“Seedy” undercover cop car terrorizes Cobb County Commissioner

MARIETTA, GA – A compelling report details the terror echoed throughout several communities across Cobb County.  Only, this time, it was Commissioner Lisa Cupid who raised the issue of undercover officers acting inappropriately.

The report has been archived here: BOEZ_Investigation_Report.pdf-700680070

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National Give Something Away Day: 15 ways your “trash” isn’t trash.

ATLANTA – 7/15/2015 — When you look at your trash, there’s something someone wants.  Here’s 15 ways you can help the planet while making someone happy:

  1. Plastic bags – Take your plastic grocery bags to the recycling bins at your local Publix to help eliminate the use of wood – plastic pallets are durable, easy to clean, and encourage recycling.  For states where Publix does not exist (yet), check your local stores to see if they recycle plastic bags to give to pallet-makers.
  2. Metal cans – give your cans to a neighbor in need who collects metal for scrap.
  3. Aluminum soda pop cans – schools have bins for these and the school gets paid when the cans are picked up.
  4. Magazines and newspapers – same as No. 3; local schools might have bins for paper.
  5. Old clothes, gently used – places like Goodwill sell the clothes at great prices, create jobs in doing this, and enable workers desperate for an interview outfit to get one.
  6. Old, tattered jeans and shirts – call your local dry cleaners and ask if their seamstresses need “patching pants” – this is material that is used to sew under a torn area to provide strength and stability to a weakened or torn area.  Shirts supply needed buttons.
  7. Old comforters – homeless shelters and other places that serve the homeless will hand out comforters or sleeping bags to the homeless in wintertime.
  8. Food scraps – the animals are hungry, and so are the worms – in Atlanta, there are urban farms that will accept compost material, and on your own land, you can begin a compost bin.  Also, neighbors that garden might accept food scraps for their compost.
  9. Coupons – some churches run “coupon ministries” where crowd-sourced coupons can help needy families stretch their food budgets and make meals at a discount.
  10. All those free samples – homeless shelters, some churches, and maybe a neighbor in need can use products that you receive in the mail or at conventions or giveaways.
  11. Pictures – glue or tape pictures onto card stock paper and send someone an interesting greeting card that they cannot get anywhere else.
  12. Kids’ books and gently used toys – therapists who work with children go through toys and books and might appreciate the call offering a donation.  Also, your county may have a child abuse help center in need of toys and books.  Your local Facebook neighborhood group surely has a mom or two in need of toys and books.
  13. Business cards – if you cannot or will not use someone’s services, ask for their permission to put their card into one of those weekly drawings for free catering or free coffee at local shops (if they are local) and give them the gift of a chance at a contest.
  14. Old computers / tablets – your local community college is another (often overlooked) place that can might be able to use your old computer or tablet into a tool for students to practice installing operating systems on.  Needy students can use the tablets.
  15. Hearing aids – upgrading?  Local audiologists might know of a patient in need who might not qualify to receive a free hearing aid from government-sponsored sources.

These 15 tips apply all year round, and THANK YOU if you give to others <3

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The presumption of innocence should continue through appeals.

While the rights to due process, appeals, access to courts, etc. are carried all the way to the top, the presumption of innocence, strangely, is not.  According to appellate court decisions*, the presumption of innocence disappears upon appeal after conviction. The presumption of innocence is an important right that stems from the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments (quoted either in full or including relevant sections below).

NOTE: Updates are being added to this article to include other materials and references to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and case law.  This is version 3.  [7/14/2015 5:23 pm]

To see a case decision that goes on in length about presumption of interest, see: Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).  The full text of the decision can be found at Justia:
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/156/432/case.html

The Fifth Amendment is quoted below:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Sixth Amendment is quoted below:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

The relevant section of the Fourteenth Amendment, the first, is quoted below:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Seventh Amendment bars re-examination of the facts; the verdict of a jury declaring guilt is considered part of the fact-finding process of the jury.  The Seventh Amendment is quoted below:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

What happens is that the concept of innocent until proven guilty becomes eliminated as soon as a jury convicts via a verdict until a defendant is vindicated upon final adjudication through appeal.

The lower trial courts, and sometimes even juries, make enough mistakes that the appellate courts have a heavy docket load.  The GA Court of Appeals, allegedly, takes approximately 100 interlocutory appeals per year from various criminal courts across the state.

The preservation of the presumption of interest is in the public’s best interest because the presumption of innocence upholds the legitimacy of the court system; if people are finally vindicated at some of the highest levels of appeals, then forcing upon defendants the higher burden of overcoming a presumption of guilt is in defiance of the concept that State agents bringing an original case forward against a defendant must prove their case the whole way through appeals – the burden of proof should lie on the prosecution through the appellate process to defend its case upon any and all arguments and objections raised by defendants.  Due Process rights should extend 100% of the way through the entire process, including appeals. The appellate process is designed to vindicate the truly innocent.  Otherwise, we really don’t have a RIGHT – we have a license.

This argument is a theoretical argument that I have not seen anywhere else.  If you like my position, please share this post and credit me for this argument.

#BreakTheChains
#NoPleaForMe
#LifeAtCourt

– Amy Barnes

Posted in Activism / Advocacy, Atlanta, Civil & Human Rights, Cobb County, Commentary, Courts, Courts / Justice, CourtWatch, Crime & Punishment, Crime Beat, Everyday Civil Rights, Government, Justice, Lay on the Law, Lesson Series, Litigation, Locations, News, OpEd / Misc., Policy Watch, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are portions of Atlanta’s city code unconstitutional?

ATLANTA, GA — July 7, 2015 — Some of Atlanta’s city code appear, at first glance, like the City is just begging for legal challenges.  Here are some interesting quotes:

  • “Throws … missiles … on public property” (Section 106-81(12))
  • “… gathering near detention facility …” (Section 106-3)
  • “… unbecoming language …” (10-9(6))
  • “Moving household goods at night or on Sunday.” (Section 106-88)

One particular code does beg the question: where do people get missiles to throw while on public property?

Here’s the PDF, taken from the “Attending Court and Pleas in Absentia” page (the title of which has an Orwellian tone) –> [collateral schedule_92206]

Here’s the webpage link: http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=520

Happy reading (if you’re a lawyer or looking to challenge some city codes)!
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Posted in #policywatch, Activism / Advocacy, Atlanta, Atlanta GA, Civil & Human Rights, Commentary, Courts / Justice, CourtWatch, Crime Beat, Government, Lay on the Law, Litigation, Locations, News, Politics, Reviews - Government | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When emotions enter, reasons exit: how one ticket turned into an arrest.

ATLANTA, GA – May 26, 2015 — For nearly an hour, one woman pleaded in desperation with police not to ticket her for no tag.  The paperwork was a few months old.  She was allegedly from out of the state and was crying about how she did not know anyone in town.  In the end, she decided to stay in her car in a bid to prevent the car from being towed.  Bad idea.  VERY bad idea. She ended arrested.

20150526_195126I chose not to include the pictures of her where you can see her face because her situation was already bad enough that I don’t think her face should be online.  But I had stood there for a solid hour, easily, as this woman was repeatedly banging on the window of the cop’s car, screaming at the officer, and shoving various documents at the window.

The police officer tried explaining that all she had to do was take the paperwork to court and let the judge decide what to do. Well, nope.  The traffic stop ended with the officer very gently but firmly (he knew he was being filmed, I could see his eyes flick towards my camera held aloft) pulling the woman out and arresting her so the tow truck operator could take the car away to a tow yard lot.

“It’s not personal; it’s business.”
– the Mob

Emotions should not be used unless it’s for a calculated reason.  If you want to demoralize or unnerve an opponent, then take a very clinical (downright cold and ruthless) approach.  Take the facts at hand, do the necessary research, and don’t be shy of hard work.  Law is a lot like multi-board chess; the facts, record, rules, and testimony of witnesses can be used like pawns on a chess board to help you win your case or argue for a reduced penalty.

“Twenty years from now, no one is going to leap out of the bushes and hand you a gold star and fifty bonus points for worrying one particular day. ”
– my advice to emotional people

The whole point is, when facing a crisis, remain calm so you can prepare for the eventual fight.  If needed, role-play with family and friends so you are prepared to deal with the harsh reality that bad days happen and sometimes you need to be a cool customer when all hell breaks loose.  Want a role model?  James Bond is one of my favorites. #LifeAtCourt

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