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No Immunity for Federal Agent Who Made Elderly NASA Widow Stand in Urine-Soaked Pants for Hours

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elcymoo

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Apr 21 17 8:11 AM

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NASA Deputy Administor Dava Newman is seen during ceremonies for the remembrance of the Apollo 1 and the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia crews January 28, 2016, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia..The US space agency marked the 30th anniversary Thursday of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger with a pledge to remember lost astronauts as it presses on toward Mars. / AFP / PAUL J. RICHARDS        (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Depressing
 
 

If you think the headline is awful, wait until you hear the entirety of this tragedy. A couple of days ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released a judgement that agreed with a lower court’s ruling to strip away the immunity of federal agent Norman Conley. The case against Conley is that in conducting a “sting” concerning the sale of a paperweight with a “rice-sized” amount of moon rock in it, he kept 74-year-old Davis standing in a parking lot in urine-soaked pants for almost two hours as he questioned her. The story gets worse.

Joann Davis, and her late husband Robert, worked together at North American Rockwell, which had a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) in connection with the nation’s space program. 4 DAVIS V. UNITED STATES By all accounts, Robert was a brilliant engineer, and he ultimately became a manager of North American Rockwell’s Apollo project. While working on the space program, he received many items of memorabilia, including two lucite paperweights. One contained a rice-grain-sized fragment of lunar material, or “moon rock;” the other contained a small piece of the Apollo 11 heat shield. According to unverified family lore, the paperweights were given to Robert by Neil Armstrong in recognition of Robert’s service to NASA.

When Robert died in 1986, Joann retained possession of the paperweights. She married her current husband, Paul Cilley, in 1991. Davis began experiencing financial hardship in 2011. Her son was severely ill, having had over 20 surgeries and requiring expensive medical care. In addition, she unexpectedly had to raise several grandchildren when their mother, Davis’s youngest daughter, died.

Davis decided that she would try to find out what she could sell her moon memorabilia for in the hopes of paying off medical expenses and raising grandchildren. She looked around and then contacted NASA to tell them she was trying to sell the pieces of memorabilia that she owned because her late husband had given them to her BECAUSE HE FUCKING WORKED ON SENDING PEOPLE TO THE MOON!

Davis’s email was forwarded to the NASA Office of Inspector General at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Norman Conley was a special agent and criminal investigator. Conley’s supervisor instructed him to investigate whether Davis indeed possessed a moon rock and to obtain a Registered Confidential Source to initiate DAVIS V. UNITED STATES telephone contact with her. A few hours after Davis sent the email, Conley’s source called her, posing as a broker named “Jeff” who previously worked on the “space-shuttle program,” was well-known at NASA, learned of Davis’s email to NASA, and would help her sell the paperweights.

Davis spoke with this fake “Jeff” on the phone several times, even explaining to him that she wanted to make sure everything was legal, that she wasn’t going to hide it on her taxes as she wasn’t that kind of person. Did this deter Norman Conley from pulling the American flag-sized stick out of his ass? Not at all. Conley used the feeblest of reasoning to get himself a warrant to “search Davis and seize the moon rock paperweight.” After setting up a “meeting” at a Denny’s, Conley grabbed Davis violently, along with another septuagenarian friend of hers, and then took them to the Denny’s parking lot where they patted them down for weapons, detained, and questioned them for at least 90 minutes—standing. Davis says she told them twice that she needed to use the bathroom, but that wasn’t good enough and so Davis had to stand in her urine-soaked clothing while this asshole who might not be able to spell “moon” played Elliot Ness.

After the sting operation was complete and NASA lunar experts were able to confirm the moon rock’s authenticity, Conley opened a full investigation. The investigation was closed when the U.S. Attorney in Orlando, Florida, formally declined to prosecute Davis. Davis’s son died seven months after the incident.

Good job, dick. And while the good news is that this appeals court decision means Davis can continue forward with her case against Conley and hopefully receive even more money to help cover the medical expenses and child-rearing expenses she faces, the sad news is that her son has since passed on according to the LA Times. I hope she gets all of Conley’s money and then some.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/4/19/1654455/-No-immunity-for-federal-agent-who-made-elderly-NASA-widow-stand-in-urine-soaked-pants-for-hours


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#2 [url]

Apr 21 17 8:48 AM

jryan80033 wrote:
Shall we start a pool to guess which right-wing rule follower will be the first to say, "All she had to do was do what the officer told her to do?"

You said it well enough, jr.    ?????   But what's the problem with the agent?    Immunity for WHAT?    90 minutes is hardly HOURS.

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#3 [url]

Apr 21 17 9:44 AM

jryan80033 wrote:
Shall we start a pool to guess which right-wing rule follower will be the first to say, "All she had to do was do what the officer told her to do?"

Too easy.  That's like betting whether Donald Trump will make it through the day without saying something stupid.

Speaking of following the rules, the woman called NASA to find out about selling her husband's mementos, and repeatedly said that she wanted to make sure she wasn't breaking the law.  Instead of telling her that she couldn't do it and arranging to get them back, this asshole set up a sting operation involving 6 officers, and degraded the woman in public.  Abuse of power if I ever heard it. 
From the appeals court ruling: 

“Conley knew that Davis was a slight, elderly woman … less than five feet tall,” Thomas wrote. He knew she lost control of her bladder and “was wearing visibly wet pants.” He knew she was unarmed and he knew she had “not concealed possession of the paperweights, but rather had reached out to NASA for help in selling” them. And he knew from the phone conversations that she wanted to sell the paperweights “in a legal manner.”

“Despite all of this knowledge, Conley did not inform Davis that her possession of the paperweights was illegal or ask her to surrender them to NASA. Instead, he organized a sting operation involving six armed officers to forcibly seize a lucite paperweight containing a moon rock the size of a rice grain from an elderly grandmother.

Conley “had no law enforcement interest in detaining Davis for two hours while she stood wearing urine-soaked pants in a restaurant’s parking lot during the lunch rush,” the court wrote.

The detention was “unreasonable … unreasonably prolonged and unnecessarily degrading.”

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#4 [url]

Apr 21 17 9:57 AM

Horrible that the Obama appointed NASA-OIG allowed this to happen on his watch.

"Under democracy, one party always devotes it chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed and are right."

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elcymoo

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#5 [url]

Apr 21 17 11:14 AM

candothree wrote:
Horrible that the Obama appointed NASA-OIG allowed this to happen on his watch.

Sleazy, cando3.. No agency head can foresee or prevent a sole individual employee from such egregious misinterpretation of the rules of that agency a/or the simple rules of human decency. 

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jenniel

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#6 [url]

Apr 21 17 11:18 AM

elcymoo wrote:

candothree wrote:Horrible that the Obama appointed NASA-OIG allowed this to happen on his watch.

Sleazy, cando3.. No agency head can foresee or prevent a sole individual employee from such egregious misinterpretation of the rules of that agency a/or the simple rules of human decency. 

  Let me guess...I bet if this happened under the Trump Administration. you would have no problem.

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elcymoo

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#7 [url]

Apr 21 17 3:56 PM

jenniel wrote:
elcymoo wrote:

candothree wrote:Horrible that the Obama appointed NASA-OIG allowed this to happen on his watch.

Sleazy, cando3.. No agency head can foresee or prevent a sole individual employee from such egregious misinterpretation of the rules of that agency a/or the simple rules of human decency. 

  Let me guess...I bet if this happened under the Trump Administration. you would have no problem.

You don't have a very good record of guessing right in the past, and I see it's not improving any with age.

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