Renton, Washington Doubles Down

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Ken at Popehat has details on the city’s latest efforts to use an anti-cyberstalking law to intimidate whoever is posting Internet cartoons that mock the local constabulary.

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36 Responses to “Renton, Washington Doubles Down”

  1. #1 |  Ken | 

    Why thank you, Radley.

    Dreamhost thoughtfully chose this very moment to shit the bed, making the site inaccessible. Hopefully that will change soon.

  2. #2 |  Andrew S. | 

    Working for me Ken.

    It should be obvious to a 1L, let alone Mr. Superlawyer, that if the statute can mean what he says it means, it’s constitutionally overbroad. It’s obvious to me, and (a) it’s been more than a decade since I took constitutional law, (2) it’s been 8 years since the bar exam, (D) I’m merely a transactional corporate attorney, and (6) I’m an idiot.

  3. #3 |  JimBob | 

    I especially like your bit about “not having all the facts”, Ken.

    If the judge is considering issues outside of what’s stated in the warrant request, then there’s a problem. The Fourth Amendment states that “…no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation…”– if it ain’t in the request, the judge shouldn’t be considering it, right?

    And if the judge is issuing a fucking warrant on the basis of “this guy embarrassed us by speaking about us on them thar interwebs, so that’s cyberstalking!”, then he needs to be run out of town by angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

  4. #4 |  SJE | 

    Unfortunately, we cannot sue the judge. I wish that there was some way that gross incompetence would be a basis to remove judicial immunity.

    Thus we have judges granting warrants that permit state actors to unconstitutionally harrass critics.

    A judge could allow a steroid-filled police officer to conduct a search of his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s apartment based on bogus pleadings. Oops, the suspect got shot “resisting arrest.”

    At what stage do we get to sue the judge?

  5. #5 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Semi-related out of Brockport, NY:

    http://volokh.com/2011/08/09/new-york-trial-court-throws-out-libel-lawsuit-filed-by-village-police-chief-and-three-officers-against-anonymous-internet-commenters/

    (Good news for trolls!)

  6. #6 |  BamBam | 

    Humpty Dumpty said that “when I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Alice’s response was “the question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Humpty replied: “the question is which is to be master – that’s all.”

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    I have to edit Ken a bit:

    Eugene Volokh is Galactus and you’re, say, Aquaman Captain Klutz.*

    *For those benighted souls who do not know of Captain Klutz:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Martin_(cartoonist)

  8. #8 |  MDGuy | 

    “Officers have been searching for the identity of the cartoonist for months.”

    So they solved all the robbery, sexual assault and murder cases first right? ಠ_ಠ

  9. #9 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Not content for its Chief Prosecutor and Police Department to be the subject of uniform nationwide scorn for abusive censorious douchebaggery, Renton is bringing more of its staff into the mix and doubling down.”

    Well of course they are doubling down. This is the first rule for douchebags in positions of authority. Never say you were wrong. Never apologize (unless it is one of those “mistakes were made” non-apology apologies). And when you start to look ridiculous, don’t skip a beat. Continue doing the same shit HARDER, especially if you are lampooned for your douchebaggery. This is the same logic that has given us the policy of drug prohibition, et al.

  10. #10 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Officers have been searching for the identity of the cartoonist for months.”

    Fuck, I’m half-tempted to confess to it just to get some publicity.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    Constabulary’s not a word asshole! People like you make me sick.

  12. #12 |  Difster | 

    If had any artistic skills, I would be documenting this whole thing in cartoon just to piss them off even more.

  13. #13 |  Stephen | 

    Way to go Ken!

    I love the comic book reference. Only quibble is that you got Marvel and DC universes tangled up. Galactus is Marvel and Aquaman is DC. :)

  14. #14 |  hamburglar007 | 

    What concerns me is if they react this seriously to something so benign, how are they acting when they are actually policing and prosecuting.

  15. #15 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Andrew S., stop bragging about your youth. I find it depressing. As Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice would say, I guess I’m a teacup.

    Well I won’t say how long it’s been for me since taking ConLaw, but it’s been a long time. But I do try to keep up.

    This is ludicrous and all the doubling-down is SOP. The best defense is a good offense and all that. This story and the Fullerton, Orange County, CA police murder of Kelly Thomas have a lot in common. The stories have legs that we should not let go of, and cross-party outrage, which we also should not let die on the vine. These stories bring the reality home to folks who otherwise think LEO/DAs are just out for the good of the public by stopping the bad guys.

    Thankfully, the Washington state commenters at KIRO 7 seem to get it.

  16. #16 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: #9 – The passive voice rules.

  17. #17 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Constabulary? That must be something like constable, except that it isn’t a word. Someone needs a dose of reality strong enough to pull them back from the brink of Pulitzer-wannabe ambition to the reality of red-shirt team, sometimes-contributor to Huffpost, the most feeble excuse for journalism on the planet…

  18. #18 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16 Michael Chaney:
    “Re: #9 – The passive voice rules.”

    Lol, yeah. With its overuse, passive voice is one of those things I just have to laugh at so I don’t get angry. It is the ultimate tool of government and corporate PR hacks. Yuck.

  19. #19 |  Andrew S. | 

    @Laura: Usually when I say that I’m the old guy in the room, not the young whippersnapper.

  20. #20 |  Thomas | 

    Constabulary – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster …
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/constabulary – Cached1con·stab·u·lary. adj \kən-ˈsta-byə-ˌler-ē, -ˌle-rē\. Definition of CONSTABULARY. : of or relating to a constable or constabulary …

    I would google a word before saying it does not exist…but that is just me

  21. #21 |  Jay | 

    Thomas: That’s a rather fantastical statement.

  22. #22 |  Mo | 

    Wait that definition is nonsense. A Constabulary is of or relating to a constabulary? Though I will note that Firefox does not think constabulary is a misspelled word in the chat box and the dictionary is pretty limited.

  23. #23 |  Bob | 

    #13 | Stephen | August 10th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Way to go Ken!

    I love the comic book reference. Only quibble is that you got Marvel and DC universes tangled up. Galactus is Marvel and Aquaman is DC. :)

    No no. The comparison is fully legit. Hell, it’s not like he compared Batman to Fixer. Geeze. We could argue about that for weeks.

    But Galactus and Aquaman? Ok.

  24. #24 |  Ken | 

    I thought the “Aquaman sucks” meme was sufficiently popular to support the joke. I might have been wrong.

  25. #25 |  Stephen | 

    I guess The Living Tribunal or the Spectre are not as well know as Galactus is.

  26. #26 |  Stephen | 

    Actually now that I think about it some more, putting those two lawyers in different universes might have been the correct thing to do.

  27. #27 |  JS | 

    Thomas me and ClubMedSux were making fun of the guy who wrote Radley all pissed off because he used the word fantastical.

  28. #28 |  johnl | 

    We need a new simple phrase for increasing the steaks on a losing bet. “Doubling down” refers to an action in blackjack that can be a correct move. What Renton is doing is more like “betting double or nothing”, or “averaging down”. I prefer “averaging down”, because losers use that expression to describe their behavior, in advance of their loss.

  29. #29 |  JSL | 

    Ken, you might be thinking of Southpark’s Superfriends “Seaman” (Superlawyer) and his pet bird, (Justice) Swallow.

  30. #30 |  homeboy | 

    @ #22, Mo

    That definition is correct; it merely notes that the adjectival (a pretend word I just made up ;-)) form of the word may be used to refer to the noun form.

    @ #27, JS

    How fantastically regsmiffened of you guys! You’re damned lucky that I don’t report you to the local constabulary for your acts of kabeebleschnorpery and picklelillyism!

  31. #31 |  Windy | 

    Update:
    Judge halts search for cartoonist who embarrassed cops.
    http://ow.ly/5ZjZv

  32. #32 |  GaryM | 

    Let’s declare “Everybody draw Renton cops day”!

    No, wait, I remember the last time somebody suggested something like that…

  33. #33 |  ktc2 | 

    This is not an incitement to violence. It is however cool.

    http://gizmodo.com/5829744/send-your-local-rep-a-message-the-old-fashioned-way-with-this-tar-and-feather-gun

  34. #34 |  JS | 

    homeboy, lol

    ktc, it looks cool but thats the trouble with not living under rule of law anymore. No one knows weather it is incitement to violence until the judge decides whether it is or not. If the NSA forwards your post to the FBI let us know.

  35. #35 |  Cyto | 

    In a brilliant marketing ploy, German political activists hand out free T-Shirts to neo-Nazis during a rally. When washed, the T-shirt’s nationalist logo washes away to reveal a message: “If your T-shirt can do it, so can you. We’ll help to free you from right-wing extremism.”

    Pretty clever idea… If only the Kochtopus hadn’t forgotten to give me my stipend I could get them to fund a T-shirt handout at leftie political rallies… we could have nice liberty friendly messages with a DNC logo and have it fade out to a libertarian message.

  36. #36 |  croaker | 

    @33 Too short a range

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