Civil Gideon

Civil Gideon is a website to promote the right to fair and equitable access to the courts. All citizens should be assured of due process and the rights granted by the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

September 25, 2007

Does privacy matter?

[via I Was The State; 09/22/2007]

They hate us, because we're free? Airport Edition

Does privacy matter? Not to the Bush Administration.

Under the guise of "fighting terrorism" the government has begun compiling reports on all travelers. The data includes whom the persons travel with or plan to stay with; the personal items they carry during their journeys; and even the books that travelers have carried, according to the documents.

… and see this comment in the article:

Mr. Knocke said, "if there is some indication based upon the behavior or an item in the traveler's possession that leads the inspection officer to conclude there could be a possible violation of the law, it is the front-line officer's duty to further scrutinize the traveler." He said that he is not familiar with the file that mentions Mr. Gilmore's book about drug rights, but that generally "front-line officers have a duty to enforce all laws within our authority, for example, the counter-narcotics mission." Nice back peddling, jackass.

Reality check…

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September 22, 2007

Federal judges question novel diagnoses ...

[via “In The News” by Karen Franklin, Ph.D.; 09/20/2007]

Federal judges in Wisconsin are raising their eyebrows over psychiatric diagnoses that some contend were invented or are being overused for the sole purpose of civilly incarcerating sex offenders after their criminal sentences have expired. The diagnoses at issue are "Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified-Nonconsent" and "Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified with Antisocial Features." Neither diagnosis is included in the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), nor are they typically invoked in mainstream psychology or psychiatry. In the more alarming of the two court cases, the court in Brown v. Watters pointed out that the state's psychologist had invented the diagnosis he was using in the case, "Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified-Nonconsent." Dennis Doren, who is well known in the sex offender field, "acknowledged that the psychiatric community did not recognize the former disorder and that he had created it himself because he perceived a gap in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual," according to the court's ruling.

(emphasis added)

Read the article.

This reminded me of a Ph.D. in San Jose, California who decided he didn’t like the way MMPI tests were scored, so he created his own system. He was what was called a “Special Master” in family and custody cases in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Apparently they eventually banned him from the court, but not before he allegedly caused a boy’s death. As far as I know, he’s still practicing.

You can read about him from a site maintained by by Robin Yeamans, Esq. (“Smear Campaign”). She had to deal with him.

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September 19, 2007

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder why Texas has so many on death row? Or why so many were recently exonerated?

Look at these articles for a small window of perspective about what the citizens of Texas face.

From Grits for Breakfast, read Justice Project: “Expand discovery in criminal cases” (09/18/2007). Following his links, he comments:

The lack of strong discovery laws is part of what generates expensive, time consuming mistakes that seem to soak up so much of the justice system's energy and focus. Colfax and the Justice Project have done a mitzvah to draw attention to the problem.

(emphasis added)

And I’m sick of hearing that it is pro se litigants who “soak up so much of the justice system’s energy and focus.”

I Was The State article points to a comment posted at TDCAA (Texas District and County Attorneys Association):

Wait, I'm not sure I understand this opinion. The court talks about the defense needing to show "good cause" to be entitled to discovery. Then it comes out with this:

quote:
But, in this case, we note that the trial judge was familiar with the open-file policy of the District Attorney. The policy would require a defendant to agree to forego filing or requesting a judicial ruling on any discovery motion in exchange for the District Attorney opening its case file to the defendant. The trial judge was acting within her discretion to consider that policy sufficient "good cause" in ordering discovery under article 39.14.
How is a DA policy that permits complete access to the file in exchange for not filing formal discovery somehow translate into "good cause" for ordering discovery?

Follow the links, or find them below.

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