Morning Ed: Law & Order {2017.10.03.Tu}

[LO1] There’s needing a beer buddy, and then there’s this.

[LO2] Nothing good ever comes of clowns.

[LO3] Jonathan Coppage and Jarrett Dieterie want more liberal open-container laws. I think most of them (at least the ones that don’t involve automobiles and maybe even those) are actually pretty hard to justify.

[LO4] So why are Swiss flushing money down the toilets?

[LO5] The intersection between disabilities and incarceration. Also,doing away with visits entirely.

[LO6] In Denmark: DNA Registry > Huge Increase In Marriage > Reduced Recidivism (PDF)

[LO7] There are a lot of problems with this, so it’s hard to know where to begin.

[LO8] Anti-Muslim graffiti (“No more muslims”) in Ontario can net you five months in jail.

[LO9] Deputies lied, the county paid.

[LO0]


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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29 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Law & Order {2017.10.03.Tu}

  1. LO3: SF allows open containers in parks (or at least doesn’t try to stop it) but not on the streets except at fairs. In Delores Park on nice days, there is a guy who goes around with coconuts, rum, and a machete. He will cut one open, pour in the rum, and give it to you.

    Open container laws would seem to be
    laws to deter dealing with drunks because that is not fun. Specifically they are about anti-homelessness. But we don’t want to deal with homelessness in the U.S.

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    • Many years ago I worked in a cafeteria in Munich. After work I’d go to a grocery store, get some bread, cheese, veggies, and a beer, and have a late lunch in the park. It was lovely.
      Somewhat less lovely – when I lived in Cologne, I was getting bike tire punctures almost every week during the months after Carnival.

      I’d rather see a ban on drinking from glass containers in public regardless of whether the beverage is alcoholic or not, than a ban on drinking alcoholic beverages in public regardless of the container material…

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  2. LO1: The lonely burglar.

    LO3: Let people drink in public and get rid of all the brown paper bag trickery.

    LO4: Same reason wealthy people do anything, to show off how much money they have.

    LO5: Lets make prison even crueler.

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  3. LO7: This has to be a violation of the 8th Amendment. The entire sex registry thing has become an act of abject cruelty fueled by moral panic. Your not supposed to be punished after you do your time.

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    • That doesn’t even get into the things that can put you on the registry — like dumb teenagers being dumb teenagers.

      At least the statutory rape laws often have Romeo and Juliet provisions (I believe that’s what they’re called) to prevent charges being brought up against, say, a 15 year old and her 16 year old boyfriend — but it seems the laws on other stuff haven’t caught up to cell phones yet.

      And either some prosecutors aren’t using — or don’t have — discretion in those cases.

      it’s a pretty messed up system where we’re legally labeling 16 year old’s child pornographers for life for sending their boyfriend/girlfriend a selfie.

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      • The way that many prosecutors just decided to apply existing child porn laws to selfies once selfies became possible was scary. Teen selfies are technically child pornography but you’d hope that prosecutors wouldn’t be so quick to apply them and maybe logic and cooler heads would prevail.

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        • I’ve been surprised the courts have been so willing to go along with it, because it’s obviously not only dumb, but contrary to the intended purpose of the law.

          Of course the justice system, at least from my distant perspective, seems to view convicting kids of crimes as being entirely consistent with protecting their interests, so what do I know?

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          • The Prosecutors are technically right. The kids are creating and distributing child pornography as defined by the law. During Court the prosecutors just need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt even if a conviction does not lead to socially optimal outcomes. Juries are supposed to convict if the Prosecutor meets their burden of proof even if they feel really crummy about it.

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        • I suspect it comes from two places. First, those laws may not have any discretion built in. Why would they? Child pornography isn’t the sort of thing lawmakers would think need prosecutor discretion. They were written pretty harshly, then even more so when the internet came along because it became so much easier to distribute.

          Secondly, there’s still a rather large (and stupid) strain of prosecutor that thinks they can “send a message” and “change the morals” and “convince others to stop doing this” by being, bluntly, real dicks to people to make an example.

          And lastly, prosecutors are often elected. And it’s really dang easy to make the charge “Let child pornographers off the hook” or “refused to prosecute peddlers of child pornography” and let the poor sap who merely didn’t charge a pair of horny teens try to talk his away out of that one.

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          • Prosecutors have and use discretion in these cases, at least in the state of California, and I think since it’s a fed crime that means everywhere? I know this because they gave my estranged father a plea bargain that ended up with “time served” as his resulting punishment.

            So if they have discretion, they could use it, and are choosing not to. Convicting kids for taking selfies is something that would lose my vote in a heartbeat.

            If you look up some of the actual cases (I won’t claim to have read all of them), the prosecutor was planning all along for the record to be expunged, so they don’t end up on the list, the punishments are relatively light (community service, classes), and the purpose seems to have been a more dramatic and newsworthy version of “those kids need to learn the dangers of what they are doing”. In other cases they didn’t even charge them, just dangled the threat over their heads for a good long while.

            That said, I still would never vote for a prosecutor who pulled that shit.

            It’s callously indifferent to the suffering of the victims of real child pornographers, *just for starters*. I also don’t believe in terrorizing teenagers.

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          • I cannot wrap my head around how the US has elected county sheriffs, judges, prosecutors. These just seem like the exact kinds of positions that must never be elective offices…

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            • No kidding, right?

              Very easily bribed, some of them. I know of one county where a mere 200,000 or so was enough for the county sheriff to ignore a drug operation. Everyone knew who was cooking meth for the area, but the county police (it was out in the boonies) just never seemed to hear about it.

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            • In states of Democratic islands in a Republican sea or vice versa, having these positions be elected has the small advantage of getting sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges who might be a righter fit for the local area than an appointed one would be.

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              • How is a Democratic police chief a “righter” fit for a predominantly Democratic jurisdiction? Only under the most cynical view of humanity is it an advantage that the majority of voters think with credible reason that their police chief is biased against their partisan-political opponents, while the minority thinks quite reasonably the police chief is biased against themselves.

                How does a conviction against any local-minority party member, no matter how low on the totem pole, ever stand up, when they have a ready-made appeal of unfairness by saying “Judge Reba McUblican was biased against me because it’s well known around here that I went door knocking for her opponent in the last election.”?

                A police chief should ideally be studiously apolitical in public and in the execution of their duties. Like, you should be able to look them up in the phone book and drive by their house a week to the election and not see a lawn sign. You should be able to ask them about an election issue, and have them flatly refuse to answer the question if they’re in uniform.

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            • In practice, these positions are usually selected by insiders who run for office with the support of the dominant party, and who will prevail in the election because the city or county is usually under one-party rule. There are elections that standout, but the democratic nature of the elections is usually low.

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            • They have more power than just bring charges or not, though. I repeat myself:

              “Prosecutors have and use discretion in these cases, at least in the state of California, and I think since it’s a fed crime that means everywhere? I know this because they gave my estranged father a plea bargain that ended up with “time served” as his resulting punishment.”

              They did this at trial, after several months of imprisonment and hearings. They can change their mind at any time up to the actual trial date. They can offer better or worse terms for the plea bargain. So they have a lot of discretion.

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    • The people in the article though are “sexually violent predators.” They are the worst of the worst. Some of them asked to be committed because they don’t think they can resist their urges. They may not even deserve to live, but they don’t deserve to drink third-world water.

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  4. L05 — Video visitation is becoming pretty common. The link does not clarify that this is a jail, not a prison, so the length of stay is going to be shorter.(*) For the most part, the hand-wringing is a non-story. Jails restrict non-lawyer visits and are usually behind glass with a phone.

    The technology is a positive, and I cannot see any downside to it except for the charges. If use of video-conferencing saves man hours and money, then charges are profits incurred from people who are presumed innocent of any crime (or their families). The highest charges appear to be in Placer County, California, and perhaps the Sacramento Bee might find it worthwhile to travel there for a story some time, instead of go all of the way to Louisiana.

    (*) A quick google suggests the average length of stay in the neighboring New Orleans Parish jail is 30 days. That could be accurate with a distribution skewed to the left (a lot of 1-3 day duration) and a long tail to the right.

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  5. The US voted against a UN resolution against using the death penalty to target LGBT people. So far we haven’t explained the vote. Still it’s hard to avoid noting we joined our close ally, the all-around wonderful Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in opposing the resolution. It also probably put a big smile on Roy Moore’s face.

    Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE were among the 13 countries that joined the United States in rejecting the resolution, which was introduced by Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, and Switzerland. A total of 27 countries supported it.

    The resolution notably doesn’t call for the end to the death penalty. It simply condemns its usage in a discriminatory fashion. Besides the implications for people with same-sex orientations, ILGA also notes that when used to punish adultery, the death penalty is disproportionately imposed on women.

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    • The US voted against a UN resolution against using the death penalty to target LGBT people.

      While that was indeed one provision of the resolution, it’s profoundly dishonest to pretend that that’s an accurate summary of the resolution as a whole, and that this is the reason the US voted against it. I know you’re just repeating what you read on ThinkProgress (sic, and sic), but I hope that in the future you’ll be less inclined to take their claims at face value.

      It’s worth noting that Japan also voted against it. It seems to have broken down largely along lines of which countries still have the death penalty. I suspect, based on reading the resolution, that the deal-breakers were the clauses praising the abolition of the death penalty, saying that it leads to human rights violations, calling out the fact that many states consider it a form of torture, and authorizing the Secretary-General to compile an anti-death-penalty report.

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  6. LO7: It holds about 225 men and one woman.

    We need to have a national conversation about the sexist application of island-based exile in our female-supremacist justice system.

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