Radley Balko’s “How A Drug Raid Gone Wrong Sparked A Call For Change In The Unlikeliest State In The Nation,” Huffington Post’s first in a six-part series about the drug war and police reform:


Before the raid, Erna Stewart, 31, had considered becoming a cop. “I had done some ride alongs. I had bought my own gun, and I knew how to clean it. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I’d either be a police officer or a personal trainer.”
She’s now a personal trainer. “It wasn’t even the raid itself that turned me off to cops,” she says. “It was the way they treated my family after it happened. We got hate mail from cops and their families. I mean, the way we were treated in the community … it just made me jaded. And angry.”

Radley Balko’s “How A Drug Raid Gone Wrong Sparked A Call For Change In The Unlikeliest State In The Nation,” Huffington Post’s first in a six-part series about the drug war and police reform:

Before the raid, Erna Stewart, 31, had considered becoming a cop. “I had done some ride alongs. I had bought my own gun, and I knew how to clean it. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I’d either be a police officer or a personal trainer.”

She’s now a personal trainer. “It wasn’t even the raid itself that turned me off to cops,” she says. “It was the way they treated my family after it happened. We got hate mail from cops and their families. I mean, the way we were treated in the community … it just made me jaded. And angry.”

Sarah Stillman talks to the NewsHour’s Ray Suarez about her recent New Yorker article on civil forfeiture.

RAY SUAREZ: So, there’s no trial. There’s no requirement to provide evidence to prove the state’s suspicion. They just take your stuff.

SARAH STILLMAN: Exactly.

And you don’t even have the right to a lawyer. So, conventionally, if you’re facing the loss of your home or the loss of your car or cash, normally, at the very least, you would have someone who is able to represent you in these claims.

“The belief that weaponized drones won’t be used on US soil is patently irrational. Of course they will be. It’s not just likely but inevitable. Police departments are already speaking openly about how their drones “could be equipped to carry nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun.” The drone industry has already developed and is now aggressively marketing precisely such weaponized drones for domestic law enforcement use. It likely won’t be in the form that has received the most media attention: the type of large Predator or Reaper drones that shoot Hellfire missiles which destroy homes and cars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and multiple other countries aimed at Muslims (although US law enforcement agencies already possess Predator drones and have used them over US soil for surveillance). Instead, as I detailed in a 2012 examination of the drone industry’s own promotional materials and reports to their shareholders, domestic weaponized drones will be much smaller and cheaper, as well as more agile - but just as lethal.”
'Show Me' Blood:



The Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from searching individuals without a warrant, but the Supreme Court allows exceptions to that rule for “exigent circumstances” — when the police believe that the delay involved in getting a warrant would lead to destruction of evidence.
In Missouri v. McNeely, scheduled for argument at the court on Wednesday, the police forced a driver to take a blood test at a hospital without a warrant, after he refused to take a breath test with a portable machine when he was stopped for erratic driving. The blood test showed that his blood alcohol content was 0.154 percent, or almost twice the state’s legal limit.
The Missouri Supreme Court wisely ruled that the warrantless blood test was an unreasonable search because there was no emergency that prevented the police from getting a search warrant in a timely manner before the alcohol in the driver’s blood dissipated.
Missouri is now asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the state court ruling and to radically revise Fourth Amendment law so that police — without a warrant — can draw blood from every person arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, regardless of the circumstances. The United States government, siding with Missouri, argues that warrantless blood draws are needed “to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.”
But in 21 states, including Missouri, the police have successfully obtained thousands of warrants to get blood alcohol evidence.
If the Supreme Court applies the blanket rule Missouri seeks, it will diminish constitutional rights without increasing public safety in any meaningful way.

'Show Me' Blood:

The Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from searching individuals without a warrant, but the Supreme Court allows exceptions to that rule for “exigent circumstances” — when the police believe that the delay involved in getting a warrant would lead to destruction of evidence.

In Missouri v. McNeely, scheduled for argument at the court on Wednesday, the police forced a driver to take a blood test at a hospital without a warrant, after he refused to take a breath test with a portable machine when he was stopped for erratic driving. The blood test showed that his blood alcohol content was 0.154 percent, or almost twice the state’s legal limit.

The Missouri Supreme Court wisely ruled that the warrantless blood test was an unreasonable search because there was no emergency that prevented the police from getting a search warrant in a timely manner before the alcohol in the driver’s blood dissipated.

Missouri is now asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the state court ruling and to radically revise Fourth Amendment law so that police — without a warrant — can draw blood from every person arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, regardless of the circumstances. The United States government, siding with Missouri, argues that warrantless blood draws are needed “to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.”

But in 21 states, including Missouri, the police have successfully obtained thousands of warrants to get blood alcohol evidence.

If the Supreme Court applies the blanket rule Missouri seeks, it will diminish constitutional rights without increasing public safety in any meaningful way.

image

“As a result, hundreds of defendants nationwide remain in prison or on parole for crimes that might merit exoneration, a retrial or a retesting of evidence using DNA because FBI hair and fiber experts may have misidentified them as suspects. … In one Texas case, Benjamin Herbert Boyle was executed in 1997, more than a year after the Justice Department began its review. Boyle would not have been eligible for the death penalty without the FBI’s flawed work, according to a prosecutor’s memo.”
Should DUI Checkpoints Be Banned Altogether?:

DUI checkpoints continue to generate a lot of debate and discussion.
The latest skirmish involving DUI checkpoints comes from at least two states that are now reconsidering the legality and effectiveness of DUI checkpoints in the first place. In Utah, a bill will soon be considered by the state House of Representatives that would completely ban police from setting up DUI checkpoints, FOX 13 reports. Utah state Rep. David Butterfield, a sponsor of the bill, believes that DUI checkpoints violate citizens’ rights against unreasonable searches. “The Utah Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have both held that they are constitutional under very narrow guidelines, but that’s problematic,” he said.
Similarly, WestIslip Patch reports, New Hampshire lawmakers are also considering a proposal to prohibit state police from setting up DUI checkpoints, again citing possible violations of citizen’s civil rights. According to the Patch, New Hampshire lawmakers are concerned with citizens’ “due process rights when they are arrested for other violations or their vehicles are searched.”
Supporters of DUI checkpoints such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving argue that the tactic does improve public safety. They add that checkpoints do not violate civil rights because citizens are only detained briefly and strict guidelines govern what police may and may not do in connection with the checkpoints.

Should DUI Checkpoints Be Banned Altogether?:

DUI checkpoints continue to generate a lot of debate and discussion.

The latest skirmish involving DUI checkpoints comes from at least two states that are now reconsidering the legality and effectiveness of DUI checkpoints in the first place. In Utah, a bill will soon be considered by the state House of Representatives that would completely ban police from setting up DUI checkpoints, FOX 13 reports. Utah state Rep. David Butterfield, a sponsor of the bill, believes that DUI checkpoints violate citizens’ rights against unreasonable searches. “The Utah Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have both held that they are constitutional under very narrow guidelines, but that’s problematic,” he said.

Similarly, WestIslip Patch reports, New Hampshire lawmakers are also considering a proposal to prohibit state police from setting up DUI checkpoints, again citing possible violations of citizen’s civil rights. According to the Patch, New Hampshire lawmakers are concerned with citizens’ “due process rights when they are arrested for other violations or their vehicles are searched.”

Supporters of DUI checkpoints such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving argue that the tactic does improve public safety. They add that checkpoints do not violate civil rights because citizens are only detained briefly and strict guidelines govern what police may and may not do in connection with the checkpoints.

“There is something chilling and totalitarian about this insistence that cops have the right to do as they wish without what amounts to public oversight. What is it they fear? After all, the officer who is being videotaped can protect himself by doing one simple thing: his job.”
"The Court, continuing a strong trend, narrows even further the rule that evidence obtained illegally by police may not be used in criminal trials. It does so with an expanding majority.”:

A constitutional concept that increasingly seems to contradict its own label, the “exclusionary rule,” is fading further as a restraint on police evidence-gathering.  A solid majority on the Supreme Court that is deeply skeptical of the rule appears to be adding new Justices.  In the latest ruling, Davis v. United States (09-11328), what had been a five-vote majority in prior recent cases has expanded to six, and maybe even “six and a half. ’  The two newest Justices are not voting as their predecessors did — so far, at least.
The Court majority, whatever its current size, does not yet seem ready to cast aside altogether the “exclusionary rule” — a Fourth Amendment interpretation that dates back 97 years (although Justice Antonin Scalia, in particular, has questioned the need to retain it).  The rule, in its simplest form, bars evidence from being used in criminal trials if the police obtained it illegally.  What has  been happening lately — and continued full force in Davis — is that the Court majority is sharply narrowing the definition of police conduct that it considers illegal, and is seeking to assure that more evidence gets in.  As a result, the “exclusionary rule” is, case by case, excluding less and less evidence from trials.

"The Court, continuing a strong trend, narrows even further the rule that evidence obtained illegally by police may not be used in criminal trials. It does so with an expanding majority.”:

A constitutional concept that increasingly seems to contradict its own label, the “exclusionary rule,” is fading further as a restraint on police evidence-gathering. A solid majority on the Supreme Court that is deeply skeptical of the rule appears to be adding new Justices. In the latest ruling, Davis v. United States (09-11328), what had been a five-vote majority in prior recent cases has expanded to six, and maybe even “six and a half. ’ The two newest Justices are not voting as their predecessors did — so far, at least.

The Court majority, whatever its current size, does not yet seem ready to cast aside altogether the “exclusionary rule” — a Fourth Amendment interpretation that dates back 97 years (although Justice Antonin Scalia, in particular, has questioned the need to retain it). The rule, in its simplest form, bars evidence from being used in criminal trials if the police obtained it illegally. What has been happening lately — and continued full force in Davis — is that the Court majority is sharply narrowing the definition of police conduct that it considers illegal, and is seeking to assure that more evidence gets in. As a result, the “exclusionary rule” is, case by case, excluding less and less evidence from trials.

Police State Update

jeffmiller:

A woman was arrested for filming police officers from her own front yard.  Then, when neighbors held a meeting at a private home to discuss ways they could support this poor woman, four cop cars showed up to ticket cars every car that was parked more than 12 inches from the curb.  As Randy Balko notes, “they even brought a ruler.”  Balko adds:

By the way, due to a $50 million budget shortfall, the city of Rochester is considering cutting 27 full-time police positions. If the the cops in Rochester have time to carry out petty grudges against citizens who dare to show support for a woman who was illegally arrested, maybe the city ought to consider cutting 40 or 50 positions instead. They could start with the cops in this video.

Every day, cops are wrongfully arresting people for filming them.  And everyday, the the TV news reports on the Palins.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME