Michael Friedman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in how social relationships influence mental and physical health
Originally published at psychologytoday.com. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Substance dependence is the only mental health condition whose main feature, the possession of drugs, is considered a crime. The stated goal of the "War on Drugs" has been to stop the devastating public health consequences of addiction in part through criminalizing possession of drugs, even for nonviolent offenders. While well-intended, this war may have worsened the problem by dooming millions of people, predominantly minority and low-income individuals, to a cycle of incarceration, loss of rights, and poverty. But, there are hopeful signs that we are becoming more clear-eyed as a nation.
In response to recent media reports about the increase in Latin American children seeking entry into the United States, Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark released this statement:
Should the U.S. government forbid foreign children from entering the United States? The Libertarian Party says no.
It would be unjust and inhumane for the U.S. government to prohibit these children from entering the United States.
A great irony is that U.S. government policies have caused the conditions that some of these Central American children are fleeing. The War on Drugs has created a huge black market in Latin America, causing increases in gang activity and violent crime. Some of the affected children naturally try to flee this violence. It is wrong to jeer at them, call them "illegals," and tell them to get out.
If ever there was a time and an opportunity for New Jersey Libertarian candidates to make inroads, 2014 would be that time. In every poll taken on numerous issues, Americans are coming to embrace libertarian positions. Younger voters nationwide believe that neither the Democratic nor the Republican Parties represents the American people. Seventy-two percent of voters say they would be better off if most incumbents were defeated in November. Eighty-one percent do not trust the federal government most or nearly all the time. Polling also shows that seventy-nine percent want to cut federal spending, fifty-two percent say that their tax bills are too high, and fifty-eight percent favor legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and fifty-two percent of Americans also revealed that they oppose foreign interventions in other countries and that the U.S. should stay out of other nations quarrels.
Update: I received a voicemail on June 23, 2014 from a Wildwood Crest official telling me that he doesn't "have a Brady letter [and] never had one." The Prosecutor's May 5, 2014 denial of my OPRA request does not say that separate Brady letters exist for each of the three officials referenced in my OPRA request and named in my civil complaint. The denial suggests that at least one Brady letter exists concerning at least one of these three officials. Thus, it is entirely possible that the caller is being truthful in stating that a Brady letter pertaining to him never issued.
On June 13, 2014, attorney Richard Gutman of Montclair filed a lawsuit on my behalf seeking "Brady letters" from the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office. My Complaint and Certification in John Paff v. Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, Docket No. CPM-L-265-14 are on-line here.
"Brady letters" are named after the United States Supreme Court's 1963 decision in the case of Brady v. Maryland. That decision, among other things, requires law enforcement officials to notify criminal defendants and their lawyers whenever they receive information that a police officer involved in the defendants' cases has been untruthful.
An interesting study recently revealed that police in New Jersey are more likely to file lawsuits against a police department than your average citizen is.
When he ran for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama was treated like a rock star by the mainstream press. Here was a candidate that was new. Here was someone who was articulate, good looking, with a nice family and a beautiful and adoring wife. Barack Obama campaigned as the candidate of “hope and change.” He campaigned as a candidate that would “fundamentally transform the U.S.” He also campaigned as a “healer” and a man that would “transform politics.” After more than five years in office, it has become apparent that not only did the mainstream press sell the public a bill of goods, not only was the image that they presented of Barack Obama an illusion, but that his presidency has been an utter and abysmal failure.
New Jersey Libertarian Party State Vice Chair to to Debate Hudson County Republican Club Young Professionals
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Charles Barr, 732-470-9994
June 15, 2014
Hoboken, NJ – On Thursday June 19th, the Hudson County Republican Club Young Professionals will be hosting “The Great Debate: Libertarian versus Neo-Conservative.”
The debate will explore two influential groups within the American political discourse and their perspectives on a range of issues facing the nation.
The debate participants are Dorit Goikhman, the NJ Libertarian Party State Vice Chair and Libertarian candidate for NJ CD 6 and Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein, SaveJersey.com contributor and conservative essayist. Moderating the debate is Daniel Bono, active member of the Hudson County Republican Club and Hudson County Committeeman.
On June 10, 2014, Montclair Attorney Richard M. Gutman filed a lawsuit on my behalf challenging the Ocean County Prosecutor's denial of my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for a video that allegedly depicts a police officer intentionally siccing his police dog on a 57-year-old woman. The lawsuit and brief, captioned Paff v. Ocean County Prosecutor, Docket No. OCN-L-1645-14, is on-line here.
I requested the video after reading about Tuckerton Police Corporal Justin Cherry being charged with second-degree official misconduct and third-degree aggravated assault after he "allegedly allowed a K-9 to attack and bite a woman following a traffic stop earlier this year." The dog attack allegedly occurred on January 29, 2014 and was filmed by a security video camera on the outside of the Barnegat municipal building. An April 21, 2014 Star Ledger article on the alleged attack is on-line here.
On January 13, 2014, the Township of Ewing (Mercer County) agreed to pay $155,000 to a Trenton woman who sued members of the Ewing Police Department for allegedly beating her.
In her suit, Portia Freeman said that on March 5, 2012 Ewing Township Health Inspector Carol Martin, Animal Control Officer Rick Moore came to her home with police to serve a warrant. According to the complaint, the officials were there to investigate a complaint that Plaintiff's sister, who the officials believed was a mentally handicapped juvenile, was being left alone in the home without a working heater.
On January 28, 2014, the City of Atlantic City (Atlantic County) agreed to pay $50,000 to a local man who sued members of the Atlantic City Police Department for allegedly stopping and detaining him without probable cause.
In his suit, Jonathan Preston said that on June 16, 2011, he was driving a car in which three other African American men were passengers when he was pulled over by Atlantic City Police Officer Michele Zanes, who is Caucasian. He claims Zanes told all four men to drop what [they] were doing and put [their] hands up" when she approached the car and accused Preston of "getting smart with her" and threatened to take him to jail.
Zanes then allegedly asked Preston for his social security number. Instead of speaking it in front of the others, Preston opted to write it down on a piece of paper and give it to Zanes. According to Preston's lawsuit, "at this point, approximately 12 back-up officers in cars and on motorcycles had arrived at the scene of the stop."
Should people who write to a judge to request leniency for a criminal defendant have their identities shielded from public view?
June 5, 2014
Ann Rizzi, ACDM
Middlesex County Courthouse
56 Paterson Street, PO Box 964
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903
Dear Ms. Rizzi:
I am writing to you at the suggestion of Ombudsman Luis Hernandez, who is copied on this e-mail.
I had previously made a records request to the Middlesex County Criminal Records Division seeking letters of support and requests for leniency regarding Anthony Morales, who was convicted of and sentenced to three years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a female student. See a January 7, 2014 nj.com article on-line here.
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Charles Barr, 732-470-9994
June 5, 2014
26-Year-Old Libertarian Attorney Joins Race Against Pallone in NJ’s 6th Congressional District
TRENTON, NJ – Libertarian candidate for United States House of Representatives Dorit Goikhman filed a petition last week entering her into the race against incumbent Frank Pallone.
The 26-year-old Morganville attorney and Brooklyn Law School graduate hopes to connect with a younger demographic that is traditionally targeted in a low turnout mid-term election.
“Frank Pallone has been in office since 1988. That’s the year I was born. It’s about time that young people get some representation in Washington, because we are the ones who are suffering due to the financially irresponsible decisions of our predecessors.”
As I write this, another Memorial Day has come and gone and the politicians and their media allies have mouthed the usual high-sounding platitudes about the "service" and "sacrifice" of our armed forces. Nice, lofty sounding stuff but sadly it is a blatant lie! There is an old saying that "Truth is the first casualty in war."
For nearly a century now, the globalists and other assorted international interventionists have lied, tricked, and maneuvered us into two world wars plus a seemingly never-ending string of unconstitutional, undeclared "no-win" police-action "interventions" around the world.
Our so-called leaders don’t’ give a damn about our armed forces; they view them as expendable, cheap "cannon-fodder" to be used to prop up foreign regimes around the world that we happen to be allied with at any given moment. Our veterans have been lied to; they have fought, bled, and died for nothing and no one seems to want to "rock the boat" and point this out to the American people.
On May 1, 2014, the City of Plainfield (Union County) agreed to pay $25,000 to a local woman who sued members of the Plainfield Police Department for allegedly assaulting her and using excessive force against her.
In her suit, Shelby Vattelle said that on December 19, 2010, during a motor vehicle stop, Plainfield Police Officer Michael J. Auriccio, "threw [her] to the concrete, smashed [her] face into the pavement" without justification. She also claimed that Auriccio applied handcuffs too tightly and threw her to the ground again at Plainfield Police Headquarters. There, she said, another officer "ripped [her] boots from her feet, breaking one of the heels."
On May 11, 2008, the City of Wildwood (Cape May County) agreed to pay $75,000 to a local bar owner who sued members of the Wildwood Police Department for allegedly harassing him and his bar patrons and issuing bogus summonses.
In his suit, Michael C. Petaccio, who operated the Fairview Cafe, said that Officer David Romeo and Sergeant Terry Osler entered his bar on two occasions and harassed his customers even though the establishment was operating legally. In the first instance, Petaccio claimed that Romeo entered his bar on June of 2004, prior to the mandated 3 a.m. closing time, arrested Frank Miller, the D.J. who was providing music that night and later issued summonses for "playing music at one minute past 3:00 a.m." Petaccio claimed that he and his bar were ultimately acquitted of the charges.
A 16-year officer in the Mendham Township Police Department has filed suit against the force, alleging he has been bypassed twice for promotion and denied chances to earn overtime because he refuses to “profile” young drivers for tickets.
Memorial Day provides the political class countless opportunities to ruin an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable holiday weekend. Like clockwork, local congressmen, mayors, city council members, et al. materialize at parades, picnics, and churches to give speeches about “freedom.”
But what does freedom really mean?
Just as we should repudiate Junk English in economics, we should demand precision when it comes to the language of political posturing! In other words, we should insist that politicians use defined terms (I’m not holding my breath).
In essence, freedom is the absence of state coercion. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
Dr. Ron Paul explains this coercive reality behind those invoking freedom while advocating state action:
Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn’t be called taxes, they’d be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.
Taking this definition a step further, Hans-Hermann Hoppe describes a free society as the absence of aggression against one’s body and property:
On May 5, 2014, the Boroughs of Collingswood and Woodlynne (Camden County) agreed to pay $15,000 to a Woodlynne man who sued members of the Collingswood Police Department for allegedly assaulting and arresting him without probable cause.
In his suit, Earl Whaley said that on August 25, 2008, he was playing cards with his friends on his front porch in Woodlynne. He claimed that even though he was creating no disturbance, Police Officer Brian Eidmann falsely stated that a neighbor had filed a noise complaint and told Whaley and his friends to "keep it down." Whaley claimed that when he "voiced his objections forcefully and with occasional profane word" Eidmann "barged through the closed screen door and onto the screened in porch" and "ripped the chair out from under [Whaley] and then struck him one or more times about the face." Whaley said he was arrested for disorderly conduct but was later acquitted.
It appears from the lawsuit that Woodlynne contracts its police services out to Collingswood Borough.