PoliceIssues | Crime and Justice

Inmates are “realigned” from state to county supervision. Then a cop gets killed.
(#312, 5/21/18)

      Cops would worry less if their workplace was more forgiving. But it’s not. Legal rules and enforcement practices often seem out of sync with the “real world.” There are never enough resources to consistently do a good job. Accurate information is frequently lacking, and there is often little chance to seek it out. Citizens and suspects are unpredictable and dangerous. That’s why cops want evildoers behind bars. Big bars. Throw away the key: problem solved.

     What officers want isn’t necessarily what they get. California’s cops got their first taste of the “new normal” in 2011. Two years after Federal judges imposed a cap on the state’s overflowing prisons, legislators passed AB 109, the “Public Safety Realignment Act,” shifting confinement and post-release supervision of “non-serious, non-violent [and] non-sex” offenders from state prisons to county jails and probation departments. Three years later Proposition 47 reduced many felony drug crimes and all theft and stolen property cases with losses under $950 to misdemeanors. And two years after that, Proposition 57, the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” made it easier for inmates to earn release credits and for “nonviolent” offenders sentenced on multiple charges to win early parole.

     Prosecutors and police opposed “realigning” prisoner populations and facilitating early release. They lost. After all, weren’t crime rates way down from their peaks? With reformers howling and politicians reluctant to pay for more prisons, all three measures remain on the books.

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To avoid anointing Trump, the FBI Director falls into a trap of his own making

    “It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.” One day after the FBI Director’s startling reveal about a new trove of emails, Hillary took a swing at the very same official who, in an equally “unprecedented” move, had recently exonerated her from criminal liability. We’ll know in a few days whether Comey’s letter to Congress was indeed the equivalent of running over Hillary’s quest for the Presidency with an “18-wheeler” (as DNC chair Donna Brazile put it) or simply another annoying distraction in a most annoying Presidential campaign.

     Still, there’s little doubt that James Comey’s maneuverings created the perfect storm of a dilemma. We’ll get to that in a moment. For now, let’s address the email scandal of which so much hash has been made.

     When Hillary was anointed Secretary of State she turned up her nose at the thought (horrors!) of a State.gov email address. Instead, America’s chief diplomat continued to use her beloved Blackberry and a personal email account that routed messages through a private server installed at her home. Despite her repeated denials, she used this process for conveying and receiving classified information. Here’s an extract from Director Comey’s initial press release that describes the security status of thirty-thousand work-related emails that Hillary’s lawyers reluctantly turned over to the FBI:

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Restrict the possession of "ordinary" guns or get used to regular massacres

    “I have a Glock 9 millimeter, and I’m a pretty good shot.”  That’s what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D - Ariz.) told a New York Times reporter last year.  Only months later she would be fighting for her life, shot through the head with the same brand and caliber of pistol.

     On January 8, Jared Loughner, 22,  opened fire with a Glock 9mm. pistol during the Congresswoman’s “Congress on your Corner” event at a Tucson supermarket.  The unemployed, sometime student – he got booted from college for disruptive behavior – killed six, including a 9-year old girl and a Federal judge.  He wounded thirteen, including Ms. Giffords.

     Loughner was tackled by citizens while reloading his pistol.  A search of the home where he lived with his parents yielded a prior letter from the Congresswoman and several notes suggesting his intent to carry out the assassination.

     By any measure Loughner is a very sick puppy.  His MySpace account was full of disconnected thoughts and delusional ramblings about off-the-wall subjects like government thought control.  He wrote about returning to the gold and silver standards – with him in charge of the Treasury.  “Mein Kampf” was listed as one of his favorite books, which might seem insignificant until one considers that his intended target, Ms. Giffords, is active in Judaism.

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Prior posts

Is Your Uncle a Serial Killer? Police scour DNA databanks for the kin of unidentified suspects (#311, 5/6/18)

There's no "Pretending" a Gun Sometimes split-second decisions are right, even when they're wrong (#310, 4/18/18)

A Reason? Or Just an Excuse? Figuring out why officers kill persons “armed” with a cell phone (#309, 4/5/18)

Loose Lips Enable Terrorists Safeguard sources and methods. Or wish that you had. (#308, 3/27/18)

Again, Kids Die. Again, our "Leaders" Pretend. Like the Dem’s, the GOP addresses gun lethality with make-believe (#307, 3/17/18)

Routinely Chaotic Rule #1: Don’t let chaos distort the police response. Rule #2: See Rule #1. (#306, 3/6/18)

Ban the Damned Things! There’s no “regulating” the threat posed by highly lethal firearms (#305, 2/21/18)

Why do Cops Lie? Often, for the same reasons as their superiors (#304, 2/10/18)

Be Careful What You Brag About (Part II) Citywide crime statistics are ripe for misuse (#303, 1/25/18)

Be Careful What You Brag About (Part I) Is the Big Apple's extended crime drop all it seems to be? (#302, 1/15/18)

Accidentally on Purpose A remarkable registry challenges conventional wisdom about the causes of wrongful conviction (#301, 12/24/17)

Massacre Control What can be done to prevent mass shootings? (#300, 11/19/17)

"Bump Stocks" Aren't the (Real) Problem Outlawing them is a good idea. But it’s hardly the solution. (#299, 10/8/17)

Sanctuary Cities, Sanctuary States (Part II) Should states legalize recreational pot? (#298, 9/5/17)

Sanctuary Cities, Sanctuary States (Part I) What happens when communities turn their backs on immigration enforcement? (#297, 8/23/17)

Three (In?)explicable Shootings Grievous police blunders keep costing citizen lives. Why? (#296, 8/1/17)

Silence Isn't Always Golden A proposal to deregulate firearms silencers ignores the hazards of policing (#295, 7/14/17)

A Lost Cause Legislators are ambushed. And a gun-numbed land shrugs and moves on. (#294, 6/24/17)

Are Civilians Too Easy on the Police? When attempts are made to sanction cops, citizens often get in the way (#293, 6/3/17)

Ideology Trumps Reason Clashing belief systems challenge criminal justice policymaking (#292, 5/16/17)

People do Forensics Conflicts about oversight neglect a fundamental issue (#291, 4/30/17)

Why Do Cops Succeed? Shifting resources from finding fault to studying success (#290, 4/13/17)

Guilty Until Proven Innocent Pressures to solve notorious crimes can lead to tragic miscarriages of justice (#289, 3/19/17)

Is Crime Up or Down? Well, it Depends It depends on where one sits, when we compare, and on who counts (#288, 2/27/17)

An Illusory Consensus (Part II) Good intentions don't always translate into good policy (#287, 2/10/17)

An Illusory Consensus America's police leaders agree on the use of force. Or do they? (#286, 1/29/17)

Do Gun Laws Work? Are they doing any good? We crunch the numbers to find out (#285, 1/11/17)

Is Trump Right About the Nation's Inner Cities? America's low-income communities desperately need a New Deal (#284, 12/17/16)

A Stitch in Time Could early intervention save officer and citizen lives? (#283, 11/26/16)

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished To avoid anointing Trump, the FBI Director falls into a trap of his own making (#282, 11/2/16)

A Matter of Life and Death In an era of highly lethal firearms, keeping patrol informed is job #1 (#281, 10/20/16)

Is it Always About Race? Unruly citizens and streets brimming with guns make risk-tolerance a very hard sell (#280, 10/5/16)

Words Matter In a conflicted, gun-saturated land, heated rhetoric threatens cops’ effectiveness - and their lives (#279, 9/17/16)

Where Should Cops Live? Officer-citizen conflicts stir renewed interest in residency requirements (#278, 9/2/16)

Getting Out of Dodge For families caught in dangerous neighborhoods, there is one option (#277, 8/19/16)

Better Late Than Never (Part II) DOJ proposes rules for forensic testimony. Do they go far enough? (#276, 8/3/16)

Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part II) Aggressive crime-fighting strategies can exact an unintended toll (#275, 7/18/16)

Good Guy/Bad Guy/Black Guy (Part I) Do cops use race to decide who poses a threat? (#274, 7/18/16)

Intended or not, a Very Rough Ride A hung jury and two acquittals mar Baltimore's crusade against police violence (#273, 7/3/16)

A Ban in Name Only Pretending to regulate only makes things worse (#272, 6/21/16)

Better Late Than Never (Part I) A "hair-raising" forensic debacle forces DOJ's hand (#271, 6/10/16)

Location, Location, Location Crime happens. To find out why, look to where (#270, 5/25/16)

Orange is the New Brown L.A.'s past sheriff and undersheriff pack their bags for Hotel Fed. (#269, 5/7/16)

Role Reversal Chicago's falling apart. Who can make the violence stop? (#268, 4/25/16)

Is a Case Ever too Cold? Citing factual errors, an Illinois prosecutor successfully moves to free a convicted killer (#267, 4/16/16)

After the Fact Ordinary policing strategies can't prevent terrorism (#266, 3/31/16)

More Rules, Less Force? PERF promotes written guidelines to reduce the use of force. Cops aren't happy (#265, 3/18/16)

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