Konformist: Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame!
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Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame!
Sunday, October 03, 1999
[Moderator: forwarded from the POLITECH list]
The LAPD's actions are reprehensible. The cops and prosecutors including
Gil Garcetti who are involved should be -- if the facts are as they appear
below -- tarred and feathered, or at least put in prison for the rest of
their lives, far away from any position of public responsibility. It is
wrong when any citizen violates the rights of another, but terribly,
exponentially wrong when an official in a position of authority does it.
Thanks to David Wagner:
Lawyers Seek to Reopen Cases Over Wiretapping
Hundreds of criminal convictions dating back a decade should be
reviewed and possibly retried because defendants were never
told that the evidence against them came from illegal wiretaps, a
group of criminal defense attorneys said this week in a strongly worded
The Los Angeles County public defender and about 50 other lawyers
accused the district attorney's office of covering up illegal wiretapping
operations in violation of the law and a Los Angeles Superior Court
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:46:17 -0700
From: John Gilmore <gnu@...>
Subject: Re: LA wiretaps -- full details available
The LA County Public Defender's Office has full information about their
case against the LAPD and LA Sheriff's Office up on the web at:
It's particularly gruesome how the LAPD reported these wiretaps to the
Federal wiretap report, which cypherpunks and policy-makers examine
closely every year (e.g. http://jya.com/wiretap98.htm). What the LAPD
reported as a single wiretap order turns out to have tapped 250 telephones
over a period of years. Few or none of the thousands of people tapped
were ever notified of the wiretap. This calls the validity of all the
wiretap statistics into question.
Even now, after a direct order by the judge to the District Attorney in
open court, two-thirds of the logs from this single wiretap have been
withheld. (The one-third that have been disclosed required a forklift to
move the tapes, and produced 65,000 pages of logs.) See
http://pd.co.la.ca.us/contempt.htm. The logs show that the LAPD made no
attempt to "minimize", recording only the portions of conversations
related to the investigation for which they obtained a warrant; they
recorded everything, and then used the miscellaneous information to
instigate new wiretaps, investigations, and prosecutions.
One overheard conversation that helped to blow the lid off was that of a
Mexican man who used his cellophone to discuss receiving a wire transfer
from the sale of some inherited land in Mexico. (He intended to use it to
buy a house in the US.) When the cops overheard this, they rushed to a
judge and to the bank, lied to the judge, and obtained a warrant to seize
the $265,000 as "drug money" under the civil forefiture laws. It only
came out a year and a half later, when Mr. Rodriguez's lawyers questioned
the officers involved, that the "reliable confidential informant" they had
used to establish probable cause to seize the money was in fact an illegal
wiretap, and that there was no cause at all to believe the money was
related to drugs. See the federal judge's final order giving Mr. Rodriguez
back his money, at:
When sworn officers of the law and the courts violate the law with
impunity, concealing their activities by making fraudulent statements
under oath, and filing all incriminating information under seal, the
law-abiding public cannot trust the justice system. None of us would
enjoy a society without credible means to redress injustices. We already
see the beginnings of the results in drive-by shootings and other
manifestations of a subculture (drug users) in which people have no
recourse but to take justice into their own hands. If the public cannot
rely on the courts for justice against illegal wiretaps, particularly when
our adversaries are large, secretive, and publicly funded organizations
such as the LAPD and the NSA, we will end up with "frontier justice"
before this whole controversy is settled. Note well the NSA's recent
refusal to provide documents about their monitoring of US citizens'
communications to their oversight committee in the House of
Representatives (http://jya.com/nsa-clash.txt). I implore the misguided
individuals who have been violating the law behind the screen of official
secrecy to reveal their crimes and take their punishments, before they
destroy a vital part of the fabric of society that they are supposedly
paid to defend.