Thursday, August 02, 2012

Executing Lennie, and other stories

Here are a few items I haven't found time to write about but which merit Grits readers' attention.

Executing Lennie: Court of Criminal Appeals draws from literature instead of science on mental retardation
Danielle Citron at Concurring Opinions argues that, "Texas ... has translated the Supreme Court’s categorical ban on executing offenders with MR [mental retardation] in a way that does not, in practice, exempt most offenders with that intellectual disability. Instead, Texas has improvised a set of 'Briseño factors' (named after the Texas decision that announced them) to determine which defendants with MR actually receive the Atkins exemption. The Briseño factors are not used by any scientists or clinicians in medical practice, and they are not recognized by the AAMR/AAIDD. The Texas Court of Criminal appeals—the state supreme court for the purposes of criminal adjudication—has actually indicated that it formulated the Briseño factors with Steinbeck’s Lennie in mind.  Although literature can tell us much about society and  law, by my lights, it should not replace or disregard well-accepted scientific measures of evaluation. That no doubt seems obvious to our readers, but no so to the Texas Court of Criminal appeals." See more from Simple Justice.

When your business goes undercover but the government fails to tell you
What rights do business owners have when the government decides to use their property and employees to haul drugs as part of a sting operation? Apparently not many.

The evolution of Texas' Forensic Science Commission
For those interested in the Forensic Science Commission's work, the group just put out their first annual report (pdf), which actually covers their activities back to the commission's creation in 2005, since they've never done one before. Lots of detail here.

Crescent City consent decree
A federal consent decree with the New Orleans Police Department requires them to begin recording interrogations. According to the Wrongful Convictions Blog, "Among the changes outlined in the decree: how cops must conduct traffic stops, searches and arrests; how they examine officer use of force; and how they interrogate citizens."

The science of eyewitness memory
Wired magazine has a discussion of the subject reacting to new jury instructions issued July 19 by New Jersey’s Supreme Court

Poor Mexico: So far from God ...
The Houston Chronicle has a series of blog posts from experts at the Baker Institute on issues related to the border and the drug war in Mexico.

Media matters
See a roundup of "the best investigative reporting on US prisons."


rodsmith said...

now me in my book if you take my property without my permission your a THIEF and if i catch you at it i have every LEGAL and MORAL right to SHOOT your ass. I dont' care WHAT COSTUME you have on at the time.

This would go DOUBLE to anyone in a law enforcment costume since by definition LAW ENFORCMENT should know better!

Anonymous said...

Yep, NOLA PD has problems. But for the federal government to tell them what they will do?

Just prosecute the violators.

Next up; bloggers will be told what they can and cannot express an opinion about.

dahowa said...

In the Houston drug sting, stolen truck, killed driver story, I note that the driver was arrested for POCS in 2010. Meaning that his participation in this caper was probably less than entirely voluntary. Way to go, DEA.

Dwight Brown said...

"With exceptions for cops working private details for banks, schools, hospitals and churches, officers will be rotated out of steady work for private clients after a year, in a move to clamp what the federal government described as an “aorta of corruption” in the detail system."

This is confusing to me, and I haven't found a good explanation. Is the idea here that cops can't work for the same private client for more than a year, and that after a year, they have to find another client? Or is the idea here to stop all work for private clients (with the exceptions above) after a year?

The Danzinger Bridge incident didn't involve private clients at all. The death of Officer Ronald Williams did, but there's no evidence that the restaurant he was working at was corrupt; that was more to do failings at the NOPD leading to the hiring of a psychotic witch as a police officer.

And as I understand it, one of NOPD's big problems is that they can't afford to pay police, so NOPD officers have to take off-duty jobs to get by. I don't see anything in the consent decree about raising pay, and I don't know that New Orleans post-Katrina can afford to.

So if you make it harder for officers to get along by working off-duty jobs, what are the chances that they're going to be more susceptible to corruption?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, no DOJ intervention in Chicago. Any wonder why?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, either a human or a robot left us with this tid-bit to suck on prior to buggin out.

"Next up; bloggers will be told what they can and cannot express an opinion about."

Sadly, this shit is already going down in Texas. A long time GFB subscriber, PNG mini-columnist & PNG Public Hero (Mrs. Audrey White) was told by her hired heabas attorney to "Stop blogging or talking" about her case and claim of innocence. Advising her to do so because the very ADA of record that assisted in her wrongful conviction wanted her to stop sharing the facts with the public.

She went along as to not make waves but as soon as she wins or is denide, we plan to make it all public and let the people see an ADA's gag order in action.

Welcome to Russia, Tx. may we see your papers please. Thanks.

Louise Martin said...

Literature is a mirror of society. But it does not mean that they are 100% the same. Great compilation.

Anonymous said...

Griffith.....How does legal advice from your attorney equate to censorship?

Benjamin Hightower said...

If a police informant does not tell his regular employer that he is using company equipment in his moonlighting efforts, why not focus on the informant rather than suggest the police are at fault? Nothing in the public record exists showing the police knowingly used the trucking company's property provided by their informant, the strong possiblity being that the informant told them he was an independent contractor, like so many other truckers are, in order to continue on their gravy train.

Legalize drugs while greatly enhancing the penalties for crimes committed under their influence to stop problems like this.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:24pm..."the strong possiblity being that the informant told them he was an independent contractor,"

He could say that but we would query the License Plate and VIN on the truck to see who the owner is. Takes, in most cases, seconds to do.

If he's not the owner, you got problems.

rodsmith said...

i'm with you 8:19

failure to check that info would in my opinion come under the head of what do the courts call it when it's a civilian!


which is a CRIME!

even when cops do it!