Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Poe shames Texas perps - Harris County State District Judge Ted Poe punishes criminals with sentences involving shame - Brief Article
Insight on the News, Oct 19, 1998 by Julia Duin

A Lone Star State judge punishes criminals with sentences of shame -- a nineties version of the scarlet letter that has aggravated the ACLU.

It's 100 degrees at high noon in Houston, and Mike Hubacek's day of reckoning has arrived. Striding back and forth on a blistering-hot sidewalk outside the offices of the Department of Public Safety, the teenager tries to ignore a cluster of reporters and two TV cameras thrust in his face. He clutches a sign: "I killed 2 people while I was driving drunk on Westheimer."

Westheimer Road is one of the city's main thoroughfares where, in the early morning hours of Nov. 28, 1996, Hubacek was speeding with no headlights at 100 mph. He crashed into a van carrying a married couple and their nanny, scattering wreckage over hundreds of feet. The husband and nanny were killed; the wife survived with a broken collarbone and sternum, crushed thighs and wounds requiring 100 stitches.

Hubacek was instructed to carry the sign as part of the lengthy, detailed punishment ordered by Harris County State District Judge Ted Poe. "Most of us care what people think of us" Poe says. "If we're held up to public embarrassment, we don't like it. It does serve as a deterrent."

Poe, 49, is preeminent among a new breed of judge who believes in shaming, a form of justice common in colonial America that seems to be making a comeback. Poe has:
* Jailed a man convicted of domestic abuse and sentenced him to apologize publicly to his wife on the courthouse steps at noon. The audience of 450 people included newspaper and TV reporters and photographers, women from shelters and other defendants accused of wife beating.

* Sentenced a shoplifter to carry a sign for a week in front of Kmart pro claiming his theft. The store manager reported no thefts during that week. "I had seven days, eight hours a day to reflect on my life," the shoplifter told the judge. "I didn't want to continue this mode of self-destruction any more."

* Required a teenage graffiti tagger to apologize to the students at all 13 schools he vandalized. "The school officials liked that" Poe says.

The probation conditions Poe ordered for Hubacek received as much publicity as the case itself. After serving six months in jail for intoxicated manslaughter, Hubacek was ordered to attend 110 days of boot camp, erect a cross and a star of David at the scene of the wreck, maintain the crash site and carry a sign once a month for the next 10 years in front of high schools, bars and driver's-license offices proclaiming, "I killed two people while driving drunk."

The teenager also must keep photographs of the victims in his wallet for 10 years, refrain from driving for 10 years, stay inside Houston city limits, observe an autopsy of a person killed in a drunken-driving accident and send $10 every week for 10 years to a memorial fund in the names of the victims.

Every time Hubacek shows up to carry a sign, Barbara Davis, the wife of the man Hubacek killed, arrives with grim posters of the accident. Passersby cringe when they see them, but some people hug her. "God bless Ted Poe for being considered the renegade judge he is" says Davis."

But the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, looks askance at Poe's methods. "This is the scarlet-letter syndrome" says Joseph Jacobson, director of the ACLU's Austin affiliate. "It's a form of public humiliation. It's like putting people in stocks like in the old days. The central problem is it makes it that much more difficult for someone to integrate back into normal society.

The ACLU's Houston office has taken no complaints against the judge, however. In a state that spends about $2 billion a year on its prison system, Poe's methods are popular, admits Paul Maciekowich, Houston's ACLU chapter president. "Ted Poe is just the tip of the iceberg as to what the mentality is down here" he says. "Last year, more people were imprisoned for parole violations than for first-time offenses"

Poe, who wears black cowboy boots under his robe, is part of the local color in a state in which Wild West instincts endure. While serving as a Harris County prosecutor during the trial of a man who killed a police officer, he read the jury a Christmas card that the officer might have written to his daughter. In his eight years in that job, he never lost a case.

Elected to the bench in 1981, Poe, a Republican, has run without opposition since 1986. He ranked second of 22 judges in a 1993 Houston Bar Association poll rating their effectiveness.

"If we know history, we understand why people do what they do," Poe says. "I think the public punishment is what changes the conduct. It is a public service to the community that knows we won't stand for that conduct."

The judge, whose office includes a poster of Alcatraz, a painting of a scene from the battle of Gettysburg and a sign proclaiming, "I really don't care how you did it up north," has been known to make unrepentant offenders shovel manure at the police stables in west Houston for "attitude adjustment."

Monday, December 18, 2006


A Brazilian business man was on a flight to conduct business in another country when he found something interesting going on, on his computer. He had his home security cameras link to his laptop and watched as two men broke into his home and began stealing his valuables. He called his wife who was not home at the time and told her about the situation and to call the police. Within minutes the police were at his home arresting the two thieves. Countless arrests have been credited to this type of technology and if you are interested in purchasing this type of product "
we highly recommend Self Defense Weapons.com."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Found this article interesting showing just how screwed up our justice system really is.


Moments before a trial was set to begin last month, a Vancouver
court stayed charges that had been pending for fifteen months
against two young men who had allegedly beaten a middle-aged man
unconscious and fractured his ankle. He has had to undergo multiple
surgeries and is unable to work.

Staying charges usually means perpetrators never face trial.Yet
Canada's laws are intended to protect the public and deter criminals.
In this case the victim, Russell Young, had been notified by letter
that he was to attend court September 26, on the Fifth Floor. He
arrived early, checked the trial list posted outside the designated
courtroom, found his case listed there, and confidently sat down in
the gallery to await a call to testify.

But no one notified Young the venue of his trial had been changed at
the last minute from the Fifth to the Third Floor.
He waited two hours. Other cases were dealt with, but never his.
Meanwhile, in a courtroom two floors down, because Young was absent
the court went on to other business while prosecutors scrambled to
locate him.

They paged him; he was sitting in a soundproof courtroom, he didn't
hear the call. They phoned him, but sheriffs in the lobby were
holding his camera phone; recording devices are not allowed in court.
No one took the initiative to visit the original courtroom to look
for him, a searching technique apparently too primitive for use in
today's modern justice system.Since Young -- the key witness -- was
not present to testify, the Crown prosecutor asked that the charges
against his alleged attackers be stayed.

B.C. trials have been stayed on many flimsy excuses: the arresting
Mountie was fishing the Kalum River; the key witness slept in,
confused the date, or blew a tire on the way to the courthouse. And
on and on. Having served as a Crown prosecutor for 14 years, Elliott Poll
should have suspected justice to be derailed by something as witless
as this unannounced change of venue. Courts already have a list of
weak excuses used to stay proceedings: Whoever changed the venue
should have taken responsibility for notifying all affected parties,
particularly the crown's key witness.

Contacted October 3, a media spokesperson for Crown counsel at the
BC Attorney General's office said the stay was under review.The case
had to be assessed, what occurred that day looked into, and a fair
and appropriate decision made under the circumstances.
To nudge the BC Attorney General's office to reschedule Young's
trial, members of FACT weighed in. FACT (Families Against Crime and
Trauma) organized this summer to monitor courts and sentences to
ensure justice for victims.

Several of FACT's organizers suffered the loss of a family member to random violence and lived to see perpetrators given ittybitty sentences that deter no one.
FACT aims to bring equality to our laws, to protect the rights of
the public instead of coddling criminals. Latest word from Crown counsel is that a new hearing has been set for Young's case November 29, 2006.

One would like to think a new trial would have been scheduled
without public pressure. But would it? If FACT and other Young
supporters had not called for a rescheduling of the trial, his two
alleged attackers might well have gone scot free to boast of their
sadistic tactics to other sick minds. FACT now has a website http://www.familiesagainstcrime.org. Reach them at familiesagainstcrime@yahoo.ca.

Monday, December 04, 2006


If you find your nerves sensitive to pain when you get hit in a fight here is something you can do to safely toughen your nerves up so blows do not hamper you in a street fight. Whenever you take a shower in the morning run just the cold water and stand under it for 1 minute to start out with. Increase the length of time day by day. What you will find is that your nerves will toughen up becoming less sensitive to pain. To find out more about conditioning exercises such as these go to www.tactselfdefense.com to order your copy of the Guerrilla Combatives Conditioning eManual.


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Norm Bettencourt is the Creator/President of Tactical Self Defense which specializes in personal protection tactics against modern day threats of violence. For more information visit www.tactselfdefense.com