Morning Links

Monday, December 21st, 2009
  • Congratulations, Democrats. You’ve proven you can pass a major piece of legislation by buying off votes with last minute pork projects and special favors, then shoving it through the Senate in the middle of the night just as well as the Republicans. You’re an all-growed-up corrupt ruling party, now. (CORRECTION: As noted in the comments, the bill didn’t pass, the Dems were just able to force cloture.)
  • Awkward moments in webvertising.
  • The D.C. cop who drew his gun at a snowball fight this weekend is now international news. This will make it somewhat more difficult for MPDC to continue lying about the story.
  • If Mullholland Drive was the sixth best movie of the decade, I just lived through a different decade.
  • Prosecutors are still whining about the Supreme Court’s Melendez-Diaz decision from last term, arguing in a brief for a similar case next term that the decision “is already proving unworkable.” Oh. Well in that case, sure. Let’s go ahead and scrap the constitutional right to confront one’s accusers because, you know, it’s really, really inconvenient to the government to respect it. I always forget about that footnote to the Bill of Rights that says, “*Unless respecting these rights makes the jobs of government employees more difficult.”
  • A grand jury has ruled that the police shooting and killing of Georgia pastor Jonathan Ayers was justified. I’ll have more on this terrible story in coming weeks.
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  • 79 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Marty | 

      there’s no way I should’ve been surprised by the Georgia grand jury ruling justifying the cops murdering the preacher, but I am.

    2. #2 |  adolphus | 

      Point of Order Mr Balko.

      The Senate has passed nothing. They voted cloture on debate last night. They still have not passed the bill. This may be a distinction without a difference, but it just goes to show how deep into our collective psyche the routine Republican filibuster and need for 60 votes has drilled if even politically savvy commentators such as yourself equate cloture with passage.

    3. #3 |  Tom G | 

      Count me skeptical on the inappropriate ad in the Barbie webpage. I’m betting it’s an amusing Photoshop work-up. I’d be a little surprised if the real page actually has ads that weren’t related to Mattel’s other products.

    4. #4 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      If I read the Melendez article correctly, the prosecutors’ argument seems to be that if the defense wants to question the analyst, then they should be allowed to call them as a defense witness, rather then requiring the prosecution to call them as a witness whether the defense has questions for them or not. Now maybe I’m overlooking some nuance of what that means, but it at first blush it doesn’t seem unreasonable to say the prosecution shouldn’t be required to call witnesses no one is asking to question.

    5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Cop gun snowball: No matter the coverage, cops cannot be convicted of any crime.

    6. #6 |  flukebucket | 

      Looking forward to any more you can add to the travesty in Georgia. I think the GBI is scheduled to release their report today.

    7. #7 |  SJE | 

      Oh, my heart goes out for the poor prosecutors!

      Lets consider the DC man who was jailed for 25 years on the word of a disgraced and discredited FBI analyst, and all the people in NJ who were convicted on the word of lab technicians who didn’t even know how to operate the microscopes they were using to get “evidence” to convict people.

      Apparently the hassle of doing your F*cking job is too much, but it’s OK to be ruining lives, taking away freedoms, and subjecting people to prison violence and rape.

    8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

      The Radley rants in bullet one and bullet five were particularly good and angry this morning. Waking up to a few feet of snow in the morning must get the snarky blogger juices going.

    9. #9 |  Nando | 

      The only crime I see in the cop bringing his gun to the snowball fight video is the fact that peasant civilians were allowed to record the actions of a police officer. Isn’t there a universal law that prohibits such acts? It seems to me that the evidence was thus gathered illegally and the cop is entitled to his paid vacation and then to return to the force after the internal investigation proves he did nothing but follow proceedure.

      There, that should clear it up!

    10. #10 |  chsw | 

      I am sure that the ad was aimed at Ken dolls.

    11. #11 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

      Re Melendez-Diaz : it’s not publicized, but there’s a Zeroth Amendment which reads in its entirety “Where convenient, the following apply:”

    12. #12 |  thefncrow | 

      Radley, the bill hasn’t passed. Yes, the vote was in the middle of the night, but it’s because the schedule requires it be taken as early as possible to allow the Senate to recess by Christmas.

      On Saturday, several cloture motions were filed. Cloture motions have to sit fallow a full day(Sunday), and then ripen 1 hour after the open of business the next day. The first was cloture on debate on the manager’s amendment, containing the text that was amended in the deal. That was the cloture vote that was held. That limits debate to 30 hours, and the Republicans are committed to taking all 30 hours of that debate. That leaves us with a vote on the actual amendment 7am Tuesday.

      Immediately after the 7am Tuesday vote, they’ll take the second of their ripened cloture motions and hold a cloture vote on the next step, which is to take the Senate bill and place it inside a hollowed-out House bill. Cloture just after 7am would put the final vote on that around Wednesday at 1pm.

      After that Wednesday at 1pm vote, they’d take the last of their ripened cloture motions, to actually move the bill to a vote on final passage. If that passes, the vote to actually pass the bill will occur 7pm on Thursday, Christmas Eve. After that bill is done, they can recess.

      Holding the cloture vote this morning as late as 6am would push the vote for final passage on the bill into Christmas Day. They’re trying to get this through as quickly as possible, and with the Republicans deciding that they want to use their allotted 30 hours of debate on each of the 3 cloture motions, the 1am vote was necessary to prevent this from bleeding into Christmas Day.

    13. #13 |  Al V | 

      It’s no surprise that the shooter in the Ayers murder was cleared.

      We’ll eventually get to the point where presenting the “facts” to the “grand Jury” won’t even be necessary, because we all know that if a cop shot you, then you probably needed killing.

    14. #14 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Since the person who -1’d me apparently took issue with my question, could you just explain why questioning the analyst as a defense witness is so much worse then questioning them as a prosecution witness? It seems a minor distinction to me, but you and Radley seem to think it’s a huge deal. Is there some big difference between the two that I’m not aware of?

    15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Maybe an asteroid will land on the Capital building and cloture their asses into dust.

    16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #14, I didn’t -1 you, but I consider it an obligation on the part of the prosecution to present the witnesses who are making the scientific claims they are relying on for prosecution. It’s not an obligation on the part of the defense, it’s an obligation on the part of the prosecution.

    17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I can only imagine how aggressive the DA was in persuading the grand jury to indict the cops who shot Ayers.

    18. #18 |  cliff | 

      At least once a week some bit of news on this blog brings me to a very sad and low place…the Ayers killer’s verdict did the trick today.

    19. #19 |  Terrorific | 

      Just went through the “best movies” lists, got pissed the Big Lebowski wasn’t on any of them, and then realized how old I am. I’m gonna go have some alkaseltzer now.

    20. #20 |  SusanK | 

      I didn’t -1 you either, Stormy, but calling the lab tech is like calling an eyewitness to the crime: this is the person who will testify that a crime was committed. When the lab tech says “yep, it’s drugs” it is the same as a robbery victim saying “yep, they took my money with force”. The defense isn’t going to call either one of them, but they need to be put on the stand to establish the crime. And since their statements establish the crime, the defendant must be given the right to confront and cross-examine them.
      No way am I going to call an analyst during my case in chief. It’s part of the state’s burden of proof.

    21. #21 |  M | 

      That best movie list reflects the opinions of a lot of people who don’t care much for plot in their movies. Mizayaki’s films moved towards storylessness in the last decade too.

    22. #22 |  dsmallwood | 

      the Ayers thing is sooooo sad … but I have a feeling the grand jury is right; the law probably does permit cops to shoot and kill people who behave a certain way. sad.

      the only possible recourse will be in civil court, where the family will argue that the cops created a situation where the pastor could not have acted any other way. normally I’d say suing and shaming the gov’t is the only way to get change. but I don’t sense the public uproar on this. so it will probably be billed as the “greedy family”. or even worse, the gov’t will quietly settle and silently piss away more tax dollars.

      and to thefncrow:
      is your point that the Senate needed to hold a middle of the night vote in order to not work on Christmas?

      if so:
      1 – my calendar has several days after Christmas on it. heck, I even have one dated 2010. but I’m an optimist.
      2 – are you arguing that this is too historically awesome to wait? in that case, WHO THE H*LL CARES IF THEY WORK ON CHRISTMAS? they are saving humanity! I’m surprised they can even sleep.

    23. #23 |  David Chesler | 

      “Rickman said the matter is now closed as far as any state criminal charges are concerned because of Georgia’s law against double jeopardy.”

      If he says so. I don’t know Georgia. I thought in general double jeopardy attached when the petite jury was seated, certainly not when a grand jury fails to return an indictment.

    24. #24 |  Nick T | 

      Stormy,

      Are you aware of the evidentiary concept of hearsay? How do you think this concept applies to lab reports which include conclusions by the technician/scientist who performed them, and whether those should be admitted into evidence?

      Are you seriously suggesting that the prosecution should be able to simply admit any report from anyone into evidence against the accused and then leave it up to the defense to call that person as a witness? What does this say about the burden of proof in criminal trials?

      Lastly, the prosecutors are arguing that *bringing lab techs into court* will cause great delay and inconvenience. Does your notion of defense attorneys calling lab techs *into court* cut down on this inconvenience in any way? Are aware of whether or not lawyers are able to reach agreements, or “stipulations” with eachother to allow some exhibits, by-passing the normal procedures for entering exhibits? Do you think Melendez-Diaz inhibits this ability?

    25. #25 |  Sydney Carton | 

      Stormy,

      As others have said, the state has the burden of proof. The defendant is presumed innocent, and doesn’t even have to present an answer to anything. If the state can’t compile evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of a person’s guilt, then that person (presumably) goes free without even answering anything. This is a fundamental way our system of justice is arranged, and cannot be changed merely because the state finds it expensive to present such evidence.

      Every person who compiles evidence against a person should be required to testify. If it is illegal to possess drugs, then you need evidence showing 1) that you possessed materials, and 2) that the materials were drugs. The cop is called as a witness to show your possession. The drug lab person is called as a witness to show that the materials were drugs. Both are equally important. Both are accusing you of a crime.

      If the state doesn’t want to call a lab person showing that the materials were drugs, and instead wants to submit a report, as the Supreme court said, it violates one’s constitutional right to confront one’s accuser.

      This is elementary, but because states are run by bureaucrats and cops who only consider results, and not justice, then they couldn’t care about it.

    26. #26 |  Joey Maloney | 

      Sausage eater repulsed by sausage making. Stop the presses.

    27. #27 |  Nick T | 

      #25 is exactly right. The Melendez Diaz case was brought about because someone at a trial *did want to question the witness* and was not allowed to, even though the court admitted that witnesses report. This is just a basic violation of the hearsay rule, let alone the confrontation clause. The witnesses testimony is not just about what he says happened but about whether the report should be entered as an exhibit *at all.* Entering it on the mere word of the prosecutor is mind-boggling and should be an offensive notion to all Americans. Even entering it conditionally pending the defense’s calling of this witness, is also highly problematic as it shifts the burden and for no good reason. (see comment 25)

    28. #28 |  Aresen | 

      IANAL, but shouldn’t the defense be able to challenge the credibility of a “forensic scientist” by asking him to support his credentials?

      “What certification do you have as a forensic examiner, Dr. Hayne?”

      Is it not true, Dr. Hayne, that X journal has stated that bite mark evidence is not reliable? What peer reviewed studies support your contentions?

      Is it not true, Dr. Hayne, that X many people have been subsequently exonerated when your testimony was found to be unsupported by the facts?”

    29. #29 |  Mitch | 

      “If Mullholland Drive was the sixth best movie of the decade, I just lived through a different decade.”

      It’s so cute when people think their opinions about subjective matters, like which movies or music are good and bad, are objectively true.

    30. #30 |  thefncrow | 

      dsmallwood, the point is that the Democratic caucus has the votes to pass the health care bill, and the only obstruction to that is Republicans trying to debate what is a settled matter. Those 90 hours of debate aren’t going to stop the bill, and, frankly, the nay votes don’t even have to show up for any of those votes if they don’t want to. If half the GOP caucus decided that they’d had enough and wanted to go home early, they could and would not be missed in the least.

      If the Republicans wanted to work out a scenario where they’d waive the 30 hours of debate requirement in one of the three cloture scenarios, then you could schedule a vote today at a reasonable hour, say 10am, and chew through cloture, the vote to pass the amendment, and the passage of the second cloture motion. Then the GOP would get their 30 hours of debate, and the vote to hollow out the House bill would be Tuesday at 4pm, and the vote to pass the bill would be 10pm on Wednesday after another 30 hours of debate, after which the Senate could adjourn.

      Instead, the Republicans are demanding every hour of the total 90 hours of debate possible under the 3 cloture motions, and they’ll get them. It just so happens that by holding the cloture vote as soon as allowed by the Senate rules, their clock can be run out before Christmas Day. If the Republicans want to stand on meaningless obstructionism in an attempt to disrupt the holiday recess, that’s their right to try, but the Senate’s Democratic leadership is under no obligation to introduce delays in the schedule as to guarantee disruption.

    31. #31 |  Sydney Carton | 

      Nick, the thing is, hearsay rules are just that – rules. They can be changed by administrative procedure, legislation, or court rulemaking of its procedures, depending on the jurisdiction. There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule, and if the administrators had their way, lab test reports would just be another permitted exception.

      But the Constitutional right to confront one’s accuser is something that cannot have permitted exceptions. That’s why they’re crying like babies over it.

    32. #32 |  J sub D | 

      “Concerning the actions involved in the death of Jonathan Ayers on September 1, 2009, we find that the use of deadly force by Agent Billy Shane Harrison was legally justified based upon his objectively reasonable belief that such use of force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or others. Based upon this finding, we the Grand Jury believe that the officers involved in this incident would be immune from criminal prosecution pursuant to Official Code of Georgia Annotated 16-3-24.2.”

      IOW, The only survivng witness said they didn’t do anything wrong. We believe them because police don’t lie.

      Pure bovine excrement.

    33. #33 |  Cynical in CA | 

      That DC cop is lucky he wasn’t in Jersey.

      We used to put “D” batteries inside our snowballs.

      Motherfucker.

    34. #34 |  Cynical in CA | 

      Top ten lists suck balls.

      Just saw Inglourious Basterds. Wonderful film. Quentin Tarantino is the best director of this generation, IMHO.

    35. #35 |  Tim C | 

      It’s so cute when people who are named Mitch, the stupidest name in the world, are inclined to post obviously fallacious comments.

    36. #36 |  Nick T | 

      #31, well there is the BoR right to due process and a fair trial.

      These things are vague enough, that unlawfully admitting hearsay could be seen as a violation of them, and as I vaguley recall from school has been found as such. So there’s still some up-on-high protections for the hearsay rule – but of course not as much os the more explicit confrontation clause.

    37. #37 |  Mitch | 

      Tim C: your wit is sophisticated. I never would have thought of going after someone’s first name as a response to their comments. Genius!

    38. #38 |  SJE | 

      Aresen:

      The defense SHOULD be able to discredit the forensic witness. But it is usually very hard (both from a legal and practical perspective) to discredit your OWN witness. Thus, the prosecution needs to present the witness.
      (a) the prosecution has the burden of proving its case, not the defense. If the forensic witness is crap, it hurts the prosecution
      (b) the prosecutor, cops, forensics all work for the same entity, the state. It makes sense for the prosecutor to be able to use the power of the state to force its own employees to testify, rather than put that burden on the defense.
      (c) Here I am on less sure ground, so I ask the criminal defense lawyers for their feedback. From my perspective, the prosecution has relied on something akin to the “business records” “government document” rules. That is, some documents are “produced in the ordinary course of business” and can just be admitted without too much trouble. Cash register receipts, phone records, photos etc. This works if (a) it is the process of a machine or (b) the person who produced them was disinterested…which of course goes against the whole “we are experts” crapola that the prosecution usually presents, and ignores the great deal of “interest” inherent in state forensic experts. I think that this is a VERY good thing to have these experts testify, in that it will expose the system to much needed scrutiny.
      They have shown that “trust us” doesn’t work.

    39. #39 |  Whim | 

      If you ever happen to be in the environs of Toccoa, (Stephens County) Georgia, which is 90 miles northeast of Atlanta, you may want to avoid:

      Billy Shane Harrison.

      He’s the LEO shooter in the Minister Ayers’ death.

      So, don’t stop.

      Don’t speed.

      Don’t slow down.

      Just get out of his jurisdiction ASAP.

    40. #40 |  Cynical in CA | 

      No dog in this hunt, but Mitch is on valid and sound logical ground.

      Normative subjectivity is impossible.

    41. #41 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      The problem in the Ayers Grand Jury was that the DA is the one presenting the case. Do you think he’d do a bang up job to prosecute policemen, especially vice cops whom the DA works closely with? When you technically support the defendants, there is no hope Grand Jury would choose to indict.

    42. #42 |  Dan | 

      When innocent people get killed/murdered by cops, I often wonder if the cops involved have a hard time getting over it. I would think that being responsible for the violent death of an innocent man would tear the average human being apart. Only those who know the cops on a personal basis are privy to that information. Publicly, I usually don’t see remorse on the part of the cops, and certainly not from the DAs.
      If they have no sense of guilt, remorse or shame then that makes them very dangerous people. I read the posts of cops commenting on the cop in Seattle who slammed a guy into a wall and crushed his skull. The man is brain dead and was totally innocent. Most saw the innocent man as a bad guy and would have had no problem doing the same thing in that position. What kind of people would say something like that? The total lack of empathy is not that different from what we see in serial killers. Wouldn’t a decent person be devastated by destroying an innocent man’s life?

    43. #43 |  Foobs | 

      Grand Juries are, in theory, a check upon prosecutors, forcing them to have a decent case before a trial can go forward. IN fact, they are a cover for prosecutors. If the prosecutor WANTS to take a case to trial, he can always get the grand jury to go along (lower burden of proof, no opposition, majority vote instead of unanimity). Then he can say that the grand jury saw the evidence (which they didn’t really) and THEY decided a trial was necessary. Of the prosecutor DOESN’T want to go to trial, he can mail it in in secret, then say that he took it to the GJ and THEY didn’t think their was enough evidence. It is another time when the theoretical and actual operation of the system are closer to being opposites than being the same.

    44. #44 |  BamBam | 

      The D.C. cop who drew his gun at a snowball fight this weekend is now international news. This will make it somewhat more difficult for MPDC to continue lying about the story.

      No it won’t. The brazeness by which cops operate knows no bounds, proven time and again by this web site and others (and that is just what is reported). They blatantly lie, kill, intimidate, etc. because the system encourages and emboldens such behavior. Of course, the extensive psychological testing, management oversight, etc. will weed out these turrible behaviors. Right? Right?

    45. #45 |  BamBam | 

      Holding the cloture vote this morning as late as 6am would push the vote for final passage on the bill into Christmas Day. They’re trying to get this through as quickly as possible, and with the Republicans deciding that they want to use their allotted 30 hours of debate on each of the 3 cloture motions, the 1am vote was necessary to prevent this from bleeding into Christmas Day.

      I must point out that your data is very likely accurate. However, I must point out how ridiculous and WRONG this method of operating is. Things should be voted on when proper research has been done, not because the fat cats want to go on vacation. I’m not holding my breath that the system will ever do this, as it weakens the system. And voting on 1 bill at a time, with each bill representing a single topic. No attaching amendments that are weakly or not at all unrelated.

      The bill will pass, and the fat cats will continue this country down the path of destruction (not solely because of health care bills). They will continue to have their own system that is superior to ours, and we will foot the bill because they run the system, therefore they do so to their benefit.

      Some day enough people will wake up and do something about it.

    46. #46 |  Dan | 

      I don’t see how people can afford to pay the huge tax increase for the government medical rationing bill. People will not be able to pay for their homes and take care of their families. When it comes down to paying taxes so Obama can control my health care vs. providing for my family, the income tax loses. This is going to be a bloody mess. And I mean bloody.People don’t have jobs or $. We are in a depression that is going to get much, much worse. A tax revolt is unavoidable.

    47. #47 |  ClubMedSux | 

      Mitch- Obviously Radley’s point is simply that he disagrees with the list. And I will certainly disagree with “The Incredibles” being ranked significantly higher than “The Lives of Others.”

    48. #48 |  Michael Chaney | 

      Re: #42

      Purely unsubstantiated, but a commenter in one of the Ayers articles on the web site of a local paper there claims that the officers were bragging among friends that they had “killed that preacher and were going to get away with it.” I don’t think there is any remorse, otherwise it wouldn’t keep happening.

      Read up on the Kathryn Johnston murder. Those guys met 5+ times after her murder to get their story straight – obviously they didn’t give a damn about her life, just keeping their own pathetic asses out of jail.

    49. #49 |  BamBam | 

      #48: the answer? private justice.

    50. #50 |  J sub D | 

      I clicked the wrong button on Michael Chaney’s post, #48.

      Please add 2 to his up score. Also feel free make fun of my internet skillz as appropriate.

    51. #51 |  Tokin42 | 

      t’s so cute when people think their opinions about subjective matters, like which movies or music are good and bad, are objectively true……Mitch#29

      “If” Mullholland Drive was the sixth best movie of the decade”[Subjective]
      +
      “Then” (implied) I just lived through a different decade.
      [Subjective]
      =
      Mitch is an ass with an unhealthy attachment to “Mullholland Drive” and likes to dress up like Ann Miller on special weekends.
      (Ojectively True)

      Did I diagram that correctly?

    52. #52 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      BTW, is Radley’s complaint that Mullholland Drive was rated to highly or to lowly?

    53. #53 |  Aresen | 

      J sub D | December 21st, 2009 at 4:57 pm
      I clicked the wrong button on Michael Chaney’s post, #48.

      Please add 2 to his up score. Also feel free make fun of my internet skillz as appropriate.

      Nah.

      We’ll just snicker behind your back.

    54. #54 |  Elle | 

      Con’t:

      He knew at that point that if they stopped him, he would be ruined. Everyone would know about his secret life. He would loose his job, his wife, and his reputation. Instead of facing what he had done, he attempted to flee. First he runs down one officer with his car, then he attempts to run down the second officer. He is shot. After his car stops, he jumps out of his car, and still tries to run away on foot before he is apprehended by the officer.

      My sympathies are with his wife, family, and friends. I hate what this news will do to them when it becomes public, but I’m guessing they’ll just think that everyone involved just made it all up. How sad…

    55. #55 |  buzz | 

      Elle apparently watched some other video than the one from the store. It shows an unmarked caddy screaming up to him, armed men in plainclothes jumping out and running up to his car. I would take off also. As far as his “secret” life that you used your amazing physic powers to discover, the man was a preacher. Who do you think preachers talk to? We have had several here who roam the streets at night talking to the addicts and hookers. It’s part of the job description. What possible reason could there have been for them not to call a marked unit, and follow his car until the marked unit arrived to make the pull over? It’s because that isnt nearly as fun as racing up and jumping out with your gun. That’s it. This guy gave a possible hooker a ride who had a personal stash. BFD.

    56. #56 |  Chuchundra | 

      Grand juries are a tool for prosecutors. Good prosecutors use them to good ends. Bad prosecutors use them to bad ones.

      I spent a month on grand jury some years ago. Most of the stuff was pretty routine, DUIs, drug busts, simple burglary. Didn’t learn much from that except the utter stupidity of the criminal element in our society.

      But we had a few more complex cases, ones that were presented over multiple days with significant witnesses and evidence. It seemed to me that in these case the prosecutor was using the grand jury process to do more than just gain indictments. He was developing a “first draft” of the trial and watching our reactions and listening to our questions to see which charges and theories of the crime made the most sense.

    57. #57 |  Michael Chaney | 

      More on Jonathan Ayers:

      http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/evidence-released-in-ga.-minister-death_122109

      The girl he was helping is now claiming that Ayers had been paying her for sex for years. This is so low, but my belief is that she’s getting reduced charges in other areas (they claimed to have bought cocaine from her earlier that day) for lying about this.

      Before, she claimed she’d had a miscarriage days before the incident and was incapable of having sex on this day. In the audio, she doesn’t claim to have had sex that day, just for years before. Clearly, the entire point is to slander Ayers’ reputation.

      Side note: After reading about Ayers and his life, both in his words and others, it seems very unlikely that he was paying a prostitute for sex. He’s done mission trips in Africa, he’s married with a kid on the way, this isn’t the typical guy who has sex with prostitutes. It *is* the kind of guy who *helps* prostitutes, as he has given his life over to his ministry. That’s what sickens me all the more over this.

      You can also see the “injuries” to the officer in this video. He got a bruise on his arm, which seems unlikely to have come from Ayers’ car hitting him. Regardless, it’s no reason to kill a man.

      The bottom line is that, even if the situation made it “legal” to kill him, the situation was wholely created by these cops. We cannot, as a society, allow them to create a situation which warrants deadly force then use deadly force. Had they simply asked Ayers inside the station or had a uniformed officer pull him over, none of this would have happened.

      I would hope now that the officer’s name is known (“Billy Shane Harrison” for those wondering) that he will be shunned and scorned within his community. He should not be welcomed in any church or any polite company until he apologizes and seeks forgiveness from those that he’s impacted. If he’s a man, he’ll also voluntarily give whatever monetary restitution he can to Ayers’ family.

    58. #58 |  Frank | 

      At this point my “give a shit” meter needle won’t move when I hear about a cop getting killed in Georgia.

      You reap what you sow.

    59. #59 |  Michael Chaney | 

      If I may expound on one point in my previous point – that the officers created this situation then exploited it to kill Ayers – please consider this. What the grand jury said is this:

      “Based upon this finding, we the Grand Jury believe that the officers involved in this incident would be immune from criminal prosecution pursuant to Official Code of Georgia Annotated 16-3-24.2.”

      The law cited by the grand jury states in part that a person who uses threats or force in defense of self or others is immune from criminal prosecution.

      In other words, I can jump out into any roadway in front of an oncoming car. If the driver is unable to avoid me, I can then shoot him since I’m defending myself. Never mind the fact that I created this situation.

      Of course, I’m being silly – this only works for police officers. But you get the drift. The grand jury should have considered not the immediate situation, but the entire situation.

    60. #60 |  Michael Chaney | 

      Sorry, last post I promise. Here’s what Kayla Barrett was saying (through her family) a couple of months ago:

      http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/Lavonia+Minister+103009

      See how that compares to her GBI interview…

    61. #61 |  supercat | 

      //The defense SHOULD be able to discredit the forensic witness. But it is usually very hard (both from a legal and practical perspective) to discredit your OWN witness.//

      If the prosecution calls a witness, the prosecution has to present its questions before the defense, and the defense can thus tailor its questions and arguments around those of the prosecution. If the defense calls the witness, the situation is reversed. A deceptive witness will be helped greatly by having the party that favors the witness get the last word.

      Further, if the prosecution is allowed to introduce evidence from a witness and wait until after the jury has regarded it as “true” before the defense is allowed to challenge it, having the defense call the witness to the stand and immediately trying to tear him down isn’t going to win any points from the jury. Rebuttal needs to be immediate.

    62. #62 |  André | 

      I really liked the Baader-Meinhof Complex, but I doubt that’ll ever be released in the US.

    63. #63 |  Andrew Williams | 

      Just copied the Barbie boner pill ad to my Pics file. : )

    64. #64 |  Andrew Williams | 

      #12 So cloture prevents bleeding? I thought clotting did that.

    65. #65 |  supercat | 

      //There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule, and if the administrators had their way, lab test reports would just be another permitted exception.//

      An honest court would look at the rights the government is required to honor, and see if government policies actually honor such rights in such fashion as to be meaningful. Unfortunately, many courts instead simply look to see if government policies give lip service to people’s rights. We need courts that will recognize that recognize that deliberate efforts to undermine people’s rights while giving some lip service to them are illegitimate. If the purpose of a government action is to make it difficult for someone to confront his accuser, the action is illegitimate even if it doesn’t make confrontation totally impossible.

      It’s interesting to compare the rules of some sports with that of tournament bridge. In many sports, violations which the ref doesn’t catch aren’t violations, and it is perfectly proper for players to commit violations in the hope of getting away with them. Players may be admired for bending the rules and getting away with it. In bridge, deliberate violation or even bending of the rules is cheating; cheaters are not admired. I wish today’s government were more like bridge than the other sports.

    66. #66 |  Andrew Williams | 

      #54 Con’t:

      Continued from WHERE? Perhaps from your excuse for a brain?

      Troll pwned. EPIC fail.

    67. #67 |  ZappaCrappa | 

      DC Cop goes international: So the chief now says he acted inappropriately…the asst chief says his actions were appropriate…I wonder if the chief will now face retribution for breaking the blue code of silence?

      A side note…after 25 years of voting, I have FINALLY been ordered to report for jury duty. Odds of being selected to sit on an actual jury:

      If I say what they want to hear….50/50. If I am honest….0. By the way…my buddy recently got pulled over by the Mckinney police and they stole his cell phone…after tearing his car apart for 30 mins and finding nothing. No charges. He isn’t even sure why he got pulled over besides being african american. I believe him. I think I’m going to tell them what they want to hear so I can play too. Sorry for going off-topic but I was just all giddy with the news.

    68. #68 |  Overthrow | 

      Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I’d rate “Mullholland Drive” one of the best movies of the quarter century, myself. What about it did you not like/understand?

    69. #69 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Part of “Police State Bingo” is “What you don’t see on the video is…” and sure enough they called that square. I guess we have to take their word that the officer (off duty) was responding to a 911 call…or maybe a call over his walkie-talkie…or smoke signals that weren’t recorded but justified his pulling his gun. Had he shot and killed someone, that be justimifyiable 2.

    70. #70 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      When innocent people get killed/murdered by cops, I often wonder if the cops involved have a hard time getting over it.

      Cops never kill innocent people, therefore they never have anything to get over.

    71. #71 |  PW | 

      “Maybe an asteroid will land on the Capital building and cloture their asses into dust.”

      Funny. Every time they have one of those state of the union gatherings a small part of me kinda wishes that one of those Roland Emmerich movie plots would unfold where the capitol gets flattened by a giant meteor, tidal wave, alien spaceship, and/or global warming-induced “thundersnow” hurricane.

    72. #72 |  Windy | 

      Excuse me but isn’t the buying of votes a form of bribery? And isn’t holding back one’s vote until one gets concessions a form of extortion? And are those both not impeachable/prosecutable offenses?

    73. #73 |  flukebucket | 

      Thanks for the links Michael Chaney.

      And can anybody tell me where Elle is getting her/his information?

    74. #74 |  Aresen | 

      | Windy | December 22nd, 2009 at 5:01 am
      Excuse me but isn’t the buying of votes a form of bribery? And isn’t holding back one’s vote until one gets concessions a form of extortion? And are those both not impeachable/prosecutable offenses?

      Libertarians are soooo cute when they think that laws should apply to the boss class.

      /snark

    75. #75 |  Watching | 

      Listen to the recording on the WNEG website of what Kayla Barrett told the GBI on September 1 (within hours of the shooting and before Ayers died) about their relationship, and BEFORE the news broke that he was a pastor (she told the GBI in this interview that she didn’t know what his job was). Make up your own mind about their relationship. Does it sound like he is “ministering” to her?

      http://wneg32.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2080:ayers-case-file-opened&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18

    76. #76 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

      Kayla Barrett is part of a little crime wave in her part of the country:

      http://www.independentmail.com/news/2009/dec/18/police-say-burglary-ringleader-captured/

    77. #77 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

      I just found this. Look how the GJ in the Ayer’s case was conducted.

      http://www.thenortheastgeorgian.com/articles/2009/12/15/news/top_stories/01topstory.txt

      “I am deeply disappointed, however, to now learn that the usual practice in presenting cases to a grand jury will not be followed concerning the death of my husband,” her statement reads.

      “I understand that a first grand jury will be asked to consider the case and to give an advisory opinion on whether a second grand jury should be asked to receive evidence and decide whether to return any criminal indictments against the shooter and others responsible for Jonathan’s death,” her statement reads. “I feel that this tilts the system unfairly in favor of those whose conduct led to this tragic and shocking loss of my husband and his family, including his unborn child that I am bearing.”

      “I intend to follow the law and all recourse available to me to see that justice is done, and that all those responsible for Jonathan’s death are held accountable,” her statement concludes.

      Rickman responded to Ayers’ statement with the following written statement:

      “The district attorney’s office will be presenting the full results of the investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into the shooting death of Jonathan Ayers to the Stephens County Grand Jury for their review. The grand jury will be asked to determine whether the officer’s use of lethal force was justified under Georgia law and if not, whether criminal charges are supported by the evidence and Georgia law. This process is important for a fair and transparent review of the facts and circumstances of this tragic event by the citizen members of the Grand Jury.”

      What did this “first” grand jury consider?

    78. #78 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

      Here is another post wherein a commenter says the following about what the news is reporting concerning the evidence put before the GJ. If true, it must be through TV news as I can’t find a print story yet.

      http://www.truecrimereport.com/2009/12/reader_rev_jonathan_ayers_fami.php

      Fixed said:

      The news reports on this matter indicate that the grand jury only heard from the police officers involved and other “expert” law enforcement witnesses. It seems a little odd to me that none of the impartial witnesses present at the scene were brought before the grand jury. . . and it somewhat unsettling that a bunch of law enforcement officers would come out with guns drawn against a person who they had not first identified. If I were put in the same situation as Pastor Ayers, I believe I would have run for my life and acted just as he did. These officers were negligent and careless and should not be trusted with guns. It appears that the foxes were guarding the hen house at this grand jury proceeding !
      Posted 12/21/2009 at 10:43:38 PM

    79. #79 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

      Here is the print story about the evidence and testimony heard by the GJ:

      http://www.thetoccoarecord.com/articles/2009/12/18/news/breaking_news/doc4b2bc6fe5ffd4104383173.txt

      “The Grand Jury reviewed the entire investigative file of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and heard testimony from six witnesses, including Commander Kyle Bryant, Mountain Narcotics Criminal Investigation & Suppression Team (NCIS); Agent Chance Oxner, Mountain NCIS; Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers, GBI; Special Agent Megan Miller, GBI; Agent Billy Shane Harrison, Mountain NCIS; and Charles J. (Joe) Key, expert in police use of force.”

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