Cops

Facts enjoy mythical stature in our society. In a diverse community with many competing and often conflicting views, facts ring out with a promise of objective clarity. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts. I’m sure you’ve said that/had that said to you.

Facts are bullshit. A skilled lawyer can turn a competent eyewitness into a blathering idiot. A skilled rhetorician can make facts dance on strings for the amusement of the masses. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Fact.

Truly objective facts are few and far between. Evolution is what happened. Annie is not okay. Light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second. Much beyond that, who can say? People like to say, “Let’s wait for all the facts to come out.” What they are really saying is, “Let’s wait for additional information that I can fit into my preconceived world view.” There have been studies about this. If a “fact” doesn’t fit into a person’s standing world view, that fact is likely to be ignored and have no impact on the person’s judgment.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video of Kajieme Powell getting shot to death in St. Louis. You’ll remember Powell as the alleged “knife wielding” crazy man who seemed to be trying to commit suicide by cop when St. Louis PD eagerly obliged. Tell me what you see…

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

Yesterday, Krispy Kreme celebrated its 77th birthday. The popular doughnut chain opened its doors on July 13, 1937, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And what goes better with doughnuts than coffee? Cops. This week, On Remand looks back at Krispy Kreme’s history and a half-dozen cases involving doughnuts and cops, including the strange tale of a man who held a Krispy Kreme truck for ransom.

The Krispy Kreme we know today began in the 1930s when New Orleanian Joe LeBeau moved to Kentucky and sold his secret recipe and the name “Krispy Kreme” to a local, who hired his nephew, Vernon Rudolph, to sell the doughnuts door-to-door.  By 1937, Rudolph and a friend had moved to Winston-Salem and opened the first Krispy Kreme doughnut factory. Although the pair set out to sell doughnuts to grocery stores, a new marketing ploy quickly revealed itself:  human weakness.  People passing the factory could not resist the delicious doughnut smell, and wanted to buy them hot off the press.  Vernon obliged, cutting a hole in the outside wall to sell fresh glazed doughnuts directly to people on the street.

Today, Krispy Kreme operates nearly 900 stores in 24 countries. But, like its founders intended, Krispy Kreme continues to sell doughnuts to grocery and convenience stores. Over the years, deliveries to these stores have made Krispy Kreme trucks an easy target for thieves.  One Michigan man may take the cake doughnut for the most comically unsuccessful Krispy Kreme truck theft.

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‘Don’t Tase me, bro.’

Animals are cool. People are a-holes. Any bill that prevents people from senselessly harming animals is a good thing.

The natural enemy of the family dog is the local cop. Some of the stories we hear about cops shooting dogs, man, it’s like they don’t even try to deal with the animal reasonably. They shoot first and put the leash on later. I get that some people are just irrationally afraid of dogs, but cops are armed and in stressful situations. And since “dog murder” isn’t really a thing, there’s no incentive for cops to hold their fire.

We’ve reported in the past about how jury awards are going up when cops are found to recklessly kill family pets. But money cannot replace the companionship of a best friend.

Now, one state is trying to take more decisive action by requiring cops to learn how to deal with “short, hairy children”….

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There’s no love lost between cops and guys in wheelchairs.

You know things are not going well for the police when a judge uses the citation “U.S. Const. amend. IV.” Not a case interpreting the Fourth Amendment, not a scholarly analysis of search and seizure law, just a straight-up shout-out to the plain text of the constitutional prohibition. It kind of tells you where the judge is going.

Today’s installment of “Why Can’t You Just Get A Warrant” comes out of the Montgomery County courthouse near Dayton, Ohio. According to the judge’s order granting a suppression motion, the police subdued a wheelchair-bound paraplegic and searched his home. And by “subdued,” I of course mean: tackled a man in a wheelchair, handcuffed him, then pretended to be worried about the man’s grabbable area.

Fun times…

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[UPDATE (9/5/2013, 11:30 p.m.): The charges discussed in this story have been expunged.]

If I may be so bold, I have an idea for a new class to be taught at UVA School of Law. It would be called “Use Your Words,” and it would go over the proper way for lawyers and law students to address police officers.

I’d teach the class at 2:00 a.m. That way the students could get in the habit of addressing people with respect even while they are intoxicated.

They could use the training. A couple of years ago, a UVA law student found herself accused of spitting on the police after a night of drinking (although the charges were ultimately dropped). More recently, a UVA Law alum and DLA Piper partner, Laura Flippin, did use her words about her own intoxication — she just allegedly didn’t use truthful ones, while under oath.

Today, we’ve got another UVA law student who allegedly didn’t use her words with the police; instead, she used her phone. No, not in the way you’re thinking….

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* I thought Def Leppard got a cut every time a stripper takes off her clothes. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Catherine Rampell tackles the sputtering lawyer salaries numbers. Yes, to the New York Times, you listen. [Economix / New York Times]

* Oh nepotism, the thing that proves that it’s better to be lucky than good. [Wise Law NY]

* It’s kind of funny if your entire document production can be flummoxed by a squirrel. [Wired]

* The New York City Bar association is putting together a task force of people to look at the terrible legal job market. You know who isn’t trying to come up with the a response to the terrible market? It rhymes with American Bulls**ttar Association. [WSJ Law Blog]

Earlier this week, the City Room blog of the New York Times ran a story about a man who was being hassled here in the Mike Bloomberg police state of New York City for drinking a beer on his stoop.

First of all, open container laws are always some of the most intrusive and stupid laws on the books in any county they exist. They’re a waste of time, and a colossal waste of police resources. I’ll let Major Bunny Colvin explain in three of the best minutes of scripted television:

Well, Brooklyn Law student Andrew Rausa figured he didn’t need a paper bag to enjoy a beer while sitting on his stoop on July 4th. When the officers rolled up to hassle him — on the very birthday of freedom in this country — Rausa figured he had the law on his side.

Rausa answered a few questions from Above the Law about his fight to quash tyranny and a $25 fine….

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There's no legal angle to this picture, and this picture is not involved in any of the blurbs.

* How many cops does it take to kill a man? [Simple Justice]

* Professor Paul Campos has been having fun with the NALP numbers. Well, fun for him, and for me. Less fun for anybody unlucky enough to have been part of the class of 2011. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* And if you don’t like to read, here’s some video about how bad the job market is for the class of 2011. ARE YOU LISTENING, PROSPECTIVE LAW STUDENTS? CAN YOU TAKE IN AND PROCESS INFORMATION? [Bloomberg Law]

* How come my anonymous readers don’t drop $25 million on me? I’d name a whole wing of my new house after them. And give them a T-shirt. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* In the recession, we cling to what we have instead of striking out into the unknown. In related news: if you leave your law job, there’ll be a stampede of people happy to take your spot. [What About Clients?]

* I don’t even think you should be allowed to defend yourself pro se. [Underdog]

* Southwestern Law’s Dean Bryant Garth is stepping down. One of these days, somebody will let me run a law school. [Southwestern Law School]

This is the preferred currency to induce drunk college girls to flash you.

Hey ladies, next time you are tipsy, need a ride, and can’t find a cab, just hail a cop. If you are pretty, he might just pick you up and take you anywhere you want to go, provided you flash him your boobs, of course (duh).

There is a bizarre story coming out of Central Michigan University that seems to be right at the nexus of abusive police power and drunk co-eds.

I’m siding girls, but I’m not sure the cop should have to go to jail for five years for pulling a TOGTFO move….

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You'll get in less trouble if you accidently shoot the one on the right.

I’m about to tell you a story. If the story included Chicago PD shooting an innocent black man who posed no threat to them, the story would end in an acquittal, vindication for the officers, and an outraged black community starting a charity fund for his widow.

But this story involves CPD shooting an innocent black Labrador Retriever. A family pet who posed no real threat to the officers. As such, the police have been punished and roundly excoriated, and a federal jury awarded the family a huge sum for damages.

Which is fine. I mean, I agree with the jury’s decision. I just don’t like living in a world where shooting my dog is a bigger liability risk for a police officer than shooting me….

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