"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Something is fuzzy about financing of Officer Neron ... oops, Officer Ozzie...

On March 22, 2016 I made a Freedom of Information Request to Delaware County, New York.

The request was for RECORDS - not unsworn testimony of Christa Schafer - and was as follows:

Here is the responses that I got from Christa Schafer about financing of purchase and maintenance of Officer Neron (by pedigree) or Ozzie, as renamed by Delaware County Sheriff's Department - see the previous blog with the invoice for a German Shepherd NERON.  

Good they did not rename him Budweiser. 

Bad that a name is changed for an adult dog, that's psychologically damaging for an animal.

And, again, here are the responses from Christa Schafer that came in two attachments to one e-mail today.

Attachment No. 1:

Attachment No. 2 - uploaded in full here.

Here is a table of what was asked in my FOIL request - and what Delaware County gave me.

What I asked for on FOIL
What I received from Christa Shafer

copy of purchase documents (bill of sale) and the title of ownership for the German Shepard Ozzie (records)

Was provided – the dog was purchased under another name (NERON) from a Pennsylvania kennel that imports dogs.

The dog was purchased for $7,000, untrained.

That's exactly why I wonder why the purchase was not put up for public bidding, and why Delaware County needed a "dual purpose" imported police dog – and I will verify what "dual purpose" means (attack/drug enforcement?)

approval of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors for purchasing Ozzie (records)

Was provided

budgetary provisions in Delaware County budget for purchasing, upkeep and training of Ozzie, from the date of purchase to the present time (records)

Were provided, but are fuzzy

There are "estimated donations", but there are no names of "estimated donors", even though donations are all "pledged" for the life of the dog

budgetary provisions in Delaware County budget for training of Delaware County employees to handle Ozzie (records)

NONE provided

statistics of how many arrests were effected with Ozzie's help, dates of arrests and names of arrested individuals

Provided by Christa Schafer in a separate letter

public records reflecting days off, other "in-kind" payments or monetary payments provided to John Demeo in return for handling Ozzie

NONE provided
Yet, reflects a hike in payment of John Demeo at about the time he's got the dog
public records reflecting assignment of John Demeo as Ozzie's handler

NONE provided
Which means, with all the fanfare, there is no official assignment of John Demeo to the K-9 unit
public records reflecting cost of training of John Demeo as Ozzie's handler

A glowing letter of recognition and a certificate of training were provided, not the cost of training

Well, I'll just keep digging

any and all contracts or agreements between the Delaware County and John Demeo regarding the
·       use of Ozzie,
·       boarding,
·       handling or
·       caring for Ozzie, or
·       use of Ozzie after Ozzie's retirement

NONE provided

public records reflecting each and every donation from the public for the handling and upkeep of Ozzie since the date of Ozzie's purchase, including, but not limited to:

NONE provided

monetary donations for care, handling, training or upkeep of Ozzie, including the donations obtained from the recent fundraiser handled by a restaurant in Walton, NY that Walton Reporter wrote about, with the identity of each donor and amount of each donation, and copies of financial records from Delaware County Treasurer's office as to when the Delaware County Treasurer received the donation money, what account the money was put in and when, and how and when the money was spent

NONE provided
Since the $7,000+  imported dog officially belongs to Delaware County, there must be records about its upkeep – you know, the elementary stuff, debit/credit:

* came in a donation from Mr. Brown – on this date;
* paid for food of Officer Neron (Ozzie) – on this date, with entries in the bank account.

There is nothing like that, so money, as I understand, changes hands outside of bank accounts and outside of accounting.

And when a police officer receives money that is not entered into the County's accounting and are not accounted for through the Treasurer's office (which are all public records that I asked for through FOIL and that were not provided) – that means that those donations from unknown (to us) but already PLEDGED individuals, and PLEDGED for the life of Ozzie – those donations are called BRIBES, because they may lead to leniency towards the donors that we do not know of by our taxpayer-paid police force

Records of all donations in kind, including, but not limited to veterinary care, boarding, training, food and gear donations, identities of donors, dates of donations, as to donated food, amounts of food donated, with specifics as to the brand of foods and the cost of food, and records providing an accounting as to how food donations were registered and used;  for each donation, I request public records reflecting the estimated value of the donation

NONE provided

What was provided is Christa Schafer's unsworn testimony (that I did not ask for) as to how much in donations was received (without financial records of receipts) and how much was spent (without financial records, copies of purchases).

I definitely did not Christa Schafer's statements - which must be based on review of some records that Christa Schafer does not want to give me.

An administrative appeal for denial of my FOIL request is due, then.

This one is REALLY, REALLY strange.

It has been reported, with fanfare, that food and vet care was provided for free.

Now, why are there no documents about such pledges?

It is really important to know the names of "private donors" of the police – we have public police officers, right, not private security guards for those who pay, in money or in kind.


all veterinary records of officer Ozzie since the date of Ozzie's birth, including veterinary records after the date of purchase by the Delaware County; Ozzie's vaccination and treatment documents for his entire life

The only quasi-vet document provided was a "warranty" that came with purchase, it mentions that the dog was "evaluated" by vets in Europe, that's it
No records, in a wooded area infested with ticks, where rabid wild animals surface often, and while the dog has been enforced in at least 71 "law enforcement activities", and, being a "dual purpose" dog, it can be used for apprehension of humans – and thus MUST have all the shots and MUST be vet-checked.

Even if vet care is free, the pledge from the vet should be in writing – for purposes of budget approval for the dog, and there must be vet records that the pledge is being honored by the vet

Ozzie's pedigree documents, and documents reflecting his origin (breeder), prior owners and trainers

NONE provided
This is REALLY strange.

If an untrained 1-year-old dog is purchased for $7,000, it must be a pup with really good bloodline to justify the price – now where is NERON's pedigree?

records indicating any incidents with Ozzie attacking or biting people or animals;  any records of lawsuits based on Ozzie's behavior, copies of any insurance payouts based on Ozzie's behavior towards people or animals

Christa Schafer claimed in a letter there has been no such incidents

documents reflecting the type of training Ozzie received, as well as the identity of the training facility and the cost of training

Certificate from Syracuse Police Department, not very specific

any public documents providing for publicly bid contracts for training, care and upkeep of Ozzie

NONE provided

any public documents reflecting solicitations of donations for Ozzie or John Demeo as Ozzie's handler

NONE provided

a copy of Delaware County liability policy for actions of its officers and employees

NONE provided
Now that's interesting.  Is it a secret document – what kind of liability policy Delaware County has?

Especially given that when Neron  (Ozzie) was purchased, the Board of Supervisors was discussing a "K-9 rider" in that policy as the basis of its decision to approve the purchase

I asked Christa Schafer to provide the policy once again – obviously, she overlooked providing it.

I will report what she'll answer.

Additionally, this is the salary dynamics of Ozzie's handler John Demeo - obtained outside of the FOIL request from

Quite a hike since Demeo got Ozzie, isn't it?

So, Ozzie is not that "free" to Delaware County taxpayers, is he?

I will insist on release of identities of donors that privately pay for expenses of Delaware County Sheriff's Department and publish results of my further investigation.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment