Five Minutes Five Issues: WaPo Betrayal, Tulsa Charge, NYPD Cash, Marijuana Defense, Boehner’s Bonanza
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
In a Sunday editorial, the Washington Post editorial board advocated that the United States government prosecute mass surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald, who was involved in the release of Snowden’s information, puts the Post editorial in context. Writing in The Intercept, Greenwald points out that “Three of the four media outlets that received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden — The Guardian, the New York Times, and The Intercept –– have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges.” In contrast, writes Greenwald, “the Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.”
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced on Thursday that Betty Shelby has been charged with first-degree manslaughter for shooting to death Terence Crutcher last week while Shelby was on the job as a Tulsa, Oklahoma cop
In May, Tulsa County Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Bates was sentenced to four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of second-degree manslaughter. Bates claimed his mistaking his gun for his Taser led him to fatally shoot Eric Harris.
The New York City Council is considering a bill that would require the New York Police Department (NYPD) to provide a yearly report on the money its police seize. Seizures occur when police take a person’s cash, even without charging the person with any lawbreaking. The deprived individual can then choose between giving up on the seized money or, at his own expense, attempting the cumbersome process of proving he should receive the money back.
Max Rivlin-Nadler reported last week at the Village Voice that, while the NYPD has disclosed that, “as of December 2013, its property clerk had almost $69 million in seized cash on hand,” in testimony before a city council committee, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner indicated the police department has no feasible means to comply fully with the proposed legislation.
Requiring transparency on NYPD seizures could be a step towards restraining the seizure power. If the NYPD money seizures are managed such that transparency cannot be provided, maybe more people seeking reform of the seizures will instead determine that the only logical course is ending them.
Last week, a Florida jury found Bridget Kirouac not guilty of violating the state’s marijuana laws for growing several marijuana plants in her home. The state government prohibits recreational use of marijuana and has relatively limited medical marijuana legalization that would not aid Kirouac. Yet, the verdict was not jury nullification. Kirouac’s lawyer Michael Minardi presented a medical necessity defense in the case — something defendants do not have the option of arguing in all state courts in America. The ability to put forward a defense in court, however, is far short of the protection that legalization can afford. Kirouac, after all, was arrested and spent two years in a legal battle with the threat of imprisonment hanging over her head.
You can stop worrying about how former US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner will put food on the table after leaving the House in October of last year. This week, Boehner found a new job at law firm Squire Patton Boggs, which has a focus on lobbying. Jake Sherman reports at Politico that Boehner will also be moonlighting on the board of directors of “tobacco giant” Reynolds America for likely an additional $400,000-plus a year.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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