Afternoon Criminal Justice Roundup

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
  • Seattle policy on dash cam videos: We will happily release the police dash cam videos you have requested for your lawsuit . . . just as soon as the statute of limitations expires.
  • The historian Newt Gingrich is apparently unaware that Washington and Jefferson grew hemp. He also seems to think we had a drug war back then. That, or he thinks Washington and Jefferson were just shooting up pot smokers, vigilante-style.
  • Utah cop is killed, several others are injured after a shootout during a drug raid. The suspect had no prior criminal record, save for a traffic misdemeanor. The police haven’t yet said if they found any drugs.
  • Citing prosecutorial misconduct, a Texas judge has vacated the conviction of man who has served 31 years for rape.
  • Illinois police officer writes woman a traffic ticket, then looks her up in the DMV database and asks her out on a date.
  • Houston man arrested, jailed for 36 hours for photographing an arrest is looking for representation for a lawsuit.

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31 Responses to “Afternoon Criminal Justice Roundup”

  1. #1 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    To be fair to Gingrich, comparing growing hemp to growing marijuana is like saying Dunkin Donuts approves of heroin because they sell poppyseed bagels.

  2. #2 |  DoubleU | 

    “The historian Newt Gingrich is apparently unaware “

    You could have stopped right there.

  3. #3 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Re the Casanova cop: Anecdotal evidence from other women I know, especially sex workers, is that this is only slightly unusual. I had one do something similar once, but he actually asked me for a date just after giving me the ticket; another one in my home town persecuted me with repeated tickets years after I refused to go out with him when we were both in high school. And an escort I met online claimed that a cop who busted her later looked up her ad and tried to hire her.

  4. #4 |  Rocky | 

    In Santa Barbara, Calif., last month, a police officer who arrested a woman for DUI was found to have contacted her via Facebook to ask if she was interested in “hanging out.” However, unlike the Illinois case, there is no allegation of improper use of government databases.

    The same officer was accused by a defense attorney of excessive force in two recent DUI arrests, one of which was caught on the department’s sole dashboard camera. The Police Dept. cleared him in the videotaped incident although a better police officer would almost certainly have been able to defuse the situation without violence.

    (The dashboard camera system is being tested due to a separate scandal involving allegations that another officer forged DUI test waivers and other misconduct.)

  5. #5 |  derfel cadarn | 

    First just whose money pays for the dashcam videos? Correct the taxpayer. Why were dashcams installed in the city vehicles? If tapes cannot not be released for three years then Seattle PD cannot use them against the public or use them as defense of their officers for three years. The issue with the Newt is giving him the benefit that there was any THINKING at all behind his positions. The Newt is a fascist warmonger sporting wood over the chance to abuse the American people and kill all those ungrateful furriners.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Ask any sexy woman: they all have stories of cops behaving inappropriately to them. Non-sexy also have stories. And men. So…everyone.

    BTW, I’m not at all suave but I’d prolly issue just a warning instead of a ticket if I wanted the sex.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Did I miss it, or did the Seattle story fail to include why the city is suing the guy asking for the videos? It’d be nice to know what the suit is about.

  8. #8 |  Dana Gower | 

    Unrelated, but similar stories have been discussed here:

    Two men try to break into a woman’s home. She shoots one with a shotgun and kills him. The other runs off but later turns himself in and is charged with murder. I’m not defending the guy at all (You’ve got to read the article to see just how dumb these guys were.), but charging him with murder seems to be stretching it. (It’s also interesting that the woman asks the 911 dispatcher, “Can I kill him?” and is told, basically, do what you have to. Not the answer you’d get if they were police.)

  9. #9 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I’m not surprised at all by the cop asking the woman out on a date. What I find more interesting is her decision to file a civil lawsuit. I’m skeptical of emotional damage claims in general, and her claim of “great fear and anxiety” seems like a stretch to me. But as a 190 lb., 6′ male, I don’t think it’s fair for me to presume how a woman should react in such a situation. As such, I’d be curious to hear from other women as to whether they think the claim is justified or if she’s just looking for a payday.

  10. #10 |  BamBam | 

    @9, she may be looking for a payday, but consider this: using a position of authority to access data for personal gain, when it is known to be against department policy and state laws, going to the person’s residence to leave a note (did he do it while on duty?), etc. are all serious disciplinary matters for the cop. People don’t have light switches to turn on/off when they will and won’t abuse authority, so if the cop is willing to do this, what else is he willing to do?

    Maybe her lawsuit is the best shot at bringing attention to the authority abuse instead of complaining to the police department. We know how that is likely to end up — in the garbage can.

  11. #11 |  Juice | 

    #3 | Maggie McNeill,

    The escort should have set up a reverse sting and got him arrested. Hmm, but would he have gotten arrested?

  12. #12 |  CyniCAl | 

    @#8, felony murder?

    If cops died in SWAT raids more often, they might rethink their tactics. Just saying. But I might be giving cops more credit for intelligence than they deserve. On second thought, there’s no “might” about it. Cops and reason don’t mix.

  13. #13 |  Dante | 

    Re: Utah cop killed, 5 others shot by single suspect

    One guy shoots 6 cops? And he’s not dead?

    I smell blue on blue violence, and a cover-up.

    What else is new?

  14. #14 |  claude | 

    “One guy shoots 6 cops? And he’s not dead?”

    Looking like a pot grow.

  15. #15 |  Stephen | 

    If it turns out to be a wrong house raid, do the other 5 cops get charged with murder?

  16. #16 |  picachu | 

    “Houston man arrested, jailed for 36 hours for photographing an arrest is looking for representation for a lawsuit.”

    Serious question for anyone who might know-would the lawyer have to have some kind of specialist experience in some area of hte law or could anybody out of law school do it?

  17. #17 |  el coronado | 

    in re the dead Utah cop –

    I’d say #13 hit it dead-on. That story stinks to high heaven. Also, whattaya wanna bet they find kiddie porn on the shooters computer? That seems to happen, like, a LOT.

  18. #18 |  Shane | 

    Father of suspected shooter in drug raid shootout reports that son, a National Guard veteran, was depressed and self-medicating with marijuana. He worked the graveyard shift at Wal-Mart and was likely asleep when SWAT busted in at 9 p.m. Dad says son grew his own marijuana so as not to get involved in the illicit drug trade. This update from here, and here,

  19. #19 |  David | 

    Depends on what you mean by “could.” Anybody admitted to the Texas bar association would be allowed to appear in court as his representative, but somebody with practical experience acting as a plaintiff’s attorney in civil cases (or more specifically, civil cases against the government) would be more likely to do a good job at it.

  20. #20 |  SamK | 

    Matthew Davis Stewart earned his marksmanship badges that night. I’m saddened he was injured.

  21. #21 |  Shane | 

    Ogden PD is that same one that last year shot and killed man wielding golf club during similar SWAT raid. In the video of that killing linked below, notice that the cops announce, crash through the door and kill Tony Blair in the span of five seconds. At :23 into the video you hear the first announcement; Blair is shot by :28, probably dead by :29.

  22. #22 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #9: I’ve been called “hard as nails” on many occasions, and I can tell you that if a cop started stalking me like that it would make me extremely nervous. Even in my situation, the cop could’ve easily copied my info from the driver’s license and showed up later.

    #11: He’d never have been arrested even if the escort had the nerve to approach the cops with it, which she would not have because every hooker living under a criminalization or legal-but-persecuted (like Canada) regime knows that the cops can basically do whatever they want to us with total impunity because they’re considered “credible witnesses” while we are classed as “criminals”.

  23. #23 |  picachu | 

    Thank you David! I don’t know much about it myself but I have a freind that has been out of law school and practicing in Houston for just about a year and I sent him that link. I noticed in the story they used not having an ID as their excuse and can tell you that in Houston if you don’t have an ID on you they take you to jail.

  24. #24 |  b | 

    “i can’t rescind the ticket now evangelina, but if our date has a happy ending, you have one free traffic violation in the bank.”

  25. #25 |  Douglas Willinger | 

    Gingrich needs to read Jefferson:

    Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food. Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex. The government in which he lived was wise enough to see that this was no question of civil jurisdiction, or we should all have been involved by authority in vortices. In fact, the vortices have been exploded, and the Newtonian principle of gravitation is now more firmly established, on the basis of reason, than it would be were the government to step in, and to make it an article of necessary faith. Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.- Thomas Jefferson

  26. #26 |  Luke | 

    “The reason I pulled you over today, ma’am, is that you appear to be Driving Without My Number…”

  27. #27 |  JOR | 

    Heh, apparently Jefferson’s knowledge of history was almost as lousy as Gingrich’s.

  28. #28 |  Whim | 

    Regarding the Odgen police SWAT raid on a man’s residence:

    Since he worked the Graveyard shift at Wal-Mart, I would presume at 9:00 p.m. he was sound asleep when the police arrived to kick down his door in what was probably another No-Knock raid where they later claim it was Knock-and-Announce since they got their lame asses shot off this time.

    And, these appear to be the same clown-hats that killed the Five Iron wielding doper that was startled out of a sound sleep, and when he confronted the source of the home invasion, was immediately shot in the head only three seconds after the police identified themselves.

    Bad Karma, of what goes around comes around…..

    I also notice that the police department boot-lickers in Utah are falling all over themselves to fall down on their knees and assume their usual boot-licking position.

    Of course, the civilian will be charged with capital murder for a) defending himself from a home invasion, and b) not dying.

  29. #29 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @21: not just same department, but at least one of the same policemen. The dead officcer was “2d in the door” at the Blair raid and may even be the one who shot Blair.

  30. #30 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Further to previous:

    the late Officer Francom did not shoot Todd Blair, although he was “2d in the door” at that deadly raid.

  31. #31 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Officer Francom video here: 

    I believe that Offier Francom is officer who was walking immediately behind the officer holding his gun aloft.  Thank you to the Salt Lake City Tribune for procuring the video.