Legal Issues

Librarian as Sleuth

In 2006, Western Washington University librarian Rob Lopresti was involved in the investigation of the theft of 648 pages that were torn from 102 rare books in Western’s Wilson Library.

The investigation lasted two years and crossed state lines, finally ending with the conviction of James L. Brubaker, who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $23,000 in restitution – most of it to Western.

The Western Front sat down with Lopresti to talk about the thefts. Interview follows here.

The team at Erie Looking Productions interviewed Lopresti for LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast back in November 2008.

Salt Lake City Library Bomber Found Guilty of 2006 Incident

The wheels of justice grind slowly.

A federal court jury on Monday convicted an Illinois man of detonating a pipe bomb at the downtown Salt Lake City library four years ago.

Thomas James Zajac, 56, was found guilty in U.S. District Court of six felonies involving the use and possession of an explosive device for purposes of damaging a building.

One of the counts carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 30 years. Sentencing is set for Dec. 16 before Judge Clark Waddoups.

No one was injured when the bomb exploded and damaged a window on the library’s third floor the afternoon of Sept. 15, 2006. But prosecutors claimed the bomb was capable of killing.

Investigators tied Zajac to the explosion through a fingerprint on a scrap of paper found at the scene. The paper came from packaging for a toy rocket motor.

Zajac was placed in Salt Lake City that day through phone and credit card records. He was also identified on library surveillance video.

Assistant U.S. District Attorney Richard McKelvie told jurors that the Salt Lake City bombing was similar to an explosion in Hinsdale, Ill., two weeks earlier.

Chinese Author Released After Being Arrested by Authorities

Story from Global Times: A popular political author who was arrested after he published a book that claimed officials in Weinan, Shaanxi Province, embezzled funds intended for residents who were forced to relocate has been released.

Xie Chaoping was accused of "illegal trading" after his book came out.
The procuratorate in Linwei district, Weinan, announced Friday that the arrest was not approved because of insufficient evidence, according to News Cnxianzai, a website operated by the Hubei Changjiang Publishing Group.

The report said Xie and his wife, Li Qiong, returned to Beijing Friday night. Xie was arrested August 19. His book accused the local migrant bureau officials of embezzling funds intended for residents who had to relocate because of the decades-old Sanmenxia reservoir project.

The book, which was ruled an illegal publication by the provincial press and publication bureau, described how the residents were forced to leave their land in Weinan for the reservoir.

Xie paid 50,000 yuan ($7,340) to Flash Magazine to publish the book in May. Some 10,000 copies of the book were inserted into the magazine as a supplement.

The writer was quoted in the report saying that he did not regret writing the book. "I am fighting against some corrupt officials in the capacity as a journalist," he said.

Internet Can Be a Dangerous Place for Unsupervised Children

Internet predators are using more sophisticated means to lure children into dangerous situations says The News Chief of Winter Haven, FL.

In July, the Federal Trade Commission released a report concerning child safety on the Internet. The report stated that in 2004, 45 percent of American children had a personal cellular phone, while in 2009, the number of children with a phone grew to 75 percent.

Cellular phones have become more sophisticated, allowing the user to access the Internet, chat, text, e-mail, photograph and play games - all on one device. The report raises concerns about the amount of personal information teens and older children inadvertently may share by making online purchases and browsing the Web. In response, the FTC has concentrated its efforts in combating Internet predators by expanding its Internet lab and developing tools to assist in mobile-related investigations.

This is something Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has been focusing on for much of his career. "There is no fail-safe protection from these predators," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood. "This is a new frontier for crime.

Could it Become Illegal to be a Librarian in Alaska?

From Alaska Dispatch:

Alaska librarians and bookstore owners are nervous about new laws they say stifle Alaskans' First Amendment rights -- and after trying unsuccessfully to address their concerns with the governor, they say they've got no choice but to sue.

Despite warnings that their attempts to crack down on the ability of sexual predators to entice minors online were seriously flawed, this spring Alaska state legislators and Gov. Sean Parnell went ahead and passed changes to Alaska law that critics claim are unconstitutional.

Senate Bill 222, sponsored by Parnell and introduced to the Legislature at his request, is intended to toughen the state's human trafficking, sex offense and child pornography laws through increased jail time and more ways for cops to close in on offenders. At the bill signing earlier this year, Parnell touted the legislation, in concert with other crime bills passed that same day, as a package of laws that "better protects children and all victims of assault."

Incidentally, the anonymous poster who sent in this news item wrote that his/her submission triggered the installed spam filter on the computer and would not be accepted.

The Double-Dipping Librarian

The former director of a central Illinois library has been preliminarily charged with felony theft after more than $10,000 was stolen from the facility.

Court officials say 42-year-old Eric Colclasure was arrested Friday and made a brief appearance Tuesday in Livingston County Circuit Court. The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington reports bond was set at $100,000. He has not entered a plea.

Prosecutors claim that between early April and early June, Colclasure redirected checks that Heartland Community College paid the Pontiac library to lease space. The money went to an account at another library where Colclasure was also head librarian.

A message left at a Pontiac phone listed for Colclasure was not returned. He resigned from the Pontiac library in August.

Need a job? His former library is hiring.

If They're Burning Qur'ans, ALA Says 'We'll Read Qur'ans'

From American Libraries: Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Gen. David Petraeus had personally pleaded with the reverend to restrain himself because of the potential for retaliatory violence.

Meanwhile, the American Library Association and librarians across the country will move the Qur’an to the top of the Banned Books Week agenda. (Leading the way by modeling tolerance, an Oklahoma public library has been hosting an exhibit of artwork inspired by Muslim tradition.)

“Free people read freely,” says Barbara Jones, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution and a basic mission of public libraries. We don’t burn books, we read them.”

Thanks to Jenny Levine for the lead.

AAP Brief Asks Court to Bar Importation of Unauthorized Works

The Association of American Publishers filed a friend of the court brief yesterday urging the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling by the Ninth Circuit which held that the "first sale doctrine" does not apply to the unauthorized importation into the U.S. of copyrighted works that are manufactured overseas and acquired abroad.

Full article at Publishers Weekly

Librarian Gone Wrong

In 2009, Jay DeVaughn was named the Community College of Aurora's administrator of the year.

In 2010, DeVaughn will plead guilty to sending death threats and white powder to President Barack Obama and congressional representatives from Colorado and Alabama, the U.S. attorney's office in Denver said Thursday.

DeVaughn, 42, of Aurora will be sentenced Nov. 19. His handwriting and fingerprints were found on the letters that ranted about health care reform. Federal agents also matched DNA on the letters to DNA found on items in a wastebasket in DeVaughn's office.

He was arrested in March, a few days after federal agents watched him mail four powder-laden packages at a southeast Denver post-office mailbox. The day before his arrest, DeVaughn admitted himself to Porter Adventist Hospital for mental-health reasons.

Read more: Ex-librarian to plead guilty to sending death threats - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_15908605#ixzz0xoM6dTHc

Sheet Music Piracy: You Can Get Everything For Free On The Internet

Songwriters don't want their sheet music shared online. But are the laws against it out of date?

Full story on NPR

Syndicate content