The More Things Change . . .

Friday, October 19th, 2012

In this week’s issue of Huffington, they’ve published an updated version of my March article on Terrance Huff, drug dog searches, and asset forfeiture.

If you aren’t familiar, Huffington is the tablet magazine spinoff of Huffington Post, focusing on long-form journalism. If you have a tablet computer, I’d encourage you to check it out. One of the main complaints I hear about the Huffington Post site is its clutter and busyness. The magazine is very clean. No ads, no extras.

Anyway, while researching my book I recently came across the passage below from The New York Times Magazine. It has almost on-the-nose relevance to the issues at play in Huff’s case.

See if you can guess when it was published. Answer in the comments.


 . . . a number of judges [have begun] questioning police testimony that relie[s] on such legal passwords as “in plain sight” and “furtive gesture.”

“The difficulty arises,” New York Criminal Court Judge Irving Younger wrote last year, “when one stands back from the particular case and looks at a series of cases. It then becomes apparent that policemen are committing perjury at least in some of them, and perhaps in nearly all of them . . . Spend a few hours in the New York City Criminal Court nowadays, and you will hear case after case in which a policeman testifies that the defendant dropped the narcotics on the ground, whereupon the policeman arrested him. Usually the very language of the testimony is identical from one case to another. This is known among defense lawyers and prosecutors as “dropsey” testimony. The judge has no reason to disbelieve it in any particular case, and of course the judge must decide each case on its own evidence, without regard to the testimony in other cases. Surely, though, not in every case was the defendant unlucky enough to drop his narcotics at the feed of the policeman. It follows that in in at least some of these cases the police are lying.”

In California, where many drug arrests are made during highway patrols, Judge Stanley Mosk of the State Supreme Court recently questioned the police reliance on furtive gestures in justifying arrests.

“The furtive gesture,” Mosk wrote, “has on occasion been little short of subterfuge in order to conduct a search on the basis of mere suspicion or intuition.” In so doing, he said, policy imply guilty significance to gestures that are no more illegal than reaching for one’s driver’s license or turning off a car radio.

Sunday Afternoon Links

Sunday, October 14th, 2012
  • It appears that a Utah state trooper has been falsifying arrest records for DUI cases. Bonus: Higher-ups probably knew, covered it up. Double bonus: In 2007 she was named “Trooper of the Year.
  • Attempted puppycide.
  • Mark Bittman wants food labels to include what mood the workers were in when it was picked and manufactured. Okay, not quite. But awfully close.
  • Headline of the day. For your amusement, please note the improbable name of one of the two researchers.
  • I’m pretty sure that if anyone who didn’t happen to be a cop responded to a colleague’s teasing by taking out a gun and shooting toward colleague’s feet, they’d be charged with some sort of crime.
  • Milwaukee cop charged with sodomizing people performing several illegal body cavity searches is let out on $0 bail. Chief Ed Flynn referred to the officer’s actions as “noble cause misconduct.” You remember Ed Flynn. He’s the one who instructed his “troops” to tackle, detain anyone carrying a gun in the city, even though it’s allowed under state law.
  • Houston Police Department admits to pre-writing traffic violations.

Maggie’s Harvest of Links

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

(Thanks to Radley for the first two items, Jesse Walker for the third, Grace for the fourth, Walter Olson for the fifth and Brooke Magnanti for the sixth.)

Saturday Links

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Morning Links

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

SCOTUS Denies Cert to Cops Who Tasered a Pregnant Woman

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Here’s what happened:

The U.S Supreme Court has refused to grant cert in an appeal by Seattle police officers who say they did not use excessive force when they used a Taser stun gun on a pregnant woman.

The court denied cert today, report SCOTUSblog, Reuters and CNN.

The woman, Malaika Brooks, was seven months pregnant when she was pulled over for going 32 miles an hour, 12 miles an hour over the limit in a school speed zone. She refused to sign the ticket and refused to exit her car.

But check the last sentence:

The en banc San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that police used excessive force, but they had immunity because the law was unclear.

So these cops were already off the hook for damages. They appealed anyway (with support from a number of police organizations), because they wanted the Supreme Court to forever preserve a police officer’s power to Tase pregnant women who drive 12 miles per hour over the speed limit and refuse to sign their speeding tickets.

Morning Links

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Morning Links

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Morning Links

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Sunday Links

Sunday, March 4th, 2012