My open letter to city and police officials of Ferguson, Missouri, and their supporters

The Ugly Truth

We, the public, can handle the truth. So far, it’s hard to tell what the truth is because you don’t appear to want to tell it or show it. One way or another, the truth is going to be ugly.

If Michael Brown was the aggressor, and police officer Darren Wilson was perfectly justified in his actions, so be it. Sometimes, cops have no reasonable alternative than to shoot to kill; it’s an unavoidable, ugly fact of life.

If Wilson overreacted to a situation or lost his composure and angrily executed the unarmed Brown in cold blood while acting as a police officer, it’s doubly ugly because we can’t tolerate cops doing such things.

Based on when and where Brown was killed, the fact Brown was unarmed, as well as the number of shots fired by Wilson and where those shots were targeted, the shooting doesn’t seem to be proper to many of us.

Regardless of whether racism motivated Wilson in this case, we want answers, even if they are ugly. So far, you have shrouded the truth, and that kind of behavior looks suspicious. We need to see ourselves in the mirror as a society and see our government officials with transparency.

Race Matters, And You Don’t Get It

The fact Brown was a young, Black male matters. To deny race matters in this situation and coyly express frustration about race always being an issue is a disingenuous position, at best. It matters because racism is still powerful in America, even if pointy white sheets and burning crosses are now almost universally condemned.

Even if you don’t believe racism motivated the shooting, look at events in Ferguson and try to justify why the people shouldn’t have their concerns addressed. Even if the protesters ultimately are proven unjustified, their actions make very clear one point: they are very upset, and race is a very important factor in their anger. Even if you are perfectly innocent, playing dumb about race is farcical.

The longer you take to address their concerns, the worse you make the situation.

Sometimes, racism finds life in the denials of racism and the dismissive, condescending attitude toward every claim of racism. When a White cop unleashes a hail of bullets into an unarmed, young Black man, the question of racism should be addressed fully. If the truth is ugly, let’s see it. If race had nothing to do with it, and Brown was a bloodthirsty thug bent on killing a cop for doing his job, we can handle that ugly truth.

The “Race Card”

Race-baiting and “playing the race card” does exist, too, and it is sometimes ridiculous. Grandstanding charlatans sometimes “cry wolf” about racism without a shred of proof or good cause. Their credibility is justifiably in the gutter.

Throwing your unquestioning support to the “other” side without a shred of proof or good cause is as bad or worse behavior. The “White” side isn’t always right any more than the “Black” side is. The race-baiter is a charlatan. What’s your excuse for doing the same?

We may not want to admit it as a nation, but racism is absolutely a daily force in life, and young, Black males bear a disproportionate burden of that racism. If you deny it, your credibility is poor to non-existent.

The Shooting Itself

Shooting any man is ugly enough.  Shooting a man repeatedly is uglier. Shooting an unarmed man looks even worse.  Shooting an unarmed man repeatedly looks atrocious. For a police officer to discharge his pistol into an unarmed man to the tune of “at least six times”, including twice in the head, seems clearly excessive. Why was it necessary to shoot for his head? Why twice? Why didn’t Wilson shoot Brown several times in his legs instead? Was there good reason for Wilson’s actions? We still don’t know. It appears you don’t want us to know.

The circumstances leading up to the shooting are hotly debated by everyone. Regretfully, the debaters are largely arguing in a vacuum because YOU have not seen fit to tell them the truth.

Treatment of Brown’s Corpse

Leaving Brown’s dead body on public display in the street for four hours in summer heat looks extremely callous and indifferent to his human dignity. Humans in this country are rarely treated in such situations, and the fact no one in a position of authority or responsibility seemed to have the notion to remove the body is deeply offensive to many of those who are upset.

Your failure to treat Brown’s body with any reasonable degree of respect for his humanity tells many of us you have a pervasive, perhaps universal, disregard for the humanity of those you police. You happen to police a largely Black populace. You have regularly denied race was a factor, but it is hard to believe. Why should we believe your words when your behavior speaks volumes?

If you want those you police to have respect for you, earn it.

Propaganda On Your Part

Instead of dealing directly with the shooting and surrounding circumstances, you initially tried to assassinate Brown’s reputation and character by releasing a video which clearly implied Brown was a thug who got what he deserved. The implication was Wilson’s actions were affected by what was on the video.

When the truth surfaced shortly thereafter, your intent was exposed. Your innocuous explanation rang hollow, to put it kindly. The video showed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the shooting. You left the public with the question of why you chose to release that video, while simultaneously refusing to disclose virtually anything else. It was character assassination, pure and simple, and it was a vicious, deceptive effort to poison public opinion against Brown.

Releasing selective information favorable to your position is obviously calculated to undermine protesters’ concerns and adds gasoline to the fire because you make it clear you are unsympathetic and even hostile to their concerns. You seem to be doing your best to light a powder keg of discontent and prove it to be justified.

Before you knew the facts, you took the side of Wilson and actively demonstrated you could not be trusted. You showed your intent had nothing to do with telling the truth.

To play this propaganda game makes you look dirty and guilty, and it breeds contempt and mistrust.

You Actively Tried to Cover Up What You Were Doing About The Protests

It wasn’t bad enough for you to treat civilian protesters to a military-style show of force, as if they were an invading army; you had to compound your ill-advised decisions.

Uniformed, badged goons roughed up members of the press, specifically targeting them for assault, despite absolutely no cause.   Astonishingly, you did even worse.

After fighting to keep public records out of the hands of the public, some of those records give us an idea why you resisted as much as you did. Your own records now reveal your fervent desire to keep media helicopters from documenting your overreaction to protesters. The records document the fact you resorted to trickery to manipulate Federal authorities into helping you cover your tracks. Even if you were not doing something sinister, you are convincing in the part of villain.

Tell The Truth – FINALLY

I am familiar with how grand juries work, and it is easy for prosecutors to indict people, and it is often done promptly. The grand jury is tasked with finding probable cause, not beyond a reasonable doubt. If it takes the grand jury three months to find as little as probable cause, how can a jury at trial ever possibly find Wilson guilty, since the burden of proof is much greater?

Is there any evidence to charge Wilson with a crime? Is there evidence he clearly acted in a lawful manner?

I don’t know what the grand jury is reviewing, but probable cause, if it exists, should have been established by now, if it ever will be. If that’s the truth, SHOW US WHY. To drag it out all these months makes me think the grand jury has enough evidence to charge Wilson, but they are agonizingly attempting to find a way to avoid charging him.

Whatever happens, make it transparent. Hide nothing. We can handle the truth, even if it’s ugly.

http://www.kingsvillelawyer.com

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Posted in Criminal Justice, Excessive Force, Justice, Liberty, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TRUE STORY – Judge puts blame on dead 14-year old rape victim

A judge blamed a 14-year old rape victim, saying she looked older than her age, for being “as much in control of the situation” as her 47-year old rapist. He then proceeded to sentence the rapist to 30 DAYS in jail, rather than 15 years.

 Two years earlier, the victim had killed herself because of the shame and ostracism the situation created in her community, a fact the judge knew and considered before the sentence.  The judge is still ruling on cases to this day.  The judge noted this was not a violent rape which involved the rapist beating up the child.

This event recently happened in New Dehli, India, and it was almost identical to several situations in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It’s about time the US stepped in and taught these God-forsaken cesspools of humanity how a “Christian nation” administers real justice for women.  We in America wouldn’t tolerate such outrageous conduct by a judge, nor would we condone the rape of a 14-year old girl because it was her fault.

Actually, what you have just read is only partially true. The story itself is true.

Where it happened may shock you.  It happened in the good ol’ U. S. of A., namely in Montana.  (Regrettably, the judge was educated in Texas.) See the story for yourself.

Lately, I have seen a lot of justifiable upset with archaic, barbaric treatment of women abroad.  Tolerance of such outrageous conduct is blamed on non-Christian religions and non-American cultures, but I see no moral superiority in our supposedly “Christian” nation which allows this judge to continue his “service”. How can this situation exist in a rational, civilized, modern, Western, “Christian” environment and not be rectified by banning this judge from hearing cases?  Public confidence in law and the judiciary demands prompt change.

We Americans routinely call Muslims and Indians backwards and primitive for this kind of behavior. Are we truly better? We tolerate injustice regularly, and we turn a blind eye to the daily outrages occurring throughout our country, such as acts committed by government officials following their own agendas or morally bankrupt official policies, and police brutalizing and killing our own people.

Recently, police in Corpus Christi, Texas, brutalized a compliant, flat-on-his-back, calm, motionless, handcuffed murder suspect.  Despite surrendering, laying down his weapon, placing himself on the ground and doing everything he was told, his face was repeatedly kicked and his head kneed.  A cop even had the audacity of accusing him of resisting.  When he was dragged toward the police car, his head, defenseless, was smashed into the front of the squad car.  Watch the video.

Many social media comments demonstrate not only approval, but happiness over his treatment, that he deserved no better, that he was not human, that he was lucky it wasn’t worse.  How many of those who commented would be thrilled to throw the first stone?

News of the suspect, who was a long-time sufferer of mental illness, hanging himself in his jail cell was met with similar disdainful diatribes about how great and fabulous it was. How are those attitudes any better than those we routinely find outrageous?  The vast majority of the commenters are presumptively Christian, a religion of “peace” and “love”.

We need to look in the mirror as a society. We need to see what is wrong with us and be unwilling to tolerate inhumanity and abuse, especially when committed by those in authority.

In my opinion, the judge in question should have at least enough decency to resign, but that would be too much to expect from someone with the attitudes and beliefs he apparently has.  He doesn’t understand how backwards and primitive he is.  Other authorities must step in and do what’s right, or they have no greater claim to justice or good government than the judge.

What was the official response by the Montana Supreme Court? The Court publicly criticized the offending judge and suspended him for 31 days more than 18 months after his misconduct, many of which will be during holidays and during which he will likely take vacation.  The high court also ordered the rapist to be re-sentenced by a different judge. See link.

I am thoroughly in support of judges doing extremely unpopular things when doing the right thing requires it.  Sometimes, judges must release people they know to be violent criminals, but laws may prevent punishment.  However, this is an example of a judge who has no business being a judge, wielding the awesome power of government.

It’s a bigger issue than this one case. It’s time we owned up to our own shortcomings and started acting rationally and in accordance to what we say we believe and who we say we are.

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Indigent Defense and Wrongful Convictions

Why are criminal defense lawyers letting so many innocent people get convicted?

That was a question posted by a non-lawyer in an online forum of criminal defense attorneys. Specifically, the asker criticized court-appointed lawyers and claimed to base the question upon numerous news stories of innocent people being released from prison.

My initial thought was how ironic it was the questioner didn’t seem to look at any other factor as a cause, as if the defense is the only thing in our criminal “justice” system. The tone of the question was a broad, sweeping indictment of criminal defense attorneys being responsible for the problem.

On one hand, I understand many wrongful convictions are due to inadequate lawyering, and most cases involving criminal defense lawyers are court-appointed, at least in Texas. Percentages alone almost dictate a large portion of wrongful convictions are handled by court-appointed lawyers.

I found it doubly ironic on a number of levels to ask defense attorneys the question. Why not ask cops why innocent people are even being accused in the first place? Why not ask prosecutors why they are prosecuting innocent people the cops wrongfully arrested? Why are judges and juries convicting innocent people?

Instead, the asker squarely placed the blame on criminal defense attorneys.

The problem of wrongful convictions is systemic, not the purview of only one segment of the system. It is undeniable criminal defense attorneys need to do a better job. However, that alone will not address the issue.

One major change which would help would be to pay court-appointed criminal defense lawyers more money. Unfortunately, counties are constantly trying to lower those costs.

Put yourself in the shoes of a court-appointed attorney whose practice primarily consists of those cases. You are self-employed as a solo practitioner or in a small firm and pay all of your expenses out of your own pocket. The court pays you a few hundred dollars per case, even for felonies. Misdemeanors may be $100-$200 per case.

What does that mean? You pay your staff, your office space, your internet connection, your office phone, your long-distance, your mobile phone, your professional subscriptions, your required continuing education, your travel, your office supplies, your office equipment, your utilities, your case management system, your website, your business cards, your postage, and countless other expenses necessary to your business. If you have an investigator, you have a luxury few can afford.

Let’s generously assume you are paid $350 per case. Let’s assume 250 business days in a year. Let’s further assume you take one case per day. That amounts to $87,500, which doesn’t sound awful. However, take into account all the expenses you have, plus your $500-$1,000 per month student loan, and you may be struggling to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Meanwhile, the police budgets swell every year, and they spend as much time on cases as they deem necessary. Prosecutors’ budgets typically increase, as well.

Prosecutors have investigators, support staff, expert witnesses available in any case they choose, exemption from court fees, and the cooperation of virtually all governmental entities at no cost. Prosecutors may not be paid especially well, but they don’t have to concern themselves with running a business and having to cut corners.

Judges often scrutinize billing by court-appointed counsel and flatly refuse to pay for time spent on the case the judges deem unnecessary or excessive. Asking for help with experts and investigators is frowned upon and limited. Not all judges are unreasonable about expending funds, but they all must work within the parameters of budgets they are provided.

Now, ask yourself, as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney, how in the world can you afford to give a great deal of time and attention to each and every case? The answer is obvious.

Changes must be made to how counsel is provided for indigent defendants. Texas is taking some baby steps, at least.

The problems of using court-appointed criminal defense as a model for indigent defense are so numerous and massive, the simple fact is a major overhaul of the ENTIRE system is required, including a dramatic shift in the attitudes of all parties involved.

For an interesting look into the problem on a wide scale, take a look at the following article. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/public-defenders-gideon-supreme-court-charts

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Yes, Fighting Back Against Rogue Cops is Legal In Texas

Authorities routinely sweep excessive force by police under the rug and slap the wrists of rogue cops.  Inexcusable brutality is frequently ignored and officially supported.  Blatant disregard for people’s rights and safety by police themselves have fostered a deteriorating hierarchy of societal structure.

Internet exposure of routine abuse committed by police throughout the United States has removed the shroud which has hidden the bullying epidemic of violence for scores of years.  The discussion is no longer whether there is a serious problem with police brutality; the proof is overwhelming.

A growing trend of people, especially young males, have become openly hostile and disrespectful of police.  Contempt for police is growing by the day.  I believe much of the distrust is due to frequent acts of unnecessary violence by police, which as been steeped into the common experience of many young people.

While I don’t consider myself an anarchist, I see the potential for a justifiable civil disturbance by a substantial minority, including not backing down from physical confrontations with police.

Those who feel most marginalized, the least protected under law, and the most victimized by police are most likely to be in the group which I believe will soon begin to offer actual violent resistance against police.

This development is regretful because we wish police universally behaved or, at the very least, policed themselves.  Nonetheless, when police on the street themselves refuse to follow law, all respect for law is reduced, and the rule of law effectively becomes a farce.

When police supervisors, administrators, and elected politicians holding authority over police condone misbehavior and excessive violence by police, respect for law and all governmental authority quite reasonably diminishes.

Growing animosity and unrest over police use of excessive force is percolating and may soon reach a boil in some areas.

The irony is the Texas Legislature has in place a statute which allows individuals to physically defend themselves from violently overzealous police officers.  In fact, Texas law even authorizes the use of deadly force against others in defense of self and of others.  Police are not exempted from this provision.*

The trend of increasingly, unnecessarily violent police acts may spawn cases which test the boundaries and definitions of how far a private citizen may go to protect himself against the very law enforcement officers who supposedly are employed to “protect” the private citizen.
Look for an increase in arrests for criminal offenses like “Resisting Arrest” and “Assault on a Public Servant” over the next few years; those two charges have been some of the flimsiest charges I have seen since I became a lawyer, and those charges seem to be favorites of cops who are most likely to abuse those they arrest.

I look forward to defending clients who find themselves forced to defend themselves against those who are supposed to protect us.

*Texas Penal Code, Sections 9.31, 9.32, & 9.33.

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BE ON YOUR GUARD WITH COPS

You are suspect

Whenever you come into contact with police, you are face to face with a hyper-sensitive, suspicion-seeking machine.  Virtually everyone and everything which comes before a cop is immediately mentally screened and scoured for any possibility of crime.

Admittedly, this behavior by cops can be a good thing because it can sniff out crime.  All too often, though, innocent people find themselves in the cross-hairs of cops’ suspicion rifles.  So-called “Officer Friendly” types are no exception to this truth.  Stay off cops’ suspicion radar as much as possible.  The easiest way to do this is simply avoid unnecessary contact with police.  Whenever you come into contact with police, understand they could be helpful to you, but they often have no idea how to evaluate you, and their default mode of behavior is to be overly suspicious.

Sometimes, of course, you may call police for help or to file a report.  Let cops do their job, which is important, and cooperate to the extent they serve your need, but be on your guard.  Whatever you say can be used against you, and you may be unaware you are under growing suspicion of some unknown crime.

Innocent circumstances create suspicion  

Many people scoff at what I just wrote.  Experience shows it happens frequently.  How could this happen?

Imagine you are speaking with a cop at the scene of a minor car accident in which you were a driver.

You get a little nervous or excited from the circumstances, resulting in you mixing up your words or story, perhaps mistaking the exact route you were taking or misstating a street you used.  While you are talking to the cop, you are thoroughly worried because you are driving your brother’s car, the same brother who is letting you live with him while you are unemployed.  You fear he may decide to kick you out of his home.  You never mention this to the cop because it has nothing to do with the accident.

The cop notices you seem overly nervous or distraught for a fender bender and what you said is not quite right, but he doesn’t say anything to you about his observations.  His ears are perked, and his mental eyebrow is lifted, however.

Telling the truth isn’t good enough

Suppose the cop then speaks with the passenger in your car, and what the cop hears is not quite consistent with what you said.  You nervously told the cop you were just now headed to the grocery store, but your passenger tells the cop you were headed to a friend’s house.  The cop has already noticed some bagged groceries in the back seat of your car.  His vague suspicion about you has just spread to both of you, and you both seem to him to be lying.   Of course, why would you be lying, if you didn’t have something to hide?

You and your passenger know it’s not an actual inconsistency because you were going to stop at the grocery store for a large container of nacho cheese for watching the game at your friend’s house, and your pantry already had some of the snacks you wanted for the game, and you used plastic grocery store bags to tote them with you.  You know the source of your nervous behavior, and it has nothing to do with criminal activity.

Nonetheless, it is common for a cop to suspect either or both of you of some as-yet-undefined crime because you seem to him to have something to hide. You still don’t even know you are under any suspicion.

Cops are just doing what they do

The cop has already determined your comments and behavior as a “red flag” which needs further investigation.  You may hear some strange questions or hear a seemingly innocuous request to look in your car.  You may not be aware of it at that point, but you are under suspicion of criminal activity.

Most people don’t realize cops often lie as part of their jobs, and they can legally lie to you.  In this example, the cop feels justified in lying because you are clearly up to something.

For example, the cop may come back to you and tell you a lie calculated to get you to volunteer to a search; he may say your passenger told him you were smoking marijuana just before your accident and simply wait for your response.  He may be bold enough to reveal to you he noticed how overly nervous you were and the other observations which make you look awfully suspicious to him.  You are not in custody (YET!), and he hasn’t even asked to search, but the cop knows even guilty people voluntarily give consent to search.  He might even put you in handcuffs “for his safety” as he investigates your suspicious behavior.

(To make this story worse, suppose, unbeknownst to you, your brother has a tiny bag of marijuana under the driver’s seat, which was within inches of your reach, and you wind up being arrested for something you didn’t do.)

Your rights are in your hands: Protect them, Lawyer Up

We criminal defense lawyers see this sort of thing happen more often than you might think.

I’ll repeat what I wrote: Let cops do their job, which is important, and cooperate to the extent they serve your need, but be on your guard.

Limit unnecessary encounters with police and be on your guard whenever you must have a police encounter.  Do not consent to searches, do not give statements, do not take police encounters lightly.  Be ready to invoke your right to consult with an attorney at any point, whether you are in custody or free to leave.  You need to be assertive and specifically say you want to remain silent, and say you want to talk to your attorney.

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Good Cops and Good Prosecutors

So far on this blog, I’ve pointed out some awful behavior by cops and prosecutors.  However, there is more to the story.  Most cops and prosecutors don’t fall into the category of “bad”.

I’ve been a lawyer almost 20 years, and I’ve dealt with many prosecutors while representing defendants.  My personal experience with those prosecutors has been almost entirely the opposite of the miscreants I’ve discussed as bad examples.  The vast majority of prosecutors I’ve encountered have been conscientious, honest, and try to do the job in the manner they should.

My upset with prosecutors who abuse or otherwise misuse the governmental power they wield should not be thought of as an accusation against all prosecutors.

The same consideration applies to cops I have personally encountered.  I know my encounters are not typical, compared to the general population.  Regardless, whenever you read of my disgust with police misconduct, it shouldn’t be taken as an accusation all cops are guilty by association.  

By way of example, I had a personal encounter with a police officer last night, and he conducted himself in a genial, respectful manner.  He was investigating what appeared to be a shoplifting ring operating in the area, and one of his leads pointed in the direction of an innocent person.  He did his job in bitter cold and darkness, likely knowing he wouldn’t find anything useful to solve the crime.  Nonetheless, the lead had to be investigated, and it gave him the opportunity to return a small stolen item, a license plate.  He did nothing heavy-handed or unnecessary.  He just did his job.  Kudos to him.  By the way, his name is Stanley R. Kauffman.

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OVERZEALOUSNESS LEADS TO ABUSIVE OVERCHARGING

OVERZEALOUSNESS LEADS TO ABUSIVE OVERCHARGING

Cops have extraordinary power to arrest us without warrants and charge us with an array of offenses, which is a huge reason why restraining them is absolutely critical to freedom.

A common abusive practice is overcharging people who are arrested. Two common ways to overcharge: 1) choosing the highest level offense imaginable, rather than the one which most accurately fits the facts; and 2) “Piling on”, which is what I call the practice of taking the same scenario and charging it several different ways, even if it really doesn’t fit the facts, or even if the charges are not consistent.

Overcharging is devastating for numerous reasons. It determines how the jail initially treats the accused, the pre-trial supervision of the accused, conditions of bail, how much the accused has to post for bail, how media may publicize the event, and how the prosecutor initially views the accused.

The accused’s criminal record also retains the charges, even if the charges are all later dismissed. The accused must go through an expensive process to fix this problem, and he may have to wait for years for the opportunity to start fixing it.

Higher bail usually means the accused must pay a “bail bondsman”, or surety, much more money to secure release from jail. The money paid to the surety can be many THOUSANDS of dollars, and it is NOT refunded, even if the case is completely dismissed.

Allow me to offer an example of overcharging.

A cop sees a car slowly weaving down the road at 2:30 a.m.. The cop turns on emergency lights to pull over the car. Instead of immediately pulling over, the driver continues a hundred yards down the road, then gradually parks partially on the shoulder, yet not completely out of the traffic lane.

Upon contacting the driver, it is immediately obvious to the officer the driver is extremely intoxicated, even to the point the driver vomits, moves very slowly, is extremely disoriented, and can barely stay awake. The driver is physically incapable of hurting the cop. Surely, the driver should be arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, which is usually a misdemeanor.

However, when the officer tells the driver to turn around because he is under arrest for DWI, the driver is reluctant and slow about obeying, even calling the cop a vulgar, offensive name. The cop reaches for the driver’s wrist, so as to turn around the driver to be handcuffed, and the driver groggily pushes away the cop’s hand, mumbling “you’re gonna pay for this.” The cop proceeds to arrest the driver and takes him to jail.

So, what do you expect to be charged?

DWI? That’s obvious. A traffic ticket? Probably not, since it’s usually not done, but it might happen. Resisting arrest? Maybe, but that’s a stretch.

What you might not expect are some other charges, including multiple felonies. Felony Evading Arrest in a Motor Vehicle is charged for not immediately pulling over when signaled. Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer for pushing away cop’s hand. Retaliation for saying, “you’re gonna pay for this.” Just for good measure, the cop charges more misdemeanors: Resisting Arrest and Obstructing a Highway (since the car wasn’t parked completely on the shoulder).

If the cop charges the driver with a misdemeanor DWI, it would likely lead to the driver’s release after a few hours for a few hundred dollars bail. He still faces the prospect of attorney fees, losing his driver’s license, fines, court costs, increased insurance cost, so he’s not happy. In the meantime, he goes back to home to his family, goes back to work, and tries to get the money together to deal with the mess.

If the cop charges the other offenses, the driver may sober up the a terrifying reality. Bail for the charges are as follows: 1) $25,000 for assaulting a cop; 2) $25,000 for evading arrest in a car; 3) $20,000 for retaliation “threats”; 4) $1,000 for resisting; 5) $500 for DWI; and 6) $500 for obstructing a highway. Now, the driver’s required bail to be released is $72,000. If the driver doesn’t happen to have $72,000 in cash, he has to hire a surety. To pay a surety, he may have to find a way to get $10,000 CASH. This is money he’ll NEVER recover, and he still has yet to pay the price for his offense.

Even if the prosecutor dismisses every felony charge a few weeks later, the $10,000 is gone forever. The driver still has multiple felony arrests on his record, and it may be several years before he has the right to file a lawsuit, at the cost of thousands of dollars more, to get them off his record.

The driver could be even more abused, in the event the prosecutor chooses to prosecute the ridiculous felony charges. Why would a prosecutor do such a thing? Easy… When a defendant has very serious charges against him, offering to dismiss those charges is valuable in plea bargaining.

Police should not be able to decide solely on their own opinions, what charges should be leveled. A trained magistrate should review what occurred before an official charge is filed. We cannot allow unfettered abuse to continue.

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