Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

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What the heck is going on in our country? Don’t people understand we have a Constitution and in this case a 4th amendment? Come on guys study the Constitution, we still have one. I’ll bet you this is a federally funded project.

ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.(Of course it is bypassing the 4th amendment and it unconstitutional)

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.” – Source

Investment Watchdog

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Good for the appeals court…….these type laws do violate the Constitution, particularly the 4th amendment and the Constitution gives NO exception for the 4th amendment……terrorism or no terrorism , you MUST have a warrant based on probable cause according to the 4th amendment.

Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Challenging NSA Surveillance of Americans

It’s easy to forget these days, but former President George W. Bush’s illegal warrantless surveillance program was never halted by Congress, nor by the Obama administration. It was merely legalized in a 2008 law called the FISA Amendments Act. That means the surveillance of Americans’ international phone calls and internet use — complete with secret rooms in AT&T data centers around the country — is likely still ongoing.

On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated a key legal challenge to that surveillance: a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others within hours of the FISA Amendments Act (.pdf) being signed into law. The lawsuit attacks the constitutionality of the legislation, which allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans without a probable-cause warrant, so long as one of the parties to the communication resides outside the United States, and is suspected of a link to terrorism.

The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means the ACLU, and other rights groups involved in the suit, might get their day in court. “This is a really big victory,” said ACLU spokeswoman Rachel Myers. “The ruling is that you don’t have to prove you’ve been spied on to challenge an unlawful spy act.”

The “secret room” in AT&T’s Folsom Street office in San Francisco is believed to be one of several internet wiretapping facilities at AT&T offices around the country feeding data to the NSA. (Photo: Mark Klein)

A lower court had ruled the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case, because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the eavesdropping.

The groups appealed, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality.

The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Without ruling on the merits of the case, the appeals court on Monday agreed with the plaintiffs that they have ample reason to fear the surveillance program, and thus have legal standing to pursue their claim.

 

Wired.com

U.S. court says Christian cross is unconstitutional

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Well here we have more absolute nonsense from the 9th Circuit Court in California. What do we do now, rip out all the crosses all over the country in our cemeteries, memorials to fallen soldiers and people who have died on the side of the road? Is this what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the 1st amendment? Hardly !

Part 2 here:

 

U.S. court says Christian cross is unconstitutional

Ninth Circuit ignores Supreme precedent in Mojave case


Mt. Soledad memorial cros

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a memorial cross on federal land on Mt. Soledad, Calif., violates the U.S. Constitution.

In a 3-0 ruling in the Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego case, the panel decided that the 29-foot concrete cross, which has stood for 57 years, constitutes a government endorsement of religion and therefore violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

“The question, then, is whether the entirety of the Mount Soledad Memorial, when understood against the background of its particular history and setting, projects a government endorsement of Christianity. We conclude it does,” wrote Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee.

“The decision represents a judicial slap in the face to the countless military veterans honored by this memorial,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of 25 members of Congress. “This flawed decision not only strikes at the heart of honoring our military veterans, it reaches a faulty conclusion that this iconic memorial – part of the historic landscape of San Diego – is unconstitutional. We believe the appeals court got this decision wrong and we look forward to the case going to the Supreme Court where we’re confident this decision will be overturned.”

“Unfortunately, the decision does not surprise me based on the philosophical beliefs and records of the judges on the panel. The decision was more likely than not,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Joe Infranco. ADF filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the American Legion.

“The panel has an extreme view of the establishment clause that amounts to hostility to religion,” Infranco explained. “The Constitution requires that religious views and expressions be accommodated. There’s a kind of disconnect in the way certain judges look at the establishment clause, and it becomes a vehicle for hostility to religious expression.

“The veterans are outraged over these cases. All the plaintiffs do is find a few individuals who claim to be offended by that cross at the site, and the premise of this lawsuit is the offense of a few individuals trumps the way veterans choose to honor fallen veterans. Veterans should be allowed to honor heroes, many of whom gave their lives for this nation, in the manner they choose,” Infranco added.

The American Legion has already called officially on Attorney General Eric Holder to appeal the case, which was argued by Justice Department attorneys on behalf of the Department of Defense.

“I am asking Attorney General Holder to appeal this regrettable decision to the Supreme Court,” said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of the American Legion, in a news release. “The sanctity of this cross is about the right to honor our nation’s veterans in a manner which the overwhelming majority supports. The American Legion strongly believes the public has a right to protect its memorials.”

The ACLU, which brought the suit on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans, did not return a request for comment.

Infranco accused the Ninth Circuit judges of ignoring the precedent set by the Supreme Court in a similar case involving a memorial cross erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Mojave National Preserve.

“I think their decision was inconsistent with the Mojave decision. The Mojave decision [Salazar v. Buono] did not rule directly on the cross because there was another issue that resolved the case more easily, but Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, left a hint the size of a barn door that crosses that memorialize the dead … do not violate the Constitution. In my view the court failed to take the very clear hint from the Supreme Court. We’re hoping the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case and reverse this awful decision.”

The first cross was erected on Mt. Soledad in 1913, and the large concrete cross was erected in 1954 to replace a cross blown down by heavy winds in 1952. According to the Ninth Circuit decision, the 1954 cross was dedicated, “as a reminder of God’s promise to man of everlasting life and of those persons who gave their lives for our freedom.”

“Litigation over the cross began in 1989. Veterans responded in the 1990s by adding plaques, bollards and flags intended to honor veterans, and by holding regular memorial services at the site.

Worldnet Daily




 

UPDATED: ACLU Threatens Tennessee Schools That Observe Christmas

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This stuff on religion and the government has gotten completely out of hand. The 1st amendment is written to only “Congress” and when you study the Founding Fathers you learn they did all kinds of things in their day that would be declared unconstitutional today by the courts, like the 1st Congress purchased 20,000 Bibles to be used in the schools, like Thomas Jefferson giving government money to build a church for a Indian tribe and paying the first years salary of a pastor as well. Let’s use a little common sense here, don’t you think the Founding Fathers knew more of what they meant when they wrote the 1st amendment than people 200 yrs later would? There is a poll at this website below that you may want to participate in.

How Should Schools Respond to ACLU Letter Warning About Promoting Holidays?

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a nice Christmas letter to schools in Tennessee. Oops, sorry. We mean a nice holiday letter.

As we near Christmas, the ACLU branch in Tennessee felt that it was time to send a note to schools throughout the state, reminding them that they should be careful about promoting one religion over the others, according to The Associated Press.

Hedy Weinberg, ACLU executive director in Tennessee, told the AP that people need to “embrace the constitutional guarantees of the First Amendment in order to ensure that religious freedom flourishes.”

Winter celebrations, that highlight other religions, are allowed according to the ACLU, and for the most part, schools carefully follow district guidelines in connection with any holiday parties. This, not shockingly, has some parents displeased.

Soda Head

Alliance Defense Fund Responds to ACLU Threats and Lies.

The Alliance Defense Fund is contacting school districts in Tennessee to correct some fallacies from the ACLU about celebrating Christmas.


“I think it’s another story of the Grinch who stole Christmas,” says David Cortman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). According to the attorney, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter to every school district in The Volunteer State.

“…Basically saying,” explains Cortman, “that if you’re going to celebrate any aspect of Christmas at all, then you’re constitutionally required to celebrate every holiday — which of course is not true.”

The attorney says he finds it “interesting” that the ACLU letter used words such as “divisive,” “indoctrinating,” “coercive,” and “censorship.”

David Cortman (Alliance Defense Fund)”…It’s ironic that they use such heavy-handed words when people are merely trying to celebrate the Christmas holiday,” he comments.

ADF has responded with a letter of its own to the school districts, informing them they do not have to deny students and teachers their constitutionally protected right to recognize Christmas just because of the threats issued by the ACLU. “It’s just the ACLU using their bully pulpit to try to whitewash anything religious from society, even if that includes Christmas,” states Cortman.

The ADF attorney explains that the ACLU’s letter to the Tennessee school districts “smacks of political correctness” and has little or no legal basis.

Papastors.net

King,North Carolina Officials Vote to Take Down Christian Flag

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As I’ve said before this type thing has gone way too far and wasn’t intended by the founding fathers. There isn’t one example of the Founding Fathers practicing ‘separation of church and state’ anywhere in their lifetime or for the first roughly 175 yrs of this country’s existence. Not One!  Here we have ONE person objecting to the Christian flag at a Veterans Memorial and under the threat of at $200 to $300,000 lawsuit the City officials buckle and take down the flag……because of ONE person, the majority suffer this unconstitutional act. If this is what the founders intended, why did it take from 1789 til 1947 for the Courts to realize it? Why didn’t the Founders stop the reading of the Bible and prayer in schools in their day if they thought it unconstitutional? Why did first Congress approve the purchase of 20,000 Bibles to be used in the schools if they thought it violated the ‘Establishment Clause’?

King Officials Vote to Take Down Christian Flag

KING, N.C. (WGHP) – A Christian flag flying at the Veterans Memorial at Central Park has been removed following a city council vote on Wednesday.

According to city officials, the City Council voted 3-to-1 to remove the flag, with councilman Wesley Carter being the only vote against removing the flag.

City Attorney Walter Pitt said the city received a letter from the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on August 11 and a letter from the ACLU on August 16 threatening lawsuits if the flag was not taken down. The decision to remove the flag stems from estimates that it could cost the city as much as $300,000 to fight a possible lawsuit from the ACLU.

“The City received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At the advice of the City Attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential law suit on the issue,” said City Manager John Cater.

Mayor Jack Warren says it was the toughest decision the council has ever had to make. Balancing faith with the enormous cost to fight a lawsuit.

“They didn’t know how they could put that burden on our taxpayers back even though in their heart they wanted to leave that flag up and fight it.,” said Warren.

Pastor Kevin Broyhill of Calvary Baptist Church in King joined about 30 others at the city council meeting. He believes the community would have backed the city council financially in fighting the lawsuits.

“I believe they felt like they were held hostage by the ACLU,” said Broyhill. “I believe had we’d been asked, had we’d been talked to, I believe they would of seen a mobilization among the churches and citizens of King to stand behind them in that fight.”

When the issue was raised a city council meeting earlier this summer, council members voted to leave the flag at the memorial.

The flag has been flown at the memorial since it was built in 2004. The flag was taken down on Thursday.

My Fox 8

Arizona Sheriff: ‘Our Own Government Has Become Our Enemy’

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The Sheriff has it right…the government isn’t aiding the states…and that’s one thing that the Constitution does say the federal government MUST do.

(CNSNews.com)By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu is hopping mad at the federal government.

Babeu told CNSNews.com that rather than help law enforcement in Arizona stop the hundreds of thousands of people who come into the United States illegally, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel.

“What’s very troubling is the fact that at a time when we in law enforcement and our state need help from the federal government, instead of sending help they put up billboard-size signs warning our citizens to stay out of the desert in my county because of dangerous drug and human smuggling and weapons and bandits and all these other things and then, behind that, they drag us into court with the ACLU,” Babeu said.

The sheriff was referring to the law suits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the state’s new immigration law.

“So who has partnered with the ACLU?” Babeu said in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. “It’s the president and (Attorney General) Eric Holder himself. And that’s simply outrageous.”

Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton placed a temporary injunction on portions of the bill that allowed law enforcement personnel during the course of a criminal investigation who have probable cause to think an individual is in the country illegally to check immigration status. The state of Arizona filed an appeal on Thursday with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help,” Babeu said.

Babeu and Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County Ariz., spoke by phone with CNSNews.com last week about the May 17 ACLU class-action lawsuit, which charges the law uses racial profiling and named the county attorneys and sheriffs in all 15 Arizona counties as defendants. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on July 6, charging the Arizona law preempted the federal government’s sole right to enforce immigration law.

“If the president would do his job and secure the border; send 3,000 armed soldiers to the Arizona border and stop the illegal immigration and the drug smuggling and the violence, we wouldn’t even be in this position and where we’re forced to take matters into our own hands,” Babeu said.
Dever said the federal government’s failure to secure the border and its current thwarting of Arizona’s effort to control illegal immigration within its borders has implications for the entire country.

“The bigger picture is while what’s going on in Arizona is critically important, what comes out of this and happens here will affect our entire nation in terms of our ability to protect our citizenry from a very serious homeland security threat,” Dever said. “People who are coming across the border in my county aren’t staying there. They’re going everywhere USA and a lot of them are bad, bad people.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), about 250,000 people were detained in Arizona in the last 12 months for being in the country illegally. Babeu said that that number only reflects the number of people detained and that thousands more enter the country illegally each year.

The CBP also reports that 17 percent of those detained already have a criminal record in the United States.

Both Babeu and Dever said they want to remain involved in the legal battle over the law, which many experts predict will end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dever has hired an independent attorney to represent him in the ACLU case and his attorney has already filed a motion of intervention in the DOJ lawsuit so the “(Dever) will have a seat at the table.”

A Web site also has been launched by the non-profit, Iowa-based Legacy Foundation to raise money for the Babeu’s and Dever’s legal defense.

Both men said they believe the outcome of the case has national significance.“For us, this is a public safety matter and a national security threat,” Babeu said.

Frank Lay & Robert Freeman Found Not Guilty

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I want to add something here to show how ridiculous this lawsuit was. Pace High School Principal Frank Lay asked the schools athletic director, Robert Freeman, to bless a meal where sports boosters had gathered to celebrate the completion of a new field house. This was a donor function, not a student school function.  They weren’t even on school property, they were at a church and yes some students were there because of the culinary program (the students cooked the meal), but you have to ask yourself, how ridiculous is this. A school board member turned them in for this and started the lawsuit that cost the school $500,000. Hundreds of people went to the federal court house and protested in the rain. There was also prayer and God answered that prayer for all of us. This is just plain insanity here in the US where things like this happen today and to think for almost the first 200 years we prayed and read the Bible in our schools and it was ok. Even the founding fathers did it and it was ok with them. We have strayed so far from our roots today.

BREAKING NEWS: Lay, Freeman Not Guilty In School Prayer Case

A federal judge found Pace High School educators Frank Lay and Robert Freeman not guilty of criminal contempt Thursday after evidence failed to prove they willfully violated a temporary injunction that prohibited the promotion of religion in Santa Rosa County schools.

PHOTOS: Click to view crowd photos in front of the courthouse.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers announced her ruling about 6:20 p.m. after deliberating for about an hour. When she returned to the courtroom she took several minutes clearing up misunderstandings surrounding the contempt charges.

“The rule of law is what governs … (it’s) the foundation for not just our order, but for our liberties,” Rodgers told the packed courtroom. “To suggest that the court has criminalized prayer … is offensive and insulting.

“The court’s duty is to apply the law, not public opinion, no matter how popular.”

Following the lecture, Rodgers first addressed Freeman, Pace’s athletic director, and found him not guilty. She concluded when he prayed at a school event at Lay’s request, his action was “inadvertent and was based on habit rather than intentional violation” of the injunction.

Rodgers spent much longer addressing Lay. She told him that as Pace’s principal he had the responsibility to set a good example, and by allowing the prayer at a school function he set an unfortunate precedent.

“At the end of the day, I do have some doubts about whether you intended to comply (with the injunction),” Rodgers said.

However, she said that too much ambiguity existed as to whether Lay intentionally violated the court order or simply forgot about it, as the defense argued during the trial.

After Rodgers left the courtroom, Lay’s and Freeman’s family and friends hugged each other and cried.

Meanwhile, a large crowd stood outside the courthouse waiting for Lay and Freeman.

They erupted into applause and cheers as the two men stepped outside. After the crowd quieted down, Lay addressed them with a big smile.

“I want to thank my Patriot family. You stood in the rain all day long,” Lay said. “And above all I want to thank the chief counsel, God the Father.”

Twelve people testified during the seven-hour trial, including Lay and Freeman, Santa Rosa County Superintendent of Schools Tim Wyrosdick and School Board member JoAnn Simpson.

Simpson attended the Pace High field house dedication where the prayer took place Jan. 28.

She testified that not only had Freeman offered a blessing over the food, but students were in the room at the time. When asked how she knew that, Simpson responded, “I (did) not bow my head during the prayer.”

“Why not?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Hensel asked.

“To be totally honest, I was totally shocked because Mr. Lay had been in all our meetings (concerning the injunction),” Simpson said.

Whether or not those students were in the room became a point of contention throughout the rest of the trial.

According to defense attorneys Barry Beroset and Harry Mihet, the dedication luncheon was an adult function. As Lay and Freeman understood the injunction at that time, it applied only apply if students were present.

“That’s what they thought, rightly or wrongly,” Mihet said “And that’s why they were not on guard when this fleeting and spontaneous prayer came about.”

The defense attorneys also argued that force of habit prompted the prayer, rather than the intent to violate the injunction.

“This (the blessing over a meal) was ingrained in everything they do … It was a thing done of reflex, not with malice,” Mihet said.

During their testimonies, Freeman and Lay reinforced that habit — not the intent to disobey an order they disagreed with — led them to pray at the dedication.

“It was a normal thing he and I were both raised doing,” Freeman said.

NWFDailyNews.com

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