Saturday, February 18, 2017

FEDERAL

1.  After being called on by the President, a reporter from an obscure Jewish publication asked a long two-part question and Trump took offense.  For reporters, this is not unusual and the reporter was not offensive or critical. After Trump answered the first part of his question, the reporter asked a follow up.  This was not unusual and the question was not critical or offensive. Trump then delivered a lecture and told the reporter to "sit down"   I've been watching new conferences for decades and have never seen a President be so rude to a reporter.  This wasn't even a reporter for the New York Times or Washington Post. This is classic Trump.  Whenever he's asked a question that challenges or irks him, rather than address the issue, he sidetracks to irrelevancies like criticizing the press and falsely accusing  them of lying.  One of his advisors told the press to "shut up.
 Where did they find this President-- an anger management class?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/us/politics/trump-press-conference-jake-turx.html?_r=0

2.  Trump's cabinet appointments and first preliminary budget reveals a well know principle of politics.  Reward your friends, punish your enemies.  Environmentalists, teachers unions, consumer protection, public housing, civil rights groups and others found their cabinet posts filled by people with clear records opposing those who were 'enemies' during the campaign.  For instance, the Education secretary had never been to public shoot and didn't send her children to one.  She was a strong supporter of charter schools which are opposed by public education unions and lobby groups.  Civil rights groups opposed the attorney general nominee.  I can't think of a single cabined appointee who knew much about their agencies or cared about its traditional mission.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/01/19/donald-trump-has-assembled-the-worst-cabinet-in-american-history/?utm_term=.dc98ad528e71

The budget was not totally about rewarding and punishing, but the trend was clear.

3.  The Trump administration is considering use of the National Guard to help with mass roundups and deportations.  Makes sense given the millions of people  Trump wants to roundup and deport. When he sees even this is inadequate will he call out the troops?  Use if the military for civilian law enforcement is probably illegal, and we have had a long tradition of keeping the military out of civil affairs except in cases of dire emergency.  The administration denied it--it's usual response to leaks, no matter how apparently reliable. (Remember, for instance, the Flint-lying case?)
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-national-guard-immigration-20170217-story.html

4.  The Russian contacts/National Security Advisor Flynn scandal

For a detailed and accurate account see
http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2017/02/15/trumps-russia-problem-now-americas-problem-going-away

CRIME

1.  Almost Dylan Roof deja vu'.  "
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A white supremacist with felony convictions in South Carolina bought a gun from an undercover FBI agent, telling the agent he planned an attack in "the spirit of Dylann Roof," authorities said Thursday.
Benjamin McDowell, 29, was arrested in Myrtle Beach shortly after buying the .40-caliber Glock and ammunition for $109 from the agent who picked him up at his mother's house, then took him to his grandfather's house to get the money, FBI agent Grant Lowe wrote in an affidavit.
McDowell didn't have a specific target in mind, once telling the undercover agent he might just shoot at a party of black people, Lowe wrote." . .

See some of the suspect's Facebook posts at the article., which also mentions Jews. These folks may also be Christian supremacists.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/3fee430a663d4bdb8596ac8c66107e3d/fbi-white-felon-bought-gun-dylan-roof-style-attack

 The suspect mentions Yahweh which is a term used by some Jews and some Christians.
And some people say the Southern Poverty Law Center makes up all this stuff about violent white supremacists.

COURTS (Two Very Hot Issues)

1.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld on of California's most restrictive  gun control provisions. California, D.C., New York and Chicago have perhaps the nation's most draconian gun laws. ) The law gave Calif. officials almost unlimited discretion to deny permits to otherwise qualified applicant who wanted a concealed carry permit.  Such carrying is allowed only with such permits.

"Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block California's limits on concealed carry permit holders in a brief filed with eight other governors.
"The question presented is whether the State of California can single out one group of disfavored citizens--namely, gun owners--and impose unique burdens on their fundamental rights," the brief reads. "Indeed, no other group of private citizens has to prove--to the satisfaction of a government official vested with unreviewable and boundless discretion--that they really need to exercise their fundamental constitutional freedoms."
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-politics/2017/02/17/gov-greg-abbott-wants-supreme-court-block-california-gun-limits

all parts except section IV, by Judge Bea, and by Judge

N.R. Smith as to all parts except section II.B, stated that in

the context of present-day California law, the defendant

counties’ limited licensing of the right to carry concealed

firearms is tantamount to a total ban on the right of an

ordinary citizen to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.

Thus, plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights have been

violated." 

See opinions at
https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/06/09/10-56971.pdf


I agree with Abbott.  This in unconstitutional under a number of precedents.
The Supreme Court really needs to take this case and some others on the Second Amendment to provide guidance for lower courts and public officials.

2.  - "The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a florist who refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state's antidiscrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs."  Although some things about the decision trouble me, I agree with it.  Freedom of religion is not an absolute bar on government action, and should not be used to stymie civil rights and other legislantion."  The ruling is consistent with a majority of the court rulings on this and similar issues.

From a Fox News station,
http://www.fox34.com/story/34523147/washington-court-rules-against-florist-in-gay-wedding-case

See opinion here.
http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ArlenesFlowersWSCopinion.pdf

"The case is one of several involving Christian wedding vendors that have emerged in recent years amid a dramatic expansion of gay rights. Social conservatives have argued that the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the proliferation of state and local laws barring discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation, have led to a trampling of religious liberties. They contend that the government should not be forcing these vendors to contribute their artistic talents to same-sex ceremonies, which they oppose on religious grounds, and that the vendors might end up having to abandon their profession to avoid violating their religious beliefs.
But as in Washington, courts have largely sided with the couples and government officials who have called their actions unlawful discrimination"

STATE, CITY AND LOCAL


1.  If you've followed politics in very large cities it doesn't take long to realize who City Hall REALLY listens to.  Big real estate, financing, and construction.  There are job and tax benefits, but too often serious needs go wanting (e.g. crime, pensions,water, animal control, homeless, etc.)  Here in Dallas, the primary effort regarding the homeless is to chase them out of their tent cities to new tent cities in some other parts of the city.  Many places, the road are awful.  The city only got serious about the dog problem after a woman was killed by roaming dogs.  The list of 'let's pretends' goes on.

Here's an example, in 2016, $26.5 million of tax exempt municipal bonds were sold for devlopemnent of two privately owned large buildings.  The feds are now investigating the deals.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/downtown-dallas/2017/02/16/irs-eyes-whether-hotel-deal-aided-developer-public-experts-say

2.   "Systemic racism" going back decades is at the core of problems that caused a lead-contaminated water crisis in the majority black city of Flint, according to a Michigan Civil Rights Commission report issued Friday.
The report says the commission did not unearth any civil rights law violations and that nobody "intended to poison Flint." But the 130-page report based on the testimony of more than 100 residents, experts and government and community leaders at public hearings and other meetings last year concludes that decisions would have been different had they concerned the state's wealthier, predominantly white communities." . .
The lack of political clout left the residents with nowhere to turn, no way to have their voices heard."
The lack of political clout left the residents with nowhere to turn, no way to have their voices heard." 
http://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article133403234.html

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article133403234.html#storylink=cpy


This is a problem in many states.  If you are poor, you have little political clout,  Vested interests and the wealthy get most of the legislative attention and programs.  This appears to be much more prevalent in Republican- dominate areas.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article133403234.html#storylink=cpy






Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article133403234.html#storylink=cpy

NEW FORMAT, THANKS

With my teaching at Richland college and income tax time coming up, I haven't been able to get to the blog as frequently as I would like.  To deal with this, we will try a new format.  Groups of post will be put together in one entry according to categories, e.g., Courts, Federal Government, State Government.   There will also be an OT topic for off-topic information.
Let me know if you like it.

In this post-truth and false news era, I can assure you I try to use only well recognized resources.  If I have any doubt about the source is cross-chek it.  They may have a bias, but no one can accuse them of lying.  I often try to use Republican or conservative sources.  Further I am not always a critic.  I praised Trump's choice for the Supreme Court and said that barring some dirt being revealed, the only objections to him can be political.  However, I have high standards for those in high public office.  I made a number of posts critical of Obama.  I noted that I had not voted for either Clinton or Trump.  If she had won, I'd be after her.  The problem is that Trump is a never-ending display of bad temperament, a disregard for the truth, and bad policy choices and personnel choices. His press chief and spokespeople are jokes. It's like shooting fish in pond with a 10 or 12 gauge.

 Check me out at a reliable fact-check website. Check out sites that, like the two below, also went after Obama and Clinton when they told Whoppers Two of the most balanced and reliable are

http://www.factcheck.org/  and

http://www.politifact.com/  (won a Pulitzer Prize)

I strongly suggest you "bookmark" or save these links and go there first.  You'll save a lot of time.

Thanks to all who have posted. I try to respond to all posts.  I hope the new year is starting off well for everyone!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

4 BILLION Dollar bail set

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the amount needed to make bail.  $4Billion! This is a U.S. record.
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/record-breaking-4-billion-bond-set-for-killeen-murder-suspect/406433155
Yes, that's billion with a B.  What is this guy a billionaire or a millionaire?  Not even close.  This is ridiculous and the  judge should be embarrassed. I'm not saying he should be released.  This amount is not  a violation of the Eight Amendment provision banning 'excessive bail."  Why? That provision only applies against the federal government.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excessive_Bail_Clause




GORUSCH REBUKES TRUMP, TRUMP RESPONDS

Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court called Trump's remarks about the federal courts that halted his immigration orders "disheartening" and "demoralizing".  Gorsuch made the comment to a Democratic Senator.
"President Donald Trump falsely claimed a Democratic senator “misrepresents” a conversation that the senator had with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. In fact, Gorsuch’s spokesman confirmed the senator’s account."
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/02/trumps-baffling-tweet-on-gorsuch/
Will Gorsuch's nomination be pulled?  Stay tuned.

Not many other Republicans are standing up to Trump for his many false and/or disrespectful tweets and comments.  John McLain and Mitch McConnel are an exception.  See this on equating Russian and the U.S. "killing." http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congress-republicans-trump-comments-putin-us-killers/

Saturday, February 04, 2017

VICTIM ROBBED OF $400,000 IN JEWELRY IN HOTEL ROOM

Guess who was the victim.  An unfortunate heiress, a jewelry executive?  Nope! An NFL Player who invited a woman back to his room and then drank a drink she made for him.  Read the story below.  As in politics, where do they find these people?  As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a .  .  ."
http://www.complex.com/sports/2013/03/an-nfl-player-was-robbed-of-400000-worth-of-jewelry-on-sunday-night-after-bringing-a-woman-back-to-his-hotel-room-in-miami

IMHO: BAYLOR SACRIFICED ITS FEMALE STUDENTS AT THE ALTAR OF THE FOOTBALL TEAM

Baylor claims to be a conservative Christian school. If so, why, IMHO, were so many female students sacrificed at the altar of the football team?   The human capacity of denial and hypocrisy (e.g. the defense of slavery)is nothing short of amazing for a species that claims to be capable of rationality.  Although Baylor is a private school, freedom of religion claims will not save it.  Fortunately, there will be a federal investigation for violations of federal law.  Think you've seen all the dirt by now?  Just wait.
See this article below written by sport writer.
http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/baylorbears/2017/02/03/ncaa-death-penalty-hurt-mostly-innocent-baylor-deserves-punishment

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

TRUmp AND TRUth


Here's the best short analysis of what is, our first post-truth President.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/opinion/sunday/can-donald-trump-handle-the-truth.html

Some  quotes therefrom. [by blogger]:
"Consider his response to ABC’s David Muir, who challenged him to back up his repeated, and repeatedly debunked, claim that millions of people voted illegally — which he insists is the reason he lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. Rather than admitting he had no evidence, Mr. Trump said: “You know what’s important? Millions of people agree with me when I say that.” In other words, facts aren’t important; blind trust in a leader is."

Mr. Trump’s allergy to empirical facts leads naturally to his attacks on the media, whose job it is to report accurately and to hold politicians to account for the things they say and do — goals that are anathema to a huckster. On Thursday, one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, Stephen Bannon, told The New York Times that the “elite media” is “the opposition party” and should “keep its mouth shut.” Congressional Republicans are getting on board, too: Last week, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said it was “better to get your news directly from the president. In fact it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”. . . [You can always rely on Texas Republicans to fall in line with whatever conservative propaganda is going around]

"This attitude is, of course, all too familiar to the citizens of authoritarian regimes around the world — from China to Russia to Turkey to Egypt — where leaders survive by intimidating or imprisoning journalists, writers and artists, or anyone who dares to challenge the “truth” and “information” generated by the regime. Mr. Trump can engage in intimidation through his Twitter and Facebook accounts alone, where he has a direct line to tens of millions of Americans.
A closed disinformation loop may not seem like a big deal when the dispute is over crowd size, but the stakes will soon be far higher. Mr. Trump’s foremost biographer, the investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, who died this month, said in December that “there’s no check on his power except reality.” The nation, and the world, are about to find out if that’s right."
 
Fortunately, no President can control the press in American as long as there is serious faithfulness to the First Amendment.  Trump cannot seduce all to enter his alternative facts world.  He can probably get by with seducing his "true believer" hero worshippers who put him in office.

GORSUCH A GREAT GRAB, THE REST ARE GREAT GAFFES

Neil Gorsuch is extremely well qualified to be on the Supreme Court.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gorsuch

He is clearly much more qualified than one of Obama's appointments,
Elena Kagan, who had no prior judicial experience at all.

Unless some dirt is dug up, the opposition will only have ideological grounds to object.  This is how the game is played.  Republican Presidents nominate Republicans, and Democratic Presidents nominate Democrats for the Court.  It's clearly been that way for decades.

This is the only high level appointment by Trump I can feel comfortable about.  A former military general like James Mattis would seem to be a good fit for Secretary of Defense.  However, appointing former military officers may threaten civilian control of the military.  Both Houses of Congress had to waive the traditional ban on ex-military officers serving as Secy. of Defense.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/james-mattis-defense-secretary-waiver-233611

The  rest of his appointees haven't got a clue about the office they will hold or agency they will be heading.  The Washington posts names this crew the "worst ever."  See why at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/01/19/donald-trump-has-assembled-the-worst-cabinet-in-american-history/?utm_term=.f1538bcd8fcf

U.S. EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Pres. Trump has issued a number of controversial executive orders. What are they? Where does the President get authority to do so. See this article from Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order

EFFECT OF TEXAS' ABORTION LAW


"The number of drug-induced abortions in Texas plummeted in the first full year after the state's strict 2013 abortion law took effect, according to statistics released Thursday by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The overall number of Texas abortions — which also includes surgical abortions performed in the state and on Texas women out of state — dropped significantly, the agency found.
The 2014 Texas data was released days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 2013 abortion restrictions as unconstitutional. In a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned provisions of House Bill 2 that required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like ambulatory surgical center standards and forced doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinics."

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/06/30/sharp-drop-abortions-followed-texas-restrictions/

Did the bill cut back on abortions by Texans or did those Texans go to other states?  Certainly, women from relatively affluent families could do this.  Those from poor families might not be able to afford it.  Texas' law just prevents poor females from getting abortions.  More affluent Texans need only go out of state.  The effect of the law falls most heavily-- on the poor.  These are probably the individuals with the least resources to care for their children. How many  families of legislators can afford to send a female out of state for an abortion.  Probably over 90%.  The effect of the moralizing falls almost exclusively on the poor.

NEW DNA TECHNIQUE--FAMILY DNA

This new process may help solve cases that cannot be solved by current DNA testing.
http://gulfnews.com/news/americas/usa/us-elections-2016/family-dna-searches-seen-as-crime-solving-tool-and-intrusion-on-rights-1.1969260

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IMHO,TEXAS LEGISLATOR GOES TOO FAR

Where to they find these people?  The legislature has committees that do investigating. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/texas-muslim-community.html

COP'S YOUNG DAUGHTER TRAGICALLY KILLED IN ACCIDENT WITH HIS PERSONAL REVOLVER



“A Stratford police officer has been suspended without pay for leaving a loaded and unsecured .357 revolver in reach of his 8-year-old daughter, who was fatally shot New Year’s Eve at the family’s home, authorities said Friday.

Kenneth Righter, 46, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a disorderly-persons offense called “storage of firearms if minors may have access.” The gun, a personal weapon of Righter’s, was left on a shelf and was accessible to three children, including Sailor Lane Righter, who died, and her brothers, 14 and 17, authorities said.

 

“The Camden County [NJ] Prosecutor’s Office, which is leading the investigation, did not say whether Sailor or another family member fired the gun, but has said that only family members were home at the time. Kenneth Righter, who is paid $87,000 a year as a Stratford officer, was not home at the time of the shooting.

Righter's attorney, Dennis Wixted, said Friday the charges have added to the family's stress and sadness over Sailor's loss.

"The entire Righter family is devastated," Wixted said. He declined to comment on details of the case.

A 911 call from the Righter family's house on Union Avenue came around 1:50 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

"We need help now," one of Sailor's siblings told a dispatcher, according to a recording of the call provided by county officials. The sibling did not give the dispatcher his name.

"My mom just went upstairs and found her, and she told me to call 911," he said. "She's not breathing."

He then told the dispatcher the family was headed to the hospital.

Sailor was pronounced dead at Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford at 2:15 p.m., authorities said. Her mother brought her there.

Kenneth Righter became a Stratford police officer in 2004, according to the state Attorney General's Office. He passed firearms training several times in recent years, including last year, when he scored 100 percent with his personal revolver, according to qualification forms obtained through a public records request. That is the same weapon that authorities said killed Sailor.

Stratford's police department has guidelines on keeping a weapon at home.”

“Each full-time member of this police department shall be issued a secure gun-locking device, which without exception shall be utilized each day,” the guidelines state, adding, “Officers are encouraged to purchase a safe to further safeguard weapons.”

The department has 16 officers, including supervisors, according to its website.

Police Chief Ronald Morello said in a statement Friday that it is general policy to suspend any employees charged with an indictable crime. He said he could not comment on the investigation by the Prosecutor's Office. "
This is both tragic and inexcusable.

 

POLICE CHIEF APOLOGIZES FOR LYNCHING 77 YEARS AGO

"LaGRANGE, Ga. — Some people here had never heard about the lynching of Austin Callaway — about how, almost 77 years ago, he was dragged out of a jail cell by a band of masked white men, then shot and left for dead.
Some people never forgot.
But on Thursday evening, the fatal cruelties inflicted upon Mr. Callaway — long obscured by time, fear, professional malfeasance and a reluctance to investigate the sins of the past — were acknowledged in this city of 31,000 people when LaGrange’s police chief, Louis M. Dekmar, who is white, issued a rare apology for a Southern lynching.
“I sincerely regret and denounce the role our Police Department played in Austin’s lynching, both through our action and our inaction,” Chief Dekmar told a crowd at a traditionally African-American church. “And for that, I’m profoundly sorry. It should never have happened.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/lagrange-georgia-lynching-apology.html

Thursday, January 26, 2017

OFFICERS CLEARED IN SHOOTING OF SUSPECT--VALID SELF DEFENSE

See this post on my substantive criminal law blog.

http://substativecriminallawissues.blogspot.com/2017/01/prosecutor-finds-self-defense.html

'ALTERNATIVE' FACTS--A DANGEROUS CONCEPT


Post-truth and the Trump administration have entered a new phase.  "Alternative truth" is the latest abomination of rational thinking.

Here's two views of the term.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/22/media/alternative-facts-donald-trump/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/suffer-the-children/201701/the-historical-origin-alternative-facts

The term is reminiscent of an idea from George Orwell's book 1984.

https://qz.com/894420/george-orwells-1984-and-trump-key-concepts-that-might-explain-why-1984-is-the-best-selling-book-on-amazon-in-the-age-of-trump/


Here's the Press Secretary's non-sequitur defense of the concept.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/25/spicer-compares-alternative-facts-to-getting-different-weather-reports.html

Two of Trumps favorite leaders are Russian dictator V. Putin and Israel's hard-liner Netanyahu.  Netanyahu has thumbed his nose at the U.N., international law and complaints about violating the human rights of Palestinians--on whose land the Israeli's are building settlement for Jewish Israelis. Anyone who truly cares about freedom of speech and press, honest government and the future of freedom and democracy should be concerned.

Hopefully, the Republicans, who dominate both houses of Congress will  or say something about these abominations.

VOTER FRAUD AND POTUS


Pointing out the POTUS' many 'errors' (perhaps delusions) will become a cottage and national industry. As expected, his staff is falling in line.  The POTUS' and his press secretary's credibility is rapidly disappearing. All politicians have this problem. Trump's defenders use this argument.  However, Trump outpaces just about every policitian in his quantity of such behavior.  I hope the public expects more from the POTUS than from ordinary politicians.
Here's the latest

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trumps-bogus-voter-fraud-claims-revisited/

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/jan/26/fact-checking-what-donald-trump-got-wrong-his-abc-/

People wrongly registering is not the same as wrongly voting.  For instance, is a person who is registered in two states going to travel to one of these from his current location.  I'm probably registered to vote in 2 states.  I promise you I  only voted once (for neither Trump nor Clinton).  If the fraud were as massive as claimed, wouldn't the Republican poll watchers across the nation been filing thousands of complaints/reports.

As long as Trump is President people need t get familiar with these two highly respected and balanced web sites.

Will Trump have any credibility with foreign leaders.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Licensed Concealed Carriers subject to stop and frisk.


Cops Can Frisk Anyone Armed, Regardless of Concealed Carry Permits By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on January 25, 2017 5:20 AM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday, in an en banc decision, that police are justified in frisking individuals with concealed firearms, regardless of whether that individual could have a concealed carry permit or not. The fact that someone may have a concealed carry permit does not make it unreasonable for an officer to search them, "for the officer's protection and the safety of everyone at the scene," the Fourth ruled. The decision, U.S. v. Robinson, is in tension with a Sixth Circuit opinion from 2015 and could result in the Supreme Court taking up this developing circuit split. Concealed Carry Permits Are Inconsequential, Fourth Rules The case arose after police stopped two men in Ranson, West Virginia, after getting a tip that one of them had loaded a firearm and slipped it into his pocket. During the stop, the police frisked Shaquille Robinson, found a gun, and arrested him for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Robinson argued that the officers' search violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, as the officers had "no articulable facts demonstrating that he was dangerous since, as far as the officers knew, the state could have issued him a permit to carry a concealed firearm." That is, that concealing a firearm alone doesn't render one dangerous, and thus does not justify a subsequent Terry stop and frisk. Under Terry v. Ohio, officers may stop and frisk someone when they reasonably suspect "that the person apprehended is committing or has committed a criminal offense." Since it's possible for the concealed weapon to be legal, Robinson argued, his conduct was "seemingly innocent" and thus didn't justify the search. The Fourth Circuit rejected that argument, concluding that "an officer who makes a lawful traffic stop and who has a reasonable suspicion that one of the automobile's occupants is armed may frisk that individual for the officer's protection and the safety of everyone on the scene." The ability to carry a concealed firearm legally is "inconsequential," the Fourth explained: The danger justifying a protective frisk arises from the combination of a forced police encounter and the presence of a weapon, not from any illegality of the weapon's possession. Dissent Notes Circuit Split The dissent, written by Judge Pamela Harris and joined by three others, argues that, while concealed weapons were once "hallmarks of criminal activity," they can no longer be treated as such, "at least in states like West Virginia," where concealed carry permits make concealed weapons potentially legal. Where such conduct is legal, "there is no reason to think that a person carrying or concealing a weapon during a traffic stop ... is anything but a law-abiding citizen who poses no threat to authorities." That is, the dissent notes, similar to the position taken by the Sixth Circuit. In 2015's Northrup v. City of Toledo Police Dep't, the Sixth ruled that police could not conduct a Terry stop for open carriers, when the state law permits open carry. The Ohio legislature "has decided its citizens may be entrusted with firearms on public streets" and police have "no authority to disregard this." Not only does the majority's decision clash with the Sixth, the dissent argues, but it collapses Terry's "armed and dangerous" standard into one -- to be armed is to be dangerous. The dissent further contends that the majority's expansive reading of Terry will lead to increased racial profiling. There's no word yet whether Robinson will appeal to the Supreme Court, but some, including Texas Supreme Court justices and potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee Don Willett seems to think High Court review is likely: - See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/fourth_circuit/2017/01/cops-can-frisk-anyone-armed-regardless-of-concealed-carry-permits.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top#sthash.SwpK7m5p.dpuf

http://blogs.findlaw.com/fourth_circuit/2017/01/cops-can-frisk-anyone-armed-regardless-of-concealed-carry-permits.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

Saturday, January 21, 2017

ANOTHER VIEW OF WHITE V. PAULY, U.S. SUPREME COURT

CASE SUMMARIES
United States Supreme Court
White v. Pauly, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 5 (U.S. Jan. 9, 2017)
Two police officers went to Daniel Pauly’s house to investigate a road-rage incident that had occurred earlier that night. The officers made verbal contact with Daniel Pauly and his brother, Samuel, who remained inside the house. A third officer, Ray White, arrived at Pauly’s house several minutes later. As Officer White approached the house, someone from inside yelled, "We have guns," and then Daniel Pauly stepped out the back door and fired two shotgun blasts. A few seconds later, Samuel Pauly opened a window and pointed a handgun in Officer White’s direction. Officer White shot and killed Samuel Pauly.
Pauly’s estate filed a lawsuit against the officers, claiming the officers violated the Fourth Amendment by using excessive force against him.


The District Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the officers qualified immunity. The officers appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

The Court, which decided the case without oral arguments from the parties, vacated the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ judgment and remanded the case.
First, the court noted that qualified immunity is appropriate when an officer’s conduct does not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional right of which a reasonable person would have known. Qualified immunity was designed to protect "all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law." Second, the court reiterated that "clearly established law" should not be defined "at a high level of generality," but instead it must be "particularized" to the facts of the case. Third, the Court stated that the lower court failed to identify a case where an officer acting under similar circumstances as Officer White was held to have violated the Fourth Amendment. Instead, the Court found that the lower court relied upon Graham v. Connor, Tennessee v. Garner, and other use of force cases, which only outline excessive force principles at a general level. The court added that this was not a case where it was obvious that there was a violation of clearly established law under Garner and Graham. Finally, the court found that Officer White arrived to scene late, and it was not clearly established that the Fourth Amendment requires an officer to second-guess the earlier steps already taken by fellow officers in situations like the one Officer White faced here.


While the Court vacated the Tenth Circuit’s judgment, the Court recognized that Pauly’s estate could still prevail after the case was remanded. Specifically, the Court commented that Pauly’s estate could claim that Officer White witnessed deficient performance by the other officers and should have realized that corrective action was necessary before he used deadly force. The Court took no position on this potential claim, as neither the District Court nor the Tenth Circuit had addressed the issue.

For the Court’s opinion: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-67_2c8f.pdf

Source:
1Informer17.pdf



*****

Friday, January 20, 2017

INNAUGRUAL ADDRESSES

As we await Trump's inaugural address, let us  reflect back on two of the greatest inaugural addresses, the two by Abraham Lincoln.

In polls of historians and political scientists, Lincoln is the President who most often comes out number 1.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States
 In terms of Presidential speakers of the 19th Century he ranks likewise.   His Gettysburg address is ranked by many as the best Presidential speech of all time.  The Klan, and many lost cause advocates hate Lincoln, but they are entitled to their opinions.


 I urge you to read his addresses.   They are masterpieces.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inauguration_of_Abraham_Lincoln

HIERARCHY, POLITICAL CHANGE, VOTING, ETC.


Every society is “‘socially stratified.”  Broadly viewed, the term goes beyond socioeconomic status, and includes status and other feature.  In the context here, this means that some categories of people are in control and are seen as superior to other categories of people.  Social stratifications includes hierarchies in which some categories of people are devalued and other are favored.  Some categories are entitled to control what others do.  Examples are India today with its caste system and South Africa under apartheid and blacks in the South under slavery and Jim Crow laws.

Hierarchies and stratification are justified by those who are advantaged.  It is in their interest to continue the status quo.  The status quo will be justified by a variety of arguments, including religious ones.  Even many in the disfavored categories accept their inferiority.  The hierarchy becomes, over time, a central feature of the society.  However, hierarchies are often challenged and those who benefit from it will often fight change.  Change does not come easy for some people, especially those with vested interests in the status quo.  With regard to blacks and whites in America, the term ‘white rage’ is used to describe the motivation for white supremacy and white resistance to measures to help the poor, who are disproportionately poor minorities. See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rage

Starting with Supreme Court decisions and federal civil rights laws, many whites, especially in the South resisted the challenges to white supremacy with hatred, if not violence.  This was especially noticeable with regard to desegregating public schools.

Another example is male domination over females. This has a long history in the U.S.and most, if not all countries.  Wives were viewed as the property of their husbands.  Women were seen as unfilt for many occupations.  They were forbidden to vote. Women were expected to marry and become sex and baby machines, maids, cooks and  for their husbands, and nannys for the man’s children.  Men were especially concerned about the sexuality of women.  Miscegenation was outlawed. Years ago, if a black man in the South was even suspected of raping a white woman, he would be lynched as soon aspossible. You can see this in the social structure in very conservative Jewish and Muslim cultures.  Men wanted to control the sexuality and reproduction of their wives.  This is one of the reasons, but not the only reason,  for opposition to abortion.  It gives women control of their fertility. The sexual double-standard allowed men to be promiscuous but women were not allowed.

Conservatives, who usually vote Republican value tradition and order and dislike change.  They are generally opposed changes in hierarchical relationships, on either the legal or social level. (e.g. opposition to abortion, equal rights for women constitutional amendment, voting rights laws which protect minorities, affirmative action).  Liberals tend to be more sympathetic to the ‘underdog’ and more likely to support legal changes to benefit ‘underdogs.’” 

Many suspect that one of the reasons for the Trump victory was that white working class people felt that the democrats were more interested in helping minorities, LJGBT’s etc., than white working class people.  In America, many white people view themselves as the better segment of the population and they become uneasy when their dominance is in jeopardy.

Results from a recent poll suggest this mechanism is at work.
“To be a woman in the United States is to feel unequal, despite great strides in gender equality, according to a wide-ranging poll about gender in postelection America released Tuesday. It’s catcalls on the street, disrespect at work and unbalanced responsibilities at home. For girls, it’s being taught, more than boys, to aspire to marriage, and for women, it’s watching positions of power go to men.
Men, however, don’t necessarily see it that way.
Those are some of the findings from the poll, by PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research and polling firm whose biggest clients are foundations. It surveyed 1,302 adults in December via the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak panel. . . .
Eighty-two percent of women said sexism was a problem in society today, and 41 percent of women said they had felt unequal because of their gender.
Men underestimated the sexism felt by the women in their lives, the survey found. And while most respondents agreed it’s a better time to be a man than a woman in our society, only Republican men thought it was a better time to be a woman than a man.”
Republican men seem to see it differently. Just over half thought it was a good time to be a woman, while only 41 percent of them thought it was a good time to be a man.
Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric has appealed to people who feel this way. At his victory rally in Cincinnati last month, he said about women: “I hate to tell you men, generally speaking, they’re better than you are. Now, if I said it the other way around, I’d be in big trouble.” . .
Dennis Halaszynski, 81, is a retired police captain in McKeesport, Pa., and a registered Democrat who voted for Mr. Trump. “It’s easier being a woman today than it is a man,” he said in an interview. “The white man is a low person on the totem pole. Everybody else is above the white man.”

It’s hard to tell how many people agree with Dennis, and how many voted for Trump. The emergence of the al-right was probably motivated by this thinking.  White supremacists and white nationalist would probably agree.

Although race and gender are not the only issues.  Religion and ethnicity are also factors.  White, Protestant residents of the U.S. were appalled at the influx of Catholic Irish starting in the 1830's. 

See the full article at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/upshot/republican-men-say-its-a-better-time-to-be-a-woman-than-a-man.html?_r=0

 

 

MORE FAKE NEWS, INTERVIEW WITH A FAKER


"ANNAPOLIS, Md. — It was early fall, and Donald J. Trump, behind in the polls, seemed to be preparing a rationale in case a winner like him somehow managed to lose. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told a riled-up crowd in Columbus, Ohio. He was hearing “more and more” about evidence of rigging, he added, leaving the details to his supporters’ imagination.
A few weeks later, Cameron Harris, a new college graduate with a fervent interest in Maryland Republican politics and a need for cash, sat down at the kitchen table in his apartment to fill in the details Mr. Trump had left out. In a dubious art just coming into its prime, this bogus story would be his masterpiece.
Mr. Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” It made sense, he figured, to locate this shocking discovery in the very city and state where Mr. Trump had highlighted his “rigged” meme.
“I had a theory when I sat down to write it,” recalled Mr. Harris, a 23-year-old former college quarterback and fraternity leader. “Given the severe distrust of the media among Trump supporters, anything that parroted Trump’s talking points people would click. Trump was saying ‘rigged election, rigged election.’ People were predisposed to believe Hillary Clinton could not win except by cheating.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/fake-news-hillary-clinton-cameron-harris.html
 
There probably has always been fake news.  The availability of the internet which can provide anonymity. and the possibility that the story will be picked up go viral encourages impulsive to make up this stuff.  Thus there is a lot more of it today. When coupled with political polarization, ideological fanaticism, and the desire to win, it will continue to grow.  Oy vay!

TRUMP IINAUGURATION TODAY--2 CLOUDS OVER D.C.

As most people know, today is Inauguration Day for President-elect Trump.  Although I am a big critic of Trump (and most politicians), like many critics I think we need to give him a chance to prove that we were wrong about him.  His choices for his cabinet are disappointments, but they deserve a chance. However, the First Amendment marches on. Here's two new items about Trump.

1.  "A flurry of polls released this week show approval ratings hovering around 44 percent. That's lower than the share of the popular vote he collected on Election Day, which is unusual.




At this point eight years ago, nearly eight in 10 Americans viewed Barack Obama favorably. Even George W. Bush, who took office after a recount that hinged on a few hundred ballots, entered under less of a cloud.  . .

This will be a president who called the election rigged and said he'd refuse to accept the outcome — unless he won. A president whose vulgarity shocked many — except for the millions who viewed him as exactly the unconventional, convention-defying leader needed to straighten out Washington."
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2017/01/19/eve-trump-presidency-rancor-trepidation-high-hopes

2.  WASHINGTON — "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.
The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts." [If he has nothing to hide, Trump will probably not interfere.  If he does, it will only increase suspicions.  Let's have some transparency in Washington for a change.  There may not be anything incriminating there and we should extend the presumption of innocence.  Thank God we have a free press in this country that will be doing its own investigations]
"National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House. . .
The decision to open the investigations was not based on a dossier of salacious, uncorroborated allegations that were compiled by a former British spy working for a Washington research firm.  . . TheF.B.I. is also examining the allegations in that dossier, and a summary of its contents was provided to Mr. Trump earlier this month. . . .The F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Manafort began last spring, and was an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. In August, The Times reported that Mr. Manafort’s name had surfaced in a secret ledger that showed he had been paid millions in undisclosed cash payments. The Associated Press has reported that his work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials."
The F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Manafort [The Chair of Trump's presidential campaign organization] began last spring, and was an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. In August, The Times reported that Mr. Manafort’s name had surfaced in a secret ledger that showed he had been paid millions in undisclosed cash payments. The Associated Press has reported that his work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/trump-russia-associates-investigation.html?_r=0
 
Here's an interesting related item:
"A lot of people aren’t thrilled about the impending reality of Donald Trump’s presidency, but you know who’s totally here for it? Russian state television."
 
This whole thing may turn out to be much ado about nothings, but it should be investigated.  If there is a fire under this smoke, the consequences for Trump could be serious.  Impeachment perhaps.  Stay tuned.
.