Saturday, December 15, 2012
Checked my phone when I woke up this morning and saw that my brother had sent me 3 texts with suggested presents for his little boys. I smiled as the items expressed each of the boys' unique personalities. Then I checked my Twitter feed and remembered.
I was in training yesterday, scanning my iPad for news stories and other articles relevant to my profession, when the first news flash about yet another school shooting popped up. Within an hour the confirmation came through - 20 elementary school children murdered.
The rest of the day the story followed the same predictable script: cable news channels playing the same footage over and over, while the same roster of pundits gave the same old opinions about how something like this could happen. It didn't take long for liberals to cry out once again for gun control, while gun rights folks quickly retorted with the same tired quips about how "guns don't kill people, bad guys kill people" and "if the teacher had been armed, this wouldn't have happened." Blah, blah, blah.
Our President addressed the nation, weary and, understandably, weepy. Once again the duty of his office demands that he visit the community and offer comfort to loved ones facing unimaginable grief, just as he did in Tucson and Aurora. This time will be different. The victims are so, so young.
Anderson Cooper did his usual "we are not going to say the shooter's name so we don't encourage others to do something like this." As if life is a Harry Potter book, and evil can be kept away as long as you just don't say his name.
Later in the day, Tweets and Facebook posts chastised us: "Stop talking politics. It's too soon to talk about this!" Ok, if it's too soon, then lets talk about the Happy Valley Mall. Still too soon for that? How about Minneapolis? Still too soon? How about Oak Creek? Aurora? Oakland? Norcross, Georgia? That's just 2012. How about we go all the way back to 2011 and talk about Tucson?
Because we need to talk.
Columbine. Virginia Tech. Omaha. Northern Illinois University. San Diego. Ft. Hood. Santa Clara. Covina. The list of mass shooting sites is rapidly expanding. Soon the list will exceed the list of Civil War battle sites.
And we do nothing.
Just talking about solutions provokes a knee-jerk defensiveness from gun owners. Let's get this straight, no reasonable person wants to take away your guns. Ninety-nine percent of lawful gun owners are responsible and are not committing mass shootings or other crimes. But what does that mean? Police in Connecticut have told us that the guns used to murder children yesterday were all legally bought and registered to the shooter's mother.
I am reminded of a tragic shooting here in Las Cruces five years ago. New Mexico State Police Officer Susan Kuchma, a good cop and delightful person, was gunned down by her mentally ill son. He used Susan's own, lawfully owned, gun to do the deed.
In the days and weeks to come, we will learn more about the shooter. We will find out that there were warning signs, strange behaviors and incidents. We will all wonder why something wasn't done - how come nobody intervened? Pundits will point out that well-meaning liberals who have made it very difficult to institutionalize the mentally ill, combined with Reagan-era budget cuts, have left our nation's mental health system a woeful mess.
I don't know what the answers are. I know I am growing weary of supporting gun rights, as news tragedy after tragedy arrives in waves. I know the Second Amendment contains the phrase "well-regulated." I know that a mentally ill person, determined to cause destruction, will find a way to achieve it. I know we don't want a world where our children's teachers are issued sidearms along with the keys to their classrooms.
Whatever the answers are, it's not too soon to talk about them. It's already too late for the little children at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
- Most copy editors go their whole lives waiting for the chance to write a headline like this: Maneater: Hall bitten by Oates | Sandusky Register
- Could come in handy for the Zombie Apocalypse. Man arms DIY drone with paintball handgun and shoots human cardboard cutouts - Boing Boing
- "He was not who she thought he was." Woman gets a fright after mistaking bobcat for a housecat after she hit it with her car | Mail Online
- Lawyers being weird. Gretna lawyer pleads guilty in office masturbation case | NOLA.com
- A: 3 pounds. Q: "How much cocaine can you stuff into fake boobs?" Panamanian Woman Busted Smuggling Three Pounds of Cocaine In Breast Implants - Miami - News - Riptide 2.0
- Guess the little ones forgot the First Rule of Fight Club. DEL COURTS: Day care workers plead guilty in fight case | The Daily Times | delmarvanow.com
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
- Free Lindsay! Judge revokes Lindsay Lohan’s probation in Los Angeles, sets probation violation hearing date - The Washington Post
- On the heels of the Cook County DA's loss in the Supreme Court with regard to the "anti-recording of cops" law, the chief judge in Cook County now bans cellphones and tablets in courtrooms because gangs "may" be recording proceedings. Why are officials in Chicago so paranoid? Chicago judge bans public's cells, tablets from courts
- The war on drugs is ending with a whimper, not a bang, part 2. Americans Side With Constitution on Marijuana Laws, Gallup Finds
- At least they're being quiet about it. Public Buses Across Country Quietly Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations | Threat Level | Wired.com
- A: 7th place. Q: "Where does the Jedi faith rank in popularity out of the professed religious beliefs of the folks in England?" 'Jedi' religion most popular alternative faith - Telegraph
- "He is who we thought he is." Hearing Board Seeks to Keep Yelling Judge Off Bench, Notes His Angry Glare During Hearing - ABA Journal
- Silly judge, doesn't he know that we don't regulate cats, cats regulate us. How Ernest Hemingway's cats became a federal case (+video) - CSMonitor.com
- Our long national nightmare is over. TSA Will Let You Fly With Your Precious Snow Globes This Holiday Season – The Consumerist
Monday, December 10, 2012
- The bad news for the monkey who terrorized suburban shoppers at a Toronto Ikea store is that he was caught. The good news is that he wins "Best Dressed Monkey of 2012” hands down. Monkey Wearing a Coat Found Wandering Outside of a Toronto Ikea - seattlepi.com
- Maybe the shooter had inside information? County Attorney Scannell had relationship with teen months after being shot by sex offender - Minneapolis - News - The Blotter
- Everyone knows it's just rude to take back the alcohol you bring to a dinner party. Police: Argument over beer lands Vanessa Robinson in jail and boyfriend in hospital | wtsp.com
- Whatever happened to "honor among thieves?" Unlikely Spot for a Break-In - The Rikers Parking Lot - NYTimes.com
- A: 8. Q: "How many students and faculty at the University of Colorado were able to legitimately say they were 'accidentally stoned' on Friday?" Two University of Colorado Boulder Students Arrested for Giving Pot Brownies to Class, Professor
Saturday, December 8, 2012
|I Fought The Law||The Clash|
|Gimme Shelter||The Rolling Stones|
|Only The Good Die Young||Billy Joel|
|Folsom Prison Blues||Johnny Cash|
|Johnny 99||Bruce Springsteen|
|Jailhouse Rock||Elvis Presley|
|Lawyers, Guns And Money||Warren Zevon|
|Stagger Lee||Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds|
|Murder Incorporated||Bruce Springsteen|
|One Piece At A Time||Johnny Cash|
|Pretty Boy Floyd||Woody Guthrie|
|I Ain't Living Long Like This||Waylon Jennings|
|Take The Money And Run||Steve Miller Band|
|Mama Tried||Merle Haggard & The Strangers|
|One Way or Another||Blondie|
|The Devil's Right Hand||Steve Earle|
|The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde||Merle Haggard|
|Sympathy for the Devil||The Rolling Stones|
|The Road Goes On Forever||Robert Earl Keen|
|Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah||Reckless Kelly|
|Excitable Boy||Warren Zevon|
|Atlantic City||Bruce Springsteen|
|Psycho Killer||Talking Heads|
|I Shot The Sheriff||Bob Marley & The Wailers|
|Band on the Run||Paul McCartney|
|Twilight Zone||Golden Earring|
|Smokin' In The Boys Room||Mötley Crüe|
|State Trooper||Bruce Springsteen|
|You Only Live Twice||Nancy Sinatra|
|James Bond Theme (From "Dr. No.")||John Barry Orchestra ,|
|Gimme Three Steps||Lynyrd Skynyrd|
|I'm Just Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail||Keller & The Keels|
|Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard||Paul Simon|
|Blood Red And Goin' Down||Tanya Tucker|
|Green, Green Grass Of Home||Porter Wagoner|
|Walk On The Wild Side||Lou Reed|
|Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand||Waylon Jennings|
|Perry Mason||Ozzy Osbourne|
|Meeting Across The River||Bruce Springsteen|
|Smooth Criminal||Michael Jackson|
|Wanted Dead Or Alive||Bon Jovi|
|Pancho and Lefty||Merle Haggard;Willie Nelson|
|You May Be Right||Billy Joel|
|Whenever Kindness Fails||Robert Earl Keen|
|Big Iron||Marty Robbins|
|Rapid Roy [The Stock Car Boy]||Jim Croce|
|Working At The Car Wash Blues||Jim Croce|
|Live And Let Die||Paul McCartney|
|Darlington County||Bruce Springsteen|
|Fast Car||Tracy Chapman|
|Jesse James||Woody Guthrie|
|Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)||Nancy Sinatra|
|I Can't Drive 55||Sammy Hagar|
|Tired Eyes||Neil Young|
|Only Sixteen||Dr. Hook|
|Mack The Knife||Bobby Darin|
|Back On The Chain Gang||The Pretenders|
|A View To A Kill||Duran Duran|
|1952 Vincent Black Lightning||Richard Thompson|
|I Stole Your Love||Kiss|
|Hot Rod Lincoln||Asleep At The Wheel|
|Radar Gun||The Bottle Rockets|
|Highway Patrol||Junior Brown|
|The Night The Lights Went Out In GA||Vicki Lawrence|
|Fuck Tha Police||N.W.A.|
|Leader of the Pack||The Shangri Las|
|Frank And Jesse James||Warren Zevon|
|Down On The Corner||Creedence Clearwater Revival|
Friday, December 7, 2012
- A: "Very often." Q: "How many times did this judge have sex in his chambers with a party that was appearing in a case he was deciding?" LeDuff: Judge Wade McCree strike two - Fox 2 News Headlines
- At least Judge Wade was actually getting his groove on. This sex-crimes prosecutor just thought he was. Steve Giardini's Sex Crime Charges Dismissed Due To Old State Laws | WKRG
- "It's a sticky wicket for Obama." The Feds are plotting ways to deny citizens in Colorado and Washington their sticky bud. Marijuana Initiatives in 2 States Set Federal Officials Scrambling - NYTimes.com
- Here's a topic we never covered back in my Ethics class twenty years ago. New Orleans U.S. attorney resigns amid scandal over anonymous online postings - The Washington Post
- The first of many lawsuits against the Revenge Porn King. Courthouse News Service
- "Houston, we have a problem." Houston Police Investigated For Alleged Excessive Force And Shootings Of Unarmed Individuals
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
- You can run, but you can't hide. Fmr. Maine prosecutor arrested in ABQ
- Maybe "Men, Women and Transgender Working" wouldn't fit on the sign? Builders forced to stop construction until 'sexist' Men Working signs removed | Mail Online
- "First, do no harm." Medical license suspended for doctor involved in fatal DWI crash - The Santa Fe New Mexican
- A: 69. Q: "How old is the Illinois judge accused of viewing computer porn in chambers?" Illinois Judge Facing Disciplinary Action over Viewing Porn at Work Admits Longtime Addiction - ABA Journal
- Countdown to first Papal selfie 10, 9, 8, ... Pope Starts Personal Twitter Account - NYTimes.com
Friday, November 30, 2012
- This tennis ref is glad the DA called her case "out." Woodland Hills tennis official's charge of killing husband dropped - San Jose Mercury News
- I've known plenty of estranged wives in my career, not many of them would give their ex a nickel, much less a $3 million dollar loan to settle a civil rape case. Ah the French. Dominique Strauss-Kahn to pay New York maid $6 million - Telegraph
- The NYT has come out with their annual list of the best books of the year. Once again I have read exactly zero of them. 10 Best Books of 2012 - NYTimes.com
- A: 2. Q: "How many football seasons will that Alabama fan who "tea bagged" the passed out LSU fan miss because he's in prison?" Alabama fan in post-BCS Championship Game assault of LSU fan gets two years in prison | Dr. Saturday - Yahoo! Sports
- Pat Robertson, Champion of....Science? Pat Robertson: “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children” | SciGuy | a Chron.com blog
- Guess this Connecticut cop was having a hard time making ends meet on a measly $112,000 a year salary. Trooper Accused of Stealing from Victim of Fatal Crash | NBC Connecticut
- It's nice to see conservatives getting back to being, you know, conservative. Whatever happened to the right to be left alone? | Fox News
A little excitement here in the City by the Bay this week. A local food blogger, Sonya Yu, was sick and tired of a package thief stealing from the front porches in her neighborhood while the cops did nothing.
So she took matters into her own hands and began plotting.
First she went to REI and bought a can of bear spray. This chemical repellant would not only incapacitate her prey but would also have the advantage of humiliating the thief with an orange dye, leaving him painted up like a drunken Longhorn frat boy at DKR stadium. Nothing good comes in orange.
Next, she set up a bait package to tempt the thief to come out of the shadows. She took her position from a second story balcony, as her diabolical plot began to unfold.
Filled with adrenalin and the excitement of finally confronting her nemises, she did what any crime fighter does while ticking down the seconds until the fight. She began writing out her wedding vows. Because nothing says "Honey, I've got your back for life" quite like a weaponized woman setting a trap for a criminal on your front porch.
Minutes later the mouse came for the cheese. Sonya unloads a half-can of bear spray on his sorry ass, and then takes time to tweet about it before giving chase:
And give chase she did, grabbing her bokken (you know, the wooden sword samurais train with) she took after the would-be package thief, all while live tweeting the narrative.
That's right, the police were "cracking up," their nervous laughter concealing utter humiliation that citizens have to sort to bear spray and swords to do the job the cops are paid to do.
Sonya didn't escape the encounter unscathed. She too was incapacitated by "blow back" from the chemical repellant.
At this point, having caught the neighborhood's most-wanted criminal, all while wrting wedding vows and live tweeting her adventures - and having been wounded in the process - most women would head for the tub with a bottle of Chardonnay and call it a day. Not our little vigilante.
She continued with her plans to host a dinner party. What was on the menu? Blow-torched prime rib and fried Brussels sprouts.
Sonya's soon-to-be husband better keep things in line. This woman has weapons and she's not afraid to use them.
Bear spray brings down an alleged burglar in Noe Valley | Crime Scene | an SFGate.com blog
Thursday, November 29, 2012
- Texas Court of Appeals Judge can run, but he can't hide. Arrest warrant out for judge over speeding ticket - Houston Chronicle
- Finally Congress does something about privacy. Senate panel approves bill requiring police to get a warrant to read emails | Fox News
- Another Veteran's Court success story. When drug, alcohol and legal problems converge, Veterans Treatment Court helps vets sort things out » Evansville Courier & Press
- Is Hell freezing over? First Gotham goes an entire day without a murder, and now there's photographic proof of an NYPD cop doing something nice. NYPD Cop's Gift of Boots to Homeless Man Goes Viral
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Those that knew him remember his great sense of humor and that double-barreled laugh that could set off car alarms two blocks away. Citizens that he encountered on the job respected him for treating them as human beings- not as the pigeonholed labels of "victim," "suspect," "witness," or, gasp, "defense attorney."
I woke up reminded of the story of how I first met Tom, way back when I lived in TorC and had a public defender contract in Sierra and Dona Ana Counties. I did a witness interview with him down in Las Cruces on some nothing case, the details of which have long faded from memory. About three weeks later I'm in my office in TorC and he gives me a call.
"Counselor," he said (in all the years after, he always referred to me as "Counselor," using the title in a respectful way, not with the sarcastic tone used by so many other cops), "do you represent Delbert So-and-so?"
"I do." I had Delbert on some minor charge up in Sierra County.
"Well I just stopped him in the Kmart parking lot. He wasn't really doing anything and I was about to let him go but Dispatch just came back with a warrant out of TorC."
That technically wasn't my case, it was something out of Muni Court but I was aware of it. I told Tom that.
"Well he says the warrant is for a failure to return some videotapes to the movie store. Is that true?"
"They really file criminal charges for something like that up there?"
"They do. Gotta keep the local merchants happy."
"I'll be damned. Never heard of such a thing." He paused. "Here's the deal, technically I'm supposed to arrest him on this warrant, but between you and me and the fence post, I didn't really have any reasonable suspicion to stop him in the first place. He just seemed kind of jumpy when he saw me, and I guess I'd be jumpy too if I knew I had a warrant for not taking movies back on time. If I arrest him now, he'll sit down here at the jail [a real hell-hole back then - in the basement of the old County Court building on Amador] for a week before Sierra comes down to get him. I just don't feel right about that."
Another pause. I couldn't really ask that he let my client go, a warrant is a warrant after all.
"Tell you what I'm going to do. I'm bothered by the fact that I didn't have reasonable suspicion to call him over to my car in the first place, so I'm going to let him go. I'll tell him he needs to get his ass up to your office by the end of business today so you folks can get this straightened out. Sound fair to you Counselor?"
"It does. Thank you Officer England."
"Failure to return movies, you've got to be kidding me," he closed with that booming laugh.
And that's just how Tom was. RIP my friend.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Four men sue New Jersey organization over 'gay conversion therapy' - U.S. News
The War on Drugs seems to be ending with a whimper, not a bang. But it is ending. Indiana police leader says he'd legalize marijuana - SFGate
"The guy in the other courtroom's lawyer was so bad, he got us both convicted!" Behavior of Drew Peterson Lawyers Targeted in Unsuccessful Motion for New Trial in Neighboring Case - ABA Journal
A: 34,000. Q: "How many cases from a crime lab in Massachusetts will have to be hand reviewed due to the criminal incompetence of the lab supervisor?" Mass. gov. orders chemist's cases reviewed - KansasCity.com
As long as you're going to jail, might as well have some company. DWI arrests involve same vehicle - The St. Tammany News: News
New York City went one whole day without a single murder. Props Big Apple! NYC crime news update: the impossible occurs - National Criminal Profiles | Examiner.com
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Dominick Pelletier answered a help-wanted ad for the FBI and after sailing through the interview process, sat down for the polygraph. He didn't do so well, but he had a good explanation: all the kiddie porn on his home computer was making him uncomfortable. The FBI, known for its willingness to help a brother out, sent agents over to his house with a warrant to clear up any misunderstanding. One computer scan and 600 images later, Pelletier found out that not getting the FBI gig was the least of his worries. He was charged in federal court with possession of child pornography.
Pelletier's attorney moved to suppress the evidence because the FBI guys failed to Mirandize Pelletier before he sat down for the pre-employment polygraph. The district judge denied the motion so Pelletier appealed to the Seventh Circuit. The Court of Appeals, not surprisingly, found that Miranda warnings are not required during job interviews with law enforcement.
Judge Kanne's introduction to the opinion is classic:
Federal investigative agents will tell you that some cases are hard to solve. Some cases require years of effort—chasing down false leads and reigning in flighty witnesses. Others require painstaking scientific analysis, or weeks of poring over financial records for a hidden clue. And some cases are never solved at all—the right witness never comes forward, the right lead never pans out, or the right clue never turns up.
This is not one of those cases. The defendant, Dominick Pelletier, admitted during a job interview with the FBI that he had pornographic pictures of children on his home computer. Instead of joining the FBI's vaunted ranks, Pelletier was indicted for one count of possession of child pornography. After the district court denied two of his motions to suppress, Pelletier entered a conditional guilty plea and reserved the right to appeal the denial of the suppression motions. Finding no error, we affirm.
- "Don't record me Bro!" The US Supreme Court refuses to consider the appeal of a Second Circuit opinion striking down parts of an Illinois statute which made it a felony to record police officers performing their duties in public. Chicago Tribune - Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois
- "Back to the Future." Congress to consider updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to provide protection for cell phone users. Someone better get on the CB and warn Sen. McCain to hide his beeper. Legality of Warrantless Cellphone Searches Goes to Courts and Legislatures - NYTimes.com
- "The drones are coming." The 60 member "drone caucus" of the House of Representatives is considering a flood of applications to open up the skies for more drone usage. I'm sure they won't be influenced by the $8 billion in campaign contributions they have received from drone companies. Drone makers push Congress to open skies to surveillance - Houston Chronicle
- A: 25. Q: "How many people can your police department shoot before drawing the attention of the Feds?" US Justice to launch probe into Albuquerque police - SFGate
- "Bar cards? We don't need no stinkin' bar cards!" Defense in Rilya Wilson trial asks for mistrial based on prosecutor’s standing with Florida Bar - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com
Monday, November 26, 2012
Said the chief jail administrator:
We have a lot of offenders here that really don't pose that much of a threat to public safety," said jail chief Ramon Rustin. "Those individuals have a bunch of issues; substance abuse issues, alcohol issues. They're petty crime type offenders."Unfortunately here in Dona Ana County, no such ankle bracelet program exists. Former DA - now Governor - Susana Martinez somehow persuaded local authorities to prohibit such a program.
Given that the majority of people held on local charges in DA County are in for minor crimes and misdemeanors, isn't it time we considered a more enlightened (and cost-beneficial) approach to justice?
Bernalillo County plans to release prisoners | KOB.com
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
While assaults upon the Fourth Amendment and article I, § 9 of the United States and Texas Constitutions regularly occur, the one rebuffed by the trial court here is sustained. A cell phone is not a pair of pants.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Scandals Call Into Question Crime Labs' Oversight | WBUR & NPR
"We seem to believe in this country that forensic work is the property of the police department and the district attorneys, and it should not be. If it's science, that should be done by independent scientists," Schechter says.
Friday, November 16, 2012
“protect” [pruh-tekt] verb (used with object): to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger.
“serve” [surv] verb (used with object): to be in the service of; work for; to be useful or of service to; help.
Homeowner tasered by police as he fought fire spreading from house next door