June 15, 2015

More Questions – Few Black and White Answers

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:29 am


Like many others in our area, OpenCdA is intrigued by the news, skews, and views stories about Rachel Dolezal.  We have not formed an opinion about her behavior because we’re not at all clear what the issues are.

However, we have some questions of our own for which timely, factual answers would help us be (1) better informed or (2) more confused. (more…)

June 1, 2015

Dissension in Meridian

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:38 am

idaho-state-police-trooper-marijuana-license-plate-profiling-640x344OpenCdA highly recommends that you read Idaho Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell’s article headlined Officers allege interference, retaliation at Idaho State Police after crash probe.

Briefly, lawsuits have been filed against the ISP by some former and present ISP officers who allege they were ordered to change accident reports to protect a Payette County deputy sheriff.  They further allege that they were retaliated against by members of the ISP command staff when they refused to change the reports.

If you’re going to read Sewell’s article, we also suggest you read the sidebar hyperlinks in “Other Related Content.”  Most of those hyperlinks are court filings, however they are merely allegations and observations, not conclusive evidence.   The allegations would have to be supported by evidence at trial.

The public wants to believe our law enforcement officers are honest and that their investigations will be objective, factual, and complete.   In this particular case, the ISP investigators assigned some degree of fault for the accident to the Payette County deputy.   The documents linked in Sewell’s article suggest that the ISP command staff may have encouraged subordinate investigators to slant the reports to avoid the deputy’s being criminally prosecuted.  For example, ISP Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Kedrick Wills allegedly told one of the investigators who had assigned fault to the deputy that “he could not believe ISP was going to send a deputy to prison.”  (If Wills’ name sounds familiar, it might be because his father, Richard Wills, is an Idaho state legislator and retired ISP Corporal.)

We hope the Idaho Statesman continues its excellent reporting on a matter of statewide interest.

May 23, 2015

Price Fixing Case – It Cost All of U$

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:21 pm

price-fixing-cartoonThis past week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that four multinational banks had recently agreed to plead guilty to felony antitrust violations and pay criminal fines and penalties approaching $3 billion.  A fifth bank agreed to plead guilty and pay a $203 million criminal penalty for breaking the non-prosecution agreement it entered in December 2012  regarding manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR – a benchmark interest rate used worldwide.

Simply put, these five banks agreed to plead guilty to manipulating the interest rates that nearly every consumer has to pay when we borrow money for mortgages, car loans, college loans, business loans, etc. (more…)

May 20, 2015

Another Federal Case in Coeur d’Alene

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:16 am

puzzled2By now you may have heard that on May, 19, 2015, a former employee of the Red Robin Restaurant in Riverstone filed a federal lawsuit alleging she was wrongfully terminated by that restaurant chain after she objected to the firing of one employee and the rejection of an applicant because they were “of color”.

Here is a link to the federal complaint filed by plaintiff Stacie Ward against Red Robin International, Inc.  The case was filed in federal district court and assigned case number 2:15-cv-00168-JVL.  Ward alleges in the complaint that “The [Coeur d’Alene Red Robin store ] General Manager Reed Faucet (wrongfully) terminated Stacie for cause on or about October 27, 2012.  Also present at Stacie’s termination was Alicia DiAgastino, the Assistant General Manager, and by information and belief, Ms. DiAgastino is now General Manager of the Coeur d’Alene store.”

Ward’s complaint states precisely the language allegedly used by the Riverstone Red Robin store’s Assistant General Manager.  It also states her allegations of “retaliation and harassment by the management” against Ward.

The complaint informs readers that “Stacie filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission/EEOC.  The EEOC conducted its investigation, and found probable cause that Red Robin had retaliated against her and issued its Right To Sue letter on February 26, 2015.”

Ward’s legal counsel is Douglas A. Pierce of James, Vernon & Weeks, P.A. in Coeur d’Alene.

OpenCdA wonders why the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations has not vocally and visibly protested the allegations of racial discrimination by one of Coeur d’Alene’s local businesses.   This case would certainly generate the publicity and attention that group usually seeks for itself and the City of Coeur d’Alene.  What could the reason be?

May 15, 2015


Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:33 pm

CheatedCoverIf you have an interest in ensuring that the tax dollars you provide to your local colleges and universities are not going to support academic fraud, read Jay Smith’s and Mary Willingham’s book “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports“.

Your first inclination may be to say, “Well, the UNC scandal was at a major school, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  And it’s got a major megabucks athletic program.  We’re in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and we only have a dinky community college.”

But when you read the book, you may well conclude otherwise.   “Cheated” educates readers to understand how academic frauds not only occur in our institutions of higher (or not) learning but also how the frauds can be created or promoted by elected boards of trustees, hired administrators, faculty, and staff.  Initially, the motivation for propagating the frauds is to bring in money for the college or university.   Never mind the message that sends to the “student”-athletes and to the honest students who work diligently to earn their degrees honestly.

“Cheated” is not an easy read.  Smith and Willingham are academics, and their writing style is informative and instructional rather than entertaining.  Still, it is worth reading.  It is an eyeopener, a reminder to the people that those whom they elect or appoint to run their colleges and universities and educate their students are not necessarily acting in the best interests of the students they purport to be educating.  The public needs to be less trusting and pay more attention.

But “It’s Not Just About Technology”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 9:01 am

surveryingtargetSay the phrase “law enforcement technology” to many people and ask them to respond with associated words and phrases.  You will very likely hear “body cameras,” “DNA,” “CSI,” “Breathalyzer,” “drones,” and “computers.”  You can probably come up with others.

But those responses are not “law enforcement technology;” they are examples of technology that have been adapted and adopted by law enforcement (well, all except “CSI” which is a dramatization of technology application specialists).

The public rarely has a serious opportunity to read a report that adequately portrays the challenges law enforcement administrators face in evaluating, selecting, and applying technology and in writing policies and practices to ensure consistency and legality in its application.  Even more rarely does the public have an opportunity to look into the future of law enforcement administration and see the challenges 21st century chief executive law enforcement officers will face in the social and cultural environment in which they will be expected to operate.  Here’s that opportunity.

In July 2014 the Rand Corporation conducted a workshop which sought “… to explore future visions of law enforcement and identify and prioritize needs in technology, policy, and practice based on those visions.  Participants consisted of a diverse group of law enforcement practitioners from municipal, state, and federal  law enforcement organizations and representatives from academic institutions.”   The Rand workshop produced a 102-page report  entitled Visions of Law Enforcement Technology in the Period 2024-2034 — Report of the Law Enforcement Futuring Workshop.

But contrary to the report’s title, the workshop and its report were not just about technology.  In fact, specific technologies were mentioned peripherally, and usually then only as examples.  (more…)

May 13, 2015

What’s In A Name?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 11:50 am

HookervilleOpenCdA was amused to hear that the Spokane City Council got its knickers in a knot when one of Spokane’s community members used the term “Bridge to Hookerville” once too often in public comments.  The clever characterization refers to a pedestrian bridge intended to connect the north side of Spokane’s University District with the other side of the tracks, East Sprague Avenue.

However, we must admit being a bit confused.  We thought that “Bridge to Hookerville” referred to the vehicular bridge over Idaho’s U.S. 95 which connects Spokane’s back door (WA S.R. 278/ID S.R. 58) to the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe reservation just north of Worley.    Readers will understand our confusion after reading the addresses of the “who got busted” list in the link.

May 3, 2015

Special Assistant US Attorney Program – Coeur d’Alene

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:48 am

RTSUSAO118Item 2 of the agenda for the joint Kootenai County Commissioners – Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on May 4, 2015, reads, “2.  SAUSA Program (Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney) – Commissioner Green.”

OpenCdA wonders how many people in our area know anything about Idaho’s existing participation in the SAUSA Program?  For that matter, we wonder how many people here know much about the overall jurisdiction, authority, duties and responsibilities of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho?

We think some public discussion of this proposal would be beneficial to all.  (more…)

May 2, 2015

Coeur d’Alene to Propose Parking Ordinance Changes

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:24 am

changing the rulesThe City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, proposes to amend its city code regarding parking facilities.

Coeur d’Alene residents should take the time to understand how the proposed ordinance amendments will affect them.

Here’s a hint:  Get your checkbooks out. (more…)

April 27, 2015

April 25 Awards

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:17 am

awardsApril 25, 2015, should possibly be designated as “Idaho Journalism Awards Day.”  There were two equally meaningful and important sets of awards given out then.

The first was the Idaho Press Club Best of 2014 Annual Awards, and the second was the Max Dalton Open Government Award. (more…)

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