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Exclusive: Judicial Rubber-Stamping of Search Warrants Can Be Deadly –



Judicial Rubber-Stamping of Search Warrants Can Be Deadly

#Judicial #RubberStamping #Search #Warrants #Deadly

According to a federal indictment unsealed last week, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse who was killed during a 2020 drug raid in Louisville, Kentucky, died because a cop lied. According to a 2019 federal indictment, the same is true of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, a middle-aged couple killed during a drug raid in Houston that year.

When police officers invent facts to obtain search warrants, they are committing crimes, violating the Fourth Amendment, and instigating potentially lethal confrontations without a legal basis. Although outright lies may be difficult to detect in advance, more rigorous judicial review of police affidavits could have made a crucial difference in both of these cases.

When Louisville Detective Joshua Jaynes sought a warrant to search Taylor’s apartment in March 2020, he claimed he had “verified through a U.S. Postal Inspector” that suspected drug dealer Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s former boyfriend, had been “receiving packages” at her apartment. After the raid that killed Taylor, Jaynes told investigators that information actually came from a colleague, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who supposedly told Jaynes “nonchalantly” that Glover “just gets Amazon or mail packages there.”

According to the indictment against Jaynes, both claims were false. Furthermore, Jaynes’ suggestion that the packages might contain drugs or drug money was inconsistent with the reference to Amazon shipments. Glover, who was arrested elsewhere the same night that police killed Taylor, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “nothing illegal” was delivered to her apartment—just “shoes and clothes”—and that Taylor was not involved in his drug dealing.

Even with the ambiguous reference to “packages,” the evidence implicating Taylor in her ex-boyfriend’s criminal activities was thin. Jaynes reported that he had seen Glover outside Taylor’s apartment and that he had seen Taylor’s car parked in front of a house used by Glover “on different occasions,” although he did not specify when or in what circumstances.

Although Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mary Shaw may not have realized that Jaynes invented a conversation with a postal inspector, it should have been obvious that the evidence against Taylor, based entirely on guilt by association, was much weaker than the evidence against Glover. Yet Shaw approved a warrant for a no-knock, middle-of-the-night search of Taylor’s apartment along with four other warrants for houses linked to Glover, all within 12 minutes.

After the Houston raid that killed Tuttle and Nicholas, it turned out that a veteran narcotics officer, Gerald Goines, had fabricated a heroin sale to falsely implicate them in drug dealing. While Municipal Court Judge Gordon Marcum, who approved the no-knock warrant for the couple’s home, may never have imagined that Goines was making the whole thing up, there were clues that the officer’s affidavit was fishy.

Although Goines claimed he had been investigating drug activity at Tuttle and Nicholas’ home for two weeks, he had not bothered to find out who lived there. Goines said he had “advised” a confidential informant that “narcotics were being sold and stored” at the house, but he cited no evidence of that, notwithstanding his two-week investigation.

Goines claimed another narcotics officer, Steven Bryant, had recognized the “brown powder” that the informant supposedly bought at the house as heroin, a detail that Bryant later contradicted. One wonders what Bryant would have said if Marcum had asked him to verify Goines’ account.


Local prosecutors discovered that Goines, who was employed by the Houston Police Department for 34 years, had been similarly creative in other cases, citing drug purchases that never happened to justify searches and arrests. He also had a history of justifying no-knock warrants by citing firearms they were never recovered—a suspicious pattern that no one noticed until it was too late for Tuttle and Nicholas.

When judges rubber-stamp warrants without asking basic questions or pausing to consider whether police have established probable cause, they forsake their responsibility to protect our constitutional rights. The result is unjustified home invasions that can have deadly consequences.

© Copyright 2022 by Creators Syndicate Inc.


Exclusive: The DOJ’s latest filing has even more damning claims against Trump –




The DOJ’s latest filing has even more damning claims against Trump

#DOJs #latest #filing #damning #claims #Trump

The photograph of highly classified documents strewn across the floor at Mar-a-Lago beside a box of framed Time magazines had already gone viral Wednesday morning as perhaps the defining image of the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information.

The image was attached to a 36-page filing from the Department of Justice in the ongoing court battle by Trump to have a special master review the documents seized by federal agents when they searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private Florida club and residence, in August. And it’s by no means the most damning claim from the overnight court filing, which you can read below.

  • In the filing, the DOJ asserts that Trump was likely taking efforts to obstruct justice: “The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
  • Trump’s lawyers claimed to the DOJ there were no other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in June. After handing over what they claimed were the remaining classified documents in a sealed legal envelope, a Trump lawyer “represented that there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched.” That envelope contained “38 unique documents bearing classification markings including . . . 17 documents marked as TOP SECRET.”
  • The August search warrant at Mar-a-Lago produced “over a hundred classified records including information classified at the highest levels,” including three classified documents that “were located in the desks in the ’45 [Trump’s personal] Office.’”

The filing also contains detailed arguments against the appointment of a special master to review the documents, which Trump has claimed is necessary to review the documents to determine if they contain any privileged material. The DOJ noted a review by a filter team for any privileged information had already been completed. It also pushed back against Trump’s claims of executive privilege to justify holding on to the documents that the National Archives had requested under the Presidential Records Act, noting that there is no precedent for invoking executive privilege “to prohibit the sharing of documents within the Executive Branch.”

Read the DOJ filing

Trump’s lawyers are due to file a response on Wednesday, and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the matter before Aileen Cannon, a Trump-nominated federal judge in South Florida.

On his personal social media site, Truth Social, Trump said Thursday morning “Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see. Thought they wanted them kept Secret? Lucky I Declassified!”

Trump has claimed that he had somehow automatically declassified any documents at Mar-a-Lago. There is no evidence that he did so, and his lawyers have not made the same claims in court filings.

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Exclusive: Dr. Oz: Abortion is murder from the time of conception, except for when it's not –




GREENSBURG, PA - MAY 06: Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks at a rally in support of his campaign sponsored by former President Donald Trump at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds on May 6, 2022 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Former President Trump endorsed Dr. Oz in the Pennsylvania Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate over his top opponent David McCormick. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

#Abortion #murder #time #conception #it039s

Oz in his capacity as a physician, the 2019 version of Oz, sounded pretty pro-choice in that interview. “Just being logical about it,” Oz said then, “if you think that the moment of conception you’ve got a life, then why would you even wait six weeks? Right, then an in vitro fertilized egg is still a life.”

Which is apparently what 2022 Oz believes: Life begins at conception and it’s murder no matter what. Or at least that’s what May 2022 Oz said he believed. Now that it’s general election time and he’s not chasing the MAGAiest of the MAGAs for votes, Oz seems to think that maybe abortion is not always murder.

In a town hall meeting this week, Oz found some exceptions to his “100% pro-life” abortion-is-always-murder position: the health of the mother, rape, and incest. That’s a variation on the gaslighting forced birth proponents trotted out when various horror stories about abortion bans started emerging.

Like about the 10-year-old rape survivor who had to travel out of Ohio to obtain an abortion. Or people having miscarriages, or people whose lives are threatened by ectopic pregnancies. Those don’t really count as abortions, they have tried to insist. Terminating those kind of pregnancies, Catherine Glenn Foster, the head of Americans United for Life, testified would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.

The Oz who was a doctor knows that’s bullshit. Abortion is abortion and it is a safe and essential medical treatment for millions. It is necessary for all kinds of reasons that are nobody’s business other than the person needing an abortion and whomever they wish to involve. No matter how the pregnancy occurred.

“I trust democracy,” Oz said this week in that town hall, trying to change the subject. “I trust your ability to influence our representatives in Harrisburg, which is where this decision should be made. It’s not talked about in the Constitution.”

But if he’s elected to the Senate, and if there’s a Republican majority, he’s going to have to be held accountable on this. Because there will be a Republican bill to create a federal abortion ban and he’ll have to take a position.

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Exclusive: Bidens To Host Barack And Michelle Obama For White House Portrait Unveiling –




Bidens To Host Barack And Michelle Obama For White House Portrait Unveiling

#Bidens #Host #Barack #Michelle #Obama #White #House #Portrait #Unveiling

The White House has announced that President and First Lady Biden will be hosting Barack and Michelle Obama for their White House portrait unveiling.

The White House announced in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, “On Wednesday, September 7, at 1:30 PM ET, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama for the unveiling of their official White House portraits.”

Normally, the White House portrait unveiling for the previous president would have taken place a year or two after the previous president left office.

For example, here is George W. Bush’s unveiling ceremony that took place in 2012:


Trump was the reason why Obama’s portrait was not unveiled when it should have been. Trump never scheduled the ceremony, and for his part, Barack Obama had no interest in participating in the ceremony with Trump.

Trump is still accusing Obama of crimes, so there is no doubt that if Trump would have won a second term, Obama would be waiting for him to leave office before unveiling his White House portrait.

Portrait unveilings at the White House are historic, as there are only five living ex-presidents, so anytime one makes a public appearance with the current president, it represents one-sixth of the living individuals who have been/are president.

It will be a special day in the White House, and one that is long overdue as Obama and Biden will be reunited at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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