BACA SAYS THAT THE JAILS COMMISSIONS RECS ARE FINE, BUT THE HARSH FINDINGS BEHIND THEM….UH…WELL, MAYBE NOT SO MUCH
Sheriff Lee Baca gave an interview to KPCC’s Larry Mantel on Thursday. The transcript is worth reading carefully. And….it’s not heartening.
In answer to questions from Mantle Baca characterizes the proposed Inspector General as basically someone who does little more than ferry communication back between the department and the Board of Supervisors, but certainly not any one with any…you know…. real power.
The most alarming moment of the interview is the sheriff’s contention that while the Jails Commissions recommendations are very swell, the findings underlying recommendations were “accusations” not fact.
Here’s a clip from a couple of the most relevant exchanges:
Did you [err] in trusting those under you to manage the jails?
“No, I think the findings of the commission were accusations but there were no probative investigations of the accusations. I have investigated some of them and I’m getting contradictive evidence.”
So are you taking issue with the findings of these commissions?
“I questions the facts that make the findings…I will go out and find out whether the facts support the finding… but the recommendations are sensible sound many are things I had been trying to do but I need support and funding to do them. The raggedness of the findings is not my biggest concern, but no I’m not convinced that the individuals being blamed for the problems are the cause of the problems….
Read the rest.
FBI ORDERED TO PAY S.F. JOURNALIST $470,000 AFTER WITHHOLDING FOIA-REQUESTED RECORDS
What a cheering bit of news, after the incredibly vexing Public Records Act-related judgement by the CA Fed Judge earlier this month.
Vivian Ho at the SF Chron has the story. Here’s the opening clip:
A federal judge this week ordered the FBI to pay a San Francisco journalist almost half a million dollars for withholding records he requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Seth Rosenfeld, a former reporter at The Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, won $470,459 in attorneys’ fees for two lawsuits he filed – one in 1990 and another in 2007 – while researching the 1960s protest movement in Berkeley.
The lawsuits were two of five he filed against the FBI and the Justice Department starting in 1985. He requested a variety of records pertaining to the FBI’s covert operations at UC Berkeley and its secret relationship with former President Ronald Reagan.
Rosenfeld used the information he received from the FBI in articles for The Chronicle and the Examiner, as well as in his book “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power,” which was released in August.
Rosenfeld said the FBI had failed to turn over all of the documents he requested, and that it wasn’t until he engaged them in a series of legal battles that the agency released thousands of pages.
Justice Department attorneys, who represented the FBI, argued that the agency would have released the documents even if Rosenfeld hadn’t filed suit. They said “bureaucratic difficulty, not recalcitrant behavior” slowed the releases.
Oh, poor, poor FBI. The dog ate its ability to adequately search.
As it happens, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen was not in the least sympathetic. The awarded $$ will go to the First Amendment Project of Oakland, and two the law firm of Bryan Cave, which represented Rosenfeld pro bono.
THE NEW YORKER WRITES ABOUT THE MYTH OF VOTER FRAUD
This New Yorker story by award winning-investigative journalist Jane Mayer about the issue of voter fraud, is one step away from our usual criminal justice subject matter, but in the current elections season, it is very much worth your time.
Here’s how it opens:
Teresa Sharp is fifty-three years old and has lived in a modest single-family house on Millsdale Street, in a suburb of Cincinnati, for nearly thirty-three years. A lifelong Democrat, she has voted in every Presidential election since she turned eighteen. So she was agitated when an official summons from the Hamilton County Board of Elections arrived in the mail last month. Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, is one of the most populous regions of the most fiercely contested state in the 2012 election. No Republican candidate has ever won the Presidency without carrying Ohio, and recent polls show Barack Obama and Mitt Romney almost even in the state. Every vote may matter, including those cast by the seven members of the Sharp family—Teresa, her husband, four grown children, and an elderly aunt—living in the Millsdale Street house.
The letter, which cited arcane legal statutes and was printed on government letterhead, was dated September 4th. “You are hereby notified that your right to vote has been challenged by a qualified elector,” it said. “The Hamilton County Board of Elections has scheduled a hearing regarding your right to vote on Monday, September 10th, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. . . . You have the right to appear and testify, call witnesses and be represented by counsel.”
“My first thought was, Oh, no!” Sharp, who is African-American, said. “They ain’t messing with us poor black folks! Who is challenging my right to vote?”
The answer to Sharp’s question is that a new watchdog group, the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, which polices voter-registration rolls in search of “electoral irregularities,” raised questions about her eligibility after consulting a government-compiled list of local properties and mistakenly identifying her house as a vacant lot…