Saturday, March 18, 2006
Out of Control
There are a lot of wrongs in life that you just can't do anything about. The whole idea about a justice system and a penal code is determining what is a wrong and what should be done about that, meting out a just remedy or punishment. Part and parcel to these notions is the blind lady of justice or the notion that justice is irrespective of race, gender, partiality or favoritism. You would think that years of education and law school would make one better trained at throwing out biases when seeking justice and calling a spade a spade. I mean if you don't box, you may not want to get in the ring to avoid the punches but boxers know win or lose there will be punches. Why can't judges throw out the biases when it comes to cops ? Some of the punches in the ring have to go to the defense because that is just a reality. Sometimes the cops and the prosecutors have to take a punch. Why some judges are hesitant to this reality I can only assume is due to the politics of DWI. Slavery use to be legal due to the politics of its time despite its unconstitutionality. Politics has a history of justifying wrongs which history eventually sheds light on. The good ones (judges that is) do of course, but I find it incredulous how just because people wear badges their mistakes get excused under legalese designed to create grey areas in the presence of black and white. I can't explain why this happens (fear of reprisal ? bad word of mouth in the law enforcement community ? trying to score brownie points with prosecutors so they don't run against them in the next election ? who knows ?) All I is know is the aftermath .... what happens when you don't call it like it is. The truth is you create a monster. Whether it's cops or wannabe American Idols- if you dont' shoot straight with them everyone suffers. The difference with cops is they tend to destroy more than one's sense of good music taste; they have the power to destroy lives. A good example of how ludicrous this can get is by renting the Worst of American Idol (seasons 1-4). This young man seriously auditioned by singing Madonna's "Like a Virgin." The only thing that can be said more shocking than his performance is that his audition was done in earnest; it was not a joke. Afterwards he was asked how his parents and friends felt about his singing, he rplied that no one had ever told him what the judges had told him(that he was seriously bad and that he should stop singing all together). To see his shock at this line of questioning and the judges' responses defied all common sense. My concern just as a viewer was what cruel infuences he has had in life to put him up to this. Unfortunately I get to see this up close and in person with cops that turn into monsters because judges and prosecutors won't at times (and certainly not all) call a spade a spade. Years ago in one of my very first motions to suppresss where the entire stop was captured on video and my client had done nothing illegal to get pulled over, the cop took the stand and explained that due to video resolution the tape couldn't show the weaving. As I sat there taking this all in, in my naivete I thought he had to be one of the dumbest and most dishonest cops possible. My dumboundedness was only broke when I entered the twilight zone as the judge denied my motion without hesitating for a second. I wish I could go back in time to see his reaction (for sociologists and FBI profilers I am sure it would have been telling) but I was too shocked. Since that motion years ago, when that cop learned he could get away with anything I must witness and deal with his more dangerous acts. Now he literally puts people's lives in danger. One of my clients was speeding to the hospital to get his wounded girlfriend to the emergency when he gets pulled over by him and after a brief assessment of how serious his girlfriend's condition was (his own narration on the video) proceeded to conduct a 20 minute DWI investigation and arrest before calling the ambulance. Now has gone so far as to arresting fellow officers who are not guilty (his own admission of knowing he would lose the case to the prosecutor) for DWI. Next, I am sure he will work his way up to prosecutors and judges if he gets the chance. He is already terrrorizing the public with his unjust DWI arrests. Another one of his arrests was a girl woke up from a dead sleep who rushed to a local restaurant to check on the burglar alarm (hadn't even put on her shoes). Rather than appropriately investigate the alarm, he arrests her for DWI. I could go on and on and on.... I guess it will take one of the brass (a prosecutor or judge) getting arrested before they see the monster they have created. In his own false world, I am sure he thinks he is a hero.... until another cop gets a hold of him. Word on the street among officers is (as I have been told) he better not get caught asking for help outside his jurisdiction. Now, that is sad... when fellow officers know there is a problem before the courts are willing to do something about it. . At least, I can sleep at night knowing I've tried and keep on trying to do what is right- this is all I can do. But the silver lining in the clouds is what good prosecutors and judges can do. No justice system is perfect, that's why we must have defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges working together to bring about the best possible results. There are plenty of good judges and prosecutors nipping those Frankensteins in the bud.... just one example of how dangerous it is when even one slips away. Post comments....... Johnnie Cochran wrote in his autobiographical A Lawyer's Life , p.111 "Furhman lied because he felt comfortable lying in a courtroom, because the system had always tolerated his lying; judges looked the other way and jurors were supposed to accept it. But not this time, not this time." Turning a blind eye to exaggerated truths by law enforcement officers is a national problem, I just hate to see it in my own backyard, the backyard I took an oath to monitor and protect in my role as a defense lawyer.