Devious

There’s a peculiar kind of deviousness in the course of wrongdoing that is characteristic of law enforcement.  It’s a deviousness mixed with brazenness.  It has to do with, well, I don’t know exactly.

But here, as chronicled by Jonathan Turley, is the case of a supervising cop who starts an affair with the wife of a subordinate cop and then trumps up child molestation charges against the subordinate cop with the subordinate cop’s wife. 

And the subordinate cop goes to prison for 20 years.

Somehow nobody in the department, none of the prosecutors, judges, or for that matter at least one defense lawyer seems to balk at the charges given the stunning and brazen impropriety of it all.  As Turley notes:

I am also curious how this supervisor could live with this person and not have a single officer raise the obvious ethical concern with the department.

“Curious” is one way to put it.  But the absence of any inquiry or complaint on this point by an entire law enforcement/justice system establishment dovetails perfectly with apparently unselfconscious willingness of the supervisor to do what he did in the first place. 

If I do it, it’s not wrong.  That kind of thing.

Whatever is in the koolaid some law enforcement officials are drinking, the result sometimes looks like an epidemic of the abuse of power.

There’s nothing more dangerous than a bad cop.

15 Comments

Filed under Media incompetence/bias, wrongful convictions

15 responses to “Devious

  1. I beg to differ with the conclusion that;

    “There’s nothing more dangerous than a bad cop”

    In our case (In re eToys 01-706 DE Bankr. 2001) we have bad cops (Federal ones). We also have corrupt U.S. Attorneys (Colm Connolly), a disbanded Public Corruption Task Force and career federal prosecutors actually being threatened to keep their mouths shut of the reasons why (see L.A. Times story “Shake-up roils federal prosecutors”, bad judges (state and federal) – including one’s being promoted OFF the case and one’s ruling that confessed “intentional” lying under oath to the court 33 times – is not proof of Perjury; and

    issues of mayhem and homicides
    (one is a brother of assistant U.S. Attorney being “Suicided”)

  2. With those items being said (and all documented by fed archive records irrefutable; then there’s other – ALARMING – nationally significant issues of manifest injustice.

    Such as a counsel for a Ponzi scheme being made the Federal Receiver over the Ponzi schemers seized assets.

    Then, said attorney for Ponzi, Receiver of Ponzi also becomes bankruptcy Trustee of Ponzi cases; whilst his law firm also works for one of the Ponzi scheme defendants – Who then Never gets charged.

    Said Ponzi counsel, Receiver, Bankruptcy Trustee then fails to seize some assets (belonging to Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital); whilst giving a Ponzi scheme partner (who just so happens to be secret counsel for Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital) – a special prize for assisting in the manifest injustice.

    The Ponzi schemer/partner has a friend buy a $2 billion asset for only $83 million; because the court orders the asset sold to that “friend” (even though the party is NOT the highest bidder).

    Then, a few weeks later – Voila! A $2 Billion dollar license deal is announced and the Ponzi schemer/partner is made a partner of that “friend”s company.

    Facts – All documented – by public docket records/federal archives.

    But, it is all okay, since the judge (who just so happens to have went to school with the Ponzi scheme attorney, turn Federal Receiver/Bankruptcy Trustee) also worked with the same party at the Department of Justice. So the (Magistrate) Justice comes up with a brand new (legislating from the bench) doctrine titled “judicial immunity”.

    Whereas, our federal judges can now engage in cronyism and give their friends hundreds of millions of dollars in profiteering fees; because the judge can splice/slice her immunity and share it with whom she pleases.

    The $2 Billion dollar assets that was sold for $83 million – is Polaroid!

    N’est-ce pas!

  3. But all of this nastiness above is okay;
    because there are bigger issues at play.

    During the same period of time that all of this stuff is going on – the BOSS of it all became a chief POTUS wannabe; after Chris Christie’s REAL “gate” thingy didn’t get that much mention at all.

    Former USAG stated to the Hague Global Forum on Corruption that there were corrupt federal judges in collusion with high ranking members of the U.S. Trustee’s office.

    Then, all that got yanked away – when Chris Christie gave the former USAG a $50 million – No Bid – Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

    Do you know what the real world term for the issue of a former head federal prosecutor getting $50 million from a purported target of a federal investigation; resulting in a guarantee of nolle prosequi?

    • Can’t say we’re following you too well on all that, but give it some time and maybe it will sink in.

      • I know – They’ve done so much; and all of U.S. victims are (supposed) to be writers/story tellers like Mark Twain and summa cum laude Legal Pros.

        Just know this – we almost elected a Racketeer as POTUS;
        (who is now flip flopping on the issue of running again).

  4. Jessie

    Just thought I’d chime in something you and I agree on: There’s nothing more dangerous than a bad cop.

    What causes it? I’ll suggest four factors (in order from micro- to macro-level):

    –Individual psyches. It’s a job that’s attractive to exactly the kinds of people who shouldn’t be doing it. Pre-hire psych evaluations are supposed to weed out those who just want to run around with a gun, but it doesn’t catch all of them and some get addicted to the high of being able to bark an order at people and watch them jump.
    Possible solution: It seems to help when there’s more time off patrol and more time available to perform service functions, like getting kittens out of trees or helping little old ladies across the street. Too many high-adrenaline situations in a row are not good for the officer, which translates into not good for the community.

    –Individual department culture. How is misconduct treated by superiors and, more importantly, by other officers? A friend of mine who once worked for the LAPD, left in horror, describing it as nothing more than a government-funded street gang. Departments are as hierarchical and rot, or the intolerance of rot, will spread from the top down. What tone are the chief and lieutenants setting? As they go, so go their detectives and patrols.
    Possible solution: The increased use of Citizen Review Boards is heartening. We need more of them. There’s increasing recognition that Internal Affairs is a joke. Play on the competition between departments by having them review the work of other departments rather than the work of their own. Between the two, you’re much more likely to hear how an incident could have been handled better.

    –Overall LEO subculture. It’s a subculture with high barriers to entry. The blue line is more like a blue wall. If you are the friend or loved one of a cop, you will see glimpses past that wall, but you will never get behind it unless you are a cop yourself. (There’s a reason cops have a high divorce rate and a reason they often marry other cops.)
    I’m not sure there is any solution to this one shy of completely changing how we handle law enforcement. And it’s not entirely a bad thing. It creates a necessary esprit de corps in dangerous situations. The danger of it is its impenetrability. You don’t want to Bob to refuse to back up Tom on a dangerous call just because Bob doesn’t like Tom. The downside is this means Bob is unlikely to rat Tom out if Tom beats the shit out of someone for no reason.

    –Increasingly militarized weapons and training. This has come about through a trifecta of the War on Drugs, September 11, and the Columbine school shooting. Prior to Columbine, regular patrol wasn’t trained in SWAT. Now they’re almost all trained in SWAT. Lethal force used to be a last resort as a matter of training and many patrol cops would go their entire careers without ever drawing their weapons, let alone shooting anyone. Now the standard training has shifted to, “Do what ya gotta do and we’ll deal with it later.” Issuing tasers was a huge mistake. It was supposed to be a “less lethal” option, but that’s exactly the problem with it. If you get pulled over and the cop thinks you’re being mouthy, very few will whip out their gun and shoot you. But it’s all too easy to whip out the taser, which happens all the time now.
    The possible solutions to this are so deeply rooted in American society that I don’t see them changing any time soon. Marijuana legalization will help, but civil forfeiture laws are a direct cause of pure corruption. Active-shooter protocol is a pretty good training, but the lines have blurred between patrol, SWAT, and the military. At the very least, taser deployment should be treated as a use-of-force incident and examined accordingly. I’d rather see tasers gone completely.

    Here’s an example of how all four factors can come together. A friend of mine (not the same one who worked for the LAPD) works for a department with a pretty good culture and reputation. He himself is the quintessential good cop, who makes sharp use of his judgment quickly. Twice, he has avoided using lethal force in situations where, on paper, it would have been justified. In one, the guy pointed a rifle at them and he talked the guy into putting it down. In the other, the guy was pointing a toy gun from a distance (probably a suicide-by-cop) and my friend thought it just didn’t look right, so he didn’t fire. In both situations, he should have been praised for his judgment and de-escalation skills. But in both situations, he was reprimanded instead.

    • I love it when people don’t just identify problems but suggest solutions. Too little of that goes on in the “blawgosphere” (i.e., criminal defense blogs). In fact I think it’s a legitimate criticism of criminal defense lawyers in general that they tend to dwell on problems without proposing any viable solutions. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast.

      Anyway, individual psyches. Thoroughly agree, but I’ll add that this phenomenon isn’t limited to cops. I’ve often said that I prefer constitutional monarchy to the representative democracy that I live under, for precisely this reason. Only a crazy man, a true psychopath, would want to be president of the United States at this point. Since only those that desperately want the job can ever get it the way things are now (Calvin Coolidge was probably the last one who at least feigned that he was being dragged into it) you are guaranteed a psychopath in the oval office. True, you might get a psychopath monarch as well, but at least it’s not guaranteed.

      I agree, too, that an espirit de corps “I’ve got your back” mentality is part and parcel of policing and is not an entirely bad thing. I was in the Navy, on a destroyer, and the same thing happens there. It’s inevitable, just the nature of the beast, but so long as it’s checked by the practice of the martial virtues it can serve a good purpose. Or at least it’s not harmful, at any rate.

      Overall, placing supreme importance on practicing virtue is one of the keys here, and you’re hinting at that when you talk about setting the tone at the top. I’d go further and suggest that there’s a failure of leadership especially in this regard at the lawyer level, which in my opinion should be regarded as akin to the officer corps of law enforcement whereas police are like the enlisted men. When the officer corps abandons all pretense of adherence to principles of truth and justice, as almost all lawyers do, it is poisonous down the ranks and leads to atrocities of all kinds. If you ever look at some of the blawgs I link to you’ll see that I have an ongoing diagreement with a number of other defense lawyers on this very subject.

      But what’s worse is not that defense lawyers believe this, since in that context it tends to be less harmful, but that prosecutors and government lawyers believe it. For them, denying that there is any such thing as truth or justice should be a disqualification.

      I could go on and on about this. But not right now. Thanks again for coming over here and commenting and making my day a lot more interesting than it would otherwise be!

      • The solution is unity of purpose.

        There’s apathy and laxity;
        which is the unity of indifference
        (who gives a [c]hit – mentality).

        Then (like they did with the bankers in Norway)
        there’s unity of purpose in stopping the bad faith.

        My opponents destroyed my rise to power & money;
        because it was quashing their right to steal power & money.

        If, by some miracle, I should get it back;
        please remind me of this conversation!

      • Jessie

        Is “excessive force” defined, either by state statute or by professional standards, say, with the Department of Public Safety? It seems to me this is essential for regulating law enforcement conduct, in the same way the state regulates doctors, lawyers, and other professionals.

        Otherwise, what we’re left with is, at best, a piecemeal system. Cops are usually subject to official immunity, so the only other recourse is to bring them up on criminal charges and….good luck with that. Even if you can find a prosecutor to do it, the cop will walk almost every time, no matter how egregiously unprofessional their behavior was. (Amadou Diallo. I mean, really? REALLY??)

        And even if juries happened to swing the other way, that wouldn’t necessarily be any better, since legitimate use of force can look violent or disturbing to someone unfamiliar with police work.

        Citizen Review Boards are good for community relations issues that don’t rise to that level, but we would never put up with such an epidemic of misconduct from doctors and lawyers. People would — and do — complain to the state bar or state medical board that’s responsible for licensing these professionals.

        • See, here’s the thing. Read all about it:

          That October 2011 confrontation made national headlines and eventually got Lopez fired. But Watts’ actions involving a fellow officer didn’t sit well with many in law enforcement, and not long after she made that traffic stop, she says, the harassment began. Random telephone calls on her cellphone. Some were threats and some were prank calls, including orders for pizza. Unfamiliar vehicles and police cars sat idling in her cul-de-sac. She was afraid to open her mailbox.

          Now, this is what happens to another cop. Ever see the movie Serpico (or read the book)?

          It’s not a matter of being scared; it’s more like they menace you in this underhanded fashion, just so that you can’t be sure if it’s as dangerous as it seems, which in itself is dangerous. And they do this knowing they are wrong, because of course they have lots of less unsavory options when they think they are right.

          Patrol Officer Watts was entirely in the right, and the cop she stopped for doing 120 MPH because he was late for some non-duty related thing was entirely in the wrong. And as this shows, that’s when the police are really dangerous: when you’re right and they’re wrong and they know it and you make an issue of it, because sometimes you have to.

          I would never walk out on that particular gang-plank unless I had to. Unfortunately….

  5. Believe it or not – I understand (though don’t totally agree) with the reprimands. There are people dead in our cases; and my daughter was abducted, on my birthday, after a warning to “back off” was emailed to me by my own attorney (who then abandoned me once I forced the opposing parties to confess lying under oath {33 times} to a Chief federal justice).

    In the first instance, your friends hesitation may have cost someone their life (would need more case specifics to know for sure). In the second, most pros realize the difference between a gun and a model; but the time it takes to second guess could have been lethal.

    Doing the right thing has consequences (I know, I turned down a bribe to become Mitt’s partner; and family/friends say I’m an idiot).

    • Jessie

      Yes, those are the reasons my friend was reprimanded and he understood why he was reprimanded. (Even I was pissed at him because, in both situations, he could have been killed.)

      But it’s a dangerous job by nature and not every situation needs to end in someone bleeding. De-escalation skills should be encouraged, not punished. I’m much more likely to trust a cop’s judgment when their department and training encourages strong de-escalation skills.

      • I do concur – somewhat. Whereas, officers of the law, given authority to utilize brute force and more; should be compelled to understand that “To Protect and Serve” also means to understand the difference between mitigate – instead of escalate.

  6. All I know is that – in the cases of Cameron Todd Willingham, Ted Stevens, Sonny Bono, Richard Fine, Israel Weinstock, James Traficant, Richard Convertino, Troy Davis, Crystal Cox, Bankruptcy Misconduct/Dewey LeBeouf, homeless Kelly Thomas and Trayvon Martin (plus many more) – yours truly was there in the almost all beginnings.

    In some cases, we had VAST success in getting public outcry attention (whereas one’s goal is to go to media/”qualitative attention – to {in turn} achieve “quantitative attention” – for the sake of getting results).

    Kelly Thomas, Trayvon Martin and Troy Davis – just to name a few great media attentions – resulted in NG’ verdicts for Thomas/Trayvon killers; and (even with the POPE, FBI Dir. Louis Freeh and President Jimmy Carter, plus 600,000 others signing the Petition – they STILL put to death Troy Davis {when the real killer confessed}).

    I don’t know how to do the psychoanalysis you do in the reasons why; I just know that people don’t give a dang unless someone else (important) tells them to do so.

    Not doing anything about evil; breeds evil.

    Doing nothing – is doing the something of who cares!

    It ALL SUCKS the whammy.

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