Tuesday, June 28, 2016


A different perspective.  My comments in [ ].

"Once upon a time, Democrats would sit in to press for civil rights. Today, they sit in to take civil rights away. [How sad is our all-too-frequent hypocrisy, on both the left and right, on what rights and who is worth protecting.  Apparently gun owners, black or white, deserve little according to the sitters.  The other set of issues have to do with the  fiasco called the no-fly list. For more on the list see  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Fly_List]

How else to describe the goal of this week’s 24-hour sit-in by House Democrats? They took to the floor Wednesday demanding a vote on gun control legislation in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Gun ownership is a right. Due process of law is a right. The government needs to meet a very high threshold before denying citizens either one.

Rep. John Lewis led the protest, which devolved into screaming matches early Thursday. The Georgia Democrat is an undisputed hero of the civil rights movement. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and suffered a fractured skull on “Bloody Sunday” on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. “It took us three times to make it all the way from Selma to Montgomery,” Lewis told reporters Thursday. “We have other bridges to cross.”

But the Democrats’ gun control efforts aren’t about justice. It’s a campaign to build a bigger, stronger, less accountable police state in the name of “safety” and “common sense.”


The Senate on Monday voted down four bills – two Democratic, two Republican – to expand background checks and prevent anyone on the government’s dozen or so terror watch lists from purchasing a gun. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California argued her bill would have prevented the Orlando shooter from buying his weapons because he had been on the FBI’s list not once but twice.

Trouble is, Omar Mateen wasn’t on the list when he bought his guns. The FBI dropped him in 2014 when it decided he was more of a wannabe than a real risk. Unless Feinstein wants to pass legislation to prevent anyone who ever appeared on a watch list from buying a gun, her bill wouldn’t have made a difference.

But the bigger problem is the federal watch lists are an opaque mess. By some estimates, more than 1 million people appear on the lists. The government supposedly uses a “reasonable suspicion” standard for adding possible terror suspects. Because the lists are classified, however, official assurances about their reliability are impossible to verify.

But the American Civil Liberties Union – not ordinarily an ally of the National Rifle Association – describes the secret watch list system as “error-prone and unreliable,” using “vague and overbroad criteria and secret evidence” or sometimes no evidence at all.

If you happen to be on one of the lists by mistake, it’s next to impossible to clear your name. A federal judge in 2014 ruled the government’s process for hearing challenges “falls far short of satisfying the requirements of due process” and is “wholly ineffective.”

Oh, and get this: you don’t have to be a suspected terrorist to end up on the feds’ blacklist. The Guardian reports that the National Counterterrorism Center “permits relatives, including children, of watch-listed persons to be included.”

This is the system Democrats want to use to stop bad guys from buying guns?

Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat who led a 15-hour filibuster last week to shame Republicans into allowing an up-or-down vote on Feinstein’s bill, said: “Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.”

No, Republicans have decided to make sure people are not denied the right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.
So what would have stopped the Orlando terrorist attack? One Florida gun shop owner could tell something wasn’t
 right with Mateen. He refused to sell the killer a gun and called the FBI. The FBI did nothing. [The F.B.I. denies this]

Maybe instead of sitting around and chanting “no bill, no break,” Democrats could work with Republicans to give federal law enforcement the resources it needs to follow up next time

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/ben-boychuk/article85572547.html#storylink=cpy




See posts  at http://substativecriminallawissues.blogspot.com/
"Substantive Criminal Law Issues."


"JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi clerks cannot cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, under a ruling a federal judge handed down Monday.
The effect of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves is that the state can't enforce part of a religious objections bill that was supposed to become law Friday.
Reeves is extending his previous order that overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage. He says circuit clerks are required to provide equal treatment for all couples, gay or straight. He also said that all 82 circuit clerks must be given formal notice of that requirement.

Mississippi's religious objections measure, House Bill 1523 , was filed in response to last summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. That ruling is called the Obergefell case, after the man who filed it.
"Mississippi's elected officials may disagree with Obergefell, of course, and may express that disagreement as they see fit — by advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision, for example," Reeves wrote Monday. "But the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session."
Attorneys were still waiting on rulings from Reeves in two other lawsuits that seek to block all of the religious objections law, including provisions that could affect schools' bathroom policies for transgender students.
Roberta Kaplan, a New York-based attorney, represents Campaign for Southern Equality in two lawsuits challenging House Bill 1523, including the one on which Reeves ruled Monday. She issued a statement praising his decision.
"A year after the Supreme Court guaranteed marriage equality in the Obergefell decision, we are delighted that Judge Reeves reaffirmed the power of federal courts to definitively say what the United States Constitution means," Kaplan said.
Attorneys for Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood have defended House Bill 1523 in court.
"Our attorneys received the order late this afternoon and are reviewing it," Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said Monday.
Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves criticized the decision of Judge Reeves, who is no relation.
"If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their 1st Amendment rights," Tate Reeves said in a statement. "I hope the state's attorneys will quickly appeal this decision to the 5th Circuit to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of all Mississippians."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

563 killed by police so far this year.

According to 'Killed by Police.net" American law enforcement has killed 563 people from 1/1 to 6/26 of 2016.  How many of these were justifiable may never be determined. Undoubtedly, many were, but many, undoubtedly, were not.

How many American police officers are arrested and for what, each year?

The first nationwide study of arrests of police has released its initial results.
"Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study. The most common crimes were simple assault, drunken driving and aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes were also found. About 72 percent of officers charged in cases with known outcomes are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty, and nearly 95 percent of the officers charged are men.
The study is thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, and was conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The research covered seven years, 2005 to 2011, and sought to quantify not only the prevalence of police officers arrested across the country, but also how law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested and how officer arrests might correlate with other forms of misconduct."

The nearly 700-page full study is here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Time-Warner Cable and Charter Communications were criticized by a  U.S. Senate Committee.  Three companies were cleared.

'Time Warner Cable and its new owner, Charter Communications, have consistently failed to provide refunds to customers who the cable companies knew were being overcharged, according to a six-year U.S. Senate investigation.
The companies say they're working to make amends.
The investigation found that "Time Warner Cable and another company, Charter, made no effort to trace overcharges they identified and provide refunds to customers," said Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, in a statement. He is chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Portman charged that their practice has been to pocket the money rather than correct their mistakes, something that he called wrong and unacceptable.
The subcommittee's probe reviewed how five companies — Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish — identify and correct overcharges caused by company billing errors. Charter and Time Warner were the only two companies to not handle overcharges properly."

Glad to see some companies were playing by the rules.  Anyone who says we don't need government regulation of business,or that free markets will prevent corruption, is deluded and doesn't understand the reality.  There are too many ethically challenged, corrupt, scoff-law companies out there.  See prior post.

3rd Baltimore officer acquitted in Freddie Gray case

Somewhat surprisingly, the officer was acquitted.  2 other officers involved in the case were also acquitted in earlier trials.

From the NYT:
"The acquittal on Thursday of a Baltimore police officer charged with murder and six other crimes in the death of Freddie Gray has dealt a devastating blow to the prosecution, legal experts say, and raises questions about whether the state should press ahead with the trials of four other officers.
Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police transport van in which Mr. Gray suffered the spinal cord injury that killed him, faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in the fatal arrest. His acquittal on seven counts leaves the state without any convictions after three trials, in one of the nation’s most closely watched police misconduct cases — and continues to leave open the question of what, exactly, happened to Mr. Gray inside the van.
Judge Barry G. Williams, who presided over the Goodson trial, issued the verdicts to a hushed, packed courtroom. He drew no conclusions about exactly when during the van ride Mr. Gray got hurt, saying there were several “equally plausible scenarios.” And he rejected the state’s contention that the officer had given Mr. Gray an intentional “rough ride” and knowingly endangered him by failing to buckle him into the van or provide medical help.
Mr. Gray was detained after fleeing, apparently unprompted, from officers in the downtrodden Sandtown neighborhood of West Baltimore, and loaded into a police wagon that made six stops in West Baltimore before it arrived at the Western District police station, where Mr. Gray was found unresponsive and not breathing, with a devastating spinal cord injury.
The death of Mr. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, set off a wave of violent unrest here last year and thrust this majority black city into the center of a wrenching national debate over race and policing. The state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, sought to quell the violence by telling protesters she heard their “call for ‘no justice, no peace,’” promising to deliver “justice on behalf of this young man.”
But the first trial, of Officer William Porter, ended with a hung jury in December; he is scheduled to be retried. A second officer, Edward M. Nero, was acquitted last month of four charges. Thursday’s verdicts instantly reignited debate here over whether Ms. Mosby had overcharged the officers and prompted speculation about what she will do next.
“This was the state’s Waterloo,” declared Warren Brown, a defense lawyer who has been watching the trials, and has been sharply critical of the prosecution.
Continue reading the main story