- 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
Friday, November 30, 2012
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