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.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Movie Review

Even if you don’t watch a lot of movies, the twists in this movie will still bore you and come off as cheesy. Seriously, even if the only movie you’ve ever seen is The Lion King, you will still watch these twists unfold and register zero shock.

Probably not the intention they were going for, but, that’s Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. A remake of a film from the 50s. You have a District Attorney who has rattled off a string of murder convictions. A number so high that he is well beyond “He’s On Fire!” territory in NBA Jam. He’s a good District Attorney, is what they’re trying to establish with that (and a really cheesy closing statement line that the lead character eats up). But, wait! There’s more. A reporter has “uncovered” that the District Attorney, played by Michael Douglas in a role so brutal that undoubtedly had to make Douglas wonder what it would be like if he brought his Falling Down role to reality, is planting DNA/forensic/CSI! evidence on crime scenes that consist of otherwise circumstantial evidence. The reporter, played by some dude I’ve never heard of, seeks to bring him down based on very little evidence that they reveal to the audience. How does he have to do this? Well, of course he has to find a murder, and then plant circumstantial evidence that HE, the reporter, committed the murder, then wait for the DA to plant forensic evidence.

Of course.

The concept more or less only works as a comedy, yet, this was trying to pull off a Thriller.

Orlando Jones provides the strongest performance. That’s about all the positive I can say about this film. Amber Tamblyn appeared to be comfortably rested in her scenes, possibly taking naps while actually filming the scenes as they were so tepid, would be the next most positive thing.

Here’s the best part of this film. And by best, I mean “the thing I googled and laughed about the most” while watching. The main character is doing a news story for TV on the DAs alleged transgressions in order to win a Pulitzer Prize. The wikipedia page for the Pulitzer Prize says the following, “The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition.”

Click Read More if you want the rest of the review, but, be warned, it contains SPOILERS. As frankly, this movie is so bad that the only way I can handle writing about it is by covering the spoilers.

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Great Moments in (fictional) Courtroom History

I’m going to try and run one of these every Friday morning. Straight forward, whatever I can find on YouTube that I enjoy, to fit in with the talk we’ll have here about legal moments in the movies, TV and more.

Love this scene, love the show. Omar testifying against Bird from Season Two of The Wire. The Wire is the best show I’ve seen in handling legal affairs. Omar may take a cynical outlook on the legal system, but, with what his character has seen in his life, why wouldn’t he? And when it comes to Maurice Levy? He’s spot on. More Omar goodness when you hit read more.

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OJ Simpson to confess…to Oprah?

For most people, I assume they are quick to tune out when OJ Simpson’s name comes up. I, on the other hand, am not afraid to admit that the OJ Simpson trial was likely the point where I decided I wanted to become an attorney. Combining that trial with a natural thought process that everyone accused of a crime has a right to a fair trial is in large part why I am where I am today.

Saying that never really sounds comfortable. To most, OJ Simpson is just a murderer who got away with it. To me, as a criminal defense attorney, one of the things you learn is that one should not have that sort of amazing defense only when they are rich. Everyone should have someone in their corner willing to fight for them. So, for better or for worse, the OJ Simpson saga had a huge impact on my life.

To the news…A publication in the UK is reporting that OJ Simpson is going to confess to killing Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. And, he’s going to give that confession to…OPRAH.

Didn’t Oprah retire from her TV show? Is she going to bring the show back for one night only? Ok, maybe those aren’t the big questions regarding this news, but, part of me has to wonder whether OJ isn’t just messing with Oprah.

According to the article in the Daily Mail, Simpson claims that the killings were done in Self-Defense. Apparently, Oprah was working on the Juice for a year to get him to cold break down and make this revelation. With OJ saying the killings were done in self-defense, they probably won’t provide closure to the matter, either. But, as an attorney, what is interesting to note is that if you were to take the huge leap of faith and decide to believe Simpson, that he acted in self-defense, it illustrates a lot of the decision making that goes in to trial strategy. Off the top of my head, and trying to remember to when I was 14 years old, self-defense was not presented by the defense. Glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit, most certainly was, however.

We often hear of trials as a search for truth. That’s probably just someone saying something to make themselves try and sound good. The Simpson case, no matter where you fall on the matter, illustrates that trials are not a search for truth. They are a search for winning, because both sides need to fight for their side and believe in their side. The Simpson case can also show that guilty people go free (irregardless of your opinion on Juice), but, within that, you have to remember that the flip side of that coin is that the same can happen with innocent people being found guilty.

In the end, the Juice is likely starved for attention and there probably isn’t much to take away from this, but, it is undeniable that the Trial affected a lot of people. Even if just as spectators, and, an interview confession would be a huge spectacle as well.