another voter custom id card in PA

Pennsylvania keeps making it to the headlines recently. We just wrote about the voter id bill complaint ruling making it back from Supreme Court to Commonwealth court for reconsideration and there is already another turn in the story.
Last Thursday afternoon Parkhouse, a Montgomery County nursing home was announced to start issuing voter id cards on October 1st. The decision was passed unanimously by the county commissioners. While allowed by the legislation county decision didn’t please governor Corbett.
His Spokesman, Ron Ruman, was cited saying that the governor administration wasn’t briefed about the county commission’s plan as well as that aw wasn’t intended to allow counties to issue voter ID cards to whomever they want. Naturally the county officials did not like the comment. It’s worth to mention here that while the governor administration didn’t like the move they also stated they would take no action against it.
Another factor to be considered in this situation is that the voter custom id card made by PennDOT is estimated to be issued only to under 10,000 voters while the number of state registered voters without the id valid for voting varies between 400,000 and 900,000 depending on source.
Unappealing voter id document statistics and the fact that the law was written one way but meant another causing frictions between state and county authorities make feel that the outlook for the voter id bill to be enforced law during the November presidential election is a bit grim.

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Iowa decides to go REAL ID compliant

Last week the Iowa Transportation Commission decided to start issuing REAL-ID compliant documents to state residents starting January 15th 2013. The REAL-ID act is a legislation passed by the Congress back in 2005 as a result of September 11 terrorist attacks. A lot of things has changed since 2005 though, terrorist attack threat is no longer making it to headlines and financial meltdown of 2008 resulted in shrinking of local government budgets. Real ID is costly due to computer infrastructure upgrades and staff training required.
No wonder many commentators regard the program implementation as failure. Even though it’s been almost 7 years since the regulations was passed and it’s only 2 years from the deadline after which a person without program compliant identification document won’t be able to access federal building such as airports there is only 11 states now issuing star id cards and driver’s licenses.
Making Iowa Department of Transportation issuing the new id badges was not a smooth ride either. In March 2011 the state House of Representatives blocked the implementation of the REAL-ID act; 25 other state done the same thing and some more tried.
Design wise there would be very little change to the existing documents, just a star in gold circle placed in the corner of the id badge. Applicants may still opt out and get old school documents but need to be aware of limitations such as airport access mentioned earlier.

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unexpected turn in Pennsylvania voter id law

A few weeks ago we wrote about the custom id card Penn DOT started to issued for Pennsylvania voters for free and under relaxed list of requirements. At that time I was under impression that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would uphold the Commonwealth Court decision on making the voter id bill a law in Pennsylvania (the law was sued in the court by civil liberties organizations and then when lower court ruled to dismiss the case the plaintiffs immediately appealed to the Supreme Court).
To my surprise the court decided otherwise, not that it rejected Commonwealth Court verdict, it returned to the lower instance for reconsideration instead. State highest court action seems to be putting a lot pressure for judge Robert Simpson who only has time until October 2nd to make and justify his decision. 4-2 court decision makes Simpson to check again if there would be no voter disfranchised by the law going into force. To make matters more complicated there was a significant change since judge Simpson original ruling, PennDOT started issuing custom id cards for voters which technically should help the law supporters but the fact the new document is only being issued since late August might be consider as an argument against the rule going into force for November elections.
Pennsylvania is considered to be among key swing states for November presidential election and development of rolling out voter id legislation is closely followed as many consider it to be crucial for the voting result.

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former Newark Airport security supervisor in the court

Bimbo Oyewole, 54 old immigrant from Nigeria managed to secure a 20 years old career as a airport security agent using a stolen identity. Last Friday he admitted in the court that he entered the country in 1989 on student visa and overstayed. In 1992 Jerry Thomas got shot in front of YMCA building in Queens, NY. Allegedly few months before that Oyewole bought Thomas birth certificate and Social Security card from a card driver. No evidence was found that would like Oyewole to Thomas murder.
Using new identity Oyewole obtained a driver’s license and high school equivalency diploma. He then found a job at one of the companies outsourcing security staff for Newark Liberty International airport worked there for 20 years, he even got a promotion to a manager’s position supervising the staff of 30 people. The authorities only find out about the suspect stolen identity after an anonymous letter received.
Oyewole guilty plea on September the 7th was a result of deal with the prosecutors who would recommend probation sentence. Sentencing date is set to October 19th, the man faces prison term and deportation.
The case must have been a hard hit for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who maintains security at the metropolitan airports. After all actions taken to tighten up security around airline industry following the 9/11 terrorist attack a security manager on one of the country’s major airport sounds like a slap on the face. I think they already started deep screening of existing staff to make sure no more surprises are hiding. Also until this scandal I was under impression that airport security is exclusively TSA job while it looks like outsourcing is not uncommon in this field.
It seems that the suspect only used his fake identity to cover his immigration status in the US. While guilty verdict seems pretty sure I wonder on sentencing, especially after prosecutor guilty plea deal. Stay tuned,

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LA considers municipal id card for undocumented immigrants

Los Angeles City Council has introduced a motion to issue identification card to anyone who can prove LA residency. While idea isn’t that much new as multiple towns in areas widely populated by immigrants have done so it’s the fact that it would be library card in LA case, Universal City Services Card to mention its full, official name. The id card while wouldn’t replace California driver’s license or protect against deportation would allow for opening a bank account and obtaining a debit card.
Crime rate remains high in alien communities as people are know to carry more cash than usual due to the fact they can’t open a bank account. Also check cash places take a high toll on those who have to cash the checks outside of the banks.
Many might say that action such this supports illegal immigration, which is true to a certain degree. On the other hand we need to be aware that some immigrant communities, such LA are huge and many residents have been living there for decades, have kids, even run companies. While immigration matters are federal thing crime and violence is a as local as it could be and it’s hard to blame local authorities for trying to fix these issues.

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authority id badge misuse leads to arrest

A private investigator was arrested in August in front of Yolo County Sheriff’s Monroe Detention Center and charged with impersonating parole officer.
Former employee of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 52 years old Anthony Vegas allegedly used his retired parole agent id badge to obtain child custody record for the case he was investigating. The way his parole agent identification card was displayed suggested he’s an active duty officer as the label ‘retired’ was covered. Sheriff’s Department Records Office staff got suspicious about Vegas credentials and notified the authorities which lead to investigation.
The suspect was released under his own recognition after being instructed to appear in court for a misdemeanor violation of the law.

Looks like it’s much easier to obtain certain information when acting as law enforcement officer. Private investigator is a licensed profession in California so that not anyone can become one. Shouldn’t these guys been trusted to the point when they can access non-public information at least to investigate their cases? It’s usually retired law enforcement officers who make private detectives so they can be trusted, at least the ones with honorary discharge record. Besides there is nothing wrong with like annual screening of the licensed investigator. Just my two pennies.

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Texas voter id law halted by court

Thursday last week District of Columbia 3 judge District Court issued a verdict to block photo the rule of photo identification requirement upon casting a ballot in Texas. A unanimous rule 56 page justification argues that the legislation requiring one of five forms of government issued photo id to take part in elections may disadvantage poor residents of the state.
Both travelling to get proper id card for voting and cost associated with it have been considered as unfair hassle for poor and minorities, including the working poor.
It’s worth to note that disproportional impact on minorities was the primary ground for litigation between the Department of Justice and state authorities. Texas is among the Southern states which need DOJ pre-clearance for making changes to election law due to history of voter discrimination.
Court’s decision makes the new rule practically toothless for coming presidential elections in November. The legislation also failed to receive DOJ pre-clearance, South Carolina voter id bail shared the same fate with DOJ denial in late 2011.
Supposing Pennsylvania voter id bill makes it to the elections while Texas gets blocked we would have a pretty clear pattern on how that kind of change needs to be implemented and what on the other hand would make it busted. Pennsylvania has as far as creating a new non-driver photo id card just for voting purposes, issued free of charge with relaxed supporting document list requirements

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Pennsylvania voter custom id card out

On August 28th Pennsylvania Department od Transportation made the new voter id card available. The document was announced earlier in the summer as a response to complaints over new voter id law in Pennsylvania.
According to the new legislation passed in March this year Pennsylvania voters must present photo identification document in order to be able to cast a ballot. Right after the bill was signed by the Governor it faced heavy criticism from Democrats and civil liberties leaders based on the fact it might eliminate some of the voters from election process, especially poor and elderly. Indeed obtaining a state photo id card or driver’s license might become a hassle for residents born out of the state as birth certificate is required and it might involve hiring an attorney which makes the things costly and challenging especially for fixed income population.
To alleviate the risk of voter exclusion and address complaints PennDOT decided to issue an id card for voting with more relaxed list of requirements when compared to regular state photo identification documents. Free of charge card, available only to registered voters who currently don’t have another PennDOT ID can now by obtained at any PennDOT office. An applicant needs just to provide the name, Social Security Number and 2 pieces of residency proof (such as utility bill); the card is valid for 10 years.
The new document comes out 10 weeks before presidential elections and might be a key to dismiss court cases which sued the new legislation.

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Florida teen ‘doc’ goes on trial

Last September we wrote about a Florida teenager posing as a physician assistant in Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee. The time has come for his trial.
Prosecutor Sarah Freeman is accusing Matthew Scheidt of impersonating a physician assistant. Witness testimony is pretty strong, multiple hospital personnel claimed they saw Scheidt wearing scrubs, stethoscope on his neck and even use stethoscope to examine patients chest.
During the police investigation the suspect admitted he performed a Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedure on the patient who suffered from drug overdose. He then explained he was asked to do it by a doctor, there was no one else in the room so he didn’t want to let the patient die.
His defendant is attorney, Jamie Kane who’s trying to convince the jury her client is innocent. The defense tries to push the fault to the hospital administration which member already admitted they didn’t check suspect credentials upon issuing id badge replacement as it was busy time in the office.
PA case isn’t the only impersonation attempt of Scheidt; in January he was arrested for impersonating police officer in Osceola, Florida.
If found guilty Matt Scheidt faces 25 years in prison; he’s charged with 5 felony charges of  impersonating a physician assistant and practicing medicine without a license.
We’ll keep our readers posted. Stay tuned

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nurse impostor without id badge steals a newborn

This love drama story fortunately has a happy end, child has been reunited with the parents and is doing great. It took place in Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
19 years old Breona Moore allegedly tried to build an impression of expecting the baby. While her family doubt the pregnancy she has done a lot to make it look real, she drop out of school, found a job, shopped for baby care cosmetics and clothing, kept posting about pregnancy on Facebook profile including photos of being pregnant and fetus sonogram scans, she also managed to weigh 230 pounds while being only 5’4″ upon being arrested.
Allegedly Moore entered the hospital premises last week wearing nurse scrubs. She was quickly spotted by the personnel as she wasn’t wearing an employee photo id badge but when asked about it she said she was ending the shift. She managed to get to a room where parents and infants are awaiting discharge. Moore followed a real nurse to the room; after security band was removed from baby’s wrist and the nurse left the room she told the parent she needs to take the baby for one last physical check. She then ran away from the hospital with the baby hidden in a zipper bag.
Upon the kidnapping story reaching the public Moore’s family contacted authorities suspecting that Breona might be involved in it. The suspect met her boyfriend, Josey in Pittsburg downtown; she was arrested 30 minutes later.
Moore is being held in jail on $250,000 bail, she was charged with kidnapping, concealing the whereabouts of a child, criminal trespass, unlawful restraint, interference with custody of a child, reckless endangerment and falsely impersonating a nurse.
The motive is speculated to be a desire to stay in relationship with the boyfriend, Josey. Hospital authorities is cooperating with the police investigation and will look into security improvements which would help prevent such incidents in the future.
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