Civil Liberties



In Worcester, England, Bill Malcolm put barbed wire around his tool shed and vegetable plots after thieves struck three times in four months. Shortly after that, local officials ordered him to remove the fence because burglars might get hurt climbing over it.

Six Newton County, Georgia, sheriff's deputies came to Tosha Ford's home and took her 10-year-old son, Alandis, to jail, where he was charged with possessing a weapon on school property and with terroristic threats and acts. The weapon: a toy cap gun.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents spent more than an hour searching and questioning New
York resident Jerilea Zempel when she tried to return to the country from Canada. They had found a picture she had drawn of a sport utility vehicle, and they suspected her of copyright infringement.

Troy Garcia's neighbors thought it was great that he plowed the snow off the streets of their Spokane Valley, Washington, neighborhood. Well, all of them except the county roads supervisor. He reported Garcia, and police warned him he'd be fined if he plowed again.

Henry Marshall says several Orlando, Florida, police officers kicked in the doors of his house, pointed guns at him, and ransacked his home. They were looking for his grandson Quinton, who allegedly had bought a stolen cell phone. Quinton Marshall doesn't live with his grandfather, but when he heard the police were looking for him, he came over and gave them the cell phone. Then they left.

Khalin Rivenbark had a cold, so her father put a few cough drops in her book bag before sending her off to school. A classmate of the Clay County, Florida, fourth-grader also had a cold, so she shared some cough drops with her. A teacher spotted her, and she now faces punishment for bringing drugs to school.

A British Ministry of Defense contractor seems to have misplaced a computer hard drive containing the names, addresses, passport numbers, next of kin, and driver's license data of up to 100,000 members of the armed forces.

A class at New York's New Rochelle High School was asked to compare the book Girl, Interrupted with its film adaptation. But not before English teachers ripped out several pages of the book that contained sexual content and "inappropriate" language.

About a year after Julie Strange's son Paul died, she received a letter from England's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, addressed to Paul, that claimed he had not sent in required information on a vehicle he owned. She called the agency and explained that her son was dead and had not owned any vehicle. But the letters kept coming, scores of them, even after the agency was sent a copy of his death certificate. Finally, Paul received a court summons. When her son's name was called,
Julie held out a small casket with his ashes. The prosecutor asked that the charges be withdrawn.