A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Law and Disorder’ tag

Nothing to See Here

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The judge presiding over the Mohamed Noor case has announced that no audio or video recordings of the trial will be allowed:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge says there will be no audio or video recording allowed during the trial of a former Minneapolis officer who shot and killed an Australian woman.

Mohamed Noor is charged with murder in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was shot after she called police to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.

If I were in the judge’s position, I’d do the same thing. Noor really put the Minneapolis justice system in a bind. Most law enforcers have the decency of fabricating some kind of plausible (if you use your imagination) justification for their unnecessary use of force. Noor just flat out executed a woman. Letting him off is going to require jury instructions that no judge would look good giving and certainly no judge would want to be recorded giving. At least that’s the only explanation of which I can conceive that explains the recording prohibition.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 26th, 2019 at 10:00 am

Denial of Service Attack

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An Oklahoma lawyer performed a successful denial of service attack against a courthouse:

The Rogers County Courthouse in Oklahoma closed early Monday due to bed bugs.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said a lawyer came up to a third-floor courtroom with bugs falling out of his clothing.

Courthouse officials had a meeting and decided to close the courthouse until the bed bugs were gone.

This might be a good card to keep in your back pocket in case you’re ever in court and want an extra day or two to get your defense in order.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 5th, 2019 at 10:30 am

Grammar Matters

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People are often surprised by what constituted a “classical” education. Education in ancient Rome was heavily focused on grammar. Why? Because the highest aspiration of an educated Roman was to make convincing arguments to get his (sorry ladies, the ancient Romans weren’t into gender equality) clients off the hook for whatever crimes they were accused of perpetrating (much like the decisions of the legal system here in the modern United States, the decisions of Rome’s legal system were more dependent on the ability of lawyers to spin a good yarn than what the evidence indicated).

A brief conversation with the average person will quickly prove that modern education isn’t terribly concerned with grammar. But I urge people to study grammar. While the highest aspiration of an educated person today may not be to impress a judge or jury with impeccable storytelling, the proper use of grammar can still pay dividends:

A pair of student drug dealers have been spared jail after a judge was impressed by the ‘spelling and grammar’ of the texts they sent advertising their product.

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A court heard police examined their mobile phones to find text messages relating to their drug deals composed using perfect spelling and punctuation.

Judge David Hale said the ‘grammar and punctuation’ in the messages was of a much higher standard than normally seen from dealers and indicated a higher level of education.

The bar is set sufficiently low that the appropriate use of a single comma or period qualifies as a “much higher standard than normally seen.” But that’s good news for anybody who “don’t write so good.” They don’t have to study for long to become better than average.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 4th, 2019 at 10:30 am

If We Screw Up, It’s You Who Pays

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What happens if you’re arrested by a law enforcer under suspicion of possessing drugs, forcefully subjected to a anal cavity search (after an x-ray turned up nothing), and then found innocent of all wrongdoing? You receive a $4,595.12 bill for having the inside of your asshole inspected:

They collaborated to sedate a suspect and thread an 8-inch flexible tube into his rectum in a search for illegal drugs. The suspect, who police said had taunted them that he’d hidden drugs there, refused consent for the procedure.

At least two doctors resisted the police request. An X-ray already had indicated no drugs. They saw no medical need to perform an invasive procedure on someone against his will.

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When they were done, the hospital lawyer overruled its doctors. The lawyer told his doctors that a search warrant required the doctors to use “any means” to retrieve the drugs, records show.

So St. Joe’s medical staff knocked out the suspect and performed the sigmoidoscopy, in search of evidence of a misdemeanor or low-level felony charge, records show.

[…]

So, was it worth the risk? The X-ray was right. The scope found no drugs.

And when they were done, St. Joe’s sent the suspect a bill for $4,595.12.

Will you look at that? The radar shows a lawsuit coming in fast!

In a just world the law enforcers would be punished for trying to force doctors to perform a medical procedure that wasn’t necessary. The judge would be punished for issuing a warrant without any probably cause (a gut feeling and divine inspiration don’t qualify as probably cause). And the hospital’s lawyer would be punished for ordering the doctors to perform an invasive procedure even though an x-ray had already proven that the suspect had no drugs hiding inside of his ass (a hospital’s lawyer is supposed to keep the hospital out of legal trouble not embroil it in situations that will obviously result in a lawsuit).

However, this isn’t a just world. I suspect that the hospital will be punished but I’m all but certain that the law enforcers and the judge will get away scot-free.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 21st, 2018 at 11:00 am

Once Again Courts Find Law Enforcers Have No Duty to Protect You

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One of the most common arguments made by gun rights advocates is that keeping and bearing arms is essential for self-defense. One of the most common counterarguments made by gun control advocates is that people should rely on professionals to protect them. Professionals in their case means law enforcers, which leaves a giant hole in their counterargument. Courts have consistently ruled that law enforcers have no duty to protect people. A new ruling clarifies that that lack of duty includes children:

A federal judge says Broward schools and the Sheriff’s Office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis in February. The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.

Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.

Whenever I’ve pointed this consistent ruling out to gun control advocates they’ve had to resort to the extremely weak counterargument that while law enforcers aren’t obligated to protect people, no decent law enforcer would shirk from doing so. Arguments based on what people should do can be immediately dismissed when discussing violence because people should refrain from initiating acts of violence. When the argument of self-defense arises, it is because what people should do has already been thrown out of the window. More specifically though the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School proved that there are law enforcers who will shirk from defending people.

As far as the courts are concerned, when somebody initiates violence against you, you’re on your own. If I were a student, I’d trust a teacher who likely has an emotional incentive to protect me far more than a random law enforcer who has no obligation whatsoever to protect me. Since I’d put more trust in a teacher, I’d prefer they have the option of being armed so they are better equipped to defend me if the need arises (as an added bonus, the need to defend me would be less likely to arise since the school would no longer be a tempting soft target).

Written by Christopher Burg

December 19th, 2018 at 11:00 am

A Plea Bargain Is Not Proven Guilt

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Last week major media sources published stories claiming that a woman was guilty of being a spy for Russia. However, if you spent a few seconds reading the articles, you quickly learned that she wasn’t proven guilty by a jury. She signed a plea bargain:

A Russian woman accused in the US of acting as an agent for the Kremlin to infiltrate political groups has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.

The key part in that sentence is, “in a deal with prosecutors.”

Imagine you’re brought before a prosecutor. The first thing they show you is the long list of charges that they’re bringing against you. If you’re found guilty of even some of the charges, you’re looking at decades behind bars. However, the prosecutor is willing to cut you a deal. If you sign an admission of guilt, you will only face five years in prison. You know that you’re innocent by do you believe that you’ll be able to convince a jury of that? Even after the judge gives the jury instructions that will stack the odds against you? Even if the prosecutor has an unfair advantage because their transgressions against court procedure often go unpunished? Even though many of the laws you’re accused of violating are so vaguely written that it’s nearly impossible for anybody to argue their innocence against them? Wouldn’t it be better to take the five years in prison rather than the very likely decades you’ll face if this case goes to a rigged court?

These are the questions one must ask themselves when a prosecutor puts a deal in front of them. In my opinion it’s one of the most corrupt aspects of the American judicial system. At a minimum I wish news agencies would reflect this ridiculousness by clearly stating in both the headline and the article that the suspect wasn’t found guilty but merely signed a plea bargain.

None of this is to say that this woman isn’t guilty as Hell. She very well may be a Russian spy. But I don’t believe signing a piece of paper under duress is the same as proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 18th, 2018 at 10:30 am

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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What happens if you witness a bad crash in front of you and stop to help the injured parties? You get detained and have to pay to get your vehicle out of the impound lot:

Davis managed to get the survivor out of the car, but the second person in the car, 21-year-old Kyree Payne of Northeast D.C., died.

Davis, who lives in Baltimore and was on his way to work, says he told D.C. Police everything he witnessed and was allowed to leave. But when he was just a block away, he was pulled over by a D.C. Police officer – and that’s when his nightmare began.

“He said, ‘You’re being detained because you were a witness to a vehicle where someone died in an accident,'” Davis said.

Davis said he was made to wait for about two hours and was harshly questioned, before he claims a police supervisor told him because he witnessed a fatal crash, his car was being towed.

Davis also said that he was not involved in the crash and that his driver’s license is active and his car is registered and insured — as police gave him no citations. Unfortunately for Davis, he will have to find a way to work as his car is still impounded.

That’ll teach him for being a good Samaritan!

Of course the officer is claiming that Davis’s car was impounded because Davis refused to show a valid driver’s license. Davis refutes the officer’s claim and since the story points out that he does have a valid driver’s license, I’m inclined to side with Davis. However, a more important question is, so what if Davis didn’t have a valid driver’s license? He pulled a survivor out of a car wreck that was bad enough to leave the other occupant dead. I think a scene like that has far more important issues to address than the validity of anybody’s driver’s license. And the fact that he stopped to help people should have at least netted him a get out of a petty offense card.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Avoiding Embarrassment

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Operation Fast and Furious was quite an embarrassing moment in the federal government’s history. Imagine being in its shoes. You’re arguing for stronger domestic gun control to prevent drug cartels from acquiring guns and then somebody discovered that you’re simultaneously running guns to drug cartels. Now imagine that you’re forced to relive this embarrassing moment in court. I’m sure you can see why federal prosecutors are trying to hide the embarrassing memory of Fast and Furious from the jury of the El Chapo trial:

BROOKLYN, New York — Operation Fast and Furious is among the most epic boondoggles in the history of federal law enforcement, which probably explains why federal prosecutors don’t want jurors in the trial of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to hear anything about it.

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So on Friday federal prosecutors in El Chapo’s trial in Brooklyn, which is entering its fifth week, filed a motion that asks Judge Brian Cogan to make “questions or evidence” about Fast and Furious “completely off limits” to the defense. The government cited “negative reporting on the operation” and argued that mentioning it would “distract and confuse the jury.”

I think the reason most of the reporting on Fast and Furious was negative was because it involved the federal government arming the very same people from whom it claimed to want to keep guns away. And I’m sure hearing about Fast and Furious would confuse the jury. Members of the jury would likely be asking themselves why the federal government has any right to prosecute a man to whom it sold guns.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 13th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Score One for the First Amendment

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James Webb came across a law enforcer expropriating wealth from a motorist and did what any red blooded American would do, he cranked up NWA’s Fuck the Police. The officer, having no self awareness or sense of humor, cited Webb for violating the city’s noise ordinance. Instead of paying, Webb decided to take the matter to court. The jury quickly decided that the case was “>stupid and ruled in Webb’s favor:

A man facing jail time for blasting the song “F the Police” and allegedly violating Pontiac’s noise ordinance was found not guilty by a jury.

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“The police officer’s reasoning was that he said this music was vulgar. And part of the vulgarity was that it used the F word, but we had on the video that the first man the officer had pulled over; the officer is dropping F-bombs with him. So why is it OK for this man to hear the F-word but not other people?” said Nicholas Somberg, who represented Webb in court.

Webb chose not to pay the fine for allegedly violating the noise ordinance and instead chose to take the case to trial. The jury took all of nine minutes to come back with a not guilty verdict.

Kudos to Webb for taking the citation to court rather than paying it. Kudos to the jury for only taking nine minutes to decide that the accusation against Webb was stupid. And kudos to the officer whose argument was based on the vulgarity of Webb’s music while he was on camera using vulgarities himself.

Score one for the freedom of expression.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 12th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Getting Leadership Ousted in the Minneapolis Police Department

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If officers executing unarmed individuals isn’t enough to get leaders in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) ousted, what is? Apparently Christmas decorations:

Just days after controversy erupted over a racist Christmas tree on display at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct, Chief Medaria Arradondo has assigned a new inspector to lead the north Minneapolis precinct.

Images of a Christmas tree decorated with beer cans, cigarettes and police tape spread quickly on social media Friday. It was condemned by members of the public, activists and Minneapolis City Council members, including Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who represents the area. Ellison said it’s “the type of thing that always instills fear in the community.

We’ve learned something here. The value of an unarmed person is worth less in the eyes of the MPD than bad publicity generated by a Christmas tree. While that’s not exactly a happy thing to learn, at least we know.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2018 at 10:00 am