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Home 2009 Jan. 2009 Courtrooms, Cameras, Police, Kopbusters and Yolanda Madden

Courtrooms, Cameras, Police, Kopbusters and Yolanda Madden

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(This article was originally published on Jan. 4th, 2009. It's an example of what one activist is doing to try to bring accountability back to the justice system.)

Here in Illinois, at least in DuPage County, when one walks into the county courthouse one is not allowed to take so much as a camera phone in. I´ve often wondered about this. I´ve thought to myself, at times, "I wonder what they´re so afraid of." It seems to me that this is a public building, so aren´t the citizens of the county the actual owners? If they want to film on their own property, shouldn´t they be able to do so with impunity? If they want to take pictures of their public servants, doesn´t it make sense that they should be able to? Other counties in other states allow cameras and filming in their courtrooms, and if we are to have an open and honest judiciary system it seems to me that the best way to keep them on the up and up is to be able to film and record their activities. And yet, for some reason, the state of Illinois feels too paranoid to allow cameras into this supposedly public venue.

I believe that some would reason that cameras aren´t allowed in the courtrooms because those who would dispense justice contend that allowing citizens to have cameras in the courtroom would disrupt proceedings. Well, I can say that as a father who has raised five children that I´ve been to many a school recital where over zealous parents have brought numerous video and flash cameras and the proceedings were hardly disrupted. It seems to me that if a group of nervous school children can pull off a performance in front of the lights and bustle of parental recording, a group of serious men who have been arguing cases in front of each other for years should be able to perform their jobs in front of quiet adults with video cameras. Besides, as I´ve said earlier, this is a public forum and certainly the public should be aware of what its servants are doing and what they can expect should they ever be accused of participating in some sort of crime and be forced to partake in a trial.

So, I wonder why no cameras are allowed in Illinois courtrooms. I wonder what they´re afraid of. Perhaps its not justice they dispense, but injustice. Perhaps if we citizens were to start videotaping these proceedings from beginning to end it would be easier for us to discover that our justice system is actually corrupted to the core, from top to bottom. I seem to remember that when I was growing up the justice system of the United States of America was the pride of many of the adults I knew and trusted. It was said to be one of the best in the world because everyone was supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty" and our officials were incorruptible. At least, that´s what I was taught. It doesn´t seem to be that way anymore. Perhaps if we could bring our cameras into the courtroom and see the evidence that judges don´t allow and hear some of the pretrial motions that seem to predetermine the outcome of a trial, perhaps then the general public would have a better understanding of just how rotten our justice system has become.

But courtrooms aren´t the only place video cameras in the hands of common citizens have become unwelcome. It seems police on the street have become paranoid of humans bearing cameras as well as judges in courtrooms. Their paranoia is evident in many Youtube videos where we see these miscreants demanding cameras be put down. These are the same officers of the law who would make the claim that one has nothing to fear from them if one has done nothing wrong. They would state that one need not worry about one´s rights being violated so long as one has broken no laws. But in these Youtube videos one can see that it is no wonder the police are afraid of cameras. It becomes blatantly obvious as we watch the misguided officers violating the civil rights of human beings and that is the greater law being violated by them, not by the citizenry.

And yet the deception created by such actions and paranoia does not end there. Its fingers creep out into society and affect us all. Many do not even realize the extent to which the corruption has spread. The mainstream media refuses to inform the general public which many of the older folks are still addicted to. Many in this older generation refuse to believe that their public servants are no longer servants of the public, but are instead trained to control and manipulate. The servants have become the masters and we are to obey them or be crushed. They will stop at nothing to perpetuate the perception that they are always in the right and will stoop to the lowest low to promote the illusion that they can do no wrong.

It is the common man using the tools that modern technology has made affordable that has exposed this, not the mainstream media which seems to have forgotten or neglected its usefulness as a check and balance on the power of government. The youth of this country are beginning to understand that it is up to the citizenry to protect their own rights, that no one else will do it for them and that those entrusted with such a duty will only run roughshod over them if given half a chance. That is why we are seeing the old media dying, a new media springing to life to replace it and those in power becoming afraid. They run when the light of truth is shone upon them and the people are better off because of this.

Take as an example the case of Yolanda Madden from Odessa, Texas. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for possession of methamphetamines. "What´s the big deal about that?" the most indoctrinated among us might ask, "She broke the law and she needs to be punished!" they might cry. I´m not going to use this space to explain the argument about the right of someone to decide for himself what to do with his own body and how despicable this thing called by some "the war on drugs" is. The necessity for us to grant freedom to others so that we can have it for ourselves is self evident. The problem with Yolanda´s case is that it was all a lie. The drugs they found on her were planted by a police informant. How do I know this? It´s a matter of public record. The informant testified as such in court. Both the informant and Yolanda passed many tests to prove her innocence. Even that didn´t matter to the corrupt system. She was still found guilty and sentenced. She has already lost years of her life sitting in prison when she could have been contributing to society in a positive way.

The police lied. They lied about many things. There is video tape of the bust that they said didn´t exist. They lied when they said they didn´t have evidence planted. They lied when they claimed she broke down and cried at the traffic stop and allowed them to search her vehicle. They continue to lie. The injustice that their lies bring is immeasurable. The harm they continue to do not only to the people that were wronged, but to the reputation of the American justice system is massive. To those who say "the law is the law," I say "wrong is wrong." What the police did was wrong. The law is secondary. When we spot injustice, we should all demand that it stop and that those wronged are made right again. Remember, if something like this can happen to someone like Yolanda, it can happen to your son or daughter or even to you. Where is Yolanda, or anyone else for that matter, supposed to get their justice when the justice system is so compromised?

Enter Kopbusters. This group of brave individuals has decided to take on the establishment using the same methods that corrupted law enforcement has been using for years. Normally I would be against entrapment, because normally entrapment is used when a thought crime and not a real crime has been committed, but in this case a real crime was committed and I feel a taste of one´s own medicine is justified. So Kopbusters set up a couple of Christmas trees inside a house and through lack of jurisprudence and proper investigative work, the police came to believe that a large grow operation was in fact taking place inside that house. A judge improperly issued a fourth amendment warrant and the police improperly served said warrant. Cameras inside the house caught the video of the illegal activity and streamed it live so that the video could not be confiscated and later "lost." The police and the judge in this case, if justice is to be served for the people of Texas, should be in some real trouble and should face criminal prosecution, but we shall see just how deep the corruption of the system goes.

All this was done to shine a light upon the Yolanda Madden case. Who knows how many cases like hers are out there? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? It´s hard to say. Now, the Odessa authorities are scrambling to do some damage control. They are trying to find out if any laws were broken in regards to the sting operation. They are seeking the identity of an anonymous tipster. They are not saying "thank you for exposing such behavior" to the men and women of Kopbusters. They are not promising to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. They aren´t so much as talking about cleaning up the corruption or making things right for Yolanda and her family. They are looking for an excuse to put someone in jail and hide behind some inane law so that they can continue their corrupt ways. They aren´t supposed to issue warrants based on the word of anonymous tipsters, so seeking the identity of one seems irrelevant and beside the point. These people need to admit their mistakes and face the music. They need to free those they´ve wrongfully imprisoned and stop imprisoning those who haven´t harmed anyone. They need to stop acting like a criminal gang and once again become the peace officers that at one time were the envy of the world.

The police and the justice system continue to investigate this case not because they want to right the wrongs they´ve committed, but because they want to try to spin it into a political win by shifting the focus from Yolanda to some anonymous tipster who doesn´t matter. It won´t work. The people are mad, and well they should be. They are mad about the abuse that has taken place. They are mad that their rights are no longer honored. They are mad that their money is stolen by this corrupt system. They are letting their anger show. You were caught red handed, gentlemen, admit your mistakes and take your punishment like the men you are supposed to be and quit whining and crying "no fair" like sniveling cowards.

If you are interested in learning more about Yolanda Madden´s case and Kopbusters, visit their website at here.
The people of Kopbusters are, in my humble opinion, true American patriots working to protect the rights of the individual and the principles upon which our country was founded. They should be applauded and supported by anyone interested in maintaining the principles of freedom and liberty.

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