Morning Links

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

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32 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  LivingPre911Still | 

    I don’t remember “Deacon” Jones dying of a gun shot, he’s iconic… that’s “Deacon” Turner the officer killed unnecessarily according to most outside of the Sherriffs Department.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    Another execution is scheduled in Texas tonight, and a former prosecutor has written to Perry and powers that be asking for rehearing

  3. #3 |  Ron | 

    Article states NFL player was Deaon Turner, not Deacon Jones. Deacon Jones, 72, is still alive.

  4. #4 |  Radley Balko | 


    Thanks, fixed. Brain lapse, there.

  5. #5 |  tarran | 

    Radley, the failure of the camera is not ‘mysterious’. The shooting occurred at the edge of the frame at the far end of the parking lot. The camera was being triggered by activity immediately in front of the store which was quite closer to the camera.

    When I watched the footage, it seemed to me that there were numerous gaps of a few seconds in every minute.

  6. #6 |  MattJ | 

    Although you should be able to record someone else’s interaction with cops as well, so long as you aren’t physically interfering.

    How about

    Although you should be able to openly record someone else’s interaction with cops as well, so long as you aren’t physically interfering.

    We should give the folks encountering the police the option to have a private conversation with them if they desire it, shouldn’t we?

    I mean, if I’m talking to the cops about a medical condition I have (or perhaps a family member has) or speculating about the identity of the guy who poisoned my dog, I can do that in private, no?

  7. #7 |  Radley Balko | 

    >>We should give the folks encountering the police the option to have a private conversation with them if they desire it, shouldn’t we? <<

    I think I'd have a problem with a law like that because what constitutes "open" is subject to interpretation. Certainly, you can invite a cop into your house to talk about something, or get into his squad car. And I don't think there's a right to stick a microphone in a cop's face as he's talking to a witness or potential victim. (Cops also of course have the power to secure a crime scene.)

    But for example, if you see a cop beating someone, or aggressively arresting someone, I think you should certainly be free to start recording the encounter without a requirement that you be conspicuous about it. In fact, it's probably in your interest not to advertise that you're recording.

  8. #8 |  Ron | 

    And, this just in from the New Professionalism Desk.

  9. #9 |  Drouse | 

    My entry for the caption:

    No,no, I don’t need a blindfold.

  10. #10 |  Charlie O | 

    What happens to the ‘pole tax’ in Texas is quite common there. The legislature is always passing new ‘fees’ (they’re loathe to call them taxes) that are supposed to be targeted for specific purposes, yet, mysteriously, most of the money always ends up in the general fund. Texas governors are all thieves for doing this. Motorcyclists in Texas were for years, required to pay extra for their tags, with this money supposed to go into a fund for motorcycle safety or training or something like that. All the monies were discovered to be going to the general fund. Right now there’s a big controversy over billions being stolen from a fund to help poor people pay their utility bills. Texans are charged and extra ‘fee’ (tax) on their electric bills. All the money is to go to this fund. Turns out, billions have been stolen by Perry for the general fund.

  11. #11 |  Fascist Nation | 

    A strip club tax?! Rick Perry is PURE EVIL !!!!

  12. #12 |  EH | 

    Huffpo is unusable on my android phone. Seems a strange oversight for them to not have a decent mobile view.

  13. #13 |  Radley Balko | 

    I have an iPhone, but are you using the ap or accessing via web browser?

    If you’re doing one, might try the other.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    most of the money always ends up in the general fund.

    I’ve never seen taxes/fees collected and completely go into a “special fund”. I heard a guy claim such once, but upon further investigation he was sadly mistaken.

    They all get raided.

  15. #15 |  Curt | 

    re: Troy Davis…

    I just don’t get it. Judge Moore says setting aside a jury verdict absent a persuasive showing of innocence is unacceptable and would wreak havoc on the justice system. Mind you, he’s not even talking about freeing Davis, he’s talking about a new trial. If that’s the case, then I truly believe this is the kind of havoc that needs to be wreaked upon the justice system.

    A man was convicted and his life hangs in the balance. The evidence that was used to convicted him turned out to be shit… no, worse than simply being shit, it turned out to be fake shit manufactured by police. But, because he can’t *prove* that he is innocent, he won’t be re-tried based on actual evidence instead of fake shit.

    Innocent Until Proven Guilty… but, once you’re “proven” guilty, you are permanently guilty until proven innocent. Even if the “proof” of guilt is proven to be crap.

    I guess the judge is saying is that someone has to be punished. Until Davis’s defense supplies another suspect that can successfully be convicted, Davis will remain responsible. Someone has to pay, damnit! Whether or not that person actually did it.

  16. #16 |  Phil | 

    My entry for the caption:

    “Rep. Anthony Weiner being sworn in circa 1999”

  17. #17 |  celticdragon | 

    Georgia and the legal system are fucked up like a soup sandwich. I personally know someone in Brunswick, Ga (yeah, the same town where that wacked out drug court judge is presiding that you heard about in This American Life) who was sent to prison for molestation after an accusation from his ex wife. She later admitted she fabricated the whole thing to local police over jealousy towards his new girlfriend.

    His sentence was eventually commuted, but he remains on the sex offender list. His ex was never charged.

  18. #18 |  albatross | 

    Everyone knows that serious people intend to keep huge numbers of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq until those two countries become liberal democracies, aka forever. Similarly, serious people know we’re going to have to cut Social Security in order to deal with our deficit, but that sort of concern must never be allowed to call into question our commitment to occupying and bombing as many countries as possible.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    I wonder what congresscritters have former staffers involved with the lap dance lobby.

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Regarding the Thomas beating, since when are DAs ever “on the side of the people”? The fact is that the cops, the DAs, and yes, even the judges are all employees of the state, an entity that is almost universally at odds with the people.

    If cops and DAs all had to share the same office, you’d never notice any difference. They are all on the same team and it’s not “usual” for a DA to aggressively prosecute a cop for any crime. It’s a rarity.

  21. #21 |  fwb | 

    I support the death penalty. There are evil fucking people who we don’t need. That said, I don’t trust the system AT ALL. Cops lie, prosecutors are in it for fame, power, glory. The system is supposed to be about justice, not notches on the gun handle of some pissant government official. In my system, a prosecutor would face the same penalties for those he/she failed to provide true justice. Justice is not about finding someone guilty. It is about finding the truth regardless of outcome. If the state fucks up and get the wrong person, those involved should receive the same punishment, even the death penalty. No immunity for anyone. Immunity does not allow government bloodsuckers to do their job well. It allows them to do the job with impunity, to not care, to not exercise caution, to not follow the law, to abuse the citizenry, to lie, to murder.

    Thank God, I am also a believer and I suspect I shall not meet any of these folks in the next life. Think of it, a place called Heaven where there are no judges, no lawyers, no cops, no assholes. Well it does sound good.

  22. #22 |  Dante | 


    Da Plane! Da Plane!!!

  23. #23 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mr. Balko;

    Your first point is well taken, but there is a converse issue. I know many people who’s support of the death penalty became reflexive when anti-death penalty protesters involved themselves in defending persons like Ira Einhorn or Mumia who are most likely not innocent and whose defenders run to conspiracy theory radical left yahoos. People who want the death penalty abolished or severely reined in should be careful who’s case they defend.

  24. #24 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Re: the “pole tax”; I know plenty of sex workers who would be happy to pay taxes on their sales, but that would require legalizing those sales first. That would also provide Texas with more money in a different way: it could save the approximately $22.6 million per year that Texas wastes on keeping those workers locked up:

  25. #25 |  supercat | 

    #7 | Radley Balko | //I think I’d have a problem with a law like that because what constitutes “open” is subject to interpretation.//

    Obviously a certain amount of judgment will be required, and that’s what juries are for. Nonetheless, it would be helpful to add a few rules and presumptions:

    -1- A person X who knowingly performs some action in full view of another Y shall generally be presumed to give consent for Y to record such action. This presumption may be rebutted by showing e.g. that X specifically refused consent, or that Y had particular reason to believe that, if asked, X would have refused consent.

    -2- A person X who performs an act overtly in a public place, or in full view of a public place, shall generally be presumed to consent to its observation and recording by anyone and everyone who might happen to see it, whether or not the actor is aware of the observer. This presumption may be rebutted by showing that a reasonable observer would have had particular reason to believe that the actor had acted deliberately to determine if any unknown persons were watching and had reasonably concluded that none were.

    -3- Cops shall be deemed to be acting overtly whenever they are presenting themselves as cops, whether via actions, uniform, or other means.

    -4- A person who endeavors to make a recording which would be permissible shall not be deemed criminally liable if the recording happens to capture things which would not be legal to record, unless the person knowingly and deliberately disseminates such material in a fashion which could be reasonably expected to be detrimental to one or more of the persons recorded.

    Persons with recordings that contain portions which may be of public interest, but which also contain things that should not have been recorded, should be encouraged to release redacted versions while retaining the original unredacted version to allow forensic analysis in case the authenticity of the redacted version is challenged. If e.g. someone caught on camera committing a crime challenges the authenticity of a recording which also contains material that would be harmful to an uninvolved third party, the defendant should have the right to have the recording made available to an expert of his choosing, who would be bound to confidentiality regarding that uninvolved person. The defendant could question that expert in open court about whether there was any reason not to regard a public redacted version of the recording as being as fair a representation of the defendant’s actions as would be the unredacted one.

  26. #26 |  Radley Balko | 

    I understand what you’re trying to do, Supercat, but isn’t that a bit much to consider when deciding whether or not to record? I think by the time I ran through all those scenarios, the cop would have already beaten the guy and moved on.

    Laws need to be understandable and easy to follow. Especially a law like this one. I’d rather just say you’re free to record cops unless you’re physically interfering with a police officer.

    And the law already, generally stated, is that you have no expectation of privacy in public spaces.

  27. #27 |  Voss | 

    “…the limit on work hours “is not, within any fair meaning of the term, a health law.” It involved “neither the safety, the morals, nor the welfare, of the public,” Peckham wrote…”

    Wow, that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve read today.

  28. #28 |  Nate | 

    This article on Davis isn’t very persuasive and seems to intentionally leave out holes. Davis admits being at the scene but offered no information on the try shooters identity? 7 of 10 witnesses recanted… that seems to leave 3… I wholeheartedly agree he shouldn’t be executed, but this whole “innocent by state incompetence” thing isn’t a good way to seek justice.

  29. #29 |  supercat | 

    #26 | Radley Balko | //I understand what you’re trying to do, Supercat, but isn’t that a bit much to consider when deciding whether or not to record?//

    If someone clearly undertakes to make sure there’s nobody around before talking to someone, should it be legal to record such a person via hidden microphone? I would suggest not. I would aver that someone in a public space does not have the right to interfere with others’ use of that space in pursuit of privacy, but should have a reasonable expectation of privacy in situations which a reasonable person would believe to be private.

    As to whether cops would arrest people without basis, some of them are wont to do that anyway, since “qualified immunity” is routinely applied in such a way as to prevent any challenge to its applicability. If a cop has a bona fide articulable reason for believing someone committed a crime, and consequently arrests the person, it is reasonable not to hold the cop liable if his belief, while reasonable, was incorrect. If, however, a cop does not have an articulable belief for believing someone committed a crime, but arrests the person anyway, then the cop acts without any legitimate authority; not only would it be illegitimate to grant the cop any sort of civil immunity in that case, but a law-abiding prosecutor would seek an indictment against the cop for robbery and/or kidnapping.

  30. #30 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mr. Balko, Supercat,

    How about we start out with a simple “No police officer has any reasonable expectation of privacy with on duty and wearing his uniform and/or displaying his badge, or while off duty but declaring himself to be a law officer acting as such.”

    Granted that this would allow some marginal cases to slip through the cracks, but it would seem (to me anyway) to address 90%+ of the problem.

  31. #31 |  JOR | 

    “I know many people who’s support of the death penalty became reflexive when anti-death penalty protesters involved themselves in defending persons like Ira Einhorn or Mumia who are most likely not innocent and whose defenders run to conspiracy theory radical left yahoos.”

    That’s a really, really stupid reason to support the death penalty. People who support killing helpless prisoners for a reason as stupid as that don’t deserve any sympathy or deference, and arguments should not be constructed with the goal of persuading them (since they’d have to be very stupid arguments to succeed). And anyway, Mumia performed what should be considered a public service, not a capital crime.

  32. #32 |  Toastrider | 

    So I went to Wikipedia to take a look at Troy Davis’s case. This struck me as peculiar:

    “Davis was given an opportunity to present new evidence at a hearing in Savannah in June 2010, but he put on very little testimony. He did not take the stand in his defense and did not call Coles as a witness. He also did not call some of the other witnesses who had given affidavits on his behalf. Savannah journalist Patrick Rodgers commented, “Although the defense team had been arguing for a hearing like this since they took over the case, … they seemed to be wishing they could have a second chance.””

    Man, if you’ve got all those folks recanting, you better sure as hell call them as witnesses! Looks like half-assed all around from my perspective.