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Thursday, October 31, 2013

NCJRS replacement link for your site. UPDATES


I’m in the process of writing an article on how we can bring drug treatment and rehabilitation more fully into our criminal justice system.

I came across your website while doing my research and found some helpful information - thank you! I also noticed that your link to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service is no longer working:  I know what an important resource it is so I thought I’d send you a quick email to make you aware of it.

If you’d like to update your site, the correct link to it is:  I found the invalid link on this page of your website:

I’ve found a lot of excellent resources for drug addiction while doing my research.  I thought I’d share a few of the ones that I think are most important when considering help for an addiction.  Please take a look and feel free to post any that you think would benefit your visitors.

National Addiction Rehab Locator

Addiction Recovery: Procedures Covered by Medicare Part B

Addiction Psychiatrist Search by Location

I hope my information is helpful to you - enjoy your day!

Hope Gaskins

P.S. If you’d rather not receive emails from me in the future about other dead links on your site, please do not hesitate to let me know. Reply to this email or send me a note here:

P.P.S. if you’re interested in seeing my article when it’s finished.  Please let me know - I’d love to share!

2054 Kildaire Farm Rd.  Cary, NC | 27518


We at ASN are Proud & Excited to announce a new corporate partnership! May Christmas Home & American Soldier Network are bringing the holidays to our heroes! Click the link to learn more !!! 
Please HELP we need 250 votes by 11/15 please click and vote. 
Ask your friends to vote too. Thank you we need the $250,000 grant.

Photo: Show your Soul guy Giving Your  Soles ~ heroes in the house

If we can’t trust Obama on Health Care, why should we believe his claims on guns?9

First and foremost, I hate the idea of being forced by the government to buy something as a stipulation for being alive.
But putting that aside, Obamacare, in shades of gun controls misdirection, isn’t about given health care to everyone, it’s about the government controlling healthcare.
Why is this?  Because millions of people who currently buy their own health insurance have gotten or will soon be getting a cancellation notice of their policies forcing them to enroll in Obamacare which is a bloated, overpriced monstrosity of a cluster.
If you haven’t had your head in the sand the past couple of years you’ve no doubt heard the President go on and on about how if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.
I’ve heard that tune since 2009 right up through the government shutdown.  Yet now that Obamacare is actually being enacted, the truth is coming out and milllions of Americans will not get to keep their insurance plan.
And did this come as some surprise to the Obama Administration?  Not at all because buried deep within this boondoggle of an Act is a standard on which people will lose any grandfathered status their coverage may have when ANY change in their policy, such as simple things like deductible changes or addition of a child, occurs.  Obamacare regulations state the foreknowledge of how many people will lose insurance based on these small changes: “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”  
So the Administration knew all along that it was just pedaling a falsehood.  Telling the sheeple what they wanted to hear in order to get what they want passed.  And now that the snake is set loose it can coil itself even tighter around the throats of all Americans.
After all this, I am supposed to just accept and believe Obama when he says his gun control measures won’t infringe on my rights, or that the UN Arms Trade Treaty won’t usurp the 2nd Amendment?  That any new gun ban will not effect the weapons I currently possess now?  That there is any common sense in his “common sense” gun control?
I think not.
If he knowingly lied continuously about his signature health care plan, if people are being blindsided by the fine print of Obamacare, if they are being upended based on the false promises  and if despite continual failures he is going to continue to push forward with his agenda; the people be damned, what methods is he going to employ and what fine print will be present on any gun control measures he pushes forth?
Even when things look innocuous and we are continually reassured that they won’t effect us, be it health care or gun control, this Administration has proved again and again that it is willing to use bald faced lies in order to sell the populace a false bill of goods in order to get its way.
I for one am not buying.


Jaw Dropping Leaked Video Footage: FEMA Is Preparing Military For Mass Gun Confiscation

By: Eric Odom
Regardless of whether or not you like Alex Jones, the footage he has of a training class of military police officers is extremely compelling. In the footage we see military personnel given new/upcoming rules on gun confiscation if/when FEMA calls upon the action to take place.
The fact this is even a consideration is chilling. The 2nd Amendment exists to protect against this, yet it appears the U.S. military is indeed preparing for mass gun confiscation.
- See more at:

California - Looking for the following for an awesome music video


Looking for the following for an awesome music video:

Bad Ass Bikers (and a cool club would be great)

(1) Biker Couple




Construction Workers

School Classes

They do not have to be actors, all people encouraged
If you can help out or know people who would be interested please message me for more details!!

Thank you!


We would appreciate your distributing the following Public Service Announcement / Press Release:
The William C. Morris Post 36, American Legion will hold their Veteran’s Day Ceremony at the Sandy Ninninger Statue on Riverwalk in Downtown Fort Lauderdale (directly behind the Performing Arts Bldg.). The Ceremony will begin at 11:00 AM on Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 11, 2013. An Event Flyer is attached for your reference and distribution.
An Informative Flyer is attached for your reference.
Guest Speakers are confirmed to be:
Mayor John P. "Jack" Seiler Commissioner Chip LaMarca Commissioner Tim Ryan For further information telephone Dick Maggiore, Financial Officer at 954-326-0800.

Broken link on your page about crime and justice

Hi Philip,

I came across your website and wanted to notify you about a broken link on your page in case you weren't aware of it. The link on which links to is no longer working. I've included a link to a useful page on Crime and Justice Resources that you could replace the broken link with if you're interested in updating your website. Thanks for providing a great resource!


Juvenile Crime and Delinquency
Each year, more than 1.5 million youth are arrested in the United States. Their crimes range from loitering and petty theft to rape and murder. The Statistical Briefing Book from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention also states that 43 percent of youth drink alcohol and 10 percent have driven a vehicle while under the influence. Almost 20 percent admit to carrying a weapon. More than 700,000 are involved in gang activity.
Juvenile arrest rates vary widely by sex and race. There were 5,804 arrests for every youth aged 10 to 17 in 2009. Almost 70 percent of these arrests are male offenders. The rate of arrest of black youth is more than double that of white youth. Asian youth were arrested at a rate that is 39 percent of the white rate of arrest.
The overall youth arrest rate is declining, although the female arrest rate has risen over the past 30 years. In 2009, the female arrest rate was 25 percent higher than in 1980.
The rate of male arrest had fallen to 27 percent below the 1980 rate by 2009. These statistics may be misleading, however. More than 80 percent of all youth illegal actions are undiscovered or unreported. The Department of Health and Human Services offers more information about this in its Juvenile Delinquency Fact Sheet.
There is also a Violent Crime Index tracked for juvenile offenders. The 2009 rate of violent youth offenders was 11 percent below its level in 1980 and 47 percent below the 30-year high of violent offenses by youth in 1994. Less than ⅓ of 1 percent of all youth ages 10-17 were arrested for a violent crime in 2009. There were youth offenders involved in 9 percent of all homicides in 2009, though.
Youth crime is most often committed in the after-school hours. Violent crimes, in particular, are more likely to occur between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. when committed by youth than by adults. Most adult violent crime occurs between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. This could mean that adult intervention and after-school activities could prevent many youth offenses and keep these juveniles out of police custody.
In its beginning, he model of youth justice was based on principles of rehabilitation. In the 1960s this began to change, however, according to Adolescent Development and the Regulation of Youth Crime, as presented in the journal Juvenile Justice. During this time, changes in theories, laws and funding moved the system toward detention and punishment instead of rehabilitation for youth offenders.
In 2010, 225 of every 100,000 youth under age 18 were held in a juvenile detention facility. These statistics vary widely by state, but range from 53 per 100,000 in Vermont to 575 per 100,000 in South Dakota. Youth facility conditions are sometimes called into question, usually by advocacy groups who promote rehabilitation in these youth. For a look inside America’s juvenile prisons, Wired hosts a photo essay about the state of juvenile detention facilities in America.
Additional Resources
-The National Council on Crime and Delinquency is interested in juvenile delinquency prevention and rehabilitation.
-The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice tracks statistical data and is active in the juvenile legal system.
-Crime in America is a blog about juvenile justice. offers statistics and information on juvenile offenders in the United States.
-Preventing Juvenile Delinquency: Early Intervention and Comprehensiveness as Critical Factors is an article published by the online student journal StudentPulse.
-Juvenile Delinquency: Current Issues, Best Practices, and Promising Approaches is an article presented by the American Bar Association
-Uniform Crime Reports are available from the FBI and offer youth crime statistics.
-Teens and Drugs: What a Parent Can Do to Help is an article from PsychCentral.
-How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can’t is a book by Neil Bernstein.
-The Bureau of Prisons hosts information about juvenile detention centers in the U.S.
-Juvenile In Justice is an organization that seeks to document both the good and the bad within youth facilities in the United States.


Wake up America, you are dying slowly....All american patriots, wake up and denounce this coming catastrophe with all the possibilities you have, your white house administration is part of the problem not the solution . Don't stay passive, don't stay dumb. Every one of you has a responsibility and a role to play. It's the future of your kids and grand kids, it's the future of all your beloved ones , the time is running. Don't forget the words of someone who was born and raised in the same hell hole of Islam....Don't ever forget the words of someone who use to have the same mindset of your enemies. Listen to my cries, listen to my warnings right now !!! The enemy is Islam and any muslim you meet or you know COULD BE a potential threat and i repeat COULD BE because a real muslim believer his/her ONLY affiliation is to Islam not to your country.

CALIFORNIA - Red light cameras deserve to go by the wayside.


Red light cameras deserve to go by the wayside

By Jeff Benziger
 October 30, 2013 9:50 a.m.

Just because man can develop a technology doesn't necessarily mean that it should be employed. That may be said red light cameras which are bothersome to those who feel it lays the groundwork for an Orwellian society.
Modesto, Turlock, Manteca, Fresno, El Cajon, San Diego and a host of other California cities have turned off or minimized use of red light cameras out of several concerns, including legality, high operating costs and the staff time involved to process violations. Modesto elected officials are taking a second look of the controversial devices, which snap a photo of those who proceed through an intersection when they do not have a green or yellow light.
I say good.
Of the 50 cities that contract with Redflex, a company that sets up cameras and leases them to the cities, 44 have turned off the cameras. It's become an expensive undertaking. Modesto is paying $5,500 per month to lease each camera. And of the fines paid by violators, the bulk of the cash goes to Redflex. In fact, an average of $350,000 in fines is paid annually by Modesto violators, but the city of Modesto keeps about 10 percent because it not only has to pay Redflex, but shell out the costs of powering the devices, and police salary to review photos and issue citations.
All this means the trend is for cities to back away from cameras so don't look to Ceres rushing to talk to Redflex.
Some drivers in Ceres are under the false impression that Ceres has red light cameras. They are confusing boxes mounted atop some of the signal light arms as red light cameras. Those "boxes" are either "surveillance" cameras that allow City Hall to keep an eye on traffic flow. In some cases they aren't cameras as they are devices that allow firefighters to change a red light to green in their favor during an emergency by use of a roof-mounted strobe.
In years past, Ceres city officials have talked about installing red light cameras but shied away from them. The hesitation, as I understand it, was that they don't really solve the problem. In the words of City Engineer Toby Wells, the "data is inconclusive." Besides, with Ceres being still small, there are really only two or three - maybe four - intersections where traffic volumes might warrant the worthiness of such cameras, such as Whitmore/Mitchell and Mitchell/Hatch.
In Modesto, fighting tickets has caused a backup in the courts. Social media, is it turns out, has hurt the effectiveness of the red light camera program. Because of websites like Facebook, the word gets out fast about perceived injustices and conditions. Mayor Chris Vierra, who works in downtown Modesto, recently noted how a Modesto Police crackdown of tinted windows went out quickly on Facebook and Twitter and people avoided the area. Likewise, word got out on social media websites that red light camera tickets can be fought successfully.
The California State Supreme Court will be weighing in on two court cases involving the legality of using cameras as evidence of a traffic infraction being committed.
Within the last two years, there have been two successful challenges to tickets issued based on red light camera photographs and videos for violation of California Vehicle Code § 21413 (failure to stop at a red light). The Second Appellate District responded to such arguments by noting the photographs and video were produced by a computer. Consequently, they were not a "statement" because no person produced them. No person could be cross-examined about the pictures or video to reveal biases, perception deficiencies or improper assumptions. Thus, they were not hearsay at all and were admissible.
While officials say the red light cameras aren't nabbing people who are making technically illegal California stops, or rolling stops, while engaged in a right on a red light, I am not so sure. I have a friend who received a costly ticket in the mail after he made a rolling stop on a red light through the intersection of Briggsmore and Oakdale. Jose was making a right turn from northbound Oakdale to eastbound Briggsmore while there was a protected left turn cycle for those going from westbound Briggsmore to southbound Oakdale. My friend didn't know about the website -- - that coaches people in ways to fight their red light camera tickets.
I have been troubled about traffic enforcement by use of cameras because they have shades of a government who spies on its citizenry in a chilling fashion. But it's obvious that in our "me first" society - mix in illegal drivers too -- that people's driving habits are far less courteous than they once were and we need to do something about dangerous drivers. Factor in distracted drivers who text or use smart phones and it's easy to see why any of us can be hit by someone else who is trying to beat the light or just plain doesn't see it.
It's too bad that drivers have to be threatened with a fine to make them think twice about running a red light, an action that might shave seconds off their drive but puts life and property in jeopardy, not to mention years of lawsuits. Their motivation should be in averting disaster, not flirting with it.
Meanwhile, all of this wretched driving means all of us must be vigilant about looking out for the other guy. We have to remember that this world is never safe, as much as we'd like to think. No law, no camera, no practice can end traffic deaths. But we have lots to say about whether or not we will be in one or cause one.
Nice try with the cameras though.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know at 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bikers Of America Site Suggestion, CHECK IT OUT..


Hi there,
My name is Hailey and I am contacting you in regards to motorcycle safety. A couple years ago, I lost a close friend when she was hit by a distracted driver. I'm hoping to expand motorcycle safety awareness, to prevent this tragic loss from happening to other motorcycle enthusiasts.
I would appreciate it you offered our new motorcycle site as a resource for fellow bikers. I personally update our motorcycle website, and my topics range from picking the right bike to taking your first steps after a motorcycle accident. Please, give me an e-mail back and let me know what you think!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Hailey M. Daniels
Find me on the @OpenRoad of your Twitter feed 

California Riders. Please mark your calendars and help get the word out.


FBI interrogated man after comment about American “Police State” on Facebook


Man's fears are confirmed when the FBI wanted to interrogate him within hours of making an impassioned comment

Blaine Cooper (Source: Facebook) 
Blaine Cooper (Source: Facebook)
HUMBOLDT, AZ — A man says that within hours of making an impassioned post on Facebook, he was being interrogated by police and the FBI.
Blaine Cooper, 33, contacted policestateusa.comwith a concerning story about how his sentiments posted on Facebook had drawn the attention of the federal government.  He showed me the comment and told me that within 24-hours of posting it, he was being contacted by the police and FBI.
His colorful comment was in reference to what he believes is an “American Police State,” in which the power of the federal government is growing in a direction which may one day lead people to fight back.
Cooper, who is training to be a wild land fire fighter, said that on August 23, he was contacted by Officer Jason Kuafman of the Prescott Valley Police Department and was told that he needed to come to the police station for an interview with the FBI.
He complied with the request for an interview, which lasted 45 minutes with federal agents present.  He was released after apparently being determined to not be a threat.
“They had every Facebook post I had ever made in a huge file, along with all my wife’s information, and parent’s information,” Cooper told
Cooper said that he was told that without “defusing the situation” by complying with the interview, his house might have been raided.
“The FBI made mention they came to question me so they didn’t have to kick in my door,” Cooper
Cooper's facebook comment which got him Federal attention within hours.  
Cooper’s Facebook comment which got him Federal attention within hours.
It should be pointed out that answering questions from federal agents is an extremely risky idea, especially without the presence of a lawyer.  Supreme Court case BROGAN v. UNITED STATESaffirmed that it is a federal crime to tell any lie, or misrepresent any fact, to a federal agent.  Even an innocent person with good intentions could commit a federal crime by misspeaking during an interview.
But apparently the alternative to complying to an interview is getting raided by the FBI.
Still feeling threatened, Cooper made a YouTube video on Aug. 23, as a record to the public in case he “disappears.”
“[I] hope this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” he said.
The rapid response of the FBI could be a result of the federal government’s XKeyscore program, which gives them the ability to collect “nearly everything a user does on the internet.”
The irony of the situation is that Cooper’s concerns of the USA becoming a police state were actually validated by the fact that the federal government launched an investigation over his frustrated Facebook comment, showing up with detailed records on his family and their internet activity.

CALIFORNIA - Fritz Clapp At It Again

The Hells Angels’ gadfly lawyer Fritz Clapp has sued another couple of corporations for trademark infringement on behalf of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation.
The corporations this time are 8732 Apparel, LLC and Dillard’s, Inc. They are both incorporated in Delaware. The suit was filed in Sacramento. Dillard’s is a national retail chain. 8732 Apparel is the clothing line of a rapper named Jeezy who was formerly known and yet may be known again as Young Jeezy.
8732 Apparel is selling a denim vest, the back of which is decorated with a red on white top rocker that reads “Street Bandits, a red on white bottom rocker that reads “Eight Seven” and a patch that very closely resembles the Hells Angels Death Head. The apparel company is also selling a couple of tee-shirts and a baseball cap that are decorated with logo that looks like the Angels’ Death Head. Clapp is also suing 20 John and Jane Does who “are persons and entities of unknown form who have commissioned, created, fabricated, displayed, distributed and/or sold the infringing items.”

The Suit
The suit alleges that the infringing items “bear a design confusingly similar to the HAMC Marks;” that the defendants “have obtained substantial profits from their infringement and exploitation of the HAMC Marks;” and that Jeezy and his co-conspirators have caused “Plaintiff HAMC irreparable harm for which money damages and other remedies are inadequate.”
The suit claims “Defendants’ conduct constitutes the use of words, symbols or devices tending falsely to describe the infringing items…. Defendants’ conduct is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception by or in the public as to the affiliation, connection, association, origin, sponsorship or approval of the infringing items to the detriment of Plaintiff HAMC;” that “Defendants’ activities have diluted or are likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the HAMC Marks;” and that “Defendants willfully intended to trade on Plaintiff HAMC’s reputation.”
Finally, the suit wants Jeezy and his people to stop it, pay Clapp’s fees, turn over any profits 8732 Apparel and Dillards have made selling the infringing items and “pay exemplary damages for fraud, malice and gross negligence.”

Don’t Even Say HA
The Angels have been particularly enthusiastic about protecting their brand. A recent notice circulating on Facebook has warned the world at large to never “post, or possess images of DeathHeads,” “use the words AFFA, HELLS ANGELS, HAMC or HA in any form” and “never use 81 by itself in any way.”
How enforceable all this huffing and puffing about the Angels’ marks is remains a mystery.

This is at least the third trademark infringement suit the HAMC has filed in the last year and a half. When the club sued Toys “R” Us and yo-yo maker Yomega those two companies countersued. Both suits were settled out of court. The club sued MTV star Rob Dyrdek, his cousin Chris “Drama” Pfaff and their corporations over the use of a logo nearly identical to the club’s in 2012 and that suit was also settled out of court. The terms of these settlements remain secret but Yomega continued to sell the yo-yos the club found offensive online after that settlement was reached.

Got your Red On?

HELLS ANGELS Sues Young Jeezy Over Skull Logo HELLS NO YOU DON'T!!!

 Read more:  Visit Fishwrapper:
The Hells Angels don't need baseball bats and chains to protect their image -- all they need is a good lawyer, which is exactly what they got to sue rapper Young Jeezy's clothing line ... claiming Jeezy's company jacked their iconic Death Head logo.

The fabled motorcycle club filed the lawsuit against 8732 Apparel for essentially reprinting the Hells Angels logo on jackets and hats ... and selling them for a massive profit.

The 8732 design isn't an exact rip-off ... but Hells Angels claims it's close enough to confuse people.

HA claims 8732 has already earned substantial profits from the bootleg merch, and the motorcycle club wants every last cent of that money.

The club is now suing for unspecified damages. It also wants a judge to force 8732 to stop selling anything with an HA-looking logo on it. Calls to 8732 were not returned.

FYI, this isn't the first time the Hells Angels went ballistic over someone stealing their logo -- you'll recall, they sued Rob Dyrdek's clothing company and MTV last year for the same thing.

Read more:
Visit Fishwrapper:

NEVEDA, LAS VEGAS - As lawsuit filings against Metro Police climb, settlement costs soar..



Cases of excessive force by Metro Police, whether in a traffic stop gone awry or a fatal shooting, take their toll in lost lives and lingering physical and emotional trauma suffered by victims.
Such instances of police misconduct also are costing taxpayers at an increasing rate in the form of expensive litigation and high-dollar settlements.
Since 2011, Metro has paid out more than $5 million in legal settlements. That figure could grow Monday when officials consider a $1.5 million settlement with the widow of Stanley Gibson, an unarmed veteran who was shot and killed by a Metro officer in December 2011.
The number of federal lawsuits filed against the department has been on the rise in recent years, with 43 filed in 2012 compared with a low of 24 in 2008. Metro currently is defending 153 open lawsuits in state and federal courts, according to records provided to the Sun. About half of those are federal civil rights complaints; the rest mostly involve auto accidents and employment disputes.
The amount the department has spent has also been increasing compared with the previous four-year span, in large part due to a few high-profile cases.
Included in the recent settlements are $1.7 million to the estate of Trevon Cole, who was unarmed when police shot and killed him in a 2010 raid; $1 million to relatives of Dustin Boone, who died in 2009 after being put in a choke hold by Metro officers; and $1.5 million to Dwayne Jackson, who served nearly four years in prison for a robbery he didn’t commit after being misidentified in a DNA mix-up, although no lawsuit was filed in that case.
Money for the settlements comes from a self-insured liability fund maintained by the department that currently has about $17 million in it. The fund pays for liabilities ranging from eyeglasses officers break while on duty to the million-dollar legal settlements.
The amount paid in settlements can vary drastically from year to year, depending on the speed of the legal system and the types of cases filed.
Metro Police declined to comment on litigation against the department for this story and instead will present a report on lawsuit settlements and spending at today's Fiscal Affairs Committee meeting. The joint city-county Fiscal Affairs Committee oversees Metro's budget.
The department generally looks to minimize costs and potential exposure by settling most lawsuits before they get to trial, committee members said. But Metro is not afraid to defend itself in select cases, some of which have gone on for years and have cost the department $2 million to $3 million annually in outside attorneys' fees and other court expenses.
Still, Metro has spent less in recent years on settlements than other departments of a similar size and is recognized by criminal justice experts for being one of a handful of departments nationwide with risk-management staffers dedicated to dealing with and reducing incidents that can lead to lawsuits.
But with Sheriff Doug Gillespie seeking an increase in the sales tax to avoid staffing cuts in the face of a $30 million budget deficit, the increasing cost of lawsuits against the department raises the question of how much spending is too much and whether there are any lessons about police conduct to be learned from the complaints.
• • •
It started with a knock in the middle of the night.
Charles Barnard roused himself, put on jeans and turned on a light, illuminating the Nativity scene by the front door. It was early December 2001.
“Who’s there?” he called several times before a man shouted back.
It was Metro Police, threatening to kick down Barnard’s door if he didn’t open it.
When he did, Barnard was greeted by three officers with their weapons drawn, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the department in 2003.
What followed reads like a slapstick-comedy sketch, but in reality it led to life-altering injuries and a decadelong legal battle.
The officers said they were there to apprehend Barnard’s brother, who was sleeping inside, but handcuffed Barnard anyway.
As an officer maneuvered around the tiny apartment patio, he stumbled over a flower pot and became entangled with the handcuffed Barnard. The ensuing fracas led another officer to trip and ended with Barnard in a choke hold, straddled and pepper sprayed, according to the version presented in Barnard’s lawsuit.
Barnard was arrested for battery on a police officer, but the charge eventually was dropped.
The incident left Barnard with back injuries that have required nine spinal surgeries so far with more to come, limiting the former private investigator’s ability to work.
Barnard filed a federal lawsuit against the department in 2003. The lawsuit has been dismissed, reversed on appeal, decided in Barnard’s favor by a jury in 2011 and appealed another two times. Barnard was awarded $1.6 million plus attorneys' fees. Metro faces a Nov. 10 deadline if it wants to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Barnard’s legal odyssey is indicative of the steep challenge plaintiffs face in pursuing legal complaints against Metro.
“The cases can go on for years,” said Cal Potter, an attorney who has built a reputation on suing Metro, "literally seven to 10 years.”
Before a suit can proceed to trial, a number of legal hurdles must be cleared, said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. Plaintiffs must prove an officer violated their constitutional rights and is not protected under qualified immunity provided to officers following “clearly established law.” Those filing suit also must show Metro is liable because the officer was acting under the department’s authority.
The difficult and time-consuming process means “it’s almost not worth taking on these cases” unless there is clear evidence of excessive force or other misconduct, Lichtenstein said.
Click to enlarge photo
Charles Barnard talks about his use of force lawsuit against the police department July 12th, 2013.
“If you don’t have significant injuries, you’re probably not going to get very far. That’s the just the reality of it,” he said. "There may very well be people whose civil rights who have been violated that really don’t get redress.”
Beyond the time involved, Potter said these cases are difficult because many clients don't get the resolution they're seeking most: discipline for the officers behind the alleged misconduct.
“We’re not going to get a badge,” Potter said. “That’s a whole separate area of law that the officers go through.”
In Barnard’s case, one of the officers involved stayed on the force until 2007; another left in 2012. Both left in good standing. The third is still with the department and in May was honored by President Barack Obama for heroism.
• • •
Just because a jury sides with a plaintiff or the department decides to settle a case, doesn’t mean the officers involved violated policy. The department received 219 complaints of excessive force in 2012, but only three resulted in sustained allegations.
Former Clark County Sheriff Bill Young said he understood why the public was rankled over not knowing how officers are disciplined in cases of misconduct. Although the department reports the number of internal affairs complaints filed and the number of complaints sustained, public information on discipline imposed — if any — is protected by law.
Young says he believes Metro does a good job of managing risk and thinks the majority of the public agrees.
The force has its hands full, he said, especially when factoring in the number of tourists who flock to the Strip looking to go wild and break a few rules.
"It really aggravates me to see politicians in particular make hay," Young said, noting that Metro’s constant critics need to "get their facts straight before they start shooting off their mouth."
Lawsuits can draw attention to unknown misconduct, but they aren’t necessarily a barometer of whether the department has a broader problem.
Many people file lawsuits because they feel they were mistreated, and sometimes that’s true. But often the complaint stems from a lack of understanding about police procedure, said Carol Archbold, a criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University.
“There are cases where the claims are frivolous,” she said. “We live in a really litigious society.”
Young said Metro’s status as a well-funded public agency “makes it a very attractive target for these plaintiffs’ attorneys because they are suing a big pot of money.”
Taking on Metro in court is not without challenges.
When Potter first sued Metro in the early 1980s, people told him it would kill his career.
His black client had been booked with the “N-word” as his middle name and the judge told the young defense attorney he should sue on his behalf. Potter won a settlement and became known as an attorney willing to go up against Metro.
Suing Metro requires persistence and stamina, he said, noting he’s worked with attorneys who felt they’d been retaliated against after challenging the department.
Barnard’s attorney Paola Armeni said Metro was a scary bureaucracy to battle. She’s worked without pay on Barnard’s case for the past three years and is still waiting for Metro to pay court-ordered attorney fees.
“Every time there is a glimmer of hope ... it’s not,” Armeni said. “It’s continual. There’s no end.”
• • •
Drawing lessons from the stream of lawsuits filed against a police department is an inexact science.
The number of civil rights cases filed and settled by departments of a similar size deviates wildly depending on a number of factors, including internal policies and training, community norms and quirks of the local judicial system.
“Lawsuits are not a perfect source of information on officer misconduct, but I don’t think there’s any perfect source of information. There’s a lot that goes into it,” said UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz.
Between 2006 and 2011, Baltimore’s police department paid out nearly three times more to settle civil rights lawsuits than Metro despite having roughly the same number of officers, according to a study by Schwartz due to be published next year.
Of the top 20 largest police departments surveyed in Schwartz’s study, Las Vegas paid out the fifth least amount to settle civil rights lawsuits over that time frame.
Dallas, which has only a slightly larger police force than Las Vegas, was among the lowest of the large departments. Dallas settled five civil rights cases for a combined payout of $637,500, according to the study.
Analyzing the number and types of lawsuits for trends — officers involved, types of incidents and how they compare to use-of-force complaints — departments can begin to identify policies and training procedures that may need to be changed, Schwartz said.
The biggest trend for Metro in recent years has been an increase in the frequency of officer-involved shootings, which has prompted a review from the U.S. Department of Justice. So far, Metro has met 56 of the Justice Department's 80 recommendations. But critics still worry the changes won’t go far enough in addressing an underlying culture at Metro they say enables use of excessive force by officers.
“There’s no getting around the fact that there are far too many police shootings in Las Vegas,” Lichtenstein said. “We’ve tried to deal with those issues on a training and policy level by working with Metro. It’s moving very slowly. ... There’s an entrenched culture at Metro that doesn’t change.”
Several of the highest settlements paid out by Metro in recent years dealt with officer-involved shootings. More shooting-related lawsuits are still pending in federal court. Besides the settlement Fiscal Affairs will consider Monday with Gibson’s widow, a separate federal lawsuit filed by Gibson’s family remains unresolved.
Elected officials responsible for overseeing Metro’s budget through the Fiscal Affairs Committee say they’re concerned about the uptick in lawsuits filed against the department and the taxpayer dollars being used to settle them.
But they say they haven’t seen any trends or data to suggest major changes in Metro’s policies, training or handling of lawsuits was needed.
“You're always going to have lawsuits in policing; it's a high-risk profession. You try to mitigate that as much as you can, which I think Metro has done,” said Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony, a former Metro captain who now sits on Fiscal Affairs. “You would like to defend yourself in every single lawsuit, but the attorneys' fees are just astronomical on both sides. Often it’s less expensive to settle it."
Anthony and Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown, also a Fiscal Affairs Committee member, say they’re comfortable with the information provided to them by Metro regarding lawsuits.
“From the smaller amounts to the larger amounts, one of the issues we discuss is the risk in litigation. That is something you rely on your legal advisers for. If a lawsuit has a chance to settle but if we go to court and lose 10 times as much, how do you balance that?” Brown said. “In most cases, we know about it on the front end. We’re briefed on the litigation and what we’re anticipating.”
Commission chairman Steve Sisolak, who has publicly sparred with the sheriff over the department’s finances, said he thought Metro could be more transparent about the total costs of litigation, especially outside attorneys' fees, which ran $3 million in 2012.
“It’s the same old thing with the attorneys' fees. You get to the eleventh hour and you settle these cases,” he said. "Maybe that’s how you come to the determination of what’s fair to settle, but you spend millions in attorneys' fees that could otherwise be saved or used for the settlement.”
The broader cost of lawsuits over police misconduct is less trust between Metro and the community, Lichtenstein said.
“As any police officer will tell you,” Lichtenstein said, “the most important tool an officer has is cooperation with the community. That’s something that’s at risk.”
Barnard said his 2001 encounter shook his entire family’s view on law enforcement. A former corrections officer, he said he never imagined police officers could behave like they did on that December evening.
“It’s something that you are never ever going to forget, and you just have to move forward and put it in the back of your head,” Barnard said. “You have to know that most of the police officers are good guys and they have courage and integrity and honor.”