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Probe: February 9, 2001

February 09, 2001

QUESTION: This is Black History Month. Do you know when the slaves were freed in the north as well as the south? — History Buff, Calexico

We've always been a little fuzzy here, which is why we think you may be setting us up on this one.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It was a political coup. It boosted Union morale, bummed out the Confederates and bolstered Union support in Europe. It did not free a single slave.

The proclamation freed slaves only in states under Confederate control. It did not extend to border states.

This may be a case when an idea is more important than the action. Lincoln defended the proclamation as a military necessity.

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Almost three years later, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist in the United States." It was ratified June 15, 1865.

We think that's the date when slaves were freed in every corner of the country.

On, July 9, 1868, the 14th Amendment was ratified. The amendment gave all citizens, including former slaves, "equal protection under the law."

QUESTION: A couple of weeks ago there was a fracas at the home of a Border Patrol officer. The agent barricaded himself in the house.

Imperial police came; they even brought a SWAT team. They couldn't get the agent out of the house. Finally a BP supervisor came and talked him into coming out.

The city cops arrested him but a lawyer showed up and bailed him out and got the charges dropped. The next time they may have to scoop his wife up with a shovel. Check this out. — Scoop, Imperial

OK, we may be missing something but we think everybody is watching too many episodes of "Cops."

As we hear it, a bunch of folks were partying at the Border Patrol agent's house in Imperial.

Our spy says the incident began when the agent's wife vomited. Our spy didn't know if she had the stomach flu or consumed too much alcohol.

Anyway, the agent suddenly ordered everybody out of the house. Maybe the revelers didn't want to go.

The agent insisted and somebody called the cops.

When the cops showed up, the agent didn't want them there, either. They wouldn't leave.

Instead, the cops arrested the reluctant host, alleging he had interfered with a police officer in the performance of his duty.

As far as we can determine, there was no allegation of domestic violence.

QUESTION: If someone cashes my unemployment check, does that someone have to pay me back? Can a person get a copy of my food stamp identification card and get my food stamps?

This happened while I'm serving 90 days in Imperial County jail. Please see what I can do about this because I'm being hung out to dry. Find me a lawyer, please. — Drying Out, Imperial County jail

Since you are in jail, you must have a lawyer.

It's against the law to cash somebody else's unemployment check. So is stealing food stamps. Unfortunately, you're in no position to file a complaint from your jail cell.

Once you're out, you can pursue this if you have any evidence of the theft. We wish we could be more help but you didn't give us much information.

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