Officer Strikes CodePink protestor with baton

When I first saw this video I was shocked by what I saw, an officer striking a peaceful female protestor, but out of fairness to everyone, I understand that videos can be edited, and often are.  So, I continued to search and found the video below that seems to show the entire confrontation with some audio from the videographer.

 

Now, my intention is not to attack law enforcement here for the sake of attacking law enforcement.  But, I do want to question what this lady did that warranted being struck to the ground and later drug away by officers, presumably she was arrested.

Everyone in America is entitled to their opinion, and I understand and fully support the time, place and manner restrictions that may be placed on demonstrations and still keeping them constitutional, but I do not support and would ask that viewers/readers stand firm against the sort of police state that diminishes the rights of all of us to assemble and protest when it is done correctly.

 

Real Cops do not Commit Crimes?

Today while reviewing a blog entry on Officer.com, a pro-law enforcement website, I found the second comment from Callahan very intriguing:

              I know this is a rather simplistic view, but these were not cops. They are criminals who wore a               uniform. Real cops do not commit crimes.

Being a former officer myself, I was immediately captivated by this summary.  I agree that the people who were discussed in the article and allegedly stole drugs from their department are "criminals who wore a uniform" — but only once they are convicted.  I bet now those officers are really looking for a criminal defense attorney, sorry guys, I’m not licensed in Tennessee….

But the followup to that is so far from the truth…

Regardless of what someone says, we all commit crimes.  Even if it is speeding, and we know that most cops do that because of the old belief in "professional courtesy" and taking care of one another, that is a crime.  If Callahan were correct, I would have much more respect for officers overall, but I have seen and heard far too much from officers that I worked with and people that they knew… from those who raced around in their modified sports cars to some who are members of motorcycle possees (‘aka gangs’), we all have a history.

In sum, it is this "holier than thou" attitude that so many officers maintain that really bothers me about the profession and caused me to leave it.  It is not so much that an officer is focused on doing his or her duty and upholding the law, but it is the gile and disgust that so many exhibit towards the rest of us mere mortals that is offensive.

But I assure you, real cops do commit crimes… even if they are minor ones.

When did Judges become Preachers?

Today in court I was sitting in the gallery with my client, waiting for the case to be called, and one of the cases ahead of us was a plea and sentencing.

Granted, the defendant was admitting her guilt to the court for some sort of forgery charge, I was not her attorney and had not seen the file, but regardless, I was astounded at what the judge did.

Not only did he fulfill his judicial obligation by reviewing the paperwork and ensuring the defendant’s competency to go forward with the proceeding, which is not only required but expected, but he began to preach…

Now, I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and was immeresed in that point of view for longer than I care to remember, but the judge really reminded me of some of the preachers that took the pulpit when I was sitting there as a kid, afraid of burning in hell for all eternity.

This judge, who is supposed to be neutral, proceeded to lecture this defendant about his opinion of her "having committed 4 felonies in 3 years" and lamenting the fact that she could not be sent to prison for 25 years to 99 years.  He then began to berate the legislature for inventing the State Jail Felony system.  He even commented that "he wished he could do more to punish her".

Wow, sounds like this judge and many like him need to remember that none of us are perfect.  I wonder if he practices what he preaches?  If not, I like to imagine how he may feel were he to be so dehumanized like he put this lady down.

Jailed after a Bond is Posted…. for 11 hours!?!

So one of my clients called me a few days ago, and he was very angry!  He wanted to know what he could do about his weekend in jail.  After consulting with him about the case and explaining to him what his rights and options were on the original charge, I was amazed to learn that he remained in custody, locked-up with everyone else for approximately 11 hours AFTER HIS BOND WAS POSTED AND ACCEPTED!  

I would have had a more difficult time believing this had I not been the one who ensured the bond was posted.  I even made the initial payment, because this client is a close personal friend of mine.

So, I started digging through Texas law, both statutory and case law, to determine if there was anything that would provide guidance on how long the Sheriff could keep someone in jail AFTER a bond was posted.  I was surprised to learn that there is not.  In fact, I have still not found anything but am continuing to research this issue.  So, if you know the answer to this question or have similar stories, I would love to hear from you.

If there is not a limit, this is really something that the legislature should consider.  Whether it rises to the level of "cruel and unusual punishment" as contemplated by the US Constitution, I have not decided that as of now, but I am betting that the media would be interested to know more about this circumstance.

Oh ya, one other point about this matter… the person kept in jail was there for a first offense Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge… his bond, $1000.00.  So, as you can imagine, this is not a major case that should warrant an additional 11 hours in jail after your bond is posted.

Dirty Urinalysis According to Probation but Private Lab says I’m Clean!

Things like this do not seem possible and one would hope that the situation never arises, in fact they are not supposed to occur!  Aren’t probation departments supposed to be objective keepers of files and the "watchers" of those convicted of some sort degree of criminal offense.  I thought that probation officers were to help their clients to make better decisions and to allow them to "learn" from their mistake(s)… not deliberately set them up to fail.

I thought so too until I heard about a conversation where a probationer was accused of providing a dirty urinalysis (UA) for a given type of illegal substance but that person actually had reports from private labs showing that he was not only clean from all illegal substances but from the one alleged.

What would something like this mean? What could he do? Clearly, if he has to fight the system to prevent his probation from being revoked that is an option, but should it come to that point?!

Again, how could the sample show up as "dirty" unless someone is tampering with the specimens!

But that would never happen…………………………………… or would it?