Archive for May, 2014
May 23rd, 2014 at 2:59 pm
Kane County DUI Arrests are likely this weekend since the police will get paid a bonus if they make them at a roadblock tonight. There will be a roadblock on I-90 and Rte 31 friday from 11pm to 4am. Keep in mind, that in order to collect federal funds, the police must arrest at least 1 person for DUI for every officer that works this detail. You have a right to refuse all field sobriety tests and preliminary (or portable) breath testing devices. And if arrested, you have the right to demand that they obtain a search warrant before submitting to any further blood breath or urine testing. Just like our forefathers had to do 240 years ago when their government became oppressive, you too must stand up for your basic rights.
The Illinois State Police (ISP), District 15, will conduct a Roadside Safety Check (RSC) in Kane County during the hours of 11 p.m. on Friday, May 23, until 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, according to Captain Patrick Kimes.
This project is funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety.
May 22nd, 2014 at 2:37 pm
Automated License Plate readers are scary – nothing is closer to Big Brother than these, in my opinion. What happens when they falsely report a stolen vehicle and the driver is removed at gun point? Read the below story from Forensic Magazine to find out:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has put police on notice: an automatic license plate reader (ALPR) alert, without human verification, is not enough to pull someone over.
Last week, the appellate court issued an important opinion in Green v. City & County of San Francisco, a civil rights lawsuit that calls into question whether technology alone can provide the basis for reasonable suspicion under the Fourth Amendment. The panel overturned a lower court ruling in favor of San Francisco and its police department, allowing the case to go to trial.
A case of computer error
Late one night in 2009, San Francisco cops pulled over Denise Green, an African-American city worker driving her own car. At gunpoint, they handcuffed her, forced to her knees, and then searched both her and her car — all because an automatic license plate reader misread her plate and identified her car as stolen.
The first error was technological: the ALPR unit misread Green’s plate, recording a “3” as a “7.” The next errors were human. The officer driving the ALPR-equipped squad car never visually verified that Green’s plate number matched the ALPR “hit” — despite an SFPD policy that requires this — even after he called it in and dispatch matched the plate to a vehicle that looked nothing like Green’s. The officer who later pulled Green over also failed to verify the plate, even though he had ample opportunity to do so while stopped immediately behind Green’s car at a red light.
Based solely on the ALPR “hit” and dispatch confirmation that the false hit was linked to a stolen vehicle, the second officer called in for backup and initiated a “high-risk” or “felony” traffic stop. While at least four officers pointed their guns at Green, she was ordered from her car and forced to spend at least 10 minutes handcuffed and on her knees (this proved so taxing, given Green’s physical condition, that the officers later had to help her up).
A search of Green and her car turned up nothing, and she had no criminal record. Although at this point the officers should have realized they pulled over the wrong car, and—more critically — that Green’s license plate was not the same as the car reported stolen, it still took the officers another 10 minutes before they figured out their mistake and let Green on her way.
Green sued the city and officers, claiming they violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The district court judge granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, finding it was reasonable for the officer that pulled Green over to assume the first officer had confirmed the ALPR hit and further holding it was a reasonable good faith “mistake” on the part of both officers to assume without verifying that Green’s plate matched the hit.
The Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling a jury could find that a police officer’s unverified reliance on an ALPR hit is an insufficient basis for a traffic stop and that the subsequent search and seizure of Green could violate the Fourth Amendment. Importantly, the appeals court noted that an unconfirmed ALPR hit could not provide a legal basis to pull Green over.
Ironically, SFPD already had a policy that required cops to visually confirm that the plate on the car was the same as the plate ID’ed by the ALPR system. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (“IACP”) has described this as one of the “essential components” of training on ALPR use, and several of the state policies mentioned by IACP also require this verification. But in Green’s case, none of the officers followed that policy.
False positives and the danger of over-reliance on technology
This case shows clearly the risks of blind reliance on technology for identification in criminal investigations. If the ALPR camera had not alerted the first officer based on a false license plate read, Green never would have been stopped, and this tragedy could easily have been avoided.
More and more frequently, cops are looking to technology to do initial identification of suspected criminals—whether it’s ALPR for traffic stops, face recognition for mug shots, or DNA for crime scene forensics. Yet these technologies are fallible.
Just last month TechDirt reported that a driver in a Kansas City suburb found himself surrounded by cops with guns out after a license plate camera misread his plate. Similar situations are possible with DNA and face recognition. For example, a man was misidentified as the perpetrator of a brutal home invasion and murder in San Jose based solely on his DNA. Even though he had a good alibi — he was inebriated and in the hospital the night of the murder — he still spent five months in jail. Researchers at NYU note that face recognition poses false positive risks as well, especially when databases like FBI’s Next Generation Identification include many millions of face images. And even the FBI admits NGI fails to provide accurate results in at least 15 percent of IDs.
May 21st, 2014 at 1:41 pm
Illinois Drivers License Reinstatement: As reported in the below story, Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, has been personally blocking the reinstatement process of a police officer’s drivers license, even though his own hearing officer ruled in the officer’s favor:
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has personally been blocking a former Illinois State Police trooper from getting his driver’s license back, according to a spokesman for the office.
Now, the attorney for former trooper Matt Mitchell plans to take the battle to court.
Slone said he asked for an administrative review hearing to get the hearing officer’s decision enforced — or to at least find out who was blocking reinstatement, and why. A status conference is set for Thursday morning in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Mount Vernon.
“I’m going to push to have oral arguments on that pretty soon,” Slone said.
Dave Druker, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said there is no mystery who overruled the hearing officer — it was Secretary of State Jesse White himself.
“He does not feel at this time that the case has been made as to why Mr. Mitchell should get his license back,” Druker said of the decision by White, a Democrat. “He has the final say and, as an elected official, it’s his responsibility to make that decision.”
Druker said there was no communication between the Secretary of State’s Office and Slone before the attorney asked to have Tuesday’s appeal hearing canceled.
Kim Schlau, mother of crash victims Jessica and Kelli Uhl, planned to attend the hearing Tuesday to argue against Mitchell getting his license back, according to family spokesman David Craig.
“It was part of the plea deal when Mr. Mitchell avoided prison that he be kept off the road,” Craig said.
Mitchell was driving 126 mph, talking on his cellphone and typing into a dashboard-mounted computer when he lost control of his police cruiser in November 2007 east of O’Fallon, killing the two young women. He’s tried unsuccessfully four times previously to get his license back.
Mitchell was sentenced in 2010 to 30 months of probation in relation to the crash.
Druker said White has made no statement about whether he plans to permanently deny Mitchell his license or what criteria he would have to meet to get it back. He acknowledged it was possible that a judge could order the Secretary of State’s Office to return Mitchell’s driving privileges.
“I’m sure that has happened before,” Druker said. “But I can’t remember any specific cases in which it did.”
While he wouldn’t speculate on the outcome of the administrative review hearing, Slone said he plans to schedule another appeal hearing in a month or two.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2626.