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Are you kidding me?

November 18, 2013

I read with great interest the article regarding the police officer (Kontz) who violated 4th amendment rights and is still representing Williamsport Police Department....

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(49)

mikekerstetter

Nov-18-13 4:11 AM

The burden of proof is different in civil court than it is in criminal court. Preponderance of the evidence vs beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Capricorn1

Nov-18-13 4:16 AM

If every police officer was fired for violating the fourth amendment, you wouldn't have a lot of cops on the streets. Evidence is thrown out all the time because of illegal search and seizure. Some may say that stop and frisk laws violate the fourth amendment but they are legal.

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andy33

Nov-18-13 6:16 AM

I totally AGREE with this LTE and wonder why he still has his job. This incident has created enough doubt in the minds of residents.....would the union fight for him? Is this the real problem with this individual still being employed by the taxpayers?

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Capricorn1

Nov-18-13 6:45 AM

Andy, I believe the union would fight for him because of the reason I stated as far as this not being an isolated incident. While I believe what this officer did was wrong, I also understand that the Fourth Amendment is interpreted in different ways across the country and it's one of the main reasons evidence gets thrown out in court. To set a precedence of firing police officers because of violations of the fourth amendment would put an undue burden on police forces across the country. Personally I think stop and frisk laws violate our fourth amendment. Perhaps better training and education is needed to help reduce violations in the future.

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SilverFeather

Nov-18-13 7:17 AM

Excellent comment!!! I would have written with the same sentiment on the day the story was printed, but the comments were disabled and I can see why! He is a criminal, period. He violated this families constitutional rights and he's allowed to continue because he and the police chief are long time buddies. This kind of hooliganism makes my blood boil, but welcome to Williamsport!!!

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spike2

Nov-18-13 7:39 AM

Hopefully, someone from the city will respond. However, the first issue is that this was a civil, not criminal matter. Second, the Chief does not hire or fire police. Third, the union is certainly involved in what actions are or are not taken.

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BillTriumph

Nov-18-13 7:53 AM

That's what I enjoy about WSG LTE, you get plenty of legal interpretation by people with pseudo-law degrees, and/or are self-righteously indignant about OTHER people's circumstances or behavior (which they know little about). I can't wait for another letter/rant on how the ENTIRE Williamsport Police Department (Mayor), Parking Authority, et al. is evil/corrupt/above-the-law, because the writer got a ticket.

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JohnZook

Nov-18-13 10:47 AM

We've seen all kinds of stories from all over the U.S.. Police just doing what they please because, frankly, they can. What can somebody do when the police are really violating you and your rights? Maybe there should be some kind of independent recourse against the "system".

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Fredzz

Nov-18-13 12:28 PM

Nice try Mike, Bill,Capricorn1,spike2

Too bad most readers can spot a diversion when the read one.

Is there a rule that prevents someone that's been convicted in a Civil Court from also being convicted in a Criminal court..! ??

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mikekerstetter

Nov-18-13 1:14 PM

Fredzz-"Nice try Mike, Bill, Capricorn1, spike2 Too bad most readers can spot a diversion when the read one.Is there a rule that prevents someone that's been convicted in a Civil Court from also being convicted in a Criminal court..! ??"

Nope, no rule that I know of. Understand that I am not defending anyone, simply stating a fact that the burden of proof is different between a criminal and civil trial. I don't know the particulars of the case or why he wasn't charged criminally if a crime was committed.

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mikekerstetter

Nov-18-13 1:17 PM

****** = p r i c k. Just so nothing is lost in the translation.

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enigma

Nov-18-13 1:36 PM

Cap, If every cop who violated the fourth amendment went to jail, they would stop doing it. The reason so many of them violate our rights is because they have nothing to lose. If they had some skin in the game, they would soon have much more respect for your rights.

Mike, The fact that this was a civil trial is no excuse for letting a criminal get away with a crime. Did you notice that he never faced a criminal charge even though he committed a crime. This was much more than a fourth amendment violations, this was theft by fraud. If anyone other than a cop had done that, he would be serving his time now. The police need to be held to a higher standard, not lower. This is how a police state starts.

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Capricorn1

Nov-18-13 2:59 PM

Cap, If every cop who violated the fourth amendment went to jail, they would stop doing it. Enigma

Enigma, I think that is too broad of a statement to make. Police officers are not lawyers and many times there are grey areas regarding fourth amendment rights, especially when dealing with stop and frisk. Many times even prosecutors feel a search was legal only to be thrown out by a judge who interprets the laws differently. Fourth amendment cases have made it all the way to the Supreme Court. To conclude that all officers that violate fourth amendment rights should be prosecuted is unrealistic. Yes, what this officer did was wrong and he was found civilly liable. But do we have the knowledge regarding his criminal liability or union policy regarding his employment? I don't think so. I also don't think this is a good case to use as an example of what officers deal with everyday regarding the fourth amendment and how illegal search and seizures should be handled.

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spike2

Nov-18-13 3:24 PM

Fredzz - obviously not. However, criminal charges have to be filed and approved. Sorry, I still agree with Kerstetter and Cap. I also have no idea why he was or was not charged in criminal court. The proof is lower in civil court and he had counsel. Perhaps is attorney advised him to pursue this avenue. We don't know if the individual preferred financial compensation and little interest in an actual conviction. Once again, we do not have enough information and can only assume.

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mikekerstetter

Nov-18-13 3:35 PM

Enigma, I stated two things that you should be aware or. 1) I said I WAS not defending the officer and 2) I said I didn't know the particulars of the case or why he wasn't charged criminally.

So, I'm not sure why you would want to argue with me over anything I stated.

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enigma

Nov-18-13 3:37 PM

Cap, Did you seriously say that we should consider what the union has to say about criminal activity by a police officer? WTF does that have to do with it? Unions cannot protect members from criminal liability. Only corrupt DAs can do that and, unfortunately, we have one of those. As long as the police feel that they can get away with anything, they will do anything. Now, I'm not a cop hater, but I have no patience for crooked cops. A person who takes the cop's side no matter what is just as bad as a person who sides against the cops no matter what. Each case has to be judged on its merits and in this case the cop is dirty. Criminals should go to jail no matter which side of the badge they're on. This is just a matter of illegal search either. The stolen property has not been returned and no one seems to know where it is. If this crooked cop claims that it was evidence, then he should be fired just for losing it. There is no way to justify this criminal still being on the police force

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enigma

Nov-18-13 3:44 PM

"Enigma, I stated two things that you should be aware or. 1) I said I WAS not defending the officer"-Mike

Yes you did say that, but that doesn't make it so. I read your first post and defending is just what you were doing. Whether you were defending the officer or the department for allowing him to stay, or the DA for failing to charge him with the crime he obviously committed, you were, in the end, defending him. What you should have said is, "He should have been fired and charged and anyone who did not fire or charge him should be fired." I've seen crooked cops and I've worked with crooked cops and I can tell you this. If they are not disciplined, they contaminate the rest of the force. With the crime problems Williamsport has on the streets, they certainly don't need any in the police department.

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SilverFeather

Nov-18-13 4:09 PM

Fredzz "Is there a rule that prevents someone that's been convicted in a Civil Court from also being convicted in a Criminal court..! ??" No, there's a police chief who would prevent him from being charged in the first place. My husband was an LEO and the order is, criminal charges first, THEN civil charges.... that is unless your friend is the chief!!!

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mikekerstetter

Nov-18-13 4:10 PM

enigma-"Yes you did say that, but that doesn't make it so. I read your first post and defending is just what you were doing."

My first post-"The burden of proof is different in civil court than it is in criminal court. Preponderance of the evidence vs beyond a reasonable doubt."

I don't know how the he.ll you get that I am defending anyone out of that statement of fact. That's all it is, a statement of fact. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Capricorn1

Nov-18-13 4:27 PM

Enigma, when was this officer charged and convicted of criminal activity? I bring up the union because of the fact that this officer was never charged or convicted of anything so yes, they are going to fight for this officer's job and most likely they would win. I'm not siding with anyone. I'm stating fact. Neither you or I know all the facts of this case and we don't know what went into the decision not to prosecute. We only know what this paper has published and the editor's interpretation of the facts. You automatically assume corruption. What gives you your basis for this claim when you don't even know all the facts of this case and whether there is enough evidence to find him guilty of a crime beyond a reasonably doubt? I'm not going to sit here and be an armchair prosecutor, judge or jury.

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aretesancus

Nov-18-13 6:05 PM

The author of this LTE is as purposefully ambivalent to the facts as the S-G is irresponsible for providing a forum for it to reach the ignorant masses.

It’s civil versus criminal.

Some guy put your brake pads on wrong and you crash into a tree and injure yourself. You sue Aamco for damages and injuries, but the mechanic doesn’t get charged with assault. Or a doctor misdiagnoses your loved one’s tumor. You sue him, but he’s certainly not going to be charged with attempted murder.

Kontz was sued in federal court, and lost. It was a civil case. And as much as you blowhards like hearing yourselves say otherwise, a civil rights violation does not automatically equal a crime – state or federal. It just doesn’t.

The DA’s Office – not the city police – investigated and, after the ruling in federal court, has concluded Kontz did not commit a state crime. The FBI/United States Attorney’s Office has not even initiated an investigation into federal crimes because none occurre

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BornHere

Nov-18-13 6:14 PM

Interesting.

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Capricorn1

Nov-18-13 6:40 PM

aretesancus, well said and I totally agree.

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Millwe

Nov-18-13 8:20 PM

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Millwe

Nov-18-13 8:26 PM

Capricorn1-get real! If a cop knocks at my door, takes something that belongs to me and doesn't "log it" (pins for a pin collector), there is a problem. What's next, your wife, kids, dog, etc. etc? I agree with everything enigma said; contamination is a great description and actions set precedence. Don't get me started on the DA. He nor anybody else had problems with the cop and the trip to Canada. That guy was persecuted endlessly. What's the problem here and where is the Attorney General now????

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