Category Archives: Criminal Injustice

UPDATED: Dennis Hastert, Hoisted On His Own Petard, Or Patriot Act

Criminal Injustice, Homeland Security, Law, Regulation

To pep-up the subject of Dennis Hastert, consider a flash from the past in the form of “Entertainment Interruptus,” a column published in November of 2001: “The film Spy Games reached a crescendo as retiring CIA officer Robert Redford transfers $282,000 of his life’s savings to an account in the Cayman Islands. The money is supposed to help pay for the rescue of Redford’s bureau protégé Brad Pitt, who has been ‘burned’ by his employers at the CIA for going solo.”

Only Redford would be unable to complete such a transaction now, not with the new anti-terrorism laws, approved in 2001. Brad Pitt, as the column observed, would have been “burned” by the Patriot Act, which prohibited “suspicious financial transaction”: Move around more than 10,000 of your own dollars, and you’ll likely be the object of a federal investigation.

Dennis Hastert, who approved the Patriot Act, is being hoisted on his own petard.

Via The Huffington Post:

On Oct. 24, 2001, then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) shepherded the Patriot Act through the House of Representatives. It passed 357 to 66, advancing to the Senate and then-President George W. Bush’s desk for signing.

Hastert took credit for House passage in a 2011 interview, claiming it “wasn’t popular, and there was a lot of fight in the Congress” over it.

Little did Hastert know at the time that the law he helped pass would give federal law enforcement the tools to indict him on charges of violating banking-related reporting requirements more than a decade later. …


UPDATE (6/10): “The Thin Gruel of the Hastert Prosecution”: We should all be concerned about Dennis Hastert’s strange indictment By SCOTT HORTON.

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UPDATED: #Snuff Film Shows Cops Letting Sgt. #JamesBrown Die (#IRF)

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Law, The State

EL PASO, TEXAS. The cruelty these cops demonstrate is unfathomable. A man is in the throes of death, in a jail cell, having self-reported for a minor offense. A passive Army Sgt. (James Brown) begs for his life, pleading that a stifling face mask be removed from his face, as he struggles to breathe. The killer SWAT cops ignore Mr. Brown’s pleas, tackling and manhandling a man already struggling to take in air, until he stops thrashing about, as his breathing slows down, until it stops.

My daughter suffered from asthma in childhood. Sever asthma. Her pediatrician taught me something these murderers were oblivious to. When someone tells you they can’t breathe, or are clearly having difficulties breathing—take it extremely seriously.

Charge these cops for depraved indifference. You have a snuff film to prove it.

UPDATE (5/19):

William N. Grigg: “They’re using a Gitmo-style “Initial Reaction Force.” They’re used in dealing with violent detainees and hunger strikers. IRFs are often used in SuperMax prisons here in the Soyuz. This fellow was probably considered a high-risk inmate because of his military background and psychological history.”

IM: “Watching this is heart-wrenching, William N. Grigg. You know Sgt. B. is going to die and you see no reason why. The time stretches; it’s not as if the murder happened fast. There were so many chances to STOP killing the victim. Senseless. Evil.”

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Cyril Wecht On Freddie Gray’s Likely Cause of Death

Criminal Injustice, Ethics, Race, Reason, Science

Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht has been around the block a few times. Two minutes and 31 seconds into this typically tedious, CNN broadcast, Dr. Wecht ventures the following with conviction, about the Freddie Gray murder. I paraphrase:

Legs shackled and hands cuffed, placed in a prone position, face down—a position that has been banned for decades, claims Wecht—how, pray tell, did Freddie Gray run around, banging himself against the van’s interior?

The victim is yelling and screaming for help. His body is inert and the van is moving. Right there is the velocity needed to create the force for the injuries! Those injuries are not spontaneous pathological fractures; the injuries came as the body flapped back and forth, breaking the vertebrae in the neck and eventually severing the spinal cord.

Indubitably, the injuries were sustained by the police by their stopping Gray. Gray did not sustain those spontaneously. Also quite possible, says Wecht, and as I’ve hypothesized, the initial injuries were produced when police compressed and leaned into Gray’s back, to be aggravated by the flopping around in the van.

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UPDATED: Conservatives Freaking Out Over Possible Cop Culpability (Depraved-Heart Murder)

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Justice, Law

Radio mouth Mark Levin kept insisting noisily that Maryland’s rookie prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, had presented no “new facts” in her case against the six police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

While some charges seem excessive—you can, I am sure, prove depraved indifference, but how do you saddle the officers with an intent to kill?—I don’t understand why the facts have to be new in order to form a valid basis for prosecution.

The harshest charge—second-degree depraved-heart murder—was reserved for Caesar “Goodson Jr., the officer driving a transport van in which Gray was riding.” The other charges—“involuntary manslaughter, assault, failure to render aid and misconduct in office”—don’t seem excessive.

Here is the full list of charges in Freddie Gray’s death.

Mosby, Baltimore State attorney, provided the following facts, new and old (CNN transcript):

* No crime had been committed by Mr. Gray.
* Mr. Gray was then placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back. It was at this time that Mr. Gray indicated that he could not breathe and requested an inhaler, to no avail.
* At no point was he secured by a seat belt while in the wagon, contrary to a BPD general order.
* Officer Miller, Officer Nero and Lieutenant Rice then loaded Mr. Gray back into the wagon, placing him on his stomach, head first on to the floor of the wagon. Once again, Mr. Gray was not secured by a seat belt in the wagon.
* Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray’s condition, at no point did he seek nor did he render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray.
* Mr. Gray at that time requested help, and indicated that he could not breathe. Officer Porter asked Mr. Gray if he needed a medic, at which time Mr. Gray indicated, at least twice, that he was in need of a medic.
* Sargent Alicia White, Officer Porter and Officer Goodson observed Mr. Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon.
* Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon.

In-between another stop or two was made to collect another offender.

I still think the injury to the spine occurred at the time of the arrest.

Meantime militarist Megyn Kelly is losing it. She’s been broadcasting desperate interviews, as meaningless and irrelevant as those she conducted with Bill Ayers, this time with a mystery cop she’s attempting to redeem. Other than to insist that Gray (who was obviously dying) was “acting normal,” the cop had no “new” information. And he lives under water. At least so the cop sounded.

UPDATE (5/2): The lawyers explain depraved-heart murder:

Tom Oster: “Depraved-heart murder arises from a theory of extreme recklessness, evidencing an indifference to human life. There doesn’t need to be an intent to cause death, merely a showing that the act that was done showed a ‘depraved’ or ‘extreme’ indifference to human life. Examples could be firing a gun randomly into a crowded street, or driving down a sidewalk.”

Figure that the distinctions between intent as recognized in criminal law (the Model Penal Code provides a good example) break down as Purpose (to cause the end result), Knowledge (that the result will occur), Recklessness (knowledge of a risk of the outcome, with depraved heart murder falling at the higher end of this threshold), Negligence (a reasonable person would know of a risk and exercise care to avoid it, involuntary manslaughter and “criminally-negligent homicide,” in jurisdictions which have this latter offense, generally fall into categories of greater or lesser negligence in homicide cases), and Strict Liability (no intent required, e.g., statutory rape is a strict liability crime usually with regards to the age of the victim).

Certain circumstances (read: collateral and predicate criminal offenses) can be inferred to demonstrate intent. Felony murder, for example, is a death arising from the commission of an inherently-dangerous felony (usually). Intent is inferred from the intent to commit the underlying felony (e.g., someone dies in the process of a kidnapping or robbery). Lesser criminal acts that cause death can demonstrate the intent required for involuntary manslaughter or criminally-negligent homicide (illegally barring the emergency exits of a building, resulting in people being killed in a fire, would likely result in an involuntary manslaughter charge, for example).

Incidentally, the feds, if they were to get involved (I don’t think they will unless the Maryland process sputters out), would have a potentially potent charge to lay. 18 USC 242, “Deprivation of rights under color of law,” applies when under color of law (read, a police officer or someone else acting as a government official or a putative government official), someone willfully subjects anyone to any deprivation of rights, privileges, or immunities under the Constitution or other laws (such as a false arrest, imposition of torture, etc.) If death results, it’s a capital crime (Maryland does not have a death penalty).

And this definition of Depraved-Heart Murder via Jerri Lynn Ward:

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‘Honky’ Beaten Into Coma For Lending A Helping Hand

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Race, Racism

Maybe whites who come close to dying because of their self-effacing do-goodism ought to read the “The Talk” John Derbyshire had with his kids. For “The Talk: Nonblack Version,” in which the writer cautioned his kids about life’s dangers, Derbyshire was dismissed from National Review, where he freelanced. (My position is explained in “National Review Eunuchs.”)

“Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway,” Derb advised his youngsters, in the hope of prolonging their lives. (The father in “Sacrificing Kids To PC Pietism” was happy to make the sacrifice.)

This is Richard Fletcher before and after he intervened between “two girls fighting near his truck.” For his trouble, “a mass of youths, mostly from the nearby Baltimore Community High School, attacked him.” He is in a coma.

I bet that if he emerges from the coma, Mr. Fletcher will declare that he’d to it again in a heart beat.

MORE @ WND (where you can also read my latest column).

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UPDATED: Gray Snapped His Own Spine. Yeah. Right.

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Justice, Race

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who when calm speaks in CAPS, was super-excited tonight. The cause for her excitement was a stupid report released by the Washington Post, according to which Freddie Gray appears to have broken his own neck and spinal column. Ridiculous.

The source of this nonsense was a “prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray,” and who was “separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him.”

That settles it, then. Mr. Gray severed his own spinal column.

“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” said Jason Downs, one of the attorneys for the Gray family. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”

I believe it is as I had surmised: The oafs likely dug their knees into the spinal column and snapped it.

The video “shot by several bystanders …shows two officers on top of Gray, their knees in his back, and then dragging his seemingly limp body to the van as he cried out.”


“Baltimore police,” reports the Wall Street Journal, “… have concluded their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray and turned the results over to the city’s chief prosecutor.”

Police officials also revealed that the police van carrying Mr. Gray after his arrest made a previously undisclosed stop before he reached the Western District police station and was taken to a hospital. Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said a privately owned surveillance camera captured the stop. He offered no additional details, and it was unclear if that stop shed any new light on Mr. Gray’s injuries.

Based on an earlier police timeline, this stop occurred after one where Mr. Gray was placed in leg shackles because he was acting “irate” and before another where police moved Mr. Gray off the van floor and placed him in a seat. At a fourth stop, police picked up an additional prisoner before reaching the station.

Mr. Gray wasn’t buckled into his seat and wasn’t offered medical attention he requested, police have said.


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