Red Herring Alert

There's something fishy going on!

7,827 Drug Cases Called into Question After Police Lab Tech Caught Faking Test Results 

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Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned, and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law.”      Senator Richard Blumenthal

Carey Wedler | Anti Media – March 4, 2016

A lab technician for the New Jersey State Polices’ Office of Forensic Science has ‘retired’ early after being caught falsely identifying a substance as marijuana without conducting the proper tests. On Monday, Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon issued a memo to Public Defender Joseph Krakora explaining Kamalkant Shah’s falsified report:

Laboratory Technician II Kamalkant Shah of the New Jersey State Police Laboratory (in Little Falls) has been found to have ‘dry labbed’ suspected CDS specimens. Basically, he was observed writing ‘test results’ for suspected marijuana that was never tested.

According to NJ Advance Media, “Ellie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice of the Attorney general’s office, said in [a] Feb. 22 letter to county prosecutor’s offices that Shah ‘failed to appropriately conduct laboratory analyses in a drug case.’”

The letter, released from the Attorney General to the news outlet on Wednesday, disclosed that “Mr. Shah was observed in one case spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana and recording an anticipated result without properly conducting the analysis.”

The letter advised prosecutors to disclose this information to defense counsel,” NJ Advance Media reported.

The former technician’s indiscretion in that singular marijuana case has now called into question thousands of drug cases he conducted tests for, as the one in question was only the first observed instance of his dishonesty.

As Fallon noted, “Mr. Shah was employed with the lab from 2005 to 2015; obviously all his ‘results’ have been called into question.”

Continue Reading: http://theantimedia.org/7827-drug-cases-called-into-question-after-police-lab-tech-caught-faking-test

Read below about Minnesota’s own problems in the criminal justice system:

Dakota County Public Defenders Lauri Traub and Christine Funk

strib.logo

Tevlin: Lawyers’ detective work must be commended

JULY 28, 2012

“If I were waiting on us, we’d have coffee by now,” said Traub, who along with Funk has caused upheaval at the St. Paul crime lab by questioning the way it processed drug cases.

Traub made her declaration with authority, but not the authority of a respected defense attorney. She made it with the authority of a waitress at a hotel restaurant, which she is when she is not defending drug dealers or murderers.

You could say Traub is well versed in both torts and tortes.

Together, they have raised questions about the St. Paul crime lab that should scare the bejeebers out of cops, prosecutors and anybody wrongly convicted of a crime.

Continue Reading:http://www.startribune.com/tevlin-lawyers-detective-work-must-be-commended/164151536/


St. Paul crime lab problems aren’t leading to overturned convictions

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COURTESY, DAKOTA COUNTY Judge Kathryn Davis Messerich

This summer, they identified about 1,700 drug cases in Ramsey, Dakota and Washington counties that could qualify for “post-conviction relief” because the evidence originally presented to the crime lab could have been mishandled or misinterpreted. But so far, attorneys in the already strained public defender’s office have filed for relief — anything from a shortened sentence to a dismissal of charges — in 17 cases where defendants were convicted with evidence that relied on the police lab.

Prosecutors have largely taken a hard-line stance on the challenges after a judge ruled earlier this year that evidence that had been retested could be used in court. Since then, many requests haven’t made it past the filing of copious paperwork; judges denied evidentiary hearings where arguments could be hashed out in open court and requests to withdraw guilty pleas were denied. The decisions, made in chambers based on court transcripts and written arguments, are well within a judge’s purview — but frustrate the public defender’s office.

“[Prosecutors] want to hold onto the convictions,” said Jenny Chaplinski, an attorney in the appellate unit who is spearheading the challenges. “That’s their job; I get that.

“I thought there would be a lot more open communication between the public defender’s office, or myself, and the prosecutors’ offices, and that hasn’t been the case.”

Only two defendants have met with some degree of success — their convictions in Washington County were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and they were released early from probation after prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiated.

“In this case, the two lawyers talked and saved everybody time,” said Fred Fink, criminal division chief for the Washington County attorney’s office. “I thought it was a reasonable way to handle things. The state still walked away with a … conviction.”

Chaplinski isn’t optimistic about the status of the remaining cases. Six cases in Ramsey County have been denied post-conviction relief, six are pending and one was dismissed by the defendant. Two are pending in Dakota County.

Both sides face a delicate balance as they continue to navigate fallout from a hearing last year that showed major scientific flaws with how the St. Paul police lab tested suspected drugs. Everyone agrees that the lab had problems even as people were convicted with evidence it produced, or pleaded guilty before evidence could be sent there for testing.

But prosecutors and defense attorneys have clashed about how much review, if any, older cases should receive in light of the revelations. For Chaplinski and others at the public defender’s office, the implications merit thorough vetting — and a hearing in court — for anyone who steps forward.

Continue Reading: http://www.startribune.com/despite-st-paul-crime-lab-failings-few-convictions-overturned/237258871/


Crime Lab Scandals the Focus of New DOJ Plan

DECEMBER 8, 2015 by KATIE WORTH Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships

The equipment in the St. Paul Police crime lab was filthy. Technicians accidentally contaminated some samples, and made fundamental mistakes while testing others. In one case, a Post-it note on a case file indicated that someone not employed by the lab had opened drug evidence and weighed it. In another, a technician used Wikipedia as a “technical reference.”

These were among the findings of two independent reviews of the St. Paul Police crime lab — findings that shocked Minnesota authorities and shut down the facility for six months in 2013. That summer, state public defenders identified 1,700 drug cases that could qualify for “post-conviction relief” because evidence brought to the lab might have been mishandled or misinterpreted.

Continue Reading :http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/crime-lab-scandals-the-focus-of-new-doj-plan/      

Just another fake solution to pacify the public. Anyhow, what ever happened to the 2 Dakota County Whistleblowers?


Attorneys of the Year: Lauri Traub and Christine Funk

Minnesota Office of the Public Defender
Read more: http://minnlawyer.com/2013/02/25/attorneys-of-the-year-lauri-traub-and-christine-funk/#ixzz44OpX9Ijy


Public defender who criticized St. Paul crime lab sues over data privacy breach

Lauri Traub says employees from several police departments and sheriff’s offices illegally perused her driver’s license information.

NOVEMBER 6, 2013 

In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Lauri Traub accused unidentified members of the police departments and sheriff’s offices in St. Paul, Farmington, St. Paul Park, Hastings, Burnsville, Aitkin County, Dakota County and Sherburne County of obtaining personal information from her motor vehicle record about a dozen times since June 2010.

Continue Reading: http://www.startribune.com/public-defender-who-criticized-st-paul-crime-lab-sues-over-data-privacy-breach/230748051/

Christine Funk                                                                   Attorney at Law

Advisory Committee on The Minnesota Rules of Evidence August 2005 – June 2006 Member by Appointment.

Responsibilities included reviewing the Minnesota Rules of Evidence with an eye towards new case law and statutes, making suggested changes and alterations in keeping with current law, as well as trends in Federal Court and around the nation.

Innocence Project of Minnesota  June 2003 – present. Member by Application

Consultant regarding fore nsic DNA issues in cases involving Innocence Project clients. May 2006 – present

May 2006 – present Board Member Consultant regarding forensic DNA issues in cases involving Innocence Project clients. Contribute to pursuit of Innocence Project mission, including education in the community.

Minnesota Forensic Laboratory Advisory Board September 2006 – present Member by Appointment

Technical Working Group on DNA for Defense Attorneys October 2007 – present Member by Invitation National Institute of Justice


Public defender in Fitch trial praised – but the job’s challenges continue

February 11, 2015 By Shaymus McLaughlin

The Pioneer Press detailed the small, yet forceful steps Traub took to ensure her client, Brian Fitch Sr., got a fair trial.

Who could defend an alleged cop killer? She did & would again. Brian Fitch’s defender speaks:

Continue Reading: http://bringmethenews.com/2015/02/11/public-defender-in-fitch-trial-praised-but-the-jobs-challenges-continue/


 

What do we know for sure? These systems are going to collapse, it’s just a matter of when. The way things are going, I suspect it will be soon!

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ABC News Censors Interview With VAXXED Producer, Secretly Recorded In Full

REBLOGGED FROM ACTIVIST POST       MARCH 28, 2016

vaxxed

By The Health Ranger

You can practically hear the cognitive dissonance slapping the reporter in the face during this interview. This is the full UNCUT interview that ABC World News conducted with Del Bigtree of the “VAXXED” documentary now censored by Robert De Niro and the Tribeca Film Festival. ABC News used only five seconds from this interview… Find out what else they didn’t want you to see…

Impeachment Powers

Reblogged from Jill Clark continues

Stay informed about important issues in the struggle for accountability and sunshine in the courts

I continue to remark on how other states appear to be investigating, disciplining and prosecuting judges more frequently than does Minnesota. And, I continue to wonder why Minnesota major media refuses to report about evidence of judicial misconduct.

Take this example from Pennsylvania.Philly.com reported that
Supreme Court Justice Joan Melvin was convicted last month of theft of services, conspiracy and misappropriation of state property. According to that news outlet, a jury determined that Melvin conducted political activity on taxpayer time, and used public resources to help further Melvin’s campaigns for the high court in 2003 and 2009.

Philly.com story address is here (you can cut and paste it into your browser, because for reasons that are unclear the link function on this blog appears not to be working):
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/harrisburg_politics/House-members-ready-resolution-for-impeachment-proceedings.html

Philly.com says Melvin is suspended without pay. Now the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Comittee can launch an investigation and determine whether to impeach her.

Pennsylvania’s last impeachment was in 1994 (according to the above story).

Minnesota has NEVER impeached a judge. Although Minn. Const. Art. VIII, Sec. 1 gives impeachment powers to the Minnesota Senate,

Section 1. IMPEACHMENT POWERS. The house of representatives has the sole power of impeachment through a concurrence of a majority of all its members. All impeachments shall be tried by the senate.

The Legislature has never adopted procedures for such impeachment process. I happen to know that Minnesota’s judicial reform activists have been pointing this out for years. The Legislature still has not done anything. I guess that means the only process that judges get – is that set forth in the Constitution itself: “No person shall be tried on impeachment before he has been served with a copy thereof at least 20 days previous to the day set for trial.”  (Art. VIII, Sec. 4).

Twenty days’ notice. That’s it.  Those are your procedures, judges. I guess we’ll have to go forward with that.

Minnesota Legislature, what’s going on over there?  The public wants to know why no Minnesota judge has EVER been impeached.  As some people know, impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office.  It does mean to investigate, make an allegation, and perhaps hold a trial.  Why has that process never occurred in Minnesota?

Now, you aren’t seriously going to tell me that there has never been any judicial misconduct in Minnesota, are you?  I mean, no one believes that PR any more.

I sent the below letter to the Legislature (copies for every member were hand delivered) in 2011. I never received any indication that any legislator wanted to dialogue about it, to obtain more information – even though I pointed out that I had transcripts in my office.

May 2011 letter re Martha Holton Dimick as bad recommendation for judge

Not only did I not receive any communication from the Legislature, I received nothing from the Governor’s office.  And Martha Holton-Dimick was appointed judge.

The Public really deserves an answer:  what is going on with these judicial “appointments?”  I mean, it can’t be about who is most qualified to be a judge.

The Public deserves answers to these questions.

Good Cops, Bad Cops

Start at 26:19

FBI INSTRUCTS HIGH SCHOOLS TO INFORM ON “ANTI-GOVERNMENT” STUDENTS

Constitutionalists figure prominently on the target list

AJ Kern for Congress

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AJ Kern for Congress

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“Made In America”

How These 7 Popular Companies Are Exploiting Prisoners And Ruining The Economy

American corporations are making a killing off of exploiting inmates instead of giving jobs to unemployed Americans.

Credit: Buycott

Credit Boycott

The prison-industrial complex: some may have heard of it, but this term is still widely unknown amongst the masses despite its huge effect on the American economy. This complex is described as“the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.” The interests of the government are their efforts to increase their policing of people rather than solving the root of the problems, which leads to over-incarceration. The interests of industries are their financial holds over privately-owned prisons and their exploitation of prison workers who are underpaid and overworked.

How does this affect America? First of all, outsourcing, which is frowned upon by those who know about it because of its economic effect on American citizens, is replaced with “insourcing,” which is when corporations employ prisoners for as little as $0.23 per hour. Outsourcing affects the American economy by choosing to employ workers in foreign countries rather than displaced workers in America itself, thus causing a rise in unemployment and poverty.

Insourcing is just as bad for the economy for several reasons. The extremely low pay for prisoners might be fine if the prices they have to pay for communication and commissary items weren’t so vastly inflated compared to their wages. Instead of being released from prison with job experience and a small bit of money in their pocket to get back on their feet, inmates are often released with a debt to the prison that they can’t pay off because of the low wages.

Some might argue that these inmates are criminals, so they should take what they get and not complain, but consider what this means for America as a whole. Since these criminals are in debt upon release, they re-enter society as unstable individuals looking for any way to earn money again, often causing them to relapse into old habits or crimes and landing them back in prison. The American taxpayers are the ones that wind up paying for the prisoners’ continued stays in correctional facilities, which could have been avoided if the inmates didn’t have the debt and had better job training or program opportunities.

Meanwhile, the companies that employ prisoners often get huge tax breaks, which is millions of dollars that the American people could have benefited from. On top of all of that, citizens of America that aren’t incarcerated don’t have those job opportunities that are given to inmates. Less Americans with jobs means that the economy remains stagnant because less citizens are spending money. So, yes, it has a significant impact on all Americans.

While most huge companies in America employ prisoners, here is a list of household names that really make a killing off of the prison-industrial complex:

1 – Whole Foods: Often called “Whole Paycheck” because of its pricey items, this company came under fire when it was revealed that they were selling artisan cheeses prepared by prisoners who were only paid $0.60/day. Critics pointed out that these kinds of wages are not fair trade.

2 – BP: A perfect example of how insourcing affects displaced workers, BP had a massive oil spill on the Gulf Coast and exclusively hired inmates to come do the clean up. Though there were plenty of fisherman that were displaced because of the oil spill and in need of work, BP did not extend the opportunity of employment to them and offered no remedy for the issue.

3 – McDonald’s: This fast-food franchise employs inmates to make a number of items for them, from plastic cutlery to uniforms. The inmates who make the uniforms earn significantly less than those who wear the uniforms, which is already called a “starvation wage” rather than a minimum wage because it is impossible to live with the small hourly pay.

4 – AT&T: Over 20 years ago, this well-known and widely-used tech company laid off thousands of union telephone operators and replaced them with prisoners in their call centers in order to increase their profits. AT&T has employed them in this same fashion ever since 1993 while paying them only $2 per day.

5 – Wal-Mart: This huge company might claim to never exploit prisoners, but just like everything else Wal-Mart does, their method of increasing a profit is shady at best. Nearly everything on their shelves is supplied by prison laborers through third-party companies that place prisoners in prison farms with minimal access to water or food.

6 – Aramark: Known for its monopoly over food service throughout the U.S., this corporation also provides food for hundreds of prisons in America. They may be well known but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of issues; a massive food shortage that affected their service to prisons in Kentucky even caused a prison riot in 2009.

7 – Victoria’s Secret: Inmates in South Carolina sew some of the pricey undergarments sold at this lingerie store. In a famous late ’90s story, two female prisoners came forward and revealed that they were paid to replace already-sewn garments saying “Made in Honduras” tags with “Made in USA” tags. The two inmates were placed in solitary confinement for blowing the whistle on Victoria’s Secret.

If you see a “Made in USA” tag on something, it’s likely that it was made in an American prison rather than by citizens who aren’t incarcerated. While it’s great that these inmates are learning valuable skills that could help them once they’re released, to say that companies are exploiting these prisoners and making a huge profit at the expense of all American citizens would be an understatement.

What do you think about prison laborers being employed by huge corporations? Are you surprised that some of these companies made the list? Comment your thoughts below and share this article!

This article (“Made In America”: How These 7 Popular Companies Are Exploiting Prisoners And Ruining The Economy) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

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