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Accused drug dealers get off - Judge agrees racial profiling was at play
THE NEWS-TIMES ^ | May 31, 2006 | Karen Ali

Posted on 05/31/2006 7:49:33 AM PDT by LurkedLongEnough

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To: LurkedLongEnough
Perhaps some of the lawyers out there could answer this question: since this was a decision in state court, does any law prohibit the prosecutor from turning the evidence over to the DEA for federal prosecution?
51 posted on 05/31/2006 12:06:48 PM PDT by quadrant
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To: BlueStateDepression
The law doesn't have to be this way. The Constitution doesn't require that evidence be tossed if there is a Fourth Amendment violation. I think the reason that's the remedy in most instances is that they want to discourage police from violating constitutional rights, but they don't want to discourage them from doing their jobs. If police were facing jail time or being fired for a bad search, they're going to be far more timid in performing their jobs. Having evidence tossed because an officer didn't follow the rules is an embarrassment to them, but not that big of a deal unless it happens all the time. Police officers tend to be well trained on 4th Amendment issues, but it's not all black and white. They're all going to make mistakes. There has to be some type of significant consequences for violating constitutional rights or police will do it anyway, but it can't be so hard on an officer that it will discourage him from doing his job because he's afraid he might mess up an end up in jail or end up without a paycheck to feed his family.

The good thing is that in real life evidence is rarely excluded. In real life probably one motion to suppress evidence is granted out of a hundred filed, and none are filed in most cases. We always hear about these cases where evidence is thrown out though. They make the news. Cases where the motions are denied rarely ever make the news unless it is a high profile case. Every once in a while there will be some murder or other serious case that gets thrown out because of a bad search. That's rare, but it is bad when it happens. But for dime a dozen drug cases like the one that is the subject of this article, they'll just nail those losers next time they catch them, and odds are there will be a next time. They'll be watched like hawks. Snitches will be sent to make buys from these guys. If this bust didn't scare them enough to make them quit what they were doing, they'll get their's in the end. It's not that big of a deal. Drug dealers are a dime a dozen. Convicting these two guys wouldn't have made a bit of difference in the availability of drugs.

I am a criminal defense attorney and I've probably filed hundreds of motions to suppress over the years. To cover our rear ends we pretty much have to do it whenever there is a possible suppression issue. Very few that I have filed have actually been granted, and in some cases where they have been granted there was still enough evidence for a conviction so the cases weren't tossed. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't exactly be elated to see one of these granted and a case dismissed in a case where my client was some kind of hardcore criminal who needed to be locked up for the safety of us all. So far that hasn't happened to me. Usually it's just happened in stupid little drug cases. I'm not bothered by those because the whole thing seems so pointless to me anyway. We lock people up left and right and it has no appreciable effect on the availability of drugs or the percentage of users. If a hardcore type gets off on a "technicality," he'll just get stuck harder the next time he gets caught. If basically good guy does something stupid and gets caught, the whole ordeal he goes through prior to getting his case dismissed might very well scare him straight.

I had one thrown out a few months ago, not on a motion to suppress, but because of a speedy trial violation. My client was actually a pretty nice guy who had just done something stupid. He was a nurse with a clean record who got mixed up in something with his career criminal uncle who had raised him most of his life. They got caught on the interstate transporting a few pounds of pot. I'm not sure what possessed this guy to do what he did, but he sure was in a world of hurt after he got caught. For almost two years he was anticipating having to go to prison. He was going to spend a couple of years in the pen and lose his nursing license, after being the only person in his family to get so far in school and actually make something out of himself. He was terrified, ashamed, and very angry with himself for being so stupid. The first thing he said when I told him his case was being dismissed was "Praise God!" He knew someone upstairs was looking out for him, and I honestly doubt he'll ever do anything like what he did again. Last I heard he was in night classes trying to move up from being an LPN to a registered nurse. Good for him. Good for us. Had he have gone to prison and lost his license he probably would have just ended up a career criminal like his uncle and his brothers. In the grand scheme of things, while his case being dismissed may seem like a failure of the system to some, society will probably benefit more from this guy getting off on a technicality than if he had have gone to prison.

Sometimes though it would be a pretty darned bad thing for someone to get off because a motion to suppress is granted. Every once in a while some sexual predator or serial murderer or something will get off and commit more horrible crimes. That rarely ever happens, but it's really bad when it does happen. Maybe a better remedy in cases like these where law enforcement don't follow the rules would be to do something like impose hefty fine on the law enforcement agency employing the offending officer(s), with the a small part of the fine going to the defendant whose rights were violated and the rest going to supplement budgets of local public defenders. I know our public defender office could sure use the money, and our local law enforcement tend to have pretty healthy amount of cash on hand most of the time from asset forfeitures. If the department was fined rather than the officer the officer wouldn't have such a disincentive to get out there and make arrests as he would if he was facing jail time or loss of his job or pay if he screwed up and violated some Constitutional right, but he'd still want to be careful because his superiors wouldn't put up with him causing them to have to pay to many fines out of their budgets.

The only problem with this is that if the fines aren't high enough police will just look at them as a cost of doing business and even break the rules on purpose sometimes knowing they'll get called on it if they want to get someone bad enough, but if the fines are too high they might cripple a law enforcement agency. Maybe the best thing to do is do like we do and say that if they want to use a piece of evidence they have to play by the rules when they obtain that evidence. Or, we could keep things like they are for most cases, but allow for hefty fines instead of suppression as a remedy in certain serious types of cases like murders or child molestations.
52 posted on 05/31/2006 1:32:26 PM PDT by TKDietz
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To: bk1000

"You likely have no legitimate business there"
WTF?What if I was there to tutor a child I volunteered to work with with?What if I had friends in that neighborhood?What if I am a potential investor and am checking out some property?What if I teach at a school in the ghetto?
Man,if you were in charge I would be in jail constantly for not having my"ghetto pass"


53 posted on 05/31/2006 1:46:11 PM PDT by Riverman94610
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To: 54-46 Was My Number
I think the fourth didn't handle the what to do with it part because I think the founders were honorable men that believed in truth.

. . . except for those Founding Fathers who made their fortunes by smuggling . . .

...or dressed up as Injuns and dumped someone else's tea in the harbor...


54 posted on 05/31/2006 9:11:33 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile ('Is' and 'amnesty' both have clear, plain meanings. Are Bill, McQueeg and the President related?)
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To: Riverman94610
"Man,if you were in charge I would be in jail constantly for not having my"ghetto pass"

Of courze! You vould haff need of ze papers to move in ze safe und ordered society dat dese volk vant.


55 posted on 05/31/2006 9:16:14 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile ('Is' and 'amnesty' both have clear, plain meanings. Are Bill, McQueeg and the President related?)
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To: conservative physics
"BS ! If some white guys covered in tattoo's wearing gang style clothes with their pants hanging down to their knees, gold chains around their necks and pagers on their hips came out of the hotel carrying bags while looking suspicious and guilty while sweating profusely and constantly sniffing... they sure as heck would of been stopped and searched!"

I missed the part of the story where the black men in question were characterized as such.

56 posted on 06/01/2006 2:14:27 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
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To: muir_redwoods
the article specifically said that if the defendants were white ... they would not have been stopped. I attest that under the certain circumstances (like the one I described) they would have been stopped regardless of their skin color.

I can bet you dollars to donuts those guys looked something like what I described. It's ridiculous to think policemen are just standing outside of hotels searching every black person that comes out the door regardless of how honest or professional they look.

I want to see security footage of all the other black people those cops stopped and searched that night. Or are you claiming they got lucky on their first of many planned searches of black people that night?
57 posted on 06/01/2006 6:09:28 AM PDT by conservative physics
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To: conservative physics
"I can bet you dollars to donuts those guys looked something like what I described. It's ridiculous to think policemen are just standing outside of hotels searching every black person that comes out the door regardless of how honest or professional they look"

Gee, I just can't find the part in the 4th amendment whereby we give up our rights to it's protection if we make dumb fashion choices.

58 posted on 06/01/2006 4:01:30 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
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To: Army MP Retired
if an officer violates a person's rights he should be held accountable, but evidence of crime obtained in the process should not be summarily disposed of.

I agree ... but as long as exclusion of evidence is the prescribed way to handle illegal searches, they must all be done that way. I've heard no probable cause cited for this search.

59 posted on 06/01/2006 4:49:13 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: LurkedLongEnough
More proof that

Liberalism is a mental disorder


60 posted on 06/02/2006 4:34:19 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: Know your rights
they must all be done that way

Certainly true - it's the only way to protect the integrity of the intent of law presently.

I've heard no probable cause cited for this search

Nor have I. My best guess is that it was a field interview / stop and frisk situation that evolved into an arrest followed by a search subsequent to a lawful apprehension. There is not enough information presented in the story to make a very educated argument... But, one point that does alarm me a little is that it appears the main point of contention is the original 'stop'. It appears to be argued that if the perps were not black they wouldn't have ever been stopped in the first place, thus everything following that is tainted. I think we have to be careful of not allowing the probable cause rule to expand to overcome the reasonable belief rule; which this case may be setting a precedent for.

I really wish we knew the whole story so we could analyze it better and decide if the police botched it or if the defense just did a good job clouding the issue with a human rights violation card...

61 posted on 06/03/2006 5:46:58 AM PDT by Army MP Retired (There Will Be Many False Prophets)
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To: af_vet_1981
Liberalism

Saying that blackness is not probable cause for a search is "liberalism"?

62 posted on 06/03/2006 11:57:58 AM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Army MP Retired
I think we have to be careful of not allowing the probable cause rule to expand to overcome the reasonable belief rule; which this case may be setting a precedent for.

Do you mean "reasonable suspicion"? The idea that reasonable suspicion is sufficient for a stop and search is of quite recent vintage, so reversing that would take us back to the status quo ante.

63 posted on 06/03/2006 12:18:53 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
Do you mean "reasonable suspicion"?

Yes, I do. Thanks for keeping me straight.

64 posted on 06/03/2006 7:15:01 PM PDT by Army MP Retired (There Will Be Many False Prophets)
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To: Know your rights
Saying that blackness is not probable cause for a search is "liberalism"?

Using the color of one's skin to excuse criminal behavior is racism at its worst.

The drug dealers were guilty as sin and should have been sanctioned. Instead another liberal judicial tyrant wants to make sure they have more victims to prey upon.

No doubt there are those that applaud ...

Liberalism is a Mental Disorder.


65 posted on 06/04/2006 7:53:59 AM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: af_vet_1981
Using the color of one's skin to excuse criminal behavior

Who did that? This judge merely applied a well established (albeit conceptually flawed) evidentiary principle.

66 posted on 06/04/2006 2:08:59 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
Who did that? This judge merely applied a well established (albeit conceptually flawed) evidentiary principle.

The judge

He merely released two more predators back into the social pool to eat more fish. Some will applaud him for it.

67 posted on 06/04/2006 5:47:44 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: N. Theknow

"Just knowing" is never going to stand up in court, and it never should.


68 posted on 06/04/2006 6:07:48 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: BlueStateDepression
Doesn't that pretty much say that 22 years of experience is worthless?

Nope, not at all. Unless you can prove that the cop in question has a long history of accurate hunches with no innaccurate ones. Otherwise, how can you prove that his hunch was correct or he just played the odds. ie, if you question 20 people on a hunch and find the goods on one, you're really just practicing illegal search and siezure and just waiting for the one time you get lucky and come across a guilty party.

69 posted on 06/04/2006 6:11:11 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: quadrant

It would still be illegally obtained evidence and inadmissable. The DEA doesn't prosecute possession anyway.


70 posted on 06/04/2006 6:17:16 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: af_vet_1981
He merely released two more predators back into the social pool to eat more fish. Some will applaud him for it.

Wong, the judge RIGHTLY surpressed ILLEGALLY obtained evidence. That's exactly the kind of thing we should applaud.

71 posted on 06/04/2006 6:20:40 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Melas
Wong, the judge RIGHTLY surpressed ILLEGALLY obtained evidence. That's exactly the kind of thing we should applaud.

Nope

Hang the criminals in the town square and sanction anyone who illegally obtained evidence.

Deport the judge's supporters.


72 posted on 06/04/2006 6:25:12 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: af_vet_1981

Ok, I'll compromise. Hang those who illegally obtain evidence as well. /sarcasm

That'll insure that illegally obtained evidence is never used anyone.

Now, while that's obviously a workable solution, it's a bit harsh. So, in the absence of that, I'm sticking with what we got, which means the cops had better insure that evidence used against a citizen has been legally obtained.


73 posted on 06/04/2006 6:28:32 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: LurkedLongEnough

Geeze, does this mean that the police have to return 30 grams of crack cocaine and heroin plus the $1,000. to Crawford and return 2.5 ounces of powder cocaine, more than two ounces of crack cocaine and two handguns to Taft?


74 posted on 06/04/2006 6:34:28 PM PDT by Dustbunny (Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me)
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To: LurkedLongEnough

That was criminal profiling not racial profiling.


75 posted on 06/04/2006 6:36:02 PM PDT by Unicorn (Too many wimps around.)
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To: Melas

I don't mind if illegally obtained evidence is used. I just want the truth. Hang the criminals and deport their supporters.


76 posted on 06/04/2006 6:41:10 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: af_vet_1981

Hang it up, you aren't deporting anyone.


77 posted on 06/04/2006 6:42:47 PM PDT by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Melas

I like the hanging part but insist on the deportation option. It served us well after the War of Independence.


78 posted on 06/04/2006 6:44:23 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: af_vet_1981

BTTT


79 posted on 06/04/2006 6:58:15 PM PDT by Unicorn (Too many wimps around.)
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To: LurkedLongEnough

There is not enought facts in this report.

The police stated the reason for going to the hotel was to interview anyone who might have had information about a fatal shooting, so what was the pretext for a search?


I had a lecture by a ADA on pretext searchs a short time ago while serving on a jury pool and fail to see the pretext.


80 posted on 06/04/2006 7:10:46 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Kooks For Kinky)
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To: af_vet_1981
Using the color of one's skin to excuse criminal behavior

Who did that?

The judge

Wrong; as I said, this judge merely applied a well established (albeit conceptually flawed) evidentiary principle. (Free clues: it's called the "exclusionary rule" and this judge didn't invent it.)

81 posted on 06/04/2006 7:19:34 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: af_vet_1981
I don't mind if illegally obtained evidence is used.

Do you mind if the Fourth Amendment is violated?

82 posted on 06/04/2006 7:20:48 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: af_vet_1981
I don't mind if illegally obtained evidence is used.

The Fourth Amendment is meant to protect everyone. There are certainly more innocent people than guilty.

Would you agree with your statement even if evidence was presented against you, but was made up by someone you didn't even know? Therefore, the Fourth Amendment implies there be a certain standard of judgment on behalf of law enforcement.

83 posted on 06/05/2006 7:52:48 AM PDT by LurkedLongEnough
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To: LurkedLongEnough
The Fourth Amendment is meant to protect everyone. There are certainly more innocent people than guilty. Would you agree with your statement even if evidence was presented against you, but was made up by someone you didn't even know? Therefore, the Fourth Amendment implies there be a certain standard of judgment on behalf of law enforcement.

Truth is truth. They are guilty as sin. Judicial tyrants set them loose to prey on innocents.

84 posted on 06/06/2006 8:20:13 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: Know your rights
Do you mind if the Fourth Amendment is violated?

After you hang the drug dealers, we can determine whether or note to prosecute anyone who actually violated the Fourth Amendment. Those deported would have no say in the matter of course.

85 posted on 06/06/2006 8:21:53 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: AppyPappy

They don't arrest and subsequently don't report on the "misses."


86 posted on 06/06/2006 8:23:15 PM PDT by stands2reason (You cannot bully or insult conservatives into supporting your guy.)
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To: BlueStateDepression
I oppose deleting evidence because of how it was gained.

IOW, reward the cops and prosecution who break the law with a conviction? Let's not reward corruption, shall we?

87 posted on 06/06/2006 8:28:30 PM PDT by stands2reason (You cannot bully or insult conservatives into supporting your guy.)
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To: af_vet_1981
Do you mind if the Fourth Amendment is violated?

After you hang the drug dealers, we can determine whether or note to prosecute anyone who actually violated the Fourth Amendment.

That doesn't answer the question. Do you mind if the Fourth Amendment is violated?

88 posted on 06/10/2006 9:31:28 AM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
That doesn't answer the question. Do you mind if the Fourth Amendment is violated?

It was neither an unreasonable search nor seizure, except for drug addicts and their enablers. They are deeply concerned.

89 posted on 06/10/2006 5:14:09 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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To: af_vet_1981
What was the probable cause?
90 posted on 06/14/2006 3:39:00 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
What was the probable cause?

DWA

Or BWA in your case


91 posted on 06/19/2006 8:06:21 PM PDT by af_vet_1981
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