San Jose mayor urges county to revise policy on ICE holds

By Ramona Giwargis San Jose Mercury news

Nine days after a woman was gunned down in San Francisco — allegedly by an illegal immigrant felon whom city authorities had released without notifying federal authorities — Mayor Sam Liccardo sent a letter to county officials urging them to reconsider a similar policy that he believes frustrates deportation efforts.

“Contrary to the purposes served by other immigrant-focused initiatives we’ve supported, any policy that hastens the release of predatory criminals makes us all less safe,” Liccardo, a former county prosecutor, wrote in his July 10 letter to Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese. Liccardo asked the board to publicly discuss the policy — the second attempt since 2011 to revise it.


Federal immigration agents taking suspected illegal immigrants into custody during an operation in the San Jose area. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

But immigrant rights advocates are criticizing the mayor, saying his letter flies in the face of Liccardo’s recent effort to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs, which helps immigrants navigate city services, transition into the culture and integrate into the economy.

Lisa Maria Castellanos, policy and organizing director at Sacred Heart Community Service, said one major goal of the Office of Immigrant Affairs was to improve the immigrant community’s relationships with police, but the mayor’s letter sends the opposite message.

“It’s counterintuitive. It’s a slippery slope that runs the risk of spreading fear in the community,” she said. “We have to be careful that if we’re lighting a candle with one hand that we’re not pouring water on it with the other.”

But Liccardo said he’s trying to protect the immigrant community by pushing for the policy changes.

“The heavily immigrant communities that I’ve represented as a council member and mayor don’t want a violent felon back in their community any more than the rest of us do,” he said.

Like San Francisco, Santa Clara County adopted a policy of generally refusing to honor requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, to detain illegal immigrants. It’s a policy that’s irked Liccardo, who believes the county should cooperate with ICE agents in cases of serious or violent felonies. Without changing the policy, the mayor said in his letter, tragedies similar to the July 1 slaying of Kathryn Steinle are not only foreseeable but “inevitable.”

But immigration advocates, including San Jose Councilman Raul Peralez, see it differently. They say allowing ICE into local communities creates fear and intimidation, discourages cooperation with police and violates people’s basic human rights to due process.

Peralez said the current county policy makes a safer community by encouraging immigrants to report crime without fear of deportation. He said Liccardo’s letter undermines his work as a champion for the Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“Our mayor in this letter is essentially saying he thinks it’s OK to treat undocumented individuals differently and not allow them due process,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the community we’ve been championing.”

Before county supervisors approved the policy on ICE holds in 2011, District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith cautioned against it.

But the majority of supervisors, including Cortese, said they couldn’t support a “two-tier” justice system that treats illegal immigrants differently.

The heated debate in San Jose comes on the heels of reports that Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are crafting federal legislation requiring all local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with ICE. More than 50 advocacy groups signed a letter Monday urging lawmakers to reconsider.

Santa Clara County had an estimated 183,500 illegal immigrants in 2013, the state’s third-largest population, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Local advocates said the mayor’s letter appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent tragedy.

“We want to make sure the horrific tragedy that took place in San Francisco isn’t used as a political rationale to change a policy that the community fought for,” said Priya Murthy, policy and organizing program director for Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network. “Notifying ICE of individuals based on people’s immigration status can only result in a chilling effect and distrust of law enforcement.”

It is simple logic here in my mind. If you create an environment for criminals to thrive somewhere, they will thrive. If you have a “safe Haven” for some people to go they will go including bad people. You have to prepare for that and cannot give blanket immunity to everyone because public safety will suffer. Including the group of people you are trying to protect.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency supports passage of amendment to law vs wiretapping

The country’s antidrug law enforcement agency has expressed its support for the passage of a proposed bill amending the law penalizing wiretapping in the country.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr. said the bill amending Republic Act No. 4200, known as Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for Other Purposes, was a welcome development and demonstration of the House of Representatives’ support to the agency and antidrug enforcement community as a whole.

“The proposed bill would address the need for additional investigative and judicial tools that grant authority to intercept criminal communications, particularly concerning illegal drug activities perpetrated by big-time syndicates,” Cacdac said in a statement on Friday.

House Bill No. 5839, authored by Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr., is an act authorizing wiretapping in cases involving violations of Republic Act No. 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

According to Cacdac, the enactment of the bill will empower PDEA and other drug law enforcement agencies to reach the command and control structure of drug-trafficking organizations and bring them to justice.

The latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) revealed that the lack of legislative efforts authorizing wiretapping for drug-related cases and the shortfall of reforms in the criminal justice system continue to hamper the country’s efforts to stop international drug-trafficking syndicates from using the Philippines as a market and transshipment point for dangerous drugs.

This is how the abuse has started in the U.S., Using something like this to get criminals and then it expands to other uses and purposes.

Court brief says judge botched Scott Peterson’s 2004 trial


Lacy Peterson’s memorial May 2003

Scott Peterson got a bum trial in 2004, his appeals attorney says in the latest California Supreme Court brief from a case that captured attention around the globe and landed the Modesto fertilizer salesman on death row for the murders of his pregnant wife and unborn son.

“Because of various errors committed by the trial court, he did not receive the fair trial to which he was entitled,” the document reads. Peterson’s Oakland attorney, Cliff Gardner, blames Judge Al Delucchi, who died of cancer in 2008, for legal missteps, and not celebrity defense attorney Mark Geragos of Los Angeles, who gave up television commentary on the matter to lead Peterson’s camp when the case ballooned to blockbuster status.

THERE WERE MAJOR GAPS IN (PROSECUTORS’) CASE. THEY CANNOT BE FILLED BY A RHETORICAL SLEIGHT OF HAND.

Peterson appeals brief

“The trial in this case was certainly not perfect,” Gardner said in the document. “Far from it.”

Another attorney is working on a separate but parallel effort to have Peterson freed from custody while waiting for Supreme Court justices to weigh his appeal.

Substitute teacher Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant when she disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002. Her husband, then 30 and now 42, said he had been fishing in a newly purchased boat in San Francisco Bay and returned to an empty house; the badly decomposed bodies of mother and fetus washed ashore nearly four months later.

To escape pervasive publicity, Scott Peterson’s trial was moved from Modesto to the Bay Area, where he was convicted of double murder in late 2004 and sentenced to die. Gardner formally appealed Peterson’s sentence in July 2012, focusing on Delucchi’s alleged errors in jury selection and allowing evidence that helped prosecutors while barring testimony that could have helped Peterson’s defense.

The office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris countered each objection in a January document, and Peterson’s latest 181-page reply brief was filed Thursday with the state Supreme Court. Much of the document restates previous contentions, such as:

 Delucchi improperly excused some prospective jurors because they shared objections to the death penalty on written questionnaires.

But 13 specifically stated in other answers that they might be able to set aside their views, to comply with the law, Gardner said in the latest brief. All should have been questioned verbally, but none were, Gardner contended.

THE RESULTS OF SUCH A SKEWED VIEW OF JURY SELECTION WERE PREDICTABLE. … IT WAS ANYTHING BUT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

Scott Peterson’s July 23 appeals brief

“The improper exclusion of even a single juror based on opposition to the death penalty requires a new penalty phase,” Gardner said in the brief.

 The judge allowed testimony about a certified dog picking up Laci Peterson’s scent at the Berkeley Marina four days after authorities believed her husband launched his 14-foot boat to dump her body. The dog had failed two-thirds of tests with similar conditions; “No case anywhere in the country has approved admission of such evidence with such a track record,” Gardner said.

A study of scent tracking in 2011 – seven years after the Peterson trial – concluded that dogs gave false alerts, or signs at having found a scent trail, 85 percent of the time when their handlers were aware of where the scent was supposed to be, Peterson’s brief says. Prosecutors’ reliance on tracking testimony “ignores case law, scientific research and common sense as well,” Gardner concluded.

He additionally noted that “the FBI requires a success rate of 90 percent before admitting dog scent identification evidence.”

Also, Delucchi gave jurors “one-sided instruction” by telling them the dog evidence could be used to convict Peterson but not telling them that it could be used to acquit him, Gardner contended.

 Delucchi prevented Geragos from showing a video of a similar boat capsizing under like conditions, with a man about Scott Peterson’s size disposing of a mannequin about Laci’s size in the bay. But the judge allowed prosecution testimony about stability experiments on the same boat model performed in a freshwater swimming pool in Indiana 25 years before the trial.

The judge offered to let Peterson’s defense camp recreate the experiment with authorities watching. That would have been “an indefensible intrusion” into the defense process, inconceivable in most courts, Gardner said.

 After the trial was moved from Modesto to Redwood City, Delucchi refused a defense plea to move it again to Los Angeles.

A FAIR TRIAL WAS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE IN SAN MATEO COUNTY.

Peterson appeals brief

Gardner cited another case that had been moved after a surveys found that 52 percent of prospective jurors had been exposed to pretrial publicity, and a third trial that moved when 30 percent believed the defendant was guilty before hearing evidence. Yet Delucchi denied Geragos’ request even though 96 percent of prospective jurors in San Mateo County knew about the Peterson case and 45 percent believed he had killed his wife.

“The publicity which attended the Scott Peterson trial was beyond anything any of the participants had ever seen,” Gardner wrote. “If this is not an extreme case, then the term has lost all meaning.”

 Harris’ office had noted that Geragos did not exhaust his peremptory challenges – his right to excuse prospective jurors without explaining why – and concluded that he must have been satisfied with those finally selected. That idea “has no basis in the real world. None,” Gardner wrote. He contended that Geragos, having lost his motion to move the trial, knew from questionnaires the views of remaining prospective jurors and simply opted to “make the best of a bad situation.”

 A prosecution witness specializing in tides acknowledged he was not an expert on how bodies might be carried by water currents, yet Delucchi allowed him to testify about that very thing.

 Harris’ office made much of the fact that Scott Peterson rented five vehicles at different times to spy on dive teams searching for bodies in the bay, surmising that he was “checking to see if searchers were looking in the right place.” But prosecutors left out that he also drove to the Medeiros boat launch area of the O’Neill Forebay at San Luis Reservoir, where authorities conducted a similar search, and watched, also speaking to no one.

“Under (prosecutors’) theory, there was no reason for him to travel there,” Gardner said.

Harris’ office in January had said that Peterson was “fueled by the trifecta of selfishness, arrogance and wanderlust” and sought to escape marriage and impending fatherhood. They noted “overwhelming evidence,” albeit circumstantial, of his guilt, including subscriptions to pornographic television programs less than two weeks after Laci vanished, selling her vehicle and considering selling their home less than a month later, stopping mail and using a nursery they had prepared for storage.

Gardner scoffed at prosecutors’ “insistence that no errors at all were made at trial and that this was the perfect trial,” at one point exclaiming with sarcasm, “The golden fleece has been found.”

State Supreme Court justices could elect to weigh Gardner’s appeal after or at the same time that they consider Peterson’s request to be freed while awaiting the appeal; that petition has yet to be filed.

“This case gets in line behind their other cases, so it’s not something that will happen quickly,” said Birgit Fladager, who steered a team of prosecutors from Stanislaus County in the Peterson case before winning election as district attorney.

California has not had an execution in nearly a decade, and 751 condemned prisoners were on death row as of July 6.

If anyone deserves a needle in the arm it is this shithead………


Windows 10 giveaway: What that means

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system debuts Wednesday, as the longtime leader in PC software hopes that giving the upgrade away for free will help it carve out a new role in a world where people increasingly rely on smartphones, tablets and information stored online.

The company is counting on tens or even hundreds of millions of people to download its latest release in the coming months. Many people will also get Windows 10 as part of new PCs. The launch will be accompanied by a global marketing campaign for an event the company hopes will be pivotal — both for its own future and for a vast audience of computer users around the world.

Windows 10 is coming to PCs and tablets first, but it’s also designed to run phones, game consoles and even holographic headsets. It has new features, a streamlined Web browser called Edge and a desktop version of Cortana, the online assistant that is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri.

Still, the company insists Windows 10 will seem familiar to users of Windows 7, the six-year-old operating system still running on most PCs. Microsoft and PC makers want to erase the memory of the last big update, 2012’s Windows 8, which alienated many with its jarring, unwieldy design.

Microsoft skipped the name Windows 9, as if to distance itself further from the last release. While many analysts believe Windows 8 made sagging PC sales even worse, it’s unclear if Windows 10 will spur the industry back to growth.

Here’s a look at the launch and why it matters:

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Q: What happens this week?

A: Microsoft plans promotional events in several cities Wednesday, tied to a global ad campaign and a series of charitable donations. About 5 million people who enrolled in an earlier test program will be able to download Windows 10 right away.

The company is also offering Windows 10 as a free download, any time over the next year, to anyone who has the Home or Pro versions of Windows 7 or 8 (but not the Enterprise versions used by big organizations). Some people might not get it the first day; Microsoft says it will deliver downloads in waves, to ensure things go smoothly, but it hasn’t said how long that will take. Details on how to upgrade are here: http://bit.ly/1eNCySl .

Retailers such as Best Buy, Staples and Wal-Mart will have some desktops and laptops with Windows 10 already installed. More models are coming.

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Q: Why is Microsoft giving Windows 10 for free?

A: The Company wants to get the new software on as many devices as possible. Microsoft needs a large pool of users to convince independent programmers that it’s worth their time to build useful or entertaining apps for Windows 10 devices. Executives also believe that if people are exposed to the latest and best Windows, they’re more likely to try other Microsoft products on PCs and mobile devices.

CEO Satya Nadella says he wants to have 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in three years. Microsoft estimates there are 1.5 billion people who currently use some kind of Windows. Rather than charging them to upgrade, as Microsoft used to do, it’s embracing the free download model pioneered by Apple and Google.

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Q: How will Microsoft make money?

A: Microsoft will still collect licensing fees from PC makers that install Windows 10 on new machines. In recent years, most consumers have waited until they bought a new computer to get the latest Windows. Microsoft also makes money from selling Windows and other software to large businesses and organizations.

In addition, Microsoft is counting on Windows 10 to spur more use of other services. Microsoft makes money from selling advertising for its Bing search engine, and Windows 10 comes with many apps that steer people to Bing. The company also collects fees from people who use premium versions of its Office software, OneDrive cloud storage and Skype.

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Q: Why does this matter to consumers?

A: Microsoft says Windows 10 is designed for the way people use computers today — with a faster Web browser and features that make it easier to start tasks on a PC and then switch to a hand-held device. (Apple and Google tout similar features in their software.)

Windows 10 also lets users log in with their face, iris or thumbprint, instead of remembering passwords, though this works only with computers equipped with the right hardware.

Most PC users are still working with Windows 7, thanks to Windows 8’s unpopularity. But Microsoft plans to phase out maintenance and security support for Windows 7 over the next five years, and for Windows 8 by 2023, as it did with the older Windows XP. Still, there’s no need to panic about upgrading right away.

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Q: Why is it important to the tech industry?

A: The growth in mobile devices has caused PC sales to decline for more than three years, hurting manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and companies like Microsoft and Intel, whose products are used with PCs.

Windows 10 won’t make people give up their hand-held gadgets, but its part of Nadella’s strategy to reposition Microsoft for a world where people use multiple devices. PC makers are hoping he succeeds.

A: Microsoft says Windows 10 is designed for the way people use computers today — with a faster Web browser and features that make it easier to start tasks on a PC and then switch to a hand-held device. (Apple and Google tout similar features in their software.)

Windows 10 also lets users log in with their face, iris or thumbprint, instead of remembering passwords, though this works only with computers equipped with the right hardware.

Most PC users are still working with Windows 7, thanks to Windows 8’s unpopularity. But Microsoft plans to phase out maintenance and security support for Windows 7 over the next five years, and for Windows 8 by 2023, as it did with the older Windows XP. Still, there’s no need to panic about upgrading right away.

___

Q: Why is it important to the tech industry?

A: The growth in mobile devices has caused PC sales to decline for more than three years, hurting manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and companies like Microsoft and Intel, whose products are used with PCs.

Windows 10 won’t make people give up their hand-held gadgets, but its part of Nadella’s strategy to reposition Microsoft for a world where people use multiple devices. PC makers are hoping he succeeds.

California’s impending thunderstorms will ‘absolutely not’ ease drought

California is bracing for thunderstorms and monsoonal moisture in the next few days, but the weather is not expected to alleviate the state’s historic drought.

The storms will carry the risk of lightning and flash floods as well as heatwaves with muggy conditions, putting emergency services on alert.

A strong ridge of high pressure expanding westward from Mexico, Texas and Arizona is expected to sharply increase temperatures on Wednesday through Friday and draw monsoonal moisture into the region.

The rainfall will not ease the four-year-old drought, said Chris Hintz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Sacramento. “Absolutely not. Not even close.”

In fact the storms will be accompanied by triple-digit temperatures and may trigger wildfires, he warned. “Initially the thunderstorms will probably not produce a lot of rain. They will mainly be isolated and over the mountains. They could produce more fires because of the lightning.”

Related: Wildfires torch bone-dry northern California as temperatures rise

Jan Null, a former NWS lead forecaster who now runs a consultancy, Golden Gate Weather Services, said monsoonal moisture did not signify torrential, tropical downpour. “It’ll be very spotty. It won’t make a dent in the drought.”

The heatwave began in Sacramento on Tuesday, where temperatures were expected to reach 104F (40C). They could exceed 107F later this week.

July, typically an arid month, has turned out to be one of the wettest in California history. Some of the downpours helped douse wildfires but the accompanying lightning also started about half a dozen new ones.

Storms last week also caused a mud and rock slide on Highway 140 near the western edge of Yosemite park, and washed away a bridge along Interstate 10, a major freeway connecting southern California and Arizona.

Damper vegetation is a mixed blessing for firefighters. It can reduce kindling-type conditions for several days but if heat returns the new, green shoots can quickly die and become fuel for a future fire.

The recent downpours also wreaked havoc on power lines and rained out a Los Angeles Angels home game for the first time in two decades.

Climatologists said there is an increasing chance El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterized by the warming of Pacific Ocean waters, will bring a wetter than average winter to California.

“It’s already in the Pacific, but that doesn’t mean we’ll got a lot of rainfall. But the stronger it gets, the stronger the chance of that happening,” said Null.

There are indications this year’s El Niño could be as strong as or stronger than the 1997-98 El Niño.

Even then, busting the drought will depend on consistent rain reaching northern California, home to giant reservoirs and snowpack which supply the rest of the state.

We will not catch a break here in Kalifornia any time soon…….

Retro of the day: Luther Vandross

From Luther Vandross’ early days as a jingle and background singer to his first R&B chart-topper on Epic (1981’s “Never Too Much”) through an ensuing string of R&B/pop hits, the Grammy winner’s silky-soul tenor continues to elicit reverential comments. Its subtly powerful resonance has remained consistent throughout his much-publicized weight battle.

From Luther Vandross’ early days as a jingle and background singer to his first R&B chart-topper on Epic (1981’s “Never Too Much”) through an ensuing string of R&B/pop hits, the Grammy winner’s silky-soul tenor continues to elicit reverential comments. Its subtly powerful resonance has remained consistent throughout his much-publicized weight battle.