Surprise, surprise - poor people getting the short end of the stick

Every day, in courtrooms throughout New York, people are denied justice simply because they are poor. Ricky Lee Glover, a homeless Syracuse man, languished in jail for seven months without bail after he was accused of stealing copper pipes from an abandoned public housing complex. Though he knew nothing about the law, Glover finally filed a motion on his own."I think there's something seriously wrong with a system where people like me have to learn to become their own lawyers," Glover said. He's right. <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rfjcfPkGsFw&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rfjcfPkGsFw&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

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Obama passport breach... will it get worse?

The State Department says employees who improperly accessed the passport files of the three major presidential candidates were guilty of "imprudent curiosity." It makes one wonder how many other employees or independent contractors in the vast federal bureaucracy are similarly curious. How it could be so easy to improperly access passport files that imprudently curious employees can do so on a whim during training sessions. Were they being trained in domestic surveillance? Do they have similar access to restricted files while on their coffee breaks? How about at home? It's disconcerting that senior State Department officials only learned of this incident after a reporter contacted them about it. It suggests they don't run a very tight ship when it comes to guarding Americans' personal information. This from the administration that so desperately wants to implement the Real ID Act, a law that would consolidate Americans' DMV records into a network of interlinking databases accessible to the federal government and bureaucrats throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. These records, possibly including digital copies of birth certificates, Social Security cards and other sensitive documents, would be accessible to thousands of state and federal bureaucrats - some of whom are certain to be imprudently curious. The Bush administration has made sure there are no limits in place in the amount of information kept in the Real ID database. The potential for abuse is boundless. This is one of many reasons why the New York Civil Liberties Union is fighting to block the implementation of the Real ID Act in New York and throughout the country. Government bureaucrats can and do make mistakes. Our lawmakers should do everything possible to ensure that Americans' personal information is secure. They could start by repealing the Real ID Act.

NY Cops Deny Press Pass to Respected Police Blogger

During his 20+ years working the cops beat for Newsday, the New York Post and the AP, Leonard Levitt dug up some of the best police reporting in the business. But when he started his own muckraking web site, NYPDConfidential.com, and exposed the underbelly of the NYPD, the police department suddenly denied him a press pass - a vital tool for any reporter that enabled Levitt to cross police and fire barriers to report news at emergency and crime scenes. Today, the New York Civil Liberties Union (the NY chapter of the ACLU) sued the NYPD to protect Levitt's right to report freely and fairly on one of the largest and most important police departments in the country.

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