Author Topic: Crime Stuff  (Read 4742 times)

random axe

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Crime Stuff
« on: November 06, 2010, 10:27:35 AM »
New topic because I'm not always cranky about this stuff.

OK, the BART cop who shot and killed an unarmed man was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years.  Understandably, the victim's family is upset, as are a lot of their supporters.

Personally, I think it's probably the right verdict, from what I've heard, and maybe even too strong of a sentence.  Thing is, I do believe the cop either didn't mean to fire or that (as his defense maintained) he meant to draw his gun-like Taser instead of his pistol.  I mean, the suspect was lying facedown on the ground, and the guy's partner was kneeling on the suspect's back.  The defendant was standing over them, and he drew his gun to shoot the suspect? 

This seems awfully unlikely to me.  I mean, the odds of hitting his partner with the bullet or the ricochet would be very high, and the partner would not be happy with him no matter what happened when he pulled the trigger.  Frankly, it's an incredibly dumb time to fire a taser either, since you could easily shock your partner as well as the suspect.  I think that whichever weapon he meant to draw, he probably didn't mean to fire it.  I think it actually was a mistake -- a very dumb, very bad mistake that had enormous consequences, but I find it vanishingly unlikely that he intended to shoot and kill the victim.

Seems like a training issue more than anything else.  And don't make the Tasers look and work like guns.  That was an extremely stupid idea right from the start.  I know they look cool that way and probably sell better, but, seriously, Taser deserves to get its ass sued off, and no police department had any business buying those models.

Dr. Leonard HmofCoy

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2010, 10:44:38 AM »
Oops. I'd better check if my kids were arrested.

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random axe

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2010, 12:18:34 PM »
:hmm:

They carry guns and gun-like Tasers?

Dr. Leonard HmofCoy

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2010, 06:30:19 PM »
No, they've gone to a bunch of protests.

Mehserle is a murderer, and he's getting off because a) he's a cop and b) the guy he murdered was kind of a shit.

Both of those things are irrelevant. Had the tables been turned Grant would be facing the chair. No doubt. It sucks.
"Parasitic wasps laying eggs in other insects is a better love story than Twilight." - :bitzero:
"Anyhow, it was the best sentient food movie since Killer Tomatoes Eat France." - :flipper:
"lee marvin in drag is no way to spread the gospel, son." - TFJ
"It failed. My enemies have been purged." - Sidious
"It's not like there was ever a time I didn't think Rudy Giuliani was a smug gibbering imbecile." - random axe
"*drags taint* Oh cool, I didn't know you could do that." - mo.d

random axe

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2010, 07:00:43 PM »
You really think he intentionally shot the guy on the ground, in front of witnesses, a few inches from his partner's knee?  I think he probably meant to draw his gun, not the Taser, but that he didn't mean to pull the trigger.  I have no opinion on whether he's an asshole, racist, or etc.

I agree that if the black guy had shot the cop, it would be a completely different story . . . but that would be a different story.  If a black cop had shot a white suspect on the ground . . . in the same town . . . I don't know.  The outcome at trial might've been the same.

I totally agree with the victim's family that way too many black defendants got screwed because they were black and way too many black suspects (guilty or innocent) got screwed by the cops because they were black, but that doesn't mean the white guy ought to get screwed over in this particular case.  Still, I'm prepared to accept that you probably know more about this case than I've seen about it, so it's not like I can tell you you're wrong.  And I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if the police didn't handle this the way they should have.

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 12:42:41 AM »
Agree with Norm.  He's getting off because he's a cop and the unarmed victim was black.  Mistake or not, he killed him.  With mandatory minimum sentencing and three strikes laws, there are people in prison for life without parole and this guy took someone else's life?
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random axe

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 07:20:31 AM »
The three-strikes thing is purely stupid.  Any zero-tolerance rule or rule that removes sentencing decisions from the judge is stupid.  Some judges are stupid, but justice without deliberation is not justice.  But that's not really relevant here.

IF it's an accident, and unintentional, then involuntary manslaughter sounds like the right sentence.  In California, the penalty for that is 2-4 years.  This guy was a cop, which (barring evidence that he was previously a bad cop) ought to count in his favor, plus you know it means he's going to be a hell of a target when he gets to jail.

There's still the civil suit to come.  I don't know if he's indemnified, in CA, because he was a cop.

eldiem

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 07:12:24 PM »
Dude no, the guy was a cop. If ANYONE would know the difference between a gun and a taser it would be a cop. They are trained to NOT discharge their weapons unless absolutely necessary. I just can't accept that it was a complete and total accident. So basically I think the fact that he's a cop should make him held to higher standards than the average joe and he should NOT get anything lighter than someone else who did the same thing.

But he did because it's not really a "justice" system, so much.

random axe

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 07:26:27 PM »
I do get what you're saying, but I still don't see it the same way.  A cop obviously should be able to unquestionably tell the difference between gun and taser.  However, with the new gun-like tasers, there have been several well-publicized incidents of cops pulling their guns when they thought they'd drawn their tasers.  And, if you think about it, you only find out that the cop drew the wrong one if they pull the trigger.  That suggests that it happens far more often than is reported.  And, frankly, as soon as Taser came out with the gun-like models, it's exactly what lots of people said would happen, because it's obvious that it would.

I do think cops should be held to higher standards in many ways and cut some slack in other ways.  But in this case, I don't believe the defense's story that he meant to draw and fire his taser.  Like I said, he still would've had WAY too good a chance of hitting his partner.  I think he probably meant to draw his gun; I just don't believe for a second that he intended to fire.

There's still a huge issue of negligence / inability to properly use the firearm / training failure there.  But it wouldn't change the likelihood that this was an accidental shooting.  Cops are required to carry and use firearms, so the fact that he had a gun isn't his fault.  The fact that he drew it is, I believe, a problem of training and police culture and procedure as much as his personal error.  Drawing the gun was a bad decision, although I can imagine ways to rationalize it pretty convincingly, depending on factors of the situation (by-standers, for instance) that I don't have any way of knowing. 

But actually firing the gun, I'm still convinced, was not a mistake of judgment but a physical error.  He could have just as easily have shot his partner in the knee (or worse), and nothing I've heard so far has even suggested that this guy was that stupid or reckless or hated his partner or etc. 

Two years for an accidental shooting death, in general, seems short.  Two years for a cop accidentally shooting a suspect in the course of duty . . . .  If I do believe it was an accident, then I don't think that's a short sentence.  No one else who was there had any business getting involved or carrying a handgun.  It's the cops' job to get involved and have guns.  If some random by-stander had walked up and accidentally shot the guy on the ground, forget it.

But that's just how I see it.  :twocents:

Dr. Leonard HmofCoy

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 09:26:32 AM »
Demjanjuk sentenced to five years after being convicted of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder.

Neither of those numbers is a typo.

I wish that it was actually five years per count. Now that would be a reasonable sentence.

"Parasitic wasps laying eggs in other insects is a better love story than Twilight." - :bitzero:
"Anyhow, it was the best sentient food movie since Killer Tomatoes Eat France." - :flipper:
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"It failed. My enemies have been purged." - Sidious
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"*drags taint* Oh cool, I didn't know you could do that." - mo.d

random axe

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 09:40:16 AM »
I was mostly just surprised he was still alive.  I hadn't heard anything about him still being on trial, or, you know, breathing.

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 06:06:50 AM »
To be honest, I'm pretty certain that Casey Anthony is guilty.  I think her attorney feels the same way.  There's no way in hell he should have let those jailhouse videos into evidence without even objecting.  They're so ridiculously prejudicial . . . I'm not sure she had a chance of acquittal before, but, now, forget it.

Not the world's most vigorous defense, but, yeah, pretty sure she did it.

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2011, 06:45:09 AM »
OK, he's got to be tanking her case.  The current theories seem to be:

- He's incompetent.

- He's trying to make sure there are grounds for an appeal.

- He's sure she's guilty and can't bring himself to try to get her acquitted.

- There's a plea bargain deal that's open until the jury starts deliberating / returns a verdict, and he thinks she should take it, so he's trying to convince her she can't get acquitted so she'll take the deal.

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2011, 08:10:24 AM »
I pick appeal material.
I need this done ASAP, or whenever you can get around to it.  Tomorrow is fine.

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Re: Crime Stuff
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2011, 09:00:16 AM »
FBI's supposedly been looking frantically for Whitey Bulger since 1995.  On Tuesday, they decided to start running an ad showing his longtime girlfriend.

Wednesday, they caught him in Santa Monica.  :doh:

He used to work with the FBI -- he was a major mobster but also an informant, and he had several FBI agents in his pocket.  Lots of people think the FBI wasn't that keen to catch him because of things he might say.  Maybe we'll find out now.