Tuesday, March 31, 2015


By Martin Kaste

March 30, 2015

If you're murdered in America, there's a 1 in 3 chance that the police won't identify your killer.

To use the FBI's terminology, the national "clearance rate" for homicide today is 64.1 percent. Fifty years ago, it was more than 90 percent.

And that's worse than it sounds, because "clearance" doesn't equal conviction: It's just the term that police use to describe cases that end with an arrest, or in which a culprit is otherwise identified without the possibility of arrest — if the suspect has died, for example.

Criminologists estimate that at least 200,000 murders have gone unsolved since the 1960s, leaving family and friends to wait and wonder.

"It's like the boogeyman," says Delicia Turner. Her husband, Anthony Glover, was found murdered — along with a friend — in Boston in 2009. Police never made an arrest. She says the open case preys on her mind. "You don't know if you're walking next to the person, if you've seen the person ... if the person knows you."

Turner watches a lot of true-crime TV, hoping to see something that could be applied to her husband's case. She calls her ideas in to the detectives in Boston, who tell her not to be a "TV cop," she says.

" 'You can best believe we're putting our best effort forward,' " she says, recalling what they tell her when she phones. But she's convinced they've moved on. "I think that the police just give up."

Homicide detectives say the public doesn't realize that clearing murders has become harder in recent decades. Vernon Geberth, a retired, self-described NYPD "murder cop" who wrote the definitive manual on solving homicides, says standards for charging someone are higher now — too high, in his opinion. He thinks prosecutors nowadays demand that police deliver "open-and-shut cases" that will lead to quick plea bargains.

He says new tools such as DNA analysis have helped, but that's been offset by worsening relationships between police and the public.

"If there is a distrust of the police themselves and the system, all of these scientific advances are not going to help us," he says.

Since at least the 1980s, police have complained about a growing "no snitch" culture, especially in minority communities. They say the reluctance of potential witnesses makes it hard to identify suspects.

But some experts say that explanation may be too pat. University of Maryland criminologist Charles Wellford points out that police are still very effective at clearing certain kinds of murders.

"Take, for example, homicides of police officers in the course of their duty," he says. On paper, they're the kind of homicide that's hardest to solve — "they're frequently done in communities that generally have low clearance rates. ... They're stranger-to-stranger homicides; they [have] high potential of retaliation [for] witnesses." And yet, Wellford says, they're almost always cleared.

What that tells Wellford is that clearance rates are a matter of priorities.

Wellford says Americans should also understand that while the national rate is in the 60s, the local rates vary widely. But because the FBI doesn't publish local agencies' numbers, these differences are often invisible to the public.

NPR had to make a special request for those local clearance rates.

That relative invisibility of clearance rates may have played a role in their decline over time. The public is much more aware of overall, national crime rates and the continuing good news about the falling homicide rate.

But even though most people are unaware of clearance statistics, Wellford thinks certain communities have an anecdotal sense that crimes aren't being solved.

"Those [uncleared] homicides tend to occur in poor communities, minority communities," he says. "What is the impact of an unsolved homicide when those unsolved homicides are primarily in the very communities [where] we're trying to build stronger relationships with law enforcement?"

In other words, could the legacy of unsolved murders be feeding a vicious cycle, by undermining the public's willingness to cooperate with investigators?

Still, it's easy to see why police departments have become more focused on prevention.

"The emphases change," says David L. Carter, a criminologist at Michigan State University. The crime waves of the 1970s and '80s pushed police departments toward prevention strategies — broken-window patrols, more officer visibility in high-crime areas, stop-and-frisk — and solving crimes became secondary. "In some instances, the clearance rates are one of those things that kind of snuck up on people."

Some police departments are now feeling the pressure to reverse the trend. Detroit is an extreme case. When the city was on the verge of bankruptcy a couple of years ago, the murder clearance rate was flirting with single digits. A new chief was brought in, and homicide investigators were reorganized into squads that "specialize" in certain parts of the city.

"Now if we get a case ... we've had something in that area already," says Sgt. Mike Russell, who leads one of the squads. "We have a particular family [whose] names come up in several of our cases, and we know to look at them now."

Cities such as Detroit are also trying to improve their clearance rates by digging into their files, looking for older cases that might be solved with new techniques. Russell points to one on his desk involving a girl who disappeared in 1979.

"A body was discovered in '92 in the dump, in Monroe County, in cement. And she was just ID'd two weeks ago," he says.

Russell says he and his squad work on old cases whenever they have time. Solving old murders improves current clearance rates, because under the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting standard, a department gets the credit in the year a murder is cleared, not the year it's committed.

But old cases can get a department only so far. Once the low-hanging fruit are gone, rates often start to slide back. Carter says that local agencies should try to emulate departments that have made more lasting improvements in their clearance rates.

In 2013, Carter authored a federal report on police departments with the best practices. One of the stars was Richmond, Va.

"The chances of you getting caught doing a murder now are a whole lot greater than it was 10 years ago," says Detective Mark Williams. Richmond was suffering through a surge of violent crime then, and he says some investigators were getting as many as five or six homicide cases a week.

"You were doing assembly-line homicides," he says. "If there was something there that you could do, to use to get an arrest, you stayed on it. But if there was nothing there [that you could use], you moved on to the next case."

Instead of accepting low clearances as a byproduct of the murder rate, Richmond refocused its efforts. Williams says the department reduced investigators' caseloads, and the city gave it money to take care of potential witnesses.

"We move you;we relocate you. There are people out there that want to cooperate, but you've got to take care of them," he says.

Today, Richmond's homicide clearance rate routinely hits percentages in the 80s and 90s, depending on which reporting standard is used.

The problem, of course, is that all of this costs money. Homicide investigations are inherently expensive, and cash-poor cities are less able to reduce investigators' caseloads. In Detroit, for instance, each homicide investigator still expects to "catch" a dozen cases a year — well above the four or five that's considered the national standard.

And each case takes a lot of man-hours as it is. On a freezing afternoon in late February, about 10 Detroit police officers have spent an hour on a fruitless search of a house for a murder weapon — even though investigators don't expect to find the gun there.

"It's one of those T's you gotta cross," says Sgt. Brian Bowser. He says the suspects are already in custody and talking, so they don't need the weapon to prove the case. But they have no choice but to take these steps. "When we go to trial, they're going to say, 'Well, if you knew the weapon was there, did you search that residence?' And now we can say, 'Yeah, we searched it.' "

In the modern legal system, even "easy" homicide cases are complex, bureaucratic tasks. In Detroit, a city with one of the worst murder rates in the country, these investigators admit to feeling intimidated by the pressure to keep up.

Bowser's squad uses a whiteboard to track its cases' clearance status. Open cases are written in green; cleared cases, in red. But investigators can be superstitious when it comes time to declare a case cleared. Bowser's partner, James Kraszewski, won't even pick up the red marker.

"I will not change my own color," he says. "I feel if I change my own color, my next one, I will not be able to change."

So who changes the marker color on Kraszewski's cases? "Whoever wants to do it for me," he says, as his partner laughs.


By Perry Chiaramonte

Fox News
March 29, 2015

Crime stats published by the FBI and relied upon by the media distort the gun violence and leave the public with the impression "mass shooting" incidents are a much bigger threat than they really are, according to a criminologist and Second Amendment scholar.

The bureau's annual reports tabulating and classifying a wide range of crime throughout the nation have been historically free of politics, but John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, said the latest statistics contain numbers that are misleading at best and deliberately fudged at worst. Lott believes the numbers may have been presented to overstate for political purposes the true risk of being a victim of random gun crimes.

"The FBI put out a clearly incorrect set of numbers on public shootings shortly before the November election last year,” said Lott, a frequent opinion writer for FoxNews.com and author of "More Guns, Less Crime." “I have been reading FBI reports for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this.It is one thing for the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the National Institute of Justice to put out politically biased studies, but there has always been a Chinese wall separating the FBI raw data collection from political pressures.”

Asked for comment, Katherine Schweit, the FBI's section chief of the bureau's Active Shooter Initiative, said only Tuesday night that its report isolates active shooter incidents and evaluates available data based on methodology detailed on the FBI's official website.

FBI figures released last September appear to show so-called "mass shooter" attacks and deaths have dramatically increased since 2000. The report asserted there were a total 160 such incidents in public places between 2000 and 2013, with attacks dramatically increased to 17 in 2013 from just one in 2000. The statistics also showed murders jumping to 86 from just seven over the span.

But Lott's group said a major flaw is the fact that the data was gleaned from news reports, and noted recent accounts were more accessible, and thus over-represented. Recent cases of the far more common “active shooting incidents” were added to legitimate cases of mass shooting incidents, making the more recent years covered by the report appear to have a large increase in both mass shootings and deaths from them.

The media most often took the numbers at face value, allowing for the perception of an increase in mass shootings and deaths from them, Lott said. A counter report by the CPRC shows that if the biases and errors were corrected, the Bureau’s data would show that the annual growth rate for homicides in mass shootings had been cut in half, Lott said.

He suspects manipulation, and not merely mistakes.

“The administration has obviously been willing to do a lot to push for gun control; with everything from ‘Operation Choke Point’ to ‘Fast and Furious,’ and this is just part of that push. Given the level of politicization in [the] Department of Justice, this is not particularly surprising.”

However, in an introduction from a copy of the report, the authors did appear to differentiate between “mass killings” and “active shooter incidents.”

“In 2013, the president signed into law the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012, which granted the attorney general the authority to assist in the investigation of ‘violent acts and shootings occurring in a place of public use’ and in the investigation of ‘mass killings and attempted mass killings at the request of an appropriate law enforcement official of a state or political subdivision,’” read the report. “To provide further clarity on these threats, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2014 initiated a study of ‘active shooter’ incidents.”

In a September press release touting their findings, the Bureau stated:

"[W]e believe the information contained in this study can benefit anyone who could potentially be in an active shooter situation—like emergency personnel, employees of retail corporations and other businesses, educators and students, government and military personnel, members of the general public, etc.—by giving them a better understanding of how these incidents play out."

James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University, agreed that the FBI numbers were being misinterpreted to overstate the incidents and risks of mass shootings. But he blamed the media, not the FBI.

“The media misinterpreted the report,” Fox said. “An active shooter incident is not the same as a mass shooting.”

Fox said using news reports to compile crime statistics is not a reliable method, and said his own research has found no upward trend in mass shootings.

“Since 1976, there have been ups and downs in incidents but there has been no trend upward or downward in mass shootings,” he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It has gotten to the point where you cannot trust law enforcement statistics anymore. Those stats are being manipulated at the local, state and federal levels to show what the police and politicians want you to believe.

Monday, March 30, 2015


The LAPD is nearly as diverse as the city, but critics say its policing still reflects racial, ethnic biases

By Angel Jennings, Kate Mather, Joe Mozingo, Ruben Vives and Richard Winton

Los Angeles Times
March 28, 2015

The sweeps came on Friday nights in South Los Angeles, often before big events like Raiders games. Police would round up young men they thought were gang members and hold them over the weekend to keep violence down, a campaign launched by then-Chief Daryl F. Gates to control "the rotten little cowards."

Francisco McClure recalled being arrested several times, only to be released the following Monday mornings without being charged. For the young black man, the fact that most of the officers were white made the experience even more bitter.

The martial arts instructor, 50, these days sees more Latino and black faces patrolling his community of Jefferson Park, and he says the officers don't hassle residents as much. He commends them for holding neighborhood forums and using more dashboard cameras.

But, he said, "they just cleaned up their act a little. Before it was white against blacks. Now it's just blue against blacks."

The Los Angeles Police Department often is cited as an example of how recruiting nonwhite officers can improve community relations. The LAPD, once a predominantly white institution, now closely mirrors the city's demographics and is majority nonwhite — from the glass offices at headquarters to patrol cars working the beat.

There is wide agreement that the transformation has helped, turning even some longtime LAPD critics into supporters.

"The department has moved away from being an occupying force in South L.A. and East L.A. to one that interacts and is more representative of those communities," said John Mack, a veteran civil rights leader who recently served as a police commissioner.

LAPD and community in a wary detente

But Mack and others also acknowledge that a more diverse police force has not extinguished distrust in the community it serves.

From Ferguson, Mo., to New York City, protests in recent months have focused on white officers using deadly force on blacks. LAPD shootings of black men have also sparked demonstrations, but those protests have focused on the race of the people shot and allegations of police bias — and not the race of the officers involved.

Activists in Los Angeles took to the streets after police last summer fatally shot Ezell Ford, a mentally ill black man. Police say Ford tackled one of the officers and grabbed for his gun, prompting both to open fire. Police have never said why officers approached Ford.

This month's fatal police shooting of a mentally ill homeless man on skid row also drew criticism. In that case, police say, the man — who had a criminal history — fought with officers and reached for one of their guns, an account they say was confirmed by video of the incident.

None of the officers involved in those shootings was white.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the newly elected city councilman for parts of South Los Angeles, said the LAPD deserves credit for the progress it has made but needs to do better. In particular, he said, police need to work to gain the trust of more young people and build a generation that wants to work with the department.

"When I was young in the early '90s, I remember older family members telling me how much worse it was under Chief Parker," he said of William H. Parker, who served in the 1950s and '60s. "I thought, 'Well, I'm still afraid of getting the crap beat out of me.'"

McClure said he wondered how much progress had been made when he called 911 in September after a man with a knife charged him near his home. The two Latino officers who arrived asked McClure: "Do you have any warrants? Are you on probation?"

"I had to remind them that I am a victim," he said.

Police Chief Charlie Beck is often credited with being a guiding force in helping to improve community relations in South Los Angeles over the last 15 years.

Beck said there are always going to be allegations of mistreatment in a department "that involves a million contacts" with the public each year.

The goal, he said, is to become more deeply involved in the community so that conflicts between police and residents are viewed as isolated incidents, not signs that the department as a whole treats people unfairly.

Command staff recently underwent eight hours of "implicit bias training" to recognize the subconscious prejudices they might hold. The department also runs a large cadet program as well as a magnet program in five high schools across the city that aims to teach and mentor students interested in careers in law enforcement.

Beck pointed to the work of a cadre of officers who have made inroads in Jordan Downs, a housing project with a violent reputation and history of ill will between residents and police. Officers help with a Girl Scout troop, take kids camping and talk to gang members about getting jobs and leaving the streets.

A national focus on race and policing

Even with a more diverse police department, officers continue to use force on blacks out of proportion to their numbers in the city. Blacks represent 9% of the city's population but account for 19% of police shootings and 31% of less serious use-of-force cases. About half the complaints filed with the LAPD alleging biased policing involve interactions with black men, records show.

Beck said there is no simple explanation for those numbers. Race, he said, is just one factor, along with poverty and education levels, employment and neighborhood crime rates. Although blacks make up a small percentage of the city overall, they make up a much larger percentage of residents in higher-crime neighborhoods.

"To draw a straight-line comparison between use of force and race demographics ignores the many other disparities that not only exist but directly contribute to the situations and circumstances of police use of force," he said.

Much of the attention nationally has focused on how white officers treat blacks. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last summer involved a predominantly white department policing a majority-black community. In New York City, where protests followed the death of Eric Garner, the department is 52% white, while two-thirds of the city is nonwhite.

But in Los Angeles, Latinos make up about 45% of the force, more than any other group. Whites, who accounted for 61% of the department 25 years ago, are now about a third of sworn officers. Asian Americans are a quickly growing demographic in the LAPD, about 9.6%, as they are in Southern California; they constitute 11% of L.A.'s population.

"If you get stopped by two Los Angeles police officers today, your chances of having two white males stop you is pretty remote," Beck said.

The LAPD arrived at its diversified force after decades of social unrest.

The Watts riots of 1965 left 34 people dead and shocked the nation. The commission assigned by the governor to research the roots of the violence identified a need to improve relations between the black community and police — but no significant effort was made.

Then in the 1970s, the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the U.S. Justice Department filed employment discrimination lawsuits against the LAPD on behalf of women and minorities. To settle the suits, the department entered federal consent decrees promising to bring its ranks in line with the ethnic makeup of the city's labor force, with at least 20% of the department being female.

The force steadily diversified through the 1980s, but that did not bring the sensitivity that reformers had hoped for. A study by the Claremont Graduate School in 1990 found that officers were remarkably uniform in the how they thought and acted.

"Bringing all these women and minorities onto the force has not made any significant change in the way the police perform," George T. Felkenes, a criminal justice professor who led the project, said at the time. "Once they get in the department, they're shaped and molded into what the department wants them to be."

Riots and Rampart as catalysts for change

The turning point for Los Angeles and the LAPD came after the 1991 beating of Rodney G. King. Riots followed the acquittal of four officers tried for assault; three of them were white, one Latino.

Mac Shorty said he was among those out robbing and looting. A young black man, he was furious about the acquittal, furious about sitting on the curb, over and over, hands on top of his head, shoes off, cops looking in his socks for crack cocaine.

They'd just plain old harass," recalled Shorty, who now sits on the Watts Neighborhood Council. "There'd be days where two or three times a day, they would bump you up."

An independent investigative panel led by future U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher found that "too many patrol officers view citizens with resentment and hostility." It pushed for an overhaul of the department's disciplinary system, a shift toward community policing and the resignation of the militaristic Chief Gates.

Gates did step down, and the department gradually implemented reforms. But, seven years after the Christopher Commission report, the Rampart scandal exploded.

Gang officers in the predominantly Latino area west of downtown were accused of covering up bad shootings, beating suspects, planting evidence, stealing drugs and lying in court. The allegations spread to other gang units. More than a dozen officers left the force: Some were fired; others resigned amid investigations. More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned, and the city had to pay more than $70 million to victims.

The federal government threatened to sue to take control of the LAPD. Under a new consent decree imposed in 2001, the department agreed to scores of measures that overhauled the way it took complaints from citizens, used confidential informants, ran gang units, investigated uses of force by officers and audited itself.

In the 12 years it took for the department to be released from the decree, policing in Los Angeles went through a metamorphosis.

These days, Shorty, the rioter turned community leader, calls LAPD captains by their first names and nicknames. Phil Tingirides is Capt. T., an affable presence at neighborhood meetings and events. He has helped start a youth football team in Watts, a track team, a tutoring program and a college scholarship program.

At a recent community meeting, residents were grumbling over whether having officers wear body cameras would really curb misbehavior. Shorty stood up and pointed to Capt. T, who is white. "Him and I don't always agree with each other, but at the end of the day, we have a working relationship," he said. "He's still my friend."

Shorty's neighbors listened, then continued grumbling — suggesting that some relationships are built slowly.

On a recent day, Officers Joe Chacon and Dan Rios made a house call off South Gless Street in the Pico Gardens housing project. They are two of nearly 50 officers who grew up in the Hollenbeck Division on the Eastside and now patrol it.

When Chacon, who has logged more than a quarter-century with the department, knocked on the apartment door, an elderly Latina gave him a warm greeting and a hug. They talked quietly about a gang member she said was causing trouble — hanging around outside at 2 a.m., selling drugs, making noise.

They chatted in Spanish, and she asked whether the officers planned to attend her friend's funeral. Of course, they said.

"I am going to come back and haunt you if you don't," she said, teasing.

Chacon would be there — on his day off.

He knows what the neighborhood used to be like, when the gangs were in control; what it was like to be raised by immigrant parents.

Capt. Martin Baeza, who grew up in nearby Glassell Park, said officers who were raised in Hollenbeck and attended Roosevelt or Garfield high schools are lining up to work in the area. When officers understand the language and culture of the community, he believes, the public is less likely to read sinister intentions into their actions.

After reforms, progress yet lingering distrust

A 2009 Harvard University study found public opinions of the police to be much more positive since the reforms of the last consent decree were implemented, with 83% of residents saying the LAPD was doing a good or excellent job. Still, the study found pockets of distrust among black and Latino residents. When asked whether police treat all racial and ethnic groups fairly, 23% of black respondents said "almost never," compared with 14% of Latinos and 10% of whites.

Lee Sprewell, 28, a black FedEx driver, said he remains distrustful of the LAPD. He cited several incidents, including one last summer when two white officers pulled him over in his new Dodge Charger while he returned from a night out.

He said that they demanded to know whether he was on probation or whether there was a warrant out for his arrest. When he asked why they had stopped him, he recalled, the officers noted that he had paper plates and said that they wanted to check his registration. Then, according to Sprewell, the officers claimed they smelled marijuana.

Sprewell told them that he did not smoke and that his employer conducts routine drug tests.

Whether they are white, black or Latino, Sprewell said, officers act the same way. "They all have the same mind-set," he said.

Sgt. Jim Baker, who is black, is trying to break that image. Growing up in segregated Jackson, Miss., during the civil rights movement, Baker went to protests with his mother, who "showed me what was right and what was wrong," he said. Baker said he decided to become a police officer to protect people's rights.

Now 62 and approaching 30 years on the force, he is working for the Special Events Unit, which handles downtown protests and demonstrations.

The day before Thanksgiving, Baker was standing outside LAPD headquarters, keeping an eye on protesters who had gathered to rally against the Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown. A young woman came up to Baker. The woman, he said, told him that his work as a police officer made him racist and called him an "Uncle Tom."

"You are a black man," she said, pointing a finger at Baker. "You are kept down by your race, even if you won't accept it. That is a fact."

"That's opinion," Baker replied, before adding: "I respect your opinion."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Diversity is not working.

LAPD is now 44.6 percent white, 34.1 percent Latino, 11.2 percent black, 9.6 percent Asian and 0.5 percent other. 11.2 percent of LAPD's cops are black, which exceeds LA's percentage of blacks (9 percent) residing in Los Angeles. That figure must have had social engineers overjoyed.

Social engineers in academia have long maintained that diversity in police departments is the solution to the mistrust between the cops and the black community. LAPD’s diversity within its ranks pretty well reflects the diversity of LA’s population, which is exactly what the social engineers have called for.

According to this extensive article, LAPD’s diversity makes little if any difference. In South Los Angeles it’s still whit cops against us.

I have long maintained that our urban ghettos should be policed only by black cops. But now I wonder if that will make any difference. Instead of white cops against us, it’ll probably be cops against us, or black cops enforcing the white man's law.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


The Unconventional Gazette
March 29, 2015

Two nuns were shopping at a 7-11 store. As they passed by the beer cooler, one nun said to the other, “Wouldn’t a nice cool beer or two taste wonderful on a hot summer evening?”

The other nun answered, “Indeed it would Sister, but I would not feel comfortable buying beer because I am certain it would cause a scene at the checkout counter.”

“I can handle that without a problem,” the other nun replied. Then she picked up a six-pack of Bud Light and headed for the checkout counter.

The cashier had a surprised look on his face when the two nuns put a six-pack of beer on the counter.

“We use beer for washing our hair,” the nun said. “Back at our nunnery we call it Catholic shampoo.”

Without blinking an eye, the cashier left the counter and came back with a large package of pretzel sticks which he placed beside the beer. He then looked the nun straight in the eye, smiled and said, “The curlers are on the house.”

Friday, March 27, 2015


State will stop enforcing Jessica's Law provision that prohibits all sex offenders from living near schools

By Kate Mather

Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2015

California officials announced Thursday that the state would stop enforcing a key provision of a voter-approved law that prohibits all registered sex offenders from living near schools.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it would no longer impose the blanket restrictions outlined in Jessica's Law that forbids all sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, regardless of whether their crimes involved children.

High-risk sex offenders and those whose crimes involved children under 14 will still be prohibited from living within a half-mile of a school, the CDCR emphasized. Otherwise, officials will assess each parolee based on factors relating to their individual cases, the agency said.

The shift comes nine years after California voters approved the controversial law, which has made it difficult for some sex offenders to find places to live.

The California Supreme Court on March 2 unanimously ruled that Jessica's Law violated the constitutional rights of parolees living in San Diego County who had argued that the limitations made it impossible for them to obtain housing. As a result, advocates said, some parolees were living in places like riverbeds and alleys.

"While the court's ruling is specific to San Diego County, its rationale is not," CDCR spokesman Luis Patino said Thursday. "After reviewing the court's analysis, the state attorney general's office advised CDCR that applying the blanket mandatory residency restrictions of Jessica's Law would be found to be unconstitutional in every county."

The CDCR sent a memo to state parole officials on Wednesday outlining the policy change. The directive said residency restrictions could be established if there was a “nexus to their commitment offense, criminal history and/or future criminality."

The memo said officials would soon provide further direction on how to modify conditions for parolees currently already living in the community.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court determined that the blanket policies for parolees "severely restricted their ability to find housing." Justice Marvin R. Baxter, who is now retired, wrote that the rules "increased the incidence of homelessness among them, and hindered their access to medical treatment, drug and alcohol dependency services, psychological counseling and other rehabilitative social services available to all parolees."

A CDCR report found that the number of homeless sex offenders statewide increased by about 24 times in the three years after Jessica's Law took effect. Parole officers told the court that homeless parolees were more difficult to supervise and posed a greater risk to public safety than those with homes.

One of the San Diego County parolees who challenged the law was convicted of a sexual assault on an adult woman in 1991. That man, who had several serious illnesses, wanted to live with a relative who was a health professional, but he couldn't because of the residency restrictions. Instead, he stayed in an alley behind the parole office.

The court ultimately determined that the residency restrictions did not advance the goal of protecting children and infringed on parolees' constitutional rights to be free of unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive government action.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have long criticized the residence restrictions placed on sex offenders, including those who have sexually abused little children. Many of those laws have made it impossible for sex offenders to reside anywhere within an urban area. Jessica’s law and similar laws are nothing more than feel good measures and they do not protect children from sex offenders.

CDCR's new policy is a step in the right direction but did not go far enough. Intensive supervision of parolees who sexually abused children is the most effective way of protecting children from these scumbags.


Hummelstown police officer Lisa Mearkle shot unarmed David Kassick twice in the back as he was lying face down in the snow after a traffic stop for an expired inspection sticker

On February 2, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania police officer Lisa Mearkle, 36, tried to pull over David Kassick, 59, for expired inspection and emissions stickers, but he sped away. She caught up to him near his sister’s home. Kassick got out of his car and ran off. Mearkle gave chase and flattened him with a stun gun. She then shot him twice in the back as he was lying face down in the snow. Afterwards she performed CPR on Kassick.

Mearkle told investigators she shot Kassick because he would not show her his hands and she thought he was reaching into his jacket for a gun.

Mearkle was busted Tuesday after being charged with criminal homicide. She was released on $250,000 bail.

District Attorney Ed Marsico relied on evidence from a video camera attached to th stun gun. He said it appeared Kassick had been trying to remove the stun-gun probe from his back. He also said Mearkle waited 4 seconds between the first and second shots.

According to the arrest affidavit, "At the time Officer Mearkle fires both rounds from her pistol, the video clearly depicts Kassick lying on the snow covered lawn with his face toward the ground. Furthermore, at the time the rounds are fired nothing can be seen in either of Kassick's hands, nor does he point or direct anything toward Officer Mearkle."

No weapons were found, but a syringe was found near Kassick’s body and he had unnamed drugs in his system.

Mearkle’s attorney said she acted in self-defense and warned that her arrest could cause cops to hesitate to shoot in a threatening situation.

SPECIAL NOTE: There have been no protest demonstrations or riots in Hummelstown. There has been no media frenzy over the shooting in the back of the unarmed Kassick by a white cop. Obama, Holder and Sharpton have all remained silent. Obviously there is a big difference between the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the death of David Kassick. They were black and he is white!


The Unconventional Gazette
March 26, 2015

It was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens Center. After the community sing-along led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the star of the show - Claude the Hypnotist.

Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance. "Yes, each and every one of you and all at the same time," said Claude.

The excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew, from his waistcoat pocket, a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.

"I want you to keep your eyes on this watch," said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see. "It's a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations," said Claude.

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, "Watch the watch --- Watch the watch --- Watch the watch."

The audience became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth. The lights were twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces.

A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of the gently swaying watch. They were hypnotized.

And then, suddenly, the chain broke!!! The beautiful watch fell to the stage and broke into pieces.

"Shit!" exclaimed Claude.

It took them three days to clean the Senior Citizens Center and Claude will never be invited there again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was charged Wednesday by the U.S. Army with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

On June 30, 2009,, Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. On May 31, 2014, the deserter was freed in exchange for five Taliban leaders.

After his return to the U.S., President Obama held a photo-op reception with Bergdahl’s parents at the White House. And National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.”

If found guilty by a court martial, misbehavior before the enemy carries with it a possible life sentence. Five years is the maximum punishment for desertion.

Five Taliban leaders for a deserter? That’s some deal. That’s some President!


A Stockton man, whose dog attacked and killed a woman, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 25, 2015

I have written before about the case of Brian Hrenko, 60, a Stockton man who was being prosecuted for the dog mauling death of his next-door neighbor. A jury has just found Hrenko guilty of involuntary manslaughter and he faces as much as 56 months in prison.

The dead woman, Claudia Gallardo, 36, was a house cleaner. She had come to Gallardo’s home at the request of the property management company to arrange to clean the house, so she was not some casual trespasser. Gallardo was speaking with Hrenko’s lady friend in a friendly fashion when the dog attacked. Gallardo died at the scene.

The jury took less than three hours to come in with a verdict. Sentencing will be next month.


In the event that Utah cannot obtain any lethal drugs, it now has a backup plan of execution by firing squad

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 24, 2015

On Monday, Governor Gary Herbert of Utah signed the law which again permits the firing squad for executions in Utah when lethal injection drugs are not available.

The Governor said he still prefers lethal injection, but acknowledges that the state must have a backup plan when Plan A is unavailable.


House Bill 2368 prohibits the use of any government personnel or financial resources to enforce any of Obama’s executive orders

Arizona House Bill 2368:

Prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the President of the U.S. that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.

Prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with a policy directive issued by the U.S. DOJ to law enforcement agencies in this state that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.

The bill was introduced by Republican Representative Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff and passed the House along party lines by a vote of 36-24. The measure now goes to the Arizona Senate.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts wrote:

…One of a series of kooky measures aimed at declaring [Arizona’s] independence from federal gun laws, from the Affordable Care Act, from the Environmental Protection Agency, from the Department of Justice, from Barack Obama and from just about anything else associated with the state’s most detested f-word. Federal, that is.

The bill should pass in the Senate if the majority of senators are Republicans. If the bill does pass the Senate, I am sure it will be signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey. After that Arizona can look forward to a period of legal challenges.

Kooky or not, I like that bill!


Using a smartphone to text offensive jokes or to text derogatory remarks about someone is stupid, really stupid!

Using a smartphone to exchange text messages and emails between friends or coworkers or to post messages on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites can have serious consequences if the content may be offensive to someone or to a group..

While jokes about blacks, Jews, Queers, dumb Mexicans and dumb Pollocks are funny to many people, they can be very offensive to blacks, Jews, Homosexuals, Mexicans and Poles. The same holds true for other racial, ethnic and religious jokes. And while blacks often call each other "nigger," contemporary society has strictly verboten the use of the 'N' word by non-blacks. Although most police agencies have banned the exchange or use of offensive materials and the use of the 'N' word, many cops continue to do so despite facing severe discipline,, including termination, if caught.. It’s the same as with criminals, the offending cops do not think they will get caught.

Michael Robison, Noel Schwab, Rain Daugherty and Michael Celis are all San Francisco police officers with from 15 to 23 years on the force. They may soon be fired. What did they do to flush their careers down the shitter? They exchanged racist and homophobic text messages among themselves and with former SFPD Sgt. Ian Furminger.

The racist and homophobic text messages came to light during Furminger’s recent trial on federal corruption charges. Following his conviction, federal authorities turned those messages over to SFPD. San Francisco prosecutors then announce they would have to review every case Robison, Schwab, Daugherty, Celis and Furminger worked on. They will look for any signs that arrests and investigations were compromised by the officers because of their prejudices.

The four cops have been taken off any assignments involving contact with the public. Even though the text messages were sent back in 2011 and 2012, police Chief Greg Suhr said Saturday that he wants to fire those responsible for the messages once the investigation into their conduct has been completed.”. Suhr said, “It makes me sick to my stomach to even have these guys around.”

Jason Holding, James Wells, Christopher Sousa and Alex Alvarez are all former Ft. Lauderdale, Florida police officers. Holding, Wells and Sousa were fired Friday after the completion of a five-month internal affairs investigation. Alvarez resigned earlier during the investigation.

What did FLPD internal affairs investigate? Racist text messages sent by the four. Alvarez also created a racist and homophobic video which, according to police Chief Frank Adderley, contained derogatory images of President Obama and racist comments about Hispanics and homosexuals. The investigation started when Alvarez’s pissed-off ex-fiancée went to the police and told them about the video.

Chief Adderley told a press conference Friday that the text messages and the video were "inexcusable." He said, "There is zero tolerance for the type of behavior within the Fort Lauderdale Police Department"

According to WTVJ-TV, reported that the officers claimed they were only kidding when the sent the materials to each other. And Chief Adderley said, "Based on the investigation, they felt, in their words, that it was a joke."

Cops and everyone else has been warned time after time that anything texted or posted on the internet can be retrieved later by a third party and used against both the sender and the recipient. Some employers check the internet for any information on a job applicant. Something the applicant may have texted or posted years ago may keep him from getting hired.

In the case of cops, defense attorneys now always check the internet for any information that will discredit an officer before a jury. But cops continue to exchange joke that are seen as racist. They continue to exchange derogatory texts about the department’s brass or about politicians, including the President. They continue to exchange pictures of naked women, sometimes even pornography.

Why do they keep doing this with their smart phones in the face of warnings about the serious consequences that could arise therefrom? Cops should know better than anyone that there are no secrets. A Hells Angels member once said, “The only way three people can keep a secret is if two of them are dead!” He might as well have said the only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead. When cops keep engaging in smartphone stupidity, they are being stupid, really stupid!

I should add that it’s not only the use of smartphones that can get a person in trouble. There are also computers and tablets. Some of the blogs I’ve posted can be used against me even though I’ve been retired for years. I am sure that I am on some government shit lists for some of the derogatory things I've said about President Obama and Attorney General Holder. So like many others, I am stupid for doing something that may very well be used against me in one fashion or another.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 24, 2015

Jose Alberto Perez is 18-years old and is looking at spending the rest of his life as a guest of the state due to (among other things) a truly warped sense of morality.

It seems that at some point in the near past Perez’s mother was involved in some sort of a fight with another female. Perez believe he saw that woman as his stepfather’s place in South L.A. on Wednesday of last week. So, he did what any other law-abiding person would do, he took a shotgun over to his stepfather’s house and shot the woman in the face, killing her. As it turns out the woman, Yesenia DeLeon, 35, was his step-father’s current girlfriend and was not the woman who was involved in the fight with his mother. Whoops.

Perez is still in custody pending $2 million in bail. He is being charged with murder.


Eight members of a family shopping at an Arizona Walmart assault a female store employee, then battle the cops in the parking lot

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 23, 2015

I, among other people, routinely refer to customers of WalMart as WalMartians. They are often very, very strange. A case in point:

A bit of a hoorah developed at the WalMart in Cottonwood AZ overnight Sunday. Local cops responded to the parking lot at about midnight to break up a family fight. The fight somehow involved a female WalMart employee who had been assaulted by multiple members of a family. When the police showed up, the eight family members immediately attacked the cops. Seven officers were slightly injured in the melee. One family member was shot to death by the cops and a second was gutshot. A WalMart employee who dived in to help got a broken arm for his trouble.

Thank You for shopping at WalMart.


The son of Canadian Hells Angels leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher is mistakenly released from the Bordeaux jail in Montreal

BarkGrowlBite | March 24, 2015

Francis Boucher, the son of notorious Hells Angels leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher, was arrested in December and charged with uttering threats against police officers. On March 10, he was sentenced to serve four months in jail.

Francis was serving his sentence at the Bordeaux jail in Montreal when on Monday he was mistakenly released.

On Monday the Public Security Ministry released the following statement:

"An event like this is totally unacceptable. Our priority now is to find this individual as quickly as possible. Rest assured that every effort is being made. Correctional Services, the Public Security Ministry, the Sûreté du Québec and municipal police forces are working together in order to find the individual who is unlawfully at large,"

Hells Angels leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher, father of the 39-year-old fugitive, was convicted in 2002 of shooting two correctional officers to death. He is serving a life sentence in the maximum-security wing of the federal penitentiary in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Québec.

I suspect that because Francis is enjoying his freedom, some heads will roll at the Bordeaux jail while Mom is laughing his head off.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Monica Lewinsky is best known and excoriated for giving blow jobs to President Bill Clinton in the oval office of the White House. At the time,Clinton defended himself by saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

(Click on the image to enlarge it)

In 2006, Monica received a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics, a prestigious university in England.

Monica is back in the public eye now, giving talks against cyber-bullying. She says, “In 1998, I lost my reputation and my dignity. … I lost my sense of self. I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, ‘that woman.’ I was known by many, but actually known by few. I get it. It was easy to forget ‘that woman’ was dimensional and had a soul. When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bullying.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015


The President also said the U.S. was reconsidering its support for Israel at the UN

The bitterness and animosity between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has never been more apparent than now in the wake of Netanyahu’s election victory.

After Obama won the presidency, he set out to improve the relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim world. The main obstacle to improving those relations was America’s support of Israel. The animosity began when Netanyahu did not roll over to Obama’s demands for Israel to make suicidal concessions to the Palestinians. From then on, the animosity and bitterness between the two leaders grew at a steady pace.

On Saturday, The Huffington Post reported that when Obama made his ‘congratulatory’ call to Netanyahu two days after the election, he criticized Netanyahu’s campaign tactics wherein he implored Israelis to go to the polls because Israel’s Arabs were turning out in droves to vote. Thereby Obama all but called Netanyahu a racist.

According to THE TIMES OF ISRAEL, when Obama called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory, the call “was actually a bitter 30-minute conversation.” And both of Israel’s main TV stations, Ch.2 and Ch. 10, reported that during the conversation, Obama said the U.S. “was reconsidering its support for Israel at the UN.”

On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer made the following comment:

So, the prime minister of Israel doesn't like the president, and has decided dealing with this administration is no walk in the park. I get that. There are some in Washington, including some Democrats, who feel the same way.

And the president thinks the prime minister dissed him when he spoke to the joint session of Congress without a presidential invitation. I get that, too. It was not just rude, but disrespectful to the office.

And, yes, I can understand why the president would be upset when the prime minister blindsided him and said he no longer favored the creation of a Palestinian state, long favored by the United States and Israel.

Yet, when the prime minister backed away from that Thursday, the White House reacted with pointed, even snarky skepticism, as if they wanted to keep the public fight going. I question that. Sure, the White House is upset, but let's remember what's important here, and it is not who gets the last word on Twitter. There have been hard-to-take insults from both sides, but the relationship between Israel and America is unique. And Israel is the only true democracy in that part of the world. We need Israel, and Israel needs us. It's time to stop the back and forth and repair the alliance quietly.

Nothing makes America and Israel's enemies happy than believing the relationship between Israel and America is unraveling. And, right now, they have to wonder.

A nice comment, but the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is going to keep unraveling as long as Obama is president. That relationship will be close to falling apart if the U.S. fails to veto anti-Israel resolutions in the UN,

The Democrats accuse Netanyahu of disrespecting the President by accepting the House Speaker’s invitation to address Congress and doing so by bypassing the State Department and the White House. Maybe so. But nothing could have been more disrespectful to the Prime Minister of Israel than what Obama did to Netanyahu in March 2010. Netanyahu had been in a White House meeting room with the President where Obama gave the Prime Minister a list of demands. He then abruptly left the room, leaving Netanyahu cooling his heels for more than an hour while Obama enjoyed his dinner with Michelle and their girls.

It has been obvious for some time that Obama carries a personal hatred for Netanyahu. The only reason Obama has not shredded that relationship is because Israel has the solid support of most members of Congress. The only members of Congress Obama can count on in his dispute with Netanyahu are some far-left Democrats.


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 21, 2015

It seems that there is more grief to come for the LAPD from their field trip for Mexican Mafia shot caller Rene “Boxer” Enriquez. The LAPD IG just issued a report stating that the court order the LAPD used as an excuse to remove him from custody so he could address a luncheon of business bigshots on January 28 was flawed. The order only allowed Enriquez to leave lockup to help with prosecution murder cases, not for lunch. In addition, it seems the order has not been valid for over two years.

The LAPD spent at least $22,000 in costs related to his little chat with the businessmen. Allegedly they told Chief Beck that this was going to be a “law enforcement training event.” It was in fact attended by 14 various police officials, and 150 other people.

According to the IG report Chief Beck has instituted a personnel complaint investigation on the matter.


Former Mexican Mafia shot-caller Rene "Boxer" Enriquez was convicted of killing a woman and a man in 1989. In addition to those murders, Enriquez had been convicted of multiple assaults and drug trafficking conspiracy. He is believed to have ordered hits on or personally murdered several gang members who had fallen out of favor with the gang. Even after Enriquez took the Fifth during his parole hearing when asked about any other murders he may have committed, the parole board still recommended this filth for parole.

In addition to the “training” luncheon affair, what is really most shameful about the Enriquez case is that LAPD, other police agencies in the LA area, and the FBI advocated the parole of this murderous creep.

Fortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown had the good sense to reject the parole board's recommendation to parole Enriquez.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Craig’s List Caveat Emptor: Baby-laden Buyer Beware

By Greg ‘Gadfly’ Doyle

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 20, 2015

In a another bizarre Craig’s List-related story, a very pregnant Colorado woman answered an advertisement on that site in the hope of purchasing some baby clothes. The woman drove to the listed address, was beaten, stabbed, and had her unborn child ripped from her womb by a woman at that location.

Pacovilla.com reminds the reader that, according to the linked Fox News article, the woman was not allegedly attacked—her unborn child was, in fact, torn from her body and murdered by a sick and twisted assailant.

That assailant has been arrested and identified as 34-year-old, Dynel Lane, who had the dead baby in her possession when she showed up at a local hospital claiming she had just had a miscarriage. This also was not alleged, the hospital staff actually saw Lane with the dead baby. In fact, the evidence was so compelling, the police felt the need to arrest Lane as a result.

What is alleged is that a crime was committed in the State of Colorado and Lane may have committed it. However, the most serious crime she might be accused of perpetrating seems to be in question under Colorado law.

Colorado woman allegedly stabbed, removed baby from pregnant woman’s womb

…Dynel Lane, 34, took the baby to the hospital, saying she had a miscarriage, authorities said. The baby did not survive. The 26-year-old expectant mother, who was seven months pregnant, was found beaten and stabbed at the suspect’s home, Longmont police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said. She had undergone surgery, and on Thursday was alert and answering questions, police said.

“This is a tragic case for a mother right now,” Satur told the Longmont Daily Times-Call newspaper. “She came by this house. She was attacked, and her baby was removed from her.”

…The suspect was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death.

…”The issues involving an unborn child are complicated under Colorado law,” he told the newspaper. “In most circumstances, if a child was not actually born alive, then homicide charges are not possible.” (for the full story see http://tinyurl.com/nekghvt.)

This very heinous and vulgar incident highlights the sick and twisted unintended consequences of the legal justification and political pandering regarding abortion rights. Crimes committed against the unborn often do not count because affirming that human life exists in the womb is too complicated, especially in Colorado.

The clarity of reasonableness when considering this unconscionable crime—where an unborn child is ripped from the womb by assault—is clouded by the negative, political implications that calling the killing “murder” might produce. To add to this confusion, Colorado authorities allege “child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death” against Lane on the one hand, yet do not charge her with homicide on the other.

Logically, if the unborn baby is considered a child under “child abuse” statutes, why is the same child not human enough for homicide charges to be filed? A technicality that the unborn “child was not actually born alive,” ignores the actual unborn being, the life that would become, as the result of the assault.

Of course the child wasn’t born alive! The suspect ripped the baby from his/her mother’s womb with a knife before being born alive was possible!!! Arguing whether or not the baby would be viable outside the womb seems a rather callous speculation at this point. Besides the courts have ruled that most legal abortions cannot be performed after the 24-week of pregnancy (for more info see http://tinyurl.com/o6j4bmw.)

The abortion mantra of a “woman’s right to choose” rings horrifically hollow when that choice is made by a non-maternal outsider like Dynel Lane. She chose to abort the victim’s unborn child against the wishes of the mother. Meanwhile, the legal status of the baby hinges upon a convoluted legal interpretation.

Is it murder or isn’t it, Colorado? Did that unborn child have a right to live, but was unlawfully terminated by a criminal act?

Perhaps a jury of Lane’s peers (potentially twelve Marijuana-imbued potheads) would never be able to fathom the distinction after all.

Keep it simple, Colorado.


Animal Attraction? Something strange is happening in Sacramento

By Richard Krupp, PhD

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 19, 2015

A couple of days ago fellow Paco-blogger, Bob Walsh, reported about a man who’s 10-year prison sentence for animal cruelty was upheld by a California Appellate court. This story reminded me of a man I interviewed many years ago when I was a counselor at CIM we nick named “the Puppy Pumper.”

As a follow up on animal related crimes I found a couple of interesting stories in the local news. Evidently the Sacramento area can be hazardous to various kinds of animals. The Sacramento Bee ran a few articles that fit the theme:

Beheaded chickens and turtle found in Yolo County

A birdwatcher working the fields of Yolo County found a collection of five beheaded chickens and a single similarly slain turtle Sunday – the 13th discovery of mutilated animals in the Sacramento area since the start of the year. (for full story see http://tinyurl.com/kfpwm3y.)

Livestock beheadings baffle Sacramento officials

“Multiple beheaded chickens were found in the city cemetery with these bowls of what was described as bloody oatmeal,” said Gina Knepp, manager of Sacramento’s Front Street animal shelter and its animal care operations. “We don’t know what that was about.

Since early January, officials have discovered six separate cases of animal mutilations, the latest coming Friday. Knepp said the bodies of two very young goats that had been decapitated were found shortly before 4 p.m. at the railroad tracks at 19th and V streets.

The problem became so pronounced that ranchers, local authorities and U.S. senators pressed the FBI to launch an investigation into the issue, which involved more than 1,500 cattle being mutilated and drained of blood in 22 states, according to a 1976 Oui magazine report included in FBI online files on the issue.

The cause of the widespread livestock killings never was determined, although theories have abounded through the years that they were the result of satanic rituals or alien attacks. (for full story see http://tinyurl.com/pjvhuyr.)

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What’s happening in case of woman accused of stealing, torturing dogs?

Kayla Lynn Wright, 23, was arrested in early January in connection with the theft and torture of dogs in Carmichael.

She is charged with grand theft of an animal and felony animal torture. According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, she is scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 1.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, on Dec. 26, a dead dog was found in a garbage can on Cardinal Court, near Kenneth and Garfield avenues. The animal was wrapped in a table cloth and had a stereo speaker cord, with a speaker still attached, around its neck.

Sheriff’s officials said detectives used security video in the neighborhood to tie the theft of the two dogs to a woman later identified as Wright. Further investigation allegedly established that Wright also was responsible for the death of the dog found in the garbage can. (for full story see http://tinyurl.com/n4cvtsn.)

I’m not sure which incident is stranger. Are these cases any more bizarre than the case that involves a Sacramento man whose trial began last week for the ax killing of his nine year old son? What strange attractors have assembled that brought so many horrific murderous events to the Sacramento area?

Is it chemical? Is it something alien? Or is this the new normal for California in general?

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s California for you.

A large number of Californians must be the descendants of illegal aliens from the planet Epsilon Eridani who came to the Bay Area sometime shortly after the San Francisco earth quake.

Its possible that instead of Gov. Moonbeam, he’s really Jerry ‘Epsilon Eridani-beam’ Brown. And Nancy Pelosi nay well be related to those aliens.

As for the mutilation of animals, here in Texas we treat animals with respect. Some of us even copulate with them, sheep, pigs and horses being among the most favored.

Friday, March 20, 2015


The Black Student Union demands that a building at UC Berkeley be named after cop killer Assat Shakur

The University of California Berkeley is probably ranked No. 1 among the most far-left institutions of higher learning in the U.S. It also ranks very high among the kookiest places in America. And now the Black Student Union is trying to make Berkeley the kookiest place of all.

The Black student Union is demanding that Barrows Hall at UC Berkeley be renamed "Shakur Hall" after cop killer Assat Shakur, an escaped prison fugitive now on the FBI’s Most-Wanted Terrorist list.

Shakur, whose real name is Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Liberation Army which is credited with killing more than a dozen police officers in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1973 she killed New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop. An altercation ensued during which she took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head as he was lying on the ground. She escaped from a New Jersey state prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba where she was given political asylum. Shakur was placed on the FBI’s Most-Wanted Terrorist list in 2013 and there is now a$2 million reward for her capture.

Black Student Union spokesman Cori McGowens said, "We want the renaming for someone -- Assata Shakur -- who we feel like represents us as black students. Black students on campus have a feeling of isolation, marginalization. We're at a crisis on campus."

Why stop there? By their kooky reasoning, the Black Student Union should demand to rename the university after a cop killer. How does Mumia Abu-Jamal University sound? Hey, that sounds pretty good. Lionized by the left, Mumia Abu-Jamal shot a Philadelphia police officer in the back, then like Assat Shakur, also shot him as he was lying on the ground.

The building renaming demand is one of 10 demands put forth by the group. They are also demanding the hiring of two black psychologists who understand the "racially hostile campus."

The university will not rename Barrows Hall, but Chancellor Nick Dirks met with the black student group last week and apologized. He said, "Too many [black] students have told us about being excluded from study groups, ignored during class discussions, verbally harassed at parties and social events, and feeling, in a general sense, vulnerable, isolated and invisible. This is something we deplore."

I’m surprised that Berkeley did not agree to rename Barrows Hall since the Black Student Union says that Assat Shakur “represents us as black students.” Maybe UC Berkeley is trying to avoid being labeled the kookiest place in America.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Netanyahu was elected by a near-landslide despite efforts by a campaign team Obama sent to Israel to defeat his hated nemesis

Obama and his inner circle were ready to pop the corks of Champaign bottles Tuesday night. Four days before the election, every Israeli poll showed that Netanyahu would be defeated. However, the man that Obama hates so much was elected in a near-landslide.

Several usually reliable sources have reported that Obama dispatched a campaign team to Israel to run the campaign of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s Zionist Union party. There are also allegations that U.S. taxpayer dollars were used in the campaign to defeat Netanyahu. Money from a State Department fund set up to aid the peace process was allegedly diverted to help defeat Obama’s hated nemesis.

Obama’s interference in Israel’s election backfired. Obama is very unpopular in Israel. A large majority of Israeli voters clearly rebuffed Obama.

Netanyahu’s victory must have left President Obama seething in anger.


By Joseph Serna and Lee Romney

Los Angeles Times
March 17, 2015

A slew of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged between San Francisco police in a fellow officer’s corruption case has forced prosecutors and defense attorneys to review an estimated 1,000 criminal convictions for potential bias, officials announced Tuesday.

The messages were revealed in a motion by the U.S. attorney’s office opposing bail for Ian Furminger, a former San Francisco police officer who was recently sentenced to 41 months in prison on various corruption-related charges and was scheduled to surrender next month pending an appeal.

The texts, sent between 2011 and 2012, allegedly involved four other officers and denigrated minorities and gays.

“In order to ensure our criminal justice system is fair and equitable, my office is conducting an immediate assessment of every prosecution within the past ten years where these officers were involved,” said San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon in a statement.

Public defender Jeff Adachi on Tuesday estimated that could amount to at least 1,000 cases among the five officers. Officials identified more than 120 in just the last two years, he said.

“We pride ourselves on being a progressive city, yet we have active officers who are engaging in not only racist banter, but they were talking about killing people, referring to an African American as a ‘savage,’” Adachi said. “A person does not become a racist overnight. These were officers who in some cases had over a decade of service. We need to look at all of them.”

Officers referred to minorities as “savages,” used the N-word to refer to African Americans and suggested they be spayed like animals, and used an epithet for homosexuals. Other text messages insulted Filipinos and Mexicans.

One text message attributed to Furminger simply said “White Power Family” and then listed his address. The FBI obtained the text messages from Furminger’s phone as part of its investigation into alleged corruption. Furminger, 48, was convicted of stealing from suspects, stealing federal dollars and splitting profits from drug sales with informants. He has filed an appeal.

San Francisco police Sgt. Yulanda Williams, president of Officers for Justice Peace Officers Assn., which represents African American officers as well as women and other minorities, called the revelations “disgraceful.”

“It’s disgusting that in 2015 in San Francisco we would have officers that engage in such hateful despicable text messages. ... No matter how big or small the number [of officers] is, this has managed to bring such hostilities and racism and Ku Klux Klan ideology up to the surface, to the point where all officers feel uncomfortable in our work environments now….They’re fearing the unknown.”

Williams, 59, who in June will have served a quarter century on the force, said the association has been fielding calls from minority as well as some white officers who “feel discomfort… They don’t want us to think they feel this way about those of color or those who don’t happen to look like them.”

Former Officer Harry Soulette, 56, the association officer manager, served 31 years before retiring two years ago. The department has made strides in cleaning house, he said, but more action is clearly needed.

“There aren’t that many of the old guard who back in the day were referred to as the blue coats. They’re history,” he said. “There’s a new guard. But there’s going to be that 1% that are no good, that in my opinion should be fired, should be let go. We work so hard to maintain a good image and these guys just mess it up for everybody else.”

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has said the officers who sent the text messages should be fired, and Mayor Edwin Lee said he agrees. For now, the four officers – whom the department has not identified – have been reassigned to duties away from working with the community, said SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza.

But Adachi, the public defender, said firing the officers involved doesn’t go far enough. In a news conference Tuesday, he called for the department to institute a 10-point plan to wring out racist and homophobic biases in the department.

Adachi called for officers to receive 24 hours of training so they can be more aware of biases they hold without realizing it and for the department to assign more minority officers to work in their own communities.

“Police possess tremendous power – they decide who to stop, question and arrest and bring to jail,” Adachi said. “We have to look at these cases and how they were affected.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Robert Durst, son of a New York real estate mogul, got away with murder in New York and Galveston but may not be as lucky in Los Angeles

Robert Durst, 71, is a member of the family that owns the Durst Organization, a $4-billion New York real estate development company. New York authorities suspect him of killing his wife who disappeared in 1982, and Los Angeles authorities suspect him of the execution-style killing of a woman who was believed to have known something about his wife’s disappearance.

Durst has been a very lucky man because up until now he has gotten away with murder even though he admitted killing and dismembering a neighbor in a Galveston rooming house in 2001. Lucky Bobby's luck may have finally run out as he was arrested Saturday in New Orleans by the FBI on a warrant out of Los Angeles charging him with first degree murder. Durst had been staying there under a false name at the Marriott hotel on Canal Street. When arrested, he was carrying a .38 cal. S&W revolver.

Here is a look at Durst’s run-ins with the law:

Kathleen McCormack

In 1973, Durst married Kathleen McCormack, a dental hygienist. In 1982 he was working for the Durst Organization in New York when his wife suddenly disappeared. At the time he was having an affair with Prudence Farrow, the younger sister of actress Mia Farrow. Kathleen’s disappearance has never been solved. Durst is suspected of murdering Kathleen and disposing of her body.

Susan Berman

Susan Berman, a journalist and author, was a longtime friend of Robert Durst. On Christmas Eve, 2000, Berman was murdered in her Benedict Canyon home in Los Angeles. She had been shot execution-style in the back of the head. LAPD investigators thought there was the possibility she was killed because she was the daughter of Las Vegas mobster Dave Berman, a former associate of Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. However, Durst has always been the primary suspect in her death. It is believed that Susan was snuffed to keep her from telling anyone what she knew of Kathleen McCormack’s disappearance.

Morris Black

In 2001, Durst was living in a Galveston, Texas rooming house. He admittedly had been walking around Galveston smoking marijuana and dressed as a woman. Prosecutors believe he killed his 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black in order to assume the victim’s identity because New York authorities had begun to reinvestigate the disappearance of his wife. That’s also why Durst dresses as a woman. The day after he shot Black, the victim’s arms, legs and torso washed upon the shore of Galveston Bay. Durst admitted using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember Black's body before dumping the body parts into the bay. Black’s head has never been found. The pot smoking cross-dresser claimed he shot Black in self-defense after they got into a scuffle.

Durst was released on bail after he had been arrested for Black’s murder. A warrant was issued for Durst’s arrest when he failed to show up for a court hearing. He was captured in a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania super market where he got caught trying to shoplift a chicken sandwich, Band-Aids, and a newspaper. He had $500 cash in his pocket and the Bethlehem cops found $37,000 in cash, two guns, marijuana and Black's driver's license in his rented car.

Durst hired Dick DeGuerin, one of the nation’s most prominent defense attorneys. In 2003, a Galveston jury acquitted him of the murder charge. However, Durst remained in jail because he also faced charges of bail jumping and evidence tampering (for dismembering and disposing Black’s body parts). Durst accepted a plea bargain of five years in prison with credit for time already served. He was paroled in 2005, but was returned to prison on a parole violation. Durst was released again in March 2006.

Family fears

In 2012 and 2013, Durst’s family in New York obtained several restraining orders against him because they feared he would harm them. In 2013, he was arrested for violating one of those orders, but a jury acquitted him in 2014 and the judge vacated all 13 of the protective orders his family had obtained.

Drugstore peeing caper

In 2014, Durst walked into a Houston CVS pharmacy store, picked up a prescription, then whipped out his dick and peed on a cash register, soaking some candy displayed nearby. On the following day, having learned that he had been identified as the perpetrator, he turned himself into the police. Durst pled ‘no contest’ to misdemeanor criminal mischief and was fined $500. Lucky Bobby could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $2,000 on the criminal mischief charge.

His attorney claimed that a medical problem caused Durst to pee in the store. Yeah, right. If there was any medical problem in this particular instance, it was his addiction to pot.
_ _ _ _ _

“The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” a six-part documentary about him on HBO, wound up Sunday. Near the end of the series’ final episode a microphone he was wearing picked up Durst uttering to himself while in a bathroom, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

That ‘confession’ came right after he was shown copies of two letters, one which he wrote to Berman a year before her death and the other one an anonymous letter to the Beverly Hills police pointing them to "a cadaver" in her home and saying "only the killer could have written" it. The handwriting on both letters was the same and in both letters he misspelled "Beverly" as "Beverley." He admitted writing the letter to Berman but denied writing the one to the police. He then rushed to the bath room where, before making his ‘confession,’ he uttered "There it is. You're caught!"

The producers of “The Jinx” sent the two letters to LAPD along with the recording of the ‘confession’ and other information they thought linked Durst to the murder of Berman. That led Los Angeles authorities to issue the first degree murder warrant in the death of Susan Berman for which he was arrested Saturday.

Chip Lewis, Dick DeGuerin’s partner, accused the documentary makers of being "duplicitous" because they did not make it clear to Durst that they would inform the police of anything he said. Lewis also said that the timing of the arrest just one day before the airing of the final episode was designed for maximum impact on Sunday’s final episode. "It's all about Hollywood now," he said.

Douglas Durst, Robert’s brother, said in a statement Sunday, “We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst. We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”

During a court appearance Monday, Durst waived his extradition rights. However, there may be a tug of war between California and Louisiana because the Louisiana State Police have charged Durst with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance, both felonies. The controlled substance was marijuana. A judge has ordered Durst to appear in court next week for a hearing on the firearms charges.

Personally, I would rather see Durst doing time in Louisiana first because there he will find the prisons not nearly as accommodating as that cushy California death row. I think a few years in Angola, that infamous Louisiana prison, would be just the right place for Durst to roost before being shipped off to California.

DeGuerin intends to fight both the murder and firearms charges, arguing that the Los Angeles arrest warrant has no legal standing as it was “issued because of a television show and not because of facts.”

Attorneys contacted in Houston believe Los Angeles prosecutors will have a hard time getting a conviction on the evidence they obtained from the HBO documentary. Law professor Gerald Treece says the defense will argue that the producers of “The Jinx” were ‘complicit’ with the police and therefore anything Durst said during the filmmaking and the two letters cannot be used as evidence against him. Let’s hope they are wrong and that Durst’s luck will have finally run out.
_ _ _ _ _

Since I have been tilting at windmills in my opposition to marijuana, I can’t help myself, but I’ve got to take this shot at the pot advocates and their harping about the harmlessness of that funny tobacco.

Durst was a pothead and marijuana made him stupid. Here are a couple of examples. In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania he got caught trying to shoplift a chicken sandwich, Band-Aids, and a newspaper even though He had $500 cash in his pocket and $30,000 in his car. And, while wearing a microphone he uttered, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” Stupid is as stupid does, especially if you’re smoking pot!

I am sure that Durst’s use of marijuana played a big part in the murders of Kathleen McCormack, Susan Berman and Morris Black, and in his dismembering of Black’s body. And they keep saying that smoking pot is harmless. Yeah, right. And pigs can fly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says there is more racism in the Justice Department than anywhere in the St. Louis area

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, had an angry retort to the Justice Department’s report on racism in Ferguson. On Monday, during an interview on NewsMax TV, Kinder said there is more racism in the Justice Department than anywhere in the St. Louis area. He accused Holder and Obama of “inciting” the mobs in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting.

Here are some of the comments Kinder made:

“There is more racism in the Justice Department than there is in anywhere I see in the St. Louis area. We are making progress. We’ve come an enormous way in 50 years. That’s not to say we don’t have still have more to do. But it is the left — it is the Eric Holder and Obama left — and their minions who are obsessed with race, while the rest of us are moving on beyond it.”

“The whole blowup of this protest movement was based on the lie that never happened of ‘hands up don’t shoot.’ It’s bad enough the protesters were behaving that way, but we have a right to expect much more from the attorney general, the head of the Justice Department of the United States, and the president of the United States. And instead, what we got too often from them was incitement of the mob, and, uh, encouraging disorder in Ferguson and disrupting the peaceable going-about of our daily lives in the greater St. Louis region. Many of them have spent most of their careers defending Black Panthers and other violent radicals.”

I can understand that as a Republican, Kinder could be expected to react publicly to the Justice Department’s report and Holder’s threat to “dismantle” the Ferguson police department. However, in his obvious anger, I think he may have gone a tad over the top.

President Obama was supposed to be the great unifier. Instead, thanks to Obama and Holder, this country is now divided the most it’s been since the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.


Prison System to get Friendly, Passive Security Dogs: Who is keeping an eye on this?

By Richard Krupp, PhD.

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 17, 2015

Every once in a while the Secretary of Corrections does something that seems so strange that it makes me laugh. Though I have never met Jeff Beard, I did watch a clip of his recent Oversight Committee testimony regarding prison dogs. I have testified before this committee under prior legislators.

Beard was explaining why the dogs trained by his friends in Pennsylvania are better than the California dogs the Department has been working with for a number of years. These dogs are utilized to find inmate drugs and cell phones smuggled into our prisons. One of the dogs found 1,000 cell Beard was explaining why the dogs trained by his friends in Pennsylvania are better than the California phones.

A story on the Sacramento ABC news station KXTV tells the story:

Veteran prison dog handler resigns over new drug search program

An expert dog handler and trainer who spent decades with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says he was threatened by a superior when he tried to point out what he believes are flaws in a new program aimed at reducing prison drug smuggling.

Wayne Conrad, 61, resigned in September as the CDCR began ramping up a plan to begin using dogs to search prison staff and visitors. The team eventually grew to 32 dogs.

“And the beauty is that it was done with no funding,” Conrad said. “All the dogs we received, they were either Belgian malinois, German shepherds or Dutch shepherds. They were all donated or found in rescues. These dogs didn’t cost the department anything.”

CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard, who took over in December 2012, chose to emulate the canine program in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections where he served as secretary for 10 years. Beard explained at a State Capitol hearing last week why the department under his leadership was getting away from traditional police dog breeds for staff and visitor searches.

“We have moved to what we call the passive alert dogs,” Beard told a Senate subcommittee. “I remember when we rolled them out in the mid-2000s in Pennsylvania. I expected we’d get a lot of complaints and we got no complaints … they’re friendly dogs, and that’s what we’re trying to do here as well.”

Conrad said the three handlers questioned the value of the training when they returned to California and that he and the handlers were threatened by an associate warden at CDCR headquarters when they expressed their concerns.

“He repeated it twice,” Conrad said. “He looked at each one of us, pointing his finger at each one of us, and said that if he finds out that we spoke negatively of the Pennsylvania trip, I will f-ing end you.” (for the full story please read http://tinyurl.com/mqomot3.)

Come on Beard…friendlier dogs? How friendly and passive should a dog be? I thought they are supposed to help persuade people to stop bringing drugs and phones into the prisons.

Maybe Chihuahuas would be less intimidating. They probably eat less and you can put several of them in a small box. You could dress them up in tiny little dog clothes too.

Beard did say he wanted dogs that children would like…ones that aren’t “scary.” Are the dogs there to play with children?

This Beardy decision is questionable on four levels:

Beard is replacing a reliable cost-effective tool—canines that perform well and do a good job helping the Department control the influx of contraband, drugs, and cell phones smuggled into prisons—with politically correct dogs that are “kid-friendly;”

Beard is increasing the price tag of contraband detection—replacing a low/no cost program with a more costly one;

Beard is funneling California tax payers dollars to his “friends” who train the dogs in Pennsylvania;

Beard, through the command staff, issue threats and promise retaliation to anyone questioning the new program.

Since the department has stated that 23% of the inmates randomly drug tested have positive findings and about 30% refused to be tested, there is a big drug problem within the institutions. Beard says drugs in smuggled into prison, “drive violence and stand in the way of rehabilitation.”

As I recall the number of cell phones found with inmates is substantial also. Why on earth would someone make the controls more friendly and passive? Has Beard been waiting for the right moment to bring the Pennsylvania dogs to California? Maybe he missed them.

My hat goes off to Mr. Conrad who sees this scam for what it is. Thanks for speaking up. Will the Oversight Committee do anything? I wonder.

Is someone at the Oversight Committee keeping both eyes on the Department of Corrections? Or maybe only one eye?

In any event, keep an eye on the Beardy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looks like Beard wants to replace police dogs with sissy dogs. I think the EPA would object to the Chihuahuas on grounds that their constant yapping would exceed the maximum noise level allowed.

And Bob Walsh says, "I have also found Chihuahuas (rat dogs) to be very aggressive as a breed. Not very dangerous perhaps, but very aggressive. Perhaps we should just switch over to plush toy dogs. They would not be very effective, but if the bottom line is to be non-threatening, they would certainly meet that qualification. Plus you don’t have to feed them."


The Unconventional Gazette
March 17, 2015

You are on a Horse, galloping at a constant speed.

On your right side is a sharp drop off.

And on your left side is an Elephant traveling at the same speed as you.

Directly in front of you is a galloping Kangaroo and your horse is
unable to overtake it.

Behind you is a Lion running at the same speed as you and the Kangaroo.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Scroll down for answer:

Get your drunken ass off the merry-go-round!

Monday, March 16, 2015


Sentenced to 104 years in prison, Cameron Hooker, now in California’s Corcoran state prison, is getting a parole hearing after only 30 years

Cameron Hooker is doing time at Corcoran, the same California state prison where Charlie Manson has been roosting. Bob Walsh calls Hooker a ‘seriously warped individual.’

Here is a very good editorial from the Chico Enterprise-Record:


Chico Enterprise-Record
March 14, 2015

If the justice system works, the parole hearing next month for notorious Red Bluff kidnapper, rapist and suspected murderer Cameron Hooker should be the shortest on record. It should last as long as it takes to say the words, “No way on earth. Never.”

Just the fact that Hooker is getting a parole hearing is appalling enough to many people in these parts. Hooker is the sadist who kept a young woman he abducted under his bed in a box, with his wife’s knowledge, in their Red Bluff home. The family had two children living at home.

The victim was a sex slave for more than seven years. Janice Hooker eventually helped the woman escape and escaped punishment herself by testifying against her husband.

Janice Hooker said her husband also tortured and killed Marie Elizabeth Spannhake after abducting her in Chico in January 1976. Spannhake’s body was never found so there was no prosecution, but it didn’t matter because Cameron Hooker was sentenced to 104 years in state prison in 1985 for the trial that became known nationwide as the “girl in the box” case.

The frightening trial was the stuff of nightmares. It was horror-movie material before horror movies ever got that weird. Hooker, a 31-year-old lumber mill worker when he was arrested, was painted at trial as a deranged man fascinated with bondage, torture and the occult.

When he was sentenced in Redwood City (the trial was moved from Red Bluff at the request of the defense), Superior Court Judge Clarence Knight called Hooker “the most dangerous psychopath I have ever encountered.”

Only in California can you be sentenced to 104 years in state prison and get a parole hearing and possible release 30 years later.

The hearing, though, is required by law. Hooker is serving in Corcoran. Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said he plans to attend the hearing and feels “very confident” that Hooker will not be released.

“I equate him along the lines of Charles Manson as far as his evilness,” Cohen said.

Anyone who remembers the case feels the same.

Hooker wasn’t supposed to have an initial parole hearing until 2022, but California has since allowed earlier parole hearings for the elderly and the sick who are no harm to society. Hooker is 61, which isn’t elderly, and with his twisted mind, he’ll always qualify as a threat to society.

There should never be parole for Cameron Hooker. He deserves to stay in his box forever.

Sunday, March 15, 2015



By Dan Perry

Associated Press
March 14, 2015

JERUSALEM -- Deeply divided and foul of mood, Israelis are headed toward what seems like a referendum on their long-serving, silver-tongued prime minister, the hard-line Benjamin Netanyahu.

But with so many of them having despaired of peace talks with the Palestinians, the focus is mostly on Netanyahu's personality, his expense scandals and the soaring cost of living.

And as no candidate is likely to win big in the wild jumble of Israel's political landscape, the outcome of the March 17 election could well be a joint government between Netanyahu and his moderate challenger Isaac Herzog. It's an irony, because the animosities are overwhelming.

Much has changed in the world since Netanyahu first became prime minister in 1996, but Israel remains stuck with the question of what to do with the highly strategic, biblically resonant, Palestinian-populated lands it captured almost a half-century ago.

Israelis know it is their existential issue, but it seems almost too complex for a democracy. After decades of failed peace talks under every sort of government, the whole festering thing has become such a vexation that politicians seem to fear it, and voters look away.

When he called the early election in November, Netanyahu seemed a shoo-in, but somewhere things went wrong. Notorious around the world for American-accented eloquence in the service of a tough stance, he is extraordinarily divisive at home, where he has been prime minister for the past six years, and for nine in total.

His speech last week before the U.S. Congress, urging a tighter deal than he believes is brewing on Iran's nuclear program, was typical: He impressed some Israelis, while infuriating others who sensed a political ploy.

Polls show his nationalist Likud Party running slightly behind Herzog's Labor Party, rebranded the Zionist Union in a bid for nationalist votes. There are scenarios in which Herzog — improbably mild-mannered in a high-decibel land — becomes prime minister. And that would change the music: Herzog is a conciliator genuinely interested in ending the occupation of lands captured in the 1967 war.

Some things to watch for:


Despite its reputation for plucky unity, the country is badly fragmented — and that's reflected in parliament under the proportional representation system.

Combined, the two big parties get far less than half the vote. Then one finds a nationalist party appealing to Russian speakers, another for secular liberals and two for the squeezed middle class. A united list represents the one-fifth of citizens who are Arabs and is itself divided between communist, nationalist and Islamist factions. There are four religious parties, for Jews of European versus Middle Eastern descent and for varying degrees of nationalism.

The schisms are real, reflecting a society so diverse that at times it seems to be flying apart. The discourse is of one's rival destroying the country, through stupidity or evil. A TV debate between the main candidates other than Netanyahu and Herzog quickly degenerated into shouted accusations of fascism, criminality and treason.


By dint of necessity, this constellation has nonetheless coalesced over the years into rival leftist and rightist blocs: the Arab parties aligned with the dovish left, and the religious with the nationalistic right. If either wins 61 seats combined, its main party governs.

But for the first time in decades, there is a new party that seems genuinely non-aligned: Kulanu, led by Moshe Kahlon, a working-class Likud breakaway of Libyan Jewish descent who became popular for reducing mobile phone costs in previous governments. He says he will go with whichever side makes him finance minister — as both almost certainly would — and seeks to reduce the cost of living. He appears to care little about the Palestinian issue.

Every recent poll shows him holding the balance of power, with about 10 seats while the blocs split the rest.


The winning bloc often rules in alliance with parts of the other bloc. Such coalitions widen the base and win points for moderation and inclusiveness. They are also paralyzed by disagreement and tend to collapse of their internal contradictions, as Netanyahu's did four months ago.

Likud seems especially reluctant to rule on its own, almost always preferring a grand coalition with Labor or centrist parties rather than one with just its nationalist and religious allies. At least in part, that looks like an admission that truly nationalist policies — such as annexations in the West Bank — would so offend the world and provoke the Palestinians as to bring ruin.

The right sees the West Bank as the heartland of biblical Israel and also a place of immense strategic value, since Israel without it is reduced at its narrowest point to about 10 miles (15 kilometers) wide. The left's key argument is that permanent control of millions more Arabs would destroy Israel as a Jewish-majority state.

The right has developed a majority among Israel's Jews. But it is also hugely unpopular among the nation's still-powerful elites, including academic figures, business leaders and — to a striking degree — the security establishment. The 2012 documentary "The Gatekeepers," presenting a highly critical view of the West Bank occupation, featured every one of the six then-living heads of the Shin Bet secret service, entrusted with securing that very occupation. The keynote speech against Netanyahu at the main opposition rally last week was by Meir Dagan, who led the Mossad intelligence agency for much of Netanyahu's term. A predecessor, Shabtai Shavit, has been similarly critical, as have recent heads of the military.

So great is the pressure on the right that successive Likud leaders have abruptly changed course or even crossed the line, including then-prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. Some predicted the same for Netanyahu, who in 2009 accepted the principle of Palestinian statehood, appearing to renounce all he had once stood for; but actions did not follow, and the theory that he was just pretending so as to confuse his critics gains currency by the day.


Even among proponents of a West Bank pullout, the talk is of saving Israel demographically as a Jewish-majority state rather than of making peace. Many yearn for unilateral moves, having given up on the possibility of a negotiated deal after all these years.

Israel might conceivably agree to the near-total West Bank pullout the Palestinians seek; previous governments have. The Palestinians may agree to drop the demand that refugees' descendants be allowed to move to Israel, potentially by the millions. But the real conundrum is Jerusalem, where a division of the intertwined holy city along ethnic lines would lead to perhaps the world's most complicated map, a tinderbox extraordinaire.

Providing the worst of precedents is Gaza, the other part of the would-be Palestinian state, on Israel's southern flank. Israel pulled out its soldiers and settlers in 2005 and handed control to the Palestinian autonomy government of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas — a relic of interim agreements from the pre-Netanyahu 1990s. But Hamas militants swiftly seized the strip and have been blockaded by Israel; they regularly fire rockets at Israeli towns, and three wars have been fought.

Then there are security threats to Israel from elsewhere in the region: Iran, believed to be seeking an atomic bomb; its proxy Hezbollah, with a forest of missiles pointed at Israel from Lebanon; Islamic State jihadis rampaging in nearby countries; al-Qaida radicals on the border with a disintegrating, still-hostile Syria.
Given the widespread pessimism, Herzog subtly dodges the peace issue, perhaps for fear of appearing naive.


With the electorate confused and fractured and no clear path forward on the key issues, and with neither Netanyahu nor Herzog likely to win a convincing majority, a plausible outcome has their parties banding together. They may also agree to rotate as prime minister in such an arrangement, with the first turn going to whoever has the stronger parliamentary hand.

Such has already happened in 1984. Labor's Shimon Peres and Likud's Yitzhak Shamir lived in uneasy coexistence and switched jobs halfway through. A few things got done. But the main issue, then as now, was the West Bank; Peres negotiated over it with Jordan, only to see his peace plans scuttled by the skeptical Shamir. Shortly thereafter the first Palestinian uprising began.

Many fear another one is coming, even as Israelis focus on the price of cottage cheese.