Category Archives: Law: Criminal Law

Prince Georges, MD Courts Will Need a Good Defense

Fiona Apple, the great musician, become a volunteer zoom-enabled court-watcher in Prince Georges County, MD, and she does NOT like what she’s seeing:

Bonus video, because:

Posted in Law: Criminal Law | Leave a comment

Big Fine for Drone Delivery of Cigarettes

A woman in Australia got fined AU$1334 (just under US$1000) for breaking COVID quarantine by having a drone deliver cigarettes to her hotel balcony.

I guess it’s important to enforce COVID quarantine rules vigilantly. But I’ve never heard of COVID being transmitted by a delivery drone, and indeed airborne transmission is apparently much more likely than surface contamination. And having stuff delivered must make it much less likely that people will sneak out to break quarantine.

Given all that, I wonder if drone delivery isn’t something Australia should encourage rather than fine?

Posted in COVID-19, Law: Criminal Law | 1 Comment

Dystopian Fiction in Everyday Life

The Tampa Bay Times has the scoop on a new surveillance plan in Pasco County, Florida.  The Sheriff’s Department there is targeting people for enhanced police scrutiny based on what it claims is an “unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community.”

“As a result of this designation,” the Sheriff’s office warns targeted residents, “we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”

Naturally, there’s a federal lawsuit.

Indeed, last year, the paper reports, “a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks and other unspecified intelligence. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.”  In addition, there’s “a separate program that uses schoolchildren’s grades, attendance records and abuse histories to label them potential future criminals.”

To rub salt in the wound, the Sheriff’s Office has a video telling the program’s victims of increased harassment that inclusion is “good news” because it will give them opportunities to receive “assistance”. A hint of what that looks like comes in its letter to the surveilled, which warns, “Our desire to help you will not hinder us from holding you fully accountable for your choices and actions,” and promises that recipients’ names and criminal histories with get sent to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure “the highest level of accountability” for any future crimes they commit.

Spotted via Crooks & Liars’s Susie Madrak, Dept. Of Pre-Crime: Florida Sheriff Harassing Pre-Criminals — What could possibly go wrong, other than civil rights violations?. Photo Licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Fabius Maximus Blog

Posted in Law: Criminal Law, Law: Privacy, Surveillance | 5 Comments

Weird Silence on February Shooting in Coral Gables?

I live in a very very quiet neighborhood near the University of Miami. Shootings are, to the say the least, rather rare: this incident on Feb 12 only a few blocks from my house is the only one I can think of around here in almost three decades.

It got a lot of news coverage the day it happened.  The story was that federal agents shot and killed a person who brandished a weapon; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was involved in what was described as “part of a large scale financial investigation.”

A large-scale financial investigation?  Homeland Security/ICE involved?  Someone in quiet Coral Gables being shot for (allegedly) ‘brandishing’ a weapon? It all sounded like there would be lots more to report.  But then … at last as far as I know .. nothing?  Did I miss the follow-up story on what happened (always possible, but nothing seems to turn up on search engines either)? If not, why the silence for more than a month?

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Your Smart Doorbell Could Get You Killed

These things are DANGEROUS.

Amazon Ring Doorbell Hacked in Florida Swatting Incident:

In a Florida suburb Friday afternoon, local law enforcement received a call from a man confessing to hoarding explosives and killing his wife after seeing her cheat on him. Seemingly distraught, he gave them a play-by-play of the chaos unraveling. However, the crime didn’t happen. The call was made by someone who hacked into his Ring surveillance camera.

When authorities arrived at Courtney’s home, they found her unharmed and couldn’t decipher who the incognito caller was. Then the Ring camera started calling them names. It had been hacked and then used in a version of a swatting prank …

No one was hurt this time, but SWATting incidents can result in fatalities.

Posted in Florida, Law: Criminal Law, Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Leave a comment

What the Hell???

I really hope this turns out to be false:

Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

But I can’t say I’m optimistic.

Posted in Law: Criminal Law, Question Authority, The Resistance | 3 Comments