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For a biker, there's nothing more exhilarating than a ride on their motorcycle. Whether it's just a quick run to the store or a cross-country road trip, they love the feel of the open air and the sensation of the engine's vibration as it courses through their body. No other mode of transportation even comes close to their beloved motorcycle.

If you enjoy riding your motorcycle, there's a high probability that non-riders tell you how dangerous it is. Many people will say that it's not a matter of if you'll be involved in an accident, but when. The next time you receive another lecture by someone who doesn't understand the joys of a motorcycle trip, you will be able to surprise them by offering a few pearls of wisdom in return. Most people don't realize that riding a bike can actually improve your health and well-being.
Motorcycle Riding Promotes Healthy Brain
Ryuta Kawashima, developer of the Brain Training software that is used in the Nintendo DS Brain Age game, is an avid motorcycle rider. At forty-nine, Kawahima not only credits his bike riding activities for helping to keep his brain functioning at a peak level, but also set out to prove that his idea. His theory is based on the fact that motorcycle riders must be more aware both physically and mentally while they are riding to avoid potential hazards when compared to drivers of four-wheel vehicles.
Kawahima's first study randomly divided twenty-two men into two groups. All of the men were in their 40s or 50's and possessed motorcycle licenses that had not been used in at least ten years. One group began riding motorcycles on a daily basis for the next sixty days, while the other continued to drive their cars, trucks, or bicycles. At the end of the trial period, cognitive tests were given to both groups. The motorcycle riders scored higher on the tests than the non-riding participants.
In another test with the same men, Kawishima asked the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order. The men were tested before and after the sixty-day trial period. The scores of the active riders increased by more than 50% after riding for just two months, but the scores of the non-riders showed a slight decline.
Get Your Daily Exercise from a Motorcycle Seat
Anyone that's ridden a bike knows that it takes a lot of effort when compared to the sedentary pace of riding in a car. Controlling a motorcycle requires the frequent use of almost every muscle in your body. Even the lighter bikes weigh several hundred pounds, and your body will get a total workout as you maintain the bikes balance, steer safely, and avoid obstacles. If you ride on a regular basis, you may find that it improves your muscle tone more than those infrequent trips to the gym.
In addition to better toned muscles, exercise can benefit your body chemistry. Some diabetics report that they are able to reduce their insulin usage on days that they ride . The gentle but steady exercise that is experienced during a long ride tends to stimulate their system and can provide the same benefits as other forms of exercise. Of course, if you're a diabetic, it's best to be safe and pack a few snacks, as well as your medication, to make sure that your blood sugar levels remain stable.
Motorcycles Mean Instant Companionship
Whether you ride a Harley or a Honda, your first trip down the highway will open your eyes to the family that you joined when you decided to climb on a bike and rev the engine. Almost all bikers will wave to each other when passing, and they will automatically group up with other riders if they are traveling in the same direction. When you stop for a break or a bite to eat, most other bikers will usually join you as if you were a long lost friend. It appears that there are no strangers in the world of motorcycles.
While these casual relationships are nice, most bike riders also develop deeper relationships with other motorcycle owners as they seek out riding companions for longer trips. Studies show that healthy friendships reduce your stress levels and lead to longer, healthier lives. People with a good support network generally have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, and more positive attitudes.
Riding Improves Your Mood
Most motorcycle owners love their bike and wouldn't give up riding for anything in the world. Is it because they think the bike makes them look cool? Could it be that they love the adrenaline rush that comes with a fast ride just inches from the asphalt? Maybe it's the feeling of freedom that comes with packing light and just going off on a whim? The reason might be a little bit of each of those things, but the core reason is that the motorcycle makes them happy.
The importance of happiness to your health should not be minimized. Happy people live longer lives and experience less illness than those who suffer from anxiety or depression. Some doctors even think that happiness may be a bigger factor in living a long, happy life than smoking. Depressed moods or feelings of dissatisfaction increase stress levels and weaken the immune system. In time, sadness can bring about physical illness in addition to mental stress. If feeling the wind on your face from the seat of a bike instantly lifts your mood, your health will thank you for it. Your road trip could actually be part of your journey towards a healthy lifestyle.
Be Safe While Riding
Even though motorcycles can improve your physical and mental well-being, you can quickly negate the benefits if you neglect to take the proper safety precautions. Whether or not your area has helmet laws, you should always give strong consideration to riding with appropriate safety gear such as a motorcycle helmet and protective clothing and gloves. Taking the time to protect yourself could mean the difference between walking away from an accident, a stay in the hospital, or worse.


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

We Are All Victims Of Private Prisons and Corrupt Politicians

Though the United States only has five percent of the world’s population, it is responsible for twenty-five percent of the total number of incarcerated people in the entire world. Why? When other countries develop laws, they do so to protect their citizens. Here in the US, we pass laws that are designed to perpetuate private industries – namely, private prisons.  Nearly two-thirds of private prison contracts require that state and local governments maintain a certain occupancy rate, which is usually 90 – 100 percent (Arizona has three contracts that guarantee a 100% occupancy rate).
CCAHowever, the guarantee of incarcerated citizens doesn’t stop at the state level. In fact,  the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention budget includes a mandate from Congress that at least 34,000 immigrants remain detained on a daily basis. To help ICE achieve their required 34,000 ‘detainees’, they contracted with the largest private prison system in the United States – Corrections Corporation of Amercia (CCA).
According to the Huffington Post, This confluence of forces has contributed to a doubling of the ranks of immigrant detainees, to about 400,000 a year. Nearly half are now held in private prisons, up from one-fourth a decade ago, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The two largest for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, Inc., have more than doubled their revenues from the immigrant detention business since 2005.
In their 2014 annual report to shareholders, CCA proudly stated that,
CCA was selected by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to design, build and operate one of the largest facilities ever developed for ICE.
They go on to say that,
Our operations are dependent on revenues generated by our jails, prisons, detention, and residential facilities. The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.
The War On Drugs
Private Prisons Rely On “The War On Drugs” For Profits
To recap, CCA plainly, and boldly, states that their business depends upon prisoners, and that relaxed laws, particularly laws dealing with drugs and immigration, can adversely hurt their business. To help protect their investment, CCA and other for-profit, private prisons, donate heavily to politicians.
Lobbying_ContributionsA recent article published by the Washington Post said that:
The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute.
As of today, there are 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds. Those numbers translate into huge profits. To protect those profits, these private prison corporations pad the bank accounts of any politician, or government official, willing to accept the money. As the election season is beginning to ramp up, those donations are skyrocketing.
Though CCA stated the company doesn’t lobby on policies that affect “the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention”, they do make donations to those individuals who support tougher sentencing guidelines and those that do not support relaxed drug laws.
Former Judge Mark Ciavarella, As Seen During His Trial
However, it’s not only the politicians that are on the take – it’s the entire justice system! Mark Ciavarella, a former judge in Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for taking kickbacks from private prisons. He was paid handsomely for ensuring that kids, many of which were first-time, non-violent offenders, were sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. Because of the dishonesty, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned 4,000 convictions.
dirty-politicsThe ties between private prisons and elected officials are deeper and stronger than any of us can comprehend. GEO had donated millions to the Republic Party of Florida PAC. In turn, Florida Governor Rick Scott, a republican, unsuccessfully tried to privatize over two-dozen prisons. This push for privatization came after he used Donna Arduin, a former trustee for GEO’s Correctional Properties Trust, as a budget advisor. Additionally, after receiving political donations from GEO, Senator Marco Rubio helped push legislation through for GEO after hiring Arduin as an economic consultant.
Have you ever wondered why politicians haven’t passed a sound immigration policy? For one, if our immigration policies are fixed, where would we get the 34,000 immigrants required by Federal mandate, to place in prisons? (click here for an interactive map of the 961 detention facilities for immigrants)
Have you ever wondered why we can’t shut off the flow of illegal drugs into our country? Our government has the ability, but they chose not to. If drugs stopped flowing across our borders, then drug-related arrests would plummet – then, there would be less citizens to incarcerate.
Even if the the government would simply relaxed sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders, where would they get enough prisoners to ensure the 90-100% occupancy requirements for states that have private jails and prisons?

I hope that you can see it’s in the government’s best interest to ignore immigration, keep the flow of drugs coming into our country, and to leave in place, the strict and often harsh sentencing guidelines, so that our jails, prisons, and detention facilities can be filled to max-capacity. And if you’re thinking back to this article’s title, wondering how we “all” are victims of this corrupt system, the answer is quiet clear. We, the citizens of this country, pay for this corruption in the form of taxes.


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USA - Trump On Asset Forfeiture

It is probably fair to say that most readers here enjoy President Trump’s candor and iconoclasm so much that they don’t care that his brain is made of hair. Maybe it is time to start caring.
The subject of asset forfeiture came up yesterday during a love in with about half the National Sheriffs Association. The subject dominated the conversation recorded in the video below for about six minutes starting at the 21-minute mark. Civil asset forfeiture provides a mechanism that encourages local, federal and state police to steal private property without finding the property’s rightful owner guilty of any crime. Usually all that is needed is an accusation. The practice is a national scandal and obviously the President is just now hearing about it for the first time.
At the end of the asset forfeiture discussion – at about the 27-minute mark – Harold Eavenson, who is the Sheriff of Rockwell County, Texas and who likes to dress up like an admiral, complained about a bill in the Texas Senate (SB380) cosponsored by Konni Burton (photo above) of Forth Worth and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen. Burton is a Republican and Hinojosa is a Democrat. Burton wrote the bill.


The new law would require a criminal conviction before prosecutors could proceed with asset forfeiture. Civil forfeiture would only be allowed if the property owner is unavailable or does not claim the property. SB380 would prohibit state and local law enforcement from receiving proceeds from forfeited property. All funds would go to the county treasurer. Currently in Texas, up to 70 percent of asset forfeiture proceeds go directly into law enforcement agency budgets. Critics refer to the practice as “policing for profit.”
Burton’s bill would also end the practice of transferring seized property to the federal government. Typically, in states with strict asset forfeiture laws, local police turn the assets over to federal officials who then return those assets to local police as a grant. California, for example, has strict state-level restrictions on asset forfeiture, but local police departments get around those laws by participating in a federal asset forfeiture program called “equitable sharing.” Federal officials then legally return 80 percent of the value of the seized assets to local departments and keep 20 percent for themselves.

Believe It

Sheriff Eavenson doesn’t like politicians touching the money his cops steal so he complained to Trump, “We’ve got a state senator in Texas who was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money.”
Trump, appalled, replied,  “Can you believe that?”
“I told him the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico” Eavenson quipped back.
“Who is the State Senator?” Trump wanted to know. “Do I get his name? We’ll destroy his career.”
And then all the policemen and Trump laughed.
Today, Burton told the Dallas Morning News, “Property rights are one of the foundational rights in any free society and the taking of property by government is no small matter…. I will not be discouraged or deterred. The moment for reform of our system of asset forfeiture has arrived.”
“I have never met with Sheriff Eavenson,” Burton added, “nor even heard of him before yesterday.”

Civilian Review Boards

Civilian review boards (CRBs) are institutions set up by cities or police departments that employ civilian review of complaints against police officers. The purpose of these boards is usually to provide independent review of specific instances of police abuse or to determine whether the internal procedures used by police are legitimate. Since these boards are established locally, and their powers are determined by local politics, CRBs vary wildly in terms of powers, responsibilities, and actual success at supervising police. Nevertheless, existing scholarship tends to place CRBs within one of three categories, while acknowledging that these are not strict boundaries and that some CRBs feature elements of two or more categories.1 This primer will begin by first detailing each of the three categories and providing more examples of each type of review board. It will then identify some best practices when setting up a CRB.
Three Types of CRBs
For purposes of this primer, the term CRB will be used for any kind of local, independent oversight of the police force. However, such oversight can come in a number of different forms. There are three main types of CRB. The first model of CRB is the investigative model. Here the CRB is charged with investigating specific allegations of officer abuse and creating findings which are then submitted to the chief of police or mayor. The second type is the review model that reviews findings made by the police department’s own investigative process to determine whether the findings are fair or not. Depending on the type of board, they may address all complaint allegations of a specific type, or just those appealed by the complainants. The third type of CRB is the auditor model. This model does not focus on specific complaints, but instead audits the internal review process to ensure its fairness. Some CRBs combine elements of each of these types, and within each type there can be substantial variation in terms of authority and openness.
Investigative CRBs typically have the most independent authority to obtain information. They usually have subpoena power over the police, or some court mandated substitute, so they are able to obtain information without persuading police to cooperate voluntarily. Since they conduct their own investigation, they cannot rely on civilian volunteers and must hire professional investigators. This makes investigative CRBs generally more expensive than other types of CRBs. Independence allows investigative CRBs to avoid having to rely on the police department’s own investigation. But it also renders them vulnerable to becoming ineffective if not given adequate resources. The Office of Citizen Complaints in San Francisco, CA was criticized in 2007 for taking more than 9 months to investigate approximately half of the complaints it received.2 This was a serious problem given that the statute of limitations for officer abuse was 1 year, and complaints that took longer than 9 months to investigate would often not be prosecuted within that 1 year time limit.
Once the CRB has completed its own investigation, investigative CRBs tend to diverge with regards to their authority to make recommendations. For instance, the Police Review Commission in Berkeley, CA is only authorized to either recommend that the police chief sustain or not sustain an allegation of police abuse. They have no authority to even recommend punishment, and even their sustain/not sustain recommendation isn’t final since Berkeley’s internal affairs division conducts a concurrent investigation and presents its own findings. The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, on the other hand, is able to recommend specific disciplinary actions when it sustains a complaint although these recommendations are often ignored by the Police Chief. It does not seem as though any have the power to directly impose discipline, although the (now defunct) Ombudsman’s Office of Flint, MI used to have the authority to publicly criticize the chief of police by releasing details of an investigation if it didn’t approve of the final action taken by the police chief or mayor.
Review CRBs do not possess independent investigative power. Rather, they are limited to reviewing the investigation that the internal affairs department (IA) has already conducted. The scope of review changes depending on the board. For instance, the Independent Police Review division of the Portland, OR police department reviews any investigation conducted by the Portland Internal Affairs division, but limits itself to merely ruling on whether or not the investigation was sufficiently thorough, and sending it back to IA if not. Portland also has a Citizens Review Committee (CRC) that can hear appeals from anyone dissatisfied with the disposition of the case. The CRC can send the complaint back for further investigation, accept the findings of the IA division, or, if it disagrees with IA, present the case before the City Council for final review. Before being struck down by the state courts in Florida,3 the Citizens Review Board of Orange County, FL reviewed all complaints involving excessive force or abuse of authority, and all incidents where an officer’s firearm was discharged regardless of whether a complaint was filed. It only had the authority to agree or disagree with the findings provided by the internal affairs division.
Because there is no independent investigation, these review boards are generally inexpensive. Usually the city needs only to pay for one or two administrative assistants to deal with the paperwork, since the civilians performing the actual review all do their jobs on a volunteer basis. This can be an advantage, if the city does not have a large budget. However, the obvious disadvantage is that the board is dependent on the investigations conducted by internal affairs. Thus, there are often concerns about the ability of these boards to produce actual independent oversight. Additionally, since the reviewing civilians generally have little knowledge of police procedure, they usually have to undergo training provided by the police department, which raises further concerns about independence.
The last form of CRB is the independent auditor. This is when an individual is appointed to review the internal affairs investigation itself, not the results of the investigation. Typically they are charged with reviewing all investigations into complaints of serious police misconduct, such as abuse of authority or excessive force, as well as a random sampling of other complaint investigations. Their task is usually not to make individualized determinations about the sufficiency of IA investigations, but rather to identify ways in which IA could improve investigations or the police department could change its policies in order to avoid abusive officer behavior in the future. In Tucson, AZ, for instance, the Independent Police Auditor reviews all cases involving excessive force, as well as a random sampling of other cases. He is directly responsible to the city manager, and provides monthly reports to the manager on the state of IA investigations. Los Angeles County, CA has a similar system, but the Special Counsel to the County Board of Supervisors has total access to all files in the LAPD’s possession.
The independent auditor is typically a professional, and typically handles the entire office himself. As with the other forms, this has positive and negative aspects. Because only one professional and a few support staff are required, this type of review costs less than an independent investigation office, but more than the review boards. Additionally, because the entire office is essentially vested in a single person, the effectiveness of that office is totally dependent on the office holder. Merrick Bobb, current president of the Police Assessment Resource Center, used to be the independent auditor in Los Angeles, and received high praise for recommending a number of important reforms to the LAPD’s use of force guidelines.4 However, the Tucson Independent Police Auditor was criticized for only asking the Tucson Police Department to review two out of the 372 cases it examined in 2007.5
There are some practices that are common to all types of CRB. Since the purpose of the CRB is to increase police accountability to the public, as well as increase the public’s view of the police force’s legitimacy, most CRBs have some kind of public outreach program. One of the most common outreach programs is a public forum, where civilians get a chance to lodge grievances they have with the police department, and either the police or the members of the CRB get a chance to respond in an attempt to mediate the civilian’s concerns. Other CRBs may hold investigatory or review hearings in public. At the very least, nearly all CRBs have to issue an annual or semi-annual report on the work the CRB has been doing. Most CRBs also have the authority to recommend, if not implement, policy changes that may improve relations between the community and the police. On a more specific level, most CRBs have the authority to arrange mediation between the complainant and the offending officer. They are also in a good position to offer a kind of “early-warning” system about officers who come before them repeatedly, and most CRBs have the authority to provide such notifications to their police departments.
There are also a number of powers that most CRBs do not have. CRBs rarely have the authority to identify defendant officers by name in public documents. The former Ombudsman’s Office in Flint, MI was a notable exception to this rule, but even that office had to notify all relevant departments at least two weeks before it published anything that identified specific officers. CRBs also rarely have the authority to actually impose discipline. Even if they have the ability to recommend it, final authority is usually with the police chief. Finally, CRBs are usually subordinate to police chiefs in terms of authority and in terms of who the CRB makes its reports to. That being said, this issue is the one with the most divergence, since many CRBs can go to the city council or mayor if ignored by the chief of police. Additionally, the Police Commission for the County of Hawai’i, HI is notable because, while it functions as a CRB, it also has the authority to hire and fire the police chief for the county.
Best Practices
There does not seem to be any kind of perfect or ideal CRB in existence today. Part of the reason for this is that CRBs can be established for a number of different reasons. Some review boards are established because the police force has lost legitimacy or accountability in the eyes of the citizens. Others are established because excessive force lawsuits have become prohibitively expensive, and the local city government is looking for new policies that will reduce the number of such claims in the future. Criteria for evaluation can be difficult to establish. If a CRB sustains a very low percentage of complaints, it can be difficult to know if that is because of a pro-police bias, or because the average sustain rate across the nation is 8%. Another reason for divergence in CRB structure is the divergence in local political circumstances. If the city does not have the budget for a large team of independent investigators, then that solution is eliminated right from the beginning. And if a city has enacted, or is located in a state that has enacted, a particularly rigorous “Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights,” there will be statutory limits to what sort of oversight the CRB can provide. Finally, even good CRBs can be shut down or have their authority stripped for reasons totally unrelated to their structure. The Citizens Review Board of Orange County, FL was struck down by Florida because a county sheriff is a position whose authority is laid out in the Florida constitution and cannot be amended by the county charter. And the Ombudsman’s office in Flint, MI was eliminated after the town went bankrupt and the state legislature of Michigan appointed an emergency supervisor to restructure the town’s government and reduce spending.6
That being said, there are some features that tend to distinguish better CRBs from worse ones. The first is independence. The more independent a board is, the more people tend to be satisfied with its findings, regardless of whether they were favorable or not. There are a number of ways of achieving actual or perceived independence, and a number of ways of losing it. Generally speaking, investigative CRBs are seen as more independent than review CRBs for the simple reason that review CRBs often have to take the police department’s own factual findings as given. Portland’s Independent Review Board was recently criticized because it only reviews those cases where Portland’s Internal Affairs division actually made an investigation, but IA only investigated 17% of the complaints it received. Thus Portland’s IRB actually provided little substantive review. This can be compared to Berkeley’s CRB, which conducts its own investigations concurrently with Berkeley’s IA division, thus allowing it to publish its own findings and whether it came to the same conclusion as the IA division.
Yet, it is not necessarily true that shifting to an investigative model is the best way of achieving independence. As stated above, investigative CRBs generally require large amounts of resources in order to be effective. Without those resources, the CRB can become backlogged and unable to generate factual findings before the statute of limitations precludes any sort of discipline for the officer. San Francisco’s Office of Citizen Complaints is a good example of this, as is New York City’s Citizen Complaint Review Board, which takes an average of 346 days to investigate a sustained complaint. These offices take a long time to investigate cases despite the fact that the two organizations already have budgets of $4.3 million and $9.3 million respectively. It is difficult to find an example of an investigative CRB that is able to investigate more quickly or efficiently, however. Berkeley’s Police Review Commission seems to resolve cases relatively quickly, but they typically handle only 15-20 complaints a year. Flint’s former Ombudsman’s office apparently used to resolve approximately 300-350 complaints a year, and was usually able to resolve a case within three weeks. However, it only sustained 2 to 4 percent of the complaints it received, which is far lower than the national average of 8% indicating it may not have been very thorough with its investigation.
A better way to achieve independence is probably through structural independence from the police. The less the CRB is beholden, or seen to be beholden, to the chief of police, the better. There is wide variation in structural independence among review boards. The former Flint Ombudsman’s Office is at the high-level-of-independence end of the spectrum. The Ombudsman was not appointed by the chief, or even the mayor who appoints the chief, but rather the city council. This meant he could act with less fear of reprisal from those offices. As a result, the office was very popular, and survived a number of voter referenda initiated by the city government in order to eliminate it. On the other end of that spectrum would probably be the recently-restructured CRB in Minneapolis. There, the investigation office is staffed by a group of seven police officers and two civilians, and the appeals board is made up of two civilians and two officers. People have complained that this structure will place most actual authority in the hands of police, eliminating the value of having civilian review in the first place. Similar complaints have been repeatedly lodged against the CRB in Rochester, NY, which is co-chaired by a civilian and the chief of police.
Even with structural independence, other concerns about police or city manipulation can arise. Since CRBs usually generate documentation about incidents that can lead to excessive force lawsuits against the city, there are often concerns about conflicts of interest. San Diego’s Review Board on Police Practices was criticized for just that reason. While reviewing cases, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office is responsible for providing interpretation of the legal rules to determine whether investigation is warranted, and whether a complaint should be sustained. A former board member said that the city attorney would always interpret the rules in a manner least-favorable to the complainant, thus reducing the number of sustained investigations. Similar criticism was launched against the restructuring of the Minneapolis CRB, since one of the main motivations was a string of lawsuits against the MPD, and since one of the changes to the structure was to give the chief of police veto power over any investigation.
One last important issue with regard to independence is fear of retaliation. Almost no CRB allows anonymous complaints, and few allow an investigation to go forward without continued cooperation from the complainant. While it is difficult to know how many people are actually dissuaded from complaining due to fear of retaliation, the NIJ study on CRBs indicated that many complainants did mention it as a concern. There are a number of steps that can be taken to at least reduce this fear. The first is to have independent citizen investigators, so that complainants do not actually have to talk to officers when giving their statements. But even having citizen investigators does not totally solve the problem. In Chicago, the police department employed citizen investigators, but their offices were located in the police department itself, which made many citizens nervous about being observed by police. Berkeley’s CRB statute actually forbids placing the CRB within the same building as the police department to avoid this problem, and a number of CRBs follow a similar practice.
Another important practice is openness. This can be achieved in a number of ways. The vast majority of CRBs publish annual or semi-annual reports on their activity. Some, like the DC Office of Police Complaints, go further and publish the facts and determination of the investigations they make. The Police Review Commission in Berkeley, CA holds public hearings for each investigation. The former Orange County CRB went further and deliberated about the determination in public. Other CRBs use openness to compensate for lack of independence. The Police Commissioner in New York City can refuse to prosecute sustained complaints, but must state his reasons for doing so in writing.
Outreach is another important factor for three reasons. First, CRBs are only effective to the extent that people know about them and use them. If the CRB is responsible for complaint intake, then people need to know to go to the CRB to file complaints. In some areas where IA is responsible for investigating complaints, people may have the option of getting a concurrent investigation by a CRB or having IA’s investigation reviewed by a CRB. However, they cannot exercise this right without knowledge of that right. Another reason why outreach is important is because most CRBs are allowed to recommend changes in police procedures and policies, and having open forums provides useful input for these policy recommendations. But, again, open forums are useless if people do not know about them. Finally, to the extent that CRBs are supposed to help restore greater trust between citizens and police, they will likely be ineffective at accomplishing this goal if they do not advertise whatever progress they have made at providing oversight.
As it turns out, most CRBs aren’t very good at outreach given the generally low levels of resources budgeted to them. However, some jurisdictions have useful policies. Berkeley has signs posted within the police department advertising citizens’ ability to seek CRB investigation and review of their complaints. San Francisco allows people to pick up and file complaint forms at any San Francisco city office. Some CRBs post notifications of meetings in local newspapers, and Portland even televises them on local-access cable television. However, resources at CRBs are usually limited, and while many CRBs use some of these methods, none use all.
The last big issue is data quality. Given how difficult it is to access whether a CRB is performing a useful service or not, and considering CRBs are often one of the first things that municipalities think of eliminating when it comes to cutting expenses, it’s important to have a good sense of what the CRB is actually doing in order to effectively evaluate it. Most CRB reports focus on the nature of the complaints and complainants handled in the previous year. Thus they have plenty of data on what sort of complaints have been made, the demographical information of the complainants, and the geographic location of the incidents. They also usually collect information on how the CRB disposed of the complaints it received. And to the extent that this information can be legally released to the public, the disciplinary results of the CRB’s actions or recommendations. The problem is that most of this information is useful for evaluating the police department, but little of it is useful when it comes to evaluating the CRB itself.
There are a number of metrics that can be useful for evaluating a CRB. For instance, CRBs should provide information on how long it takes for a complaint to get processed, in order to determine how efficient they are. Most cities do not provide this information, and those that do, like San Francisco and New York, provide it only after there has been some sort of public outcry about how long complaints take to process. Most CRBs do not provide any information about public satisfaction or even public awareness of the service. Some of this may be attributable to lack of resources for determining this information, but even large cities often fail to provide this information. And Portland’s CRB used to publish civilian satisfaction rates, but stopped after 2009 (when there was only 30% approval) with no formal explanation.
Additionally, the one measure that people usually look to for evaluating effectiveness, the rate at which complaints are sustained, isn’t really that useful. The average sustain rate for complaints is 8% nationwide, so one could argue that a CRB that falls below that figure is too deferent to the police, and that would certainly be a plausible explanation. But except in extreme cases like Chicago, where the sustain rate was less that 0.5% in 2004, it’s difficult to determine whether a low sustain rate was because of an ineffective CRB or a courteous police force. Additionally, sustain rates can be easily manipulated. Portland claimed a sustain rate of 22% in 2010, but ignored the fact that the IA division of the Portland police are able to dismiss claims without investigation. San Francisco claimed a sustain rate of 7% in 2011, but also noted that nearly 70% of sustained allegations involved “neglect of duty,” usually arising from failure of the police to fill out appropriate paperwork after stopping civilians. Ignoring that one class of offenses would have dropped the sustain rate much lower. That being said, it is difficult to know exactly what statistic would be more useful. The best practice would probably be simple honesty in not making the sustain rate appear to be something that it is not.
  • CRBs are typically created to provide independent review of specific incidents, or to independently evaluate investigative procedures used by a police department.
  • CRBs vary greatly with respect to their powers and responsibilities. In general, there are three types: (1) investigative CRBs; (2) review CRBs; and (3) auditor CRBs.
  • Best practices for CRBs include structural independence from the police department, openness, and serious outreach efforts to the community.
Suggested readings:
National Institute of Justice, Citizen Review of Police: Approaches & Implementation (2001), available at: https://www.ncjrs.go/pdffiles1/nij/184430.pdf.
Police Assessment Resource Center, Review of National Police Oversight Models (2005), available at:
Merrick Bobb, Oversight of the Police in the United States (2002), available at
Stephen Clarke, Arrested Oversight: A Comparative Analysis and Case Study of How Civilian Oversight of the Police Should Function and How it Fails, Columbia Journal of Law and Societal Problems 43 (2009): 1
Prepared by Tim Lynch and Richard Stone.
1 Some useful surveys of CRBs include the National Institute of Justice’s Citizen Review of Police: Approaches & Implementation (2001), available at: https://www.ncjrs.go/pdffiles1/nij/184430.pdf; the Police Assessment Resource Center’s Review of National Police Oversight Models (2005), available at:; and Merrick Bobb’s Oversight of the Police in the United States (2002), available at
2 Jaxon Van Derbeken. “Audit rips police complaints office” San Francisco Chronicle (2007). Available at
3 Demings v. Orange County Citizens Review Board, 15 So.3d 604 (Fl. Dist. Ct. Ap. 2009). Available at
4 Stephen Clarke, Arrested Oversight: A Comparative Analysis and Case Study of How Civilian Oversight of the Police Should Function and How it Fails, 43 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 1, 18 (2009)
5 Dave Devine, “Expensive Oversight” Tucson Weekly (2008). Available at:

6 Kristin Longley, “More changes at Flint City Hall as emergency manager axes ombudsman’s office, civil service commission” Michigan Live (2011). Available at:

Five Things Veterans Know That The Rest Of America Doesn’t


Because of their training, their experiences, and their worldview, veterans tend to be a breed apart.  There are many things that veterans know that the rest of American doesn’t, but here are five things veterans know to get the conversation started:

1)  How to use the metric system… and the 24-hour clock

Does anyone understand why we still use the outdated imperial system of weights and measures, when there’s something WAY better? Even the people who came up with the imperial system, the Brits, don’t use it anymore. And even if they did still use it, didn’t we fight a whole big Revolution against them so they couldn’t be the boss of us anymore?

Veterans, scientists, engineers, and immigrants are probably the only people in America who can easily relate to the metric system. The military uses the metric system for things that really matter, like planning for airstrikes, conducting land navigation, and determining how much beer you can legally bring back from your Iraq-to-CONUS redeployment stopover in Germany. But even the military still relies on the imperial system for arbitrary measurements, like the distance selected for measuring physical fitness evaluations. I guess “two miles” doesn’t sound as far as 3,219 meters.

Then there’s the 24-hour clock.  “I get it in 7!” Um, is that AM or PM?  “I get in at 1900.”  Brilliant, see you tomorrow night.  It is completely unnecessary, in a 24-hour day, to arbitrarily go from 1 to 12 twice a day when you can just count up from zero.

2)  What it’s like to live with “socialized” medicine

Universal coverage sounds great . . . until you have to live with it. Remove the profit incentive and take away accountability, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. While the unit-level medical personnel, or “Docs,” are almost universally loved by those in uniform, I can sum up the experiences that many veterans have with the system as a whole with this: “Here’s your handful of Motrin . . . now take a knee, face out, and drink water. Oh, and change your running shoes.”
United States paratrooper airborne infantry in the smoke
Is the average veteran’s perspective different than the average American civilian’s?

Then there is dealing with the VA, where people were literally dying while waiting for an appointment. Still don’t think there will be “death lists” with universal, single-payer government health care? The VA is “Example A.” And did you know that it’s almost impossible to sue Army doctors for malpractice? The military’s health care system is great . . . if you can get seen, if they’ll pay for necessary treatments, and — oh yeah —  if the care provider doesn’t screw it up. This does not bode well for “ObamaCare.”

3)  How to get along with just about anyone

In addition to being a ticket into the American middle class, the military is the only real remnant of the “melting pot” left in America. The military takes people from every corner of the US — as well as from foreign countries — and jams them all together in a way that no other experience can. And — oh yeah — it forces people to get along. The nuances of military life shatter stereotypes, break down barriers, and expose people to cultures, attitudes, and peoples in a way that few other experiences can. Whether it’s the people in their squad, the local nationals just outside the wire, friendly military forces, or other government and non-governmental agencies, veterans can usually find a way to work with people to get things done. A lot of America could learn from their example.

4)  What is actually in the Constitution

While most Americans might pay lip service to the Constitution, very few of them think about what it really means. Interestingly, American officers are one of the only ones in the world who swear an oath not to an individual leader or to a political entity, but to an incorporating idea: the US Constitution. While both officers and enlisted members of the US military are sworn first and foremost to support and defend the Constitution, enlisted members also swear to obey the orders of the President and the officers appointed over them, whereas that verbiage is deliberately omitted from the oath that the officers themselves take. Since all members of the military are sworn to defend the Constitution, obligated to follow Constitutional orders, and specifically enjoined to not obey those orders illegal under our Constitution, it naturally follows that they take the time to actually learn what is in the Constitution.

5)  That there is genuine evil in the world

A lot of people navigate the world in deliberate ignorance of the evil that surrounds them. Veterans know it’s out there because they have seen it . . . and shot it in the face. They believe in the adage that “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” because they’ve seen it happen. They are willing to go to great lengths to make sure that evil can’t touch something that they love.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

AUSTRALIA - Free speech and political speech is being suppressed in Australia by the NSW Supreme Court

OFF THE WIRE…/free-speech-and-pol…/

Suppression orders are being used to gag anyone and everyone in NSW and Victoria to conceal corruption. This week I was formally charged with contempt by the NSW Supreme Court. I can’t tell you everything because they put suppression orders on it but it relates to me making statements regarding judicial corruption involving 2 judges and a court registrar.
So the bottom line is the judges have used their own court to put suppression orders on their own case. It doesn’t get any more corrupt than that. Back in February when the ball first started rolling for a contempt case against me I wrote an article telling people what had happened and they have also charged me with contempt because I told people which they say breached the first suppression order they took out in February.
I won’t breach the court orders in this article to show how dodgy it is and show you what news will look like in the future if they are allowed to get away with their abuse of suppression orders.
It looks like I am about to be persecuted for my political beliefs because I’m trying to do something about judicial corruption. You always have to look on the positive and that is if they do try to persecute me, which they have already started with the court case, it will help highlight just how corrupt the judges are and how badly they need to be reined in.
Free speech and political speech in Australia
If you raise issues of government corruption or corruption within government departments you are protected from  prosecution. The reason you are protected is because it is political speech.
Beginning with a series of cases in 1992, the High Court has recognised that freedom of political communication is implied in the Australian Constitution. This freedom ‘enables the people to exercise a free and informed choice as electors’. (Click here to read more)
Coleman v Power (2004) 220 CLR 1 is a High Court of Australia case that deals with the implied right to freedom of political communication found in the Australian Constitution.
“They accepted that communications alleging corruption of police were protected by the implied right to freedom of political communication. They also accepted that political communication could include insults. Further, they noted that insulting words were a well-known tradition in Australian politics from “its earliest history”.” (Click here to read more)
Not only does it cover alleging corruption by police but any government employee including judges.
Three previous issues that I have raised are the widespread use of ex parte hearings (secret hearings), dodgy suppression orders and a paedophile priest getting 3 months jail after abusing 3 boys. All these issues need to be investigated by authorities, are clearly political speech, and raise issues of government corruption.
Most of the articles on this website are political speech in that they deal with government in one way or another.
Suppression orders – Only allowed in exceptional circumstances
I covered suppression orders in a recent article and how “Australia is facing a national scandal regarding dodgy suppression orders“. (Click here to read the article)
It has recently been brought to my attention that even law firms have had a enough of judges issuing the suppression orders with no regard for the law.
Two lawyers from Melbourne firm Marque Lawyers recently published a paper titled “This is why open justice is broken” and said:
Suppression orders are infringing too far on open justice. New research from Victoria highlights some pretty scary trends. Suppression orders are often too broad, lack appropriate end points, are unclear in their terms, beyond the scope of the court’s powers, and made without sufficient explanation of their necessity.“ (Click here to read more)
The judges need investigating for illegally issuing suppression orders.
Background – (Click here to read the previous article setting out much of the background)
I have been getting bounced around the NSW Supreme Court since April 2014 with various defamation proceedings by Kerry Stokes. He has also instituted contempt proceedings against me twice for breaching dodgy suppression orders. The first time in 2014 I was found guilty and fined $2000 but is was so corrupt and a clear conspiracy to have me falsely charged that the NSW Justice Department said they would not enforce the fine when I complained.
The second time was this year via the Samantha Armytage and Rebecca Gibney defamation case known as Jane Doe 1 and Ors v Shane Dowling which is being paid for by Seven West Media and controlled by Kerry Stokes. I was found guilty in March of breaching another dodgy suppression order and are waiting for a sentencing hearing. Before the sentencing hearing goes ahead we are waiting for a judgment by Justice Lucy McCallum on whether the suppression order should have been issued in the first place as I have challenged it. A decision by Justice McCallum could have an impact on any sentence. The reality is it is a huge scam.
Current contempt case – (Click here to read the vague summons with the statement of charges) (Click here to read the suppression orders)
They tried to have the contempt matter dealt with without even telling me which is unbelievably corrupt.
The court registrar took the initial step in instituting contempt proceedings against me in February but I had not heard anything about it since except for a short administrative email on Monday the 27/3/17 giving me a document from February. The was no mention that they had instituted the contempt proceeding.
I only found out because I checked the court listing for the next three weeks on the NSW Courts website and seen a listing titled “Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales v Shane Dowling 2017/94322” which was listed before the Duty judge on Tuesday the 4th April and I assumed they instituted the contempt matter but was not sure as they had not contacted me to tell me anything. So, I emailed the judged the night before and complained that I had not been given any notice and did not know what it was about as I have not been served any paperwork.
On Tuesday, it was then set down for a directions hearing on Thursday the 56th of April. I was served the summons by email and then served by a process-server on Wednesday the 5th of April which is the day after it was originally meant to be heard.
Why didn’t they notify me earlier? Because they wanted a default judgment in their favour? How corrupt is the Crown Solicitor Lea Armstrong.
Lea Armstrong – Crown Solicitor
Lea Armstrong in the NSW Crown Solicitor which put simply is a government law firm with over 350 staff which does legal work for other government departments. She is personally running the matter against me and was in court on Thursday instructing the barrister. Her name appears on the court documents.
Corrupt Crown Solicitor – Lea Armstrong
I wonder why someone who heads up a legal firm of 350 people is personally dealing with my matter? And why has she acted so corruptly?
Justice Christine Adamson
Write on cue the judge hearing the directions hearing on Thursday, Justice Christine Adamson, gave the prosecution barrister everything she wanted and gave me nothing.
Justice Christine Adamson (Far left – sitting) – 2003 – When she was a barrister.
In any case where the conduct of judicial officers is going to be decided there should be an interstate judicial officer brought in to hear the matter so there is no perceived bias. The prosecuting barrister even said that but argued against an interstate judge. I asked for an interstate judge to hear the case but Justice Adamson refused which makes the whole hearing a scandal. There will be a judge hearing a matter that involves the conduct of his or her own mates from the NSW Supreme Court.
Justice Adamson also put a suppression order on their evidence filed. What have they got to hide? I asked for any possible suppression orders to be argued for or against early next week but Justice Adamson refused. She also forced me to agree to a hearing date when I had only received all the paperwork and evidence while we were in court.
They’re certainly gunning for me for either a big fine or jail it seems. Will I become a political prisoner in Australia so they can try to conceal judicial corruption? They are not after me for anything I have done. It is what I have said they don’t like and the fact that I won’t shut up even with their dodgy suppression orders. The battle above is very much about Free speech and political speech in Australia.
The contempt matter is set down for hearing on the 4th May 2017 in the NSW Supreme Court.
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First thing: don't get nervous. If you've read this, you're not going to be breaking any knife laws.  California's knife laws are actually pretty decent, better than most states (even the shall-issue gun permit ones).  If you're nervous, the cop will read that, and he won't know what to think - but the conversation WILL go downhill.
If you're walking past a cop with a legally concealed knife, DO NOT "pat the knife" to make sure the concealment is still effective.  That's the number one way cops spot people packing guns illegally.  They'll think that's what you're doing.  The resulting conversation won't be pleasant.
If there's any chance at all that the guy is gonna search you, politely declare that you're carrying a "pocketknife legal under state law".  Got that?  Tell him where it is on you, let him take control of it.  DO NOT SCARE THE DUDE WITH THE BADGE AND GUN.  Don't reach for nuthin' unless he tells you to do so.  At all times, act like this is just a normal business transaction.
So what if he/she thinks your piece(s) is/are illegal?
You explain that California knife law has changed a bunch of times starting in 1997 and twice more that you know of, so you're not terribly surprised there's confusion.  Calmly explain as much of the relevant Penal Codes as you can recall...if you're into big folders, PC653k and the bit in 12020 about "not readily available if concealed in the closed position" is a start.  If he ain't buying, calmly ask for a supervisor.
If he wants to confiscate your cutlery, ASK FOR A RECEIPT.  If he says anything about "that'll mean you'll get a ticket too, and/or an arrest", stand your ground and calmly ask for a receipt.  He's bluffing because he wants your knife.  Sorry if any cops reading this are offended, but it happens - I've met enough people it's happened to to be a believer, although it hasn't happened to me.  If he just plain takes it without a receipt, get his badge number and/or car number (if the latter is all you can get, record the TIME).  If it was a city or county cop, make a THEFT complaint in detail with your nearest California Highway Patrol station (they investigate local wrongdoing).  If it was CHP, hmmm...complain to the CHP supervisors maybe, or the Sheriff, but for God's sake don't let 'em off clean.
You have two choices: get the hell out of there ASAP and travel far and fast, because odds are, crooks that get chased off by an armed citizen love to file a "he threatened me" complaint and bust YOU.  Bug out.  NOTE: we're talking about a situation in which you haven't committed a crime, and since no actual violence occurred neither did anybody else.  So "fleeing the scene" rules don't really apply.  And you also don't want the SOB coming back with reinforcements and/or heavy artillery.  Time to go!
If that's not possible, because the crook knows where you are or who you are (or have your car's license plate number), jump on 911 and report an attempted crime, pronto.  There are too many lazy cops that just believe the first complaint.  Make yours first.  You'll probably have one major advantage: the crook will have a violent record and you won't.
When the cops show up, there are only three things you should say: I was in fear of my life, I'm too shaken up to talk, I want a lawyer.  (If there are witnesses you know of, point them out to the cops and tell the cops to talk to them.)
Bernie Goetz didn't do that.  He was furious at the four attempted muggers, he made that anger plain in a long discussion down at the station, and he ended up getting charged with murder and attempted murder when it was absolutely clear-cut self defense.
When a cop gets involved in a shooting, they understand that immediately afterwards, he's too shaken to explain clearly what happened.  So most departments give him 24 hours to settle down before talking to him.  But if you're involved in lethal force, some will take advantage of your rattled state to pry garbled statements out of you.  You HAVE the right to remain silent.  Use it.
I'm assuming here that if you drew or used steel, you had a damned good reason.  That's a subject for a much more detailed (not to mention PROFESSIONAL) treatment - see Introduction for some reference works.
Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer. The following information is for reference only. The discussion and interpretation is my own. So, please bear that in mind. If you need qualified consultation or legal advice, please contact a licensed criminal attorney and/or local Sheriff's office. The discussion is regarding the lawful knife carry, nothing else!
Like I said above, the laws are complicated. In US to make things more complicated we have Federal and State laws, and in addition to that local counties and cities can have their own laws. Which particular law takes priority for any given issue depends on the laws and I guess particular case as well. In relation to knife carry, the state law is generally more or less universal, however, particular cities and towns have their own, as usual more strict laws regarding the knife possession and carry. I'll discuss that below, but as a rule of thumb, just because California state law allows particular blade doesn't mean it is legal in all places. Always check your local town/city penal code. E.g. San Francisco and Oakland have 3" blade length limit, which isn't in the state law. Same is true for Los Angeles.
One more thing to keep in mind is that not all the law enforcement officers know penal code all that well. For starters, if you get asked whether or not you have a knife on you, tell the truth, but better yet, state that you have a blade legal under California law. You may get some problems, because the officer thinks you have violated the law. In other words, LEO doesn't know the knife carry law in details. In that case, better not to argue the point, calmly explain they you believe you're not in violation of the law, that your knife is legal under California law, including citing penal codes we're discussing here and either ask the officer to contact superiors or get the receipt if he/she is confiscating the knife and later contact the department. Aggravating the situation will most likely result in additional charges against you and possible arrest. However, if your piece gets confiscated you must be issued a receipt. If the officer is refusing to do so(i.e. issue a receipt) or threatening with additional problems he's in the wrong, not you. Without confrontation, ask for the receipt and if he(or she) still refuses, write down his/her badge number, name, time and place where the incident took place and report it to the nearest police station. For more details on dealing with law enforcement and various situations involving knives including their use please visit Jim March's excellent article California Knife Laws: A Comprehensive Guide.

Knife Carry Related Laws

California penal code has two main sections interesting to us in this discussion: 653K and 12020653Kbelongs to the section 639-653.2 - Of Other And Miscellaneous Offenses and 12020 belongs to the section 12020-12040 - Unlawful Carrying and Possession of Weapons, that is in the link provided at the beginning of this paragraph. Penal code 653K defines what is a legal pocket knife and what is a switchblade and gravity or ballisong knife. Pocket knives, most likely that'd be a folding knife are legal, while switchblades, gravity and ballisong knives are illegal. Penal code 12020 deals with the street carry laws. There are other penal codes dealing with knife carry in specific places. Those are: penal code 626.10 which deals with the knife school carry rules. There is also penal code 171.b which deals with the knives in public buildings.
Simply put, the law defines what is illegal, so if your knife and carry isn't what the law defines as illegal you should be fine. Once again, keep in mind the local laws. Details below.

Very Short Summary

State California allows for concealed carry of the folding knives and there is no limit to the blade length. As long as the knife is not banned by PC 653K it is legal. 653K does not make Assisted Openers(AO) illegal. However, depending on the particular AO mechanism and other details some AOs may fall under switchblade category. Kershaw Speed Safe is not one of them, it is perfectly legal, details further down. As far as the state law goes, fixed blades must be carried openly, in the sheath, on the waist. I can't find where does the law ban either double edged blades or dirks and daggers. As the wording is, those are ok for open carry. No knives longer than 2.5"in the school, but folders are ok in the Universities and Colleges. Unless, they were banned by local authorities. No knives longer than 4" in public buildings or buildings open to public meetings, e.g. courts, city halls, police stations, city council meetings, etc.

Penal Codes


- Defines legal and illegal pocket knives. Full text of the penal code 653K. The most interesting part of the penal code is the following definition of the switchblade knives:
For the purposes of this section, "switchblade knife" means a knife having the appearance of a pocketknife and includes a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, gravity knife or any other similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more inches in length and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist or other mechanical device, or is released by the weight of the blade or by any type of mechanism whatsoever.
Basically, this section outlaws switchblades, or automatic knives, plus ballisongs, or butterfly knives. Also whatever else can be opened with the flick of the wrist. However, there are lots of legitimate knives that also fall under that category. Next section clarifies that part:
"Switchblade knife" does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.
The paragraph above was added to the PC 653K thanks to SB 274, or Karnette amendment(California state Senator Betty Karnette of the 27th district introduced it in 2002). This is an important clause that makes legal regular folding knives which can be opened with one hand. The knife must have some sort of thumbstud to move the blade into the open position and has to have some sort of mechanism to keep it in the closed position and provide some sort of resistance to overcome when opening it. For the record, a thumbstud doesn't necessarily has to be affixed to the side(s) of the blade, but can be on the top like on Kershaw Shallots.
Kershaw Speed Safe AO - The Karnette amendment is also what makes Kershaw Speed Safe assisted opening knives perfectly legal in California. Speed Safe satisfies 3 conditions instead of minimum two, not to be a switchblade, i.e. it has a thumbstud on the blade, which the knife operator has to push to open the knife, second Kershaw AOs have a detent, and just those two would be enough to comply switchblade law, but the torsion bar of the Speed Safe mechanism also forces the blade to stay in closed position, i.e. provides bias towards locked position.
Blade Length Limit - As you can see there is no length limit ever mentioned in this code. So, normally unless there is a specific law restricting the blade length in any given local area, you can carry folding knives of pretty much any length, not outlawed in 653K.


- Deals with knife carry and prohibits several types of knives. Code 12020 is way too long to cite it here completely, thus only the most relevant parts here. For The reference - full text of the penal code 12020.
12020. (a) Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison:
This part is pretty clear. You violate any of the sections of this law and you're in jail for a year. Now, let's check the interesting details.
Section one prohibits and bans several different types of knives, I'll provide only relevant fragments of it:
(1) Manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses ... any ballistic knife, ... any belt buckle knife, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, ...
So, not only you can't carry, but you can't even posses any of the listed in above. Some of it makes sense, some not so much. THe same section bans slungshots, but slingshots are ok. Yup, that's right, no slingies in California. Half of those things are most likely unknown to general public and probably knife enthusiastas as well. For your information, Shurikens are also included in this section. They are not exactly knives, but still edged weapons. Ok, moving on.
(4) Carries concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger. - We'll go through definitions later, but this one says no toconcealed dirks and daggers. By the way as this one is, it doesn't prohibit them, just states they have to be carried openly, on the waist as we'll see later in open carry definition. The only thing is, open carry definition is stuck somewhere in large-capacity magazine definition, as subdivision d. What do those two have in common I don't know. Sad part is that dirk (and dagger) definition in the law, see #24 in 12020 definitions, covers pretty much anything, because ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death applies to the screwdrives and pens just as well. And those things do get used in crimes as a stabbing weapon.


- Tells you what you can and can not carry in public buildings and meetings. For the reference - Full Text Of Penal Code 171. 171.b starts with:
(a) Any person who brings or possesses within any state or local public building or at any meeting required to be open to the public pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of, or Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of, the Government Code, any of the following is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison:
   (1) Any firearm.
   (2) Any deadly weapon described in Section 653k or 12020.
   (3) Any knife with a blade length in excess of four inches, the blade of which is fixed or is capable of being fixed in an unguarded position by the use of one or two hands.

Thus no knives longer than 4" in state and public buildings. Exact definition of the state or local public meeting and open to public buildings can be found in 171.b(c). In short, those are state or local government owned or leased buildings such as courts, police stations, city halls, etc. Meetings mean wherever those officials get together to conduct regular or irregular work, e.g. city council meetings.


- As stated above defines knives school carry. Again, this one is way too big. For the reference - full text of the penal code 626.10. Subdivision a prohibits you can not bring a fixed blade knife longer than 2.5", a folding knife, ice pick, etc to the school. Subdivision b is pretty much identical, applies to universities and colleges, same restrictions, but folding knives are ok. Subdivisions c, d, e, f make exemptions. E.g. Knives for food preparation and other work places are ok. Students can bring knives if directed so by school or university employees. Subdivision a is below:
(a) Any person, except a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in this state, a person summoned by any officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person is actually engaged in assisting any officer, or a member of the military forces of this state or the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, who brings or possesses any dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife having a blade longer than 2 1/2 inches, folding knife with a blade that locks into place, a razor with an unguarded blade, a taser, or a stun gun, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 244.5, any instrument that expels a metallic projectile such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO 2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun, upon the grounds of, or within, any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.