Lessons in how NOT to make a drug arrest

LAKE ORION, Mich. (AP) — Police in suburban Detroit said they made the right decision to use a 14-year-old boy last month in a sting to bust a suspected drug dealer.

They did not.

Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh said such cases involving children are rare, but that the matter was handled appropriately and that the teen wasn’t at risk.

Right. So, they’ve made a determination that this guy that they just needed off the streets so badly that they used a 14 year old to arrest him is NOT going to be a risk to this kid when he gets out of jail? Or, do you just mean that the kid was able to walk up to the guy and buy marijuana with no issues? Huge difference when talking risk, y’know?

At the core of this issue is that police did not take the time to weigh the consequences of their actions. This is evidenced by saying that the teen was not at risk.

“We had a situation where the man next door had been trying for months to sell marijuana to this teenager and he (the boy) told his mother who went to us for help,” Narsh said. “Since we believe he was targeting teenagers, the only way to get him off the street was to arrange a buy.”

They employ an interesting definition of the word “only” out in Lake Orion, I see. I don’t profess to be a police officer or know the best maneuvers that police can make. But, this is awful police work and everyone involved should be embarrassed.

He noted that 17-year-olds participate in stings for illegal tobacco sales and 19-year-olds are involved in stings targeting illegal alcohol sales.

This strikes me as maybe the most ridiculous aspect of this. Oh, so, they sent the kid into an established business that maybe was breaking some rules? Not at all. There’s a difference between drugs being sold from random homes and alcohol being sold in an established building.

Later, they say that the guy they arrested was a “monster.” I mean, monster’s aren’t known for their retribution or anything, are they?

But, seriously, lets not pretend that this is a situation that a 14 year old should be tossed into just because police think they’ve minimized his risk. Anyone who thinks confidential informants and cooperators aren’t at risk simply because they have police monitoring their moves should read this article from the New Yorker.

We do a lot of poor things in the “war on drugs.” I don’t want to turn this into a rant about the ways in which law enforcement has failed society, but, just that we do a disservice to everyone in society when we put our young people at risk. Not just a 14-year-old as in this situation, but, when we use college-aged kids in this confidential informant situations. The New Yorker article above mentions a story of a 19-year old in Detroit. Arrested for a small amount of marijuana. Killed for then setting up the person who had sold her the marijuana.

Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the criminal case, said it didn’t approve of the tactic.

Credit to their Office for making this decision.

But, wait! The Lake Orion police are not done, they are about to double down on their flawed logic:

“I’ve had a case in our town where a 12-year-old was snorting heroin,” Narsh said. “Here you have a situation where someone is approaching potential teenage customers. It’s a sad reality but we have to devise ways to deal with it and stop it.”

No one is saying “don’t devise a way to deal with it and stop it.”

I think the response is going to be more on the line of, “hey, don’t devise the laziest way possible to deal with it and stop it.”

Because, hey, why take time to make a case against the guy without using a 14 year old, when you have a 14 year old ready to get his Serpico on, right? Shameful.

Bank Robberies Weaken Legs

If you’re a boxer that struggles to win fights, you’re going to need a second income in this economy. According to the FBI, Martin Tucker chose bank robbery for that second career.

And, he almost got away with it. Well, did get away with it for something like three years. But, eventually the FBI caught up with Tucker. Really, you need to give some serious credit to the navy blue windbreakers on this one.

According to The Detroit News, Tucker handled himself well in the fight. A four round bout, Tucker secured the victory in his hometown. But, it wasn’t all positive for Tucker. He suffered a bloody nose in the fight. This played right into the hands of the FBI special agent who was savvy enough to realize two dudes hitting each other in the face in what I’d imagine was a dingy smoke filled Toledo fight club might produce some DNA.

The nose bleed was stopped with a q-tip and that q-tip was tossed aside without much care for the Robbery of a Monroe County Credit Union in 2009. The FBI agent picked it up and…boom, roasted.

brought the swab to an FBI lab that matched its DNA to genetic material from a black mask worn by one of the robbers, according to a criminal complaint.

Tucker, 32, of Toledo was arrested Tuesday and charged with robbing a bank and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

And, now you also know why Ben Affleck was dousing chemicals all over the bank and burning getaway cars in The Town.

Things you Shouldn’t Do While Cooking Meth in a Wal-Mart

It’s a short list, because most people, when they ask themselves the question, should I cook this meth in a Wal-Mart, the answer is decidedly no. But, the list has to exist for a reason. On that list?

  1. Don’t shoplift while Cooking Meth in a Wal-Mart

That is the extent of the list. However, a woman in South St. Louis County apparently did not adhere to that rule.

A customer cooking a so-called “one pot” batch of methamphetamine inside a pop (*Editor’s Note: Soda, fool*) bottle in her purse caused the Thursday night evacuation of the South County Walmart store.

The woman was caught shoplifting an item unrelated to meth-making when store security and then police discovered the 20-ounce bottle, St. Louis County police Lt. Mark Cox said.

I had no idea you could cook meth in a 20-ounce bottle. But, I haven’t watched nearly enough Breaking Bad.

I guess the convenience of cooking meth in a Coca-Cola bottle makes sense these days. What, with people always on the go, who wants to cook meth in their basement and deal with having to clean that mess up? In a society where Twitter has become King, of course Meth is going to become portable.

“There are lots of one-pot cooks,” Cox said. “But taking it into Walmart is very unusual.”

Lets just go ahead and add the words, “that I know of.” to the end of that sentence, Mr. Cox.

Cox said it did not appear the woman was trying to steal any of the ingredients used in the meth-making process and did not begin making the concoction inside the store.

This is really the best part of the story. She got stopped stealing just random goods. But, I guess on the bright side the woman was extremely confident in her ability to Retail Fraud.

Hey Lions Fans, Don’t do this Next Season

The Detroit Lions will make the playoffs next year. They are a Franchise on the rise, and, hey, as long as they have Calvin Johnson, they’re going to scare some folks.

Speaking of trying to scare some folks:

The Saints were pulling away in the second half of a Jan. 7 wild card playoff game when stadium officials received a call from a man who said, “I will blow up your building.”

Simple.

Yes, this man, a Shawn Payton of Jackson, Michigan, called the SuperDome…excuse me, the MERCEDES BENZ Superdome and did this number. But, wait, there’s more:

the Superdome took another call: “Hi, I want you to relay a message to the sideline. If your stupid Southern team keeps winning, there will be reper…severe consequences. OK?” said the voice on the phone.

Good job representing Michigan by not even knowing how to pronounce the word “repercussions,” pal. Although, to be fair, Stupid Southern Team is a better team name than the Saints.

Relax, folks, this story does have a fairytale ending…

…If by fairytale ending you mean pleading guilty to a felony count of transmitting threats to injure in interstate communications, which holds a maximum penalty of five years and/or $250,000 fine. Oh, and the Lions still lost, unfortunately.

From time to time, I do get frustrated and go off without meaning it, ” he said.

Here’s the thing, I’m guessing the Court will be rather lenient with this guy and he’ll get some kind of probation and anger management, and maybe a recommendation to purchase a stress ball. But, when Roger Goodell gets a hold of him? Watch out!

Amazingly, this guy is still less of an embarrassment to the Lions than Matt Millen.

It’s not really an easy crime if you get caught…

Interviewer: Do you have any remorse about stealing from a 9-year old girl?

Thief: Right now, no. Because, I’m kinda pissed. Because I have charges…and, we had to give the money back anyway.

Wow.

Two girls steal money from Girl Scout’s. Why? Because they wanted money. And, they thought it would be an easy crime. Get caught. Then, they give an interview where they are rather upset that they had to give back the money they stole AND also have criminal charges.

The second girl also seems rather jealous that the Girl Scout’s are now selling sympathy cookies.

The lesson learned? “Probably not to get caught…or, MAYBE, not to steal.”

The best part about this? These girls who were so desperate for money that they took down a 9-year old like she was Andy Garcia’s Casino in Ocean’s 11 give an interview while each sipping on some kind of frozen Starbucks drink that undoubtedly has to cost like 8 dollars.

NBCs The Firm: Review

I wanted to wait a bit before writing this review just to get a better sense of what NBCs The Firm will try to be. At this point, I’ve seen the two hour pilot and the following episode, so, I’m not quite caught up, but, I’ve got the time to write.

There are two main choices in show direction I wanted to talk about. One good, one, well, somewhat on the confusing side.

I’ll start first with what appears to be the general format of the show, which I like.

Continue reading

Lansing State Journal News Article on East Lansing Veterans Court

There’s not much I can add to this news article on the 54-B District Court in East Lansing Veterans Court program. So, I’m basically just passing along the link to anyone who should happen to stumble across this page. The article is a worthwhile look at the Veterans Court.

I don’t have personal experience with the Veterans Court, yet, but, any time you have a court that can specialize in the needs of a certain aspect of the criminal justice system, it’s a good thing. Especially when you’re talking abut something as important as giving a fair chance to our Veterans that might find themselves tangled up in the Court System. Recognizing the different circumstances of those that come in contact with the court system is a step in a positive direction.

“Here’s a guy who (lost an eye) — on our behalf,” Jordon said. “His sacrifice for us merited us doing something for him. Not just cutting him a deal.”

But at the time, Jordon added: “I just didn’t know what to do for him. I didn’t have a plan, a system.”

That has changed.

Jordon, a judge in East Lansing’s 54B District Court, now heads one of the five court programs in the state that focus on treating veterans. Nationwide, there are about 80.

For the rest of the article, again, here’s the link.