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ID Thief Tries To Get Witnesses Whacked 168

Posted by kdawson
from the palpable-escalation dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Pavel Valkovich of Sherman Oaks, CA has pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder, admitting that he attempted to hire hit-men to kill witnesses working with Federal authorities in their investigation of Valkovich's ID theft activities and subsequent crimes. According to the Justice Department: '...Valkovich and others had stolen personal identifying information and used that information to transfer funds from victims' bank accounts to PayPal accounts.'"
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ID Thief Tries To Get Witnesses Whacked

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  • What. The. Funk? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:17AM (#30429308) Homepage

    Valkovich will face a statutory maximum of 50 years in prison: 20 years for the murder-for-hire and 30 years for the bank fraud.

    Two things amaze me:

    One, that you can get more jail time for moving 440,000 from one DB column to another than for trying to have someone killed.

    Two, that actual bankers that committed fraud to the tune of trillions were punished by (at most) being handsomely paid off and sentenced to go golfing for the rest of their lives.

    What a strange "justice" system we've created for ourselves.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:25AM (#30429344)

      He who owns the system makes the rules. Where's the news?

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        But wonder what's going on inside the guy's head tho, he acts like he would be in an action movie:

        As a search warrant was being executed on Valkovich, he attempted to transfer $440,000 from a victim's bank account and then jump from the roof of his apartment complex onto another building.

        Valkovich also admitted that he asked the hitman to use a silencer and to commit the murder in a drive-by shooting.

        [Valkovich] proposed that he kill both the original witness and the person Valkovich had attempted to hire for the first hit. This time Valkovich specified that one victim be shot and have his head cut off. Valkovich has pled guilty only to the first murder-for-hire.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by camperslo (704715)

          But wonder what's going on inside the guy's head tho, he acts like he would be in an action movie:

          Perhaps some action movies functioned as training and provided role models for this guy.
          Watching too much bad stuff may make it seem more normal, making a line a bit easier to cross.

        • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:03AM (#30429498)

          But wonder what's going on inside the guy's head tho, he acts like he would be in an action movie:

          The answer is in the first comment of this thread:

          20 years for the murder-for-hire and 30 years for the bank fraud.

          ==> he just tried to save 10 years of prison time. Had his plot gone through, there would have been no witness for the fraud, and all they could stick with him would be the murder: 20 years, instead of 30!

          And this is the reason why it is so dangerous to have laws on the book that carry a penalty that is harsher than for murder...

          • by instantkamera (919463) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:43AM (#30429870)
            Logic fail.

            he just tried to save 10 years of prison time. Had his plot gone through, there would have been no witness for the fraud, and all they could stick with him would be the murder: 20 years, instead of 30!

            Had this plot "gone through" he would have actually been charged with something other than "solicitation of murder", the charge carrying a 20 year sentence. Let's assume the murder charge is worse.

            And this is the reason why it is so dangerous to have laws on the book that carry a penalty that is harsher than for murder...

            again, the 20 years ... not for ACTUAL MURDER. Not to mention, Im pretty sure this guy wasn't weighing his jail time options and "settling" for 20 years. I think he wanted to silence the witness(es) and not get caught doing it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Rufty (37223)
              Actual murder would get, what, 10 years, tops?
            • Re:What. The. Funk? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:26AM (#30430110)

              Yep. Murder is normally a "25 to life" affair. However, in this case it would be first degree murder, since it was most certainly premeditated. That is life with no chance of parole in every US jurisdiction I'm aware of, and makes you eligible for the death penalty in some.

              Murder gets you extremely heavy time. Attempted murder doesn't get you as much. Solicitation of murder, even less. Reason is in each case, things are less severe. In the first, you actually took someone's life. In the second, you tried, but failed, so despite everything else, the person is still alive at least which makes the situation much less severe. In the third, you didn't even try to kill them, you just asked someone else to, someone who didn't do it.

              However let's not pretend like 20 years is a light sentence.

              • Attempted murder doesn't get you as much. Solicitation of murder, even less.

                I think solicitation for murder should have a higher penalty.

                Both are very very bad, however attempted murder could be a crime of passion or intense anger with very little reasoning. While solicitation for murder always indicate premeditation.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  I think solicitation for murder should have a higher penalty.

                  Both are very very bad, however attempted murder could be a crime of passion or intense anger with very little reasoning. While solicitation for murder always indicate premeditation

                  I've always been of the same opinion with regard to crimes relating to murder.

                  1st Degree: Obviously in this case the most severe
                  2nd Degree: I can understand that the 'heat of the moment' can be a mitigating factor.

                  However, I believe that the following should receive t

              • except cyclists (Score:2, Flamebait)

                by SuperBanana (662181)

                Murder gets you extremely heavy time. Attempted murder doesn't get you as much.

                Unless you're driving your car and hit a cyclist. That generally gets you nothing at all.

                • by ahodgson (74077)

                  Or a pedestrian. Or a cyclist hitting a pedestrian. etc.

                • Involuntary manslaughter is not murder, and most collisions are accidents.

                  If you are writing about the sort of person that's bad-tempered and deliberately hits a cyclist for being in his way, then he's likely to get away with it not as a matter of law, but because intent is difficult to prove. Even if intent is shown, the driver could easily claim temporary insanity (road rage).

              • Murder gets you extremely heavy time. Attempted murder doesn't get you as much.

                Which is really unfortunate. I suspect people who attempt to kill someone else and fail are just as dangerous going forward as those who attempt and succeed. We're saying that the crime of trying to deprive another person of their life is mitigated by their incompetence.

                Uh, no. Either should have you removed from society permanently.

            • by X86Daddy (446356)

              Here in Memphis, murder gets like 3 years, tops.

      • by b4upoo (166390)

        Perhaps the news will arrive in the form of a rope. The kleptobankers and Wall Street vampires need a bit of stretching.
                      Our only hope is that enough people actually do real work for a living that they can form a mob sufficient to become the rulers of their nations.

        • Perhaps the news will arrive in the form of a rope. The kleptobankers and Wall Street vampires need a bit of stretching

          Now, I always make sure to include a rope in my questing kit. But I've never heard anything about using a rope on vampires. I'm not sure how that would work. Is the rope treated with garlic, or consecrated thread?

      • He who owns the system makes the rules. Where's the news?

        Bill Moyers said in a speech (which you can download off freepress.org; sorry I can't remember which or where, but search around if you're really paranoid that I'm lying), as best as I can remember relaying the words of someone else:

        "'Real News' is the things we need to know to keep our freedoms."

        To keep our freedom, our right to property, we must know that it is being eroded.

        Even if it hasn't changed, it's still Real News. Heck, even if the tree of liberty hasn't lost its need to be periodically watered b

        • by operagost (62405)
          Bill Moyers isn't exactly a fount of insight. This is the guy who said Karl Rove was a closet agnostic because he said he wished he was a better Episcopalian, and claimed that the right would stage a coup if Kerry won the 2004 election.
      • by SpacePunk (17960)

        It's known as the Golden Rule... He who has the gold makes the rules.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's the same all around the world. You steal a few grand and you get the maximum sentence. You steal double digit millions and you get a bonus. That and the fact that you get harsher sentences for crimes involving money and copyright than murder and violence.

      • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:49AM (#30429428)
        It has absolutely nothing to do with how much money you stole. If this guy had stolen 20 billion dollars he'd still be going to jail.

        It all has to do with HOW you steal it and WHAT you call it. Example:
        Typical theft/bank fraud: Jail time
        Experimental accounting strategies and strategic investment and pay-rate schedule (aka bank fraud): Golden parachute and another cushy job
      • You steal a few grand and you get the maximum sentence. You steal double digit millions and you get a bonus.

        I'm sure Bernie Madoff would disagree with you...

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:33AM (#30429374)

      Valkovich will face a statutory maximum of 50 years in prison: 20 years for the murder-for-hire and 30 years for the bank fraud

      On further investigation, a new fact has been discovered. When Valkovich was hiring the assassin, he was simultaneously copying his cds to a usb player. The sentence has been changed to death penalty of him, his entire family, and everybody in the same neighborhood with a name starting with a V, or a W.

      • by cenc (1310167)

        I new a guy that got busted for copying sony games. The swat team busted in his door with a battering ram, and sony reps where with them. He got lucky and had some 80 year old judge with no appreciation for the whole deal around digital media copying. The judge was going to give him a fine and let him go, until he found out that they also found a couple joints in his house. He ended up with 2 months in jail, and 2 years of probation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      1- It kinda makes sense, though. I'm sure there's a known monetary value for saving one life, either though medical treatment or better safety. The value may vary in rich vs poor countries, but money = lives (and lives = money, sadly).

      2- Indeed. What can we do except witch about it ? Both political parties are equally guilty...

    • No one created the justice system, it was there when we got here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brunes69 (86786)

      The 30 years for fraud is most likely 5 years per sentence * 6 people, or 3 years per sentence * 10 people, etc.

    • What bankers? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      Which bankers committed trillions of dollars of fraud? I've not heard of this. There have been some billion dollar schemes, Bernard Madoff would be a good example, however he didn't get paid off, he received a 150 year prison sentence for it.

      Or are you generally ignorantly ranting about the recent stock market crash? Here's news for you: It wasn't fraud. Fraud has a legal definition, and what Madoff did was fraud. People going hog wild and speculating on stocks, bonds, commodities, whatever is NOT fraud. It

      • Re:What bankers? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tonyreadsnews (1134939) on Monday December 14, 2009 @11:20AM (#30431254)
        I agree there is plenty of blame to go around
        However, you seem to think that all people fit into one of those categories.

        What you've missed is that there are 'little guys' who didn't take out a loan they couldn't afford, and didn't make a loan to some high risk person.
        But these 'little guys' are getting screwed because of each of the parties you mentioned. Some of them have been laid off, some have seen their investments brutalized, some are now stuck in their house because their once 80 LTV is now 105 LTV.
        These are a larger percentage of those complaining
        Not to mention the same 'evil bankers' that made the loans also pushed to get regulations relaxed, which makes them somewhat more responsible as without their reckless behavior this mess

        Now these 'little guys' find out their tax dollars are going to the same companies that got us into the mess while these companies also are basically getting free money to make new loans and start back with business as usual.

        At least that's what I complain about and I'm one of those 'little guys'
        • by khallow (566160)
          I don't know about the grandparent, but my complaint is simply that one unpopular group takes the blame for everyone at fault.
        • by Machtyn (759119)
          Not just that... but our taxes will be raised because our tax dollars are going to slush funds for politicians and these banks/investment firms that are always "too large to fail" and must be done tomorrow or we're all going to die... or something.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I see you've been reading from the neo-conservative talking points memo again.

        People who received loans they could not afford are only responsible for their own financially-crushing mortgage on their now-worth-less homes, or for the fact that they have no home at all because they were forced to default on their mortgage. Their responsibility ends there.

        You can't blame the mortgage recipients for the bigger picture. That's like blaming the workers on the sales floor or cashiers for the bankruptcy of a stor

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ahodgson (74077)

        The recent and ongoing financial collapse was most certainly caused by fraudulent actions. Millions of them.

        - Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Tim Geitner, for "pursuading" Congress and President Clinton to repeal Glass/Steagall, which enabled the disaster to enfold
        - every borrowers who fraudulently claimed income they didn't have, or expected to sell their home at a profit before their subprime or ALT-A mortgage reset to full payments
        - lenders fraudulently giving mortgages to borrowers who couldn't documen

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by vectorstream (784843)
        I second that through and through, it's a perverse musical chairs sort of game where those too slow or just plain stupid get left holding a bag full with crap. I've seen the poor souls who combined as a family make like 50,000 a year before taxes and they try to "buy" a house with what's left. I'm not talking about the flippers who if hey were smart dropped out of the market in 2007 at the peak of the price bubble. I mean people who somehow believed that what was meant to happen wouldn't happed - not to the
      • by PPH (736903)

        Which bankers committed trillions of dollars of fraud? I've not heard of this.

        That's a good point. It wasn't actually bankers that did it. It was an insurance company named AIG. They wrote billions of dollars in insurance policies on securities without proper underwriting. And they wrote something like $5 in coverage for every $1 of securities insured.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elnyka (803306)

      Valkovich will face a statutory maximum of 50 years in prison: 20 years for the murder-for-hire and 30 years for the bank fraud.

      Two things amaze me:

      One, that you can get more jail time for moving 440,000 from one DB column to another than for trying to have someone killed.

      Two, that actual bankers that committed fraud to the tune of trillions were punished by (at most) being handsomely paid off and sentenced to go golfing for the rest of their lives.

      What a strange "justice" system we've created for ourselves.

      One. Laws do not get implemented in pairs. That is, legislators do not sit down and say, "umh, what a nice day, let's punish fraud more severely than attempted murder." Also, federal and state laws do not evolve in parallel either. So it is all conceivable that in a union like the US you'll have punishment discrepancies like that. The only fairness you get is the fairness of a fair trail. It is not strange at all. Legislation can (and might or might not) change those punishment discrepancies (for better or

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      It is all in how you calculate the "statutory maximum".

      If the maximum penalty for one count of murder for hire is five years, and there are four counts, then the maximum penalty is 20 years.
      If the maximum penalty for one count of bank fraud is two years, but there are 15 counts, then the maximum penalty is 30 years.

    • One, that you can get more jail time for moving 440,000 from one DB column to another than for trying to have someone killed.

      Don't underestimate the power of money.

      Take the example of Bob and George.

      At age 18, Bob was shot and killed.
      At age 18, George was forced into indentured servitude and could never earn enough to buy his freedom. In addition, due to his inability to raise any money, he was denied access to the life we all know and enjoy today. He was unable to travel, unable to find a wife, unable t

    • by inviolet (797804)

      [It amazes me] that you can get more jail time for moving [$]440,000 from one DB column to another than for trying to have someone killed.

      From the point of view of the tribe, it makes sense. A random individual's expected total lifetime contribution is about a million dollars (give or take depending on education level etc. etc.). Those individuals place a higher value upon their own lives, of course, and has been measured at about six million dollars by statistically analyzing the higher salaries demanded

    • One, that you can get more jail time for moving 440,000 from one DB column to another than for trying to have someone killed.

      That's a fallacy that I think occurs a lot - "punishment to fit the crime" somehow becomes considered as "punishment relative to other punishments for unrelated crimes". And of course when looked at in that light, it's pretty unreasonable -- but that's a lot like comparing apples to soda cans.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:25AM (#30429342) Homepage

    ...his identity must have been stolen!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dikdik (1696426)
      I have had my identity stolen twice and both time it was a data breach with a merchant I was dealing with. I find it appalling that it is so easy to get a credit or signup for a loan. How about more responsibility on the bank merchant part? The there credit bureaus should be held responsible for this mess. They are making profit using our data and we end up paying to clean it up or monitor it.
  • by dikdik (1696426) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:59AM (#30429476)
    Plain and simple, the only thing that's going to really make a dent in identity theft is to make identities harder to steal, and that means requiring all the banks and credit card companies to jump through more identity verification hoops before they give someone your money or a line of credit in your name.

    Sure, requiring you to go to a licensed notary and have a credit card application notarized might not make it so easy to get credit, but it would also make it harder to get credit in your name.

    The banks and credit card companies could do this, but it's more profitable to let people steal your identity and then just jack up fees and interest rates to cover the losses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      How do you prove you are you?

      People have used completely made up identities for years and never been detected

      It is not uncommon for people to have no formal identity, especially people who avoid being in the system

      Many of the cases of identity theft are so frustrating for the victims because they have to continually and repeatedly prove they are who they say they are and have trouble doing so because the identity thief has more and better forms of ID then the real person does....

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)

        I shouldn't be required to prove who I am. There should be a simple form that I can file with a bank, protesting their claim that I am responsible for an account; once filed, the bank has the problem; when filed to try to skip out on an actual account, massive fines, maybe jail time.

      • the identity thief has more and better forms of ID then the real person does....

        That shouldn't* even be possible. By the time I applied for credit I can think of more than 10 pieces of plastic in my wallet that have MY signature on it, and at least 2 that have my Picture on it. And if I lose this wallet, You can bet for sure the first thing I'm doing is cancelling any and all credit cards, and informing my bank not to re-activate them until they see me in person.

        And the bank has my picture on file, so should I show up there one day, they can't go "I can't help you" over not ensuring my

    • by dargaud (518470)

      requiring all the banks and credit card companies to jump through more identity verification hoops before they give someone your money or a line of credit in your name

      Particularly when I see some of the info that's being spread far and wide. A few weeks ago, I get a facebook invitation to a genealogy app. Since it's something I'd meant to do for a long time and the Internet certainly makes it easier now and FB now has a critical mass that may actually make it work, I think, sure, why not.

      First question from the app: mother's maiden name. Part of my bank identity verification scheme: check.

      2nd question from the app: Street you grew up on. Part of my bank identity ver

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thing 1 (178996)

      Yeah, this is something that strikes me as weird: a (former) friend borrowed money, even signed a note for it. However, the note wasn't notarized, and my attorney said that I'm SOL. On the other hand, none of the credit card agreements that I've signed were notarized, either, so why do I not get the same legal protections that a bank gets?

      (Note the "former" -- don't lend friends money.)

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Or make authentication, and having authentic identities less important. Discredit the personal credit score, and half of the problem disappears. The thing is, now banks can't figure out whether you're trustworthy or not, whether you can pay back your loans or not, etc. Since you can file bankruptcy and your creditors are SOL afterwards, it's either this or not loan out money to people at all.

      So then you'll have to remove the interest-loan system. And to do that, you'd have to go to cash-only, or back to pre

  • The authorities learned of the murder-for-hire plot, charged him with it and transferred him to a different jail facility, There he approach[ed] yet another individual and proposed that he kill both the original witness and the person Valkovich had attempted to hire for the first hit.

    A minor setback, really--- clearly he's now just in need of a fourth person willing to commit three murders for hire...

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:49AM (#30430290)

      A minor setback, really--- clearly he's now just in need of a fourth person willing to commit three murders for hire...

      That's an example of the classic "putting fires off" mentality.

      A good manager would have sent two assassins for the first target and two more for the assassins themselves. He'd then hire a fifth assassin, of greater skill, to kill whoever was alive at the end of the deals.

      To hire such number of assassins, he'd have probaly created a small HR department. And to recoup from this initial investment, he'd capitalize the already prepared team by subcontracting it to other businesses.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:16AM (#30429750) Homepage

    Those two terms have something in common -- both were trumped up by people with something to hide and would rather misdirect the public about what is going on.

    There is no theft of copyright unless someone somehow convinces the registry office that he is the author and owner of the material. It is "infringement" but that word doesn't sound bad or terrible enough to get people excited.

    And there is no "Identity theft" either... well, there is when someone is actively out there claiming to be someone else while that someone else is thereafter doubted as to who he is. Not sure that actually happens though. What identity theft really is is fraud perpetrated against banks and other institutions who created a system by which a person is identified by numbers that are shared frequently and openly. I hesitate to call them secret numbers since every time you participate in the system, you surrender nearly all of your personal identification numbers. The system that has been created is EXTREMELY weak and easy to game. It is also extremely easy and inexpensive for banks, financial institutions and shops to use in doing business. And just like the "credit score" system created by the same people, it puts the burden on the individuals rather than on the people who created and use the systems to their advantage every day.

    Seriously, what a great system? They collect all of the advantages, and all disadvantages are shifted to individuals!

    Banker says, "no, I was not harmed by this guy who fraudulently stole money from my bank...it was the poor schmuck whose bank account information was used! And I'll tell you something else! I'm holding that poor schmuck responsible for my incompetent system!"

    Shop keeper says, "no, I was not harmed by this guy who fraudulently stole property from my store... it was the poor schmuck whose credit card numbers or credit information was used in making the purchase... and I'll tell you something else, I'm holding the poor schmuck responsible for paying the bill! And if he doesn't, I'll file bad credit reports and in some states, file in court to have a judgement against him too!"

    The weaknesses of the system are clear and obvious. It is also clear and obvious who is being stolen from. By changing the name from fraud to identity theft, they are attempting to make it less clear and obvious who the victim is.

    • by dangitman (862676)
      Slashdot is getting really fucked up. Do you really have such a bee in your butt over "intellectual property" that you're willing to equate fraud and attempted murder with copyright infringement? Yeah, this is going to convince people that IP laws should be banned.
      • Welcome to Slashdot. Clearly that guy was just trying out someone else's credit card details to see if he liked them. Half the stuff he bought with the stolen... I mean evaluated money turned out to be a load of rubbish that wasn't worth buying anyway.
        • by erroneus (253617)

          A credit card is not money. Be clear on this point. It is credit -- a pre-approved loan. The otherwise freely given "secret information" is offered to a business in lieu of cash payment. It is a promise that the financial company indicated will pay for whatever goods or services. The cash payment then occurs when the financial company pays the business once a claim is offered to the financial company.

          Credit card (which is not money) information (which is not money) is offered in lieu of payment. That

      • by Spatial (1235392)

        Do you really have such a bee in your butt over "intellectual property" that you're willing to equate fraud and attempted murder with copyright infringement? Yeah, this is going to convince people that IP laws should be banned.

        Did you even read his post? Because it certainly doesn't look like it.

        • by dangitman (862676)

          Did you even read his post? Because it certainly doesn't look like it.

          Why? Would you care to elaborate?

    • In the case of copyright violations, you are making a duplicate. You in no way affect the original. Thus, “theft” is a misnomer.

      In the case of identity theft, a more apt word to describe it would be “borrowing”. You are using the original, not a copy (it is impossible to copy an identity), and you (negatively) affect the person’s financial reputation. Borrowing without permission can legitimately be called “theft”.

      From a programmatic perspective, the intangible iden

    • someone is actively out there claiming to be someone else while that someone else is thereafter doubted as to who he is. Not sure that actually happens though

      But this is exactly what happens. someone out there claims to be you and applies for credit in your name. That person may or may not continue to pose as you in getting more credit or when showing ID for the credit he has in your name. Even if the person stops claiming to be you, the damage is done to your name.

      Just because the person isn't actively 'being you' every day doesn't negate the fact that for a brief moment they did act like you.
      That's like saying if I stole a car, drove far away, and then ditch

    • . By changing the name from fraud to identity theft, they are attempting to make it less clear and obvious who the victim is.

      I would argue the opposite. By stating "identity theft" there is no doubt of who the victim is. By more accurately calling it "fraud", now it's much less clear for the victim could be the merchant, the bank, or the person.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        I think in the case of fraud, it should be pretty obvious. The active parties should be the only parties considered. A dead grandmother whose information was used to commit fraud, for example, is certainly not an active party. The active parties are the people who participated in the transactions. If it can be shown that a person did not participate (which is the crux of the problem) then only the remaining active parties could possibly be the victim.

        The problem is the system is set up to make asserting

  • and the case was a triple murder, drug related, in upper manhattan. this was being tried at the downtown manhattan courthouse

    i was winnowed down to the final 20, almost an alternate juror. what surprised me was all of this personal identifying information was being disclosed, about me and a whole bunch of other people, while the defendant, ostensibly a triple murdering drug dealer, with obvious possible ties to organized crime, was sitting there hearing all of this personally identifying info about people who were going to judge him, and he was even taking notes. they were even asking me and others questions about our siblings and what they did (maybe they were asking that because the defendant killed a sibling? i never heard any further details of the crime after i was weaned out and put back in the snooze room)

    so why is it, in the us court system at least, that the identity of witnesses and jurors is given so much free play with sleaze bag defendants who usually have no problem ordering hits for all sorts of reasons, not least of which the desire to avoid jail time. surely there can be more anonymity, no? i don't understand the status quo

    ps:
    notice to anyone who wants to get off jury duty:
    when they ask you if you would consider other people's opinion when making up your mind, or if you would make up your mind on your own, answer (in my case honestly), that you wouldn't care what other people on the jury thought, that you would make up your mind on your own... booted

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:17AM (#30430060)

      An important part of the US court system is to be very open in general. That's why there are specific things in the law like the right to confront your accuser. Well another important part is for your defense team, of which you as the defendant are part, to make sure the jury is truly an unbiased group of your peers. It would invite abuse to have a system where the jurors were a secret group that the defense never got to see.

      Yes, it does pose the risk of a defendant attempting to retaliate against jurors, however that is actually extremely rare. It also rarely works out, you'll note that this asshat is now doing more time because of it. There are always tradeoffs, there is no perfect way of doing things and in the US system, transparency of the jury is more important than protecting their identities.

      Also, in general you can speak to the judge privately if an answer is something you aren't willing to make in open court. You can request to approach the bench and talk to them about your concern.

      • that's useful information for any prospective juror that i've never heard before: approach the bench with your answer in private. of course the lawyers will approach the bench with you, but then you only have to worry about a scumbag defense lawyer who would share private info with a scumbag defendant, which is even more rare than the cases of juror retaliation you rightfully cite as rare

      • by steelfood (895457)

        it does pose the risk of a defendant attempting to retaliate against jurors, however that is actually extremely rare.

        John Gotti III

        'nuff said.

        Also, in general you can speak to the judge privately if an answer is something you aren't willing to make in open court. You can request to approach the bench and talk to them about your concern.

        Perhaps this should be mentioned by the judge during the jury selection.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thing 1 (178996)
      I actually wanted on the Jury Duty (big software corp was not exciting enough), but was disqualified with this question: "Is a police officer exactly as believable as a citizen?" (although it was worded slightly differently), and my answer was "slightly higher, perhaps 55%", didn't even have time to give my rationale (they have training in situational awareness and in mentally recording a scene for later documentation).
      • by X86Daddy (446356)

        You demonstrated two things with your answer, both of which are anathema to a lawyer considering a potential juror: a rational mindset (a percentage answer to that question), and that you've thought about these sorts of things before and came to conclusions.

        Lawyers are trained to target Joe and Jane Six-pack with emotional appeals. They'd much prefer a jury populated by Joes and Janes than with individual thinkers who might not merely ignore their emotional appeals, but see through them as well.

        Next time y

      • I actually wanted on the Jury Duty (big software corp was not exciting enough), but was disqualified with this question: "Is a police officer exactly as believable as a citizen?" (although it was worded slightly differently), and my answer was "slightly higher, perhaps 55%", didn't even have time to give my rationale (they have training in situational awareness and in mentally recording a scene for later documentation).

        Unsurprising, a bias to favor one class of witness over another by a broad general, statu

      • I actually wanted on the Jury Duty (big software corp was not exciting enough), but was disqualified with this question: "Is a police officer exactly as believable as a citizen?" (although it was worded slightly differently), and my answer was "slightly higher, perhaps 55%", didn't even have time to give my rationale (they have training in situational awareness and in mentally recording a scene for later documentation).

        I would have to say "I don't trust somebody just because they have a badge, a gun, or even a bible".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by X86Daddy (446356)

      they were even asking me and others questions about our siblings and what they did (maybe they were asking that because the defendant killed a sibling?

      In a criminal case, they're generally going to drop potential jurors who have a close family member in law enforcement or incarcerated, etc... as that might give the potential juror a stronger-than-usual ability to identify with one side or another on the case. That much is reasonable...

      If you want to be on a jury (I did, and have), especially for jury nullification [wikipedia.org] purposes, be dumb and malleable during that interviewing process... not outrageously stupid, just a nodding your head in the direction the law

  • To those interested, and who know someone in the prison where Pavel Valkovich will end up; just cough up a Franklin note to your buddy in prison and he can solicit all the special attention Valkovich can handle and more. Money and cigarettes go a long way in prison and your prison buddy could use some leverage cash.
    Why not throw ol' Pavel a special party? With a name like Valkovich the Aryan brotherhood won't take care of him and he isn't black or hispanic so there isn't anyone to be his friend. My guess is

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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