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Private recordings of court proceedings are valuable

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Update on "Justice"

First, the link to "See old issues of this newsletter" has been broken, but I just fixed it.

In a past newsletter, I described some postal service behavior I don't like. I.Hasfurter wrote back to inform me that they couldn't tell if I was submitting a claim or a petition.  When I replied, Hasfurter notified me that my reply was being forwarded to the United States Attorney's Office, Central Division of California, 312 N.Spring St. 14th Fl. in Los Angeles, 90012.  Here's what I had written back:

Dear I. Hasfurter,
Your letters (certified receipt # 7015 1730 0000 2768 9181) indicate that my intent was not clear in my last letter, certified tracking number7015 3010 0001 9119 7847.  My intent was to collect information and to claim that:
  • USPIS has my property.
  • The property is not subject to forfeiture according to 21 USC 881(a)
My intent was also to demand by right that USPIS return $X to me.  Here are some questions that should make my intent to collect information clearer:
  1. Is the belief of one or more men or women that the property seized meets the requirements of 21 USC 881(a) enough evidence for your organization to proceed with this forfeiture?
  2. What is the name of the man (or woman or the names of the men and/or women), if any, holding the belief that the property seized meets the requirements of 21 USC 881(a)?
  3. What is the name of the man or woman who violated 21 USC 841 et seq.?
  4. How long does the USPIS expect it to take to determine whether or not the property seized meets the requirements of 21 USC 881(a)?
I also require information from you so that I may create a document titled “Claim for Seized Property” as your letter explains, admitting that it is seized property, but denying that it can be forfeited under 21 USC 811:
  1. Is “$X in U.S. currency” a complete description of the property seized in Seizure # 243-16-023?
  2. What was the date and place of Seizure # 243-16-023?
  3. Is “The sender intended to furnish the currency to me in exchange for bitcoin.The bitcoin has already been furnished to the sender, so the $X rightfully belongs to me and should have been in my hands on the scheduled delivery day for this package, January 13, 2016.” an adequate description of my interest in the property?
If the answers to questions 5 and 7 above are both “yes” and the date and place of the seizure was January 20th, 2016, and the place was Redlands, CA, please consider this letter as my formal Claim for Seized Property.  If not, I have one last request:
  • Please clarify which of items 5 - 7 I need to fix and in what way it or they are deficient.
I found an Ingrid Hasfurter in Washington D.C. Metro Area (on LinkedIn) and wondered if you are the same person.  I sell a lot of bitcoin in return for cash in the mail from trusted people, so your affiliation with the USPIS (along with Joe Bennett and Mike Dawson) might prove valuable to me in the future.  If you are Ingrid, or you’d like to connect in some way out of your official capacity, feel free to look me up, or let me know and I will use LinkedIn’s connection feature.
Thank you for your help in this matter,
Dave Scotese

Remember Marc Hernandez?

Marc may have received a notice that my small claims suit against him was dismissed without prejudice.  That means that the judgement only applies this once and I am free to try again.  The court loves this, of course, because they get their fees all over again.  I don't mind it too much because I'm learning.  I sued him for depositing bad checks to a bank account, but since it wasn't my bank account, judge Michael Small was able to dismiss the case on the grounds that the rightful claimant would be the account owner, a friend of mine.  This time, I'm suing for failing to pay for the bitcoins I sent him through the localbitcoins website.

What's an affidavit?

Hi Bill!  And thanks for asking.  One of my customers sent me a picture of cash and I mentioned that the serial numbers were too fuzzy to read, but that even without proof, an affidavit from the sender will often suffice.  An affidavit is a written and sworn statement.  As I understand it, the idea is that when we cease to be a minor, our word is golden until and unless we prove otherwise.  If you swear to the truth of a document and it is later determined that you knew it was false, then you are forever tarnished as a useless witness, and nothing you state will ever be of any value.  This permanent loss of credibility is held as enough of a threat to give the benefit of doubt to anyone willing to provide a sworn statement to whatever facts they believe are true.

Have I mentioned Karl Lentz?

Here's a little backstory. The state of Alabama took Mr. Lentz's newborn son away from him and his wife Mary because the boy had Downs Syndrome and the parents didn't have insurance.  Karl spent years studying law to get his boy back and eventually prevailed.  Along the way, he had several trials, in one of which he decided that collecting the transcript would be very useful.

The transcript he was able to get was filled with dashes and ellipses where important words should have been, like "contract" and "safety plan."  The state had argued that his boy was in their custody according to a voluntary placement agreement.  Karl figured out that this meant there was a contract, so in court, he asked about where the contract was. The words "contract" and "safety plan" were missing (replaced with ellipses) from the transcript of the trial.  The lesson for Karl, which he is sharing with the world, is that transcripts are under the full control of the judge and are therefore often useless as evidence against any wrongdoing on the part of the man acting as judge or the men and women acting on behalf of the state.

The lesson for us is that private (often, therefore, necessarily risky and illegal) recordings of court proceedings are useful.  They can prove deception on the part of courts.  Laws and court rules prohibiting private recordings are bad for the people, but good for the system. You can still have your own court reporter come into the court in order to transcribe the whole thing in real time, and such a job may force the court to admit a recording device, but that's way more expensive than having your own recorder (assuming you don't get caught, but even then, who knows?)

Find Karl on youtube and learn from him.  His knowledge is very helpful and quite vast.

If you hold Bitcoin, consider running a node

A Bitcoin Classic node, I mean.  Or any node that supports a bump to 2MB blocks.  I hold bitcoin, partly to enhance my purchasing power in the future, and partly to support the idea of decentralization.  There are solutions being created to the problem of too many bitcoin transactions for the protocol to handle It allows only about 1 MB of transaction data every ten minutes.  As bitcoin becomes more popular and more useful, the symptoms of this problem get worse.  So there is a race between the problem and its solutions.

It is often a bad idea to buy more time by alleviating the pain of procrastination, and that is what doubling the block size would do.  On the other hand, when the underlying problem is complexity rather than procrastination, it turns out not to be such a bad idea.  I don't think buying more time with bigger blocks will demotivate those who are working on scaling solutions.  It may actually help get more people interested in bitcoin and thereby cause motivation to increase.  XTNodes provides several other reasons to support this one-time "can kick," as I do.

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Copyright © 2016 dscotese on LocalBitcoins, All rights reserved.

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