Weekend Catching-Up Links

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Linkable stuff that piled up while I was away . . .

  • This is an unfortunate death, but it’s absurd that prosecutors would even consider charging the woman once they knew the story. And of course we can’t have an unfortunate death without the suggestion of an absurd, ill-considered law to “ensure this never happens again.”*
  • Obama graciously grants eight lame pardons.
  • I don’t find the Westboro Baptist Church worthy of much attention, mostly because that’s what they want. But this is pretty great.
  • Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes speaks out on the treatment of Bradley Manning.
  • Meta-Reddit.
  • DOJ announces says it will not pursue federal civil rights charges against the police officers who severely beat Pittsburgh music student Jordan Miles after mistaking a Mountain Dew bottle in his pocket for a gun. I wrote about the case here.
  • The BBC visits a Miami jail and finds some pretty horrendous conditions.
  • Utah makes it illegal to act sexy.
  • Sounds like a plan.
  • Very suspicious police shooting death after a traffic stop in Cobb County, Georgia.

* I overlooked the portion of the article alleging that those attending the party delayed seeking medical attention in order to usher out underage drinkers and settle on a story. If those are allegations are true, then some criminal charges are appropriate. I was referring specifically to the punch that instigated it all.

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33 Responses to “Weekend Catching-Up Links”

  1. #1 |  Frank Hummel | 

    RE: This is an unfortunate death,

    Take a look at that chick, she must be at lest $270lbs. Who in their right mind would let themselves being punched by her? Let alone for $5.

  2. #2 |  Aresen | 

    •Utah makes it illegal to act sexy.

    Let me guess: The penalty for violation will be that you have to stay in Utah.

  3. #3 |  John Jenkins | 

    Re: the unfortunate death:

    “Startz’s attorneys have argued the charges should be dismissed because the punch was consensual.”

    You can’t consent to a criminal act, so that’s a losing argument. I’m not sure why there would need to be any special law passed because this is already criminal conduct. By injuring the victim, then delaying summoning aid, there’s a case for manslaughter (in fact, I am surprised that’s not the charge). This is an adult who intentionally punched someone else then interfered in his obtaining treatment for the resulting injury. I’m not sure why one should have any sympathy for the defendant in this particular instance (sure, it’s unlucky, but it’s her own fault for engaging in that sequence of actions).

  4. #4 |  Radley Balko | 

    You can’t consent to a criminal act, so that’s a losing argument.

    There are plenty of people who pay money to be put in pain. You don’t think it should be illegal to pay for S&M, too, do you?

  5. #5 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Regarding the last item, it should be clear to everyone that cops don’t ake mistakes. I mean, when was the last time you remember hearing about a police report where a cops says he made a mistake? It’s that near perfect record of never making mistakes that makes cops so credible, you know.

  6. #6 |  Mannie | 

    > By injuring the victim, then delaying summoning aid, there’s a case for manslaughter

    I think that’s the operative crime, delaying summoning aid. Two people may have been clowning around, but once the guy hit the floor, refusing to call aid can be argued to be not negligent, but depraved indifference to his life.

  7. #7 |  Les | 

    This is an adult who intentionally punched someone else then interfered in his obtaining treatment for the resulting injury.

    We don’t know if she interfered in his obtaining treatment. We have a grieving mother claiming that the police said some at the party did, but that’s all.

    People intentionally punching other people who have agreed to be punched happens all over the country, every day. Sometimes it’s sanctioned by the state, sometimes not, sometimes it’s at a party. It’s like taking drugs really, and the state is silly for trying to stop it.

  8. #8 |  John Jenkins | 

    “There are plenty of people who pay money to be put in pain. You don’t think it should be illegal to pay for S&M, too, do you?”

    It doesn’t matter what I think. What the law is matters, and the law remains that one cannot consent to a criminal act. Maybe you think that should be different, but that’s not what the law is. I do not think consent to criminal acts should be permitted because it decreases rather than increases clarity in criminal law, and I think criminal laws should be vastly simpler than they are now so people can know what is or isn’t prohibited. Let’s be honest: no one involved thought this behavior was strictly legal (as evidenced by their behavior afterward). Sports are an interesting case because of the consensual nature, but there have been cases of people prosecuted for violent conduct outside the parameters of the game.

    Interesting as that philosophical discussion is, it doesn’t matter here because it’s not a mere consent issue. The facts in the article are that the woman punched the victim, who sustained an injury and when it became clear he had sustained an injury, the woman (and the others at the party) took the time to concoct a story before summoning assistance for the victim. Even if there is an argument that her striking him should not be a crime, she inflicted the injury, and that gives rise at law to a heightened duty to him that she failed to fulfill (i.e., to affirmatively summon assistance).

    But, to address your hypothetical: if you employ someone to engage in S&M with you, and that person injures you and then that person fails to summon assistance or actively interferes with your receiving assistance and you die as a result, then yes, that person is guilty of a crime (manslaughter).

  9. #9 |  TC | 

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home2/51857951-183/law-sex-utah-arrest.html.csp#disqus_thread

    Trib link, the comments are oh so wonderful!

    Some times I really desire to have an extra flour sack available so I can hide within it.

    And note: “The intent is to target prostitutes, especially underage ones who are forced into the sex trade and trained to evade arrest, Seelig said. The arrest would be the first step in helping them get off the streets, she said.”

    It’s for the Children!!!

  10. #10 |  Aaron | 

    You can’t consent to a criminal act, so that’s a losing argument.

    Say what? It’s often consent that determines whether a given act is or is not criminal. This is clearest for sex: with consent, it’s generally legal (barring such issues as minors, and so forth). Without consent, it’s rape.

    But boxing, sparring, and so forth are legal if everybody participating consents.

    Yes, delaying treatment of injuries is criminal, and the death can properly be laid at the feet of those who did so. But this is applicable to any injury, whether deliberate or accidental.

  11. #11 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    It should be noted that Miles said he did not have a Mountain Dew bottle (at least at the time this story first broke he was quoted as saying that) and also the police were unable to produce the bottle at court proceedings.

  12. #12 |  JS | 

    I like Stewart Rhodes a lot. Because many on the left want to see him as a right wing militia guy they won’t give him a fair hearing. It pisses me off that Americans are so polarized into their pathetic little liberal/conservative thing but maybe guys like Rhodes can open some of their eyes.

  13. #13 |  EH | 

    JS: Only other Americans, though, right?

    As for the punch story, the description implies he was (or would have been) dead by the time anybody noticed what was wrong.

  14. #14 |  Highway | 

    Regarding the first story, yeah, it’s unfortunate, but then it’s another situation where someone doesn’t want to face up to the fact that their son was a damn moron. How do you even put yourself in the position of being paid to get punched in the face? By being a moron. So lady, your son was a moron, and now he’s dead because he acted like a moron. But, like a lot of people who parent morons, they want vengeance. It’s not about justice. It’s about revenge. And hey, if we can ruin countless more lives because your moron son got himself killed in stupid circumstances, why not!

    Now, that the rest of the partygoers conspired to delay his treatment (I might also point out that it is due to more stupid laws about underage drinking. Gosh, laws which criminalize things create reasons to not do the right thing! Who’da thunk?) is also wrong, although I don’t know if it is criminal. But it can’t be decoupled from the fact that consensual things people want to do, prohibited by people who are sure they know better, caused a chain of events that ended up with a dead person.

  15. #15 |  kant | 

    RE: utah

    the last paragraph was a massive facepalm moment for me.

    “The intent is to target prostitutes, especially underage ones who are forced into the sex trade and trained to evade arrest, Seelig said. The arrest would be the first step in helping them get off the streets, she said.”

    i’m speechless….

  16. #16 |  MIkeS | 

    Jesus, did he pardon eight people who aren’t even in jail?

  17. #17 |  John Jenkins | 

    @Aaron:

    1. Rape is *defined* as sex without effective consent. That’s the crime, so it’s inapposite here, if you effectively consent to sex, it’s not rape (effectiveness is important, which is where statutory rape comes from: the victim cannot legally give effective consent).

    2. Similarly, if I consent to your taking my property, it is not theft because an element of the crime is that it be without consent (e.g., common law larceny was the trespassory taking of the personal property of another with the intent to deprive permanently).

    3. The definition of battery is basically the unlawful touching of another person and is not couched in terms of consent.

    Something might not *be* a crime if it is consensual, but if something is a crime, consent doesn’t make it not a crime. If lack of consent is a required element of the crime, then the presence of effective consent means it’s not a crime (like rape and theft). But if that element is not present, then consent or its lack is irrelevant (like battery or murder). Prizefighting is interesting because it is illegal, except when licensed (which is why you don’t see UFC bouts in New York, for example).

    None of this speaks to how things ought to be existentially, just how they are.

  18. #18 |  JS | 

    EH, not sure what you mean? I singled out left wingers who are scared of oathkeepers as an example but there are plenty of examples of the same sort of thing on the right.

  19. #19 |  Juice | 

    Not saying that I agree with the law, but it’s funny that they call exposing yourself and touching yourself “acting sexy.”

  20. #20 |  Bill | 

    “Burbank said officers would not target anyone who is not a prostitute. Arrests will be made by undercover officers and only when it becomes obvious that a deal is being arranged, he said.”

    It’s awesome that they already know who’s guilty of the crime before they investigate. Since the police already know who the “bad guys” are, why do we even need a law that makes it easier for them to prosecute? Why not just allow them to testify on the basic of their psychic abilities?

  21. #21 |  Bill | 

    Make that “basis”. *sigh*

  22. #22 |  James J.B. | 

    Re the punch

    Who do they think they are, cops?

    Also – the only one w/ a legal duty is the puncher – she put him in that state everyone else – moral duty not legal

  23. #23 |  perlhaqr | 

    You can’t consent to a criminal act, so that’s a losing argument.

    Shit, if punching is a criminal act, and no amount of consent can alter that, I’d better stop going to my martial arts class.

  24. #24 |  Irving Washington | 

    Under English common law, consent was a defense to battery in the context of a fist fight. Consent absolutely is a defense to a criminal act when the act is only criminal because of lack of consent.

    Sperarate topic: Is there anyone left who thinks that impairing criminal procedure because of the supposed nature of the crime is OK? OR Promise Keepers yet again proves itself to be somewhat rational.

  25. #25 |  Michael Chaney | 

    DOJ announces says it will not pursue federal civil rights charges against the police officers who severely beat Pittsburgh music student Jordan Miles after mistaking a Mountain Dew bottle in his pocket for a gun.

    Radley, you’ve read enough of these to know the “we mistook a Mountain Dew bottle in his pocket” is simply a bullshit excuse that they created out of whole cloth during the coverup phase of this crime. Please don’t do them the honor of acting like it’s truthful. A proper phrasing would be something like this:

    DOJ announces says it will not pursue federal civil rights charges against the police officers who severely beat Pittsburgh music student Jordan Miles and then claimed that a Mountain Dew bottle in his pocket – which Miles denies having and the police cannot produce – looked like a gun.

  26. #26 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I think that’s the operative crime, delaying summoning aid. Two people may have been clowning around, but once the guy hit the floor, refusing to call aid can be argued to be not negligent, but depraved indifference to his life.

    That is going to be a real problem for her. Also, conspiracy after the fact to impede or obstruct justice.

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    “She hopes a state legislator will take interest in creating a “John’s Law” that would impose stiffer penalties on people who hurt others at parties.”

    Oh goody. Just what we need, another fucking law named after somebody.

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Never let a BBW hit you. That’s the lesson here.

  29. #29 |  DarkEFang | 

    #16 MIkeS:

    “Jesus, did he pardon eight people who aren’t even in jail?”

    Presidents pretty much exclusively pardon people whose sentences have already been completed for years or decades. The only exception to this rule I can recall is the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich. And Rich was only accused, he had never actually been convicted. He simply decided (probably stupidly) to stay in Switzerland instead of returning to the US.

  30. #30 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    DarkEFang,
    I’m not sure, but I think the last president to pardon a person still in prison was GW Bush. Wait for it…he pardoned two state agents who shot a guy in the butt while he was running away.

    Ramos and Compean. I was unable to find a peasant who has been pardoned by the President while still in jail. So, the system must work, eh?

  31. #31 |  DarkEFang | 

    I must have repressed the memory of that pardon in order to fight off the desire to bang my head against a wall.

  32. #32 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Regarding the Utah law…**sigh**

    I wish I could get worked up about it, but I’ve seen it too many times before. Oh, I’ll write about it, but I’ll use it as a springboard for a bigger discussion about the way everyone nowadays thinks he’s a mind reader. On the specific issue of prostitution, the problem is that it is to my knowledge the only crime wholly defined by intent; in other “crimes” intent can affect the degree of crime, but not the fact of it (i.e. motive for murder, etc). But with prostitution the intent to profit by sex is the “crime”. It’s therefore impossible to produce any objective evidence for it other than a video or audio tape, and those are never made because no whore in her right mind would ever say “I will do x sex act for y amount.”

    Cops have therefore come up with an astonishing array of monstrous, sexist “tests” for prostitution (http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/lack-of-evidence/) which include being unescorted on a street, winking, carrying condoms, being without panties, carrying a digital camera or laptop, wearing “revealing” clothes, paying for a hotel room with a prepaid credit card and a number of others. Sometimes these are used against any woman the cops want to harass (as in the example of Egyptian “virginity tests” used against female protesters), sometimes against women at random (I can provide specific examples from Detroit and New Orleans), and sometimes only against women the cops magically “know” (via their super cop powers) to be prostitutes. Where’s the feminist outcry against this? Nonexistent, and you know why? Because the cops never attack dumpy, frumpy, short-haired, butch “womyn’s studies” majors with these accusations, just women who look and dress in a feminine manner – and in the twisted minds of radical feminists such women “deserve” what they get.

  33. #33 |  Dwight Brown | 

    “Ramos and Compean.”

    For the record, Ramos and Compean were not pardoned; Bush commuted their sentences to what was basically time served, but did not pardon them.

    I realize that the distinction between commutation and pardoning may seem insignificant to many, but the two things are actually different in significant ways.

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