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First Amendment

Think Your Emails are Private? Think Again…

Now that our communication with others is mostly electronic, we would think that the laws that govern our communications and the protections that we receive regarding those communications would evolve as well. Ordinarily, when the government wants to search your mail, or your office records, or really any of your person, place, or things, they must get a search warrant that is supported by probable cause.
However, a 1968 law (note: this is way before ipad’s, computers, internet, cell phone, etc.), the Electronic Communications Privacy (yeah right!) Act, allows the government to search certain emails, cell phone records and other electronic communications by showing only that they have reasonable grounds to believe the information will be relevant and material to an investigation. This is a laughable standard and very easy to prove- almost anything can be arguably relevant to an investigation.
The worst part about this law is that the court orders that allow the government to have access to these communications are secret- meaning you will never know that the government has been reading your emails. Additionally, the government usually prevents the ISP or company that provides you your electronic service from notifying you that they have given access to the government.
If you think that this law is unacceptable, you should write to your senators and tell them to repeal this law and require that officers obtain search warrants supported by probable cause before invading your electronic privacy. Most importantly, BEWARE OF WHAT YOU SAY ELECTRONICALLY!

Say Cheese! Court Upholds the Right to Video the Cops

Recently a Boston court upheld a lawsuit against the city and police for violating a citizen’s right to video the police in public. As reported from this is great news for citizen rights. David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer, discusses how he has seen similar cases in the last year and that it is encouraging to see the courts uphold this right.

As a side note PetaPixel does sell a Photographers Rights Grey Card Set which has the dual purpose of getting your white balance right and helping your know your rights.

Bad Service America: Diner for Schmucks

Today’s topic starts with an article in the current issue of GQ and food critic Alan Richman’s latest review. The title and opening illustration give you a hint that this review is not going to be a good one. Alan describes going to M. Wells on a few occasions. the first two were unannounced and simply to eat. By the third visit he had spoken with the owners to get an offsite interview and let them know he had already made plans to dine there in a few days. The food part of the review is pretty fair and would probably tempt a number of people to go for dinner. Then Alan’s story takes a turn for the worse. The service takes an already ho-hum reputation and nose dives into what one of his compatriots describes as “the worst restaurant experience I’ve ever had.”

In the review Alan comments about how the waitstaff was innatentive and careless. This has unfortunately become a bit of the norm in the US dining establishments and the workplace in general. At the third dinner they wait 45 minutes and finally wave down another waitress who seemed less than happy to be taking their order. He leaves and gets an email the next day from the co-owner blaming him for having a bad dining experience and then the fireworks go off: he is accused of sexual assaulting the waitress. Needless to say Alan is pretty shocked and replies back asking to meet his accuser.

The article is really well written and we recommend picking up the latest issue and reading it for yourself.
In David’s video his recaps these events but then goes a little further regarding the poor service and some of Alan’s thoughts on the “Too Cool to Care” attitude. The hipster mentality may be going too far or too ironically for many of Americans to appreciate any longer.
What do you think?

FL Church Burns Quran Results in People Dying

Today David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix DUI Lawyer, talks about the recent burning of a Quran by a Florida church. Unlike the threat to do so last year by Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center which was cancelled this time the same church went ahead with the burning. The story is an example of how the freedom to say or do something is not necessarily free from consequences. As a result of this quran burning Afghans stormed a UN facility and killed 7 foreigners.
In a strange way of possibly cleaning his hands of this affair Pastor Jones only served as judge of a mock trail over the Quran. Another pastor actually conducted the burning of the book.

What do you think?

Read more here:

The controversial Florida pastor who halted plans to burn a Quran on the 9/11 anniversary last year oversaw the burning of the Islamic holy book on Sunday after it was found “guilty” during a “trial” at his church.
“We had a court process,” said Pastor Terry Jones, who acted as judge, in a phone interview. “We tried to set it up as fair as possible, which you can imagine, of course, is very difficult.”
Jones said about 30 people attended the mock trial at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville.
Jones considered the “International Judge the Quran Day” to be a fairer way of addressing the Islamic holy book, and denied breaking earlier promises not to burn a Quran.
If the jury had reached a different conclusion, Jones said he would have issued an apology for his accusations that the Quran promotes violence.
“We still don’t feel that we broke our word — that was in relationship to International Burn a Quran Day,” he said, referring to his previous plan to burn a pile of Qurans on the 9/11 anniversary to protest plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. “We would not establish another International Burn a Quran Day.”
Last year’s aborted event provoked criticism from U.S. religious leaders, violent protests abroad and pressure from President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates before Jones called it off.
After a six-hour trial on Sunday that featured a Christian convert from Islam as a prosecuting attorney and a Dallas imam as a defense lawyer, a jury of 12 church members and volunteers made the judgment, Jones said.
He said the punishment — burning the book after it had been soaked in kerosene for an hour — was determined from four choices on his organization’s Facebook page. He said “several hundred” were polled and voted for burning over shredding, drowning and facing a firing squad.
Jones considered the burning — which was conducted by another pastor since Jones was serving as the judge — a one-time event.
“That is not our intention, to run around America burning Qurans,” he said.
Jones has launched a new organization, Stand Up America, and plans to protest the Quran, Shariah law and “radical Islam,” and has scheduled an April event in front of an Islamic center in Dearborn, Mich.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to comment at length about Jones’ trial.
“Terry Jones had his 15 minutes of fame and we’re not going to help him get another few minutes,” he said.

Arizona Blocking Protesters? Sen Pearce Restricting Rights?

Arizona made the headlines again last week when Senate President Russell Pearce requested that Officers ban immigration activist Salvador Reza and Anayanse Garza. The protesters were apparently clapping and playing a drum, which are more disruptive than allowing people to carry firearms in the Capitol building (something Pearce is allowing). This lead to the Senator requesting the officers remove and ban individuals. David M Cantor, a Phoenix Criminal Attorney, delves further into the story to point out a few omissions by the Senator’s policy.

Here is the story from DailyKos:

At least the protesters in Wisconsin have access to the Capitol.

When Republican State Senator Carolyn Allen decided not to run for another term after serving in the legislature 16 years, she gave this as her reason:

“I do not want to live in the police state that Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Andy Thomas are spearheading.” Arizona Republic

Thankfully, County Attorney Thomas is out of the picture and under a DOJ investigation, along with Sheriff Arpaio. That leaves Senate President Russell Pearce to carry their nativist water. He appears to be doing a good job, as Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford observed during a Senate hearing on Tuesday:

“And what I see happening is sort of a dictator Senate President.” New Times

Some thought Senator Allen’s comment last year a bit tin-foily, and Senator Beford was reprimanded by the Committee Chair for her “dictator” statement Tuesday. But let’s look at the evidence:

The first week of the 2011 legislative session, the newly installed Senate President Russell Pearce decreed that it was okay for anyone to carry a weapon into the Capitol and legislative chambers, even though some people wondered where that authority resided. Now he believes he should be able to decide who can visit the state grounds, and there’s talk in the media of Pearce’s Capitol blacklist.

Senator Pearce maintains there is no blacklist. That’s interesting, since Senator David Schapira Tweeted on Friday:

His claim that “there is no ‘blacklist'” is flatly untrue. He admitted to me yesterday that there is.

Yesterday, then, Pearce issued a press release, explaining that he banned some demonstrators from the Capitol at the request of Senator Krysten Sinema: “Sen. Sinema told Senate security she feared for her safety.” That’s also interesting, since Stephen Lemons from New Times spoke with Sinema:

Sinema tells me that’s untrue, that she never told anyone that she “feared for her safety” regarding the protest by radio show host Carlos Galindo and other activists of her press conference. Nor did she ask the Capitol Police to arrest anyone.

Finally, Pearce maintained he banned several individuals because “it is my duty to protect our Members, staff and visiting public.” He said some of the protesters this week were “clapping loudly and even banging a drum.” Got that? One of his first decisions as Senate President was to allow people to carry guns into the Capitol and the legislative chambers. Guns are okay, clapping no.

Who was banned from the Capitol and why?

Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce has always been a Looney Tune character, especially after 2004 when his son Sean was shot by a Mexican and dad went on his anti-immigrant bender (Sean thankfully recovered). So, he’s been tweeting his “invasion of the brown people” dog whistle for a long time, and we used to just think of him like a crazy old uncle who still uses the N-word and asks you to pull his finger. Just ignore the gross bigot.

Now, though, Pearce is not only Senate President but de facto Governor, so it’s no longer possible to ignore the most powerful and vicious politician in the state. Indeed, the vice grip his cruel wingnuttery has on the legislature was on display earlier this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a long list of racist and inhumane laws. That meeting gave birth to the blacklist.

Civil rights activist Sal Reza has fought his share of battles in the state’s war on immigration, many of them with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Reza, who is a member of the human rights group Puenta, has a wrongful-arrest lawsuit pending against Arpaio and his deputies for an incident that occurred last July during the protests that followed Governor Brewer’s signing of SB 1070. So in the eyes of Arpaio and Pearce, Sal is a “known troublemaker.”

Reza joined protestors at the explosive Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday. Hundreds of people filled three Senate Chambers and surrounded the building to protest the anti-immigration bills being considered — all of which passed. For some reason Reza, who watched the proceedings from a chamber on TV, was the one accused of being “disruptive” because the roomful of protestors would not stop applauding. And for that he landed on Pearce’s blacklist.

Democratic Senator Steve Gallardo said Pearce clearly “singl[ed] out Reza” because no one else was backlisted from the Capitol for excessive clapping. New Times’ Stephen Lemons points out the idiocy of Pearce’s selective enforcement:

Why had Reza been banned in the first place? [Capitol Police Officer] Abril writes, “On 2-22-11 Reza was advised by DPS security that he was not allowed in the Senate building because he was being disruptive. This trespass order [came] from the Senate President.”

Reza was present for Tuesday’s marathon Appropriations Committee hearing, along with numerous other activists, watching the proceedings on a TV set in an overflow room. How could Reza be disruptive as he sat in front of a Television? After all, the activists were not even allowed into the hearing room. I know because I was there.

Unbeknownst to him, Reza was persona non grata at the State Capitol, so when he and Anayanse Garza showed up Thursday at the Senate chambers for a meeting with Senator Gallardo,

Police arrested immigration activist Salvador Reza on suspicion of trespassing Thursday after he refused to leave the state Senate, and another activist could face assault charges stemming from a suspected shoving match with an officer. Arizona Republic

New Times was at the Capitol yesterday, when Reza and Garza held a press conference:

Both alleged abuse at the hands of DPS Officer J. Gentry Burton and DPS Sergeant Jeff Trap, who collared them after warning Reza to leave, supposedly because he had been “banned” on the orders of state Senate President Russell Pearce. Reza said he was thrown up against the glass window of the building’s lobby “like a common criminal.”

Garza claimed she was dragged by her hair during her arrests. Garza had not been “banned,” like Reza. “They used violence against me,” stated the soft-spoken, 33 year-old woman.

At the press conference Senator Gallardo asked,

“Where does [Pearce] have the authority to ban someone?” … He referred to the state Senate rule book, and indicated there was nothing granting Pearce such powers. “We call on Pearce to give us a list of everyone banned,” he stated. “We need to know who’s on that list and why.”

Meanwhile, while all this crap transpired this week, radio host Carlos Galinda sat outside the Capitol with a big sign in uppercase letters that read:


Remember them? I doubt if Pearce ever heard of them, except maybe that second one. A comment from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox provided a fitting end to the press conference:

“We have to remind the [Arizona] Senate … that we’re still a part of the United States of America.”

Last year, after the SB 1070 boycotts put a huge dent in Arizona’s vital tourism industry, the Governor appointed a commission to develop some image-saving strategies. At the time, one of their suggested slogans seemed laughable, especially if you were brown. Today it seems Kafkaesque:

Arizona — Experience the Freedom


Fired for Facebook Post: Freedom of Speech vs Corp Policy

As the Internet evolves to encompass more of our lives the legal issues with being able to say whatever we want and immediately have that published to anyone in the world are growing. Today David M Cantor, a Phoenix Defense Lawyer, talks about a recent case reported by the ABAjournal from various sources where an employee was fired for voicing a union issue on Facebook.

At issue here is corporate policy versus the basic right an American citizen has to free and protected speech. In this case an employee of American Medical Response (AMR) of Connecticut Inc. posted negative remarks about her supervisor on Facebook, the incredibly popular social media network. This act violated AMR’s corporate policy preventing employees from ‘badmouthing‘ the company online. The post in question was in retaliation to AMR’s denial of union representation regarding a customer complaint.

Naturally the union came to the employee’s defense and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a lawsuit against AMR for restricting the employees right to “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act. In his video David talks about the difference between badmouthing a companies product or service versus its employment policy and tactics. The case was recently settled our of court for an undisclosed sum and AMR has updated its policy regarding worker’s ability to communicate online about the company.

For years the discussion about social media dangers have been focused on employees’ watching what they say. Now we are seeing more and more cases where the employer needs to be more cautious about how it behaves in the social media space.

Youtube mom busted for child abuse Social Media Lawyer

Today, child abuse lawyer David Cantor talks about a recent case in Florida where a mother has been arrested for child abuse. The interesting twist on this story is how she was busted: via a video on Youtube documenting her cheering on her 16 year old daughter while she was fighting another girl. Give this lady a nomination for worst mother of the year on the first count of encouraging her daughter to fight over a boy, second for disregarding that her daughter has a history of head injuries, and third for not realizing that everything gets recorded and ends up on Youtube.

Florida Church Proposes Burn a Quran Day

David Cantor, Arizona Criminal Attorney, talks about the Small Church, Dove World Outreach Center, in Florida that has proposed to Burn Qurans on September 11th. David talks about how this is within the Pastor’s rights as an American but that does not free him from the consequences of his actions. David feels that this is a dumb act and that offending an entire religion based on a few of its members makes no sense.

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