Hidden Nook

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Should The ACLU Be A Google News Source?

Google News is probably one of the best locations for a user to retrieve news information from a variety of sources. What makes them unique compared to Yahoo News is that computer algorithms instead human editors decide which item is on the front page, resolving any (or at least most) issues of editorial bias.

Apparently though, the ACLU's Press Release is now one of the media sources that Google News has added to it's vast yet secretive collection. Although Google News does add sources from conservative, liberal and international sites, does the ACLU deserve the same media respect as per say as Fox News or Iraq the Model?

Image of the ACLU as a Google News Source.

Photo Credit: Darnell Clayton, via Hello

Although the ACLU is often viewed as "morally evil" for actions such as attempting to legalize child pornography (hat tip: Cao's blog) and holding the opinion that sex offenders should be allowed to participate in Halloween activities, they do participate in some good as In The Agora notes.
Anyway, a couple months ago I posted an item about the ACLU defending street preachers around the country I got a comment from the wife of Shawn Miller, a preacher in New Mexico who had been arrested and was being defended by the ACLU. He had spent 109 days in jail after being arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The sum total of that resisting amounted to him informing the officer that he had a constitutional right to preach. [...]

Last week she told us that his trial date had been set for this week. And yesterday she stopped by to tell us that the prosecutor had issued a "nolle prosequi" in the case and dropped the charges. She posted an email from the ACLU attorney working on the case. He is now going to try and get the arrest expunged from Mr. Miller's records so it doesn't haunt him in the future.

Although such actions demonstrate that the ACLU is not entirely anti-religious, it may not be enough to justify it being considered a defender of justice according to critics. The ACLU holds tremendous influence within the American judicial system, but should they be given that same influence within Google News? It will be up to the critics to decide.

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Charges Are Dropped


Charges dropped against Portales street preacher
Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office has dropped charges against a street preacher accused of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Deputy District Attorney Donna Mowrer dropped the charges on Oct. 19 in Portales Magistrate Court.

Shawn Miller, 33, was arrested the morning of April 17 for causing a disturbance to motorists, according to Portales police reports. Officer Charles Smart was dispatched in reference to a subject yelling at passing vehicles.

Miller repeatedly told Smart he didn’t have to listen to him because he was preaching the word of God and wasn’t doing anything wrong, according to the police incident report. Miller walked away from the police officer and continued yelling at vehicles, at which time he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, the report said.
“Every person in the town knew what we were doing,” Miller said. “We were there without incident. We never caused a scene. We were never screaming and hollering, nor were we bothering anyone.”

Mowrer said charges were dropped against Miller because he had expressed a desire to move out of state with no intent of returning.

“It wouldn’t be a good use of the state’s funds (to prosecute the case), Mowrer said.

She said the decision was made after discussion with District Attorney Matt Chandler.

If Miller had been convicted of the charges against him, he faced a maximum punishment of 1 1/2 years in jail.

Law enforcement authorities said at the time of Miller’s arrest that his preaching was creating a disturbance to passing motorists; they said he was arrested because he did not give a responding officer any opportunity to remedy the situation.

Miller said he feels he was not treated fairly during the process.

“I was abandoned in jail for 109 days,” Miller said. “ As you could probably imagine, my life has been complete chaos since April. I have been totally dependent on God and our family. We do not have a car, job, or savings. This totally wiped us out.”

Mowrer said Miller was eligible for bond during the time he was incarcerated at the Roosevelt County Detention Center.
Miller was released in early August from RCDC. He posted a $3,000 appearance bond. At that time he was receiving assistance in his defense from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Miller is now living in Moselle, Miss., with his wife’s grandparents. Miller said this experience won’t necessarily keep him from coming back to Portales.

“I will indeed come back to Portales,” Miller said. “I would like to open a ranch of refuge. It will be a place for people who have been cast out by society.”

Mowrer said she could refile charges against Miller if he returns to the community.

“That’s something I would consider,” she said. “It would be speculation to say at this point.”

PNT Managing Editor Karl Terry contributed to this report.

By Anonymous Shawn Miller, at 8:53 AM EST  

No, the ACLU and Fox news don't deserve to be on equal footing, because Fox News shouldn't even be included. It's massively biased, and sometimes painful to read. The ACLU sucks in regards to stuff like child pornography, but at least they're exposing the tortures that the US is trying to secretly carry out. Watch for more Abu Ghraib photos soon.

By Anonymous Sulayman, at 9:32 PM EST  

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