Sunday Links

Sunday, May 29th, 2011
  • Two kids commit an armed robbery. Cop shoots one of them in the back. The other kid is now charged with homicide under the felony murder rule. Might be difficult to muster much sympathy for a kid who just committed armed robbery, but this doesn’t feel like a just charge. Felony murder cases often feel that way.
  • 1,000 words, and all that.
  • So in the midst of a rash of police scandals and allegations of misconduct in Seattle, an arbitrator has ruled in favor of the police union: Seattle is not allowed to release the names of police officers who have been the subject of formal complaints. This makes it pretty much impossible for anyone outside of law enforcement to see if the same cops are generating multiple complaints.
  • Adele’s ex-boyfriend does all the world’s shitty boyfriends a huge favor: He makes them look good by comparison.
  • So isn’t this basically a form of fraud? This is the same guy who make the prank call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pretending to be David Koch. Which I take to mean he thinks spending money to advance your political opinions is somehow a threat to the democratic process, but lying to gain access to your political opponent’s calling lists, then calling up, insulting, and lying to your opponent’s supporters while pretending to be a campaign worker is just a robust form of activism. Or at least good material for a newspaper column.
  • ACLU lawsuit alleges NYPD using an arrangement with taxi companies to stop and frisk passengers.
  • Hey. You. Where is your hat?

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68 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  davidst | 

    It would have to be felony pot possession as well.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    #50: Again, I agree. The felony murder rule is supposed to stop people engaging in activities with a “foreseeable consequence” of death. At the same time, anything involving the police seems to have death as a foreseeable consequence.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    #51 | davidst | May 30th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    It would have to be felony pot possession as well.

    It appears to be common practice to bring in a ‘snitch’ or an ‘undercover officer’ to claim to have made a buy. Thus elevating the charge to ‘distribution’ which is a felony in many places.

    I think they do this just to make the warrant request look good, but I won’t be surprised when it’s used to turn a “Cop Kills Civilian” case into a Felony Murder rap for the others in the house.

  4. #4 |  jcalton | 

    The Seattle thing is a function of the union contract with the city forbidding release of the names, correct? Note that it was an arbitrator and not a judge. This isn’t the state of “the law” — this is an enforceable/binding agreement between two parties.
    This is not precedent, and has no bearing whatsoever on similar public information cases.*

    The city is still negotiating that contract…they [the voters or their representatives] could simply remove those portions in the next contract if they desired.

    * The courts could certainly debate whether it is lawful to contract around sunshine laws.

  5. #5 |  Andrew S. |,0,4331240.story

    fun fun fun here. Woman burns sage as a religious ceremony. Idiot cop thinks she’s burning pot. Field test confirms that it’s pot (doesn’t it always?). Cop somehow avoids arresting her, but sends sage to lab for further testing. DA orders arrest based upon the field test, without even bothering to check results of lab test. Woman arrested at place of employment in front of customers and fellow employees. Booked into jail, strip searched, and stays for the night.

    A month later, the woman and her lawyer figure out it wasn’t actually tested by the lab at all. Shockingly, the test confirms that it’s just sage, and not pot.

    And as a non-surprising post-script, she tried to sue for malicious prosecution, and the case was dismissed because prosecutors are allowed to do whatever the hell they want to do and never have to face consequences (must be nice!)

  6. #6 |  Stephen | 

    #38 | C. S. P. Schofield |

    Have you been to Jerry Pournelle’s website? It’s worth visiting.

  7. #7 |  MikeZ | 

    “The Felony Murder clause should only be used if a murder is committed by one of the parties of the Felony DURING the commission of the Felony. Geeze, That should be obvious, huh?”

    First I’d say felony murder here is silly, but I disagree with this statement. Suppose the robbers were involved in a shootout with police, and in the crossfire a police officer dies. To me it doesn’t much matter who shot the bullet in that case, the robbers were responsible for the shootout and should be charged. Even if the bullet that killed the officer was some crazy ricochet shot by the same officer who died.

    However I do think a reasonable exception to felony murder would exclude the robbers themselves, and put some real limits on it that the officers so that the shooting itself had to be justified.

  8. #8 |  JOR | 

    supercat, do you think that’s more or less likely than cops raiding the wrong house being treated as armed robbers?

  9. #9 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #55:

    I’m slightly relieved that this happened in Florida instead of the Upper 47. The authorities in Florida don’t have much interest in exchanging worst practices with other states, so there may be a buffer for the rest of us.

    This case is a perfect example of why we need statutes explicitly making officials civilly liable for official acts of gross incompetence and bad faith. The rationale for official immunity is that officials shouldn’t be liable for honest mistakes made in the course of performing their duties, but these assholes weren’t performing their fucking duties. Since prosecutors like to turn a blind eye to their own kind, legislatures need to allow private citizens to fill the gap.

  10. #10 |  Zippy | 

    It’s a known and foreseeable consequence of committing armed robbery that your accomplice will be shot in the course of it. Holding people responsible for deaths that occur in the course of committing crimes is a reasonable way of deterring such crimes.

    I understand why Radley gets worked up over things like innocent people going to prison, use of excessive force in drug raids, etc. But I just don’t get this whining about a perfectly straightforward application of the felony murder rule. Yes, police and prosecutorial abuses ought to be curbed. But this bleeding heart attitude about thugs makes no sense at all.

  11. #11 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Off topic: infuriating Oberwetter link:

  12. #12 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    Hey, Zippy, what kind of pussy are you? Some thug dies, and you get all worked up, thinking that someone should pay? The world is better with one less criminal in it, and it’s stupid to treat their death like it was some innocent person.

  13. #13 |  Michael | 

    Who is that man in the 1000 words picture?

  14. #14 |  Willy | 

    So are they admitting that the cop commented homicide?

  15. #15 |  Michael | 

    Oh, it’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn

  16. #16 |  Cappy | 

    Ref – Chicago teen charged with murder.

    I don’t see the reasoning behind charging this kid with murder. It’s a bit more understandable if one of the kids killed somebody during the course of the robbery and then you charge his accomplice with the murder as well.

    What precedent this sets, is that every time a cop in Chicago shoots somebody, whether justified or not, the cop has just committed attempted murder or murder.

  17. #17 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Felony Murder has always struck me as odd. I mean, charging people for what they did, and not the actions of a third party seems fairly crucial.

    Sure, it’s something which could be taken account of in sentencing, but a separate charge? Er…

  18. #18 |  Tim C | 

    Wear yo hat!