"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The serious business of filming the police - the case of John Walker, Omavi Kushukuru, Maurice "Mo" Crawley, Adam Rupeka and Barbara O'Sullivan

I wrote on this blog about efforts of governments across this country undertake to block, intimidate or punish people who seek access to public records that may expose the government, see also here - where a black woman live-broadcasted her own murder by the police.  Of course, Facebook obliged the police request of blocking her live broadcast after a while.

But, videotaping and livestreaming police misconduct has proven useful in yet another case since then that I reported on.

The new bogus theory of the government for arresting a person for filming the police - in New York, that is - is that the person, Maurice "Mo" Crawley, was "stalking" the police officer, creating "a reasonable fear of injury" - by videotaping, apparently.

And, in Oklahoma, Missouri, a female white cop who killed an unarmed black man and was charged with manslaughter (not murder) despite a video of her execution-style killing, is raising yet another bogus theory - of "auditory exclusion", a theory that would have been laughed out of court for anybody but a defendant who is a police officer.  Of course, she should not have been allowed to be out on the streets with a gun if she had such "exclusions", but anyway, whatever saves her ass.

By the way, Apple has patented software to remotely disable video recorders on their phones back in 2012, and the timing is quite suspicious, since that was just the very beginning of the movement to film the police and expose police misconduct through citizen videos created by smart phones. 

The interesting part is that Apple does not disclose whether such video-stopping software is already embedded into iPhones. 

And, the even more interesting part is why Apple, a business, would patent such a thing.  Usually, businesses do not patent anything that is not promising profit.  And, if such software promised a profit to Apple, then who is paying?  And how much?  Did Apple receive government money to develop, patent and embed such software into its phones to prevent embarrassment of police and resulting unrests when people publish their videos from smartphones on the Internet?

Courts - while resisting public efforts to make court proceedings subject to public videotaping - have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent introduction of videotapes of police misconduct in court.

For example, in 2011, in Texas, an appellate court has ruled that a motorist who was stopped by the police had no right of access to the potentially exculpatory police-created dash-cam video, which is required for disclosure under federal constitutional "Brady" rule.  By the way, the arresting officer made his own determination that the video "does not have any evidentiary value", did not put the existence of the video into his report, and the video was destroyed - which did not bother the court one bit.

Yet, when the police, on the one hand, has a self-activating dash-cam video recording equipment on patrol cars, but when destruction of such dash-cam video is ruled insignificant by courts, such a ruling is nothing other than encouragement to other police officers to do just the same.

Moreover, in order to prevent police embarrassment, state legislatures undertook steps to actually block public access to police-created (if they are created) dash-cam videos.

In July of 2016 such a legislation was passed in North Carolina.

After the legislation was passed, the police immediately took advantage of it by shooting what appeared to be an unarmed black man in Charlotte, NC, in September of 2016, and, following the new legislation, refused to release the police footage of the shooting.  Only the wife of the man shot by the police recorded the incident on her own cell phone and posted it.

Massive protests erupted in Charlotte, NC.

As a response to those violence protests, no doubt, Missouri authorities charged their white cop for killing an unarmed black man (the killing was at about the same time as the killing in North Carolina) with manslaughter - while releasing her back on the streets despite her being a danger to society.

In North Carolina, because of public pressure, the police footage of the killing, the police footage of killing of Keith Lamont Scott was released to the public in September of 2016 - but, since the blocking legislation goes into effect on October 1, 2016, this release is likely the last one of this kind.

The wonder is why it was released at all, and why the police did not simply wait until October 1, 2016 to deny release - apparently, that was done to appease the public protests.

The footage released by the police in North Carolina, reportedly, does not show whether Keith Scott did or did not have a gun - a very convenient video given the circumstances of protests.  The question is whether the footage was redacted before release.

The question is also whether a gun was planted by the police at the scene - and, obviously, that is also not shown in the videos and pictures released to the public.

And, the police footage released to the public does not show Keith Scott pointing a gun at the police.

It would be good to borrow from practices of other countries where lay witnesses must be present at the investigation of the crime scene and recovery of any material pieces of evidence, to prevent such planting.

What is a tragedy in Missouri and North Carolina, turned into a complete farce in Arkansas where, same as in the New York case I described above, a man was arrested for filming the police.

Only it was not just any man.

It was an Arkansas legislator who actually promoted a bill for filming the police.

And, legislator John Walker was, reportedly, filming the police to prevent them from killing the man they stopped in a traffic stop.

The police was stupid enough to put that statement of John Walker into their report - apparently, as a justification of an arrest.  A person should be arrested in Arkansas, apparently, for videotaping the government in order to make sure the government does not kill a citizen - which is what the government across the country is known of doing.

And, according to the same police report, Rep. John Walker refused to obey an officer's command to come to the officer (which command did not have any legal basis, obviously), and

I wonder what the "antagonistic and provocative manner" was for - was it because John Walker insisted that what he was doing is legal and that officer has no legal right to give him any commands because of it or stop him from videotaping them?

Of course, after a media frenzy, Arkansas authorities claimed that Rep. John Walker, D-Rock,

who was already arrested for filming the police, will not be charged with any crimes.

It could have been just a knee-jerk reaction - a black man is filming the police, let's arrest him.

As to Rep. John Walker, the "incident" was "resolved" (of course, John Walker can sue for the arrest) - because the authorities indicated that no charges will be filed against John Walker, and the local police chief even issued a letter of apology

- which John Walker reportedly rejected, as he had every right to do.

Charges were also dropped against John Walker's employee, 29-year-old attorney Omavi Kushukuru who was on the scene and assisted John Walker when he was filming the police, and when he was opposing unlawful demands of the police.

I must note that no letters of apology were sent to the similarly arrested 29-year-old lawyer Omavi Kushukuru, as was sent to the State legislator John Walker.

So, the only reason for dropping the charges, and an apology, is apparently, John Walker's status as a high-ranking member of the government.

Attorney Omavi Kushukuru, thankfully, escaped charges since it was embarrassing to not drop charges against him when identical charges were dropped against his boss.

But, arresting an attorney for assisting his client, on the scene, and giving him legal advice is even more outrageous than the arrest of John Walker.

And, no apologies were sent in New York to Maurice "Mo" Crawley, who is still being prosecuted for the same bogus charges that were dismissed against John Walker and Omavi Kushukuru in Arkansas - "obstruction of governmental administration".

For filming the police.

After all, recently, another activist in New York who had the audacity of filming the police, Adam Rupeka

  • was charged with a sex crime by the same officers who were out to get him for suing them and causing their fellow officer to lose his job for pepper-spraying Rupeka when he "flipped the bird" at the police officer;
  • had to flee to another country knowing that his life was in danger;
  • was found dead in Mexico, and
  • an extensive murder investigation into those who wanted him to come to harm miraculously did not occur.

And, another activist in New York for filming the police, Barbara O'Sullivan, was

  • criminally prosecuted for 1.5 years for a felony (charges were dropped), then her dogs were killed under suspicious circumstances, then
  • her house was burnt down, with nobody investigating it (the dirty prosecutor John Hubbard has recently, reportedly, confirmed to Barbara that "her is not aware" of an investigation of the house fire) - because one of the prime suspects is a cop, Derek Bowie, a nephew of the investigator Jeff Bowie employed for years by the Delaware County District Attorney's office, then
  • her lawsuit against Derek Bowie who attempted to run her over in a patrol vehicle to smash the tablet in her hands with which she was videotaping his misconduct, was dismissed by Judge John F. Lambert for failure to comply with irrelevant discovery demands - the discovery seeking documents  which were irrelevant to Barbara's lawsuit, and which were destroyed by the fire.  By the way, Bowie was served with that lawsuit by the Delaware County Sheriff, his employer, defaulted, and then obtained from Judge Lambert a vacatur of default on a bogus claim that the Delaware County Sheriff (his employer) did not know about the lawsuit - while having served it.  Of course, the Sheriff's Department did not have to know about the lawsuit (even though it did, since it served it) because the Sheriff's Department was not sued, and Bowie was sued for an intentional act not subject to the Notice of Claim requirements.  And, the Sheriff's Department, its attorney Frank Miller and Judge John Lambert knew they were fixing the case by vacating the default on the basis of "lack of notice", because the lack of the Notice of Claim was never raised by Miller on behalf of Bowie, and without that, Miller had no right to even participate in the action because he was an insurance attorney for the Sheriff's Department, and in New York, insurance does not cover intentional misconduct.
I wonder what the Appellate Division will say about this bullshit from Judge Lambert.

But - as you see, filming the cops is becoming dangerous in this country.

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