A 69-year-old man is filing a federal lawsuit against an Idaho State Trooper who, claiming that a “smell” constituted probable cause, stopped him and searched his car for marijuana — and then found none.
Caught on video, Trooper Justin Klitch followed Darien Roseen's truck to a “Welcome to Idaho” rest stop.
"Why'd you pull in here so rapidly?" Klitch asked Roseen.
"Uh, I had to go to the bathroom," Roseen responded.
"You didn't have to go to the bathroom before you saw me," the officer said.
"That's true — no, I did have to,” Roseen responded.
The trooper then slammed the driver with a battery of accusations.
"I'm telling you, you pulled in here to avoid me, that's exactly what you did," the trooper said. "I mean, you almost hit the curb, you almost ran off the road. You definitely didn't want me around you for some reason … Why are your eyes glassy today?"
The cop then asked Roseen when he last used marijuana. When Roseen said he’s never used it, Klitch asked if he can search the car.
"Well, yeah, if I have a choice, I can say no, I don't want you to search it,” Roseen responded.
"Why are you so worried about me if you're not violating any laws of the state or this country — why are you so concerned about me?" the officer asked.
"Because I want to get on the road and just get home,” Roseen answered.
As the exchange progressed, the officer claimed that he was “going to find whatever it is.” He convinced the driver to unload the bed of his truck, which was full of art supplies and presents from his daughter’s baby shower.
Klitch then claimed to smell marijuana from the compartment underneath the truck bed.
"Why do I smell marijuana coming out of there, sir?" he asked.
"You don't," Roseen responded.
"Well, take a smell," the trooper said.
"Nothing of the sort,” Roseen said.
Claiming that the odor gave him “probable cause” to search the vehicle, Roseen was detained for hours at Payette County Jail while an officer searched the car — finding nothing by way of illicit drugs.
The Idaho State Police said in a statement last week that it is conducting an internal investigation.
"We would like to assure the citizens of Idaho and the visitors to our state that the Idaho State Police holds all of its employees to a high standard which includes following the Constitution of the United States and the laws and constitution of the state of Idaho," the agency said.
Although cheating on a spouse is largely considered a moral misstep, it’s not typically considered a breach of the law. In New Hampshire, however, adultery is currently a class B misdemeanor that can lead to fines up to $1,200. The antiquated law, of course, is rarely enforced. Still, lawmakers in the state are expected to pass a new bill that would repeal the law.
According to Newser, the bill to repeal the statute was introduced by Rep. Tim O’Flaherty (D) and easily passed in the state House of Representatives.
“I don’t think there’s any appetite in New Hampshire to use police powers to enforce a marriage,” O’Flaherty said during a recent hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If the bill passes the Senate, Gov. Maggie Hassan is likely to sign it into law.
Tthe law has been in place in New Hampshire for over 200 years but hasn’t been enforced for over 10 years. According to the Washington Post, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that homosexual adultery could not be covered by the law, as it was written to cover “intercourse from which spurious issues may arise,” such as disputes involving children conceived during affairs.
If New Hampshire repeals the law, it will follow the path of Colorado, which repealed a similar law last year.
In just over 24 hours, the government will officially be able to lay claim to the more than $760 million that remains unclaimed from the 2010 tax year.
According to Fox News, the law gives taxpayers three years to claim refund money; any money left unclaimed after this three-year period becomes government property at midnight on April 15. So, unless the 918,000 people to whom these $760 million are owed file their claims in the next 24 hours, their losses will directly be the government’s gain.
James Robertson, a tax preparer at H&R Block in Marietta, Ga., said that this happens every year. “There is that three-year filing window in which you have to file a return and claim a refund,” Robertson explained. "And if you don’t claim a refund within that three years, it becomes property of the Treasury."
If $760 million seems like a lot of money, compare it to these figures: in 2009, taxpayers failed to claim $917 million in refunds; and, for the 2013 tax year, it’s estimated that these numbers could exceed a billion dollars.
As noted by Forbes, this money is owed to anyone who was eligible for a refund in 2010 but didn’t file a tax return. Potentially included in this group are retirees, students, part-time workers, and low-income earners who don’t realize they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Robertson noted that depending on several variables, such as income and number of dependents, the Earned Income Tax Credit could be worth as much as $5,000 to a taxpayer. Most refunds, however, are not quite as high.
The top average refunds by state are $649 in Alaska, $648 in Wyoming, and $640 in Washington.
California, on the other hand, is at the top of the list with the highest number of people owed money: 85,500. Following behind California are Texas and New York, where 80,600 and 57,400 people are owed money, respectively.
While Nevada rancher Clive Bundy celebrates the federal government’s exit from the land surrounding his home, not all ranchers around the country can share his enthusiasm.
Meet John Ladd, a rancher living in the border town of Bisbee, Ariz. Ladd and his family have been ranchers on his current Bisbee property since 1896. Like Bundy, Ladd has serious problems with the federal government. But unlike his Nevadan counterpart, Ladd has been dealing with federal agents trespassing on his property for decades. The problem is only getting worse, he says, and he’s had enough.
“I’m tired of putting up with the federal government and border patrol and anyone else who thinks they have the right to come on to my ranch and do whatever they want,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Ladd grew up on his ranch, which is just a few miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border. Growing up, he recalls, the border was just an afterthought. He and friends would even routinely cross it for fun. But in 1980s, with the rise of the Border Patrol Agency, that all changed.
“Border Patrol showed up in the late ‘80s, early 90s,” Ladd said. “The border wasn’t a big deal to me [before], but now it is. It dominates my livelihood and my life because I deal with it every day.”
In a video posted by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ladd tells of the chronic trespassing of border patrol agents on his land. They disregard his property boundaries, run over cattle, and even threaten to shoot his dogs if he doesn’t keep them at his house. Most recently, Border Patrol set up a camera that keeps a surveying eye out on his property.
“They monitor my movements every day,” he said. “I’m questioned daily about what I’m doing. They call me [saying,] ‘Are you down here? Are you doing this? What truck are you in?’ That’s none of your business. I’m working my ranch.”
Ladd says agents completely disregard – and even take down – gates and fences marking off his territory. To Ladd, the agencies actions show a complete disregard for principles the United States was founded on.
“They have completely ignored what this country was based on, and that’s private property and human rights,” he says.
To see the rest of Ladd’s story, watch this video:
On Tuesday, a New York judge vacated the conviction of Jonathan Fleming for a murder he did not commit. Fleming was convicted in 1989 for the murder of Darryl Rush in a Brooklyn neighborhood. He has served over 24 years in prison.
Fleming had always maintained his innocence, according to CNN, claiming that he was vacationing in Florida at the time of the murder.
Proof of that innocence came in the form of a small receipt from an Orlando hotel. Fleming told authorities at the time of his trial he had made a payment for phone calls made from his hotel room shortly before the murder took place. He said he believed that the receipt for that transaction was in his pocket when he was arrested. The document that would have kept him out of prison never made to the courtroom during his trial.
In the course of the Brooklyn district attorney’s investigation, officials found that receipt in evidence files. A New York Times story indicates the timestamp on the receipt proved Fleming was in Florida just five hours before the murder.
"This is proof of alibi that was basically purposely withheld," said Taylor Koss, one of Fleming's attorneys.
Judge Matthew D’Emic agreed and turned over the conviction after "careful and thorough review of this case, and based on key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson.
Thompson took office at the beginning of the year and has beefed up the Conviction Review Unit that was created by his predecessor. The unit’s main function is to investigate cases like Fleming’s and have wrongful convictions vacated. To that end, Thompson has named Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. as special counsel to the unit.
Fleming’s conviction is the third to be vacated this year and the office is being flooded with more requests for review. The Conviction Review Unit will also be reviewing some 50 cases that were part of investigations conducted by Detective Louis Scarcella, who has been accused of using illegal tactics to frame suspects. Scarcella was not part of Fleming’s initial investigation.
Koss said Fleming’s legal team will bring a civil rights lawsuit against the city and seek reparations.
"He has no job, no career, no prospects," Koss said. "We're suing everybody, let's be honest.”
Dashcam video may prove that a border patrol agent lied about the cause of a crash that he was involved in.
The video was shot by the other person involved in the accident, choosing only to go by the name Ted. According to reports, Ted is a New York-based technology blogger for dealspin.com who recently installed a dashboard camera onto his car so that he could get footage while he was driving. Luckily for Ted, his new purchase wound up becoming extremely useful.
Video shows Ted driving through an intersection with a green light when, suddenly, a border patrol van turning left hits him head on. Ted immediately calls emergency services, but not before the border patrol agent gets out of this vehicle, which had flipped over, and yells at the blogger.
“A few minutes later, as I was on the phone with 911, the driver of the van, a big burly guy in plainclothes, came running over to me with his U.S. Border patrol badge exposed, screaming ‘Didn’t you see the light? Did you not see the light?’” wrote Ted in his account. “When the (real) cops came, the driver further accused me of going through a red light and causing the accident. All the passengers in the Border Patrol van repeated the same line: that I went through a red light.”
Ted says that he believed he didn’t do anything wrong, so when he went home later that day, he reviewed the footage on his dashcam.
“After I got home, I uploaded the video, and lo and behold: The light was green! After reviewing the video a few times, I realized exactly what had happened,” wrote Ted. “The US border van had white and blue lights flashing on top of the van, causing the 2 cars in the left and center lanes to stop and let the van make a left turn (which was an illegal left, as you can see in the video). I was in the right lane, so I did not see the flashing lights, because from the driver’s seat, the Border Patrol van was blocked by the other 2 cars. Furthermore, red flashing lights might have caught my attention, but faint white and blue lights in bright sunlight did not give me any indication of an emergency vehicle approaching. Not that the van had any excuse for ramming into me. I spoke to an accident attorney today, and he told me that, even in the event of an emergency, an emergency vehicle must take care and caution while driving, especially when they are doing something improper such as cutting into ongoing traffic.”
Ted recently posted an update with a picture of the police report showing that the border patrol officer lied about the circumstances of the crash.
As the Senate Judiciary Committee reviews Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable for potential violations of antitrust laws, a new report has surfaced suggesting that every member of the Senate panel has received campaign donations from the company in question.
According to Ars Technica, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., received $35,000 from Comcast’s PAC between 2009 and 2014, while Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., received $32,500 and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, received $30,000.
Even the most vocal anti-Comcast committee member, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has received a donation from the corporation in the past. According to the Los Angeles Times, a Comcast PAC donated $5,000 to Franken’s recount fund during his contested election a few years ago. Still, the senator and former Saturday Night Live member was a vocal critic of the Comcast-NBC deal that was going on around that time.
Because of his brother’s involvement with drafting the acquisition deal, Schumer, the individual who has received the most donations from Comcast-related PACs, recently recused himself from the judiciary review.
Opponents of the merger are wary of what will happen to prices once a dominating company controls the majority of cable and telecommunications services. Comcast continues to argue its side of the case, one that's likely supported by the $18.8 million it reportedly spent on lobbying last year.
In a strange combination of two hot-button, polarizing political issues, South Carolina may expand its current “Stand Your Ground” law to permit the use of deadly force to protect a fetus.
The expansion of the law, referred to as the “Pregnant Women’s Protection Act,” was approved 3-2 by a state Senate committee on Thursday, although it’s currently unclear how far the legislation is going to progress. The law would allow pregnant women to use deadly force to protect unborn children, beginning at conception.
Although the legislation specifically references pregnant women and fetuses, opponents argue that the expansion of the law would be no different than the state’s current “Stand Your Ground” law. If a pregnant woman is threatened, her unborn child is automatically threatened as well, opponents argue. ThinkProgress suggests that the new legislation is simply an effort to advance the classification of unborn fetuses as “personhood” according to state law.
While the Senate committee works to expand the law, other state politicians are looking to repeal it. According to the Huffington Post, Rep. Harold Mitchell, Democrat, introduced legislation in March that would repeal South Carolina’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Louisiana State Rep. Thomas Carmody (R) recently sponsored a bill that would make the Bible the official state book, but claims it's not an endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion.
"It's not to the exclusion of anyone else's sacred literature," Carmody told the Louisiana House municipal committee this week. "This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana."
Originally, Carmody wanted the King James version of the Bible, which is a translation of the original text that was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, but dropped that demand.
The Louisiana House committee voted 8-5 for the bill yesterday. The bill now goes to the full Louisiana House for debate, notes the Associated Press.
"I think we're going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit," said State Rep. Wesley Bishop (D), who opposes the bill. "You can't adopt the Bible and not adopt Christianity."
Rep. Ebony Woodruff (D) also opposes the bill because it would be offensive to people who aren't Christian.
"You're OK with offending some of the citizens of this state?" Woodruff asked Carmody at the House municipal committee.
"It's not meant to be offensive," Carmody said. "There's no requirement that they would have to follow this particular text."
According to NOLA.com, when Woodruff proposed an amendment changing the bill to include "all books of faith" as the official state books of Louisiana, Carmody, who claims he opposes excluding anyone's else sacred literature, said "I would certainly be against that amendment."
Last week, Opposing Views told you about Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who had a run in with nearly 200 armed federal agents and snipers. The Bureau of Land Management sent agents to Bundy’s ranch to seize his cattle after a 20 year battle over money the BLM says the rancher owed, but now, reports claim that the bureau has officially decided to stand down.
Bundy described what the scene looked like on the day that the agents showed up to his ranch.
“They’re carrying the same things a soldier would,” said Bundy to the Free Beacon. “Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles. It’s heavy soldier type equipment.”
Bundy and supporters in the community decided they wouldn’t stand by and let the BLM overrun the ranch, so they decided to fight back. Hundreds of people, including militia members, showed up to fight for Bundy, and for now, they seem to have won.
"Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public," said Bureau of Land Management Chief Neil Kornze.
Bundy acknowledged that this victory could not have been possible if outraged citizens didn’t take a stand.
"There is no deal here. The citizens of America and Clark County went and took their cattle,” he said. “There was no negotiations. They took these cattle.”
Senator Dean Heller acknowledged in a statement that the battle was over and pressed militia members and angry citizens to allow the BLM to leave without any more issues.
“The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict,” said Heller. I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference.”
The BLM raided Bundy’s ranch because they said he owes them over $1 million in unpaid fees, but Bundy himself claims that his family has owned the land for over 140 years and that the federal government has no authority over it.