Tag Archives: noah pransky

The Dirtiest Trick, Revisited

A few weeks ago, I posted about what I believe to be the dirtiest trick utilized by law enforcement in their poorly-run internet sting operations: using pictures of OLDER decoys to supposedly catch pedophiles. I have personally seen cases where decoys of legal age were used to entice would-be consenting adults. I got an email yesterday that in another sting operation, in Orange County, agents were using images of decoys as old as 25 to entice their targets. I wish I could say that I was surprised. The sad truth is they claim to be chasing pedophiles, but they are using adults to lure people. There’s nothing wrong with meeting a 25-year-old on the internet, it’s the lie they slip in claiming the decoy is much younger that they use to arrest the sucker. While we don’t want adults traveling to meet underage children, our law enforcement resources are being misspent if we are pursuing people who are not actually looking to meet underage partners. The reality is even more harsh, as Florida’s draconian sentencing laws often don’t fit the crime. (See Marissa Alexander re: 10/20/Life)

Here’s a link to the image of the 25-year-old decoy: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzLomEB8bi2PTjZra3gtSFRyc0E/edit

Commentors have pointed me to the governingus.com blog that specifically follows these cases. It’s worth checking and they recently linked to a story out of Tampa by a reporter who really does some journalism and challenges the authorities. Noah Pransky used to work in the Fort Myers market, before moving on to a bigger market. We’ve linked to his stories on before on crimcourts, when he did a great expose on misuse of red light ticketing. Imagine that, the Fourth Estate keeping an eye on government intrusion.

Pransky, who is not on the defense side, unlike the author of this blog, says it perfectly, “Law enforcement may have crossed the line in going after some men who weren’t breaking the law at all.” He continues, “While many of those arrested will ultimately get well-deserved time behind bars, even if a few men were wrongly targeted by officers who were abusing their power, that’s too many victims. Those men will never be able to fully clear their names, even if their found not guilty, which is why we’re fighting for transparency, and your right to know that police aren’t engaging in entrapment.”

That reporting is especially important as the government goes further and further to invade our lives, and to keep secrets from our citizens: http://www.wired.com/2014/06/feds-seize-stingray-documents/

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/investigations/2014/04/15/pinellas-polk-sex-stings-public-record-refusal/7749057/

Some Florida Communities Caught Shortening Yellow Lights

Red Light camera

Red Light camera

People often claim that traffic citations are more about fund-raising for cities and counties than they are about the safety of drivers. While the communities continually deny this, they rake in money from the citations, especially red light cameras. Well, it’s hard to claim that the communities are concerned about safety when it turns out that some communities are deliberately SHORTENING yellow lights, which directly leads to more red light tickets. Studies have shown that shorter yellow lights lead to more accidents, but politicians are still using the camera company’s talking points to claim justification for shortening the yellows. Some of those same politicians are receiving campaign donations from the camera companies!

More insidious is that camera supporters put through a change in the law to allow the yellow lights to be shortened. Still, communities in the WTSP story are still shortening the yellow lights below the new minimum standards. Watch reporter Pransky confront the spokesman with evidence of the intentional shortening. This is sickening.

The red light cameras are clearly a racket for communities to tax drivers for the most minor of infractions. Amidst some tumult about the cameras, Collier took theirs down a few months ago. One of the commissioners there admitted it was a revenue generating program, and they weren’t making as much money when the law changed to prevent the camera company from making a commission based on the number of tickets issued. This is shameful by these other Florida communities who are putting drivers at greater risk, just to ticket them for more revenue. It’s government working against the people who it should be working for, and I applaud the investigative efforts of Noah Pransky and the WTSP, Channel 10 news team in Tampa for bringing this racket to light. Great job, I can safely say we Mr. Pransky’s reporting in Southwest Florida.

Thanks to Drudge Report for pointing out the story.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=316418