Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Note:  could be interesting to learn who nominated and approved this bench.

Court: Second Amendment also covers those in US illegally
Posted: Aug 25, 2015 7:59 PM CEST
Updated: Aug 25, 2015 8:28 PM CEST

 People living in the United States illegally have a constitutional right to bear arms but are still barred from doing so by a separate law, a federal appeals court ruled. (Source: RNN)

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - People living in the United States illegally have a constitutional right to bear arms but are still barred from doing so by a separate law, a federal appeals court ruled.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Thursday in a case involving Mariano Meza-Rodriguez. His family brought him to the United States from Mexico illegally when he was four or five years old, according to the 7th Circuit ruling. Now an adult, he was arrested in 2013 after a bar fight in Milwaukee. Police found a .22-caliber bullet in his shorts pocket.

Federal law prohibits people in the country illegally from possessing guns or ammunition. Meza-Rodriguez argued that the charges should be dismissed because the law infringes on his Second Amendment right to bear arms. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa rejected that contention on the broad grounds that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to people in the country illegally. Meza-Rodriguez was ultimately convicted of a felony and deported.

The 7th Circuit panel, however, ruled unanimously Thursday that the term "the people" in the Second Amendment's guarantee that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed also applies to those in the country illegally. The ruling, which applies in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, conflicts with opinions from three other federal appellate courts in recent years that found the Second Amendment doesn't apply to people in the country illegally.

"We see no principled way to carve out the Second Amendment and say that the unauthorized (or maybe all noncitizens) are excluded," Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote.

But the panel upheld Meza-Rodriguez's conviction, saying the federal ban on people in the country illegally possessing weapons remains valid. Wood wrote that the right to bear arms isn't unlimited and the government has a strong interest in preventing people who have already broken the law by coming to the country illegally from carrying guns.

Meza-Rodriguez's attorney, Joseph Bugni, said the decision contradicts itself. He plans to ask all nine active 7th Circuit judges to review the case together. If Meza-Rodriguez doesn't prevail at that level he'll go to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bugni said.

Judge Joel M. Flaum, a member of the panel, wrote in a concurring opinion that he doubts the Second Amendment applies to people in the country illegally. He acknowledged that the decision conflicts with other federal rulings and said the panel shouldn't have addressed the broader constitutional question since the possession ban is clearly legal.


Note:  and a couple local human interest stories.

Comment:  Average teacher pay in the dist. $44,590, up to $61,230. plus bennies and couple months off. 
So somewhat understandable the need for a summer job, after all, who could possible live on that little pay?  Check also heroin overdoses in your community.  

Valley school teacher accused of trafficking cocaine, heroin 
Posted: Aug 25, 2015 12:57 AM CEST
Updated: Aug 25, 2015 7:13 AM CEST
By News Staff
Rafael Luna, 56, of Glendale Arizona (Source: Canadian County Sheriff's Office)
Jose A. Lopez, 50, (Source: Canadian County Sheriff's Office)
Cocaine and heroin seized after traffic stop (Source: Canadian County Sheriff's Office)
Drug cetector K9 "Pickles" with cocaine and heroin seized after traffic stop 
(Source: Canadian County Sheriff's Office)
Merceds Benz seized after traffic stop (Source: Canadian County Sheriff's Office)

EL RENO, OKLAHOMA (KPHO/KTVK) - A Valley school teacher was arrested on Saturday in Oklahoma after 15 pounds of cocaine and 1.2 pounds of black-tar heroin was found in the trunk of the 2000 Mercedes Benz he was driving, according to Chris West with the Canadian County Sheriff's Office.

Rafael Luna, 56, of Glendale, is a teacher at Valley Vista High School in the Dysart School District. 

Luna was stopped while going eastbound on Interstate 40 by a deputy with the Canadian County Sheriff's Office after he observed Luna driving erratically just west of El Reno. Rafael, and his passenger, Jose A. Lopez, 50, of Phoenix told deputies they were headed to Fort Leonardwood, Missouri to watch Luna's son graduate from U.S. Army basic training.

Inconsistencies in Luna and Lopez's stories caused deputies to suspect the two may be involved in criminal activity, and a drug detector K9 named "Pickles" was brought to the scene to conduct a free air sniff around the vehicle.

Pickles, who has been credited with finding over 110 pounds of cocaine this year, made a positive alert to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. After Pickles alerted on the trunk area of the Mercedes, deputies located a stash of cocaine and heroin under the spare tire, and immediately took both men into custody.

After Luna's arrest, deputies learned hauling drugs for extra money was Luna's summer job, and he even admitted that this wasn't the first trip he'd made.

"How pathetic is it that a public school teacher is hauling illegal narcotics that will undoubtedly end up impacting the lives of children. "This man should be locked up for life," said Randall Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff.

Luna's passenger, Lopez, who works as a mechanic, told investigators he'd been recruited by an unknown person about hauling drugs across country, and he had recruited Luna.

The cocaine was packaged in carbon paper and wrapped in multiple layers of cellophane, and the heroin was contained in a plastic sack, and then wrapped in disposable diapers; both the cocaine and heroin was inside a nylon bag which was found under the spare tire in the trunk.

Along with the drugs, deputies seized the Mercedes Benz the two were traveling in, and $1,290.00. Luna and Lopez were transported to the Canadian County Jail and booked for trafficking in cocaine and trafficking in heroin. Bonds for Luna and Lopez were set at $205,000 each, and they remain in custody.

"I'm certain the drugs with a street value in excess of $1 million originated in Mexico, and were intended for sale on the streets of New York City," said Sheriff Edwards.


"We are aware of the story out of Oklahoma and are troubled by the accusations. The high school teacher in question is on administrative leave pending further legal actions. The District will investigate and will take appropriate actions available to maintain a safe and constructive learning environment."

Zachery Fountain
Communications and Public Relations Director
Dysart Unified School District

Suspected impaired driver injures 5 in Pinal County crash
Posted: Aug 25, 2015 4:48 PM CEST
Updated: Aug 25, 2015 4:49 PM CEST
By Phil Benson 

Booking photo of Julio Cesar Lavarga-Carranza on Aug. 23, 2015. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)

An undocumented immigrant is accused of driving while impaired in a crash that injured five people Sunday evening. 

The Pinal County sheriff's 911 dispatchers got multiple calls about two vehicles that had crashed into a wall on Hunt Highway west of Paso Fino Way. 

Witnesses said the suspect, Julio Cesar Lavarga-Carranza, 22, was driving erratically and attempted to pass another car illegally on the right. Sheriff's deputies said Lavarga-Carranza lost control and struck the vehicle carrying five family members. Both vehicles then plowed into the wall of a nearby home. 

After the collision, Lavarga-Carranza fled on foot but was soon found in a field north of Hunt Highway, where he was arrested. 

Deputies said two adults and three children under the age of 6 suffered minor injuries. 

Lavarga-Carranza was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center. Other charges he faces include aggravated assault, hit-and-run and criminal damage.

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