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Archive for March 14th, 2016

Justice Department Warns Courts to Stop Targeting Poor People for Money

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department on Monday urged state judges nationwide to end unconstitutional policies of jailing low-income people as a way to collect fines and debt.

The letter to chief judges and court administrators said courthouses are not money-making ventures and should not use arrest warrants to collect fees, the New York Times reports. 

The practice of locking poor people up creates a cycle of fines, debt and jail, the letter said.

“This unconstitutional practice is often framed as a routine administrative matter,” Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor, wrote. “For example, a motorist who is arrested for driving with a suspended license may be told that the penalty for the citation is $300 and that a court date will be scheduled only upon the completion of a $300 payment.”

Some courts lock people up on minor offenses and won’t release the defendants until their fines are paid.

“When bail is set unreasonably high, people are behind bars only because they are poor,” Lynch said at the White House in December. “Not because they’re a danger or a flight risk — only because they are poor. They don’t have money to get out of jail, and they certainly don’t have money to flee anywhere. Other people who do have the means can avoid the system setting inequality in place from the beginning.”

WhatsApp Poised to Become Subject of Next Justice Department Encryption Showdown

WhatsApp

WhatsApp

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple isn’t the only tech company fighting the FBI over privacy concerns.

The FBI is in court with WhatsApp, which allows users to send messages and make phone calls over the Internet, the New York Times reports.

The world’s largest mobile messaging service has added encryption that makes it impossible for the Justice Department to access, even when a judge orders a wiretap.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and the Justice Department declined to comment because the case is under seal. But it does not involve terrorism.

The Times wrote:

To understand the battle lines, consider this imperfect analogy from the predigital world: If the Apple dispute is akin to whether the F.B.I. can unlock your front door and search your house, the issue with WhatsApp is whether it can listen to your phone calls. In the era of encryption, neither question has a clear answer.

Secret Service Springs onto Stage to Protect Donald Trump from Protester

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Protests have become common during Donald Trump’s rallies, but on Saturday, the Republican frontrunner found himself surrounded on stage by Secret Service agents in Ohio.

A protester leaped a fence and appeared to be running at Trump on stage at the rally, prompting agents to spring into action.

Thomas Dimassimo was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic after he tried to rush the stage.

“I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree?” Trump said to the cheering crowd.

One witness, Chris Famiano, told Yahoo News that “Trump was giving his speech and everyone was into it. And within about a split second somebody from around the bend had jumped over the fence and was charging Donald Trump.” 

“And before you know it the Secret Service had like four or five guys on him, they wrestled him to the ground. They put him in the ties and then they took him away,” Famiano said.

A day earlier, Trump canceled a rally in Chicago after thousands of protesters gathered inside and outside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.

Secret Service Wants to Know about 50 Cent’s Stacks of Cash on Instagram

50 Cent performing.

50 Cent performing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is grilling rapper and actor 50 Cent over “prop” money used in photos.

50 Cent, whose name is Curtis Jackson III, was in bankruptcy court in Connecticut last week and was asked about Instagram photos showing stacks of cash, CBS News reports. 

The rapper’s lawyers said the cash was used as a prop.

The Secret Service wants to know whether the cash was counterfeit. 50 Cent said he didn’t know on Instagram.

50 Cent claims that he has been treated unfairly in court, where he filed Chapter 11 because of a $36 million debt.

Tribune-Review: TSA’s Bonus Scam Rewards ‘Pitiful Job Performance’

tsaBy Editorial Board
The Tribune-Review

By definition, a “bonus” is recognition of a job well done. In federal application, it’s acceptance of poor performance as graphically illustrated by the Transportation Security Administration.

Following a whistle-blower’s complaint, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating TSA bonuses paid despite pitiful job performance. Under the collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees union, performance-based cash awards are permitted without defining how these perks are to be issued.

And once again, the brakes are applied long after the flight to mediocrity has left the gate.

TSA officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport pocketed automatic bonuses — in one case, $70,000 over three years — despite abysmal results in security tests, according to reports. An undercover operation revealed that weapons bypassed security 95 percent of the time in 70 tests. Screeners reportedly failed to find a fake bomb taped to an undercover agent’s back even after it set off a warning device.

To read more click here. 

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