two ways to not be indicted for murdering someone

The best way to not be indicted for murdering someone is, I suggest, to not murder anyone.

On the other hand, if you really really really want to follow someone on the street, burst into their home, pull a gun, and shoot them to death, I suggest the following two-step process:

1) be a police officer with union representation.
2) say repeatedly "I thought he was going for a gun". Even when no gun is ever found, keep saying this.

If the system works the way it was designed to the grand jury (a group of other government employees like yourself see comments below) will decline to charge you.

As I said, I prefer the first system. Not only is not murdering other people good for your own soul, it's also good for the health of the people you don't murder.

In fairness, though, I'll admit that there are some benefits to the "be a cop/say you thought he had a gun" system. The pay is excellent, there's a lot of overtime, it's not a particularly risky job, the union lawyers are first class, the pension package is gold plated, and you can break most laws without ever getting prosecuted.

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. Muphrid says

    The article linked says that grand juries in the Bronx tend to be more skeptical of police actions than in other jurisdictions (in particular, it says that over a dozen officers are currently under indictment). Does that not give credence to the notion that this grand jury found the officer and his supporting evidence credible, rather than simply refusing to indict out of blind faith in the state?

  2. newsouthzach says

    In what sense is the grand jury "a group of government employees?" I may be wrong, but I thought grand juries are drawn from the pool of registered voters just the same as any other jury.

  3. says

    In what sense is the grand jury "a group of government employees?"

    I may be in error; I'll research this and retract as needed.

  4. James Pollock says

    Alternatively, if the background checks for being a police officer prove troublesome, you can skip this step by moving the Florida and altering your mantra to "I thought he was going for MY gun".
    CAUTION: If you use this approach to shoot a black kid, you may actually have to go to trial before the police apologize and return your weapon to you.

  5. Katherine says

    Grand Juror here (called twice, excused twice). You definitely don't have to be a government employee. Or even any sort of employee. I was still in highschool when I got the notification that my name was in the grand juror pool.

  6. assemblerhead says

    That "a group of government employees" may have been referring to the " Police Dept. Internal Affairs" group or the "City Administration" making the call not to charge.

  7. C. S. P. Schofield says

    James Pollock,

    Since Zimmerman was indicted for murder, your comment doesn't really make much sense.

  8. SKT says

    If the system works the way it was designed to ambitious prosecutors may be tempted to misuse the powers of a nonprofessional grand jury to harass, trap, or wear down witnesses.

    FTFY

  9. Conster says

    I prefer the diplomatic immunity approach – just make sure not to murder any cops who might decide to investigate you, or to kill a citizen from another nation than the one you're in on that nation's embassy's terrain.

  10. gramps says

    assemblerhead–
    I must have missed the part of the article (linked) where the input of the "city administration" or the "police dept. internal affairs" was part of the process. The article did say that the officer was originally charged with manslaughter and that was later dismissed by a judge as the matter hit the courtroom. This failure to indict is the result of a second go at it by the prosecution.

    Based on the old adage about "indicting a ham sandwich" I am of the mind that the prosecution's presentation to this second grand jury came up short.

  11. Zack says

    My mother was on a grand jury once. They did something nearly unheard of for a SC grand jury- they actually rejected a bill of indictment in the (one month? one year? I forget how long.) term they sat for.

    To say they're rubber stamps right now is a little bit of an understatement.

  12. Grifter says

    @Clark:

    2 things,

    1, Why you hate title capitalization?

    2, Why does the cop's union representation matter? They should be representing him only to his employer…they shouldn't be involved in the grand jury?

  13. James Pollock says

    "My mother was on a grand jury once. They did something nearly unheard of for a SC grand jury- they actually rejected a bill of indictment in the (one month? one year? I forget how long.) term they sat for."

    There was a case in Oregon, where the grand jury returned a "no bill", but neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney noticed. The prosecutor pressed for a plea bargain, and the defense took a plea bargain, and the defendant went off to jail, and nobody noticed that he hadn't actually been properly charged until he was released, when one of the grand jurors read about his release in the newpaper, and called the courthouse to ask about it.

  14. James Pollock says

    "Since Zimmerman was indicted for murder, your comment doesn't really make much sense."
    Gee, you're right. I guess I should add a caution that if you shoot a black kid, you might get charged anyway and have to go to trial.

  15. Grego says

    Or, just run them over with a car. Say "I didn't see them" or "the sun was in my eyes". All good!

  16. says

    There is a third way. Say it was accidental.

    If you're an officer in Austin TX, you can chase a man that has not committed a crime, without calling for any type of backup. Commandeer a car and driver without bothering to give proper identification, and do it in such a way that the driver calls 911 to report being car-jacked.

    Then once you find the innocent unarmed man, chase him under a bridge, and have an "altercation" with him that results in your firearm "accidentally" shooting him in the back of the head.

    You can (apparently) get away with all of this by saying it was an accident.

    Oh, and the local police union will come to your rescue by trying to raise such a fuss about the press reporting you said it was an accident. Hopefully everyone will be to busy with the witch hunt on how the press found out, AND WILL FORGET THAT YOU SHOT AN UNARMED MAN IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD.

    APD Shooting Called 'Accidental'

  17. machintelligence says

    @ Katherine
    Summoned twice for grand jury duty! That must be something of a record. I have been called for regular jury duty five times and served on five juries — all criminal. Now that I am retired it might be interesting to serve on a grand jury.

  18. JRM says

    The question was asked: Why would defendant testify? I believe NY law allows the defendant to testify in narrative form with an attorney present; he can then be cross-examined by the prosecutor. He waives immunity by testifying. This is seldom done for a couple of reasons:

    First, the standard of proof is probable cause rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. Most cases that are brought are brought for a reason; probable cause is almost always there, and you're not beating that.

    Second, if you're not going to beat it, defendant's story of not being guilty is going to get tested both on the stand and off it; generally defense counsel does not want that to happen. Defense counsel is permitted to be present, but may not object or interpose her own questions.

    Thus, defendants who testify are either very stubborn or unwise, or they and their attorney believe they have a chance to beat the case at the indictment stage. In this particular case, they were right.

    As to the original post: Government presents evidence asking for indictment, citizens find evidence lacking, government vilifies citizens, Popehat joins vilification. It's a Nancy Grace moment.

  19. says

    @Grifter:

    Why does the cop's union representation matter? They should be representing him only to his employer…they shouldn't be involved in the grand jury?

    Cop unions:

    * drill into their members "never answer questions"
    * drill into their members "never ASK another cop questions, never gather evidence, never talk to ANYONE until everyone has their story straight"
    * know the politics at city hall inside out and make sure that the entire game is mapped and planned before the first piece touches the board
    * have the best lawyers on call

    Cop unions spend some portion of their time negotiating for better benefits, yes, but they also do a very very very good job of ensuring that no cop is ever caught and prosecuted for anything.

  20. says

    @JRM:

    Popehat joins vilification.

    I reject that.

    I try to be out ahead of the curve, vilifying cops before anyone else.

    I'm not a joiner, mannn.

  21. SJ Elliott says

    Hit a couple of motorcyclists stopped at a traffic light while driving your cop car drunk, and get away with it. Witnesses call 911 because the cop is running off the road on both sides because you are to drunk to see past the windshield. Brother cops show up and take you home, nothing else happens. Being a cop is a license to steal.

  22. says

    Being a cop is a license to steal.

    Let's not tar them with TOO wide a brush – it's just the corrupt 95% that give the innocent 5% a bad name.

  23. says

    It's not sufficient to not murder anybody; to be safe you really need to not kill anybody. Which sounds easy enough, until multiple armed people break into your house while you're asleep, or something, at which point your non-violent options start to get a bit slim.

    Since jury members are normally paid (a pittance) for their service, you could perhaps argue that all jury members are in fact government employees; but that approach wouldn't accomplish your rhetorical goal I don't think. More seriously, I have the impression that Grand Juries typically behave very much as if they're "part of the system" rather than any kind of independent check on it, and if that's the point you were going for, I think it's important. Find a better way to make it! :-)

  24. Dsu says

    Police unions often provide lawyers to their members. I would assume that these lawyers are very good at what they do. "never answer questions" would be good advice to give to a client.

    As for the rest of it, it seems like bitterness. In most cases involving a police shooting the police department is not going to avoid collecting evidence until everyone has their story straight. If for no other, evidence can easily be lost.

  25. lagaya says

    off topic : can anyone help a small but popular Maui facebook page that's being harassed by the county? It's a news site that started as a way to keep tabs on a local, sometimes overzealous cop. Now mostly just news, but the cop's name appears in the title. County wants it taken down. Any help out there?https://www.facebook.com/TagumaWatch?fref=ts

  26. says

    Dsu:

    As for the rest of it, it seems like bitterness.

    Speaking for myself, I'm not bitter. I'm angry.

    Cops portray themselves as sheepdogs defending the populance from the "wolves", as brave warriors on the wall…but most of the "problems" they "solve" are self-created.

    The guy had a bag of weed on him.

    Oh noz!

    A cop who has likely smoked weed himself, and almost certainly joins the other cops after work in a cop bar to pound back three or four mood-altering doses of Jim Bean or Harpoon or Jack makes his living by caging others who prefer a different brand name.

    After chasing a guy based on only suspicion, and then bursting into his home, he shoots the guy.

    …and the same system that takes taxpayer dollars to pay him for his crime-creating "job" in the first place gives him a free pass.

    Some days I think the whole system should be covered with kerosene and set aflame.

    Other days…

    Wait. No. Every day I think the system should be burned down.

  27. says

    @SJ Elliott

    Hit a couple of motorcyclists stopped at a traffic light while
    driving your cop car drunk, and get away with it. Witnesses call
    911 because the cop is running off the road on both sides because
    you are to drunk to see past the windshield. Brother cops show up
    and take you home, nothing else happens.

    Are we talking about Officer David Bisard ?

    #name_and_shame

    It is cute that the brother cops drove two hours out of their way to track down one of the victims and give him a breathalyzer test. On the off chance – please, God! – that there was some way they could frame it as his fault. I'd bet a box of donuts that if he'd blown dirty, the cop's results would have somehow gotten lost.

  28. Grifter says

    @Clark:

    I mean, obviously you know more than me (and that sorta reads sarcastic as I reread but seriously isn't meant to be), but:

    "* drill into their members "never answer questions""

    You realize why that is, I hope? Certainly, you can't find overmuch fault with that, I assume it was rhetorical flourish? Would you rather they told them to dig themselves a DEEPER hole?

    * drill into their members "never ASK another cop questions, never gather evidence, never talk to ANYONE until everyone has their story straight"

    Do you have evidence of this one? Not saying it doesn't exist (A union might be corrrupt?! The hell you say!).

    * know the politics at city hall inside out and make sure that the entire game is mapped and planned before the first piece touches the board

    I wager city hall isn't the biggest fan of the unions that get the cops paid higher salaries…

    * have the best lawyers on call
    You think that cops should have worse lawyers than the rest of us?

    "Cop unions spend some portion of their time negotiating for better benefits, yes, but they also do a very very very good job of ensuring that no cop is ever caught and prosecuted for anything."

    I still don't see the prosecution aspect. Don't get me wrong, I think they often spend too much time defending obvious Bad Behavior and getting it kept on the force…I just don't really see the involvement in the actual course of the legal system. I'm probably just not well-versed enough in the known extent of corruption.

  29. says

    You know why I don't run my cakehole on this topic?

    Because God forbid I ever wind up shooting somebody sticking me up with a finger in a coat pocket, I'd wind up looking like a real chucklehead.

  30. says

    PS: Just for my own notes, can we round out these lists?

    People We Should Not Try In The Media: Neighborhood Watch Volunteers.

    People On Whom We Should Trust The Media's Facts Implicitly: Fuckin' Cops.

    Am I missing anybody?

  31. dsu says

    * I'd bet a box of donuts that if he'd blown dirty, the cop's results would have somehow gotten lost.

    Do you have any reason to suggest that the Indianapolis police are that corrupt? It is SOP in most states for any officer involved in a car wreck to be given a breathalyser test simply to avoid a lawsuit.

  32. GreenKnight says

    Zimmerman was indited by Zimmerman was not a cop, only a wannabe cop.

    We have a similar problem in Canada. There was a recent police shooting of a guy with a knife on a street car. Video on various news sites and youtube. Allegedly the cop shooting was too far away to be in danger and nobody else (none of the other 20 cops) was in danger either.

    There is video of just afterwards, cops walking all over the scene destroying evidence, kicking evidence all over the place.

    Another tactic is not reading the police officer his rights. That worked in the Crystal Tamen case.

  33. Renee Jones says

    You say "police officer with union representation." Are police officers without union representation found guilty more often? Can you point us at the data?

  34. says

    Why is it that I can say with absolute certainty that if I wrote this bit of satire, folks would be screaming about BILL SCHMALFELDT WANTS TO MURDER PEOPLE AND SAYS POLICE MURDER PEOPLE AND HE IS GOING TO MURDER ME BY PRETENDING TO BE A POLICE COP OFFICER AND THEN HE WILL SAY HE THOUGHT I HAD A GUN AND HE MURDERED ME?

    Anyone disagree with my hypothesis.

    Other than that, nice piece of satire.

  35. Conster says

    Let's not tar them with TOO wide a brush – it's just the corrupt 95% that give the innocent 5% a bad name.
    You are exaggerating.
    It's 90%, tops. Not 95%.

  36. wolfefan says

    Hi Bill Schmalfeldt –

    I assume you're referring to the OP. Do you read Clark's posts very often? This isn't satire. I'm pretty sure this is how he really feels. Also, I don't see him saying he wanted to murder anyone – can you point me to that? Thanks!

  37. Owen says

    I have trouble reconciling this post with Ken's previous post of a day or so ago. Ken's entire thesis is that it's not the function of a jury to convict – then Clark turns around and indicts the entire justice system, particularly the grand jury, for not automatically convicting a cop? Is it not possible that the grand jury, and the justice system as a whole, did its job in the wake of a tragedy?

  38. says

    I have trouble reconciling this post with Ken's previous post of a day or so ago. Ken's entire thesis is that it's not the function of a jury to convict – then Clark turns around and indicts the entire justice system, particularly the grand jury, for not automatically convicting a cop? Is it not possible that the grand jury, and the justice system as a whole, did its job in the wake of a tragedy?

    This is a fair contrast.

    My take would be this: a non-cop who shot a kid dead, saying that he thought the kid was reaching for a weapon, would much more likely be charged, and would likely be treated much more harshly by the criminal justice system throughout.

    In other words, Clark's take is accurate at least to a certain extent: if you want your story "I thought the unarmed 18-year-old in the bathroom was going for a gun so I shot him dead" to be accepted, so you walk, better to be wearing blue.

  39. says

    Why is it that I can say with absolute certainty that if I wrote this bit of satire, folks would be screaming about BILL SCHMALFELDT WANTS TO MURDER PEOPLE AND SAYS POLICE MURDER PEOPLE AND HE IS GOING TO MURDER ME BY PRETENDING TO BE A POLICE COP OFFICER AND THEN HE WILL SAY HE THOUGHT I HAD A GUN AND HE MURDERED ME?

    Anyone disagree with my hypothesis.

    Other than that, nice piece of satire.

    First of all, Bill, you don't understand what "satire" means.

    Second, you're not likely to grasp this post, as it reflects a set of values and views about complex social issues, as opposed to just hating a political figure.

    Third, Clark is many things, but subtle isn't one of them. If Clark wanted to write a satire or non-satire about threatening someone, he could. He didn't.

    You, on the other hand, have a history of elaborate murder fantasies about people who make you angry. Including today, when you had a Twitter account shut down because you sent someone a picture of a body bag as what you suggested might happen to them. Demented freak.

  40. Dsu says

    *My take would be this: a non-cop who shot a kid dead, saying that he thought the kid was reaching for a weapon, would much more likely be charged,

    Like you, I have nothing to base this on. However, I would suspect that it is much more likely to have a cop charged for killing a child then having a non-cop charged. Outside of weirdos, most non-cops don't have an opportunity to make much of a mistake. Since it doesn't happen all that often (ignoring folks that allow their child access to their guns) I think that cops likely account for more.

  41. says

    Here's two of Disturbed Freak Bill's tweets from today: here and here.

    Why are you so preoccupied with imagining violence against people whose politics you don't like, Disturbed Freak Bill?

  42. Zack says

    @Owen: Grand Jury=/= Jury

    Jury standard: Reasonable doubt.

    Grand jury standard: Probable Cause.

    Generally speaking, very few things get rejected from Grand Juries- partially for that reason, and partially because they hear so many indictments per day.

    It's very much closer to a pro-forma thing than juries are: they essentially don't hear any defense evidence but they do hear all the prosecution's evidence.

    The reason it's extraordinary, then, is because the extraordinary happened in this case: an indictment was rejected (which is extraordinary), and it 'just so happened' to be a cop who killed somebody unarmed in their own home, with only his word as a defense for his conduct. So it's alright to be suspicious and skeptical of this rejection, and to use it to say either 'they should be held to the same standard as everyone else' or 'Grand Juries need to take more caution in who they indict'.

  43. Erwin says

    Well. Yes. The best I heard was the one where concerned parents called 911 because their teenage daughter was threatening suicide. The police came and shot through the door. The story has the daughter dying. Of course, this was over a decade ago, and written on a pamphlet detailing police abuses, so I can't prove it happened…

    Overall though, I do believe that society does need policemen and that occasionally killing the wrong people is an inevitable consequence. The law is always a very blunt instrument. I just think we need fewer laws that target appreciable sections of the population. (ie…legalize most victimless crimes) Then, we need to drop the war on terror and cut our defense budget by about 30%. And lastly, really make some rational decisions on privacy given new technology.

    Once that's all done, the police will demilitarize in a rational fashion. And be less likely to carry/use weapons. There simply won't be budgets for that sort of foolishness without drug money.

    –Argyle

  44. dsu says

    One of the scary things about this thread is the Clark didn't release that Grand Juries were not government employees. If you want to pour gas all over the system and burn it down you should at least have an understanding of how it works.

  45. Anony Mouse says

    "drill into their members "never answer questions""

    Well, the standard promoted here and elsewhere is "Never talk to the police". Why shouldn't that standard apply to the police themselves?

  46. Marc says

    Hmmm, I was an interested Reader of this blog. It goes down quite a lot – right now most of the posts are aggressive in tone, do not add to a discussion about anything, pure accusations, the result of the American politics divide.

    The same goes for comments (Ken Bill Schmalfeldt). If you want to continue this way, of course, it is your blog, but one reader less.

    You guys were good in stirring up debate, lately you are killing it.

  47. says

    @dsu

    Do you have any reason to suggest that the Indianapolis police are that corrupt?

    Yes.

    They're cops.

    I've known a few cops first-hand and I "know" a few more cops second-hand, and I've interacted with a few cops, and I've never met or heard of one that I don't either know explicitly that they'd bend laws to help their own, or have a very very strong suspicion from the general tenor of the individual that they'd bend laws to help their own.

    tl;dr: Bayesian reasoning.

  48. says

    @dsu

    One of the scary things about this thread is the Clark didn't release that Grand Juries were not government employees. If you want to pour gas all over the system and burn it down you should at least have an understanding of how it works.

    Why?

    Is it not both morally and intellectually legitimate to judge a system by its outcomes?

    Need I understand how slaves are imported into Saudi Arabia and at what price they're sold in order to be an abolitionist?

    Need I understand who in the Russian government passes laws discriminating against gays in order to oppose that?

    Need I understand how the "Little Princelings" of China buy their way out of their murder charges when they kill a mere peasant in order to suggest that the Chinese should have freedom rather than fascism?

  49. No Thank You says

    I wish I lived in the world of the people who thinks this is way outside the norm. It isn't. Police officers regularly abuse the system,tamper with evidence, make unlawful stops, ignore the 4th Amendment, steel from evidence, and lie. It starts with little things – speeding back to the station at shift changes, turning on your lights to run a red… then you get promoted and realize how hard it is to bust actual criminals following the rules. So the rules get bent.

    Who's to say the known drug-dealer didn't turn into the near lane? Sure, that guy we think got away with something didn't signal a left turn. Absolutely the officer, in his training, knowledge, and experience, detected an odor he associates with the smell of marijuana. Police Officer Canine gave an indication detectable only to police officers indicating I can do whatever I want (and, FYI, we don't get success records or any statics on whether or not this practice is reliable).

    When you get away with that stuff long enough, you start believing you are above the law. When you throw in public badge worship, you are above the law. In general, the only authority which the police are responsible to are federal investigations – which regularly turn up widespread corruption.

    Most police are hardworking men doing an essential job. But too many have a militaristic attitude with little regard for constitutional rights. These are my friends and cousins – they think they are keeping us safe. But if you violate my rights for safety, I say no thank you.

  50. Sam says

    @Grifter

    The rampant homophobia ensures that anyone reading his 'thoughts' will bring up said homophobia thus providing Dear Bill with the opportunity to suggest no homophobia is present in his high minded satire, but rather his prose reveals one's own latent homoerotic tendencies. Got it? Got it.

  51. Jeremy says

    It's hilarious when you hear cops come out against gun ownership, and then contrast that behavior with the willingness of a lot of them to simply violate the law by shooting innocent people. At this point, the 2nd amendment is almost useful in defending yourself *from* the police.

    "You don't need a gun, the police are ready to protect you, now, put your hands up and get out of bed."

  52. BillD says

    There's another way to kill someone and avoid criminal charges. It's available to non-cops too….

    Run a person over with one's car and say something stupid like "I didn't see them because the sun was in my eyes". Unless one is drunk, the likely penalty is no more than some sort of ticket.

  53. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says

    @Clark

    "Is it not both morally and intellectually legitimate to judge a system by its outcomes?"

    Jeremy Bentham: Absolutely!
    Immanuel Kant: *facepalm*

  54. says

    @Jeremy

    It's hilarious when you hear cops come out against gun ownership, and then contrast that behavior with the willingness of a lot of them to simply violate the law by shooting innocent people.

    No contradiction here at all – it's just like in feudal Japan or Nazi Germany – take control, then disarm the peasants and every other potential rival power. It's easier to run roughshod over civil liberties and rule with an iron fist when the victims are disarmed.

  55. says

    @BillD

    There's another way to kill someone and avoid criminal charges. It's available to non-cops too….

    Run a person over with one's car and say something stupid like "I didn't see them because the sun was in my eyes". Unless one is drunk, the likely penalty is no more than some sort of ticket.

    Or alternatively, intentionally run someone over and say I did it on purpose because I thought the toy gun he was carrying was real.

    The advantage of this one is that because cops hate toy guns too, they'll back your play and tell the media that you're a hero and you "may have" thwarted a robbery.

  56. says

    Clark: I think the grand jury = government employees may be a conclusion built on a separate bit of ephemera. In many places, civil service employees continue to get paid during jury service without taking vacation/sick days and will suffer no other employment consequences. (This is weird but, I think, reasonable, because you don't want to punish an employee of one agency for acceding to the request of another.)

    Accordingly, civil servants aren't as worried about the consequences of long-term service on a grand jury so they aren't likely to claim a likelihood of adverse consequences and are probably overrepresented in the final pool.

  57. Loren says

    As far as I know, none of the multiple police officers who shot up the wrong-make, wrong-color truck driven by two women, neither of who were Chris Dorner, nor were they armed, have been charged with assault, attempted murder, or even unlawful discharge of a weapon. Ditto the other pickup truck shot up a mile away.

  58. says

    Maybe a teeensy bit of hypocrisy when you have conservatives who loudly and proudly decry unions and public employee unions rallying 'round the "men in blue" who are protected by their public employee union?

  59. Ryan says

    Let me get this straight: if prosecutors take a case where an unarmed teenager is shot by an older man carrying a gun directly to trial without having the evidence evaluated by a grand jury as to whether or not there is probable cause to file charges, that's bad.

    Conversely, if a case is presented to a grand jury and said grand jury makes a finding you don't agree with by determining there is not probable cause to file charges, that is also bad.

    Glad we cleared that up.

    Also, you just Godwin'd your own comments section again. It doesn't help your argument. Unless a discussion is explicitly about Nazism, invokign Nazi Germany in any discussion about politics in modern OECD democracies typically means the person doing it is seriously stretching to put together a coherent argument.

  60. Chris says

    Why?

    Is it not both morally and intellectually legitimate to judge a system by its outcomes?

    Need I understand how slaves are imported into Saudi Arabia and at what price they're sold in order to be an abolitionist?

    Need I understand who in the Russian government passes laws discriminating against gays in order to oppose that?

    Need I understand how the "Little Princelings" of China buy their way out of their murder charges when they kill a mere peasant in order to suggest that the Chinese should have freedom rather than fascism?

    The problem is when you make claims about how the systems you are criticizing works that are shown to be false you end up blowing your credibility.

    If you want to criticize a system based on the outcome without understanding the intricacies of it, stick to criticizing the outcome, rather than the process.

  61. Chris says

    Quote tag failure. The last two paragraphs in my previous post should be outside the blockquote.

  62. Piper says

    Clark, you've got it all wrong. Here's the true version:
    "You have the right… not to be killed
    Unless it is done, by a policeman… or an aristocrat!" – JS

  63. dsu says

    @Clark
    * Why

    Mainly because I am assuming you are lawyer or have at least some knowledge of the trade since you are writing articles here. Grand Juries are very much part of the legal framework of many states. Grand Juries are "government employees" suggests a frighting lack of knowledge on your part.

  64. En Passant says

    Loren wrote Aug 12, 2013 @8:58 am:

    As far as I know, none of the multiple police officers who shot up the wrong-make, wrong-color truck driven by two women, neither of who were Chris Dorner, nor were they armed, have been charged with assault, attempted murder, or even unlawful discharge of a weapon. Ditto the other pickup truck shot up a mile away.

    I can understand why DAs and the state AG didn't bring charges. The LAPD owns the DA and police anywhere own the state AG. But why the USDOJ hasn't prosecuted is a more mysterious. If nothing else, those cops need to do prison time for aggravated arrogant stupidity with intent to drool resulting in great bodily injury to innocent bystanders.

  65. Castaigne says

    @Shane: You can (apparently) get away with all of this by saying it was an accident.

    I wouldn't say apparently at all. All the info that I can google seems to say that there will be serious review and investigation by other parties, which could lead to charges.

    @Clark: I try to be out ahead of the curve, vilifying cops before anyone else.

    I'll note when I read your posts that you have an inability to curb your emotions and be objective and neutral on the subject. You should correct that; it's a failing.

    @Clark: The guy had a bag of weed on him. Oh noz!

    It's the law. If we don't like it, there are mechanisms to change it.

    A cop who has likely smoked weed himself, and almost certainly joins the other cops after work in a cop bar to pound back three or four mood-altering doses of Jim Bean or Harpoon or Jack makes his living by caging others who prefer a different brand name.

    Several objections here. First, alcohol is generally legal in most jurisdictions, so there is no reason why the cop shouldn't knock back a few. The first maxim of all law: That which is not explicitly forbidden is absolutely permitted. Or as I like to say, "If it's not illegal, it's legit."

    Secondly, you cannot state the cop has "likely smoked weed"; you don't know this unless there is evidence for it. My parents have never toked up because they're devout Catholics and I haven't because I have an allergic reaction to THC (and a mental allergic reaction to illegal pharmceuticals).

    Wait. No. Every day I think the system should be burned down.

    You really, really wouldn't like the results. Remember: If it's not illegal, it's legit. So when you burn the system down and NOTHING is illegal anymore…well, I hope you don't have a family. You know what would happen.

    @Tam: People We Should Not Try In The Media: Neighborhood Watch Volunteers.

    Nah, screw that noise. We should definitely try them in the media. Neighborhood watch assholes are all pretty much whackers who just want to go hamsexy on any who is "violating" their turf. If you don't know what a whacker is:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Whacker

    @Clark: Is it not both morally and intellectually legitimate to judge a system by its outcomes?

    Morally? Depends on your morals, which are subjective, and thus irrelevant to an objective reality.

    Intellectually? No. To judge a system solely by its outcomes is idiotic, since knowing both HOW and WHY the outcome is occurring is key to preventing the outcome in the first place. Otherwise, it matters shit-all what you do to the system, whether you try to improve it or get rid of it all together, since your expected NEW outcome won't come to pass. Why? Because you're flying blind, bro!

    The militarization of the current police is an excellent example. I remember it from high school. Oh, we're not satisfied with all these criminals on the streets – that means we need to get TOUGH ON CRIME! THREE STRIKES! MANDATORY SENTENCES! ZERO TOLERANCE! Never mind that no one bothered to look at how and why the criminals were on the streets – ONLY THE OUTCOMES MATTER! CRIMINALS IN JAIL!

    What's really fucked is I remember the libertarians being all about this shit in the early 90s and late 80s too. Changed their fucking tune right quick come the millennium.

  66. Nick says

    Step 1 is optional in Stand Your Ground states if you're of certain racial backgrounds (and your victim is of certain other racial backgrounds).

  67. says

    Ken,

    "My take would be this: a non-cop who shot a kid dead, saying that he thought the kid was reaching for a weapon, would much more likely be charged, and would likely be treated much more harshly by the criminal justice system throughout.

    In other words, Clark's take is accurate at least to a certain extent: if you want your story "I thought the unarmed 18-year-old in the bathroom was going for a gun so I shot him dead" to be accepted, so you walk, better to be wearing blue."

    This is absolutely true.

    Supporters of the legal system would no doubt counter by saying that scenarios where I, as a non-felonious private citizen, would have a legitimate reason to be telling someone to "Drop the (imaginary) gun!" in their own bathroom are pretty thin on the ground.

    Clark,

    You mean "Bottles" Bisard?

    "It is cute that the brother cops drove two hours out of their way to track down one of the victims and give him a breathalyzer test."

    Wreck with fatalities. Every vehicle operator involved gets tox screens. They rushed over there because the statute requires it done within three hours of the incident. IC 9-30-7

  68. says

    Clark,

    "The advantage of this one is that because cops hate toy guns too, they'll back your play and tell the media that you're a hero and you "may have" thwarted a robbery."

    Good thing Clark Kent can use Supe's X-Ray vision. That way if he ever gets jacked up by somebody with an airsoft, he can look inside it and see the springs and CO2 cannister.

    Meanwhile, for the rest of us here on planet Earth, a safety tip: Don't go pointing fake guns at people who may have real ones; there's a chance they won't get the joke in time.

  69. dsu says

    * Yes.

    They're cops.

    I've known a few cops first-hand and I "know" a few more cops second-hand, and I've interacted with a few cops, and I've never met or heard of one that I don't either know explicitly that they'd bend laws to help their own, or have a very very strong suspicion from the general tenor of the individual that they'd bend laws to help their own.

    tl;dr: Bayesian reasoning.
    ______

    I would be safe to assume that the cops you "know" were met in a professional environment? :)

  70. Nathanael says

    Chris, the usual problem is that these cases don't even go to the grand jury. The DA, who is buddies and pals with the cop, refuses to even show the case to the grand jury.

    The grand jury has the legal power to investigate on its own and indict the cop regardless of what the DA wants, but the DAs and judges lie to the grand jury about this. Routinely.