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Those Lying Eyes

A very interesting read by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post: On the jury, Gene Weingarten didn’t believe the D.C. police’s eyes

Weingarten tells of being an alternate on a jury for a small-time drug case. He was convinced the suspect was guilty. So was the other alternate. So, apparently, were most if not all the regular jurors.

And yet, 10 of the 12 regular jurors voted to acquit and both alternates would have done the same. Clearly this was a form of jury nullification. Did they vote to acquit this scumbag drug dealer because they opposed the drug war? No.

It was the lyin’ eyes.

You see, in the drug war, the police often feel that they’re at a disadvantage — after all, nobody reports consensual crimes, so the police have to be the aggrieved party, the witness, the investigator and arrestor. This leads to the temptation to “firm up” their case, particularly in those rare cases when a defendant chooses to go for a jury trial.

In this case, the “eyes” (policeman who witnesses the transaction) gave a nice detailed description of the suspect: “black male, black jacket, royal blue baseball hat, v-necked white t-shirt, sneakers, key on a chain around his neck, carrying a bottle of ginger ale.” Two other police officers agreed that they had heard this exact description over the radio, and then they moved in and arrested the suspect, who matched the description in every particular.

Turns out, the “eyes” was 172 feet away from the transaction.

The jury members were sure the defendant was guilty, but they didn’t like being lied to by the police.

Says Gene:

I believe they knew they had the right guy and were willing to cheat a little to assure a conviction.

I believe they had the right guy, too. But the willingness to cheat, I think, is a poisonous corruption of a system designed to protect the innocent at the risk of occasionally letting the guilty walk free. It’s a good system, fundamental to freedom. I think a police officer willing to cheat is more dangerous than a two-bit drug peddler.

Bingo.

And that’s another reason to get rid of this corrupting drug war.

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23 comments to Those Lying Eyes

  • Hope

    I have new hope for our nation… our people.

  • Just me

    I have hope also ..Hope :).

    This article is just the reason we need to get ride of this law..Corruption. It infests all levels of our government, getting rid of prohibition will be the first step, the lynch pin to unraveling all this corruption and restoring freedoms that we have lost.

    Corruption is a desease that spares NO ONE!
    War doent decide who is right ..only who is left..

  • Nick Zentor

    So these cops lied on the court witness stand?

    Isn’t that illegal?

  • BruceM

    Good for the jury.

    A better way for the juror to have phrased this would have been to have said they were convinced that the defendant was more likely than not guilty (i.e. beyond a preponderance of the evidence) but due to the lying cops, the state was not able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    But not everyone is a lawyer, I guess.

    Nick: cops know they are exempt from the law. They know that the DA’s are on “their team” and that no DA will prosecute them for lying – especially when they are lying to help the DA and to “put away a scumbag”… the means always justify the ends in that scenario. To a cop, that is.

    Cops lie regardless of what type of case it is. But due to evidentiary and burden of proof issues, they lie the most in drug cases. They have to. As long as they know they will not be prosecuted, and that they are lying for a “good” reason, they’ll keep doing it with impugnity. You know, for the children.

  • claygooding

    A little off subject but;

    Schwarzenegger proposes Mexican jails take US inmates
    San Quentin State Prison

    California’s prisons are among the most crowded in the US
    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has suggested the state could reduce prison spending by housing undocumented inmates in Mexican jails.
    In comments made during a question and answer session, he seemed to suggest the prisons would be specially built.
    Mr Schwarzenegger said the costs of building and running the prisons in Mexico would be half of California’s.
    The state has one of the most overcrowded and underfunded prison systems in the US.
    Last year, after a riot broke out in one prison, authorities were ordered to develop a plan to free 40,000 of the 150,000 inmates being held within two years.
    “I think we can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take inmates – for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here – and get them to Mexico,” Mr Schwarzenegger said.
    “We pay them to build the prisons down in Mexico. And then we have those undocumented migrants down there in prison. It would half the costs to build the prison and run the prison,” he said.
    “We could save a billion dollars right there that could go into higher education.”
    He added that he believed allowing the private sector to become involved in running and managing prisons would also help cut costs.
    Earlier this month, the California governor declared a fiscal emergency, announcing that severe cuts would be needed to stem a $19.9bn (£12.3bn) deficit.

  • kaptinemo

    They still want their slaves.

    ““I think we can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take inmates – for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here – and get them to Mexico,” Mr Schwarzenegger said.

    “We pay them to build the prisons down in Mexico. And then we have those undocumented migrants down there in prison. It would half the costs to build the prison and run the prison,” he said.

    “We could save a billion dollars right there that could go into higher education.”

    He added that he believed allowing the private sector to become involved in running and managing prisons would also help cut costs.”

    So…now we’re going to allow for private US corps on Mex soil to build prisons with US taxpayer’s money to house mainly trespassers who will act as slave labor in a country which already runs on subsistence-level wages. This in a time of universal fiscal meltdown. Brilliant, just brilliant. (end snark)

    Here’s a better idea. Never mind building prisons in Mexico. Let them build their own. Deport all those in American prisons who do not belong here legally. Most of them are there for non-violent drug offenses. Then release all those Americans who are left from the remaining prison population who are also in for non-violent drug offenses. Then eliminate the drug laws themselves, starting with cannabis prohibition laws. Only those who truly belong in prison for ‘public safety’ reasons shall reside there.

    The result? Savings of scores if not hundreds of billions of dollars a year…which could then be put to the same kind of uses the Governator says he wants to.

    And I’m not a high-falutin’ economist, just somebody who has to make ends meet.

  • BruceM

    Kinda funny that Mexico ended slavery long before the US did. Here in Texas, whenever anyone says “remember the Alamo!” I have to remind them that the Alamo was about nothing more than slavery. The Texans (or Texians as they were usually called back then) wanted to be independent from Mexico because Mexico had outlawed slavery but the US had not. Austin, Travis, Bowie, all those guys just wanted their god-given freedom to own black slaves. Remember the alamo my ass.

    At least they are only talking about sending illegal immigrants to mexico. It would be unconstitutional to send actual US citizens to a prison out of the country.

  • now if only all of the idiots trying to get “another medical marijuana state” would wake the fuck up.

  • DavesNotHere

    Jury Nullification is cool. Pass it on.

  • DdC

    Jury Nullification

    The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of
    the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a
    free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.
    — Lord Hailsham,
    former Chief Justice, “The Dilemma of Democracy”

  • DdC

    Battle of the Alamo

    Under President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government began to shift away from a federalist model. The increasingly dictatorial policies, including the revocation of the Constitution of 1824 in early 1835, incited many federalists to revolt. The Mexican border region Texas was largely populated by immigrants from the United States. These were accustomed to a federalist government and to extensive individual rights, and they were quite vocal in their displeasure at Mexico’s shift towards centralism. Already leery of previous American attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities blamed much of the Texian unrest on American immigrants, most of whom had made little effort to adapt to the Mexican culture.

    Must be lawyers lie so much they don’t remember what truth even is. Hope no one takes internet shysters serious. But I’m sure some prefer being told lies to being alone. Get to join in the conversation in spite of it being hogwash. Go King Henry!

  • Paul

    Kaptinemo:

    Makes sense to me. If elected governor, I am sure I would be a one termer–but what a term it would be!

    (Hold on a second, gotta take a toke. OK, here goes…)

    Imagine the joy of releasing all those drug prisoners! I would consolidate the prisons, or at least bring their populations down to normal, non crowded conditions, and fire tons of prison guards.

    Then, like Obama, I would escalate my outrageous schemes and declare bankruptcy in California, or a state of financial emergency, and go on such a firing spree that everyone would forget about the petty prison release thing.

    I would repudiate pensions that give 90% of the final year’s salary to cops (some of whom are getting 6 figure pensions for life!!) by simply refusing to sign the checks, or by unilaterally resetting the figures to something the state could afford.

    If the state budget office told me I couldn’t do these things, I would start firing and replacing people in that office until I found someone cooperative.

    The lawyers and the public unions would be howling for my blood, but I wouldn’t stop there! I would order the state police not to arrest for drug crimes, and I would fire any cop who disobeyed. If they refuse to be fired, I wouldn’t sign their checks!

    Mad with power now, I would slash every state agency that wasn’t doing something obviously beneficial for the state, like fixing bridges. I would slash taxes to a shadow of their former selves, veto any legislation that even looked like it could violate liberty, order the state police not to cooperate with federal authorities on drug matters, and get on TV and laugh at my numberless authoritarian opponents.

    Finally, I would draft a new state constitution that enshrined low taxes, a balanced budget, and broad freedom to do what you pleased so long as it harmed nobody else as key, unchangeable commandments. A glorious liberty document the likes of which haven’t been seen in this country since 1789!

    I would keep doing these things until either mobs of unionized ex-cops, DMV administrators and lawyers stormed the governor’s mansion and strung me up, or the nice young me in their clean white suits took me away to a rubber room!

    Ah! Feels good to get that out. Thank you, Drug War Rant!

  • Paul

    A bit off topic, here’s a link to an excellent article at Reason.com about the mind blowing evil of asset forfeiture laws.

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/26/the-forfeiture-racket

  • DavesNotHere

    Since Paul already went off topic with a useful link, I came across hours of drug reform entertainment at Book TV.

    The first I watched was Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice

    Some very good insights from the drug war perspective, and you’ve got a link to the author’s blog to the right also.

    The 2nd I watched was This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

    This one was good too. I didn’t know LSD has disappeared. One thing he said that stuck with me is that if Illinois and New York were to legalize medical marijuana, a majority of US House Reps would be representing districts that allows medical marijuana. That would be a good step to getting it off of Schedule 1.

  • kaptinemo

    OT: by now, everyone knows that President Obama has engaged in a domestic spending freeze. Well, here’s another example of how ‘money talks’.

    Of course, that doesn’t apply to military spending, some of which is slated for ‘anti-drug’ operations. But the domestic side should be of interest to us, as this move heralds an inevitable contraction of Federal spending, reflecting the reduced tax base from all those unemployed people. Who need money for life support right frakkin’ now.

    And that means that sooner or later, some hard questions will be asked in the public sphere as to just how much we can afford to continue spending on obviously wasteful programs such as those associated with the DrugWar.

    Another turn of the screw has quietly taken place. But it will have major ramifications for the reform community, as it gives us even more leverage, thanks to the tacit admission on the President’s part that this country must tighten its’ belt even further…and a couple major notches in that belt could be the DrugWar.

  • Ziggy

    Via Police One… this is what the brothers in arms think?

    Posted by rooster1963 on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 04:22 AM Pacific

    Sounds like the suspects (clowns) packaged the powder up to appear as drugs so it could be sold. Why remove the orginal bag and give it the appearance of a drug bag. TO SELL THE FAKE DRUGS. GOOD ARREST..GOOD COPS.

  • Hope

    People often buy snacks in large bags and put them in “snack” bags to save money, for lunches, and for children.

    It’s so wrong for people to be treated the way these men were treated.

    Our country has developed a vile monstrosity of governance.

  • BruceM

    kaptinemo: There won’t be any spending freezes on any gov’t programs that are based on one “logical” connection between itself and “protecting the children.” So no spending freezes on domestic drug warring. Drugs = bad for children. One logical connection (I realize it’s not logical in a factual sense).

    Whereas welfare spending cuts are two logical steps = Less welfare = less food = bad for children. That can be cut/reduced/whatever.

    We’ve redifined what nanny state actually means. The governemnt exists to literally look after “the children” … it’s amazing and disgusting.

  • aussidawg

    Bruce M:” Here in Texas, whenever anyone says “remember the Alamo!”

    Hey, you from Texas? I am too. As you well know, this state has some of the most draconian drug laws around (i.e. illegal clean needle exchanges.”

    I’m not a lawyer but practice a profession that deals heavily in law. If you care to join forces, I would love the chance to do more than I can now. I live in “Deep East Texas” and this area is a Bible thumping festival for those who love being led by authoritarians. If you care to join forces, I will give you my e-mail address and we can work together to help all of our oppressed fellow Texans who have a similar mindset.

  • aussidawg

    Paul:” I would order the state police not to arrest for drug crimes, and I would fire any cop who disobeyed. If they refuse to be fired, I wouldn’t sign their checks!”

    How about taking the D.E.A. and changing the name to the F.L.E.A. (Financial Law Enforcement Administration.) You, as head honcho, could insist that their tactics remain the same but are directed at the *REAL* criminals in our society (banksters and insurance companies) rather than those who simply choose an alternate method to alter their conscience.

    Just a suggestion mind you:)

  • DavesNotHere

    The biggest criminals in our society are politicians and government bureaucrats. Government transparency could certainly use a lot more attention than corruption enabling liberals give it in platitude false campaign promises.

  • aussidawg

    Yep. Notice the resistance to auditing the Fed. Hah…the best guvment money can buy.