unsurprising statement, coming from me: The law enforcement and criminal court system in this country is screwed up.
surprising statement, coming from me: We can fix some significant problems with this country’s law enforcement and criminal court system by giving the police more power to convict the guilty.
Let’s take a case study. I stumbled across the writings of Scott Broadbent, who says the USA is a police state, or at least rapidly becoming one. He, in turn, apparently found the information on which that entry is based at Boing Boing, which relayed information about a man who was arrested for taking a pic of a cop arresting someone else. Boing Boing credits the story to Thomas Hawk, but sources NBC10.com for the story about a Cell Phone Picture Called Obstruction Of Justice. Here’s the short version:
Cruz said that when he heard a commotion, he walked out of his back door with his cell phone to see what was happening. He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene.Let’s assume for the moment that Cruz, his family, and his neighbor are all telling the truth about what happened. My point in bringing it up is not that it did happen, but that it easily could have happened exactly as described, and none of us is likely to deny that any time soon. That’s a scary thought.
“I opened (the phone) and took a shot,” Cruz said.
Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate.
“He opened the gate and took me by my right hand,” Cruz said.
Cruz said the officer threw him onto a police car, cuffed him and took him to jail.
A neighbor said she witnessed the incident and could not believe what she saw.
“He opened up the gate and Neffy was coming down and he went up to Neffy, pulled him down, had Neffy on the car and was telling him, ‘You should have just went in the house and minded your own business instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone,'” said Gerrell Martin.
Assuming it’s true, and provably so down to the last detail, here’s what’s likely to happen:
All charges against Cruz will be dropped. The police officers involved will be told they shouldn’t do that. Life goes on, same as before, only now we’re just a little more afraid of the police.
How do we fix this? I, for one, am absolutely convinced it needs to be fixed. Let’s just go with that opinion for now.
The answer is, believe it or not, to grant the police and courts more power to convict the guilty with gathered evidence, regardless of how the evidence was gathered — assuming it can be shown to be legitimate evidence, rather than manufactured evidence, of course. The answer is to stop “punishing” the police and courts by letting criminals go because someone didn’t have “probable cause” when he entered someone else’s home and gathering the perfectly valid evidence improperly.
That doesn’t mean we should just let the police go around breaking into random homes and looking for evidence of crimes, of course. No, my solution would probably actually reduce the incidence of malfeasance on the part of the police. See, as far as I’m concerned, whether or not a police officer was acting properly has zero effect on whether or not the evidence is good. On the other hand, a police officer that violates someone’s rights is, in my estimation, a criminal. He should be treated like one. If someone breaks into your home without a warrant or “probable cause”, he should be put on trial for breaking and entering, whether he carries a badge or not. If, while there, he finds the severed thumbs of your last twelve murder victims, those thumbs should not be excluded from the case against you, though.
The criminals go down for their crimes — both of them. With the system we have now, both criminals get off free. That’s just not acceptable.