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5th Amendment Shredded
November 25, 2002 8:58 AM   Subscribe

You Have The Right To Remain Silent
or...maybe not...
Police can hold people in custody and force them to talk, so long as their incriminating statements are not used to prosecute them, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Theodore B. Olson and Michael Chertoff, the chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, say in their brief to the court. It "will chill legitimate law enforcement efforts to obtain potentially life-saving information during emergencies," including terrorism alerts, if police and FBI agents can be sued for coercive questioning, they add

Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?
posted by nofundy (93 comments total)

 
Some history on how Miranda became Miranda.
posted by dagny at 9:12 AM on November 25, 2002


perhaps they should use tactics like this on crooks like this guy ....


on a lighter note - this is simply beautiful.
posted by specialk420 at 9:17 AM on November 25, 2002


This is horrible. But I can't see Martinez losing this case - after all he has won so far and it's the police department that is appealing. Sounds like a corrupt police force trying to change the rules so it won't have to clean up its act.

The one thing I found ominous was the subtitle saying "White House backs a change". But I could find no support for that in the article - the quotes in favour of overturning Miranda were all from the defense or from university professors. Did I miss something?
posted by orange swan at 9:19 AM on November 25, 2002


"Bush administration lawyers have sided with the police in the case."
posted by redfoxtail at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2002


No where in that article did it mention the police beating a confession out of anyone with a rubber hose or a club.

It said:
While the farm worker lay gravely wounded, a police supervisor pressed him to talk, to explain his version of the events.
Should the officer have been able to question a injured man? I don't know, that is for the court to decide. The police are not arguing that they can beat people in to confessing, just that they can question people in lets say 'extreme' situations.

Going a a bit over the top with the claims of police brutality, hey?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2002


What's interesting is that the article impies the ways a reversal of Miranda could allow cops to use forceful questioning, while the example story shows a much worse case.

The sad fact is, the courts have very often given broader powers to law enforcement... but as this story shows, it's not the case... the case is with the damage control.

The issue here wasn't even that the cops were horrifically violating numerous rights of someone who, honestly, wasn't wanted or suspected, or even accused of anything, it was that minutes after shooting a man several times they sat with him as he nearly bled to death on the way to the hosptial trying to trick him into saying on tape that what they did was justified.

This isn't about giving the government more power to interrogate people; it's about giving shitty cops more power to cover their asses when they do shitty police work.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:23 AM on November 25, 2002


Now that the GOP has started flexing their nuts since the mid-term elections, we can only expect this to get worse - they're already saying they'll push to appoint more conservative judges.

What the hell... I don't know why I'm complaining, the people have spoken - they voted to trade freedom for the illusion of security.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:32 AM on November 25, 2002


"Police can hold people in custody and force them to talk"

So what would constitute "force"? If the police aren't bound to respect a suspect's refusal to talk, what can they do to him/her and for how long? Where do you draw the line?

I also have a problem with the whole idea of "we can keep hounding you until you talk but we can't use that against you in court". Right. Why are police suing for the right to force confessions they can't use? It sounds like an argument tailor-made for this case - since they didn't actually get Martinez to say anything they don't need to go for right to use his "confession" in court.
posted by orange swan at 9:36 AM on November 25, 2002


There was one sentence, buried in the sixth graf: Bush administration lawyers have sided with the police in the case. I'd want more detail on that, myself. What does that mean? Sounds like there's an amicus brief filed by the Justice Department.

Sounds, too, like a cop more convinced with saving his own skin in the ensuing investigation: "It's hurting a lot. Please!" Martinez implores, his words trailing off into agonized screams. Undaunted, Chavez resumes. "Well, if you're going to die, tell me what happened." Nice guy there. Glad HE'S one of the ones keeping Oxnard safe.

This concerns me greatly because of the slippery slope it sets up. If police can interrogate coercively (but aren't allowed to use that information at trial), does anyone REALLY think that that information isn't going to make it to trial somehow?

Will there be two-columned legal pads in interrogation rooms, so cops can keep track of which information was gained by force and which wasn't? "Ooops! Can't turn that over to the DA with the rest of the file. Hey, Joe, redact that part about how we threatened him before he confessed."

Police questioning is intimidating and somewhat coercive by its very nature, and Miranda v. AZ recognizes that.

uh, and what do "Earth Pilgrim" (which I couldn't get to load) and Fastow have to do with this, specialk420?
posted by Vidiot at 9:38 AM on November 25, 2002


Should the officer have been able to question a injured man? I don't know, that is for the court to decide. The police are not arguing that they can beat people in to confessing, just that they can question people in lets say 'extreme' situations.

Steve, what's your point in regards to this story? How would the police have benefited in what they did? Only two things could have happened after the shooting... the man could have died, in which case it would be his (dead) word versus the policemen, or he would have lived, where the cops easily could have waited to go to the hospital and ask him any questions.

The idea that they're relating this to the "War on Terrorism" is abhorrent. This was a guy who was randomly stopped. Granted, he made a ridiculous mistake of freaking out and running from a police officer, but that doesn't suddenly make him a potential threat to Homeland Security, okay?

It's obvious what happened here- the cop over-reacted to a near-fatal level and negligently shot a man several times. There was no reason to immediately start interrogating the man, and there was certainly no reason to hold a tape recorder to his face as he screamed in pain. The cop wanted to be free and clear of almost murdering someone before this guy got to the hospital or the press.

The only "extreme situation" was that a cop realized he just shot someone for no reason and had the horrible luck of the guy managing to survive it. I'm sorry, but for some reason "I need to get the answers right now to find out if this guy we randomly approached is somehow connected to the man we didn't find any drugs on" isn't as believeable as "oh fuck, I'm in deep shit now, aren't I?" as the likely thought going through the officer's head.

I agree with you that this isn't about the standard idea of police brutality, but what this officer did was self-serving and negligent to a near-criminal level- now the courts are being asked to legalize this negligence.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:41 AM on November 25, 2002


Hey, y'all,

it's not just one sentence, but three paragraphs, one of which is the FPP, basically.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:46 AM on November 25, 2002


No where in that article did it mention the police beating a confession out of anyone with a rubber hose or a club. . . .Going a a bit over the top with the claims of police brutality, hey?

So you're saying that if Miranda is overturned due to Martinez v. Oxnard, there won't be any police brutality used anywhere in the country? Just because coercive interrogations and the threat of force are then going to be acceptable?


I think nofundy was trying to highlight possible future outcomes of Miranda's reversal. (correct me if I'm wrong, nofundy.)
posted by Vidiot at 9:52 AM on November 25, 2002


My point, Xquzyphyer, is that Nofundy was trolling with the inflammatory line:
Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?

No where in the article, save for professor Susan Klein's obligatory "The sky is falling" quote, does it talk about the police using this as an excuse to beat suspects in to confession, though that is what Nofundy implied in his post....

It will never be acceptable to beat a suspect for a confession.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:54 AM on November 25, 2002


Orange Swan: What's disturbing is that the article says that the government is arguing that Miranda only protects people from being prosecuted using things they say - but not information they give. Which seems a very, very fine line to me. I'd like to hear more about Rehnquist's objection to Warren's Miranda decision, because the latter's reasoning makes a lot of sense to me: Because all police questioning is in some way coercive, the right to silence in its most maximum definition must be protected.
posted by risenc at 9:58 AM on November 25, 2002


No where in the article, save for professor Susan Klein's obligatory "The sky is falling" quote, does it talk about the police using this as an excuse to beat suspects in to confession, though that is what Nofundy implied in his post....

Questioning someone whom you've just shot for dubious (at best) reasons and who is in obvious agony is not all that different from beating someone with a rubber hose or otherwise torturing them to get information. They were pretty clearly using his pain to get him to say something to cover their asses. It's reprehensible.
posted by anapestic at 10:00 AM on November 25, 2002


By the way, Miranda was another 5-4 vote

It will never be acceptable to beat a suspect for a confession
Tell that to the LAPD
posted by matteo at 10:08 AM on November 25, 2002


Questioning someone whom you've just shot for dubious (at best) reasons and who is in obvious agony is not all that different from beating someone with a rubber hose or otherwise torturing them to get information.

The guy was armed with a big knife, he tried to run from the police, and then fought with them. I wouldn't call those "dubious" reasons.

Also, he was shot because the officer's lives appeared to be in danger, not because they were trying to interrogate him.
posted by oissubke at 10:11 AM on November 25, 2002


he was shot because the officer's lives appeared to be in danger

Yeah, just like that damn Amadou Diallo
posted by matteo at 10:14 AM on November 25, 2002


oissubke: Also, he was shot because the officer's lives appeared to be in danger, not because they were trying to interrogate him.

But then they interrogated him immediately afterwards, and as XQUZYPHYR points out, for what seem to be dubious and self-serving reasons.
posted by Vidiot at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2002


Yeah, just like that damn Amadou Diallo

The Amadou Diallo incident means that all police officers are automatically wrong to use any sort of force, even though their job requires them to have almost daily encounters with people who'd rather see them dead?
posted by oissubke at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2002


The guy was armed with a big knife, he tried to run from the police, and then fought with them. I wouldn't call those "dubious" reasons.

Also, he was shot because the officer's lives appeared to be in danger, not because they were trying to interrogate him.


Arguing that they beat him because of something he did is a straw man. Even if they had shot him after catching him red-handed in the act of raping a nun, that doesn't allow them to hound him for a confession after he's said he didn't want to talk. Stay on target, folks.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:23 AM on November 25, 2002


"The world is now aware of the dangers of fundamentalists and their penchant for hatred. Terrorism crosses all religious beliefs and would force their beliefs on everyone. A sure sign of these hate groups is the desire to institute their beliefs in law." -nofundy's bio page

I'd be gratified to know if nofundy is as actively vigilant in the Islamic media, against the excesses of the Sharia law, for instance.
posted by semmi at 10:25 AM on November 25, 2002


But then they interrogated him immediately afterwards, and as XQUZYPHYR points out, for what seem to be dubious and self-serving reasons.

I understand that, but my point is that there's a difference between questioning someone who you've just had to shoot because of a perceived danger to your life, and beating the crap out of someone because they're not telling you what you want to hear.

From what I've seen, it looks like they screwed up. If these guys didn't follow procedure, they should have the book thrown at them. I have no problem with that.

But the fact that they screwed up doesn't make this an issue of police brutality and violent interrogation. He was not shot or injured as part of the questioning process. The questions came after the shooting, and in fact they seemed to be about the shooting (and events leading up to it) rather than about some other topic that the police were using violence to find out more about.
posted by oissubke at 10:26 AM on November 25, 2002


The Moscow Police use the act first, ask questions later bit as standard procedure.
posted by four panels at 10:27 AM on November 25, 2002


I'd be gratified to know if nofundy is as actively vigilant in the Islamic media, against the excesses of the Sharia law, for instance.

Then why don't you send him an e-mail and ask him, instead of posting here where it's completely off topic?
posted by oissubke at 10:30 AM on November 25, 2002


Steve@Dimwood is an apologist for the fascists currently attempting to subjugate the american people. he will insist upon seeing actual rubber hose beatings occur before he will grant the possibility, and even then he will have a need to examine the moral character and background of the beatee, in case said beating could be politically or morally justified in some subjective way. he likes to point out what he declares to be the trolls of others, but his very presence here doing that is itself a form of trolling.
posted by quonsar at 10:37 AM on November 25, 2002


I'd be gratified to know if nofundy is as actively vigilant in the Islamic media, against the excesses of the Sharia law, for instance.

Consider yourself gratified semmi! Although my sphere of influence is limited I do not reserve my contempt and attempts to point out wrongheaded fundamentalism to Christianist activity alone.

Think globally, act locally.

My Muslim friends are well aware of my disdain of their faith's particular brand of fundamentalism, as are my Hindu friends and their faith's issues of hate filled extremists.
posted by nofundy at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2002


Miranda was designed to protect two rights: The Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Thus, if you're not being compelled to incriminate yourself (i.e., if there will be no prosecution against you), and if you're not an "accused" (i.e., there will be no criminal charges), then there are no Fifth or Sixth Amendment rights to "violate."

Law enforcement officers often interrogate people without giving them Miranda warnings, knowing full well that they won't be able to use the statements directly against the person interrogated, but that the information might have other (more important) uses.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2002


First, I am going to suggest that when discussing a court case links (.pdf file) should be provided to the actual case. I find that it usually helps to read the case as reporters generally do a terrible job when it comes to law.

Second, Martinez filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the officers violated his constitutional rights by stopping him without probable cause, using excessive force, and subjecting him to a coercive interrogation while he was receiving medical care. He moved for summary judgment on each of his claims. The district court denied Sergeant Chavez's defense of qualified immunity and granted summary judgment for Martinez on his claim that Chavez violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by coercing statements from him during medical treatment.

This interlocutory appeal is really only on the issue of the coercive interrogation. Specifically, whether there is a 5th/14th Amendement right if no statements resulting from the interrogation are ever used in a trial. As the issue is narrowly framed, Miranda can't be overturned by this case. So you can put that discussion aside for another day.

In this instance, XQUZYPHYR is probably correct that the police were trying to get statements to support their actions, be they right or wrong.

Also, this is an appeal of a summary judgement ruling, which is a ruling made based solely on the law. The Court has heard no evidence regarding, nor made any judgments on, the facts yet. That will come later after the decision is returned to the district court for trial on the merits of the other claims (i.e., stopping him without probable cause and using excessive force).
posted by probablysteve at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2002


The Amadou Diallo incident means that all police officers are automatically wrong to use any sort of force, even though their job requires them to have almost daily encounters with people who'd rather see them dead?

No, it just means cops can be unfit for their jobs. I never said force is unneccesary; I sincerly doubt shooting someone five times in the spine and eye sockets falls in that category. Two armed cops against a sheathed knife requires emptying a handgun?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:42 AM on November 25, 2002


How nice. A couple of police officers may have panicked, then a supervisor arrives to try to get the officers cleared by suggesting a scenario to a man who has been shot five times by those same officers. And Bush et al are (appropriately) crying "Right on!" Color me surprised.

My point, Xquzyphyer, is that Nofundy was trolling with the inflammatory line:
Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?


No. Shooting a person for what may have been no reason whatsoever, then attempting to get a "confession" while the shot person is in mortal agony is complete and utter cowardice. For the victim of course, it is far worse than getting any beating.

Your continuous name-calling and use of the term "troll" in place of debate for posts you just don't like is a pretty silly tactic. Give it a rest.

The guy was armed with a big knife, he tried to run from the police, and then fought with them. I wouldn't call those "dubious" reasons.
Also, he was shot because the officer's lives appeared to be in danger, not because they were trying to interrogate him.


That may or may not be true, but being armed with a knife, running from the police, or even fighting with the police are not necessarily justifcations for the use of deadly force. And we only have the word of two people who have a definite interest in spinning the events of the incident.

And what's this nonsense?

Two officers, Andrew Salinas and Maria Pena, had stopped to question a man they suspected, wrongly it turned out, of selling drugs. When they heard a squeaky bike approach in the dark, they called for the rider to stop.

Martinez dismounted and put his hands over his head. In a leather sheath on a waist band, he carried a long knife that he used to cut strawberries.


Now, aren't we all glad we weren't the ones who wandered into the vicinity of these two cops? Apparently riding a "squeaky bicycle" is cause for a little shakedown, eh?

The questions came after the shooting, and in fact they seemed to be about the shooting

Why exactly was it necessary for the police to question him while he was bleeding from FIVE gunshot wounds? You don't find police questioning while someone potentially mortally wounded (including a head wound) to be coercive? They couldn't wait? You find it OK for them to keep asking the same questions repeatedly, even after they were told by the suspect to stop? They weren't possibly panicking and trying to protect themselves?

Did you read this sentence:

But Oxnard police assert that the Miranda ruling does not include a "constitutional right to be free of coercive interrogation"....

That is the issue...not the details of this particular case. Sounds quite likely to me that a beating with a little rubber hose falls nicely under the "coercive interrogation" category. That is the crux of the matter here, although the particular case does not involve a beating. Do you agree with Oxnard police? That is the point I believe nofundy is getting at.

I'd be gratified to know if nofundy is as actively vigilant in the Islamic media, against the excesses of the Sharia law, for instance.
posted by semmi at 10:25 AM PST on November 25


I'm sure the rest of us would be gratified to know exactly what your questions has to do with this particular thread? Or are you just attacking the messenger for some reason?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:43 AM on November 25, 2002


Steve@Dimwood ... likes to point out what he declares to be the trolls of others, but his very presence here doing that is itself a form of trolling.

It is very difficult to "troll" in a FPP whose initial intro contains the line "Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?" With the bar set that low right from the start, the chances of anything resembling a reasoned discussion is pretty much over with before the thread even gets going.
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:46 AM on November 25, 2002


Why are some people are perfectly happy to push back civil rights by about 50 years? When did Miranda rights become a bad idea? When did the old "innocent until proven guilty" thing become passé? It's OK for cops to violate a suspect's Constitutional rights as long as the evidence gained thereby isn't used at trial? What kind of Nixon wet dream world are we living in? It's just absolutely fucking insane that this is even an argument. Our freedoms are just evaporating while we watch, and nobody seems to care.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:50 AM on November 25, 2002


This one worries me too, RylandDotNet, and I'm a Canadian. But I take comfort in the fact that Martinez has won this case so far. You can get any stupid thing into court. What counts is who wins the case.

What I'd really like to see is the Oxnard police force getting a lot of bad publicity for this. The fact that they'd stand behind the cops who did this means they've got some serious systemic problems as an organization
posted by orange swan at 11:01 AM on November 25, 2002


With the bar set that low right from the start

But it was not I who set the bar low. It was the policemen who committed this act. The atrocities committed against this man were much worse than a beating with a club or hose so in effect I raised the bar MM.
Now, do you have anything useful to contribute or did you only want to drag the thread down instead of discussing the relevant issues?
This IS important and needs exposure!
Why would persons attack me for attempting to bring that exposure?
Does anyone find this acceptable behavior?
Would anyone agree to losing their 5th amendment rights?
Is it just because this involves Bush Inc. that I'm being attacked?

There's opportunity for great discussion on this issue, can we avoid the personal attacks please?
posted by nofundy at 11:02 AM on November 25, 2002


For the victim of course, it is far worse than getting any beating.

You are poorly attempting to draw a correlation between Martinez's pain while in the ambulance and the officer's questioning. As if the pain was caused by the questioning of the officer. Martinez would have been in the same amount of pain even if the officer had not attempted to question him. A gunshot to the eye will do that to you.

Or maybe you are attempting to imply that they shot him so that they could get a confession out of him?

Your continuous name-calling and use of the term "troll" in place of debate for posts you just don't like is a pretty silly tactic.

Your mistake, is to think that there is any debate happening in this thread. This is the same 'I hate the Police' & 'The man is keeping me down' bullshit mantra that I hear over and over again that has no substance.

quonsar: Thank you for once again informing me of what my politics are, I must have forgotten.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:03 AM on November 25, 2002


But it was not I who set the bar low. It was the policemen who committed this act.

The police in this incident did not beat anyone with a rubber hose or smash anyone's face with a club. You said that.

The were questioning a man you evaded arrest and assaulted a police officer, who was injured in the detainment.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:07 AM on November 25, 2002


Thank you for once again informing me of what my politics are, I must have forgotten.
wow, and he's as intelligent as the president, too!
posted by quonsar at 11:21 AM on November 25, 2002


I usually don't wish bad things on people, but Steve_at_Linwood, I hope someday that you are shot by a police officer for no good reason, and then relentlessly interrogated while you're bleeding to death in agony in the hopes that you'll exonerate the cops that shot you. Then maybe you'll understand what is fucked up about this situation instead of spouting idiotic apologies for corrupt behavior.

(I hope you live through it, by the way - with both eyes and your spine intact, even. I'm not trying to be vindictive.)
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:24 AM on November 25, 2002


Apparently riding a "squeaky bicycle" is cause for a little shakedown, eh?

Only if you're poor and hispanic.
posted by botono9 at 11:33 AM on November 25, 2002


For the city of Oxnard this case is just about saving some bucks in a lawsuit. But the Bush administration has much bigger fish to fry. That is why Solicitor General Ted Olson is involved. The Solicitor General is the person who argues the administration's position before the Supreme Court.

As the Miranda decision is currently interpreted, as soon as an arrested person says the 'L' word (lawyer) interrogation must immediately stop until a lawyer arrives. What the administration wants to do is continue questioning a person even after he has invoked his Miranda rights. For example "What do you know about your roommate's flying lessons." It boils down to whether a person has a right to a lawyer's counsel even if the person's statements are not used to prosecute him. They want a free pass to continue grilling a person about their associates for hours or days with no legal advise. Of course the Justice Department is already doing that, but this would give it the Supreme Court's blessing.
posted by JackFlash at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2002


Wow, Ryland you win a prize for saying the dumbest thing I have heard all day!

Your right, me getting shot for 'no good reason' (resisting arrest while armed and with a large weapon) will most likely give me a great perspective on the situation.

You need to shut your mouth, and not causaly threaten people, even if it is usual for you to do so.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:44 AM on November 25, 2002


As the Miranda decision is currently interpreted, as soon as an arrested person says the 'L' word (lawyer) interrogation must immediately stop until a lawyer arrives.

Yes, if you're trying to get what the person says admitted into evidence. That's not what this is about -- the question here is whether there's a private cause of action solely for violation of Miranda rights even where there's no effort to use the statement.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:48 AM on November 25, 2002


Your right, me getting shot for 'no good reason' (resisting arrest while armed and with a large weapon) will most likely give me a great perspective on the situation.

If you could have any perspective at all, it would be a good perspective. You currently lack perspective, as well as empathy and common sense.

You need to shut your mouth, and not causaly threaten people, even if it is usual for you to do so.

It sucks when the shoe is on the other foot, huh? Don't like the idea of it happening to you? Does the idea that a cop could suddenly and arbitrarily decide to end your life and then force you to help him get away with it make you the tiniest bit UNCOMFORTABLE, Steve? I hope it fucking terrifies you.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2002


pardonyou?: i certainly agree with you on the issue before the court, but haven't most of the cases in which police have been allowed to continue questioning despite requests to remain silent and/or requests for counsel involved some public safety issue?

in this instance the police really had no reason to question him other than to support their actions.
posted by probablysteve at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2002


A large weapon? What the fuck? Who cares how big the goddamned weapon is?

I carry a knife routinely. Usually, I carry two. We have this concept nowadays of a 'utility knife' -- you may have heard of them. When, for example, you work on boats, and somebody loses their grip and somebody else gets his finger sucked into a block there isn't really time to go get your Regulation Length Safety-Locked Cutting Utensil from its Government-Approved Hidey-Hole. These things have their uses. It's absurd to assert that carrying a knife is 'probably cause' for anything.

Moral of the story: Oil your damn bicycle.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2002


I hope someday that you are shot by a police officer for no good reason, and then relentlessly interrogated while you're bleeding to death in agony in the hopes that you'll exonerate the cops that shot you.

Just as you getting shot by a murderer that was freed due to a technicality might give you a bit of perspective, eh?

This is what cops face daily. Though you wouldn't know it from this FPP's link.

Very easy to paint all cops as wielders of rubber hoses. Easy to forget that it is a hellish job. That we do have brutal criminals in our society, that do steal, and rape, and murder ... and that these people will wound, or kill, police if they feel like they're cornered. Add to that, now, the fact that there are still people in the middle-east, with connections to groups in the US, that are still loudly and publicly calling for large amounts of death and destruction to be visited upon the American population. And they've already proven they are capable of making good on their threats.

And, while it is probably odd to address the FPP itself (instead of the alarmist rhetoric surrounding it), the most significant line seemed to be "... will chill legitimate law enforcement efforts to obtain potentially life-saving information during emergencies," including terrorism alerts, if police and FBI agents can be sued for coercive questioning ...".

This is a legitimate point. Miranda has always been controversial - but has generally stood up when questioned because of the "slippery slope" scenarios that are tossed around immediately (e.g., " ...it means cops will start beating people with rubber hoses".) Miranda is not in the Constitution, nor was it ever argued in open congressional debate. It is a court ruling. It has prevented abuses, but has also caused abuses ... clearly guilty criminals getting off due to technicalities. Those who argue against Miranda think it was a "slippery slope" ... that it has lead to the "rights" of crime victims and potential victims to be made secondary to the rights of criminals.

Let's paint another scenario - not one in which limits on Miranda leads to "rubber hoses", but one in which the current status quo dominates behavior. A terrorist cell is given the go signal. poison will be released into US aquifers. A small city starts dying ... during the course of the day, a man is caught, and the FBI recognizes him as belonging to a known group. They raid the group, and arrest them - and need to question them quickly, as it is not yet known where other chemicals are being released. According to Miranda, these men simply ask for a lawyer and refuse to talk. In a day or two they go to bail hearings. Still refuse to talk. Don't need to say anything until trial some months away. The police and FBI, however, use "coercion" - because they simply must know whether whole cities of people are about to start dying... and keep on them hard until they do extract the information - that three other aquifers are compromised. What Miranda means is that not only wouldn't the confessions hold up in court, the men could then sue the police for violating their "rights".

The "freedoms" that are "evaporating" are the freedoms the guilty have used to shield themselves. There is never absolute freedom in any society - it is always a matter of balancing often conflicting demands. Victims now often have less rights than the criminals that prey on them. This isn't a discussion about rolling "civil rights" back 50 years, it is about an incremental shift in the balance between the rights of criminals and the rights of victims.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:11 PM on November 25, 2002


I carry a knife routinely.

Do you also routinely resist arrest while carrying that knife, as well?

On Preview: What MidasMulligan said.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:16 PM on November 25, 2002


MidasMulligan, can you provide a link to a case where a murderer was "freed" on a technicality?
posted by keithl at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2002


The "freedoms" that are "evaporating" are the freedoms the guilty have used to shield themselves.

So MidasMulligan, do you think Martinez's case is a case of the guilty shielding himself with the Miranda precedent? If this is really about Miranda being a shelter for criminals, why isn't Oxnard making its point with a case where there's actually a criminal who claimed a legal protection and thereby endangered someone else?
posted by orange swan at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2002


Very easy to paint all cops as wielders of rubber hoses. Easy to forget that it is a hellish job.

I'm not painting all cops as wielders of rubber hoses - I've known some fine cops - but in this particular situation, the cops are clearly in the wrong, and they're trying to change the rules to make it didn't happen, incidentally trampling on some hard-won and necessary civil rights legislation. Not all cops are wielders of rubber hoses, but neither are all cops selfless guardians of justice and freedom. Often they are brutal thugs, and that means we need laws to protect suspects. The suspect may very well be guilty - but they are presumed innocent, because they may very well be innocent.

Miranda is not in the Constitution, nor was it ever argued in open congressional debate. It is a court ruling.

It has also been the law of the land for decades, and while it isn't in the Constitution itself, it's a check that bolsters the 5th and 6th Amendments. The "technicalities" you mention aren't loopholes in the law - each of those "technicalities" is a cop not following the rules. Some criminals have gotten off because of it, but how many innocent people have been railroaded into prison without Miranda? Believe it or not, not everyone that a cop picks up is guilty - cops do make mistakes, and some cops are actually corrupt thugs. It does happen. Which is better, to let someone guilty go free, or to lock up someone innocent? I'd rather err on the side of the innocent - especially because that innocent person could be me - or you.

The "freedoms" that are "evaporating" are the freedoms the guilty have used to shield themselves.

Draw up as many scare scenarios as you want, paint me as a victim-hater all you want - it comes down to one basic question: do you want to live in a society where you are assumed to be a suspect, or one where you are assumed to be innocent?
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2002


... the question here is whether there's a private cause of action solely for violation of Miranda rights even where there's no effort to use the statement

As you can see here, Olson argues that there is no protection from coercive interrogation in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. He implies that police are free to do whatever as long as they don't use the statements in a criminal case against the person.

"Tell me about your roommate."
"I don't want to talk to you. Take me to my cell."
"No. You're not going anywhere until you tell me about your roommate."
"I want to see a lawyer."
"You can't. Is this light light shining in your eyes? Tell me about your roommate."
"I have nothing to say to you."
"Would you like some coffee? We're going to be here a long, long time until you talk."

For Olson, this is not about a piddly civil lawsuit. This is about a future in which the Supreme Court allows anyone to be interrogated indefinitely without a lawyer.
posted by JackFlash at 12:51 PM on November 25, 2002


As RylandDotNet alludes to, some of us still would prefer that 100 guilty men go free to prevent a single innocent man from being imprisoned.

Another potential end to MidasMulligan's scenario is this - the FBI picks up the members of a known group - but it's the WRONG group. They hate us, and wish us harm, but they had nothing to do with this particular event. These federales coerce torture (let's call it what it is) the members and all they get are the tales that agonized men make up to make the pain stop. However, since the FBI wastes a lot of time and energy tracking down phantoms and ignoring the real threats - they've got the perps, right?

Now, take it one step further. My buddy Maher was visiting them when the righteous bust went down. He's not a terrorist, he doesn't know they are terrorists, but is friends with one of the guys there because they come from the same province in their native country. He gets tortured just like everyone else, despite maintaining his innocence and ignorance, for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He spends the rest of his life a broken man due to post-traumatic stress syndrome.

It comes down to this: Do you think it's acceptable for our society to engange in monstrous behaviour in order to stop monsters? I don't. Many people don't. Unfortunately, many of those in law enforcement are perfectly happy with this concept.
posted by Irontom at 12:55 PM on November 25, 2002


Steve@Dimwood The were questioning a man you evaded arrest and assaulted a police officer, who was injured in the detainment.

Wow, Ryland you win a prize for saying the dumbest thing I have heard all day!

Honestly... take a look at that... Do you ever read what you write before you hit post? Actually, do you ever THINK before you write?

You see, dimwood, it's the people like you who are so opinionated and self-righteous yet can hardly speak or write fluently that causes such a thing to even be considered. The groupspeak definitely has a grip on you, doesn't it?

You are the reasoning behind the electoral college. God forbid people like you run the country... Oh wait.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:07 PM on November 25, 2002


MidasMulligan, can you provide a link to a case where a murderer was "freed" on a technicality?

Will a serial murderer do? Examples are all over the place. This one is particularly good, as the fellow was caught, let go after evidence such as a bloody knife was excluded, and killed a couple more people before being nailed for good.

...but in this particular situation, the cops are clearly in the wrong, and they're trying to change the rules to make it didn't happen, incidentally trampling on some hard-won and necessary civil rights legislation.

"clearly in the wrong"? ... not at all. In fact, the article paints a particularly one-sided view of the thing. Here's the actual DOJ court filing.

A couple of points appear peculiar ... for instance ... the cops say he resisted and grabbed a cop's gun. He says he didn't. Do we simply assume automatically that the cops are lying? And why might they have mistaken him for someone involved in drugs? Well ... "Near the end of the interview, respondent said that he had been drinking that day and had used heroin that evening." (Odd that the article was silent about this).

So suddenly the image of a poor innocent migrant worker just out for an evening bike ride dissolves just a bit - we've got a guy on a bike, on herion, with a large knife in his waistband, that resists when arrested. The lead cop, upon arriving, does what is SOP - seperates the two police involved, and then - at the hospital, while he was being treated - the cop questions him to attempt to get his version. None of which, by the way, was ever used in court.

Draw up as many scare scenarios as you want, paint me as a victim-hater all you want - it comes down to one basic question: do you want to live in a society where you are assumed to be a suspect, or one where you are assumed to be innocent?

It is rarely those arguing for some limits on Miranda that draw up "scare scenarios" - quite the opposite in fact ... I merely introduced one to demonstrate that it is not as black and white as the rather fantastic rhetoric surrounding the discussion usually suggests ... it is not either Miranda is left untouched or we immediately descend into wanton police brutality.

It is not just a question of living in "a society where you are assumed to be a suspect, or one where you are assumed to be innocent?" ... it is a question of balancing the legitmate restraints placed on police for the protection of the innocent, with the equally legitimate interest society has in the police being able to effectively protect citizens from criminals.

I do understand if some folks think the line is fine where it stands right now. But there are also equally legitimate voices that can hold a differing opinion ... without wanting to impose police brutality. The issue is way more nuanced than that. (Though as I mentioned before, when an FPP starts with the line "Are YOU ready to talk or will I have to get my rubber hose and smash your face with my club?" ... it is unlikely to actually lead to a nuanced discussion).
posted by MidasMulligan at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2002


Although not relevant to the issue before the court (and ostensibly the subject of this post), the police action is not so obviously wrong. If you read the actual case on appeal (a novel concept apparently), you'll see that all the parties agree that Salinas said "He's got my gun" and then Pena opened fire. Salinas/Pena say Martinez had the gun. Martinez says he was "only" grabbing onto Salinas's hand, which gripped the gun. Even if that's all he did, it's not unreasonable for Salinas/Pena to assume that Martinez was going for the gun and that both of their lives were in danger. Of course, this will all be decided by a federal jury that hears all of the facts (including the other eye-witness to the scene, remember the first guy that was being questioned?) as it should be.

Midas Mulligan: you've described the public safety issue that I mentioned, although there are even more mundane everyday applications than your terrorist scenario. But, as I suggested to Pardonyou?, you can have this public safety exception (which I think already exists in caselaw, someone correct me if I am wrong) and not extend it to these officers in this situation.

I can't really see why the police were questioning him other than to build a case in support of their own actions, which I don't see as a reasonable extension of the ability to interrogate once he has invoked his right to remain silent or asked for counsel. There does not seem to be any legitimate state interest other than CYA. (But I would have to go back and read some caselaw before firmly asserting that this is a differrence with Consitutional distinction.)
posted by probablysteve at 1:43 PM on November 25, 2002


boy has this thread turned ugly.

I was just going to point out that the police seem to have picked a spectacularly bad case to bring to the Supreme Court. To say that police interegator comes off as monsterous is to put it somewhat charitably, IMO. If this was a case involving a captured terrorist that had information about a terrorist plot, then maybe SCOTUS would be sympathetic to the police. But it's hard to see SCOTUS siding with the police on this one, simply because the police look so bad. I predict the police lose 6-3.
posted by boltman at 1:44 PM on November 25, 2002


Darn, I was hoping Midas would link to Ollie North. But I digress.

This is what cops face daily. Though you wouldn't know it from this FPP's link.

My... my god. I had no idea. Cops work hard and risk their lives to protect people? Wow, they never told me that in kindergarten.

Grow up, Midas. Important, thankless, and necessary as one may be, no job in the world should allow the risk and stress of it as an excuse for needlessly killing someone.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:50 PM on November 25, 2002


You know, in England we don't even have the right to silence any more. The caution given by police in the UK now says:

"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence".

So if someone decides not to say anything to the police, but then at trial puts forward a defence to the charges, the judge can instruct the jury to draw an adverse inference from the fact that the accused didn't tell the police about the evidence s/he is relying on at trial. In other words "If what the accused says is true, why didn't s/he tell the police when being questioned?"

This, of course, goes against the basic tenet of criminal law, that the accused is presumed innocent and that the burden of proof rests on the prosecutors; it is not for the accused to prove his or her innocence.

Oh, and did you know that we Brits also have to buy a permit from the Government every year (it costs about $180) to allow us to own a TV set?

Sometimes I get really p'd off with this country.
posted by essexjan at 2:00 PM on November 25, 2002


Grow up, Midas. Important, thankless, and necessary as one may be, no job in the world should allow the risk and stress of it as an excuse for needlessly killing someone.

Damn, and I was waiting for XQUZYPHYR to bring up Mumia. But that's beside the point.

Seriously though, while I realize being a migrant worker is stressful, but that doesn't mean when the cops stop you, you don't need to obey them. And if you do happen to resist arrest because - oh, I don't know, you're loaded on heroin or something - and you grab for a cop's gun (after your knife's been discovered), it's probably a bit bizarre to then claim you've been "needlessly" shot. Of course, this is America, so you can simply sue the cops.

While I realize it's not worth it to suggest that you grow up XQUZYPHYR, maybe at least change your diapers?
posted by MidasMulligan at 2:02 PM on November 25, 2002


I can't really see why the police were questioning him other than to build a case in support of their own actions, which I don't see as a reasonable extension of the ability to interrogate once he has invoked his right to remain silent or asked for counsel. There does not seem to be any legitimate state interest other than CYA. (But I would have to go back and read some caselaw before firmly asserting that this is a differrence with Consitutional distinction.)

They were questioning because it is procedure to do so. A procedure that comes from people asserting that police, after a shooting, have to follow complex protocols (seperating the officers involved - so they don't work on a story together - is part of it). The cop involved in questioning the guy (as well as the guy himself) thought the guy was about to die. These protocols came about as the result of the same people that argue for tough application of Miranda. If the cop hadn't questioned him, and he had died, the cops would be charged with "CYA" for not getting his side of the story. And it would be the relatives suing. Instead, he lived, so of course he can sue. Welcome to 21st century law enforcement.

This entire discussion has been bizarre - as though what is being discussed is a guy who was completely innocent, was coerced into giving a confession, and is now being put away due to the coercion. What we actually have is a guy, with a knife, on heroin, that resisted arrest, was shot, and is now suing the police (who apparently are not innocent until proven guilty I guess).
posted by MidasMulligan at 2:27 PM on November 25, 2002


Midasmulligan, your link to the serial murdered doesn't mention that he was let go on a technicality. From what I read it seems he was let go due to a lack of evidence.

"What we actually have is a guy, with a knife, on heroin, that resisted arrest, was shot, and is now suing the police (who apparently are not innocent until proven guilty I guess)."

You can't have it both ways.
posted by keithl at 2:36 PM on November 25, 2002


What we actually have is a guy, with a knife, on heroin, that resisted arrest, was shot, and is now suing the police (who apparently are not innocent until proven guilty I guess).

Ummm.... no. That really doesn't change anything. Two allegedly trained officers who, as you yourself said, "deal with stuff like this everyday" exercised their fine-tuned and honed police skills to shoot a man five times in three seperate areas of the body. They then proceeded to immediately try to coerce him into a statement prior to the protocol of seperating the officers so as to avoid this very tactic. The fact (not item needed to be proven) that they shot him five times and anything else in the report is undisputed... he's suing not on the claim that they did this, but that we know they did, but shouldn't have.

But I guess there's merit... I mean, after all, according to them he was struggling with them after they started to grab him upon discovering the knife. When are people going to realize that after they get stopped and ordered to the ground by police for no reason whatsoever, then treated to the "utterance of a racial slur and threat to "'knock [the suspect's] remaining teeth out of his mouth' if he remained silent" (again, your linked report) that the cops only want to help them? There's no reason to be worried about what's happening to you at all. I mean, he has been in this country a long time.

Oh, but wait, now you've got a nice little excuse there... he was on heroin! Yes! The California Cycle Slasher is a psychotic horse fiend! No wonder the police had to use force! Everyone knows that if someone's on drugs, it's legal to empty a firearm in their face!

Oh... wait... according the the very DOJ report you linked to, no revalation of heroin use was made until the hospital interview... but wait... golly, that's after they almost killed him. Okay, now I'm even more mad. Psychic cops should be held to an even higher standard.

But gosh, it's a good thing all of that has to do with the actual point of the Miranda issues of the lawsuit, doesn't it?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:45 PM on November 25, 2002


midas:
What we actually have is a guy, with a knife, on heroin...

You posted something to this effect twice - I'm sure knowing full well there's no mention of heroin in the article...
posted by harja at 2:46 PM on November 25, 2002


You posted something to this effect twice - I'm sure knowing full well there's no mention of heroin in the article...

Actually, I made a point of the fact that the article didn't mention this - or a number of other things that seem pretty relevent to the situation. The article is a fairly one-sided view of the story. Herion was mentioned in the DOJ brief I linked to.

Oh... wait... according the the very DOJ report you linked to, no revalation of heroin use was made until the hospital interview... but wait... golly, that's after they almost killed him.

Ever been face to face with someone doing heroin? You may not know what drug in particular they are doing, but you sure as hell know it is something.

When are people going to realize that after they get stopped and ordered to the ground by police for no reason whatsoever, then treated to the "utterance of a racial slur and threat to "'knock [the suspect's] remaining teeth out of his mouth' if he remained silent" (again, your linked report) that the cops only want to help them? There's no reason to be worried about what's happening to you at all. I mean, he has been in this country a long time.

Probably around the same time cops realize that the public they foolishly believe they are protecting believe they have fewer rights than the armed thugs they are protecting the public against. Don't they know that when they approach a guy that looks seriously high, and find a knife on him, they should simply assume the knife is for "strawberries"? That if he starts wrestling with them it is merely because he's a little frightened because they're so mean? And that if he grabs one of their guns, they should just politely ask for it back?
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:09 PM on November 25, 2002


Ever been face to face with someone doing heroin? You may not know what drug in particular they are doing, but you sure as hell know it is something.

Yes, I live in an NYU dorm. But anyways, I could have sworn police have these report thingies where they would indicate crucial information like that. Or maybe they do, and that wasn't the case.

Probably around the same time cops realize that the public they foolishly believe they are protecting believe they have fewer rights than the armed thugs they are protecting the public against.

Please stop. This rhetoric that "criminals have more rights than victims" you were spouting earlier on is just plain nonsense. This entire case is proof that the police can and do pretty much whatever they want without justification and usually get away with it. As I said earlier, the sad truth is that this case is the most potentially damaging to the police because the person whose rights they violated managed to survive the ordeal.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:26 PM on November 25, 2002


Everyone is wrong but me.
posted by thirteen at 3:49 PM on November 25, 2002


I swear, take any political thread, skip ahead about 50 comments or so, and you are guaranteed to have personal attacks and name-calling.
posted by adampsyche at 4:01 PM on November 25, 2002


Seriously. I left to go to work, check in several hours later, and man oh man it's gotten mean. Couple of points though:

it is a question of balancing the legitmate restraints placed on police for the protection of the innocent, with the equally legitimate interest society has in the police being able to effectively protect citizens from criminals

Well, they're not considered equal. Our criminal justice system, as others have pointed out above, rests on the idea of people being innocent until they are proven guilty. So, in setting up the system, the framers were saying that it is a greater risk to punish the innocent than it is to not punish the guilty...in other words, better that someone go free "on a technicality" than someone be punished when their guilt has not been proven.

and essexjam: at least you have the BBC to show for your TV licence fee...we pay taxes for TV and radio too, and even though I like PBS it (usually) isn't nearly as good as BBC. But I digress..
posted by Vidiot at 4:26 PM on November 25, 2002


oissubke, fold_and_mutilate and I see eye to eye on nofundy baiting, MidasMulligan writes a Dostoyevskian length screed of inspired bombast--the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? As they say in the Great White North...
I'm still rooting for Groundskeeper Willie--I was wrestlin' wolves while ye were still at yer mother's teat!--my current celebrity lookalike for visualizing Midas.
posted by y2karl at 4:27 PM on November 25, 2002


a murderer that was freed due to a technicality

MM, "freed on a technicality" is a nice euphemism. A more accurate term would be "freed because the police violated the law they purport to uphold" would be more accurate. Or, if you'd rather, "freed because the police's actions were far beyond any legal authority they might have."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:47 PM on November 25, 2002


Why are some people are perfectly happy to push back civil rights by about 50 years?

Because some people weren't in favor of them 50 years ago, and still aren't. Despite the marketing, America is not one big happy family, and it behooves one to remember that.

The end of this particular slippery slope.
posted by rushmc at 5:16 PM on November 25, 2002


They were questioning because it is procedure to do so.

After reading all of the amicus briefs (the parties' briefs weren't on Findlaw and I already wasted too much time to track those down) and the lower court decisions, I would tend to agree with you on this point now.

The questioning officer asked him directly on the tape "do you think you are going to die?" There is only one reason to ask this and that is to get around the hearsay rule should the guy in fact die. Presumably, the officer was simply trying to preserve evidence in the case as you never know what the guy is going to say on the tape. Had he said, "I didn't do anything and they just shot me" and then died that would have been in the record of any subsequent trial.

Instead, after reading all of these briefs, you discover that Martinez admitted to pulling the gun and pointing it at the officers (on the tape). Only now Martinez says that the officer yelled "he's got my gun" but claims that he only had the officer's hand with the gun.

I now suspect the court will find the preservation of evidence a compelling state interest and send it back to the district court for a trial on the other issues that have dominated the discussion here.
posted by probablysteve at 5:59 PM on November 25, 2002


Imagine the fun if the 'Fleeing Felon' law were put back in place.

Oh, and did you know that we Brits also have to buy a permit from the Government every year (it costs about $180) to allow us to own a TV set?

i don't doubt you but is this a general permit? jeez, Sounds like the "Francis Urquhart" Television Act.

In my view, anyone caught and convicted 3 times selling crack to youths would be shot in the back of the head in public. But that is me and my anger. Everyone has a right to fair treatment and legal protection...period.
posted by clavdivs at 6:10 PM on November 25, 2002


PERIOD
posted by clavdivs at 6:10 PM on November 25, 2002


clavdivs - its a license to operate a television receiver. it was explained to me many years ago (by someone who may or may not have know jack about it) that the broadcasters there were all government owned, revenue for programming came from the receiver licensing. i have no idea if that is true now or was ever true - can someone across the pond enlighten? are there commercials? do they really have television detection vans roaming neighborhoods looking for unlicensed receivers (like i saw on 'the young ones' once)?
posted by quonsar at 6:23 PM on November 25, 2002


RylandDotNet, I think I have my new bumper sticker: "The New America: Trading Freedom for the Illusion of Security."

Was it Twain who said something like, "If you give a man a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail" ? Give police coercion and suddenly it will loom large and necessary in every other investigation. It's human nature: use it or lose it.

Bad idea.

I was (vainly) looking for that essay about whether or not torture is ever justified that delineated incremental steps between torturing the principals in some nuclear terrorism scenario --which almost seems morally justified-- and torturing increasingly remote, even uninvolved, ancillary persons. For after all, with so much at stake, better to torture the innocent just in case, right? The steps leading to the torture of innocent children seemed rational enough and easy to justify given the starting condition that a dire enough threat warrants coercion. I thought it was up on amnesty.org, but could not find it. Ah, well...

There is no slope. Just a drop-off.
posted by umberto at 7:17 PM on November 25, 2002


What is it about simple civil rights issues (and this one is pretty simple, either the police wre right or wrong in this case not a whole lotta grey area) that polorizes so dramatically?

This, Abortion/family-planning/unborn -fetus-murder
Security/Liberty
free-market/corperate-government
Multi-nationals/New-world-order..

Sheesh, it seems to bring out stupidity in force...
on both sides..
look at " You need to shut your mouth, and not causaly threaten people, even if it is usual for you to do so.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:44 AM PST on November 25"

or better yet...
"Honestly... take a look at that... Do you ever read what you write before you hit post? Actually, do you ever THINK before you write?

You see, dimwood, it's the people like you who are so opinionated and self-righteous yet can hardly speak or write fluently that causes such a thing to even be considered. ..
posted by Espoo2 at 1:07 PM PST on November 25"

What the fuck is wrong with these people that they can't discuss anything rationally?

maybe Canada ain't that cold after all?
posted by Elim at 7:38 PM on November 25, 2002


Q-
ms.clav confirms that there is or was a fee, wither it was to buy a new tellie or to operate one we are not sure. I suppose i could google...hmmm SOSIG.ac.uk seems to have something but that site is like sifting through the British Museum. Columbia Journalism Review for nov-dec. 98' states that Maggie T wanted a 100$ plus tax and they have a nifty pic of director-general John Birt whom looks like round-faced 'Urquhart'.

hmm, i wonder how the brits collect this tax...

Inspector Tellie: "Awe rite mum, we know ya have a tellie, need to support the BBC and all"

auntie Mae: "Naaaaooow, no tellie ere guv'ner, just me ole Philco from the war"
posted by clavdivs at 7:55 PM on November 25, 2002


What the fuck is wrong with these people that they can't discuss anything rationally?

I thought I was being rational, until I was informed that I needed to be shot in the head, to understand someone's point of view...

I don't know maybe it is just me, but that seems a bit much...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:57 PM on November 25, 2002


Well it was , you are right it was way outta line , But sheesh your reply and the rest of the argument from there on also doi little to get the discussion back on track.....

We miss the point of whether or not what the police did is justified and what the case will mean.

What all this has to do with brit tv is beyond me but atleast that is a civil point, no offence clavdivs.
posted by Elim at 8:16 PM on November 25, 2002


elim-essexjan brought up the point about british t.v. fees and i found it interesting. What i wanna know and will probably never know is why this guy ran?
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 PM on November 25, 2002


The "freedoms" that are "evaporating" are the freedoms the guilty have used to shield themselves. There is never absolute freedom in any society - it is always a matter of balancing often conflicting demands. Victims now often have less rights than the criminals that prey on them. This isn't a discussion about rolling "civil rights" back 50 years, it is about an incremental shift in the balance between the rights of criminals and the rights of victims.

The basic problem with this is that it assumes that all those questioned by police are guilty by default. Several recent examples demonstrate that police interrogation powers are sometimes used to produce a confession to close a case quickly regardless of guilt. There have been more than enough cases where suspects have been coerced into confessing to crimes they did not commit to place some checks on police interrogation.

I also disagree that we are in a situation where the rights of the accused are severely overballanced vs. the rights of victims. In spite of Miranda we both have more people and a larger percentage of our population in corrections systems that at any point in American History. Our incarciration rate is higher than most other countries, including countries with very weak human rights records.

Most states are putting people in jail faster than their ability to build jails. My own communty is bedding down convicts on matresses in hallways and rec-rooms in a facility that is less than a decade old. I just saw a news article about the city courts for the state capital. They have half of the courtrooms and holding cells they need to process the cases they have.

Certainly there are cases in which the bad guys get off due to improperly collected evidence. But these appear to be "man bites dog" stories. In spite of the TV shows the rules regarding Miranda and proper evidence collection produce good convictions much more frequently than aquittals.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:17 PM on November 25, 2002


quonsar/clavdivs, to continue the TV license digression, here's what I know (and anyone across the pond please correct if/when necessary):

There are five terrestrial-broadcast channels nationwide.

Three of these are commercial and show ads (Channel Four, Channel Five, and ITV -- which is a consortium of 13 (or is it 14? 15?) local independent television companies who have carved up the country among them.

The other two are government-owned (BBC1 and BBC2.) BBC -- all of it, not just TV -- gets its funding from television licensing.

To quote from the official web page : If you use or install television receiving equipment to receive or record television programme services you are required by law to have a valid TV Licence.

It's UKL112 for a color (oops, colour) set and UKL37.50 for B&W.

And yes, they can tell if you have an unlicensed TV:
At the heart of our operation is the TV Licensing database. It has details of over 26 million UK addresses.

Our officers have access to this computer system and a fleet of detector vans and hand-held detectors to track down and prosecute people who use a television without a licence.
Check out the section (under "Detection and Penalties") of their favorite excuses given by TV deadbeats.

Isn't this more fun than ad hominem attacks?
posted by Vidiot at 7:44 AM on November 26, 2002



This is what cops face daily. Though you wouldn't know it from this FPP's link.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:11 PM PST on November 25

And This is what the unarmed populace faces every day. Sure ~70 cops are killed annually in the line of duty. In a ten year period cops in one county shot 122 people killing 47. 47! And this county didn't even have the highest rates.

These shootings include nefarious criminals like James Minter who was shot while sitting in his wheelchair because "he was reaching for a gun in his waistband." Witnesses said the shooting officer had searched Minter and his bag moments before wounding him.

And Clifton Lyons who was shot by police (in the back) while observing the scene of a suspected break in that he phoned into 911. The irony almost killed him.

And Archie Elliott who was shot 14 times while handcuffed, wrists behind back, in a police cruiser. The officers had searched elliot, who was clad in shorts and tennis shoes, before buckling him into the cruiser. The officers claim he pulled a snub nose revolver on them.

It appears the populous is justified in not giving the police the green light to proceed in any manner they wish during questioning as long as they don't bring the suspect's statements to court.
posted by Mitheral at 8:06 AM on November 26, 2002


vidiot, thanks for the info. heh heh. the television police... i wonder why the RIAA and MPAA haven't tried that approach.

We have you surrounded! Throw out your unlicensed DVD players, and come out with your hands in the air!
posted by quonsar at 8:24 AM on November 26, 2002


good show vidiot, i learned something, which i can't say for the post main topic. I re-read this thread...not much, some good info...lots of naming calling and wishing of Ill will. Why do people attack Steve@ so much? ah well, he can hold his own. So, anyone care to tell me why this guy ran? I venture not, as with 99% of meFi threads, people move on and do not flesh out the problem.
posted by clavdivs at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2002


Then why don't you send him an e-mail and ask him, instead of posting here where it's completely off topic?
posted by oissubke


The same reason you didn't email me and posted here your completely off topic comment.

Thanks nofundy for the response. We're essentially in agreement, except instead of, Think globally, act locally, I prefer to Think and act locally and globally.

Otherwise, I find these esoteric arguments based on news reports without any degree of personal contact with the actual situation quite useless as to the events themselves, although they're great for abstract speeches for one's pet gripes. In practice any event can be used for any angle, and each will carry a measure of truth.
posted by semmi at 10:39 AM on November 26, 2002


Yes, semmi. Nothing means anything, you can never know the truth, so why bother trying? Just give up and see what's on HBO....
posted by rushmc at 3:09 PM on November 26, 2002


No rushmc, you can still talk about things you personally experienced and know something about first hand, unless you are simply a mechanical comment generator.
posted by semmi at 9:53 PM on November 26, 2002


"Well, if you're going to die, tell me what happened." Nice guy there. Glad HE'S one of the ones keeping Oxnard safe.

There's a legal reason for this - it's called a "dying declaration" when someone makes a statement believing they are about to die. The statement receives special evidentiary treatment in court, and many, if not all, police officers are trained to ask that question if a witness to a crime might think they are about to die.
posted by mikewas at 8:17 AM on November 27, 2002


you can still talk about things you personally experienced and know something about first hand

Very little knowledge in the modern world is "first-hand" in any meaningful sense. We not only stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, we use the eyes and minds of those who share the planet with us to vastly increase the quantity (and yes, quality) of our data input.
posted by rushmc at 10:00 AM on November 27, 2002


There is very little knowledge in the mass hypnosis you're referring to. History and ideology (the shoulders we stand on) are the fictional compromise to exist authentically, to accept life without substituting artificial constraint on it.
posted by semmi at 10:41 AM on November 29, 2002


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