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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame! by John Gilmore

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 30 Sep 1999 18:07:21 -0600
To:             	politech@vorlon.mit.edu
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame! by John Gilmore
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com

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. For shame!



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
  court affidavit.
       The Los Angeles County public defender and about 50 other
  accused the district attorney's office of covering up illegal
  wiretapping operations in violation of the law and a Los Angeles
  Superior Court order. [...]


Subject: Re: LA wiretaps -- full details available
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:46:17 -0700
From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>

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.

 John Gilmore

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