Thursday, February 26, 2009

Evidence and Legal self-protection

In the last week there have been a few newspaper articles that reinforce my opinion that self-recorded audio or video evidence is necessary to protect yourself from wrongful incrimination and convictions. It is no longer possible to believe that in our legal system miscarriages are rare or unique problems. I lost those opinions once I became better acquainted with Family Law during my Divorce.

1) Hearing into the Taser Death of Robert Dziekanski.

The hearing continues and the incriminating evidence continues to accumulate against the action of the 4 RCMP officers who apprehended Mr. Dziekanski at the Vancouver Airport on Oct 14, 2007. Unable to speak English very well, he had been trapped by official disinterest for 6hrs in the baggage holding area, waiting for his mother to collect him. He became increasingly truculent. Within a minute of arrival at the scene, the 4 officers tased Dziekanski 5 times before he was quickly subdued. Unfortunately, heart stopped and he died before EMT was able to reach the area.

Const. Bentley admitted that his notes were in error about Dziekanski' actions when shown the amateur cell-phone video of bystander, Paul PRICHARD.
"I believed it was accurate at the time I made the note," he said.
Obviously NOT. The other officers who have appeared this week also have faulty recollections of the series and sequence of events that call into what prompted the fatal tasering to occur. None of these discrepancies would have been available without video evidence.

2) Dagenais videotape trashed, court hears
"A videotape found in an RCMP vehicle that was at the scene when two Saskatchewan Mounties were shot was destroyed a month after Curtis Dagenais was charged with murder, a courtroom heard yesterday."

To me, it seems strange any videotape would be destroyed when it was clear Mr. DAGENAIS would be charged with murder in the slaying of 2 RCMP officers near Mildred SK on July 7 2006. But, another side of Curtis DAGENAIS's untold story is his complaints against the local RCMP detachment's lack of assistance in securing his property following his parents Divorce. There are issues behind the crime that the RCMP has some responsibility in causing.

3) I have written before how much the RCMP favour the discredited "Mr. Big" sting in obtaining confessions under criminal or at least false pretenses. So it was of interest to read about this 2008 psychology research experiment1 that found that False Confessions could be obtained by showing test subjects doctored-video that incriminated them, even though they do not recall the "illegal" act! Innocent But Proven Guilty: Eliciting Internalized False Confessions Using Doctored - Video Evidence by ROBERT A. NASH and KIMBERLEY A. WADE. This study examines Obtaining False Confessions by showing subjects doctored video of them committing errors. Those who recall the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump" may remember the fake video of Forrest shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy - obviously false - but much easier to achieve in these days of digital photography. In this lab experiment, at least 69% ended up admitting to doing something they did not do, but were seduced by video that contradicted their own experience!

Clearly, video evidence is tremendously powerful to help prove one's case and as everyone have faulty recollections about events - including witnesses and police - it may be the crucial evidence you need to help your case.

4) The video below describes a man's experience in recording his own court case. Unlike Alberta, Sec 136 of the Ontario Court Act permits defendants (and appellants) the right to record their own court hearings. (CourtWatch has prepared a brief pamphlet on the topic as well as a VERY LONG 140pp "How-to Guide"). I highly recommended that fathers in Ontario do this - despite the extreme pressure they are likely to receive in the courts from their own lawyer, judge and Sheriff's Department.

In Alberta, personal use audio recording is not permitted (only "accredited" reporters are allowed to do this). Only official transcripts ($2.20 per page for 30day delivery, or an extra $0.70 per page for expedited transcription in 10 days) are permitted. This "information monopsony" impairs the administration of justice as there is no legitimate counter-balance to verify or dispute errors about audio transcripts. If one suspects tampering or even inaccurate transcripts the only recourse is to petition the court for the audio tapes - another costly barrier to resolving an injustice. Given the rapidly declining cost of technology there is little in the way of a technical barrier but it represents a "loss of control" issue for judges.

Many Family Courts2 in the U.S. videotape court proceedings. Much valuable information can be conveyed - such as plaintiff gestures and movements in court - that are lost without video, not to mention accommodating the hearing impaired. A further complication is poor quality audio recordings - which are more common than many think. Courtroom encounters can involve noisy and testy exchanges with MANY different people speaking over-top one another - and sometimes those voices are misattributed, to garbled to hear or not heard at all.

A final problem against court audio transcripts is that they can be tampered with by Judges. This is a serious but frequently heard criticism.


Dr. Lora Levett - Assistant Professor of Criminology, University of Florida. See research entitled Innocent But Proven Guilty: Eliciting Internalized False. Confessions Using Doctored-Video Evidence. by ROBERT A. NASH and KIMBERLEY A. WADE. This study examines Obtaining False Confessions by showing subjects doctored video of them committing errors. Those who remember the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump" may recall the false video of Forrest shaking hands with President J.F. Kennedy - obviously false - but much easier to achieve in these days of digital photography. In this lab experiment, at least 69% ended up admitting to doing something they were prohibited to do.

2) Among U.S Jurisdictions that videotape court proceedings: CA, MD, NJ. For more info about transcription services in Alberta go to Alberta Shorthand Reporters Association (ASRA) is a professional association of verbatim shorthand reporters founded in 1958 primarily composed of verbatim shorthand reporters in the Province of Alberta. It is affiliated with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) headquartered in Washington DC.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

U.S Parents Rights Legislation

With the beginning of the 111th Congress, old bills are being resurrected - in particular, last sessions Presumptive Parental Rights Bill - H.J Resolution 97. I am grateful to F.R.A.M.E.D in Georgia for keeping track of the current roster of 23 supporters in the House of Representatives (go to link above for complete list at F.R.A.M.E.D).

Apparently it will be sponsored again in the Senate by Democrat Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Michigan 2nd District Republican Representative Pete Hoekstra (F.R.A.M.E.D is keeping the Georgia caucus on notice). Pete Hoekstra is a strong proponent off Parents Rights and has a few good articles about his thoughts on his website.

As we are discussing a similar Bill here in Canada with the Hon. Maurice VELACOTT MP Saskatoon - Wanuskewin SK (Conservative) and the Canadian Equal Parenting Counsel (CEPC). I though it would be instructive to review the U.S experience. Here is the last U.S version (after an extensive preamble) and proposed resolution:

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that joint custody laws for fit parents should be passed by each State, so that more children are raised with the benefits of having a father and a mother in their lives.
To keep up-to-date on legislative developments I have posted a "legislation tracker" in the sidebar. If you want to know more just click the link and you will find yourself at the relevant link.

Equal Parenting Legislation is also being pursued in other State legislatures. Glenn SACKS has asked for support of New Hampshire "Comparable Parenting" bill HB139. I believe other states like Iowa, Washington and Michigan already have such legislation in place.

Note: GovTrack has some worthwhile advice on how to effectively influence your Senator or Congressman.
  1. Write a letter. Fax's are ignored (and perhaps emails as they have become ubiquitous) although most Senators/Congress members are now all tied into to their parties "database" for issue tracking.
  2. Include your full name, address, postal code and tel# so they can identify and track you.
  3. State your concern succinctly and clearly. It is best to reference a specific bill or resolution by name/number and indicate your support or opposition.
  4. A brief explanation of the legislation specific impact on your town, county or province. (W5)
  5. Sometimes a personal anecdote may be used to illustrate popular support or opposition on the floor, but many aides claim this is where most letters "go off the rails" as far as brevity and clarity are concerned so they do not recommend it.
Here are also some links to obtain contact information for Canadian MP's, Alberta and Ontario MLA's. Here are links to GovTrack's Federal Senate and Congress members, as well as the Iowa, New Hampshire and Georgia Legislature's.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SQUEEZE for Tropicana

Glenn Sacks has highlighted a commendable "Father-Friendly" ad campaign by Arnell for Tropicana Fresh Orange Juice (owned by Pepsico Inc. ). The campaign is called SQUEEZE and it just features happy parental childhood images coupled to fresh orange juice. Given that the common shorthand for orange juice is "OJ" and that had a fairly negative connotation associated with it for many years I'm not surprised that they are taking this route.

Readers were encouraged to send their support to Tropicana PR Director Jamie STEIN in the U.S. (details at Glenn's post here) as well as Chief Marketing Officer at Arnell, Tara GROTE in New York. (T (212) 219 8400 E

However, like many other multinational consumer products companies, Pepsi Canada does not appear to be running the same campaign up here - doubtless because some American style ads do not "click" with Canadian consumers in the same way. Nonetheless, this may be an opportunity to inform them that many Men welcome a "healthier characterization" in our popular media.

So, I suggest we support both the U.S. "Squeeze" campaign and encourage Tropicana / Pepsico Canada to consider adopting the same approach here.

Contact info:

Tropicana /Pepsico Canada:
Consumer Relations
14 Hunter Street East
Peterborough, ON K9J 7B2o
E na
T (800) 267-6287

Monday, February 16, 2009

Men Margarinalized?

Ok, this is worth a email campaign.

Becel together with the Heart & Stroke Foundation has margarinalized Men?

The article says it all (link to it via post title above), but on the Unilever Becel product page provides these non-gender specific statistics:
  • about 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attacks and strokes every year.*
  • High cholesterol causes a third of all cardiovascular disease worldwide.*
  • By 2020, heart disease and strokes will become the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, with the number of fatalities likely to reach more than 20 million a year - and by 2030 the figure will rise to more than 24 million a year.*
  • For a 40-year-old man, a 10% reduction in cholesterol will halve the risk of heart disease.**
[the asterisks refer to nothing on the page, another oversight perhaps?]

In the past we have been conditioned to believe that Men suffer disproportionately from strokes (although women are catching up) when did this stop being relevant? (Ok, we get the 40 year old middle aged male line - but we still have no idea of the size of the problem for Men.)

I think an apology and recognition that Men are most effected by Heart & Strokes would be in order.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
222 Queen Street, Suite 1402
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V9
Telephone (613)569-4361
Fax (613)569-3278

Becel is a product of Unilever Canada

Unilever Canada Inc
160 Bloor St East, Suite 1500
Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R2
T: +1 416 963 4009
F: +1 416 964 8831

[Update: 2009Feb 20 Today i found the source of this complete Misandric program - the American heart Association! Here is Cary ROBERTS post on the topic last year when it began 2008Jan30 - American Heart Association Plays a Cruel Trick on Women. And in an even crueler vein, my friend Walter SCHNEIDER of suffered an emergency coronary bypass last Saturday Feb 14! Un beau geste.]

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Soldier who committed suicide in N.S. had twice served in Iraq

Certainly, there is more to this story. Again, there are more questions ignored or withheld than explained in this news article.
  • Parents - father in Norfolk VA , mother in Bridgewater NS. No one asks why?
  • Young man on leave after 2nd tour goes AWOL - no one suggests Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is possible and might have messed with his head - certainly no one at the RCMP seems to take it into account.
  • Look's like death by cop - RCMP happy to oblige.
  • In case Bridgewater seemed vaguely familiar? It should. It is where Karrissa BOUDREAU was murdered by her mother a year ago on Jan 29, 2008.
Yes, suicide rates are up to 20 per 100,000 - double civilian rates - but the stress these fellows (mostly) are under is very high. Was Lance Cpl. Timothy G. Scott attempting to connect with his mother to say hello or goodbye? I hope we will be able to tell soon.

other alternative background

Monday, February 09, 2009

Decade long scare over MMR vacine was fraud

London Sunday Times reveals that the doctor who "discovered" controversial MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella) was linked to causing Autism tampered with the data. Dr. Andrew WAKEFIELD changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism. The ensuing scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children 10 years ago has triggered a dramatic resurgence in measles, an illness once thought close to eradicated in the western world.

The report published February 1998 in pre-eminent British medical Journal The Lancet was widely quoted despite a very small sample of only 12 subjects. UK Inoculation rates fell fell from 92% to below 80%. There has been similar trends throughout Europe and North America.

The popular scare has been difficult to counter and further research since that time has not replicated it's results. A review of the original Wakefield study by the General Medical Council (GMC) has accused Dr. WAKEFIELD and his colleagues of misrepresented the data to skew the results. Before WAKEFIELD began his study he was asked to investigate the possibility of MMR vaccine causing death or injury to children by a UK public policy group, thereby establishing that he was predisposed to the concept. In addition the fame generated from this research led to additional grant contracts exceeding £435,000 to further investigate the MMR vaccine/Autism linkage in the following years.

Dr. WAKEFIELD has left Britain to live in Austin, Texas, where he runs a clinic offering colono-scopies to American children. He tours the country, giving lectures and speeches against the vaccine, and attracting a loyal following of young mothers.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Filicide of Karissa BOUDREAU

It has been just over 1 year since this shocking case hit the news. First, the odd disappearance of a 12yr old girl in a small Nova Scotia community, then the televised news conference asking for help in locating the girl by her mother and finally the terrible discovery of her body.

The unspoken assumption during this period was the poor girl was a victim of a sexually motivated crime. This strikes terror into all parents - whether you have a son or daughter as these are terrible crimes. The step-father is always prime suspect #1 irregardless of his relationship to the child. Despite the emotional distress of dealing with this loss he will be sorely tested by law enforcement and the crown prosecution.

Yet I always find that the unasked questions by the reporters seem to be the same. Rarely are questions addressed about other family members - grandparents, aunts and uncles. And what happened to the birth-father? Why he not present. His involvement reflect alot about the mother's emotional capacity to deal with anger, rejection and ultimately her relationship with her child. Does she somehow blame the child for her misfortune of single parenting? Does she have the "Munchhausen" by proxy relationship common of narcissistic and alienating parents? Who is the real parent? These appear to be taboo subjects frequently sidestepped by feminist indoctrinated reporters or those too green/young to know better?

In June 2008 her mother Penny BOUDREAU was charged with murdering her own daughter. In Dec 2008, Karrissa's mother Penny BOUDREAU plead guilty to filicide, or murdering her own daughter.

After the charges are laid, the spin begins! Minimize ("these are not serious crimes due to mitigation factor that she is a women" ); Blame-shift ("she had no choice") and my favourite, Mis-specify the problem ("our court system is incompetent").

So too in this sad case. In the Winnipeg Free Press "Mother’s violence has experts aghast" seems to bear witness to professionals incredulity that a women could do this when all available "non-feminist" indoctrinated literature on DV points conclusively that women are responsible for most domestic child abuse and death 1.

Canwest News carried this headline, "Boudreau joins list of mothers who chose men over their children" which only blame-shifts Boudreau's murder to the "ultimatum" from her boyfriend that drove her to this fatal act! One would think that a rationale women would be able to talk herself down from this kind hysteria. If it was a man "he" would have been described as "out-of-control". Incredible!

Here are U.S Statistics for 2006 Child Fatalities by Perpetrator. Mother + Boyfriend/Step Dad (38.9%) were 2.7x more likely than Biological Dad's + Girlfriend/Step Mom(14.6%)to inflict abuse on their child which leads to death.2

1) To provide some baseline general population incidence data on this issue, two large scale studies have found the following. A huge (135,573) and nationally representative study of child abuse allegations was made by the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence in Canada (Trocme et al., 2001). Substantiation rates in general ran from 52 to 58%. Biological mothers were more likely to commit physical child abuse (47 vs. 42%), emotional maltreatment (61 vs. 55%), and neglect (86 vs. 33%). On the other hand, biological fathers were more likely to commit sexual abuse (15 vs. 5%) than
biological mothers.

The gender of the substantiated child abuse perpetrator in the general population is more likely to be female and the allegation/substantiation ratio is higher (1/2) than that obtained in custody cases (about ¼), suggesting that false allegations may more frequently be made in the latter.

This “different view” of the gender of the perpetrator is echoed by the even larger sample of child abuse perpetration in the 2004 US Department of Health and Human Services study. In their national study of risks to children (n = 718,948), 57.8% of the perpetrators were women and 42.2% were men. Mothers were involved in 51% of child fatalities; fathers in 38.6%. Source: Media Fact sheet

2) Chapter 4 - Child Fatalities
. Another interesting addition is if you include Female (3.0%) or Male (1.6l%) Relatives as well as the Male (2.9%) and Female (nil%) Partner of Parent which are included in non-parental perpetrators, which increases the odds of Mom and her family/common-law partners being involved to 44.8% vs. 16.2% for Dad (odds are still 2.8x). From an *estimated 1,530 child fatalities. 44% of these fatalities were 1 year old or younger and are normally considered infanticide so they draw a lesser prison term of 1-2 years - primarily due to the evidence that post-partum depression is almost a legitimate "insanity" defense for new mothers - as well as the now out-dated leniency accorded mothers of unwanted children. *Estimated as only 36 states reported actual child fatalities of 1,050 in 2006. Also, perpetrator breakdown was based on this actual child fatality figure. Source: U.S Department of Health: Administration for Children & Families - Child Maltreatment 2006.