Saturday, September 24, 2016

TULSA OFFICER INDICTED FOR MANSLAUGHTER


White female officer indicted for manslaughter in killing of unarmed black male motorist.

System stacked against the poor

In many ways, much that goes on in the U.S. is unfairly stacked against the poor, who are disproportionately black and Hispanic.  Here's just one example.
"JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When Dequan Jackson had his only brush with the law, at 13, he tried to do everything right.
Charged with battery for banging into a teacher while horsing around in a hallway, he pleaded guilty with the promise that after one year of successful probation, the conviction would be reduced to a misdemeanor.
He worked 40 hours in a food bank. He met with an anger management counselor. He kept to an 8 p.m. curfew except when returning from football practice or church.
And he kept out of trouble.
But Dequan and his mother, who is struggling to raise two sons here on wisps of income, were unable to meet one final condition: payment of $200 in court and public defender fees. For that reason alone, his probation was extended for what turned out to be 14 more months, until they pulled together the money at a time when they had trouble finding quarters for the laundromat.
Dequan’s experience is hardly an isolated one. The ways that fines and fees can entrap low-income people in the adult courts have received enormous attention in the past year or two. But the systematic imposition of costs on juvenile offenders, with equally pernicious effects on the poorest of them, is far less known.
And for Dequan and his family, it got worse. Duval County, where they live, charges a dollar per day for probation supervision, so that meter kept on ticking. On a recent evening in their sparse apartment, in a rough public housing complex here, his mother, Shenna Jackson, displayed their unpaid bill from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s Cost of Care Recovery Unit: $868.
“You feel like you’re drowning and you’re trying to get some air, but people are just pouring more water into the pool,” is how Dequan, now a 16-year-old honor student and star linebacker at Robert E. Lee High School, described his despair over what, for this family, is a crushing financial burden."

BODY CAMERA VIDEOS NEED TO BE RELEASED QUICKLY


"CHARLOTTE — For two nights, enraged residents here have taken to the streets in both peaceful and violent demonstrations following the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, 43.
Police have said Scott raised a gun toward an officer. Scott’s family members have said he had a book in his hands. Activists have noted that North Carolina is an open-carry state — and that even if Scott was armed, they want to see proof of him raising the weapon in a way that would justify lethal force.
Body-camera video of the incident could settle the dispute over whether Scott was armed, but police and city officials have declined to make the video public.
Last year, Charlotte became the first city in North Carolina to equip all of its uniformed officers with body cameras. Although the officer who shot and killed Scott was in plainclothes and not wearing a body camera, officials have said that parts of the interaction were captured by body cameras worn by other officers as well as a dash-mounted camera.
This tussle — between public calls for transparency and police pleas for patience — has played out in dozens of U.S. cities in the past two years. Citing cases such as the shootings of Walter Scott, where video upends the police narrative of events, many activists argue that the only way they can know for sure what happened in an incident is if officials release video. Police departments often say that releasing the video too soon could undermine their investigations of these incidents.
“Transparency is in the eye of the beholder,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference  Thursday morning. “I’m going to be very intentional about protecting the integrity of the investigation. We release it when we believe it’s a compelling reason.”

Failure to release the videos quickly only feeds suspicion, distrust and conspiracy theories.  It appears that some police leaders are more interested in protecting their agencies and officers.  The cost of this can be violent riots.  Videos never tell the complete story, but transparency is essential.  There is always a threat to an officer's right to a fair trial, but there are numerous methods to protect that rights. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NEW BOOK ON JOHN PETER ZENGER TRIAL

The 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger was a milestone in the development of First Amendment freedom of the press in America.  See this review of a new book on the topic.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/13/book-review-indelible-ink-the-trials-of-john-peter/

SECOND AMEND VICTORY

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is notoriously anti-gun rights.  However, gun rights did win a victory in this case.  The court held that the Second Amendment includes a limited right to acquire firearms.

SECOND AMENDMENT PPROTECTS CARRYING OUTSIDE THE HOME

In spite of the fact that the Second Amendment protects the right to both "keep and bear" arms, and the underlying rationale of the Supreme Court's decisions in Heller and McDonald, a number of courts have defied the rule of law and have ruled that the  Second Amendment does not apply outside the home.  See   http://www.jurist.org/feature/featured/concealed-and-open-carry-under-the-second-amendment/detail.php
Here is a sensible decision by a very repsected U.S. Court of Appeals judge who ruled the Amendment does apply outside the home. 
702 F.3d 933 (2012)

Michael MOORE, et al., and Mary E. Shepard, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Lisa MADIGAN, Attorney General of Illinois, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 12-1788, 12-1269.
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued June 8, 2012.
Decided December 11, 2012.
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=moore+v.+madigan&hl=en&as_sdt=6,39&case=106657543


See also
"Our conclusion that the right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense is perhaps unsurprising—other circuits faced with this question have expressly held, or at the very least have assumed, that this is so. Moore, 702 F.3d at 936 ("A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home."); see also, e.g., Drake, 724 F.3d at 431 (recognizing that the Second Amendment right "may have some application beyond the home"); Woollard v. Gallagher, 712 F.3d 865, 876 (4th Cir.2013) ("We ... assume that the Heller right exists outside the home...."); Kachalsky, 701 F.3d at 89 (assuming that the Second Amendment "must have some application in the very different context of the public possession of firearms").
Given this consensus, one might consider it odd that we have gone to such lengths to trace the historical scope of the Second Amendment right. But we have good reason to do so: we must fully understand the historical scope of the right before we can determine whether and to what extent the San Diego County policy burdens the right or whether it goes even further and "amounts to a destruction of the right" altogether. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 629, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (quoting Reid, 1 Ala. at 616-17). Heller instructs that text and history are our primary guides in that inquiry.
1167*1167 One of Heller's most important lessons is that the Second Amendment "codif[ies] a pre-existing right" whose contours can be understood principally through an evaluation of contemporaneous accounts by courts, legislators, legal commentators, and the like. Heller, 554 U.S. at 603, 605, 128 S.Ct. 2783; see also McDonald, 130 S.Ct. at 3056-57 (Scalia, J., concurring) ("The traditional restrictions [on the keeping and bearing of arms] go to show the scope of the right."). Tracing the scope of the right is a necessary first step in the constitutionality analysis-and sometimes it is the dispositive one. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 628-35, 128 S.Ct. 2783. "[C]onstitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them...." Id. at 634-35, 128 S.Ct. 2783. A law that "under the pretence of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right" would not pass constitutional muster "[u]nder any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights." Id. at 628-29, 128 S.Ct. 2783. Put simply, a law that destroys (rather than merely burdens) a right central to the Second Amendment must be struck down. Id.
We thus disagree with those courts— including the district court in this case— that have taken the view that it is not necessary (and, thus, necessary not) to decide whether carrying a gun in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense is a constitutionally protected activity. See, e.g., Drake, 724 F.3d at 431; Woollard, 712 F.3d at 876; Kachalsky, 701 F.3d at 89; cf. Masciandaro, 638 F.3d at 475. Understanding the scope of the right is not just necessary, it is key to our analysis. For if self-defense outside the home is part of the core right to "bear arms" and the California regulatory scheme prohibits the exercise of that right, no amount of interest-balancing under a heightened form of means-ends scrutiny can justify San Diego County's policy. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 634, 128 S.Ct. 2783 ("The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon.").

742 F.3d 1144 (2014)

Edward PERUTA; Michelle Laxson; James Dodd; Leslie Buncher, Dr.; Mark Cleary; California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; William D. Gore, individually and in his capacity as Sheriff, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 10-56971.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
 
742 F.3d 1144 (2014)

Edward PERUTA; Michelle Laxson; James Dodd; Leslie Buncher, Dr.; Mark Cleary; California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; William D. Gore, individually and in his capacity as Sheriff, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 10-56971.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
 


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

HOUSEHOLD GUN OWNERSHIP IN THE U.S.

Gun control groups and much of the media are touting polls suggesting gun ownership and the percentage of homes with guns is going down.  They do a nice job of cherry-picking the data they like.Not all surveys show a significant decrease in gun ownership or the percentage of households with guns.
There is no definitive data source from the government or elsewhere on how many Americans own guns or how gun ownership rates have changed over time. Also, public opinion surveys provide conflicting results: Some show a decline in the number of households with guns, but another does not.
The General Social Survey (GSS), conducted roughly every two years by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, with principal funding from the National Science Foundation, provides a widely-used look at the rate of gun ownership over time. The GSS data show a substantial decline in the shares of both households and individuals with guns. When the GSS first asked about gun ownership in 1973, 49% reported having a gun or revolver in their home or garage. In 2012, 34% said they had a gun in their home or garage. When the survey first asked about personal gun ownership in 1980, 29% said a gun in their home personally belonged to them. This stands at 22% in the 2012 GSS survey.
http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/section-3-gun-ownership-trends-and-demographics/
 
3-12-13 #13
The Pew Research Center has tracked gun ownership since 1993, and our surveys largely confirm the General Social Survey trend. In our December 1993 survey, 45% reported having a gun in their household; in early 1994, the GSS found 44% saying they had a gun in their home. A January 2013 Pew Research Center survey found 33% saying they had a gun, rifle or pistol in their home, as did 34% in the 2012 wave of the General Social Survey.
The Gallup Organization has been tracking gun ownership in their surveys over this time period as well, but their trend suggests no consistent decline. A Gallup survey in May 1972 found 43% reporting having a gun in their home. The percentage subsequently fluctuated a great deal, reaching a high of 51% in 1993 and a low of 34% in 1999 – but the percentage saying they had a gun in their home last year was the same as it was 40 years earlier (43%)."

NEW STUDY ON LYNCHING IN THE U.S.


"Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 4075 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 800 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date.
Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation. Lynchings were violent and public events that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. This was not “frontier justice” carried out by a few marginalized vigilantes or extremists. Instead, many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity.
The report explores the ways in which lynching profoundly impacted race relations in this country and shaped the contemporary geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans. Most importantly, lynching reinforced a narrative of racial difference and a legacy of racial inequality that is readily apparent in our criminal justice system today. Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive sentencing, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were shaped by the terror era."  The state with the most lynchings is Louisiana.  The worst single even involved around 240 murders of blacks in Phillips County, Arkansas. (Note that the term "lynching" is not limited to murder by hanging).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

CHICAGO COP FACES FEDERAL CHARGES IN SHOOTING

http://substativecriminallawissues.blogspot.com/2016/09/chicago-police-officer-faces-federal.html

RIKERS ISLAND GUARDS SENTENCED

According to the NYT"
"Six former New York City correction officers returned to Rikers Island — this time as inmates — after being sentenced on Friday to prison terms of from four and a half years to six and a half years for their roles in the brutal beating of an inmate there in 2012.
The sentencing of the former officers in State Supreme Court in the Bronx came three months after they were convicted of first-degree attempted gang assault, the most serious offense, and other charges. The case opened a window on a pervasive culture of violence at Rikers, the troubled city jail complex that houses 8,000 inmates, at a time when many critics, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, have called for it to be closed.
While there have been other instances of brutality against inmates, this case stood out because of the large number of officers involved, as well as the high rank of some of them. Prosecutors said Eliseo Perez Jr., an assistant chief for security, and Gerald Vaughn, a captain, ordered members of an elite squad to beat the inmate, Jahmal Lightfoot, after Mr. Perez decided Mr. Lightfoot was being insolent."

NO PROBABLE CAUSE LEADS TO BAD ARREST

See http://substativecriminallawissues.blogspot.com/2016/09/no-probable-cause-leads-to-bad-arrest.html

PREDICTING CRIME RATES FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS

What can we predict abut crime for the next few years?

WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS AND WITHOLDING OF EXCULPATORY INFORMATION

From the NYT:
"Here is the case of a missing paragraph that turned into a trap door that dropped a man into prison.
The paragraph vanished from a police report in a Brooklyn criminal case, but essential information has been hidden from people accused of crimes in courthouses across the country. Even though failing to share exculpatory information is among the most serious breaches of ethics and law for the police and prosecutors, there is little personal or institutional accountability for such tactics."  This needs to change.

IS THE DEATH PENALTY SLOWLY DYING OUT IN THE U.S.?

See http://substativecriminallawissues.blogspot.com/2016/09/is-death-penalty-slowly-dying-out.html

Monday, September 05, 2016

NEW BOOK ON POLICE KILLINGS


from the NYT,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/books/review/nobody-marc-lamont-hill.html

Review of  Nobody:  Casualties of the War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, by Marc Lamont Hill.

“Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” is among the latest in the genre, a nonfiction treatise from the ­African-American studies professor and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill. “Nobody” nevertheless differs from its peers by going deeper into civic history: It examines the interlocking mechanisms that systematically disadvantage “those marked as poor, black, brown, immigrant, queer, or trans” — those, in Hill’s words, who are Nobodies. His choice to refer to these people as “nobody” is both accurate and brutal; as Todd Brewster writes in the foreword, over the length of the book the word becomes as familiar as the list that recites “like a rosary: Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin. With each death — from the vigilante George Zimmerman’s killing of Martin  . . ."
 
I like this authors approach.  He's goes beyond black v. white.  However, I disagree with the inclusion of George Zimmerman to the list.  Zimmerman was a private citizen who was not exercising power in the name of the state.
The others, all cops, were.  This is a crucial difference in many respects.  Acting in the name of the state is damaging to governmental and police legitimacy--crucial issues in a polarized society.  The usual meaning of the term "vigilante" is someone acting unlawfully.  Too  many commentators forget to mention that Zimmerman was acquitted of all crimes by a jury which contained black members.  The presumption of guilt in face  of an acquittal is also bigotry. 

 

POLICE UNIONS--PART OF THE PROBLEM

Good editorial from the NYT:
"Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.
That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.
The most striking case in point is Chicago . . ."
 
I am a fan on unions and freedom of association.  However contracts should not include clauses which can hinder the search for justice.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

"LIVES MATTER" HATEGROUPS AND THE SPLC

"This month, the organization announced the latest additions to its Hate Map tracker.
Black Lives Matter is not on the list.
White Lives Matter is."

Here,s their explanation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/08/31/splc-the-much-cited-designator-of-hate-groups-explains-why-white-lives-matter-is-one/

WALLS AND TUNNELS ON THE MEXICAN BORDER

 Trump has called for a wall to be built along the Mexican border.  He contends we can force Mexico to pay for it.  However, walls won't stop tunneling which is extremely difficult to detect.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/us/us-mexico-border-wall-tunnels.html?_r=0

UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL AND THE CULTURE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

See this book review on the culture of football at major colleges and sexual assault. Baylor U. is a poster boy for this kind of stuff.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6042640-unsportsmanlike-conduct

LEGALIZIING POT BUT NOT PROTECTING YOUTH

I initially applauded CO's move to legalize personal possession of pot for adults.  I'm having second thoughts.  Will big marijuana become the next big tobacco and push a harmful substance even when the research shows it is harmful.   CO's law was poorly written and thought out.  I doubt other states will do better.

"Marijuana use is becoming more accepted among US adults as states loosen pot laws, new national survey data shows.
A shift in attitude
More are using marijuana, using it more often, and far fewer think it's risky, the government survey found.
That's understandable, experts say, as dozens of states now allow medical marijuana and four states have recently legalised pot for recreational use."

Maybe this isn't such a great idea afterall>

"That runs counter to scientific research about pot, said Dr Wilson Compton, lead author of the study published online by the journal Lancet Psychiatry.
"If anything, science has shown an increasing risk that we weren't as aware of years ago," said Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Pot becoming more potent
Other research has increasingly linked marijuana use to mental impairment, and early, heavy use by people with certain genes to increased risk of developing psychosis, he noted." . . .
Hall said it's likely those changes will increase the use of marijuana and perhaps reports of disorders.

Young people have the highest risks of continued marijuana use.  Yet, the trend will only make it more available to  children.  We can't keep booze and other people's prescription drugs from kids. It is  na├»ve to believe that we can legalize marijuana for adults and it won't affect youth.

The study didn't report on kids, only those 18 and older. But research drawn from another large survey has shown marijuana use among high school students has been falling. Over two decades, it dropped from 25 percent to about 22 percent.
Why are fewer kids using pot at a time more and more adults are?
There could be a lag. Youths have said in surveys that it seemed to be getting harder in the last decade to get marijuana. But that may change as more states legalise the drug, more adults use it, and if teens get into less trouble if caught with the drug, experts said."

"Those laws are not without controversy. Among the critics' concerns is the worry that, despite age limits, legalization might make marijuana more accessible to young people. And adolescents' developing brains may be particularly vulnerable to lasting damage from the drug.
"There are a lot of open questions" about the long-term effects of marijuana, says Susan Weiss, PhD, director of the division of extramural research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). "But there's a growing literature, and it's all pointing in the same direction: Starting young and using frequently may disrupt brain development."

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM ABOUT-TO-RETIRE POLICE CHIEF

From Dallas PD Chief David Brown:
We’re asking cops to do too much in this country” said Brown.
“Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve” said Brown. He listed mental health, drug addiction, loose dogs, failing schools as problems the public expects ‘cops to solve.’
“Seventy percent of the African American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve that as well” said Brown. “Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
“I just ask for other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help us,” Brown continued. “To help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement.”

Saturday, September 03, 2016

GUN CONTROL AND WHERE DO CRIMINALS GET GUNS

From: http://townhall.com/columnists/brucebialosky/2016/08/28/untitled-n2210220
"The anti-gun people want to limit law-abiding citizens from getting guns and now ammunition.  The pro-gun people repeat over and over again “If you out law guns, only outlaws will have guns.”  They evidence that by activities that occur in European countries or that mass shootings typically occur in gun-restricted areas in the U.S.  What is the truth?  Where do criminals get their guns?

Surprisingly, there is no federal database or statewide databases that track these actions.  This is despite the fact they often recover guns from crime scenes or subsequent arrests of the offending party.  If the gun has a serial number, it can be traced to the federal database.  If the serial number is ground off, one can assume the gun was acquired illegally.  The studies done would be more comprehensive if guns left at the scenes of crimes or used by criminals killed in the process of committing a crime were included in the surveys to provide a more comprehensive picture.

The study [by Philip Cook] https://d3uwh8jpzww49g.cloudfront.net/sharedmedia/1508093/ccjstudy.pdf
starts by referring to other studies done and then moved on to their study.  The authors made this statement about acquisition of guns: “Adults who are entitled to possess a gun are more likely than not to buy from an FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee).  On the other hand, those who are disqualified by age or criminal history are most likely to obtain their guns in off-the-books transactions, often from social connections such as family and acquaintances, or from “street” sources such as illicit brokers or drug dealers."

Most criminals obtain their guns from different markets than most law-abiding citizens.  Instead of trying to regulate law-abiding citizens, go after the illegal gun trade.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

PROTEST AGAINST SECOND AMENDMENT AND STATUTORY GUN RIGHTS

 Left-wing authoritarians protested licensed concealed carry on UT campus.  Dildo's were the theme of the demonstration.  I guess we can call the demonstrators "dick heads." It's a sad day when people protest against the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.  Freedom of speech is another victim of these folks.   Freedom is under attack in this country from both the left and the right.  Enjoy your freedoms while you still can. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

What is the "alt-right?

A relatively new term has been making the political rounds.  Here's a critical look at the alt-right. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/alternative-right

U. OF CHI. STANDS UP FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH

The University of Chicago takes a stand for First Amendment rights.  Bravo!   This is in contrast to the authoritarian left-wing political correctness that dominates most large universities. 
According to the NYT, "The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college staple, but this week the University of Chicago took a different approach: It sent new students a blunt statement opposing some hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around cyberspace.
“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” John Ellison, dean of students, wrote to members of the class of 2020, who will arrive next month.
It was a not-so-veiled rebuke to the protests calling for limits on what kinds of speech should be condoned on campus, and who should be allowed to speak, that have rocked Yale, Wesleyan, Oberlin and many other colleges and universities in recent years. Some alumni, dismayed by the trend, have withheld donations from their alma maters."
 
Thanks to 44 shot for tipping me off to this development.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Obama admin. transgender bathroom regs hit another snag.

A U.S. District Court issued a temporary injunction against the Obama administrations transgender bathroom regulations.  The case could go to trial.
According to the New York Times:

"A federal judge has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing new guidelines that were intended to expand restroom access for transgender students across the country.
Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas said in a 38-page ruling, which he said should apply nationwide, that the government had not complied with federal law when it issued “directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory text.”
OPEN Document

Document: Preliminary Injunction Order


Judge O’Connor, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the federal bench, said that not granting an injunction would put states “in the position of either maintaining their current policies in the face of the federal government’s view that they are violating the law, or changing them to comply with the guidelines and cede their authority over this issue.”
The judge’s order on Sunday, in a case brought by officials from more than a dozen states, was a victory for social conservatives in the continuing legal battles over the restroom guidelines, which the federal government issued this year. The culture war over the rights of transgender people, and especially their right to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, has emerged as an emotional cause among social conservatives.
The Obama administration’s assertion that the rights of transgender people in public schools and workplaces are protected under existing laws against sex discrimination has been condemned by social conservatives, who said the administration was illegally intruding into local affairs and promoting a policy that would jeopardize the privacy and safety of schoolchildren.
The ruling could deter the administration from bringing new legal action against school districts that do not allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice."
The U.S. Supreme Court has already affirmed a stay/temporary injunction against the regs in another case. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-blocks-transgender-bathroom-ruling-n622476

Among the legal issues are whether the statute the admin. is relying on in using the word 'sex' with regard to discrimination can be stretched to include gender preference or transgender people.  Another issue is whether the admin. followed the rules for creating the regs.  It doesn't look good for the administration at this point.  I think the regs should be struck down on the first basis.  It MAY be a good policy, but it still must be done in a lawful fashion.  Hopefully, the Supreme Court will settle this.

UT PROFS LOSE ROUND ONE IN LAWSUIT

3 Univ. of Texas at Austin profs sued to block  licensed concealed carry in their classrooms contrary to university policy as provided for by Texas law.
The judge denied them a preliminary injunction on the grounds they were not likely to prevail after trial.  The case will next go to trial if the profs so decide.  Like many I predicted they would not get an injunction.  I predict they will lose at trial.  I always like to see authoritarian leftists get shot down in court. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

FEDS TO STOP USING PRIVATE PRISONS


Over the years, a number of conservatives have touted the benefits of privatized corrections.  They may have been wrong.
"The United States government just sounded a death knell for the prison-industrial complex.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that it plans on ending the continued use of private prison facilities after officials “concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government,” the Washington Post reports.
The announcement comes one week after the DOJ’s inspector general published a scathing report on the status of the “contract prisons” the Bureau of Prisons began operating in 1997 to handle overcrowding in federal institutions (as of December 2015, contract prisons housed roughly 12 percent of the Bureau of Prisons’ total inmate population). The inspector general concluded that private prisons “incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable [Bureau of Prisons] institutions,” ranging from “extensive property damage, bodily injury, and the death of a Correctional Officer.”

DELAY IN QUESTIONING OFFICERS AFTER SHOOTINGS

Many law enforcement agencies have rules requiring that the agency wait 48, or in some cases 72, hours to interview the officers involved in a shooting. Note that no ordinary suspect is given such consideration.
See this article:

For years, departments in [Albuquerque N.M. and Arlington TX] and states like Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin have required a waiting period of at least two days. In Dallas, 72 hours must pass. In Baltimore, where six police officers have been charged for their involvement in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a union contract compels cops to wait 10 days before speaking with investigators.
In the aftermath of controversial police shootings, from Michael Brown to Tamir Rice and Samuel Dubose, the public has repeatedly seen that an officer's account—"I almost got run over by the car" or "I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan"—can have big implications for a case, swaying internal investigators, prosecutors, and grand juries as they determine whether a police shooting was legal or justified. It is unsurprising, then, that over the past year the question of how long officers should wait before giving their accounts has been fiercely debated. Policing experts have raised a number of issues, . . .  Local officials and union attorneys who embrace the so-called 48-hour rule say stress can interfere with an officer's ability to recall details. "The science behind how people remember things, particularly those that are involved in a high-stress, adrenaline-infused situation, has shown that memories can often be inaccurate if they are immediate," Sean Smoot, a police union attorney who represents officers in Illinois, testified to the US Commission on Civil Rights in April. . . . delay could give officers an opportunity to review video or "consult with their peers who were involved before they ever give a statement." Walter Katz, a Los Angeles-based attorney focusing on police accountability, told me that "there's always the concern about either contamination or having statements which are essentially fabricated." And McGinn and others have asked if the delays amount to special treatment a regular citizen wouldn't be afforded. (Union officials have pointed out that due process for ordinary civilians does not provide enough protection for law enforcement officers.) In the fragile atmosphere that tends to follow police shootings, such suspicions could well corrode public trust.
What's more, rules delaying interviews also overlook the fact that officers may prefer to get their interviews out of the way, says David Klinger, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "In the absence of sound scientific evidence, why make [or allow] them wait?"  [the waiting period serves the interests of police, police unions, attorneys who represent officers, and consultants and experts who get money from the above.]

These delay rules must go.  There is little scientific evidence supporting the delay rules. Most of the evidence suggests the rules are a bad idea for recall.  Why not both interview them immediately and then re-interview 48-72 hours later?
The delay is advocated by many police officers, police unions, attorneys who defend police, experts who consult and testify for police and police organizations, and Chiefs who don't want any scandals coming out.  A number of groups have called for abolition of the rule.

Dallas PD's Chief has gotten rid of the delay rule. Thank you Chief Brown. Transparency, fairness and public trust require it.


"This is why Dallas Police Chief David Brown's policy change to give officers a 72-hour delay before answering questions about a shooting never quite registered — and why it's good that he discontinued it.

In November 2013, Brown had said that any Dallas officer involved in a shooting, even as a witness, could stay silent for 72 hours. And before giving a statement, officers could view any available video. Obviously, this would delay any investigation by three days, since no such investigation could be complete without officer statements.

Worse, it gave the impression that department policy put a thumb on the scale for officers, giving them an undue advantage in conforming their statements to available facts and, in cases of multiple officers, making sure their accounts did not contradict.

This is almost never the case when it's the police arresting non-officers accused of killing someone.

This policy change came to light about a month after a Dallas officer was caught giving, let's say, a dubious account of a shooting. Officer Cardan Spencer was accused of shooting a mentally ill man, Bobby Bennett, outside a home in the Rylie neighborhood. Officer Christopher Watson, Spencer's partner, told investigators that Bennett took steps toward the officers with a knife raised.

Bennett survived his shooting and was charged with aggravated assault of a public servant. That was until a neighbor's surveillance video appeared; Bennett did have a knife, but he initially rolled away from officers in a swivel chair. When he stood up, he kept his hands at his side and never moved his feet.

Brown ordered charges against Bennett dropped and fired Spencer, who was subsequently indicted by a Dallas County grand jury. Watson was suspended for 15 days for giving a false statement.

Spencer deserves his day in court, but the neighbor's video left little doubt that Bennett was a victim in this drama. Spencer also was the first Dallas police officer indicted on shooting-related charges in four decades.

Would Brown have instituted the 72-hour policy without the surveillance video? It's impossible to say for certain, but his decision to cede now to this demand from the Next Generation Action Network makes sense. That group is agitating for further reforms from a Dallas Police Department already leading the way in this area, but that doesn't make the group wrong on this issue."

 


 

MORE JUNK GUN CONTROL RESEARCH

See this critique of a recent study on gun control.
https://omnitalk.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/critics-shoot-holes-in-widely-cited-gun-study/#more-8904