Posts tagged “Judge Andrew Napolitiano

“Eyes in the Sky” Aid Investigations in Cities Large & Small

AmerStaz

Surveillance—particularly security cameras, traffic cams, and squad car traffic video—increasingly plays a role in criminal investigations. One recent example is the Christmas Eve homicide of on-duty Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena.

Officer Sebena, known as “Jen” to her colleagues and friends, failed to respond to a 4:24 a.m. call from her dispatcher. Since squad cars at the Tosa PD are equipped with GPS location finders, the Com Center instantly knew the whereabouts of Sebena’s marked patrol vehicle and sent another officer to check on her welfare. Just four minutes later, the responding officer found Sebena shot-to-death just outside a Wauwatosa fire station, located at 1601 Underwood Avenue.

An agent from the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation observed four expended shell casings at the scene—one from a 9 mm handgun and the other three from a .40 handgun, consistent with the on-duty firearm carried by Jennifer Sebena, whose pistol was missing from her unsnapped holster.

As is the case in many non-officer homicides, investigators immediately turned their attention to the slain officer’s 30-year-old husband, Benjamin Sebena.  Two weeks earlier, Jennifer Sebena told another police officer that her husband had pointed a gun at her head. With this information in hand, detectives focused on surveillance video near the Sebenas’ suburban Menomonee Falls home, as well as the thoroughfares to-and-from the crime scene in the trendy village area of Wauwatosa.

According to the criminal complaint, detectives from the Wauwatosa PD gained access to surveillance video from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Statewide Traffic Operations Center—an Orwellian-type facility with access to the stored data from hundreds of surveillance cameras.  From a camera mounted on the top of a traffic pole at N. 108th and W. Burleigh Streets, investigators observed a black Toyota Prius with black tire rims traveling westbound on W. Burleigh at 3:45 a.m.—about 35 minutes prior to Officer Sebena’s body being located outside the Tosa fire station just over four miles away. A minute later, the same vehicle was observed on video moving northbound on Hwy. 45 from W. Burleigh Street en route to the Sebena residence. The black Prius matched the description of the vehicle Benjamin Sebena drove to the Wauwatosa PD less than three hours later.

Two days later, Wauwatosa PD Detective Jeff Griffin—watching video from the BP gas station just blocks from the Sebena residence—observed what appeared to be the same black Prius moving south on Appleton Ave. at 1:35 a.m. on December 24.

With this video evidence in hand, detectives could firmly establish an investigative timeline.  Moreover, sources say that, during the interrogation, this video played a key role in obtaining a confession. After detectives informed Benjamin Sebena about the video showing the route of his vehicle, they led the suspect to believe that the shooting was captured, in part, by surveillance cameras near the fire station, even though no such evidence actually exists.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano correctly notes in his book Constitutional Chaos, while it is unlawful for citizens to lie to law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties, the courts have ruled that it is perfectly lawful for law enforcement officers to lie to members of the public in order to obtain incriminating statements.

And the use of surveillance cameras are not limited to large cities or high-profile murder investigations. In the small, southwestern Wisconsin city of Platteville, police have access to three cameras, some of which are disguised as simple street lights.

http://www.swnews4u.com/section/1/article/9937/

These “Eyes in the Sky” allow the Platteville PD to enforce quality of life issues, like public urination and vandalism.

While the video in Platteville is typically stored for 30 to 60 days, sources say that data obtained from traffic cams by the Wisconsin DOT’s Statewide Operations Center can be retained for up to 10 years.

Like it or not, as George Orwell said, “Big Brother is watching.”

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Alleged ‘Voluntary Interview’ of Maker of Islamic YouTube Video is a Red Flag

First, it was former Marine Brandon Raub seized for a mental health exam, in the presence of federal agents, for posting lyrics from a heavy metal band and blasting the government on Facebook.  Now, federal agents have targeted the maker of the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims in order to deflect attention away from the administration’s failures to heed warnings about threats against the American diplomatic mission in Libya.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/anti-muslim-film-nakoula-basseley-innocence-muslims.html

The First Amendment is sacrosanct in a functioning democracy.  These fundamental rights—freedom of speech and freedom of the press— foster a robust debate, keep government officials in check, and protect Americans from overzealous agents. 

Or do they?

Fox News legal analyst and former Judge Andrew Napolitano believes federal authorities are figuratively shredding portions of the Constitution. 

Whether it is far-reaching executive orders pertaining to immigration and control of the Internet, searches of homes absent a search warrant, consent or exigent circumstances, or the seizure of Americans for expressing their First Amendment rights, traditional American freedoms are under assault.

Judge Napolitano addresses some of his concerns in an interview with the Washington Times.

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/11/judge-andrew-p-napolitano-is-the-popular-senior-ju/

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


The War Against Domestic Drones vs. Big Money

SF’s last post, Drones and the Judge, made note of the political outrage—from neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer; to U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts); and libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano—surrounding unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs)—a.k.a. drones being deployed over America.

Today, San Diego talk-show host Roger Hedgecock interviewed U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) about a bill that would reinsert the provisions of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights; thereby, vacating some of the anti-Bill of Rights language in the Patriot Act.

http://live.radioamerica.org/loudwater/player.pl?upload=19998&name=rhs

A rising star in the liberty movement, Rand Paul is a modern-day version of Davey Crockett—a politician willing to fight to defend the freedoms Americans rightly enjoy. 

Paul, however, sees little difference between helicopters and drones. I disagree.  If a young woman sunbathing inside her fenced in backyard hears a hovercraft overhead, she might choose to step inside her home or duck under a canopy.  Drones run virtually silent. Nano-drones—some disguised as hummingbirds and insects, surreptitiously spy on their targets and peer into areas that a helicopter could not.    

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is also keeping tabs on the use of domestis drones. 

http://epic.org/privacy/drones/

So, if prominent individuals from various political quarters are so passionately upset about the threat that drones pose to privacy in America, why is the program continuing? 

Follow the money and the Unmanned Systems Caucus in Washington, D.C.

http://unmannedsystemscaucus.mckeon.house.gov/

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Drones and the Judge

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit: 

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Predator Spy Drones: Hoovering Above Your Town Soon?

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Are There Any Heroes Left?

When a person of iconic stature falls from grace, the reverberations often cause the foundations of societal beliefs to crack and shift. The swift departure of Penn State’s legendary head football coach, Joe Paterno, serves as a prime example.

Late last week, during a chance run-in with a Penn State alum, I gingerly inquired about the ongoing investigation into the allegations of child sexual abuse leveled against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky that, in the end, ensnarled Paterno.

“Are there no heroes left in the world?” asked the alum.

Cleary taken aback by the allegations, as well as the former head football coach’s seemingly lack of compassion for those abused, the revelations shook this man to his core.

In reality, however, when another human being is placed-up on a pedestal his or her admirers are bound to be disappointed.

In his new book, It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong, former Judge Andrew Napolitano notes that all human beings are “fallen” under the auspices of “original sin,” found, initially, in the tenants of Judaism. Human beings—each any every one of us—are dreadfully imperfect, which is why searching for heroes is a process that is sure to disappoint.

Cases of hero worship gone-bad abound: Barry Bonds and steroids; Edward Kennedy at Chappaquiddick; Richard Nixon and Watergate; Douglas MacArthur and the bonus marchers; the infidelities of Elijah Mohammed; and Peter’s betrayal of Christ.  

Having heard of this incident of hero worship run-amok third hand, I will refrain from attaching any names, although the story is quite revealing.

In the mid-1990s, a high-ranking former military general was set to make a personal appearance in Milwaukee. For such visits, a unit within the Milwaukee Police Department is responsible for providing a small security detail. 

One of the police officers assigned to this unit—a former Marine—served under this former high-ranking military commander during Operation Desert Strom. As such, the police officer sought and received permission to serve on this particular security detail.

On the day of the event, the former high-ranking military officer had finished his remarks and was waiting, backstage, for his ride to the airport. Standing only a few feet away, the police officer and former Marine approached his hero.

“Sir,” said the officer, as he introduced himself, indicated the branch of his service, and extended his right hand, “I had the pleasure to serve under your command during Operation Desert Storm.”

“That’s great,” said the steely-eyed former general, clearly agitated, “but where’s my damn limo!”

Heartbroken, the police officer walked away in disbelief.

Even our REAL heroes—the Americans throughout history that have put their lives on the line to protect us at home and abroad—sometimes stumble.

Just recently, I viewed Restrepo, a film that chronicles the tour of a U.S. Army airborne combat team in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.  Soon after their arrival, a medic assigned to the 2nd Platoon, Juan “Doc” Restrepo, was shot in the neck and killed. Out of respect for their fallen colleague, the troops lent his name to the observation post that they were assigned to defend.

Within the ranks of the Special Forces, the Korengal Valley is considered a virtual no-man’s land—an outpost in the center of a region heavily influenced by the Taliban.  The documentary portrays these young soldiers as courageous and, yet, often times scared—both of which are important conditions for self-preservation.

During one scene, a solider is gunned-down, and his friend in the unit—in the midst of an ensuing battle—openly weeps. “Don’t worry,” said another solider, seeking to get his distraught colleague’s head back into battle, “he went quickly.” 

In the Afghani Theater, the soldiers of Restrepo fought valiantly while losing several good men. Back home, however, they face a host of new problems primarily related to post traumatic stress, which could cause a few to stumble and fall.  

And having watched this riveting documentary, my advice to the Penn State alum was to view Restrepo. Regardless of what one thinks of the legacy of Joe Paterno, heroes do more than teach Xs and Os.  During the course of human events, real heroes quantify success not by wins or losses, but by life, death, and the ability to defeat those demons that might follow them home.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011