Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ehlers-Danlos and the Librarian in Black

The Librarian in Black is a fantastic library blogger named Sarah Houghton-Jan.  She is on my "Recommended Bloggers" list for that very reason.  She has become the victim of a serious genetic defect and now wishes to spread the word about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, also called EDS.

She tells us not to be sad, but this is one of the saddest librarian blog posts I have ever read: "Hello. My Name is Sarah, and I Have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome," by Sarah Houghton-Jan,, 29 May 2009.

I don't know what to say to Sarah under these circumstances.  I can only hope that my helping her spread her message about EDS will at least give her another smile.

Sarah concludes her blog post with these words:

So, to conclude ... please do not be sad.  Be educated.  That is what this post was all about, after all.  So, what can you do to make my confession worth it?
  • Remember what EDS is, what its symptoms are, and maybe you can help someone else who doesn't know what's wrong with them get an early diagnosis and treatment.
  • Be patient with me as I have my bad days, weeks, or months.   I am not ignoring you, I just can't muster the energy or get through the pain to do what I have to do sometimes.
  • Donate to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation.
  • Buy flowers through EDNF’s site and a portion of the sale will go directly to EDNF.
  • And finally, if you want to learn more, watch this longer video about a woman with EDS, the effect on her life, and her process to diagnosis.

Thank you all for your support, especially those who have known of my disorder and support me through patience, kindness, and making sure I get enough rest at conferences (thanks Aaron!).


Good news!!  "Do You Know What Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Is?," by Sarah Houghton-Jan,, 13 May 2011.


More good news!!  "May is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month," by Sarah, 14 May 2012.


An update:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

ALA Pays West Bend Personal Visit to Ensure Children Retain Access to Inappropriate Material; ALA Desperate Due to Major Defeat

The ALA's new de facto top leader has paid a personal visit to West Bend, Wisconsin, because the ALA knows it is losing its propaganda battle to ensure children retain access to inappropriate material despite the law, common sense, and community standards.

There she is, pictured to the right. That's the person so frightened that West Bend is showing the way for communities nationwide to throw off the ALA's yoke that she has to make a personal visit—wearing an "I read banned books" button, no less. As Thomas Sowell would say, "Hogwash"!

She made comments online about me personally in which she said I was misrepresenting her and the ALA. I was not. So I supported my statement with a direct quote from her, in her own voice, from her own web site. But "dcs" was silent after that, just like Ginny has gotten no response that caused the Council to act as it did in ousting the non-responsive library board members, and just like the NCAC refuses to respond to my simple questions after it too directly addressed me.

Lest anyone think it is always censorship to move or remove books in a public library, and if Caldwell-Stone's own comments aren't convincing enough in the context of moving books, consider what the former de facto ALA leader said in the context of removing books: "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there." Get it out of there! If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there! Censorship! The ALA believes in censorship!

So the ALA president wrote a totally misleading and propagandistic piece in an effort to fool the West Bend government into doing what the ALA wanted, not what the community wanted.

I wrote to the government telling them exactly how the ALA was misleading them. I have no idea whether what I wrote made a difference, but the government ruled against the ALA's advice and choose to support the community instead.

That simply will not do. The ALA cannot allow any single community to defeat its policy and defy its propaganda. If it did, other communities might realize the truth that the ALA is a paper tiger peddling false information. But with the local government deciding twice to refuse to reappoint people the ALA supported, the ALA was forced to do something.

In walks Deborah Caldwell-Stone, an attorney and now the ALA's de facto leader after the passing of the previous 40-year one, Judith Krug. It was Judith Krug, a former ACLU leader, who changed ALA policy from what it used to be, protecting children from inappropriate material, to what it is now, namely, anything goes and only individual parents can stop their own children from inappropriate material.

You know what is really outrageous about this? The ALA continues to push its policies on local communities despite having lost on this very issue in the US Supreme Court in 2003. What once used to be a theory that might have been legitimate lost its legitimacy when the ALA lost on the issue six years ago. Yet the ALA continues to insist that anything goes.

In US v. ALA, the US Supreme Court said, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."

Contrast that with the ALA and Deborah Caldwell-Stone. They say the exact opposite. They say protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is not legitimate and not compelling. They say it is actually censorship. They sell items decrying banned books, including ones seen in the picture below and to the right, although no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century. Yes, books are challenged and moved or removed in individual venues, but usually for legal reasons, such as in observance of another US Supreme Court case, Board of Education v. Pico.

The ALA is so off base that it is even seeking to force another local community, this time in Miami-Dade County, FL, to accept material that is factually false. An appeals court ruled the "right to apply accuracy" controls. Nope, that doesn't stop the ALA. The ALA is now working with the ACLU to force public schools to accept intentionally inaccurate material, as determined by the community and the courts.

Did Deborah Caldwell-Stone get involved in that? Absolutely. "Naturally we are disappointed with this decision. The book ban is unconstitutional, and we will continue to support the ACLU’s efforts to return the books to the shelves of the Miami-Dade school libraries." So the people of Miami-Dade County wanted the book out, they used legal means to remove it, an appellate court supported and affirmed the people's decision, but the ALA and the ACLU still join together to force the community to submit to their will. Sound familiar, West Bend?

In summary, what the US Supreme Court says is legitimate and even compelling, the ALA says is censorship and banning. What Ginny and about a thousand others say is common sense, the ALA's top leader and Maria say is illegal.

As syndicated columnist Cal Thomas said many years ago in the context of public schools:

The ALA counts as book-banning efforts by parents to become involved in their children's education by raising questions concerning age-appropriate material. If parents raised such objections in connection with what type of food is being fed their children in the school cafeteria, they would be regarded as interested in the welfare of children. That they occasionally raise questions about the quality of intellectual "nourishment" at the school qualifies them, according to the ALA, as book-banners.

As former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all." Totally different.

So, citizens of West Bend, decide for yourselves what's right for your own public library. The ALA says the opposite of what the US Supreme Court says. Further, the US Supreme Court is merely restating common sense when it says it is okay to keep children from inappropriate material. Yes, the decision as to what material is inappropriate will not be easy to make, but that does not mean it should not be made at all.

Do not let the personal visit from the ALA's Deborah Caldwell-Stone with her $2 "I read banned books" button sway you. So far as I know, Caldwell-Stone has not even paid a personal visit to Miami-Dade County—you must really have the ALA frightened.

Look at the law and the facts and do what you know is right and legal and already done in many other communities. Don't let red herrings about LGBT issues or slippery slopes or the difficulty of making decisions sway you. Your children are at stake. The nation is watching.

Publication: APD - West Bend Daily News;
Date: May 30, 2009;
Section: Front Page;
Page Number: A1

Crowd Shows its Support for Library;
Organizer Says March, Read-In Exceed Expectations

By DAVE RANK Daily News Staff

An estimated 100 people took up college student Jake Jurss’ suggestion to walk down a West Bend street and read a few banned books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library Friday afternoon.

The event was intended to show support for the library staff and to demonstrate opposition to a local demand that certain books now in the Young Adult section of the library be moved to the adult section and labeled because of their sexual content.

Jurss, 20, and a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said more than 50 people walked three blocks with him from the corner of Oak Street and South Fifth Avenue to the library to start the demonstration of support.

“There were 20 or 30 more waiting for us at the library,” he said. They were coming and going, but I’d say there was over 100 people (participating).”

A West Bend resident, Jurss used a Facebook social networking site on the Internet to suggest the event. Within two hours of posting his invitation, responses came in, he said.

“I was surprised by the overwhelming support immediately. After that, I guess I became the ring leader,” Jurss said.

Friday’s turnout exceeded his expectations, he said.

“This read-in is a demonstration and an educational event,” Jurss wrote in response to an e-mail query from the Daily News. “We hope to educate the public on various books that have been questioned in America. What has occurred in our library is not an isolated event. Books such as the Harry Potter series, Catcher in the Rye and Huck Finn are famous examples of books that have been pulled from library shelves or marked as dangerous books.

“After reviewing the issues many libraries and school successfully defeated efforts to restrict access to the books. It is our hope to do the same. We want to keep books open and available within the public library.”

Jurss is a junior studying history and international studies.

“It’s really great to see such an outpouring in support of the library and for keeping the books were they are,” said West Bend resident Maria Hanrahan, who has been a vocal opponent of restricting books in the young adult section. She organized the citizen group West Bend Parents for Free Speech.

“This really calls attention to the whole concept of banned books,” she said. “Censorship comes in all forms, whether its banning books, moving books or labeling books.”

During the read-in, Hope Nelson of West Bend read “Censorship and First Amendment Rights: A Primer” published by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

“There’s a really interesting group of people in (in library),” Nelson said about the read-in. “Young and old. ... And everyone is behaving themselves. It’s been going great.”

Jurss addressed the group as did Emilio de Torre, formerly of West Bend and now living in Grafton. de Torre is youth & program director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin, which is based in Milwaukee.

The ACLU is watching the library controversy in West Bend closely because of the organization’s interest in maintaining First Amendment rights of free speech.

“We have received many emails and phone calls from many citizens in West Bend who are concerned that books would be censored or unfairly labeled as pornographic,” de Torre said.

The call to recatagorize [sic] books out of the young adult section and labeling them as sexually explicit “would seem, on the surface, to be an unconstitutional act,” de Torre said.

“These books are not pornographic. They are literature and many of the authors have won awards and been honored for their works,” Jurss said.

It was obvious where Jackson resident Susan Draeger-Anderson’s opinions were. She wore a purple pin with the statement “I read banned books” and carried a hand-lettered sign that read “Don’t like it? Don’t read it! Don’t stop me!”

“First of all, I’m a librarian — unemployed right now,” she said with a laugh. “I just believe in intellectual freedom. ... I really believe it’s important to make materials available to young kids.”

Moving and labeling books is akin to marking them with a scarlet letter, she said. “How do you go about picking up a labeled book without being labeled yourself ? It’s not fair to the young people.”

Also addressing the group Friday were Deborah Caldwell-Stone, acting director, and Angela Maycock, assistant director, of the American Library Association, headquartered in Chicago.

“We’re here to support the library community, the librarians and the library users. First Amendment freedoms are core values of the (library) profession,” Caldwell-Stone said. “Free speech, free access to information is a foundation of our democracy.”

As the young adult librarian, Kristin Pekoll is at the heart of the book controversy.

She said Jurss’ read-in showed “support for books, and that’s all we’re doing.”

Pekoll said she was glad people in the community are talking opening about the suitability of books for teens and children. “People of West Bend feel strongly on both (sides) of the issue,” she said.

Kris Fassa/Daily News Staff Angela Maycock, assistant director to the Office for Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association, center, reads from the back of a formerly challenged book found in the West Bend library that she remembered from middle school, while her collegue [sic], Deborah Caldwell-Stone listens after their presentation concerning freedom of speech and fighting to keep books in libraries Friday afternoon at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in West Bend.

[Reprinted under Copyright §107 Fair Use for educational purposes.]


Thursday, May 28, 2009

432 Patrons Ejected from Seattle Libraries in First Four Months of 2009; Librarians "Assaulted, Threatened and Spit Upon"

Library Conduct Violations Reach All-Time High

by Chris Halsne,
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News
27 May 2009
Emphasis added

The City of Seattle has been cracking down on bad behavior at its libraries, and there doesn't appear to be any shortage of it.

KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne discovered security has already ejected 432 patrons in the first four months this year for offenses like assault, drug dealing, intoxication and lewd conduct.

If that pace continues, it would far exceed any other year.

On Wednesday evening, the library board amended some of its "code of conduct" rules to better identify the most dangerous offenses.

They range from simple alterations -- like redefining the violation for "sleeping" to "appear to be sleeping"-- to more serious matters, like kicking out repeat offenders for two years.

Seattle's library employees just want to help people find books they love, but along the way, put up with being assaulted, threatened and spit upon.

Patrons see plenty of erratic behavior, too.

According to 2008 conduct violations reports obtained exclusively by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, security booted 113 patrons for being disruptive, 42 people for fighting or assault, 75 for making threats, plus 34 more for lewd conduct.

In all, 1,323 conduct violations were substantiated just in 2008, a disproportionate number at the Central Library branch.

Library users like Judy, who brought her granddaughter to story time, are surprised at that number.

“This is a place you bring your children and you don't want them to be exposed to that,” Judy said.

KIRO Team 7 Investigators documented 776 cases in 2008 where someone did something serious enough to lose library privileges. In just the first four months of this year, 432 people have been kicked out in all branches, with 232 of those just from the Central Library downtown.

KIRO-TV hidden cameras found similar problems in 2005. Since then, the library hired more security, which led to an increased number of reported violations.

According to Seattle Library Administrator Marilynn Gardner, nobody has to worry about safety at any branch.

"Anyone can walk into a public library and we certainly welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds and I think they all expect it be a safe, comfortable space when they're trying to do library work," Gardner said.

Our cameras this week found sleeping is still commonplace, even though it's supposed to be banned. Bringing in huge bags -- as our video showed -- is supposedly banned, too. It’s a security issue and a way to keep homeless from camping out inside.

A new library board plan will create a sliding scale of punishment for low-end security issues like sleeping and oversized luggage.

Staff will now give verbal warnings first, then if the person won’t stop repeat offenders may be barred for a short time period.

Flinn Jofrey thinks that's a good plan.

“For the most part it seems pretty decent. I do see homeless people sleeping sometimes. It doesn't bother me as long as they are not bothering me, but I can see why the library wouldn't want that.”

When crimes are committed (like setting a fire or dealing drugs), new rules say patrons could lose privileges for up to two years. That’s up from the maximum one-year ban.

So, the four people recently caught for carrying weapons in the library wouldn't get to come back for a while.

Library users we spoke with think that’s a decent idea.

“I think if they're clarifying the rules, that makes sense, that they want to make things more clear for people, but no, it already feels like a good safe spot.”

Seattle library data indicated the number of trespassing and theft complaints have risen to record numbers so far this year, but cases of lewd conduct and verbal threats have gone down.

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (Republished under Copyright Section 107 Fair Use.)


Monday, May 25, 2009

US v Talley: Library WiFi Allows Child Porn; Internet Filters Being "Too Costly" is an Excuse Proven False

US v. Talley, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42682 (W.D. Va. May 19, 2009), is a case detailing what happened when a library patron called the police to report the viewing of child pornography by another patron. The crime occurred in Staunton, VA, at the Staunton Public Library.

Give the library credit that it filters all computers:

Internet Use Disclaimer

Section 42.1-36.1 of the State Code of Virginia mandates that all Internet computers accessible to the public in public libraries have filters that block access to child pornography, obscenity and materials deemed harmful to juveniles. In accordance with the law, the Staunton Public Library has installed filters on all public access Internet computers.

But the library's WiFi was not filtered. "Library director, Ruth Arnold, says they have filters on all of their computers but they cannot monitor the activity of people who come in with their own computers to use the wireless Internet, which is what Talley did."

Result? A child pornography arrest. The perp used the unfiltered WiFi. Had he used the filtered computers, is there any doubt this story probably never would have occurred?

By the way, the library filtering legislation passed the Virginia House 86-11 and the Senate 37-3. The only opposition came from two groups:
  1. the Virginia Library Association, whose leaders claimed that installing filters was "too costly" for local libraries, and that it violated the "First Amendment," something already dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in US v. ALA. Since the library now has filters, it appears they were not too costly after all. We can learn from this that the "too costly" excuse is just that, an excuse, and that state library associations act for the American Library Association, not the public.
  2. the ACLU. Interestingly, the former president of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU, Charles Rust-Tierney, was arrested for receiving and possessing child pornography. He had subscribed to numerous child pornography web sites. He was one of the strongest opponents against installing filtering technology on library computers in Loudoun County, a matter that ultimately became US v. ALA.

For making me aware of this case, hat tip to, which reported:
A 911 call came from a library patron advised that the defendant was looking at child pornography in a library. Based on all the factors available to the officer, he had reason to talk to defendant who had a computer and looked furtively when the officer came in. When confronted, he said that the officers should "give him a break" because he was "sick." This was reasonable suspicion. United States v. Talley, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42682 (W.D. Va. May 19, 2009).

Linked here are media reports of this Staunton Public Library arrest.

I hereby republish the case for people to read for themselves:

US v. Talley
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42682
(W.D. Va. May 19, 2009)

LEXSEE 2009 U.S. DIST. LEXIS 42682


Criminal Action No. 5:08CR00030


2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42682

May 19, 2009, Decided

May 19, 2009, Filed




OPINION BY: Samuel G. Wilson



The United States has charged the Defendant, Clifton Thomas Talley, with two counts of knowingly possessing material containing images of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B), (b)(2). The matter is before the Court on Talley's Motion to Suppress. Talley contends that the police initially detained and ultimately arrested him in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that everything that followed is the fruit of the poisonous tree. Additionally, he contends that the affidavit supporting the search warrant authorizing the search of his residence was based on "knowing or reckless falsity" and is therefore not subject to the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. Finding that reasonable suspicion justified the stop, probable cause justified the arrest that followed, and that the affidavit supporting the search warrant authorizing the [*2] search of his residence was not based knowing or reckless falsity, the court denies Talley's motion.


Based on the testimony of United States Probation Officer Tammy Wellborn, Staunton Police Officer Robert Hildebrand, Staunton Police Officer Ray Murray, and Criminal Investigator Chad Nestor, and the parties' written submissions, the court makes the following factual findings:

On July 5, 2008, at approximately 2:25 p.m., 1 a woman speaking broken English called the 911 dispatcher from the Staunton Public Library and reported that she had just witnessed a man looking at child pornography on a computer. The woman described what she had seen and left a number where she could be reached. The dispatcher relayed her description to Officers Hildebrand and Murray, describing the suspect as a white male with brown hair, 40-50 years old, wearing shorts and slip-on shoes, located in the computer area "straight back" from the front doors of the library. Hildebrand remembered the dispatcher said the caller spoke broken English.

1 The times referred to in the court's findings of fact are adopted from the Staunton Police Department Event Report that records the timing of communications between the dispatcher, [*3] caller, and the two officers. (Def.'s Ex. 2.)

Both officers arrived at the library by 2:38 p.m. Hildebrand and Murray entered through the main entrance on the northeast side, and initially checked the main part of the library and the computer room located to the left of the front doors. Finding no one matching the description, Hildebrand radioed dispatch to request more information from the female caller. 2 The dispatcher repeated the description, again emphasizing he was located "straight back" from the front doors. The dispatcher had a callback number, and the officers told the dispatcher to arrange a meeting. Searching the right side of the library, the officers noticed Talley seated at a library table using a laptop computer. He was seated on the west side of the library, "straight back" from the front doors, and was the only person the officers found matching the caller's description. Hildebrand made eye contact with Talley when he was ten to twelve feet away; Talley made eye contact three more times with Hildebrand. Judging from his hand movements, Talley appeared to be nervously logging off his laptop. Both officers glanced at Talley's screen to see the application he was closing, [*4] but they only saw a program screen or the desktop image.

2 The dispatcher added that the suspect may be wearing bedroom slippers. There is an audio recording of this communication, but no corresponding entry appears in the Event Report.

The officers then went to the library's administrative desk. While Murray was talking to a librarian about the library's wireless internet policy, both officers noticed that Talley, carrying a backpack, was exiting the library. Murray finished talking to the librarian while Hildebrand went outside to contact Talley.

Hildebrand exited the library, and called for Talley when the two men were about eight feet apart. Talley stopped and Hildebrand notified him that he matched the description of a suspect who was reportedly looking at child pornography on a computer inside the library. Hildebrand asked Talley if he actually was looking at child pornography, and Talley denied it. Hildebrand asked for consent to search his laptop; Talley replied that Hildebrand would need a search warrant. Hildebrand then requested identification, and when Talley produced his driver's license, Hildebrand asked him to step over to the patrol car so that Hildebrand could query his [*5] driver's license information from the mobile data computer inside the patrol car. Hildebrand removed Talley's backpack from his shoulder and placed it on the hood of the patrol car. While Hildebrand queried Talley's driver's information, Murray rejoined them and stood near Talley.

Hildebrand queried Talley's driver's information at 2:46 p.m. At 2:47 p.m., Hildebrand notified the dispatcher that he was speaking with Talley. The dispatcher reported that the caller, located by the entrance, believed Hildebrand was speaking with the wrong person. Hildebrand acknowledged this. The driver's license query revealed that Talley had child pornography convictions and that he was a registered "sexually violent predator," 3 and Murary reentered the library to speak with the caller.

3 Hildebrand only recalled noticing that Talley had been charged for certain sexual offenses, but Hildebrand and Chad Nestor explained how a driver's license query also searches within the VCIN and NCIC databases. Nestor produced a copy of the VCIN and NCIC replies listing Talley's child pornography convictions and his status as a registered sexual offender (Def.'s Ex. 5), and verified that the information contained in [*6] those replies predated Talley's arrest on July 5, 2008.

Hildebrand then learned that Talley was on probation or some form of supervision for his convictions. 4 Talley, who understood that Hildebrand was investigating Talley for a child pornography offense, asked Hildebrand to give him a break because he was sick. When Hildebrand asked if Talley was mentally or physically sick, Talley stated that he could not stop looking at pornography. Hildebrand arrested Talley, handcuffed him, and placed him in the patrol car. He opened Talley's backpack and found a laptop computer and a notebook. Hildebrand then radioed Murray and told him Talley admitted to the offense.

4 There is a factual dispute about how much information Hildebrand learned about Talley's supervision at this point. Hildebrand testified on direct examination that Talley informed him that Tammy Wellborn was his probation officer, but on cross examination Hildebrand admitted that it was just as likely that he learned this information from the interrogation conducted at the police department. On redirect, Hildebrand testified that he either learned that Talley was on probation from his computer, or he asked Talley about it. Also, [*7] Murray testified that Hildebrand mentioned Talley was on probation when Murray returned to the patrol car after initially contacting the caller inside the library.

Additionally, Tammy Wellborn clarified that Talley was on supervised release with the United States Probation Office for the Western District of Virginia for a 2001 conviction for distribution of child pornography.

Meanwhile, Murray located the caller inside the library. She described the image she saw as that of a young Hispanic or Asian female, with straight hair, about ten years old, completely nude with something resembling paper that covered her eyes. As Murray was exiting the library to rejoin Hildebrand, he saw that Hildebrand was taking Talley into custody. Murray also searched Talley's backpack, and looked through Talley's notebook which appeared to contain references to child pornography websites. Before leaving for the police department, Murray reentered the library and the caller provided her contact information and showed Murray where she had witnessed Talley looking at the image.

Before both officers interviewed Talley at the police department, Officer Murray read Talley his Miranda rights and insisted Talley [*8] sign a waiver before speaking with them. Talley initially declined the interview, but after further questioning signed the Miranda waiver and spoke with the officers for about two hours. At the end of the interview Talley admitted to having nude images of underage males stored on his computer.

That same day, Officer Murray successfully applied for a search warrant for Talley's laptop. A search of the hard drive uncovered images of child pornography. On July 7, 2008, Investigator Chad Nestor compiled some of these images and successfully sought several arrest warrants and a search warrant for Talley's residence. In the search warrant affidavit, Nestor summarized the events of July 5, 2008 and described the image the caller observed as a "sexually explicit photograph of a young girl clearly under the age of eighteen." Nestor believed that a nude photograph of a minor not in the possession of the minor's legal guardian was a "sexually explicit" photograph. 5 This case was Nestor's first child pornography investigation, and in drafting the affidavit he sought help from another officer and conferred with the other members of his unit who agreed "sexually explicit" was an appropriate description. [*9] The magistrate issued the search warrant, and a search of Talley's residence uncovered a diskette containing images of child pornography.

5 Virginia law defines "sexually explicit visual material" as any image depicting "sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, . . . or sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse . . . ." Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-374.1(A).


For Fourth Amendment purposes, Talley's encounter with the police distills to this: Officers Hildebrand and Murray responded to a report of an individual viewing child pornography on a computer, and they observed Talley, the only person matching the suspect's description, seated in the area the caller described, furtively using a laptop computer. When they saw him exit the library with a backpack, Hildebrand detained him by his patrol car. Hildebrand then learned that Talley had child pornography convictions, was registered as a "sexually violent predator," and was on supervision. When Talley, aware he was a suspect in a child pornography investigation, stated that he was sick and could not stop looking at pornography, Hildebrand arrested him.

From this factual basis, Talley argues that the investigatory stop and [*10] the arrest that followed violated his Fourth Amendment rights, and the court is required to suppress all evidence resulting from these illegal intrusions because it is "fruit of the poisonous tree." The court finds instead that reasonable suspicion existed for an investigatory stop because the caller's tip was not in a strict sense anonymous and possessed important indicia of reliability. Moreover, a reasonable officer could consider Talley's behavior furtive when the officers approached him. Reasonable suspicion then elevated to probable cause because, as the court finds, Hildebrand apprised Talley that a person meeting Talley's description at the library was viewing child pornography on a computer and Talley eventually responded by requesting that Officer Hildebrand "give him a break" because he was sick and could not stop looking at pornography. Under the circumstances found by the court, a reasonable officer would have concluded that Talley had admitted to looking at child pornography in the library on the computer. Accordingly, the court denies Talley's Motion to Suppress on the grounds that the investigatory stop and arrest violated the Fourth Amendment.


Talley argues that the [*11] officers lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him at the patrol car because Officers Murray and Hildebrand acted on an uncorroborated, totally anonymous tip that generically accused a man meeting Talley's description of looking at child pornography. The court disagrees. Reasonable suspicion existed because the caller witnessed the criminal conduct, was present at the scene, and was willing to meet with the officers.

A police officer "can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity 'may be afoot,' even if the officer lacks probable cause." United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7, 109 S. Ct. 1581, 104 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1989); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968). "'Reasonable suspicion', like any 'reasonableness' standard, defies precise definition. Far from being susceptible to a 'neat set of legal rules,' it is, as the Supreme Court has described, a 'commonsense and nontechnical conception [] that deal[s] with the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act.'" United States v. McCoy, 513 F.3d 405, 411 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 695-96, 116 S. Ct. 1657, 134 L. Ed. 2d 911 (1996)). [*12] Reasonable suspicion depends on the totality of circumstances; a court must look to "the circumstances known to the officer and the 'specific reasonable inferences which he is entitled to draw from the facts in light of his experience.'" United States v. Smith, 396 F.3d 579, 583 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Terry, 392 U.S. at 27). Although reasonable suspicion is not susceptible to a "neat set of legal rules," there are two problems with allowing truly anonymous tips to serve as the sole basis for a Terry stop. "First, anonymous tips 'alone seldom demonstrate [] the informant's basis of knowledge or veracity.'" United States v. Christmas, 222 F.3d 141, 144 (4th Cir. 2000) (quoting Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266, 120 S. Ct. 1375, 146 L. Ed. 2d 254 (2000)). "Second, since anonymous tipsters cannot be held responsible for fabricated allegations, permitting such tips to result in a Terry stop would increase the potential for harassment through false accusation." Id. Therefore, when an informant's tip provides part of the basis for reasonable suspicion, the court must ensure the tip "possesses sufficient indicia of reliability." United States v. Perkins, 363 F.3d 317, 323 (4th Cir. 2004). [*13] The court finds sufficient indicia here.

Before detaining Talley at the patrol car, Officer Hildebrand knew the following: (1) a 911 caller reported that a man was looking at child pornography on a computer at the Staunton public library; (2) the dispatcher had her callback number and was arranging for her to meet with the officers; (3) Talley was the only person matching the caller's description in the library; (4) Talley was using a laptop computer; (5) Talley made repeated eye contact with Officer Hildebrand and was nervously logging off the laptop; (6) Talley exited the library with a backpack; and (7) Talley, by refusing to consent to a search of his laptop, implicitly acknowledged that he was carrying the laptop inside his backpack. Considered in their totality, these circumstances establish reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot, thus warranting further inquiry.

Several facts distinguish the female caller in this case from the truly anonymous tipster, thus erasing the concerns of basing reasonable suspicion on the information she provided. First, the female caller personally witnessed the illegal conduct; therefore, her "basis of knowledge--a contemporaneous viewing [*14] of the suspicious activity--enhanced the tip's reliability." Perkins, 363 F.3d at 322. Second, the officers knew the dispatcher had her callback number, and therefore knew the caller could be held accountable for fabricated allegations. See United States v. Andrade, 551 F.3d 103, 110 (1st Cir. 2008) (finding a tip reliable where the dispatcher obtained the caller's telephone and address from the caller ID, and the caller knew his call was recorded, confirmed his location, and caller represented that he had personally observed the reported conduct). Third, the officers knew they would soon be meeting with the caller, further enhancing her reliability and further reducing the "potential for harassment through false accusation." Christmas, 222 F.3d at 144. "When an unidentified tipster provides enough information to allow the police to readily trace her identity, thereby subjecting herself to potential scrutiny and responsibility for the allegations, a reasonable officer may conclude that the tipster is credible." United States v. Reaves, 512 F.3d 123, 127 (4th Cir. 2008). In sum, the caller's personal observation and her willingness to hold herself accountable gave her tip the indicia [*15] of reliability necessary for reasonable suspicion to exist.

Officer Hildebrand's personal observations further supported the existence of reasonable suspicion. Talley was the only person in the library matching the caller's description, and Hildebrand found him seated in the area the caller had indicated. This independent confirmation of the suspect's appearance and location "offers important corroboration of the tip." Perkins, 363 F.3d at 322; see also United States v. Lenoir, 318 F.3d 725, 729 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[P]olice observation of an individual, fitting a police dispatch description of a person involved in a disturbance, near in time and geographic location to the disturbance establishes a reasonable suspicion that the individual is the subject of the dispatch."). Additionally, Talley's conduct was furtive when the officers first approached him. Furtive conduct, in connection with an anonymous tip, can provide reasonable suspicion to support an investigative stop. See United States v. Sims, 296 F.3d 284, 287 (4th Cir. 2002) (finding reasonable suspicion existed for a Terry stop and frisk where officers received an anonymous call that a man had recently fired a gun, and when the [*16] officers arrived on scene they found a man matching the description crouching behind a house and peeking around the corner who jerked out of view upon making eye contact with the officers). Here the tip was not totally anonymous.

Although Talley argues that reasonable suspicion evaporated when the dispatcher told Hildebrand the caller believed he was speaking with the wrong person, Hildebrand received this information after he already had reasonable suspicion to lawfully detain Talley. For reasonable suspicion to exist, "an officer's articulated facts must in their totality serve to eliminate a substantial portion of innocent travelers." McCoy, 513 F.3d at 413. Hildebrand was not required to eliminate every innocent person before stopping Talley, "just a substantial portion of them." Id. By investigating the caller's tip, finding the only person matching the description, and observing Talley's furtive behavior with a potential instrumentality of the crime being investigated, Hildebrand had winnowed away a substantial portion of the innocent library patrons. His stop was therefore justified. 6

6 Moreover, it would have been reasonable for Hildebrand to disregard this information as a [*17] miscommunication given that the encounter was fast-paced, the caller spoke limited English, and Hildebrand received this information contemporaneous with the results of Talley's driver's license query.


Even if reasonable suspicion justified the investigatory stop, Talley nonetheless argues Hildebrand did not have probable cause to arrest him. Again, the court disagrees.

"A warrantless arrest of an individual in a public place for a felony . . . is consistent with the Fourth Amendment if the arrest is supported by probable cause." Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366, 370, 124 S. Ct. 795, 157 L. Ed. 2d 769 (2003). Probable cause requires "facts and circumstances within the officer's knowledge that are sufficient to warrant a prudent person, or one of reasonable caution, in believing, in the circumstances shown, that the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense." Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 37, 99 S. Ct. 2627, 61 L. Ed. 2d 343 (1979). Probable cause is a "practical, nontechnical conception," Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 176, 69 S. Ct. 1302, 93 L. Ed. 1879 (1949), that depends on the totality of the circumstances. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 230, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1983). "Under this pragmatic, common sense approach, [courts] defer to the expertise and [*18] experience of law enforcement officers at the scene." United States v. Dickey-Bey, 393 F.3d 449, 453 (4th Cir. 2004). "An informant's truthfulness and reliability, while certainly relevant, are only two factors among many that courts may consider" in determining whether probable cause existed. United States v. White, 549 F.3d 946, 950 (4th Cir. 2008).

When Hildebrand initially engaged Talley, Hildebrand informed him that he matched the description of a suspect looking at child pornography inside the library. After querying Talley's driver's licence information, Hildebrand learned that Talley had prior child pornography convictions, was registered as a sexually violent predator, and was on supervision. Talley then asked Hildebrand to give him a break because he was sick, and in response to Hildebrand's clarifying question, further admitted that he could not stop looking at pornography. Talley's own response was a sufficient link in the chain to establish probable cause for his arrest. Given the circumstances of the investigation, a reasonable officer would have concluded at that moment that Talley had in fact admitted to accessing child pornography in the library on the computer as the [*19] witness had just relayed to the authorities. Hildebrand's arrest of Talley was therefore justified, and the court will deny Talley's Motion to Suppress based on the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine.


Talley contends that the affidavit supporting the search warrant authorizing the search of his residence was based knowing or reckless falsity and that the resulting search, therefore, is not subject to the good faith exception under United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 104 S. Ct. 3405, 82 L. Ed. 2d 677 (1984). 7 The Court finds that the affidavit did not contain knowingly or recklessly false information and finds the search subject to Leon's good faith exception.

7 The court's conclusion that Hildebrand lawfully detained and lawfully arrested Talley essentially moots Talley's other challenges to the two searches. With the laptop search, Talley has only argued that the search was illegal because the affidavit relied on tainted evidence directly flowing from his illegal arrest. Absent this moot argument, Talley has not suggested why the good faith exception should not apply to the laptop search. The same is true with the search of Talley's residence; aside from making that same argument, Talley has only challenged [*20] Investigator Nestor's characterization of the image the caller observed as "sexually explicit."

"Under the good faith exception to the warrant requirement, evidence obtained from an invalidated search warrant will be suppressed only if 'the officers were dishonest or reckless in preparing their affidavit or could not have harbored an objectively reasonable belief in the existence of probable cause.'" United States v. Lalor, 996 F.2d 1578, 1583 (4th Cir. 1993) (quoting United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 926, 104 S. Ct. 3405, 82 L. Ed. 2d 677 (1984)). Although Investigator Nestor's characterization of the image the caller observed (a nude underage female with something resembling paper covering her eyes) as "sexually explicit" might have been imprecise, nothing suggests that Nestor was deliberately or recklessly false in preparing his affidavit. Accordingly, the court concludes that both searches were subject to Leon's good faith exception.


For the reasons stated, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Talley's Motion to Suppress is DENIED.

Enter: This 19th day of May, 2009

/s/ Samuel G. Wilson



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sex Monster Looks for 'Easy Targets' in Library

From Google's cache of "Sex Monster Looks for 'Easy Targets' in Library," by Amanda Yong, The Electric New Paper, 17 May 2009 (original link):

Sex Monster Looks for 'Easy Targets' in Library

HIS SENTENCE: 12 years' jail, 12 cane strokes
HIS PREY: Boy, 6, who goes to toilet alone

HE WAS arrested for performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy in a library toilet.

By Amanda Yong
17 May 2009

HE WAS arrested for performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy in a library toilet.

After Chan Kok Weng, 29, was charged for the offence, he was sent for a psychiatric assessment.

And that was when he made an explosive confession - he had been preying on young boys for about 15 years.

Chan told Dr Stephen Phang, senior consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), that he had been a sexual predator since he was in Secondary Two.

He would seek out primary schoolboys at public places and perform oral sex on them.

Chan revealed to Dr Phang: '(I) always target young boys, less than 10 years old or 11 years old because it's the easiest target. Most of them are Chinese... it's easier to communicate with them'.

He also said that he usually targeted 'primary school boys because it's easier to get trust from them.'

When he found a 'target', he would 'look out carefully, and plan carefully, before I did the thing, is he alone, or any adults accompany with him... if this happen, then I will not go, because I don't think I can succeed.

'Because there's someone with him. One thing is, they'll call the police. And the person there will not accept this thing.'

The driver cum deliveryman claimed that it all started when he was in Primary One after an older schoolmate in 'Primary Five or Primary Six' did it to him.

While in Secondary Two, Chan began to do the same to younger boys, so much so that 'this practice has become his sole outlet for sexual arousal and gratification', wrote Dr Phang in a psychiatric report submitted to the court.

This continued until last year when Chan was caught after sexually abusing a preschooler in a toilet at the Yishun Community Library on 27 Apr.

Chan pleaded guilty to one count of sexual penetration of a minor on Thursday. He was jailed for 12 years and given 12 strokes of the cane yesterday.

Chan had gone to the library after lunch to look for 'targets' - young boys going to the toilet alone.

When Chan saw a 6-year-old boy about to enter the toilet alone, he immediately went inside to wait for the boy.

Once the boy stood in front of a urinal, Chan approached and got him to remove his shorts and underwear.

He then lifted the boy with his left hand and molested him.

Next, he took the boy into a cubicle and performed oral sex on him.

When he heard the boy's mother calling for the boy, Chan was afraid and helped the boy put his clothes back on. He opened the cubicle door and let the boy out.

He also helped the boy to wash his hands. It was this very act that gave Chan away.

When the boy met his mother outside, she noticed that his hands were wet. Knowing that he could not reach the tap, she asked if anyone had helped him to wash his hands.

That was when the boy told his mother about his encounter with Chan.

His mother immediately informed a library officer who got a male library helper to check the male toilet.

He found a toilet cubicle occupied but did not receive a response when he knocked on the door.

Chan eventually emerged from the cubicle and was identified by the boy who was waiting outside the toilet with his mother.

Chan was arrested by the police the same day.

He told Dr Phang that he had performed the sexual act on the boy because 'I want to know the feeling of enjoyment. To feel that excitement'.

While Chan was aware that what he had done was illegal and against social norms, he said: 'I'm doing this for very long, and it's enjoyable, and I think I never cause any harm to the person.'

He said he did not have any 'abnormal experiences' at the time of the offence but claimed to 'have heard 'voices' located within his mind for many years, instructing him to search for more 'victims'.

And although he had a girlfriend for a number of years, the purpose of their relationship was to 'cover up' his 'true sexual preference/orientation'.

Chan said that sex with his then-girlfriend 'don't have that kind of feeling which make me happiness'.

He said that sexual intercourse with his girlfriend was 'to satisfy her' rather than for his own sexual gratification.

Chan told Dr Phang that he surfed paedophile websites 'about three to four times a week'. These websites featured mainly 'young boys'.

Chan confessed that he lived out his deviant fantasies and engaged in such behaviour 'sometimes few months once, and only Saturday and Sunday' as he was busy at work on weekdays.

His family were completely in the dark about his deviant sexual urges and practices. Dr Tommy Tan, a psychiatrist in private practice who took the stand for the defence, said that it was 'only after his arrest that he told his parents about his (sexual) tendencies'.

Chan's father had also told Dr Tan that his son had a girlfriend for between four and five years when he was in secondary school and the Institute of Technical Education. They broke up when Chan was doing National Service.

In her written mitigation, Chan's lawyer, Mrs Christine Sekhon, said that her client had been very stressed during the period of the offence due to his mother's hospitalisation.

His mother had a gallstone operation a few days before he committed the sexual act on the boy.

Chan's father said his son was 'very stressed having to drive his father to and fro from their home in Yishun and Changi General Hospital'.

Mrs Sekhon urged the court to take into account that Chan had 'cooperated so fully with the police that he even made a clean breast of his previous sexual urges relating to other young boys...'

She urged the court to impose the minimum sentence of eight years jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

But Dr Phang, speaking for the prosecution, said that Chan 'represents a very real risk of danger to potential future victims, which he has admitted he selects at random'.

He told the court that the intensity of Chan's paedophilic urges were so strong that he had actually ejaculated the night before one of his interviews with Dr Phang.

Dr Phang, who has seen many sex offenders in court, said this was 'the first time I've ever seen a sex offender in the mood to entertain sexual fantasies even while on remand. Most of the time, I find that this is the furthest thing for a sex offender who has been remanded.'

He said Chan 'was not of unsound mind' at the time of the offence. He added that he was of the opinion that Chan is an 'invariant, exclusive, homosexual paedophile'.

He explained that an 'invariant' paedophile is one who is 'primarily and preferentially engaged in sexual activity with prepubescent children. In other words, the invariant paedophile has no real interest in sexual activities with adults.'

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kan Shuk Weng said the facts of Chan's case were 'more aggravating' than those in the case of Selvaraju Jayaselvam who had been convicted of the same offence on 30 Mar this year. Selvaraju was sentenced to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

DPP Kan sought a sentence that would be no less than the one imposed on Selvaraju.

In sentencing, Justice Kan Ting Chiu said it was clear that Chan had 'from the earliest time admitted to the offence and you have been open again from the earliest time to explain your condition about your deviant conduct... some credit must be given to that.'

But Justice Kan added Chan had been 'engaged in these sorts of activities for a very long time, in a planned, premeditated and in the prosecution's words, predatory manner and in that sense you have been a real danger to young boys...'

The judge also said: '... both psychiatrists agree that you are an exclusive, homosexual paedophile and that the prospect of recovery even with psychodynamic psychotherapy is not good.

'And we have just realised that after today, you will not even be in an environment where you will be able to receive such therapy because you will be in prison, and not IMH where the resources are available.'

For committing sexual penetration of a minor, Chan could have been jailed for 20 years and given 12 strokes of the cane.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Fairness Doctrine and the ALA

The American Library Association [ALA] "historically supported" the Fairness Doctrine. The ALA promoted the Fairness Doctrine in 1985. Now derisively called the Censorship Doctrine, it was abolished in 1987. In 1988, the ALA worked to reintroduce it.

Today, the ALA has not taken a public position on the matter. I contacted the ALA Washington Office and learned from Don Essex, Legislative Information Specialist, that:

Currently, we have not taken an official position or made a statement in the latest round of the issue. We are noting developments as they happen and deliberating whether it’s necessary for ALA to respond. As you noted, it appears the Obama administration doesn’t support revival of the Fairness Doctrine. Nevertheless, some in Congress are looking for greater assurance – i.e. legislation.

Thanks to Don Essex, I was able to obtain previous ALA statements on the Fairness Doctrine. To save future researchers the trouble, I present below (unedited) written and graphic versions of the relevant documents.

Retention of FCC
Fairness Doctrine



WHEREAS, There is a strong possibility that a bill similar to Senator Packwood's FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACT which died in committee in the 98th Congress, will be introduced in the 99th Congress; and

WHEREAS, The general subject of such a bill will probably encompass deregulation of the broadcast media and involve repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time provision; and

WHEREAS, These provisions protect the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the public and are intended to assure access to information as well as diversity of viewpoints; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, That the American Library Associationtake a position against deregulation of the broadcast media and the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine including the Equal Time provision.


January, 1985, in Washington DC
Transmitted by
Robert Wedgeworth, Secretary of Council

ALA Statement on Enactment into Law
of the Fairness Doctrine


adopted 1/13/88 [handwritten] 1987-88 CD#31

ALA Statement on Enactment into Law of the Fairness Doctrine

WHEREAS, The Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Provisions have protected the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the public and were intended to ensure access to information as well as diversity of viewpoints; and

WHEREAS, The Federal Communications Commission abolished the Fairness Doctrine on August 4, 1987; and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association has historically supported the Fairness Doctrine; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Legislative Policy adopted by the ALA Council on July 1, 1987 opposes the "deregulation of the broadcast media and the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, including the 'equal time' provisions"; and

WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States has yet to enact the Fairness Doctrine into law;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urge the United States Congress to immediately enact the Fairness Doctrine into law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be forwarded to all of the appropriate bodies.

Approved by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and the ALA Legislation Committee, January 12, 1988.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

West Bend, WI, Affirms Library Ouster Setting National Example of Local Control Despite Outside Influence

West Bend, WI, has set a national example of how local communities can stand up to pressure from outside groups seeking to mislead local citizens. Even in the face of tremendous pressure from the American Library Association [ALA], the National Council Against Censorship [NCAC], and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Information Sciences, the town's government has refused to reverse its decision to not reappoint library board members who protected ALA agenda by refusing to hear the complaint of one of its citizens. (To confirm this and more, read here.)

For an example of the kind of tactics used by the pressure groups and why people should realize they are paper tigers, both the ALA and the NCAC have spoken out directly against me, likely because I have been scoring direct hits on them (example), then both have failed to respond to my legitimate questions/concerns about local control. Both hit and ran. No response from Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA. No response from the NCAC.

What a coincidence, the West Bend library board members were not reappointed precisely because they provided no response to citizen concerns, just like the ALA/NCAC!

Please read, "West Bend City Council Refuses to Budge on Library Issue," by West Bend Citizen Advocate, WISSUP - Wisconsin Speaks Up, 18 May 2009, emphasis in original:

The motion to rescind the vote brought forth by Alderman Nick Dobberstein was soundly rejected by the City Council this evening.

Alderman Dobberstein began the request by listing off the attributes of the board members, i.e., attendance at meetings, advocation [sic], supervision and evaluation of the library director. Asking for questions or discussion from the other aldermen, Dobberstein was met with silence.

Alderman Lindbeck, citing personal reasons, stated he would not be voting this evening and abstained. Dobberstein questioned the abstention, asking the city attorney if this move was only used for those with a conflict of interest. The city attorney affirmed that the choice to abstain may be made for any reason at any time.

Alderman Dobberstein asked to speak further, making a list of other attributes of the four library board members in question. He made mention of their familiarity of intellectual freedom, their experience, their advanced degrees, their diligence and committment [sic] to reading books that we are currently questioning and the fact that they are just "good people."

Alderman Schlotfeldt made mention directly to Dobberstein of an earlier telephone conversation that he would not reiterate publicly.

Dobberstein asked the City Council members what he could do to get the library board reinstated. There was no response from the City Council.

The call to question the rescind was brought forward by Alderman Dobberstein.
Seconded by Alderman Kist.

A vote was taken to rescind:

All voted NO, except for Alderman Kist and Alderman Dobberstein.

A firm stand by the leaders of our community who truly know the people they serve.


Iowa Nixes Sex Offenders From Libraries Unless Prior Approval Granted

It appears Iowa libraries may have become more safe thanks to a new state law regarding sex offenders. (Unlike NJ.)

Here are excerpts from the media:

Bond Package Concludes 2009 Session
by Russ Mitchell
The Daily Reporter (Spencer, IA)
2 May 2009


[Gov. Chet] Culver and the local lawmakers agreed on improvements to Iowa's sex offender monitoring laws. The governor called it a tougher, smarter way of dealing with the issue. [Assistant Republican Leader David] Johnson called it "probably the best piece of bipartisan legislation that came out of the session."

"There are significant changes in the sex offender law and they were changes that needed to be done," Johnson said.

The measure establishes a 1-2-3 tier system and overhauls a state law banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places children gather. It would instead prohibit offenders from being in those facilities without prior approval.

Under the new law, only the worst offenders, in tier 3, would still be subject to the 2,000-foot living restrictions. They also would also be subject to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry requirements for life. The registry status for lesser offenders would be allowed to expire in 10 or 20 years, depending on the nature of their offense.

"It was something strongly supported by (Clay County) Sheriff (Randy) Krukow and it was unanimously approved in the Senate and overwhelmingly approved in the House," Johnson said.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

NJ Okays Sex Offenders Near Libraries

The following is from the New Jersey Family Policy Council [NJFPC], and it appears NJ libraries may have become less safe, at least for a while. At a minimum, we know NJ communities now have less local control over their own communities.

The ACLU arguments in this case, however, may have merit, unlike the guidance from the American Library Association that leads a library to destroy a computer hard drive to protect a child porn viewer then force out the reporting librarian.

Here are excerpts from the NJFPC story:

NJ High Court Favors Sex Offenders
by New Jersey Family Policy Council
15 May 2009

Last week, the New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled 6-0 against the safety of our children and in favor of convicted sex offenders by denying towns the right to restrict where sex offenders may live.

As the Star Ledger reports, the Court said towns cannot bar sex offenders from "living within a designated distance of any school park, playground, public library, or daycare center."


So, let's get this straight. The Parole Board willingly admits that factors "more significant" than proximity to our children hold greater sway in determining where convicted sex offenders may live and also says it openly welcomes input from towns, and yet our State Supreme Court denies towns the right to prevent sex offenders from living close to places children congregate!

The rate of recidivism among sex offenders is astronomical, and yet the Court is more concerned with the supposed "rights" of convicted sex offenders than with the health and safety of the very children they target!

We echo the words of Harry Wyant, Mayor of Phillipsburg – one of the towns that passed an ordinance restricting where sex offenders may live: "[I]t's ridiculous that we can't restrict these individuals from areas of concern.... It flies in the face of home rule."


Indeed, the Court was wrong, and its misjudgment has placed all children across the state at risk.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Library Named After Suicide Bomber

Is a children's hospital library named after a suicide bomber a safe library? We ask, you decide. See "Library Named After Palestinian Suicide Bomber Wafa Idris Inaugurated at a Yemen Children's Hospital," by MEMRI, MEMRI, 14 May 2009, No. 2357. Hat tip to LISNews: "Library Named after a Suicide Bomber," by Lee Hadden, LISNews, 15 May 2009.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Libraries Aid and Abet Pedophiles, Destroy Evidence, Retaliate Against Whistle Blowers, Claim Dubious Privacy and Free Speech Rights; ALA At Fault

In a scathing report, a self-described "recovering librarian" has reported how American Library Association [ALA]-accredited schools indoctrinate students, and, as a direct result, her eastern university school library, for example, allegedly aided and abetted pedophiles, destroyed physical evidence, retaliated against a whistle blower, all the while claiming dubious privacy and free speech rights under the First Amendment for a child pornography viewer.

Please read "Liberals, Libraries, and Child Pornography by Jenn Q. Public," by Afrocity, Autographed Letter Signed, 3 May 2009, which references "Librarians Still Enabling Pedophiles," by Jenn Q. Public, Red Alerts, 16 March 2008.

I have already reported:
but this "recovering librarian" story is truly shocking.

I have already reported:
but now you will hear how she "discovered that this extremely liberal east coast college had disappeared the incident." Another whitewash? The library ensured "network logs had been wiped clean, the hard drive had been destroyed," all to protect the child porn criminal. Compare that treatment to the library employee who reported the child porn: "[N]ot so subtly, he was pressured into resigning his position."

You must read this. It is very specific and detailed. It will make your blood boil.

Isn't it time we knocked members of the American Library Association off their high horses, or at least ripped those First Amendment cloaks from their shoulder?

Here are shocking quotes from Jenn Q. Public (2008) that may literally scream out for a criminal investigation of the libraries and of the ALA, emphasis mine:

  • She helped officers catch Chrisler in the act of viewing kiddie porn images, resulting in his arrest. .... When she told her supervisor what she had done, Biesterfeld was admonished for lack of loyalty to the County, and even threatened. .... Two days later, Brenda Biesterfeld was fired....

  • But I do want to impress upon all of you that this type of situation is more common than you think, and is symptomatic of a larger problem with the “professional ethics” drilled into future librarians by graduate programs and the American Library Association. I ought to know - I’ve been through it.

  • If nothing else, my indoctrination into librarianship drove home one point: never, ever give law enforcement officials information about a patron.

  • Those who obstruct law enforcement are deified as defenders of First Amendment rights, while those who adhere to legal mandates by cooperating with local or federal officials are pariahs in the library world.

  • And then it happened. A technically savvy coworker came to me, pale and visibly shaken, and told me he had found horrible, unspeakable images of children on a library computer. The hard drive, he said, was completely filled with movies and stills. He also said he knew who had downloaded the pornographic content.

  • Weeks later, I discovered that this extremely liberal east coast college had disappeared the incident. The network logs had been wiped clean, the hard drive had been destroyed, and my questions about whether the FBI had been notified were skillfully evaded.

  • I watched my coworker, the guy who initially found the child porn, literally make himself sick as he struggled with whether or not to circumvent the academic administration by reporting the issue directly to law enforcement. Unlike me, he wasn’t sure we should trust they had been notified. I decided he was probably right when subtly, and then not so subtly, he was pressured into resigning his position.

  • Today my concern is that [a subset of] librarians continue to aid and abet pedophiles in the name of free speech and that highly dubious sweeping right to privacy that I have yet to find in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Their mission to promote intellectual freedom by ensuring patron confidentiality nearly always seems to trump their responsibility to protect our children from pedophiles.

  • Librarians cite the protection of personal liberties as a reason for withholding records or failing to report crimes to law enforcement.

  • Isn’t it time we knocked members of the American Library Association off their high horses, or at least ripped those First Amendment cloaks from their shoulders?

  • Unfortunately, after attending library school, I can tell you unequivocally that critical thinking and good judgment are not part of the curriculum.

  • And that’s what makes supporting librarian heroes like Brenda Biesterfeld and decrying public library policies that enable criminality all the more important.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Facts Disprove ALA Statements Regarding West Bend, WI; ABFFE, NCAC, and Others Similarly Incorrect


4 May 2009

West Bend Common Council
City of West Bend
1115 S. Main Street
West Bend, WI 53095

Dear Members of the West Bend Common Council,

Deborah Caldwell-Stone
, the American Library Association's [ALA] new Acting Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF], has made objectively-discernible false and misleading public statements. Other pressure groups, such as the National Coalition Against Censorship, are similarly mistaken. The various statements may mislead governmental officials and citizens into choosing to continue to abide ALA policy instead of legally protecting community children from inappropriate material in the West Bend Community Memorial Library. This letter is an attempt to shine the light of truth on such statements so the West Bend Common Council might be fully informed before making any decision related to the public library.

Bear in mind that for almost a decade Caldwell-Stone has been with the OIF, including as Deputy Director, and should by now be expected to be knowledgeable in the facts and the law. Significantly false and misleading statements should be inexcusable at this point in her career.

Caldwell-Stone appeared on WORT-FM's weekly radio show in Madison, WI, called "Queery," to discuss the library controversy in West Bend, WI. The show aired on 29 April 2009 at 7 PM local time and can be heard in its entirety at this link.

Transcript of the ALA's Acting Director of the OIF

Here is a transcript of the relevant sections of the Caldwell-Stone interview (permissible under US Copyright §107 Fair Use). She provided some information that was for the most part factually correct, so those sections are not controversial and are not included. The questions from the show's hosts are included for context. Timestamps are provided for those desiring to jump to the relevant sections:

19:27 Host: And joining us next is Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the Acting Director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom to talk about the national context of these book challenges. Thanks for joining us.

19:39 Caldwell-Stone: Uh, thanks for having me on.

19:41 Host: Hi Debra, how common are these book challenges at public libraries?

19:46 Caldwell-Stone: Um-ah, there, they unfortunately happen a little too frequently for our taste, um, however, I will say that, ah, a majority of the challenges we saw this year occur in the school setting, but it doesn't prevent it from being raised in the public library setting as well, um, ah, and the attempts to go after young adult materials, specifically those aimed, um, at, um, ah, gay, lesbian and transgender, ah, youth or portraying characters, ah, in literature, ah, that are gay, lesbian or transgender is, ah, fairly common these days. Ah-um, we saw a similar challenge to the one going on in West Bend in St. Louis County, um, and, ah, and again in that instance the library preserved the young adult program and resisted the attempts to remove the books from the library, but, um, ah, unfortunately as I said we see this all too often.

22:04 Host: Um, ah, some of the, um, I guess, arguments for restricting the books, um, you're saying it's not banning, and it's not really censoring, it's not really preventing the people from from reading these books and, ah anyway these books say a-awful things like, um, you know, um, ah, a girl's breast grows over the summer, I know that was one of the things cited as pornographic on one of the web sites, so, you know, what's so bad about restricting access to these books?

22:34 Caldwell-Stone: When the, ah, hhh, when you take books away from the youth area, when you slap a label on them that says this is a bad book and we probably shouldn't be reading it, when you put roadblocks in the way of kids accessing information and ideas like oh you need your parent's written permission to get the book, it's a form of censorship. It's denying access because somebody disapproves of the content of the materials, and, uh, you know, in fact, you know, libraries have attempted this by saying we're only taking the book out of the children's room and put it, putting it in the adult area, and, li a library that actually attempted this in, ah, Wichita Falls, Texas, was sued by the local ACLU and a citizen's group and lost that lawsuit and the court ordered the books back into the children's room on the grounds that these are works that are written for and aimed for, ah, a youth audience, and by putting them in the adult section, by labeling them in a way that judges the content, um, they, the, there's a violation of the First Amendment rights of youth, which is sometimes forgotten in these debates because young people do have First Amendment rights, particularly, ah, young people who are coming of age, they have a right to access information and ideas in the library as much as anyone, and these kinds of restrictions that are solely designed to limit access, to make the books hidden, to try to prevent people from getting access to the information, um, fall under the category of this kind of censorship. So, uh, needless to say we have, you know, we, we've, oppo, you know, we really oppose these kinds of tactics, ah, because it it's a simply a way of blocking access to these books.

Factual Information Related to Transcript

A 2008 library controversy occurred in St. Louis County, MO. A citizens group sought to have certain books potentially inappropriate for children moved within the library. It also sought a means for providing parents with notice as to potentially inappropriate content for children. The group never requested the removal of any books. Ultimately, the library moved certain books to the adult section as a result of the group's request, however, it also moved some sua sponte. In addition, the labeling system adopted by the library board was meant to provide a means for notifying parents as to the contents of certain books.

A 1998 library controversy occurred in Wichita Falls, TX. The government passed a resolution allowing the signatures of 300 people to require the public library to move material. Two books where moved from the children's section to the adult section under the new resolution because they were deemed as promoting homosexuality. The ACLU sued and the court found the resolution to be unconstitutional because, among other things, it targeted a perceived viewpoint, namely, homosexuality. See Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, 121 F.Supp.2d 530 (N.D. Tex. 2000). The court said:

By conferring upon any 300 patrons the power to remove from the children's section any books they find objectionable, the Altman Resolution unconstitutionally confers a "heckler's veto" on the complaining patrons, effectively permitting them to veto lawful, fully-protected expression simply because of their adverse reaction to it. The Supreme Court repeatedly has invalidated other "heckler's veto" regulations as antithetical to core First Amendment values.


"Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them." .... Here, the Defendants have not made--and, indeed, could not possibly make--the suggestion that the targeted Books [Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate] are "obscene as to children" in the legal sense. There simply is no interest, let alone a compelling one, in restricting access to non-obscene, fully-protected library books solely on the basis of the majority's disagreement with their perceived message.

Analysis of the Facts Vis-a-Vis the ALA Statements

Caldwell-Stone said, "we saw a similar challenge to the one going on in West Bend in St. Louis County, um, and, ah, and again in that instance the library preserved the young adult program and resisted the attempts to remove the books from the library...." False. The library did not "preserve the young adult program." Rather, the library moved some books from the children's to the adult section on its own accord and some as a result of the actions of a citizen's group making claims substantially similar to those of another citizen group is making in West Bend.

Also, Caldwell-Stone says the St. Louis County library "resisted the attempts to remove the books from the library." False. That citizen's group never made any requests to remove any books from the library. Similarly, the West Bend citizen's group is not requesting any books be removed from the library. Yes, I am aware that a new group (the Milwaukee branch of the Christian Civil Liberties Union) is now making such a request, but that is extraneous to the matter at hand that has been ongoing for a while.

Caldwell-Stone said, "When ... you slap a label on them that says this is a bad book and we probably shouldn't be reading it...." False. The labels are not to mark a book as a "bad book." Rather, they give parents notice that they may wish to examine the contents for the existence of material that that may consider inappropriate for their children. The ALA does not provide such notice, not even on its award-winning books (like Looking For Alaska) or its "top ten" lists (like the one with Deal With It!), so the ALA cannot argue the parents are solely responsible for proper book decisions while at the same time recommending books without adequate notice as to the contents. Communities are allowed to attempt to provide parents with adequate notice as to book contents, just as St. Louis County has recently done.

She also said, "When ... you put roadblocks in the way of kids accessing information and ideas like oh you need your parent's written permission to get the book, it's a form of censorship." False. Parents keeping children from inappropriate material is not "censorship." That's called parenting. That's called common sense. It's not censorship. The public library belongs to the parents and the citizens, not the ALA. If the ALA claims it is censorship for parents to keep inappropriate material from children, and that is what it has done here, then West Bend is entitled to seriously discount the trustworthiness of guidance from the ALA. As the 40-year former Director of the OIF said, "Parents who would tell their children not to read Playboy 'don't really care about their kids growing up and learning to think and explore.'"

Indeed, in the 2003 US Supreme Court case, US v. ALA, considered an expensive loss for the ALA, the Court said the exact opposite of what the ALA's Acting Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom's Deborah Caldwell-Stone is saying to West Bend. West Bend citizens need to decide whether the ALA is authoritative when it says parents protecting children from inappropriate material is censorship, or whether the US Supreme Court is authoritative when it said to the ALA, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."

Caldwell-Stone then says, "It's denying access because somebody disapproves of the content of the materials, and, uh, you know, in fact, you know, libraries have attempted this by saying we're only taking the book out of the children's room and put it, putting it in the adult area, and, li a library that actually attempted this in, ah, Wichita Falls, Texas, was sued by the local ACLU and a citizen's group and lost that lawsuit and the court ordered the books back into the children's room on the grounds that these are works that are written for and aimed for, ah, a youth audience, and by putting them in the adult section, by labeling them in a way that judges the content, um, they, the, there's a violation of the First Amendment rights of youth, which is sometimes forgotten in these debates because young people do have First Amendment rights, particularly, ah, young people who are coming of age, they have a right to access information and ideas in the library as much as anyone, and these kinds of restrictions that are solely designed to limit access, to make the books hidden, to try to prevent people from getting access to the information, um, fall under the category of this kind of censorship."

False, because Caldwell-Stone is clearly implying books may never be moved from a children's section to an adult section. Leaving aside that she contradicts her own previous statements, she leaves out the circumstances of the matter. First, the content was not the only matter at issue, but also the "perceived viewpoint." In that Wichita Falls case, the perceived viewpoint being opposed was homosexuality. That is not the case in West Bend; it was initially, but that issue was dropped long ago (relatively speaking). The court's ruling was in part based on the opposition to homosexuality. That is simply no longer the case in West Bend despite how the ALA President, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ("[T]his Statement of Support is ... from the entire faculty, teaching academic staff, and the graduate student organization at the School of Information Studies at UW-Milwaukee."), and the like attempt to convince people an animus against homosexuality is still part of the current matter.

Caldwell-Stone also fails to reveal the Wichita case found a "heckler's veto" law unconstitutional, and that has nothing to do with West Bend. The actions of a library acting in accordance with its legitimate policies has nothing to do with "heckler's vetoes" and any concomitant First Amendment violations. Wichita Falls passed a resolution allowing 300 people to force the library to move a book. That's what was found unconstitutional, not the mere moving of inappropriate books.

Caldwell-Stone also fails to inform the listeners that the Wichita Falls court based its decision in part on the non-obscene nature of the books. The books dealt with homosexuality in a non-obscene fashion. Such books cannot be removed, and that's exactly what the case found, citing in part to a similar case. That is not the issue in West Bend. Non-obscene books of a homosexual nature are not being challenged. Rather, the concern is over material that may be inappropriate for children, the very material the US Supreme Court said was "legitimate, and even compelling" to keep from children in a public library. Homosexuality has nothing to do with any remaining issue in West Bend.

Similar False Statements from the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center

Other major sources of pressure to prevent the application of legal means to protect children in West Bend are the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center. In a letter dated 28 April 2009, similar misleading statements about Wichita Falls were made. Even worse, the groups continue to refer to matters dropped long ago, namely, the out-of-date homosexuality claims. They are not even addressing current issues such an Internet filtering. They want people to oppose several legal means of protecting children, and they attempt to convince people to do this by saying that some people's requests now oppose homosexuality, but that is simply not the truth anymore.

And you have to love the way the groups refer to the "critical acclaim" of the books. The ALA awarded a book for 12-year-olds and up (Looking For Alaska) a top award, though it contained oral sex and was otherwise pervasively vulgar. I got the author to admit he would not give his own book to his own 12-year-old if he had one. Is that the kind of critical acclaim to which they are referring? Are they also saying input from citizens should not be considered, but input for those providing critical acclaim should be? "These books are plainly not obscene and are fully protected under the First Amendment." Then why did the liberal New York City public school system remove one of the books from hundreds of public schools? Are they "plainly not obscene" to you? Would your constituents consider them "plainly not obscene"?

The Dog Not Barking

What is the dog not barking? What is no one discussing here? It is the very purpose of the library as defined by the legislative instrument that created the library. That instrument likely created the library for a certain purpose, and that purpose likely does not include an "anything goes" policy. I do not have the instrument, but I suggest consideration should be given to what it says and whether the ALA-like policies being applied in the library exceed the bounds of the legal instrument. If they do, the library is acting ultra vires, outside the law, and the government is perfectly free to act to enforce the law.

Library autonomy does not apply where the library is acting outside the law.


In summary, the ALA and other major pressure groups have provided guidance to the West Bend community that is objectively false and misleading. After listening to the ALA's Deborah Caldwell-Stone speaking on WORT's "Queery," a simple reading of the facts of the St. Louis County matter and the Wichita Falls case show that the ALA's trusted leader in the area of intellectual freedom is both factually incorrect and seriously misleading.

There is no need to take my word for it. The facts are available for all to see. The words are Caldwell-Stone's own words in her own voice. I have linked to the actual Wichita Falls court decision and numerous sources regarding the St. Louis County matter, among other sources such as US v ALA. Compare what you read there to the words of Deborah Caldwell-Stone. Decide for yourselves if the ALA is providing accurate information or if it is misleading you instead.

If you find the ALA is misleading you, if you find the other pressure groups are misleading you, that is not enough. You need to act legally to protect your children in the public library. If such action extends to the refusal to reappoint library board members who refuse to complete their own proffered materials reconsideration policy, among other things, so be it.

It is perfectly within your rights to protect children in a legal manner despite what the ALA and other pressure groups say otherwise. As Dan Gerstein said, "The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry 'Censorship!' the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others."

I commend you for your actions to remove library board members who are "not serving the interest of the community." I strongly urge you to protect the right of all readers to read and think freely while at the same time legally protecting children from inappropriate material in the public library. By acting in such a fashion, you will demonstrate respect for your patrons and their choices; for the professionalism of the librarians who serve the reading public and not the American Library Association, and for the library's legislative instrument and its central role in ensuring the local public library remains local and does not fall under the control of outside influences who are using false and misleading information to bend you to their will.

If I may be of assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.



Dan Kleinman
641 Shunpike Rd #123
Chatham, NJ 07928

Mayor Kristine Deiss
Members of the West Bend Community Memorial Library