Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So Many Parallels to the FLDS Fiasco in Vermont Library Case.

Hat tip to "Strange Justice."

Yahoo News/AP - "(Judith) Flint was firm in her confrontation with the police.

'The lead detective said to me that they need to take the public computers and I said "OK, show me your warrant and that will be that,'" said Flint, 56. 'He did say he didn't need any paper. I said "You do." He said "I'm just trying to save a 12-year-old girl," and I told him "Show me the paper.'"

Cybersecurity expert Fred H. Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, said the librarians acted appropriately.

'If you've told all your patrons "We won't hand over your records unless we're ordered to by a court," and then you turn them over voluntarily, you're liable for anything that goes wrong,' he said.

A new Vermont law that requires libraries to demand court orders in such situations took effect July 1, but it wasn't in place that June day. The library's policy was to require one.

The librarians did agree to shut down the computers so no one could tamper with them, which had been a concern to police.

Once in police hands, how broadly could police dig into the computer hard drives without violating the privacy of other library patrons?

Baker wouldn't discuss what information was gleaned from the computers or what state police did with information about other people, except to say the scope of the warrant was restricted to the missing girl investigation.

'The idea that they took all the computers, it's like data mining,' said Caldwell-Stone. 'Now, all of a sudden, since you used that computer, your information is exposed to law enforcement and can be used in ways that (it) wasn't intended.'"

It turns out that all we really needed on April 3rd was a 4' 10" 56 year old female librarian at YFZ.

The parallels are interesting. One is the confidence of law enforcement that they did not need a warrant. Granted, in Texas they got warrants, but the first one was invalid, the second one was based on events seen at YFZ that the most flattering evaluation counts as misinterpretation. Texas is now functioning on no warrant at all.

With both warrnts gone though, nothing stops Texas. Just as with the computers that Vermont sought from the Library, "data mining" can go on forever, and in fact has in Texas. We are well past the non existant Sarah and the abusive Dale, her fictional husband and we blew past the "pregnant underage girls" who wouldn't have been prima facie evidence of a crime anyway, had there been any such underage girls.

Now we're functioning on "Data Mined" from the raid, but not part of the raid's primary intent or the alleged secondary purpose created by "seeing" other crimes. Texas did not "see" Teresa Jeffs' diary. They didn't "see" the record of spiritual marriage arranged and conducted by her father. That was "mined" later.

We can clearly see the danger in the case of Vermont, yet too many of us don't see the wrongness of what is still happening in Texas. What's the justification? In Vermont, "We're trying to save a 12 year old girl," in Texas, "We're trying to save a 15 year old girl." It's offered as the justification for any extreme of behavior and trampling of rights by law enforcment. "We're trying to help, the children."



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2 comments:

TxBluesMan said...

Hugh, the difference is that Texas had a search warrant, Vermont did not.

It's a fairly simple concept.

Hugh said...

Blues, I am aware of the differences. But Texas did not have a valid search warrant and that will be eventually decided in court when some "bigamists" are tried and some "child molesters" are tried.

Either they will be convicted or not. I suspect if they are not convicted it will be as a result of disallowed evidence. If they are convicted, there is a strong chance the evidence will be disallowed on appeal.

I would like YOU to answer ME this question.

What did Texas see while at YFZ that gave them the right to search some more. That would be the SECOND warrant Blues, because we known now that the first warrant is a pile of lies. I accept happily the idea that a bad warrant can cause law enforcement to be IN a position to see valid evidence of another crime. What did they see while at YFZ Blues, because eventually that's going to be what get's answered in court, or on appeal. An appeal that will travel all the way to SCOTUS I believe, if the conviction (should there be one) is not overturned.

What did they see at YFZ Blues?