Recently in Public Order Category

It's a Civil Right to Live Peacefully

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Richard Brawn of Petaluma, California has a Letter to the Editor in today's WSJ, with the above caption, that I will simply copy in its entirety:

Regarding the article "Texas Housing Case Tests Civil-Rights Doctrine" (page one, Jan. 21), the mischief maker in this case is the same one that perpetuates misery in public housing: Congress. I spent 13 years working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The two issues perpetually facing HUD were how to get the beneficiaries of public housing to accept personal and community responsibility, and how to convince the apologists and facilitators to stop putting their dogma ahead of getting the needy housed. While I was at HUD, a South African low-income-housing management firm presented to the San Francisco office how it had eliminated crime and misery in its buildings: Management strictly enforced rules and used video in the hallways and fingerprint security locks on building front doors, and required participation by the beneficiaries in maintaining the appearance of the building and surroundings. The firm reported that crime was virtually nonexistent and that residents viewed rules and security systems not as an invasion of human dignity but as critical to residents' well-being. In America, Congress has consistently prevented HUD from doing what it takes to get maximum housing for funds allocated and to get the misery makers out of public housing.

Race Relations Tank, Part II

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Race is morally irrelevant and in a correctly functioning world would be legally irrelevant.  But that is not the world we live in, and discussing race on a criminal law blog has become, unfortunately from my point of view, inescapable.

President Obama says that race relations have improved.  This is simply false, as I noted in Race Relations Tank.

The reason they've tanked under the President's grievance-pumping Administration isn't hard to figure out. The flashpoint was the Ferguson riot.  To say the least, things have not improved since.  Here's a start on the explanation:

Obama "assured" NPR that the issue of mistrust between police and minority communities isn't new. He claimed, though, that it hasn't been widely discussed until now, and that the current discussion is "probably healthy."

But the problem that has surfaced under Obama isn't "discussion" of police-community relations. The problem is race rioting and violence against the police.

The Ferguson rioting; the chants calling for "dead cops" now; the assassination and attempted assassination of police officers; the reluctance, or even the refusal, of the police to respond promptly to calls for help -- these are phenomena we haven't witnessed since the 1970s.

These phenomena aren't "discussions,"and they certainly aren't "healthy." They are evidence of a deterioration in race relations and signs of a breakdown in society. 

Wars Have Casualties

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On August 9 this last summer, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, a 6'4" 292 pound unarmed 18 year-old who had just forcibly robbed a convenience store of some trivial items.

From that day to this, there has been a media and cultural war on the police. They are, we are variously told, racist, thuggish, unaccountable and over-militarized. You will have missed it only if you've been living in a cave.  C&C has covered it extensively.

Wars have casualties.  Today we heard about some in the Washington Examiner.  Its story is headlined, "Police deaths soar 24% in 2014 with ambush attacks leading cause."  It starts:

Law enforcement fatalities in the United States rose 24 percent in 2014 to 126 and ambush-style attacks were the No. 1 cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth straight year, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The NLEOMF report said 126 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year, compared to 102 in 2013. The number of officers killed by firearms in 2014 -- 50 -- is up 56 percent from the 32 killed last year.

Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, and the recent shooting deaths of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have attracted national attention and contributed to tension between police and the city's elected leaders.

The total of 15 ambush assaults matched 2012 for the highest total since 1995.

The hate war against the police is not directly responsible for most, or perhaps any, of this.  At the same time, those insisting that hate has no consequences are lying to themselves and to us.

Mary Kissel at the WSJ interviews "Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow George Kelling on his famous theory of policing and how it's fared in practice."

Despite the title and subhead, Kelling's first point is that "Broken Windows" is about more than policing.

Here's the theory in a nutshell.  If a window is broken in a neighborhood and no one fixes it, it's a sign to all that nobody cares.  People prone to vandalism become more bold, while people who would like to keep the neighborhood up become more likely to take a "why bother?" attitude.  Things spiral downward, ultimately increasing major problems, including crime.

Taking care of problems that some people regard as petty actually does matter a lot.

Dr. Kelling, BTW, is a long time friend and advisor of CJLF, as was his co-author, the late James Q. Wilson

Academic Robbery

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Eugene Volokh has this post at his eponymous conspiracy on a bizarre incident at the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Dr. Mireille Miller-Young -- an associate professor with UCSB's Feminist Studies Department -- was offended by an anti-abortion demonstration with graphic images.  (CJLF takes no position on the underlying controversy, BTW.)

According to the police report,

Miller-Young said that she "just grabbed it [the sign] from this girl's hands." Asked if there had been a struggle, Miller-Young stated, "I'm stronger so I was able to take the poster."

Miller-Young said that the poster had been taken back to her office. Once in her office, a "safe space" described by Miller-Young, Miller-Young said that they were still upset by the images on the poster and had destroyed it. Miller-Young said that she was "mainly" responsible for the posters destruction because she was the only one with scissors.

The definition of robbery in California, unchanged since 1872, is "the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear." (Penal Code § 211.)

Miller-Young confessed to taking the property, and the "I'm stronger" statement effectively confesses the "force" element. (See 2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law, Crimes Against Property § 99.) This is not only a felony, but a "violent" one. (Penal Code § 667.5(c)(9).)

"Miller-Young said that she did not feel that what she had done was criminal."

In my view, one of the greatest problems in our society today is the extent to which our young people are being taught by persons utterly devoid of common sense. Miller-Young should be convicted of robbery. Whatever direct consequences the court may impose, the collateral consequence should be that she is fired and never teaches in this state (or hopefully any other) again.

Eric Holder, at It Again

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Contrary to some other conservative/libertarian bloggers, I believe Eric Holder did not tell the truth about his supposedly not being "involved" in the "potential prosecution" of a Fox News reporter.  My view rested on the fact that Holder had previously told a court, inter alia, that the reporter was probably an aider, abettor or co-conspirator in a federal felony; might be a risk to flee; and (later, and with amazing candor) characterized his application to the court as having "branded" the reporter "a criminal."  That's not a "potential prosecution?"

But our Attorney General is irrepressible.  Although, as Kent noted yesterday, New York City has had tremendous success with its "stop-question-and frisk" policing  -- having reduced major felonies by an astonishing 75% over the last generation  --  Mr. Holder is having none of it.  His DOJ has filed papers in a suit challenging the program  --  not on the side of the city, but on the side of the city's opponents. Readers will not be surprised to hear that one of the main arguments DOJ is making is Old Reliable itself, racial profiling.

That's it!  Michael Bloomberg's police department is a bunch of Klansman.

Give it a rest, Mr. Holder.  The notion that the very liberal mayor of one of the country's most liberal cities is, in 2013, running a racist police department is so much Al Sharptonesque nonsense.

No serious person thinks that Mayor Bloomberg discriminates based on the color of your skin.  Now the color of your 20-ounce soft drink............

Realignment, Federal Version

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It's not just California.  Fox News carries this story, which begins:

Hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records were released earlier this year as the Obama administration prepared for budget cuts, according to newly released data that challenged claims the program involved "low-risk" individuals ****Of the 2,226 detainees that were released in February, the department revealed, "622 have been identified as having some type of criminal conviction."

Down the page, the story relates:

Nelson Peacock, assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said ICE focused on [releasing]  those that "posed no significant threat to public safety."

What makes me think that no "significant" threat means that those released are thought to be likely to break into someone's house other than Mr. Peacock's? 



I've been blogging about a lot of serious and heart-wrenching stuff.  Time for something on the light side.  This headline should do:

Woman Calls 911, Asks Police for Help Getting
Refund from Her Drug Dealer

This is the story:

After handing over her last $50 to a drug dealer for cocaine and marijuana, a Florida woman suffering from buyer's remorse called 911 and asked cops for help in securing a refund.

Katrina Tisdale, 47, explained to St. Petersburg police that she would be penniless until her next Social Security disability check arrived. Hence the pressing need to recover her $50 from the unnamed narcotics salesman.

Despite Tisdale's explanation for her two calls to 911 Monday evening, officers arrested her for misusing the police emergency system...Tisdale was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where she is being held on $100 bond.

According to jail records, Tisdale has been arrested many times over the past several years, including six arrests for cocaine possession. Tisdale was convicted in mid-2011 of calling 911 to falsely report that she had been robbed by her drug dealer.   



You probably think no one would be crazy or perverse enough to name a school after a murderer, right?  Certainly not after the massacre of 20 children at their school became one of the biggest, and most horrible, stories of 2012, right?

But that would only be because you haven't wised up to the imperatives of Entitlement Culture Grievance Mongering.  A California school has, indeed, been duly named for a murderer and outlaw.  This is because he was, dontcha know, "the inspiration for Zorro."

Think I'm making this up?  Get your lesson in the new reality here.
The San Francisco Chronicle has this editorial on a bill that is too far out even for the City by the Bay:

California is getting its first nonstarter idea for a new legislative session: a "Homeless Persons' Bill of Rights" that targets curbs on behavior and conditions on cash welfare payments to people living on the streets.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, is an absurd reaction to restrictions on homeless conduct and tough-love ideas such as San Francisco's "Care Not Cash" program that substitutes housing and counseling services for welfare checks.
The CBS News Bureau in San Francisco carries this report:

Oakland Crime Rate Soaring as City Loses Officers

OAKLAND (KCBS) - Burglaries are up a startling 43 percent in Oakland this year compared to last, part of an ever-growing crime problem in the city.

According to the latest numbers from the Oakland Police Department, more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year - translating to about 33 burglaries a day. The most popular targets have been cars with more than 5,700 burglarized so far this year.

One of the most likely reasons for the sharp uptick in crime - city officials said they believe it's the gradual loss of police officers from the force.

The city could be down to a little more than 600 officers by February, which would be 200 fewer than in 2008. Even with another 40 expected to graduate from Police Academy, they will be rookies and there is already talk of trying to contract with outside agencies for support.

In other words, when the government "saves money" by scrimping on keeping the citizens safe, the citizens lose money  --  and safety.  Not that this is a surprise; it's just something the Left tells us we're not supposed to think about when it touts its phony "smart on crime" proposals.  In Leftist lingo, you see, "smart on crime" means doing things we know in advance will increase crime.

Letting It All Hang Out

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Neal Riley reports in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Undressing in public will likely no longer go unpunished in San Francisco, as the Board of Supervisors voted by the barest of margins Tuesday to ban public nudity.

Derided by nudity defenders as an attack on personal expression and supported by others who've had enough of seeing those who let it all hang out, the legislation bans genital exposure on all city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets and public transit.
As for the outdoor venues, I would have thought that San Francisco's permanently chilly weather would be a sufficient deterrent.  I wear a sweater there in August.  But some nudists are determined.

You know what comes next, of course:

The Problem with Spam Filters

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Matthai Kuruvila reports in the SF Chron:

People who've e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn't get much of a response.

Pot and Proactive Policing

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Heather MacDonald has this article in the City Journal, subtitled "Reforming marijuana laws is one thing; demonizing the NYPD is another."

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a bill into the state legislature that drastically reduces the penalty for the public possession of small amounts of marijuana. The law represents Cuomo's entry into an escalating controversy over the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices: anti-cop advocates charge that racially biased stop-and-frisks are producing racially biased marijuana arrests. Neither charge is true, and Cuomo's failure to say so has done the city a disservice. Nevertheless, Cuomo's bill is a change the city can live with, one that may even produce public-safety benefits. Predictably, however, the NYPD's opponents have already made clear that the proposed marijuana law will have no effect on their crusade to decimate proactive policing once and for all.

Jean Valjean, Call Your Office

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Jean Valjean is the saintly hero of Victor Hugo's immortal novel, "Les Miserables."  He stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family, and was sentenced in pre-Revolutionary France to cruel imprisonment.  His soul was rescued from a lifetime of bitterness by the loving act of a bishop, who, after Valjean's release, had given him a night's shelter, only to have Valjean sneak away before dawn with the bishop's silverware.  The ensuing story of the bishop's candlesticks is the most poignant and moving passage of fiction I have ever read. 

The defense bar routinely tries to portray each rapacious, thieving client as Jean Valjean.  But even the defense would have some problems with Ms. Lonneshia Shafaye Appling.  A news report notes:

The Georgia woman, 26, was so determined to shoplift beer, bacon, cheese, and chicken wings from a Piggly Wiggly that she punched, spit at, and pepper-sprayed store workers who confronted her as she tried to flee the supermarket Wednesday afternoon, according to cops....

Appling kept [pepper-]spraying as several workers tried to keep her from fleeing. The 340-pound Appling also allegedly punched [a store employee] in the face and spit on the 28-year-old employee. As she successfully bolted from the Athens store, Appling "was dropping beer cans out of her purse."

But really, how fast can she be at 340 pounds?  Still, this was the kicker:

While in police custody, Appling told a cop to add whatever charges he wanted
because she was going to plea bargain and half of the charges would be dropped anyway," according to the report. She also asked Officer Nathaniel Franco if her arrest would make the police blotter, requesting that the cop make his report "more interesting so that her arrest would make" the department's compendium of notable incidents.

You can't make this stuff up.


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