Archive | Police State

Lowering the standards

Jeff Sessions Is “Surprised” Americans Aren’t Embracing...

Jeff Sessions wants to make it easier to slant evidence for convictions by axing the group that’s working to improve accuracy:

Julia Leighton, a commission member and retired public defender, conveyed the disappointed mood of the room when she spoke a few minutes later. “We have to understand the importance of this juncture that we’re at, where we’re really grappling with, frankly, are we telling the truth as a matter of science to judges and jurors?” she said. “And that can’t be put on hold. It is inconsistent with the Department of Justice’s mission to put that on hold.”

For years, scientists and defense attorneys have fought an uphill battle to bring scientific rigor into a field that, despite its name, is largely devoid of science. Analyses regularly presented in courtrooms—using such evidence as bite marks, hair, and bullets—that for decades have been employed by prosecutors to convict and even execute defendants are actually incapable of definitively linking an individual to a crime. Other methods, including fingerprint analysis, are less rigorous and more subjective than experts—and popular culture—let on.

“Clinical laboratories must meet higher standards to be allowed to diagnose strep throat than forensic labs must meet to put a defendant on death row.”
But on the witness stand, experts routinely overstate the certainty of their forensic methods. In 2015, the FBI completed a review of 268 trial transcripts in which the bureau’s experts used microscopic hair analysis to incriminate a defendant. The results showed that bureau experts submitted scientifically invalid testimony at least 95 percent of the time. Among those cases with faulty evidence, 33 defendants received the death penalty and 9 had been executed. No court has banned bite-mark evidence despite a consensus among scientists that the discipline is entirely subjective. One study found that forensic dentists couldn’t even agree if markings were caused by human teeth. Until this month, the National Commission on Forensic Science was the most important group moving forensics into the modern scientific era.

A few minutes after the commission learned of its fate, the Justice Department publicly announced its next steps. A new Justice Department Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, established by executive order in February to “support law enforcement” and “restore public safety,” would now oversee forensic science. Sessions, the press release said, would appoint a senior forensic adviser and the department would conduct a “needs assessment of forensic science laboratories that examines workload, backlog, personnel and equipment needs of public crime laboratories.” Rather than an independent body that uses science to evaluate forensics, the new administration seemed to be basing its forensic policies largely on increasing conviction rates for law enforcement.

Can customs and border officials search your phone? These are your rights

McCaskill Gets Firsthand Look at Security Efforts Along U.S.-Mexico Border

A NASA scientist heading home to the U.S. said he was detained in January at a Houston airport, where Customs and Border Protection officers pressured him for access to his work phone and its potentially sensitive contents. Last month, CPB agents checked the identification of passengers leaving a domestic flight at New York’s John F. Kennedy… Continue Reading →

FBI finds white supremacists have infiltrated police forces nationwide

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While the racist psychopath in the White House has been whipping up hysteria about bomb-wielding jihadists from the Middle East, a far more dangerous terrorist threat has been growing like a cancer right here at home. That is the growth and proliferation of white supremacist groups. The fact is that, since 11 September 2001, over twice… Continue Reading →

Trump: News orgs will ‘suffer the consequences’ for posting Russian intel

President-Elect Trump's First Presser: Russian Hacking, "Fake News" Narratives Dominate

Donald Trump’s appalling attacks on the press have been unprecedented and as president-elect he’s continuing down that path. Trump finally gave a press conference and it was bonkers. The president-elect refused to take a CNN reporter’s question and told him, “You are fake news!” After that, his staff of cheerleaders could be heard laughing and clapping.… Continue Reading →

FBI gives lame excuse for document dump

The FBI has released an incredibly lame statement explaining why, on today of all days, they felt compelled to dump a mostly-redacted set of documents concerning a 15-year old investigation into the Clinton Foundation online. Just in: statement from the FBI on its release of documents today pertaining to the Marc Rich/Bill Clinton inquiry pic.twitter.com/SLBEmxNjmM -… Continue Reading →

FBI officially goes rogue, dumps 15-year-old records of Clinton Foundation inquiry online

Don't expect FBI to be quick with Hillary Clinton email investigation - We already saw how long it took the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails already, so this ‘surprise’ Friday announcement by Director James Comey won’t move any faster. #2016Pre

After being dark since 2015, the FBI account which tweets out record dumps they place online began tweeting this weekend after Comey’s letter went public. Through the weekend, the tweets were innocuous, but certainly ones that would garner some attention. Like these: FBI Seal Name Initials and Special Agent Gold Badge 0625D: https://t.co/3FuFJzcgwD – FBI Records… Continue Reading →

To protect and serve, Part 312

This man’s crime? Driving with a suspended license:

You can’t do that,” says Kevin Campbell on video captured inside the police lock-up on June 7, 2016.

“Yes, I can. Yes, I can,” says Allen Park Police Officer Daniel Mack.

“Why you putting your fingers in my [expletive]?? Why you feeling my [expletive],” says Campbell in the video.

“Cause you got [something] tucked into your [expletive],” said Mack.

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