THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free
*PLEASE NOTE, IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, LAWS IN YOUR COUNTRY CAN DIFFER GREATLY, BE INFORMED.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM CONCERNS
The main flaw of the criminal justice system is that it is inherently adversarial which means the state attorney (prosecutor) and the defense attorney care about winning, not truth-seeking. Truth-seeking is the job for the judge and jury, but most cases (maybe 95%) settle outside of trial. Most people in the legal system will tell you its about who can put on the best show.
1. It is adversarial. The focus is on winning rather than discovering the truth. Criminal justice should be inquisitorial – the prime focus should be on discovering what happened and then on punishing or rehabilitating appropriately.
2. The prison system has given up on rehabilitation. It’s just a place where convicts go to be warehoused. Prison makes criminals worse when they come out, instead of trying to get them to stop committing crimes. This applies mostly to America, which imprisons more individuals then any other country. America points its finger at the the rest of the world, and tries to police the world, however there are three fingers pointing right back. Most countries in Europe focus on rehabilitation and correcting the problem, America, its all about money making, because dont you know that the prison system is a HUGE business. Without prisoners, what will police,the courts,prison officials,bail bondsmen etc.. do to make an income?
3. The system is incredibly tilted against the poor and minorities. Individuals with substancial amounts of money are allowed bail and can pay for the top legal representation which most of the time allows them to walk free. People of lower intelligence and income get sucked into the system and have to wait in jail until their trail.
4. There are in practice no longer any protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The 4th Amendment has ceased to exist.
5. We send WAY too many people to prison for crimes that don’t deserve it. No one should go to jail for being addicted to drugs.
6. Failure to address issues with the mentally ill in the legal system. (Many jails and prisons are housing for the mentally ill, victims in a flawed justice system).
7. The Courts are an enormous bureaucracy.
8. Lawyers are motivated by wealth. (In the Ancient Roman Republic, it was illegal for lawyers to accept money or gifts from clients- it was felt to be a corrupting influence). This has dire consequences for the poor and certainly corrupts the entire system.
9. Reliance on eyewitness testimony. This is notoriously unreliable. (Not quite as true today with new technologies, but thousands of innocent people have been falsely condemned).
10. Prison systems are a school for psychopaths, who all to often are unleashed on society.
11. The history of police corruption! Corruption runs deep through out our countries history and police officers are unlikely to bust one another and we do not have an efficient effective means of investing to ensure that police agencies are keeping everything on the up and up.
12. “Judicial Discretion” and “setting precedence”. Not to mention “crimes” that really don’t have victims that are overwhelming our court system. (like possession of small amounts of drugs, prostitution, divorce court, driving offences, etc…) If people want to smoke small amounts of marijuana, who really cares! Quit the holier then now facade. Liquor ,cigerettes and most prescription drugs are far worse for you. This brings us to prostitution, 95% of all prostitutes are NOT walking the streets, do NOT do drug and do not steal. They are professionals who provide an extremely valuable service. It is a proven fact that without prostitutes, the amount of rape cases would sky rocket, as most people would not have any outlet to release their sexual desires. Whatever happens between two consenting adults in private is nobodys business. If a prostitute is soliciting in public, operating a common bawdy house or causing mischief , then by all means punish them, but going after hard working adults is disgusting. Of coarse most prostitutes are independent and work for themselves, however if a “pimp” enters the mix and FORCES someone to work, the “pimp” needs to be brought up on criminal charges as well. I am sick and tired of Americas bible belt controlling the law, base laws on common sense not morals. If you dont like prostitutes then go to hell. They aren’t hurting you. It is legal in practically every country except bible controlled , holier then everyone else America.
Also, Political affiliations, “elected judges” and the politics that come with it. And worst of all, choosing to follow the “letter” or the “intent” of the Law, considering the “intent” of the Law is nowadays exploited and usually viewed as a means to gain more “jurisdiction/power”.
13. Overcrowding.and Build up.
On a per capita basis, the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation on the earth. Is it that people in the United States are inherently more criminal in nature? No. It’s that we have created a police state in America with too many cops and too many laws. The police must justify their jobs and too often, they go after the “crooks” who have committed minor crimes but are easier to catch because they are generally law-abiding citizens.
We also have too many lawyers such that ours is a very litigious society. There are all kinds of reasons now to go after someone legally if they have wronged you in any way. So we have a huge backlog of manufactured cases slowing everything down but creating lots of work for all the courts and the clerks and the judges and the lawyers to make money off of. Make no mistake — the criminal justice system is a growth industry even in recession.
We have strayed so far from the original concept of our Forefathers who founded this nation with the principle to simplify life in the pursuit of liberty and happiness, free from all the constraints of England in their ancient legal system that locked up innocent people for supposed crimes against the King. But in those 232 years since declaring our Independence, we have continued to add layer upon layer of complexity and process in own American legal system. It is a natural phenomenon of every civilization to do this which is why Thomas Jefferson, the framer of our constitution, said “Heaven forbid we be 20 years without a revolution.” He knew that periodic renewal and an overhaul of the system made sense to keep pace with changing times and to root out the corruption and inefficiencies that invariably crept into older systems if they stayed around too long without challenge
In our lives, we will all encounter idiotic people, negative individuals who thrive on drama and inflicting distress onto others, the best way to deal with these imbeciles is to ignore them. I for one know exactly who I am and what I am, other people’s opinions do not define my life. I wish to have nothing to do with the spot light, media or any other outlet that invades my life or privacy. If others seek to label me then that burden lies on their shoulders not mine. I have a realistic sense of reality and if others choose to believe ficticious stories that are written about me, but so not actually involve me or the truth then thats a pity they are so naive. The fact remains, I am an average citizen who wishes to live my life as privately and quietly as possible, unfortunately my prior career choices did not allow that and so I made a change. Learn from your mistakes and move forward in life, dont live in the past. This blog is an outlet for me to speak the truth and is an alternative to the misinformation and lies circulated.
Justice is not blind, despite all the sayings and statues. Justice knows who is in the dock, their race and their age and their approximate net worth, and justice makes decisions based on those criteria – as well as a few others. But it can see, all right.
The New York Times recently ran an article by Randy Kennedy about Yale law Professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis, who have written a book called “Representing Justice” – a history of all the statues, paintings, frescoes and what-not that have depicted Justice down through the centuries.
The blind part didn’t even start until the 17th century – before that she is depicted with a sword and a scale, fully sighted. Well, usually with a sword and a scale; in one 16th century painting, she’s shown with a scale and an ostrich. Don’t ask. But don’t we want Justice to be all seeing? Blindness is not a metaphor for lack of bias; it’s a metaphor for lack of insight.
But Justice is a very political lady. Her eyes slide left and right, making sure to catch all the angles, all the nuances. And she is the prisoner of the people who run her courts; if they are corrupt, so shall she be. That’s one of the two major reasons I’m against the death penalty – the courts are a locus of power, and power tends to attract the corrupt. Why should my tax dollars be spent to kill a possibly innocent man?
It’s not like that never happens; quite the contrary.
Besides, Justice can always let the blindfold slip. It’s rarely tied on that tight. All she has to do is tip her head back and view the billionaire or the beggar on the stand, and make appropriate decisions. As Anatole France said, ” ‘The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.’ ”
The game is fixed from the beginning.
Not that there haven’t been triumphs; not that the law has not occasionally been in the forefront of social progress. But it is a state institution, and the state has certain interests, and the courts will generally go along with those interests. The enigmatic Rogers court, the members of which often praise original intent and small government, and deplore activist judges, are very activist indeed and somehow able to discern how the Founders would feel about political contributions from multinational corporations.
JUSTICE IS NOT BLIND , FOR I AM HER EYES
Citizens must be left alone, by their governments. Society does not need to be babysat nor monitored. Spend your tax dollars on things that matter, cut back on law enforcement agencies which are manipulatng the people, in order to justify their expanding existence. Start paying for expansions and repairs to better your city.
YOU NO LONGER LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY , YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS
“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties . . . a nation of well-informed men, who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them, cannot be enslaved, It is in the regions of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
The above quote containing the words and visions of Benjamin Franklin exhorts citizens of the newly-formed republic to be aware in order to preserve personal freedoms and it clearly underscores the goal of this unit.
The founding fathers were acutely aware of the results of tyranny and sought to prevent abuses of the enormous power of government. The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are a testament to the seriousness with which they approached the difficult task of constructing a society in which every citizen could live free of governmental restraint.
Electronic surveillance, when utilized as a tool for national security, law enforcement, industrial espionage, or domestic relations can limit and ultimately negate the citizens right to be let alone. The history of the indiscriminate uses to which this technology has been applied on the domestic level, suggests that American citizens are highly vulnerable to attacks on rights to personal privacy. The first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth, fourteenth and the eighteenth amendments, to some extent, prohibit indiscriminate and illegal invasions to privacy, however the fourth amendment particularly states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The fourth amendment appears to establish specific rules for the protection of rights to ownership, and makes plain that warrants be issued by a detached and impartial judge with reasonable cause. The amendment further stipulates that the warrants be specific with regard to location or material objects and particular persons to be seized. This amendment, more than any other, forms the basis for privacy rights under the United States Constitution. (A similar provision is attached to the Connecticut Constitution).1 Violations of the fourteenth amendment have been cited in decisions of the Supreme Court because it requires the states to honor and protect the constitutional rights of all United States citizens and contains the all important “due process” clause. It is largely due to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of these amendments in matters relating to personal privacy that the spectrum of civil rights has expanded. It is true, however, that the first amendment was and is the basis for privacy in reference to free speech, associations, and rights to dissent. The fifth amendment might be useful because it guards against self-incrimination and includes the right to remain silent yet the court has held that defendants are not compelled to speak by law enforcement officers in electronic surveillance matters; that any speech overheard is given freely. Only the first and sixth amendments have been applied to decisions of the court related to the issues of invasion of privacy.2 But may yet play important roles in coming decisions. (See 18th amendment).
The move by the world’s governments to number, track and spy upon their citizens is arousing serious concern on several continents.
Recent announcements of an injectable tracking chip that can be placed in animals and, of course, humans has fueled the ongoing controversy over privacy and the invasion of the world’s governments into the lives of their citizens.
The chip has a transponder that can be read by GPS satellite systems and is perpetually powered by the muscular action of the carrier’s body.
What a dream solution for the world’s bureaucrats to perfectly track the world’s citizens!
Over the past two years, reports of the global spy satellite system known as Echelon began emerging. As this story goes to press, the U.S. government is admitting that it has been using the system to spy on Americans.
At first there was “plausible deniability” as to whether Echelon actually existed. But as more reports surfaced and Echelon’s existence became undeniable, queries began as to the identities of the spy-ers and spy-ees in this system.
Late last year the European Parliament prepared a 112-page technology assessment report on Echelon, which was the first public documentary evidence of the global surveillance system.
It concluded that the rapid proliferation of surveillance technologies presents “a serious threat to the civil liberties in Europe” with “awesome implications.” Shortly thereafter, Insight magazine in the U.S. ran a major story on Echelon.1
Now the Europeans are furious because they have evidence to suggest they are a major target of the system, not just for political spying but also industrial espionage.
Allegedly, the Echelon governments – mainly Great Britain and the United States – were obtaining sensitive corporate information and handing it to their own domestic businesses to give them a competitive advantage.
The EU Parliament is opening a major international debate on Echelon. The EU’s civil liberties committee will most likely charge Great Britain with aiding the United States in conducting commercial espionage on a grand scale.
This is a touchy situation, since Great Britain is technically a partner with the countries on whom it is allegedly spying, not the U.S.
How Does Echelon Work?
Echelon is operated by the five main English-language countries: The U.S., Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The satellite system uses monitoring bases in those countries and “sweeps” the radio spectrum worldwide, eavesdropping on phone calls, faxes and emails.
The system then uses a network of super-computers maintained by the National Security Agency (NSA) to filter the data-at the rate of two million calls per hour-looking for keywords, voiceprints, or particular telephone numbers that are of interest to the Echelon governments or some of its allies (the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
Echelon countries avoid violating their own laws, which prohibit spying on their own citizens, by having one of the other Echelon countries do the spying and then handing over the data.
There were efforts by Congress last year to investigate the system, but they were rebuffed by the National Security Agency (NSA), which operates the U.S. end of the system.
The public interest group, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), has filed a lawsuit seeking public disclosure of those documents that the NSA refused to give Congress.
In Europe, in addition to the EU investigation, French attorney Jean-Pierre Millet has “launched a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. and British governments, claiming that Echelon robbed European industries of some of their most cherished trade secrets and undercut their bargaining positions in trade deals.”2
Many who saw the movie Enemy of the State probably assumed it was an exaggeration. It really isn’t. The technology exists.
Echelon is not the sole source of concern. There are now new surveillance devices at airports that can reveal everything one has on under their clothes… and then some.
Also, the FBI has been fighting to prevent citizens from concealing their transactions by means of encryption the government cannot easily access, and the SEC is now chasing fraud on the Internet.
Unique Medical Identifiers
Perhaps the use of a universal medical identifier is another glaring issue regarding privacy and our government’s invasion of it.
President Clinton’s claims to the contrary notwithstanding, by its own documents cradle-to-grave computer tracking is the current goal of the U.S. government, from databasing parents and their babies at the time of birth to monitoring family performance from preschool all through a child’s career years.
This is a well-coordinated effort between the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Everyone is slated to be put on a career track – not of their choosing – and databased throughout their careers, having to be recertified each time they change jobs.
This sounds like great material for a Mel Gibson movie if it were not already underway and readily available in government and related documents.
Much of it is too voluminous to detail here, but there are a number of excellent books and reports by Charlotte Iserbyt, Phyllis Schlafley, Beverly Eakman, and others which lay out the plan.
Databasing was a cornerstone concept of Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton’s failed “health-scare” plan, which would have turned our healthcare system into the world’s largest socialist operation.
According to the Free Congress Foundation, “in 1993, as part of the healthcare package presented by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, there was a proposal for a ‘unique healthcare identifier number’ that would be given to all Americans and used as identification for tracking their medical records and histories. This information could also have been shared with third parties without the individual’s consent.”3
Because of public outcry, the “unique healthcare identifier number” died, but in 1996 the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” (HIPAA) was passed.4 Now Public Law 104-191, the Act calls for uniform electronic data collection and exchange standards, and that could most effectively be done through – here it is again – the “unique health care identifier number.”
HIPAA said that Congress had until August 21, 1999 to enact legislation that would protect individual citizens’ health data. Failing that, the responsibility would be transferred to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Congress defaulted on its responsibility, and the proposals of Donna Shalala are as breathtaking as a sinking ship. Not only did Congress fail to act, it passed an amendment to HR10, “The Financial Authorization Act of 1999,” which permitted credit card, insurance and financial institutions to have access to individuals’ medical records.
Donna Shalala’s current proposals will make medical records available to a wide variety of parties, and citizens will be prohibited from suing if the use of that information violates the law.5
In reality, everything in the future of government control hinges around (1) assigning a unique identifier number for each person and (2) attaching that number to the person in such a way that no one else can use or duplicate it.
Right now, the social security number is that de facto number. Whether or not plans for a national ID card resurface, the Social Security Number is our unique numeric identifier. (Perhaps it is no coincidence that we refer to it as the SS number.)
Meanwhile, the government’s program to increase surveillance and individual identification continues in force. The movement is driven by real problems in the cyberworld, such as identity theft and the need to prove conclusively who is who during all types of legal and commercial transactions.
All current methods of identification – bank cards, PINs, passwords, drivers’ licenses, keys, knowledge of mother’s maiden name or social security number – can be forged. Something more unique is needed.
To fill this gap, new technologies are being explored, especially biometrics-items unique to each human being, such as finger imaging, retinal scans, body tatoos and injectable chips. A brief search of U.S. Patent Office files will yield patent applications for all such devices.
Connected with these devices is the move toward electronic money and away from cash. New Zealand is one of the global “test sites” for cashless operation where few people carry cash any longer. Even coffee hutches now accept cash debit cards in New Zealand.
Fraud on the Internet is a powerful incentive to get global governments involved in policing this last bastion of freedom. So why all the flap? The technology is not inherently evil. Positive ID can virtually eliminate theft, fraud, extortion, and other criminal activities, especially money laundering and drug operations.
However, it is important to remember that evil often rides in on a white horse – a real problem being “solved” by something more sinister.
Citizen tracking is wonderful only if one makes the assumption that government is always benevolent and never abusive or dictatorial. What happens if government goes sour and begins using the technology to harass or persecute those who don’t agree with its agendas?
This is not a theoretical situation. There are regular criminal cases targeting people not because they commit crime, but because they do something politically incorrect to someone.
Harassment Court Cases
Carol Ward mouthed off to an IRS agent in 1994, when she was not even under audit. The IRS retaliated by seizing all of Mrs. Ward’s business and personal property. The agency began telling her business associates that she was being investigated for drug operations.
Despite the fact the IRS demonstrably broke laws in their assault on Mrs. Ward and the fact she won a $350,000 dollar lawsuit against the federal government, the government agents responsible have never been punished.
Almost 30 innocent people were falsely accused of running a child abuse ring in Wenatchee, Washington. Those who protested the witch hunt, such as Pastor Roby Roberson, were themselves accused and prosecuted.
Despite convictions being overturned and lawsuits won at a record pace and amount, the State of Washington and City of Wenatchee have never apologized nor punished the police detective and CPS workers involved in the fraudulent operation.
Recently, WorldNetDaily documented the case of West Virginia physician Dr. Danny Westmoreland. Several years ago, Drug Enforcement Administration agents invaded his office, terrorized his family and patients, and arrested him on bogus charges.
Two years after the raid, Dr. Westmoreland learned the truth about what had happened to him. “The attack on his home had been a setup…orchestrated by two former disgruntled employees who had conspired with a local DEA agent to teach Westmoreland a lesson.”6
Despite charges so bogus that a judge threw them out in disgust, and after spending more than $300,000 to defend himself, no one in the government responsible for the bogus raid has been punished.
If these cases were rare exceptions, we wouldn’t worry. But this is a regular event in the U.S.
What will guarantee us that governments will not become abusive and hostile to various sections of their populations? The rise of hate speech proposals and politically correct thought demands echo the policies of Communist and Nazi regimes of the past.
What happens to dissenters who don’t go along with the new trends? Womb-to-tomb policies are designed to be coercive and all-inclusive. Who will become the next enemy of the state, simply on the basis of what they think or refuse to go along with?
Although the Nazis had proclaimed their capital city Berlin judenrein, there were an estimated 1,400 Jews still alive in Berlin at the end of the war. They were called “Uboots”-U-boats that had gone below the surface of daily life. Some were hidden by sympathetic Germans or were Jews who were blue-eyed and blond and passed as Aryans.
Today, with identity technology capable of monitoring everyone’s identity and living habits down to the amount of food they eat on a daily basis, hiding from an abusive government would be virtually impossible.
It is sobering to imagine what German efficiency in the person of SS-Oberfhrer Heinrich Himmler could have done had he had the technology we have available today.
Behavioural Interviewing Techniques
The suspect was sitting in the interview room of Flemington police station listening to my every word. I had arrested John on suspicion for the commission of 25 burglaries in the Flemington area. Now I had to prove it. Flemington is a heavily populated leafy suburb fifteen minutes west of Melbourne. All I had was the registration number of John’s ageing Holden commodore recorded by an astute neighbour. John’s commodore was parked in Epsom road, Ascot Vale when the neighbour noticed a man in his mid twenties acting “strangely”. John was an active burglar and part time drug dealer with numerous convictions for burglary, theft and deceptions. After parking the unmarked police car behind the commodore my attention was instantly drawn to a dark figure standing by a meticulously maintained single fronted weatherboard cottage. The moment I approached I instantly recognised John’s distinct nose and protruding jaw. John was not exactly surprised to see me. After our initial conversation I arrested John for loitering with intent. An extensive search of nearby houses, gardens, John’s pockets and car revealed little evidence. No tools of trade, no fruits of his labour. John was a professional.
Before interviewing John I gathered previous burglary reports from 30 unsolved cases over the past 6 months. Each burglary had similar patterns: entry always via a forced rear window, similar tool marks on window frames, small items such as jewellery, cash, compact discs and VCR’s stolen. Although there were striking similarities little forensic or scientific evidence was identified at each burglary. I had no fingerprints, no fibre trace evidence, no DNA, no blood, no hair samples, no witnesses, not much of anything really. If only I could locate the jemmy bar used to force the windows maybe a scanning electron microscope could identify tool mark indentations and provide the evidence I needed to charge John. A search warrant executed on John’s house failed to find any corroborative evidence to make that all important nexus between John and each crime scene.
The first question I fired at John was “Well John, did you commit any of these burglaries in Flemington?” His reply? “Nah”. Bad question. That very question implied that I didn’t know myself. If I knew that he committed any of those burglaries then why would I have to ask him if he did? In fact John was assessing what I knew about his involvement. John was using a behavioural analysis technique that, believe it or not, is taught by the FBI. Luckily he didn’t know it.
The purpose of conducting an interview
The interview is often an integral part of an investigation. Although scientific, medical or forensic evidence provides an investigator with valuable clues what do we do if there is no such evidence? I often remember the adage; a confession is a good start to an investigation. Unfortunately very little training is available in the art of conducting effective interviews. Having served in two Police departments and conducted hundreds of criminal interviews throughout my police career I was aware that little time was devoted to this imperative skill. In 1996, whilst training with the Polygraph Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department, I listened to a record of interview conducted by a detective. The suspect was being questioned over a murder that he denied any involvement in. After a skilled interview he was making admissions to the murder and several other criminal matters that detectives had no idea about. The Officer in Charge of the Polygraph Unit said to me “Steve, everyone will tell you what you want to know, the problem is we don’t always ask the right questions”. I often wondered why some people would admit to committing a murder knowing that their confession would win them jail time when others wouldn’t give you their name. The answer is rapport. If someone doesn’t like or trust you they wont take you into their confidence.
The purpose of conducting any type of interview is to elicit information. Sometimes we are unaware if we are interviewing a suspect, witness, co-offender or innocent bystander. Occasionally the witness may become the suspect. By asking the right questions and knowing how to decipher verbal and non-verbal signs of deception we are enhancing our investigation.
By having a structured and methodical approach to interviewing we are able to uncover information that we may not have previously known. Remember that if we are relating a truthful event we have to rely on our memory for detail, content and recall. If we are lying we no longer have to rely on our memory of events but rather what we said previously. For every one lie we tell we have to invent another three to protect ourselves from the first one.
What is behavioural interviewing?
Behavioural interviewing is a technique that uses a structured set of accusatory behaviour provoking questions designed to determine truth or deception. When a person makes a conscious effort to conceal information or wrong doing they often experience internal conflicts that create increased tension and anxiety. The very question they are lying to becomes a very threatening stimulus to them. By identifying when such verbal and non-verbal signs of deception are present we are able to recognise deception with a high level of accuracy. This type of interviewing technique is particularly useful when determining if a person is editing information or fabricating responses.
Examples of behavioural questions
When interviewing someone to ascertain involvement in a particular disciplinary matter or criminal act some of the questions below have proven very effective.
“John, during this investigation we will be interviewing a number of people. Is there any reason you can think of that someone would name you as a suspect?”
The theory here is the truthful suspect will usually reject the suggestion of being named as a suspect outright. Truthful or innocent suspects often are direct and will tell you what they think. Conversely a deceptive suspect may offer weak denials or be evasive.
“John what do you think should happen to the person who stole that $20,000.00 cheque?”
The principle of this question is that the truthful person will usually offer strong punishment such as: “They should be sacked” or “They should go to jail”. These responses are understandable because the innocent person may not be concerned about what happens to the culprit. During one interview when I asked a suspect what he though should happen to the person who stole the money he replied “They should get help. Maybe the guy had a gambling problem or something”. This person later admitted that he gambled the full amount at the casino. His initial response to this question told me why he stole that cheque.
“Sharon, how do you think the results of this investigation will come out on you?”
In response to this question the truthful person will usually indicate confidence that the investigation will clear them. The deceptive person however will often lack the same level of confidence. Be alert to responses such as “I hope it will clear me” or “I think I should be OK” One response I received to this question was “What do you think? Do you think that I will come out OK?”
“Graham, who do you think would eliminate you from suspicion?”
Truthful suspects will usually name individuals who can easily be accessed for verification such as other employees in the area. The deceptive person will offer people who may not at all be connected with the place of employment such as “My mum” or “My priest”.
An interesting variation on the above question is “Graham, is there anyone you know well enough that you feel is above suspicion and would not do something like this?”
Truthful people will usually eliminate individuals from suspicion. For example the truthful person may say “Well I have known Julie for a while and she wouldn’t have taken the money. Paul wouldn’t do it either because he is very honest.” Deceptive responses may include “I don’t really know” or “I’m not sure”. Truthful people will vouch for others or at the least give you an opinion of who may be involved. The deceptive person will not do your job for you and eliminate others. This will only direct attention to themselves which is the last thing they want to do.
The direct confronting question is good for analysing body language and initial responses.
“Leanne, did you take that gold ring from the display cabinet?”
Truthful suspects will offer spontaneous, direct and sincere denials. Truthful people will answer questions directly and be of assistance to you during the investigation. Once again they have no fear because they know they weren’t involved. Deceptive suspects will be evasive and offer weak denials such as “Are you saying that I took that ring”. This is a “buying time” response. The respondent is repeating the question to buy time to think of a suitable answer. Other responses may include:
“What did you say?”
“How could I have done that?”
Another indicator of a fabricated response is when the deceptive suspect offers qualified denials such as “I swear on the bible I wouldn’t do that” or “I swear to god I didn’t take it”. Be aware when someone enlists the bible, religion or a respected person to demonstrate their honesty or credibility.
As human beings we often rationalise, justify and minimise our behaviour, especially when we do something wrong. I once interviewed a suspect for a rape and asked if he had forced himself onto the victim. His response “I’m a married man with a family. Besides did you see what she looked like?” I didn’t ask this man if he was married with children or to comment on the victim’s physical appearance yet he still failed to answer the question. His rationale was that because he was married he didn’t or wouldn’t have to force himself onto anyone. Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit.
Analysing non-verbal behaviours
As 80% of all human communication is non-verbal we often tend to overlook the importance of analysing body language in context. One of the most common errors in analysing body language is taking one action such as loss of eye contact as deception. What we should be looking for is clusters of body language. If the spoken word is inconsistent with our body language at the time of the response or immediately after then this is significant. When I ask a question such as “Did you forge that signature on the withdrawal slip?” and the response is “Are you asking if I forged someone else’s signature?” at the same time the interviewee starts adjusting clothing or jewellery, crosses their legs, averts their gaze out the window and rubs the back of their neck then this question has caused obvious anxiety. If the person didn’t sign the withdrawal slip then this is not a threatening question.
A good interviewer will be able to decipher non-threatening behaviour before the interview even starts. If after an important question your suspect starts rubbing hands, scratching, stroking or removing imaginary lint from a jumper determine if this behaviour was present earlier. I interviewed one suspect for a number of thefts from a department store. This man was very expressive with his hands during my initial conversation with him. As soon as I asked him a question about the thefts he sat on his hands and started tapping his left foot against the desk.
Other psychological issues
It is important that an interviewer remains impartial and professional. Avoid expressions of disbelief, shock, anger, disgust or scepticism. Remember an investigator’s job is to get to the truth of the matter. If you have built an effective rapport with the interviewee expressing your personal attitudes, revulsion or disgust at their behaviour will only hamper the purpose of the interview.
Allow the interviewee to save face. By calling a sex offender a “rock spider” or a peeping tom a “pervert” you are closing the door before you start. Remember the last time someone was derogatory towards you. Did you become defensive? If the answer is yes then you probably became indignant, angry and resented that person. Would you then respect that person enough to tell them anything of a personal nature? Probably not.
If a suspect walks into my office and offers to shake my hand I have more to loose by not shaking that hand. By refusing to shake that hand I have already shaped that persons perception of me. In order to establish a rapport with a suspect I want that person to like me, not fear me. I have to give that person a reason to confide in me and feel relaxed enough to want to tell me what they did.
John admitted committing 26 of the burglaries that he could remember. He had been interviewed by three other police officers previously. At the end of the interview knowing that I had very little evidence other than his detailed admissions I asked John why he told me and not the other police. His response? “You are the only one who treated me with respect”.
Fear and Control
Fear has many uses. It can be used as a warning to keep you from entering into a situation that might hurt you. It can be used to motivate you away from something, such as a harmful relationship or a dangerous situation. It can also be used by others to control you.
How do people use fear to control others? When you understand what happens physiologically when people experience fear it becomes quite easy, as you’ll see.
There is a part of your brain that exists solely for your survival called the “reptilian” brain, which is the original part of your brain. As humans evolved, our brains grew and other parts were added, such as the limbic system which deals with emotions and the cerebral portion which is the thinking part. This reptilian brain is located at the stem of the brain, securely protected by the rest of the brain. When all other parts of the brain are non-functional, this part will still be ticking away, assuring your physical survival.
When you experience the emotion of fear, your reptilian brain goes into action and the rest of your brain shuts down. The function of this part of your brain is to support you either to fight or in flight. When you are in the emotional state of fear, you have two choices and everything you do will be based on one of those choices.
If you’re thinking, “Hoo haa. We’re too advanced for that”, remember the last time you were in a very disagreeable situation. Were you wanting to have a nice cozy, loving chat with the other person? Not likely. Probably you were wanting to get away from them and escape the uncomfortableness. Or maybe you were thinking how satisfying it would be if they got a comeuppance. These are flight and fight reactions.
Additionally, when you are experiencing fear, your entire body goes into fight or flight mode. All your blood is redirected to the parts that are needed for fight or flight – your heart, lungs, muscles, and your reptilian brain. The rest of your brain is left with only enough blood to keep it on idle, which means that you have no cabability for rational or creative thought. It’s all black or white, yes or no, good or evil. In this state you do not have the ability to think of alternative solutions to the situation. Only run or fight.
How ideal for the military! If they keep masses of people in fear and educate them in the many ways to kill other humans, they have a ready, willing, able, and non-thinking military force. This falls right into alignment with the basic premise of the military: follow orders without question (or without thinking). Whoever came up with the idea of using fear like this was a real genius. Just look at what they’ve created!
The polarity thinking that is created by fear can also be used very easily and effectively on the general populace by our politicians and other powers. Look at how our own country is divided right now by the fear that has been promoted by the current administration. They are continually coming up with new ways of keeping the citizens of the U.S. in a state of fear. The “security alert” with it’s color coding is perfect. All they have to do is change the color of it to turn the level of fear in this country up or down, just like controlling the flow of water in a faucet.
What’s the answer? First, get yourself out of the state of fear. In order to be able to think you need to be able to use the other parts of your brain. If you are having difficulty getting out of fear, here are a few things you can do:
- TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISION! Especially the news. Have you ever felt wonderful, or even good, after you watched the news? Even the commercials are designed to make you feel sick and fearful.
- Get in touch with the earth. Go for a walk without your cell phone or CD player and truly pay attention to the beauty that surrounds you. Notice all the things that are there to support you – trees for shade, all vegetation for oxygen, ants to clean up the minutest messes, birds to spread seed for more plants to grow.
- Show appreciation to your body by giving it something nice – a massage, a cup of herbal tea, organic food, pure water. It will thank you by feeling more energized.
- Don’t hang around negative people or people who are being negative at the time. You don’t need to absorb their fear any more than you need to absorb the fear from the news on TV.
As you begin to emerge from the state of fear and can once again think rationally and creatively, look at how you can create unity in your life instead of the polarity caused by fear. The world will thank you. ———————————— .
Undercover police regularly infiltrate protests, community groups, demonstrations and meetings, and incite trouble or violence in order to give security and police a reason to use excessive force.
They also place a decoy into a prison cell in order to befriend their cell mate and to get him to talk and reveal information.
13 Rules for Leadership
Rule 1: It Ain’t as Bad as You Think! It Will Look Better in the Morning!
These are the words of a man and of a leader who has lived a few years. It is true how many events that seem so devastating have in them the seeds of renewal if we look for them. Give it some time and perspective. You can deal with it! You have made it this far!
Rule 2: Get Mad Then Get Over It!
OK, you’re mad–maybe even righteously so! So, instead of letting anger destroy you, use it to make constructive change in the organization. Acknowledge and accept that you are angry and then use your anger in an effective manner for your own benefit and the benefit of others.
Rule 3: Avoid Having Your Ego so Close to your Position that When Your Position Falls, Your Ego Goes With It!
Your position is what you do to live, it is not who you are. Leaders that have “their egos in check” can lead from wherever they are. For them, the position was just a means to an ends–not the ends itself. You can always lead!
Rule 4: It Can be Done!
Leaders are about making things happen. They continually ask, Why Not, when faced with the improbable. While one approach may not work, it can be done another way. Find the other way to make it happen!
Rule 5: Be Careful Whom You Choose!
The people you choose represent you. Choose them carefully or they will damage your credibility.
Rule 6: Don’t Let Adverse Facts Stand in the Way of a Good Decision.
Whoever said leadership was easy! If they did, they were not truthful. Leaders sometimes have to stand alone (or with the support of only a few) on what they know to be right. They have to make difficult, right decisions that may cost them some relationships. Fortunately, the truth has a way of surfacing with time. Leaders we now admire such as Dr. Martin Luther King and President Abraham Lincoln had plenty of people who hated them in their times. Make the right decision, take the heat, and let time and good results prove you right!
Rule 7: You Can’t Make Someone Else’s Decisions! You Shouldn’t Let Someone Else Make Yours!
While good leaders listen and consider all perspectives, they ultimately make their own decisions and take responsibility for their choices. If it does not feel, seem, or smell right, it may not be right. Make your own decision about what is in your own best interests. Accept your good decisions. Learn from your mistakes.
Rule 8: Check Small Things!
While leaders live in the “big picture” world they should never forget the importance of the details and ensure they are attended to. It is often the small things, or little foxes as King Solomon put it, that ruin the best laid plans. Don’t forget the details!
Rule 9: Share Credit!
It is probably our American culture but “leader worship” seems engrained in us. The CEO’s get all of the attention and most of the credit for a company’s success. While leaders are indispensable to success, the truth is the leader did not achieve all that success by himself. His success is built on the talents of the women and men working with him to achieve the vision. Without them, he would not be successful. So, share the credit with others! Some of it rightfully belongs to them anyway.
Rule 10: Remain calm! Be kind!
It is hard for a leader to inspire confidence and resilience in others if he cannot keep his composure in times of difficulty. It is hard for a leader to garner loyalty from others if he treats them badly. Remain calm and be kind and your team will climb mountains for you!
Rule 11: Have a Vision! Be Demanding!
Lost sometimes in the language of inclusion, employee participation, servant leadership, motivation, etc. is the fact that leaders are demanding when it comes to fulfilling the vision. Effective leaders do not accept poor performance and mediocre results. They hold people accountable for their performance. It is talented people working diligently that achieve success. Be clear about what needs to be done and hold people accountable for fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.
Rule 12: Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers!
Fear can be paralyzing and there will always be those who do not support a leader or have her best interests at heart no matter how hard she tries to work effectively with them. Tune out your fears and the uninformed naysayers. You will be more successful.
Rule 13: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier!
There is something to be said for the leader who refuses to accept defeat and continues to adapt as necessary until she is successful. She is a force to be reckoned with and she will positively impact others. Remain optimistic and your leadership effectiveness will multiply.
What to Wear to Court : http://lawyerist.com/clients-wear-court/
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who provides legal representation to those who claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency, or other entity. Thus, personal injury lawyers tend to be especially knowledgeable and have more experience with regard to the area of law known as tort law, which includes civil wrongs and economic or non-economic damages to a person’s property, reputation, or rights.
Even though personal injury lawyers are trained and licensed to practice virtually any field of law, they generally only handle cases that fall under tort law including, but not limited to: work injuries, automobile and other accidents, defective products, medical mistakes, slip and fall accidents, and more.
The expression “trial lawyers” can refer to personal injury lawyers, even though most cases handled by personal injury lawyers settle rather than going to trial and other types of lawyers, such as defendants’ lawyers and criminal prosecutors, also appear in trials.
A personal injury lawyer has numerous responsibilities in serving his or her clients. These responsibilities encompass both professional and ethical rules and codes of conduct set forth by state bar associations where the lawyers are licensed. Once licensed to practice law by their state bar association, lawyers are legally permitted to file legal complaints, argue cases in state court, draft legal documents, and offer legal advice to victims of personal injury.
Also referred to as a plaintiff lawyer, a personal injury lawyer is responsible for interviewing prospective clients and evaluating their cases to determine the legal matter, identify the distinct issues rooted within the plaintiff’s larger problem, and extensively research every issue to build a strong case. The ultimate professional responsibility of a personal injury lawyer is to help plaintiffs obtain the justice and compensation they deserve for their losses and suffering through advocacy, oral arguments, client counseling, and legal advice.
Personal injury lawyers must also adhere to strict standards of legal ethics when dealing with clients. While the guidelines vary according to state, the basic codes of conduct state that a lawyer must knowledgeably evaluate legal matters and exercise competence in any legal matter undertaken. Moreover, personal injury lawyers owe their clients a duty of loyalty and confidentiality and must work to protect their clients’ best interests.
HIRE A PRIVATE DETECTIVE - THEY ARE WORTH IT
Private detectives and investigators assist individuals, businesses, and attorneys by finding and analyzing information. They connect clues to uncover facts about legal, financial, or personal matters. Private detectives and investigators offer many services, including executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; preemployment verification; and individual background profiles. Some investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material. They also provide assistance in criminal and civil liability cases, insurance claims and fraud cases, child custody and protection cases, missing-persons cases, and premarital screening. They are sometimes hired to investigate individuals to prove or disprove infidelity.
Private detectives and investigators may use many methods to determine the facts in a case. Much of their work is done with a computer. For example, they often recover deleted e-mails and documents. They also may perform computer database searches or work with someone who does. Computers allow investigators to quickly obtain huge amounts of information, such as records of a subject’s prior arrests, convictions, and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; information about motor vehicle registrations; records of association and club memberships; social networking site details; and even photographs.
Detectives and investigators also perform various other types of surveillance or searches. To verify facts, such as an individual’s income or place of employment, they may make phone calls or visit a subject’s workplace. In other cases, especially those involving missing persons and background checks, investigators interview people to gather as much information as possible about an individual. Sometimes investigators go undercover, pretending to be someone else in order to get information or to observe a subject inconspicuously. They even arrange to be hired in businesses to observe workers for wrongdoing.
Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physical surveillance, which may be high tech or low tech. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from an inconspicuous location or a vehicle. Using photographic and video cameras, binoculars, cell phones, and GPS systems, detectives gather information on an individual. Surveillance can be time consuming.
The duties of private detectives and investigators depend on the needs of their clients. In cases that involve fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, for example, investigators may carry out long-term covert observation of a person suspected of fraud. If an investigator observes the person performing an activity that contradicts injuries stated in a worker’s compensation claim, the investigator would take video or still photographs to document the activity and report it to the client.
Detectives and investigators must be mindful of the law in conducting investigations. They keep up with Federal, State, and local legislation, such as privacy laws and other legal issues affecting their work. The legality of certain methods may be unclear, and investigators and detectives must make judgment calls in deciding how to pursue a case. They must also know how to collect evidence properly so that they do not compromise its admissibility in court.
Private detectives and investigators often specialize. Those who focus on intellectual property theft, for example, investigate and document acts of piracy, help clients stop illegal activity, and provide intelligence for prosecution and civil action. Other investigators specialize in developing financial profiles and carrying out asset searches. Their reports reflect information gathered through interviews, investigation and surveillance, and research, including reviews of public documents.
Computer forensic investigators specialize in recovering, analyzing, and presenting data from computers for use in investigations or as evidence. They determine the details of intrusions into computer systems, recover data from encrypted or erased files, and recover e-mails and deleted passwords.
Legal investigators assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence. Legal investigators also may collect information on the parties to a litigation, take photographs, testify in court, and assemble evidence and reports for trials. They often work for law firms or lawyers.
Corporate investigators conduct internal and external investigations for corporations. In internal investigations, they may investigate drug use in the workplace, ensure that expense accounts are not abused, or determine whether employees are stealing assets, merchandise, or information. External investigations attempt to thwart criminal schemes from outside the corporation, such as fraudulent billing by a supplier. Investigators may spend months posing as employees of the company in order to find misconduct.
Financial investigators may be hired to develop confidential financial profiles of individuals or companies that are prospective parties to large financial transactions. These investigators often are certified public accountants (CPAs) who work closely with investment bankers and other accountants. They also might search for assets in order to recover damages awarded by a court in fraud or theft cases.
Detectives who work for retail stores or hotels are responsible for controlling losses and protecting assets. Store detectives, also known asloss prevention agents, safeguard the assets of retail stores by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchandise or destroy store property. They prevent theft by shoplifters, vendor representatives, delivery personnel, and store employees. Store detectives also conduct periodic inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and rest rooms, and sometimes assist in opening and closing the store. They may prepare loss prevention and security reports for management and testify in court against people they apprehend. Hotel detectivesprotect guests of the establishment from theft of their belongings and preserve order in hotel restaurants and bars. They also may keep undesirable individuals, such as known thieves, off the premises.
Work environment. Many detectives and investigators spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in the office most of the day conducting computer searches and making phone calls. When an investigator is working on a case, the environment might range from plush boardrooms to seedy bars. Store and hotel detectives work in the businesses that they protect.
Investigators generally work alone, but they sometimes work with others, especially during surveillance or when they follow a subject. Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous. Some situations, such as certain bodyguard assignments for corporate or celebrity clients, call for the investigator to be armed. In most cases, however, a weapon is not necessary, because the purpose of the work is gathering information and not law enforcement or criminal apprehension. Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demanding and sometimes distraught clients. Although considered a dangerous occupation, private detectives and investigators have a relatively low incidence of nonfatal work-related injuries.
Private detectives and investigators often work irregular hours because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Most private detectives and investigators have some college education and previous experience in investigative work. In the majority of States, they are required to be licensed.
Education and training. There are no formal education requirements for most private detective and investigator jobs, although many have postsecondary degrees. Courses in criminal justice and police science are helpful to aspiring private detectives and investigators. Although related experience is usually required, some people enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or police science. Experience in police investigation is viewed favorably.
Most corporate investigators must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business-related field. Some corporate investigators have a master’s degree in business administration or a law degree; others are CPAs.
For computer forensics work, a computer science or accounting degree is more helpful than a criminal justice degree. An accounting degree provides good background knowledge for investigating computer fraud. Either of these two degrees provides a good starting point, after which investigative techniques can be learned on the job. Alternatively, many colleges and universities now offer certificate programs, requiring from 15 to 21 credits, in computer forensics. These programs are most beneficial to law enforcement officers, paralegals, or others who already are involved in investigative work. A few colleges and universities now offer bachelor’s or master’s degrees in computer forensics, and others are planning to begin offering such degrees. Most computer forensic investigators learn their trade while working for a law enforcement agency, either as a sworn officer or a civilian computer forensic analyst. They are trained at their agency’s computer forensics training program. Many people enter law enforcement specifically to get this training and establish a reputation before moving to the private sector.
Most of the work of private detectives and investigators is learned on the job. New investigators will usually start by learning how to use databases to gather information. The training they receive depends on the type of firm. At an insurance company, a new investigator will learn to recognize insurance fraud. At a firm that specializes in domestic cases, a new worker might observe a senior investigator performing surveillance. Learning by doing, in which new investigators are put on cases and gain skills as they go, is a common approach. Corporate investigators hired by large companies, however, may receive formal training in business practices, management structure, and various finance-related topics.
Because they work with changing technologies, computer forensic investigators never stop training. They learn the latest methods of fraud detection and new software programs and operating systems by attending conferences and courses offered by software vendors and professional associations.
Licensure. Most States and the District of Columbia require private detectives and investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, however. Seven States—Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming—have no Statewide licensing requirements. Some States have few requirements, and many others have stringent regulations. For example, the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs requires private investigators to be 18 years of age or older; have a combination of education in police science, criminal law, or justice and experience equaling 3 years (6,000 hours); pass a criminal history background check by the California Department of Justice and the FBI (in most States, convicted felons cannot be issued a license); and receive a qualifying score on a 2-hour written examination covering laws and regulations. In all States, detectives and investigators who carry handguns must meet additional requirements. Because laws change, it is important to verify the licensing laws related to private investigators with the State and locality where work will be performed.
There are no licenses specifically for computer forensic investigators, but some States require them to be licensed private investigators. Even where licensure is not required, a private investigator license is useful to some because it allows them to perform followup or related tasks.
Other qualifications. Private detectives and investigators typically have previous experience in other occupations. Some have worked in other occupations for insurance or collections companies, in the private security industry, or as paralegals. Many investigators enter the field after serving in law enforcement, the military, government auditing and investigative positions, or Federal intelligence jobs. Former law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents, who frequently are able to retire after 25 years of service, often become private detectives or investigators in a second career. Others enter from jobs in finance, accounting, commercial credit, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can apply their previous work experience in a related investigative specialty.
For private detective and investigator jobs, most employers look for individuals with ingenuity, persistence, and assertiveness. A candidate must not be afraid of confrontation, should communicate well, and should be able to think on his or her feet. Good interviewing and interrogation skills also are important and usually are acquired in earlier careers in law enforcement or other fields. Because the courts often are the judge of a properly conducted investigation, the investigator must be able to present the facts in a manner that a jury will believe. The screening process for potential employees typically includes a background check for a criminal history.
Certification and advancement. Some investigators receive certification from a professional organization to demonstrate competency in a field. For example, the National Association of Legal Investigators confers the Certified Legal Investigator designation upon licensed investigators who devote a majority of their practice to negligence or criminal defense investigations. To receive the designation, applicants must have 5 years of investigations experience. They also must satisfy educational requirements and continuing-training requirements and must pass written and oral exams.
ASIS International, a trade organization for the security industry, offers the Professional Certified Investigator certification. To qualify, applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent; must have 5 years of investigations experience, including 2 years managing investigations; and must pass an exam.
Most private detective agencies are small, with little room for advancement. Usually, there are no defined ranks or steps, so advancement takes the form of increases in salary and assignment status. Many detectives and investigators start their own firms after gaining a few years of experience. Corporate and legal investigators may rise to supervisor or manager of the security or investigations department.
How To File Police Complaints
The idea of filing a police report can be intimidating. Reaching the point of having to file a report with police usually means something upsetting has happened. The level of trauma may vary from a car dented in a parking lot to a burglary in your home or worse. Filing a police report, however, can be relatively easy.
Determine what number to call. Police agencies frown on non-emergency calls to 911 centers. Unless there are serious or life-threatening injuries or a crime is in progress, call your local police, county sheriff or state police using a non-emergency number. You can also stop by police stations during normal business hours to make a report or ask an officer to come to your home or business. File the report in the same jurisdiction as where the incident took place.
Obtain forms and/or file a report online. Many police agencies take advantage of the Internet and post forms online, saving them and you time. Some agencies also allow you to file online police reports as long as there are no injuries or the damage or theft is less than a certain dollar amount.
Have all the important information handy. If the police report involves a motor vehicle, have your diver’s license, proof of insurance and the registration or title. Many times, police advise having an officer come to the scene of an accident rather than having the drivers come to the station. If the incident involves property theft or damage to property, have the serial numbers and any purchase receipts handy along with the necessary insurance information.
Bring proper identification with you, and provide telephone numbers where you can be reached. You must be 18 or older to file a police report; anyone younger than must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who agrees to take responsibility for the report.
Do not delay in reporting an incident to police. The sooner it is reported, the better you recall the incident and the better the chance of police solving the crime or catching the suspect.
Tips & Warnings
- Be respectful with the officer. He will ask many questions that you may find intrusive, but he is trying to help.
- Be patient. If the incident is not an emergency, there may be a delay in the how quickly an officer can help you. Crimes in progress or life-threatening situations are handled first.
- Write down important details or questions you want to ask so you will be ready when the officer is taking your report.
- Filing a false police report is a crime. You are required to sign the police report, agreeing that everything included is the truth. If it is not, you may face criminal prosecution.===================================================================HOW TO FILE COMPLAINTS AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER
How to File an Effective Complaint Against a Police Officer
A lot of citizens struggle with writing an effective complaint about a police officer. Often, the writer lets too much emotion enter into the complaint, and it then comes across as more driven by emotion than fact, more unreasonable than objective, or just generally easier for the police agency to minimize or ignore. (Indignation and outrage are good things to communicate, but name-calling should definitely be avoided.) Another common mistake is to draft a statement of the events without making it clear what the actual complaint is! In any case, I wanted to provide a few tips to maximize the impact of a complaint on behalf of the aspiring complainer.What Do I Mean By “Effective?”
Well, effectiveness is a loaded term, and depends somewhat on the intent of your complaint. Fortunately, the same techniques apply whether your goal is merely to have a damning complaint sit permanently in the officer’s personnel file (and get noticed by the powers-that-be whenever the officer is up for a promotion), or whether you are seeking more serious disciplinary action and/or termination of the officer or deputy.Definitions
A police complaint is formal allegation of misconduct. This should not be confused with a “service complaint,” which is a complaint about the service or policies of the agency, but not an allegation of misconduct against a specific employee of that agency. For the purposes of this guide, the “subject officer” is the officer you are complaining about. The “agency” is the police department, sheriff’s office, or other law enforcement agency with whom you are filing the complaint.General guidelines: Effective Police Complaints…
- Are written by you! Do not let another police officer write a complaint for you based on your verbal testimony. You must control the specific content of the complaint, or you’ve probably already failed in your efforts. If you’re asked to give your complaint orally to the on-duty supervisor, insist instead on sending a written complaint (certified, with return receipt requested) to Internal Affairs or other disciplinary authority. Remember that a written submission is much harder for an agency to minimize or bury!
- Allege serious misconduct by the officer (see some of the possible applicable categories below; be aggressive about asserting the seriousness of the officer’s behavior in your complaint!), and contain an explicit request for a formal investigation. Wrap up your complaint with a sentence like: “Officer X has committed numerous, serious violations of departmental policy and the law, and for this reason, and for the safety of the community at large, complainant requests a formal investigation be undertaken immediately.”
- Are timely. Many jurisdictions require that you file your complaint within 60 days for allegations of minor misconduct (e.g., officer was rude), or within 6 months for more serious allegations. If you can’t meet these deadlines, you should be able to show good cause as to why your complaint was late. (Note that these deadlines are often waived for allegations of violation of the law.)
- Clearly allege a pattern of misconduct, if such a pattern exists. This makes it less likely the alleged misconduct will be dismissed as “minor.”
- Have corroborating witnesses whose reports do not conflict with yours! If witnesses exist, you should ask each of them to write a separate account of the incident. It will also help if your witnesses are willing to answer additional follow-up questions the police agency might have.
- If your complaint cites evidence, the evidence should be produced when the police agency requests it (but make sure you get a receipt!) Referring to evidence without ever turning it over makes a case look weak, and is a red flag for the complaint to be disregarded.
- Are carbon copied (“cc’d”) to a state representative or other local politician. This really turns up the heat and makes it harder for the law enforcement agency to bury the complaint without giving it due consideration!
Your first goal is to actually get your hands on a police complaint form. In some jurisdictions, this can be a challenge (see external link at the bottom of this page). Essentially, what you need to do is visit the police station or agency where the officer works (although if it’s a large organization, you might consider visiting a different branch or office) to pick up a complaint form which you will fill out, and mail in. If you expect a lack of professionalism or outright abuse on the part of the agency (or if you aren’t sure what to expect) then you should strongly consider bringing someone with you to the police station as a witness. If you’re really concerned, consider having that person keep a small tape recorder in their possession. Having a witness with you makes it far less likely you will be harassed or arrested. Having the tape recorder will help later if the officer at the front desk is abusive and/or refuses to give you a complaint form. Be sure to grab some duplicate forms while you’re at the police station, and stick them in a file cabinet at home — no sense having to come all the way back to the station and fight for another form if you lose the first form, or if the behavior you’re complaining about recurs!
The Basics: Categories of Police Misconduct
Minor misconduct: has minimal adverse impact on the operation or integrity of the agency. Not likely to result in formal disciplinary action (e.g., a lack of courtesy; although rudeness complaints may have a long-term effect on the officer, as described below, rudeness may also fall into the more serious “unnecessary force” category, also described below).
General misconduct: violates a policy that requires a fixed penalty (e.g., failure to attend court, failure to attend a scheduled training or qualification, etc.). Generally not relevant to citizen complaints.
Serious misconduct: violates policies, procedures, rules, or regulations that have an adverse impact on the operation or integrity of the agency, and which can result in formal disciplinary action (this includes violations of the law). Generally the kind of stuff that you want to allege, if at all possible.
Examples of serious misconduct include (names and definitions may vary a bit from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; check your local police agency’s Operations Manual (it should be made available to the public online, or at the police agency office):
- Aiding another (officer) to violate a rule
- Altering information on official documents
- Appropriating property
- Careless driving resulting in injury or death (note also that many jurisdictions require automatic testing of an officer for alcohol or drug influence after any car accident more severe than a fender bender that may have been caused by that officer; this can be a good thing to request under an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request – ***link coming soon!***)
- Compromising a criminal case
- Departing from the truth (a colorful euphemism for lying; good for alleging in the case of traffic tickets; see also False report)
- Destruction of reports or records
- Discrimination (see also Racial or ethnic intimidation, below)
- Drinking on duty
- False arrest (not to be confused with the tort of the same name)
- False report (see also Departing from the truth)
- Harassment (see also Sexual Harassment)
- Knowingly making a false report (good for alleging in the case of traffic tickets)
- Law violation(s), or conspiracy to commit law violation(s) (a.k.a. lack of conformance with the law)
- Malicious threats or assault
- Overdriving (driving rapidly and/or aggressively) on the way to a minor call (very common in some jurisdictions)
- Racial or ethnic intimidation
- Rough and careless handling of departmental equipment
- Sexual harassment
- Soliciting or accepting a bribe
- Unnecessary force (a.k.a. excessive force; this category includes not only unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest or in dealing with a prisoner, but also ridiculing, taunting, humiliating, or mentally abusing you)
Filing the Complaint
As mentioned previously, make sure your complaint alleges at least one specific category of misconduct! (See examples above.) This serves two purposes. First, this makes it irrefutably clear what misconduct you are accusing the officer of, and thus helps to set the stage for your complaint to be appropriately reviewed and investigated. Secondly, and even more importantly, a specific allegation makes it tougher for the departmental employees handling the complaint to clear the officer without any substantial refutation of your allegations, and thus tougher for them to sweep it under the rug. It’s easier for an agency to dismiss a raw statement of facts which contains some misconduct buried deep within, than to dismiss a report which specifically names one or more official categories of misconduct. As such, try to pick the best few applicable policy violations and list them in a boldface heading at the top of your complaint. In addition to the serious offenses listed above, other categories of misconduct include:
- Abuse of authority
- Abuse of process
- Conduct unbecoming a law enforcement officer
- Lack of courtesy
- Lack of professionalism
- Neglect of duty
- Retaliation (e.g., for a previous complaint you filed!)
There is clearly a lot of overlap between categories, so you should be able to cite plenty of types of misconduct in your report. Don’t limit yourself to the items listed here; check your local police department operational manual or procedural handbook for additional categories!
Remember, if the incident about which you are complaining is part of a pattern of behavior by the subject officer(s), be sure to note this in your complaint!
Finally, make sure that you mail the complaint report using Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. That way, you’ll end up with a postcard that says who at the department signed for your complaint, and the department cannot later allege that they never received it.
What happens after I file a complaint?
First, the intake stage. A sergeant (or higher ranking officer; this person will be known as the “intake officer”) will conduct a preliminary review the complaint and determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute non-minor misconduct. Next, there are several other grounds for dismissal of the complaint besides the misconduct being categorized as minor. For example, a determination that your allegations are intentionally and materially false will lead to your complaint being dismissed. Trivial or frivolous complaints (i.e., those which allege minor technical violations of procedural rules which have negligible adverse effects on the public or the agency’s credibility, such as failure by the officer to wear the uniform hat) are also dismissed during intake. Grossly illogical or improbable complaints (e.g., that an officer took control of your mind and made you punch yourself in the face) are also dismissed at this stage. Note that if you have a “history of unfounded complaints” with the agency, you may receive “special handling.” This does not mean they can automatically dismiss your complaint, but rather, that they may require you to agree to an interview or other additional procedures.
If your allegations are perceived to be minor by the reviewing officer (or not part of a pattern), your complaint dies before it is ever seriously considered – this is why it’s so important for you to clearly allege and categorize serious misconduct by the officer!
A categorization of minor misconduct by the intake officer will lead to an informal investigation; this is a dead end as far as you are concerned! An informal investigation consists of nothing more than debriefing the subject officer regarding your concerns about the officer.s actions or quality of service. Most importantly, informal investigations do not trigger any formal finding or the imposition of discipline. This is why it’s so important to explicitly allege serious misconduct by the officer, and to request a formal investigation in your complaint! If your complaint gets designated for informal investigation, write the department a letter underscoring the severity of your allegations, and demanding that a formal investigation be undertaken.
A formal investigation is generally performed by the subject officer’s chain of command (his supervisors), or by an Internal Affairs officer (or bureau of officers, in the case of larger, metropolitan police agencies). Depending on your jurisdiction, Internal Affairs involvement may be reserved for allegations of serious misconduct (and the officer’s superior is generally required to notify Internal Affairs of any such allegations). During a formal investigation, the subject officer and his or her representatives are prohibited from contacting or interviewing any witnesses or conducting any type of investigation into the allegations. As such, you should report any contact or attempts at contacting you by officers who are not specifically authorized to conduct the investigation!
The subject officer is not entitled to any legal representation during the investigation process since it is generally an internal matter and does not involve a court proceeding. During the investigation, officers who are known to have knowledge (either direct or indirect) of the alleged misconduct will be required by the agency to prepare and submit an individual report which is both complete and accurate.
Be forewarned that in a rural Sheriff’s Office or other small police agency, “Internal Affairs” may consist of a single officer who is closely acquainted with, or works closely with, the subject officer. This will probably make it harder to get your complaint the attention it deserves, but the techniques in this guide should help you overcome this disadvantage!
Criminal or civil suits against the officer
If criminal charges are expected against the officer, this may affect the scheduling and handling of the investigation. This is because in a criminal case, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” (that is, the jury must be roughly 90% certain that the crime occurred). In contrast, in most civil cases or in the handling of police complaints, the standard of proof is a “preponderance of evidence” (that is, roughly 51% certainty that the allegation is true, but this may not be true with some allegations such as False Arrest, which only has to meet an even lower, “probable cause” standard). So, in the case of criminal allegations, the investigating authorities will generally wait to handle complaints after the conclusion of the criminal matter, since the evidence and results of the trial may be definitive and save investigation time (unofficially, it also decreases the odds that the police agency sweeps something under the rug that later becomes embarrassing headline news). Note that if the officer has been charged with a felony by the District Attorney’s office, the police agency will generally be forced to indefinitely suspend him or her. The filing a civil suit against the agency may likewise change the dynamic of the complaint procedure, but generally will not halt the agency’s investigation.
In the case of very serious allegations (e.g., that the officer used force or deadly force), you should lobby the District Attorney’s office to initiate its own investigation. If an affirmative defense exists (e.g., the officer was acting in self defense), or if there is insufficient evidence to convict, the District Attorney will not prosecute the officer.
If the officer is found guilty of criminal charges, there may not be any administrative penalty, since the criminal penalty is believed to be more severe. If the officer is found not guilty in the criminal trial (remember, criminal cases use the “beyond a reasonable doubt” (90%+ certain) standard of proof), he or she could still be found guilty using the “preponderance of evidence” (51%+ certain) standard of proof, and so the investigation of the officer will resume in this case.
In some jurisdictions, an independent monitor from outside the police agency will be appointed whenever criminal charges have been filed against an officer. This independent monitor will often have the discretion to continue the investigation even if the criminal charges are dismissed, and can also recommend that the Internal Affairs department conduct additional investigation into a matter. Therefore, it is definitely worth your while to work with the independent monitor to make sure all relevant evidence is considered.
Mediation is a voluntary process for resolving complaints, and it may involve you meeting with other community members, police officers, police administrators, and/or an independent monitor. You have the right to refuse mediation if it is offered. Also, you do not have the right to demand mediation. Whether or not mediation will help achieve your goals definitely depends on the facts of your case, and the professionalism of the agency with which you are dealing. If mediation is offered to you, it is worth tracking down a lawyer or other local insider with knowledge of the mediation process and its likely effect on the results of your complaint.
Once a formal investigation is complete, the department is required to reach an official disposition as to your complaint. Findings in formal investigations use different terminology than criminal cases. Instead of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty,” police complaint investigations can result in a variety of outcomes. An “Unfounded” finding is one where the allegation was not found to be based on facts as shown by the investigation; that is, the alleged misconduct is believed not to have occurred by the police agency. An “Exonerated” finding means that the alleged action was found to have occurred, but the investigation revealed that the action was reasonable, lawful, and proper. A “Not Sustained” finding means that insufficient evidence was available to either prove or disprove the allegation (that is, 50% or less of the evidence suggested that the allegation was true). Finally, a “Sustained” finding means that the investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to determine that the allegation was accurate. You may have noticed that we’ve got three varieties of “Not Guilty” verdicts here, and only one “Guilty” ; this provides some indication of how much the deck is stacked against the citizen making the complaint, especially when you supposedly only need 51% of the evidence to support your allegation to result in a “Sustained” outcome!
If the subject officer is cleared of wrongdoing, some departments will allow you to appeal the decision within the department. If this option does not exist, or is unsuccessful, you’ve got several options. The lowest cost course of action would be to complain to your state representative and/or the town or city governing body. Beyond this, your only real recourse for escalating the issue is a civil lawsuit, or pursuing criminal charges against the officer, both of which are beyond the scope of this article.
Short-term implications for the subject officer
Ideally, a disciplinary outcome will result from your complaint. In order of increasing severity, this could take the form of an oral reprimand (note that despite its verbal nature, this action will still be documented in writing), a written reprimand, fine, suspension, demotion, or dismissal. Also, depending on the outcome of the investigation, the subject officer may be allowed to remain in his or her usual assignment, allowed to remain on duty but reassigned, or relieved of duty.
In some jurisdictions, “Sustained” complaints with a sufficiently severe penalty are subject to review by a Disciplinary Review Board which includes citizens, and officers who are not directly involved in the case and not in the chain of command directly above the subject officer. In some jurisdictions, officers also have the option to appeal a “Sustained” complaint to a Civil Service Commission or similar municipal authority.
Longer-term implications for the subject officer
In addition to the short term consequences of your complaint (that is, the investigation and resolution described above), your complaint also has a more indirect and longer-term consequence for the subject officer. First of all, even “Not Sustained” complaints stay in the personnel file of the subject officer, and will be reviewed during the officer’s annual performance evaluation (all officers up to, and including, the rank of captain must typically undergo this type of yearly review). Past complaints will likewise come up whenever an officer is up for promotion or transfer. If the officer is on probationary status because they are a fairly recent hire, or because of a past disciplinary problem, such complaints will probably be weighed more heavily against the officer.
Secondly, a great many police agencies now use a “declining complaint system” to identify patterns of misconduct, and to weed out retaliatory complaints (that is, complaints which are believed to be filed simply to wreak vengeance on the officer by the citizen). Under the declining complaint system, the agency will not only look at the facts surrounding your complaint, but will use the number of complaints the officer has received in the past quarter year (or longer) to decide whether the officer is receiving an abnormally high number of complaints. If so, the agency is more likely to investigate further instead of ignoring the complaints. Many police agencies also use an “early warning” or “early intervention” system which endeavors to detect early warning signs that indicate incipient patterns of future misconduct.
Both systems review the officer on a quarterly basis to determine whether the officer’s statistics are out of line when compared with “similarly situated” officers. Ideally, this means that only officers with the same tenure, shift, and neighborhood are compared, but in the real world such “similarly situated” officers may be unavailable for comparison. An officer’s statistics are also normalized to adjust for the number of complaints versus the number of contacts or arrests during the period in question, the number of uses of force versus the number of contacts or arrests, the number of crashed cars, number of rudeness complaints, etc. Small or rural police departments may employ additional statistics due to the decreased number of contacts (e.g., number of sick days taken). If any of these metrics hits a certain threshold, counseling and mentoring are ordered for the officer (or in more serious cases, disciplinary proceedings).
How many complaints does it take to raise a red flag? For a variety of likely reasons, urban police officers typically receive more complaints than their rural counterparts. The “similarly situated” statistics notwithstanding, even five complaints in a quarter would be a very high number, even for an officer who makes a lot of arrests in an urban area. Obviously, a smaller number of complaints would likely raise a red flag in a suburban or rural police department.
What if I verbally antagonized the officer before he broke out the Taser?
Officially, the fact that you called the cop a “parasitic ass-clown” as he handed you the speeding ticket (a.k.a. “contempt for the officer”; note that this, and the oft-heard “disrespecting an officer” are not actually illegal) may be “taken into consideration” during the investigation, but is not supposed to actually be a mitigating circumstance for the officer. This is quite a nuanced guideline, but you can certainly use that to your advantage by owning up to your outburst in your complaint, and making it clear that this was still no excuse for the officer’s subsequent behavior. Likewise, if you begged, “Don’t taze me, bro!” beforehand, make that clear in your complaint as well.
What about off-duty officers?
You should be aware that off-duty officers in any jurisdiction who are charged with misdemeanors, felonies, or local law violations involving use of force (e.g., assault) or threatened use of force are generally placed under formal investigation if their department is made aware of the violation. If you are involved in an incident with an off-duty officer, never assume that the officer’s agency will find out . the only way to be sure is to file a complaint which fully documents the incident. Note also that many departments require off-duty officers, while in uniform, to adhere to the same standards of conduct as if they were on duty!
What if I can’t identify the officer?
Police agencies must make a good faith effort to identify the officer on your behalf. Unless you’re going to sue the agency (and thus will have discovery or subpoena power), you won’t have much chance to identify the officer yourself. So, if the agency cannot or will not identify the officer, your best chance is to challenge whether the agency really lived up to its obligations and made a good faith effort; ask them to document what steps they took to identify the officer(s) in question!
What about third party complaints?
Third parties can make complaints. However, they must have a “reasonably direct relationship” to the incident if filing a minor complaint. A “reasonably direct relationship” generally means the third party was directly affected by the alleged misconduct (a first-hand source), witnessed the alleged misconduct (a second-hand source), or has special, professional, or organizational knowledge about the alleged misconduct (e.g., based on the party’s capacity as a lawyer, judge, etc.) The agency isn’t allowed to dismiss less serious third party complaints if there is a reasonable explanation why the “person with standing” (the victim) did not file the complaint (e.g., the victim was a minor, elderly, disabled, deceased, doesn’t speak English well, is not a citizen, is wanted on criminal charges, has been threatened, etc.)
Can I complain anonymously?
Anonymous complaints are usually dismissed unless they allege corruption or other very serious police misconduct.
If the subject officer or his cronies start giving you a hard time after you file the complaint, file an additional retaliation complaint after each occurrence! That way, each complaint makes the pattern of harassment more obvious, harder to deny, and increases the chances this behavior will stop.
What if I want to commend an officer for doing something good?
While “courtesy patrol” services such as helping a stranded motorist change a flat tire seem to be in steady decline (police agencies cite budgetary restrictions demanding retasking of officers; critics cite departmental greed causing deprioritization of such services in favor of revenue-generating activity like traffic enforcement), it is conceivable that you will have reason to thank an officer acting in this capacity. And indeed, you should . the increasing rarity of such occurrences makes it all the more important to reward officers for actually protecting and/or serving the community. You can submit a narrative the same way you would in the case of a complaint. The officer will likely receive a complimentary note from the Chief or other superior officer, and perhaps a mention in the agency’s newsletter. More significant positive deeds can result in a service award or citation, Officer of the Year award, or even a medal.
If you’ve been arrested, you need only say, ” I want to speak with an attorney,” or ” I have nothing to say now.” You don’t have to say anything after that. Dont start answering questions just because you are intentionally being baited or aggravated. Do not leave ANYTHING laying around that you dont want others to look at. This includes in your home , car or on your person.
AIRPORT SCREENING RIGHTS
Here’s what passengers need to know.If you set off a metal-detector alarm, checkpoint screeners are authorized to:
- Run a metal-detecting wand over your body to find the metal.
- Turn over your belt buckle for inspection (commercially available buckles can conceal small knives and even small pistols).
- Unfasten oversized belt buckles for closer inspection.
- Pat down your neck, arms, shoulders, middle of back, waist, legs, ankles and feet.
- Ask you to stand with your arms outstretched.
- Ask you to remove outer garments such as coats, hats or shoes, and physically inspect them or run them through the x-ray machine.
Screeners also can swab your carry-on bags as part of a random Explosive Trace Detection inspection.
Caveat:Everypassenger is subject to a wand and body search if the metal detector is broken.
Screeners are supposed to ask permission to search you with the wand. Saying yes to a wand search, however, means saying yes to a pat-down search.
You have the right to refuse a search. But if you refuse, you are “withdrawing from the screening process” and won’t be allowed to advance into the so-called “sterile area.” Screeners will notify law enforcement officers or National Guardsmen.
In other words, you probably won’t make your flight.
You may request a search performed in a private room, but you are not guaranteed such privacy.
Make it easy on yourself
You can reduce your chances of triggeringthealarmand being patted down by placing all metal items in the plastic tray before walking through the metal detector.
Items that commonly set off the detectors include: cell phones,Caralarmtransmitters, pagers, large key rings, heavy watchbands, pens, coins, glasses and sunglasses, large metal buckles and foil-wrapped antacid rolls, candy or gum.
Here’s another tip: Take off your coat and place it on the x-ray machine before passing through the detector. Passengers often forget about metallic items, particularly foil gum wrappers, left in their coat pockets.
If you are subjected to a wand search, lift your foot as the screener scans close to the ground in order to prevent a false alarm. Alarms that sound around the feet may be caused by rebar in the floor. (Screeners are looking for knives hidden in shoes.)
Here’s what screenerscannotdo:
- Run the hand wand closer than 1 inch from your body.
- Rub the wand on your body or insert it into your clothing.
- Pat you down if you request a screener of the same sex – and that person is available.
- Pat down the breast area of females (if necessary) if the screener is male.
- Physically inspect your hair if it’s not long (and able to conceal a weapon).
- Touch your neck, shoulders, ankles and feet with a clutched hand (it must be open).
- Touch the rest of your body, such as the waist, with the palm of their hand (they must use the back of their hand).
- Inspect your belt area with their fingers (they must use their thumbs, placing them between the belt and the pants, and circling the waist).
- Run their fingers inside your shirt or down your socks.
- Open your pants or ask you to remove them.
- Ask you to take off your shirt or socks.
- Ask you to remove your belt (even if it’s a money belt).
- Ask you to remove your shoes before entering the metal detector.
- Lose possession of anything you remove from your body during the screening.
- Screen you out of view of your x-rayed belongings (unless you request screening take place at a private location).
If you feel you’ve been violated by screeners, you can report inappropriate procedures to the security company’s checkpoint security supervisor or the ground security coordinator assigned to that screening station.
Don’t take it beyond that. Interfering with or assaulting a screener is a federal crime. Assault is broadly defined as any harmful or offensive contact, or an apprehension by the other person that such contact is imminent. Under the new Aviation and Transportation Security Act, it carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine, or both.
And know that just because you made it through the terminal security checkpoint, doesn’t mean you’re home free.
Since the shoe-bomb incident of Dec. 22, the FAA now requires that the shoes of “selected passengers” be removed and inspected at the boarding gate. (Uniformed airline crewmembers are exempt from the new rule.)