney, Lex Johnston, said he had not spent much time talking to his client.

“I gave him to the government nice and healthy, and the government returned somebody who is capable of doing something like that,” Andres Acevedo told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Read the rest of this article here. 

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Man foregoes snake oil, sells snake vodka instead

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug War, Entertainment, Health, Humor, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Science, Shine on you crazy diamond on April 1, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Snake vodkaI couldn’t help but chuckle a bit when I read this. This is such a novelty that I’m quite sure that many people would pay top dollar for it, but not as an ancient Asian elixir. They’d buy it because it’s a bottle of vodka with a doggone rattlesnake in it, LOL.

Still, I don’t see the harm, as long as the snake’s venom doesn’t poison people who drink the beverage (though I will also note that later in the story, Bayou Bob admits that “I’ve honestly never seen a person drink it”). The state doesn’t say anything about it possibly poisoning anyone though; they’re just upset because he doesn’t have a liquor license. So it appears that the state is just worried about getting their cut.

A rattlesnake rancher who calls himself Bayou Bob found a new way to make money: Stick a rattler inside a bottle of vodka and market the concoction as an “ancient Asian elixir.” But Bayou Bob Popplewell’s bright idea appears to have landed him on the wrong side of the law, because he has no liquor license.

Popplewell, who has raised rattlesnakes and turtles at Bayou Bob’s Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch for more than two decades, surrendered to authorities Monday. He spent about 10 minutes in jail after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission obtained arrest warrants on misdemeanor charges of selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Popplewell said he will fight the charges. His intent, he said, is not to sell an alcoholic beverage but a healing tonic. He said he has customers of Asian descent who believe the concoction has medicinal properties.

“It’s almost a spiritual thing,” said Popplewell, 63.

But alcohol commission agent Scott Jones pointed out that investigators confiscated 429 bottles of snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila. At $23 a bottle, that’s almost $10,000 worth of reptilian booze.

Even if Popplewell intended his drink be used as a healing tonic — an assertion the alcohol commission disputes — his use of vodka requires a state permit, authorities said.

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“It’s sold for beverage purposes, and he knows what he’s doing,” commission Sgt. Charlie Cloud said.

You can read the rest of this interesting article here.

Ed & Elaine Brown supporters on trial

In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Taxation, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Cirino The trial of the Ed and Elaine Brown supporters is being covered by my friend JJ MacNab, who is attending the trial; her daily blogs on the trial can be seen at Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons.

For those unfamiliar with the case, on trial are Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez, Daniel Riley, and Jason Gerhard; each of the men potentially faces decades in prison if convicted. The men are accused of providing material support to Ed and Elaine Brown, providing them with, among other things, weapons and explosives. The Browns had been convicted of multiple counts including tax evasion and structuring transactions, and were fugitives when the alleged crimes occurred.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest entry, wherein former co-defendant Robert Wolffe rats them all out pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement:

Witness Robert Wolffe

Bob Wolffe was the fourth defendant in this case. He signed a proffer letter just a few days after the September 12, 2007 indictment and arrest, and signed a plea agreement in January, 2008. Wolffe was wearing an orange prison t-shirt, jacket, and pants, but otherwise looked tidy, composed, and very serious about his situation and testimony.

Wolffe lives in Randolph, VT and first heard of Ed Brown when the Browns were on trial in January 2007 for tax evasion and structuring financial transactions. Over the next eight months, he visited the Brown house roughly 25 to 30 times. He said that he understood that they had been convicted on multiple felony counts and that they were evading arrest.

Wolffe conducted counter-surveillance by following US Marshals when they were following Jim Hobbs (the man who posts comments on this blog), and provided armed security for the Browns by wearing weapons at their home. He also did some target shooting on Ed Brown’s range next to the home. He identified a number of weapons he’d seen others carrying at the home.

Wolffe has been charged with three felony counts in this case, and no counts were dropped as part of his plea agreement. He not only wasn’t promised any leniency by the prosecutors, but he was warned repeatedly that if he lied on the stand, he would be prosecuted for perjury.

Wolffe testified on a number of important issues:

1) He saw Reno and Ed carrying rifles while patrolling the property

2) On another occasion, he saw Ed, Jason, and Danny with rifles again patrolling the property

3) He saw Reno wearing a semi-automatic pistol in a holster and said that Reno told him that he was a security specialist in the military who was there to provide the Browns with security

4) Reno had brought a .50 caliber rifles to the Browns’ home

5) He first met Danny in late April, and Danny was involved in internet dealing with Shaun Kranish of www.makethestand.com

6) He saw Danny and Ed trying to detonate Tannerite using different caliber ammunition and later Ed showed Wolffe the Tannerite baggies in the trees

7) He saw the zip guns in Ed’s garage and Ed and Danny told him about their plan to place blanks in them and set them up as booby traps around the property to act as an early warning system

8 ) Wolffe met Jason in mid-June and said that Jason took care of things around the Brown house

9) Jason had been purchasing weapons for Ed Brown, but the local dealer had decided not to sell him any more

10) Jason told Wolffe that he was joining the military to learn more about military tactics and explosives

11) Wolffe is still a tax denier, but said that Ed and Elaine were convicted felons, so protecting them was a crime

12) Wolffe lied to Keith Champagne in various letters by not telling him about his proffer in September 2007

13) Wolffe was not a Constitution Ranger until the Brown standoff and didn’t know the Browns

14) One of the main reasons Wolffe pled guilty was to protect his wife from weapons charges

15) Wolffe acted as a mail center for various Brown supplies

16) Wolffe provided roughly 6 to 8 pieces of pipe that were later turned into zip guns

17) Wolffe had been in Ed Brown’s bedroom but not his closet (sometimes you have to wonder about the defense attorneys’ questions…)

18) He saw Lauren Canario at the home three or four times, but was unfamiliar with several other names

19) He said that Jim Hobbs lived at the Brown house for several weeks after Reno left

20) Wolffe said that Ed Brown had a “secret hit list” but Wolffe thought that that was between Ed and his God

21) Wolffe said that Ed had asked him to purchase a gun for Elaine, but that he’d refused. “I didn’t want to get involved in the standoff in that way.”

Wolffe didn’t spend that long on the stand but his information was quite forthright and direct. Unlike the other defendants in this case, it would appear that he has a much better grasp of the reality of the situation.

There is much, much more there, so if you are interested in this trial or the subject matter in general, you might want to check out the blog, which is updated daily.

Candidates Gone Wild: Presidential Wackjob Edition

In Barack Obama, Children, Congress, Crazy Claims, Daniel Imperato, George Bush, Humor, Immigration, Iraq War, Libertarian, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Shine on you crazy diamond, US Government, War on March 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

We’re all familiar with John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. However, have you ever wondered what other presidential candidates are out there? Are you longing for a presidential candidate who is really and truly different? If so, one of these guys just might be your man.

Michael Jesus ArchangelUnlike most mainstream presidential candidates, God The Great Holy Spirit Saint Michael Jesus The Archangel doesn’t think he is God. He knows he is. This also ends the debate about the true name of God, since he quite clearly denotes his name as “Mike”. That’s a much easier name to spell and remember than “Yahweh”, for sure.

Apparently God/Mike runs a “modeling agency”, and if his website claims are to be believed, it’s quite successful as models literally flock to him. I’m not sure how lucrative that endeavor has become for him, but that’s okay because he also makes his own money. By that, I don’t mean that he works and makes money. No, I mean that he quite literally makes money, which he calls “Heavenly Banknotes”. Are you against the Federal Reserve? He’ll take care of that problem too, and replace it with his own “Cosmic Reserve Bank”.

Apparently God/Mike is an Old Testament kind of Creator, because he wants to arrest abortion doctors, judges who ruled abortions legal, and women who have had abortions, and execute them all within a year. He also thinks that smokers are both suicidal and homicidal, and he plans to arrest and execute, without representation or trial, all of the “tobacco lords”. He also has a problem with gay marriage, because the Bible (which he refers to as “My Holy Word”) speaks against it; for that reason, he plans to execute all gays and lesbians. On the other hand Mike/God is not quite so completely violent as it would appear, since he also thinks that nations should settle conflicts with a paintball war.

If you’re interested in contacting God/Mike, you can do so by telephone or email, since both are listed on his website. However, you can’t send him a fax, since his fax is listed as “CIA Top Secret Ultra-Grade.”

Like any other non-mainstream candidate, God/Mike has run into some difficulties during his campaign. Most notably, he was charged with attempted murder, undoubtedly while “at war with the homosexual Satan and his leftist queer devils and demons”. That’s okay, though, because since he’s God, he has the power of prophesy. To that end he says, “I prophesy that I will win by a crushing landslide.”

Jonathan The Impaler SharkeyOn the other end of the spectrum Jonathan “The Impaler” Sharkey may not be a Papal Knight, a Knight of Malta, or a Knight of the Orden Bonaria like Daniel Imperato; or God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost like Mike, but he is an ordained Satanic Priest. Not only is he a Satanic Priest, but a quiz on his MySpace profile declared that he is Satan, so it must be true. He also promises to murder (by impalement, of course) certain people with his own hands as soon as he takes office; that list includes Osama bin Laden, George Bush, O.J. Simpson, and even Mike Tyson.

Jonathan is also a “Satanic Vampyre” as well as a “Hecate Witch”, and has some very serious military experience as a “Commanding General” of a vampire regiment known as the “Death Dealers”. He also has a great deal of previous political experience, having run for Congress in multiple states, for President during the last election as well as the present one, and he once also ran for Governor (of Minnesota). His campaigns have been unsuccessful, undoubtedly due to the media’s bias against third party candidates.

On the downside, he must be one of those shapeshifters David Icke warns us about because, while in Florida, he assumed the name “Kathleen Sharkey” and claimed that he is is his own half-sister, and also his own pagan wife. He sent a notice to the FEC under the Kathleen persona, implying that Jonathan is dead.

Not surprisingly, The Impaler does have an arrest record, including a record for stalking a former girlfriend, but for those who wish to support The Impaler, that could be easily spun into his being far more loyal than most people will ever be. He was also ordered to undergo psychiatric care since he believes himself to be a vampire, and of course that could be spun as his having had his right to practice his religion denied by the government. Despite The impaler’s shortcomings, there is always a way for a politician to spin anything into something positive.

John Taylor BowlesThen again, if God and Satan aren’t quite down-to-earth enough for you, there is also John Taylor Bowles. Bowles claims to be “the White People’s Candidate”. Dressed like a Neo-Nazi storm trooper, Bowles claims that it is “time for the white people to put a real white man in the White House”; apparently he believes that previous presidents weren’t really white.

Bowles wants to give us lower taxes, lower food prices, free health care, zero unemployment, no outsourcing of jobs, forgiveness of all credit card debt so all white people start with a fresh slate, a 5% flat tax on income with all other taxes abolished, no more foreclosures, and interest-free mortgages (though together those last two items are equivalent to free housing on a first-come first-serve basis) ….. but only after he has deported all non-whites in a “humanitarian” manner. He plans to give all non-whites a one-time stipend of $30,000 to make their involuntary move more palatable.

Bowles also wants to bring the white soldiers home, at which time he will position them at the southern border to help “stop the invasion”. He also believes that birth control is an invention of those who wish to destroy the white race, and to that end he suggests that whites take over the country by having as many children as possible (though if he deports all non-whites, we would have no need to out-breed anyone to maintain control). White families who produce four or more children will have their mortgage debt forgiven, though again, it doesn’t matter if the debt is forgiven, if there are no more foreclosures.

I’ve heard this particular line of thinking before. Former wacky Libertarian candidate Gene Chapman suggested that libertarians out-breed the non-libertarians, and even offered to store his sperm for any women interested in bearing his children. He also mentioned that both he and his webmaster Doug Kenline were single. Big surprise there.

So who gets to stay in the United States, and who will be forced to leave? According to Bowles, a white person (which he refers to as “Aryan”) is defined as “wholly of non-Jewish, non-Asiatic European ancestry, descendants of the autochthonous Peoples of the contemporary states of Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Many persons of Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Serbian, and Spanish heritage also qualify as Aryan, their ancestors being pioneers of Aryan communities in those lands.”

Now that we’ve reviewed the candidates, here is the interesting question. Given that the mainstream parties limit our choices to only three candidates at this point, soon to be only two candidates; and given that many Americans do not agree with any of the mainstream candidates on the issues …. if these were the only candidates from which you could choose, who would you choose, and why?

FBI posts fake hyperlinks to entrap would-be child porn viewers

In Big Brother, Children, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Fraud, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Police State, US Government on March 22, 2008 at 4:21 am

From The Iconoclast:

The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who’s using an open wireless connection–and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI’s hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

Disturbing medical marijuana case involving an AIDS patient

In Activism, Big Brother, Children, Civil Liberties, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug War, Health, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical Marijuana, Nanny State, Police State, Protest, Science on March 17, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Tom FaltynowiczTom Faltynowicz, a 43-year-old gay rancher in Meade County, South Dakota, was diagnosed with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1990, and is currently facing criminal charges for possessing and growing marijuana for medicinal usage.

For those of you unaware of the specifics of that disease, a patient infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may or may not develop AIDS. Once infected with HIV, the disease damages the CD4 cells (T-Cells), and in fact uses those cells to replicate within the body; CD4 cells can be replaced through normal process in the early stages of the disease, but eventually the counts start to fall as the cells are overcome by the virus. A CD4 count between 700 and 1000 is considered normal in a non-HIV infected person; while a CD4 count of about 500 is considered normal when the virus is present. A CD4 count below 200 is indicative of AIDS, since it is at that point that the body loses its ability to fight off opportunistic infection.

Opportunistic infection is any infection which, under normal circumstances, the body could easily fight off. However, due to the lack of CD4 immune cells, AIDS patients are at very high risk of contracting diseases which they would never contract were it not for the virus destroying their immune system. Some diseases are so common in AIDS patients, and so uncommon in non-AIDS patients, that they are considered to be AIDS-defining diseases. Examples of AIDS-defining diseases include Pneumocystis Pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (once believed to be a rare form of cancer, now believed to be caused by Herpes Virus HHV8); these diseases are normally not seen in patients with a normal immune system. While there is viable treatment for many opportunistic diseases, they must be treated swiftly in an AIDS patient due to the patient’s body being unable to fight infection on its own.

Another important way of measuring HIV is by measuring the viral load. The viral load is the amount of HIV in the body. So while a CD4 count measures the amount of damage HIV has done, a viral load count will measure how much of the virus is actually in the body. In this way, doctors are able to measure whether drugs are working to halt the spread of the virus.

AIDS is a pandemic first identified in 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to Pneumocystis Pneumonia being identified in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. The disease did not take over worldwide as quickly as it is generally believed, though. AIDS has been identified in tissue samples of patients who died of unknown causes as early as 1959; one postmortem case identified the virus in a tissue sample from a 15-year-old boy who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969, though it is still unknown how the boy may have contracted the virus. Some scientists suggest the virus could have first infected humans sometime during the end of the 19th Century, while other scientists suggest it first infected humans during the early 20th century, between 1915 and 1930. Regardless of whether it started during the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, it took many decades for it to even become prevalent enough to be noticed. Since the virus is slow to overtake its host, the window for inadvertent infection of others is years, rather than days or weeks as with most viruses.

It is unclear exactly how the virus started, but it seems clear that it crossed species from primates (which can carry a disease known as the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) into humans, likely when humans came into contact with the bodily fluids of monkeys, possibly during consumption, hunting or butchering the animals (monkey meat is a delicacy in some areas of the world, and is regularly eaten in some areas of Africa). The virus spread due to a number of factors, including vaccines given with unclean needles in developing countries. While AIDS is now generally viewed as a disease of gay men and intravenous drug users, the truth is far more chilling, since the virus is not contained only within a particular population. Many women and children are infected with the virus, and in some areas of the world, particularly Africa where infected patients do not have access to proper health care, the number of deaths has become catastrophic.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV, or for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine to prevent transmission. However, scientists have designed a number of drugs inhibit the virus’s replication. To understand how these drugs work, a short primer on the virus is necessary.

HIV takes over CD4 cells, changing their molecular structure by inserting its own ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus itself, which is too small to be seen except with an electron microscope, consists of an outer envelope containing the virus and the proteins and enzymes necessary for replication; the envelope has about 72 spikes on its surface. When the virus bumps into a cell coated by the CD4 protein, the spikes stick into the cell and fuse, at which time the inner contents of the HIV envelope is released into the CD4 cell.

Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme called reverse transciptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material. This DNA is transported to the cell’s nucleus, where it is spliced into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme called integrase. Once it is spliced into the human DNA, the HIV DNA is known as provirus. The provirus may lie dormant within a cell for quite some time. However, when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in almost the same way as human genes. First it uses human enzymes to convert HIV genes into messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is transported outside the cell nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins and enzymes, much in the same way as the human body normally produce replacement cells.

Complete copies of HIV genetic material is contained among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell. These copies combine with newly made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital role of the HIV life cycle, as it chops up long strands of protein into smaller pieces, which are then used to construct mature viral cores. At that point the newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell, and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the virus quickly spreads through the human body, and causes its host to become infectious. HIV is passed to others through bodily fluids; some fluids contain more of the virus than others.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not die of HIV, or of AIDS. They die of the opportunistic infections which accompany the complete loss of their immune system. Patients therefore must take a strong cocktail of medications to stop the virus from replicating and destroying their immune system. Some common drugs prescribed for AIDS patients, to stop the virus from replicating, include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which prevent the viral RNA from being converted into human DNA; protease inhibitors, which prevent the virus from creating new mature viral cores; and integrase inhibitors, which prevent the viral DNA from being spliced into the human DNA within the cells.

Unfortunately, with those life-saving treatments for the virus come life-threatening side effects, from lethal liver damage to an overwhelming nausea which results in starvation and dehydration; when this occurs, it only worsens those same symptoms which can be caused by the virus itself. Over the years many drugs have been discovered to combat the side effects (those same side effects are found in many other medical conditions as well), and to increase the quality of life for those who are infected with the virus; some of those drugs and treatments are pharmaceutical in nature, and some are natural.

One of the non-pharmaceutical drugs, which has proven very helpful in battling the anxiety, overwhelming nausea and physical wasting which comes with the virus and its treatment, is marijuana. So effective is marijuana that scientists have even made a pharmaceutical version of the drug, used in chemotherapy patients as well as AIDS patients, which contains synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, many patients believe that the natural THC in marijuana works better than the synthetic version in Marinol, and science supports this belief. In studies of marijuana usage for medicinal usage, it was found that other chemicals found in marijuana have additional medicinal effects which complement the effects of THC. Furthermore Marinol is extremely expensive (Tom’s Marinol costs about $2200 per month, so severe is his nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms), and thus the drug is far beyond the financial reach of most patients; and for that reason they cultivate and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the black market cost of marijuana can be high, the plant can be cultivated at home from seeds, at very little cost to the patient.

In some states, it is legal for patients with a valid medical prescription to possess certain amounts of dried and cultivated marijuana for personal medicinal use. However, even in those states, the US Government – which has declared that marijuana is an illicit and therefore illegal drug – refuses to permit patients to use the cultivated form of THC. Patients are regularly arrested for merely possessing the substance which allows them to live a more normal life, and which in cases of extreme wasting seen in AIDS, is actually life-saving. This occurs nationwide, including in the states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

I do not advocate the casual use of marijuana (or any other drug, prescription or otherwise) to get “high”. I do strongly advocate the right of physicians and patients to determine the best course of treatment, and I believe the government has no right to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when the patient is not being placed in untoward danger.

Enter Tom Faltynowicz. When Tom was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, he was given “maybe a few years” to live. Eighteen years later, he is in a fight for his life, but it’s a fight of a very different kind.

In September 2007, law enforcement officials in his native Meade County received an anonymous call, stating that Tom had between 75 and 100 marijuana plants growing behind a metal building on his property. It is believed that the anonymous call came from Tom’s daughter, who was angry with him because he had recently stated his disapproval of her relationship with a particular man.

When Meade County Investigator Michael Walker and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent John Griswold arrived at Tom’s home the next day, there were not 75 to 100 plants on the property, or even anywhere near that many; in fact, there were no plants out in the open at all. However, when asked by those officers about the accusation, Tom immediately admitted to growing marijuana to treat his medical condition. He even invited the officers into his home, so they can see where he was growing it, and he was completely cooperative at all times, even according to the police report regarding the incident. All told, the officers found five plants, and about four ounces of dried marijuana. There was never an allegation that the marijuana was being used for anything but his medical condition, and never an allegation that he was selling the marijuana. It remains undisputed that Tom was using the marijuana to treat AIDS, and the side effects of the many potent medications he takes to fight the virus.

Tom takes a total of four antiretroviral drugs to combat the HIV infection: Combivir (a combination of Retrovir and Epivir), Sustiva, and Viread. Each of these drugs, by themselves, come with potentially fatal side effects. All of these drugs can cause severe nausea, and can result in extreme anxiety as an additional side effect. In addition, Tom has been prescribed Marinol, the synthetic THC drug to combat nausea and vomiting, so there is no question that he suffers the side effects which are treated by marijuana, and there is no question that his side effects are severe based upon his dosage. However, Tom says that the marijuana is far more effective than the Marinol, since Marinol makes him so tired that he cannot function; and his physician is aware of and supports his use of marijuana to treat his symptoms.

Tom, though he has no prior criminal record with the exception of two prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana – both of which occurred after he was diagnosed with AIDS – pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $4000; he could also be given probation. His sentencing date has been set for April 21st, before the Honorable Jerome Eckrich, Circuit Judge. Tom’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Traub, will speak at the sentencing hearing. The State Attorney has already said that he will not object to anything Dr. Traub might say. It appears that no one is interested in punishing Tom Faltynowicz; at the same time, under the law, his possession of marijuana – regardless of the reason why he possessed it – is a felony in the state of South Dakota.

Tom, however, is an exception to the reason that law was written. It was written to stop people from abusing the drug to get high, and to stop them from selling or otherwise providing it to others for the same illicit purpose. It is extremely doubtful the legislature was aware of the medicinal effects of marijuana when that law was passed, and it’s extremely doubtful the legislature ever intended to punish patients with a deadly disease. It’s even possible that the medicinal effects of marijuana were unknown to them when that law was passed, since it is hardly a new law. Nevertheless, since the law exists, it will be enforced, even against people like Tom who are using marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes.

This raises a number of questions. Even if Tom is merely placed on probation, and even if he stopped smoking marijuana altogether, using Marinol to control his symptoms would result in violation of probation, since he would test positive for THC during required drug tests. If he fails a drug test while on probation, he will be incarcerated.

If he is incarcerated, he will not only not have access to the drug which he needs to survive without excessive suffering due to overwhelming nausea, vomiting, physical wasting, and extreme fatigue; but the South Dakota Department of Corrections will be forced to pay for the extremely expensive antiretroviral drugs which fight the virus as well as the Marinol, at a cost of thousands of dollars per month to the taxpayers, in addition to the increased cost of incarceration for a man with an infectious deadly disease. As you should understand after my explanation of how those drugs work, and how the virus works, missing even one dose of his antiretroviral drugs could be catastrophic for his health, since it would allow the virus to replicate until the drug was again built up to a therapeutic dosage. Yet in a prison environment there is no guarantee that he will receive his life-sustaining medications at all, much less receive them on the schedule those drugs demand.

Tom has said that he will not stop using marijuana, because it allows him to live a relatively normal life. Without it, his body is wracked with pain, nausea, and vomiting; he is unable to eat or drink, and thus his body becomes even more weakened, even more unable to fight the virus, and even more prone to the many opportunistic illnesses, any one of which could easily end his life. This is especially true if he is confined in a jail or prison facility, given that there are large numbers of inmates living in close approximation.

To incarcerate Tom Faltynowicz would therefore place his life at severe risk, and as such would clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, it would serve no purpose to incarcerate him, since his crime is merely possession of a drug which allows him to live with his disease and to continue take the cruel medications which literally keep him alive. He poses no threat to anyone and he is not selling or otherwise distributing the marijuana, nor has it even been suggested that he is selling or distributing the marijuana. Rehabilitation is also not a valid cause for his incarceration, since he merely uses the drug for medicinal purposes, and thus he is not in need of rehabilitation.

Society would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz. The interests of justice would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz.

As such, justice demands that the court show mercy by giving Tom Faltynowicz a suspended sentence, no probation, and whatever fine the court sees fit, as long as it is within Tom’s ability to pay said fine.  The courts should also order the return of Tom’s property; police seized property such as lights, and not just marijuana and implements for its use.  Those lights  should be returned.

Cops Gone Wild: Vehicular Manslaughter Edition

In Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Crime, Health, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, Media, Obituaries, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police Brutality, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 4:08 am

tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Deputy arrested for dumping quadriplegic from wheelchair

In Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Crime, Health, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State on March 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Charlette Marshall-Jones, the Hillsborough County, Florida deputy who was caught on surveillance cameras dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair after he was arrested on a traffic violation, has been arrested herself.

In case you missed it, here is the video:

Marshall-Jones has been charged with abuse of a disabled person, and faces five years in prison. In the meantime she has been suspended without pay.

I bet the gals in genpop would be happy to have not only an ex-cop, but an abusive ex-cop who likes to abuse people in wheelchairs who can’t even move, join their ranks. They might even throw her a few of those pillowcase parties I’ve heard so much about. ;-)

Now authorities need to go after the jail employees who saw it but didn’t report it, and especially the jerk cop at the end of the video who laughed about it.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

Cops Gone Wild: Quadriplegic Edition

In Cops Gone Wild, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Health, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State on February 26, 2008 at 10:55 pm

I had heard about this, but seeing really is believing.

In Tampa (Hillsborough County, Florida) a quadriplegic man named Brian Sterner was arrested for a traffic violation (I’m not sure what the violation was, since they didn’t say, but obviously the guy wasn’t a violent felon or anything like that). An incredibly stupid cop didn’t believe he really was a quadriplegic, even though it’s obvious from looking at his body, so she walked behind him and dumped him out of his wheelchair face-first, and the fall broke several of his ribs. She then proceeded to frisk him, while he was one the ground, completely unable to move. Another idiotic cop is seen laughing about it, and not one person who witnessed the assault thought it needed to be reported.

Luckily, that shocking example of police brutality was caught on surveillance cameras.

The cop who did this was fired, but that’s not enough. She should be arrested, and charged with felony assault upon a disabled person.

The cop who laughed about it should be fired, along with all the other cops and jail employees who witnessed it but did nothing to help Sterner, and did not report the incident; and they should all also be charged with being an accessory to felony assault upon a disabled person.

Hat tip to The DeeZone

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan