Police and prosecution roundup

  • Why license plate scanning is an up-and-coming front in the surveillance wars [Radley Balko]
  • Prosecutor whose lapse sent innocent man to prison for 25 years will go to jail — for ten days [Adler, Shackford]
  • “Nurse fights charges she helped father commit suicide” [Phil. Inq., Barbara Mancini case, via @maxkennerly]
  • California inmates released, crime rates jump: a Brown v. Plata trainwreck? [Tamara Tabo, Heather Mac Donald/City Journal]
  • Driver arrested under Ohio’s new law banning hidden compartments in cars even though he had nothing illicit in the compartment [Shackford] Tenaha, Tex. traffic stops, cont’d: “Give Us Cash or Lose Your Kids and Face Felony Charges: Don’t Cops Have Better Things to Do?” [Ted Balaker/Reason, earlier]
  • Arizona Republic series on prosecutorial misconduct [4-parter]
  • Few act as if they care about Mr. Martin-Oguike’s fate at hands of a false accuser [Scott Greenfield]


  • “They pulled over the driver for speeding, but then troopers noticed several wires running to the back of the car.
    Those wires then led them directly to a hidden compartment.”

    If the hidden compartment was in fact discovered as a result of being in plain sight, then it was not really hidden after all.
    Besides, every modern car has multiple plastic panels that pop off fairly easily, making several cubic feet of space available just within the doors alone.

  • Re: the prosecutor going to jail for 10 days

    This seems like an inadequate remedy, especially to the guy who did 25 years for a crime he didn’t commit. This is the first time, however, I have ever heard of a prosecutor actually suffering criminal penalties for job-related misconduct.

    I think there’s good reason for prosecutors to enjoy a generous measure of immunity, but in the case of intentional bad acts that result in an egregious miscarriage of justice like this, 10 days (though paling in comparison to 25 years) is a good start.

  • Re: The Ohio Car Hide Case.

    I am skeptical of this as it is being presented. In the original article Shackford cites, the reporter makes the statement the wires were visible.

    However, the spokesman for the State Highway Patrol said:

    “During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” says Lt. Michael Combs with State Highway Patrol.

    Think about what that means. Anytime you have something in your car that was not purchased from the factory, the police say they can use that as a pretext for a search of the vehicle.

    If the wires were visible (which may be true) why use “components” and not “wires” in the statement as the spokesman does later when he says:

    “We figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open,” says Combs.

    So were the wires exposed? Or did the police expose them when the “followed the wiring?”

    Furthermore, Channel 3 was not able to shoot video of that car right now because it is being held as evidence,..”

    Really? You mean all those press conferences we have seen where police display seized weapons, drugs, etc shouldn’t have happened because the display items were evidence?

    “We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

    There ya go. These compartments can’t be used for anything other than “illegal trade.” After all, someone might want to hide a legal weapon, some jewelry, or any of a hundred other things that people choose not to have out in the open or in “factory compartments.”

    Next thing you know, there will be a law outlaying zip lock bags because they can transport drugs and money.

    Find another way to send your kid to school with a bologna sandwich.

  • For what it may be worth, Ken Anderson has already served his jail term.

    And he was released early for good behavior.

  • Somewhat related to the prosecutor going to jail, in Boston a state chemist was convicted of mishandling evidence:

    Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist whose mishandling of evidence in drug cases threw the state’s criminal justice system into turmoil, pleaded guilty today in Suffolk Superior Court and was sentenced to three to five years in prison.
    Dookhan’s falsification of drug tests, in an attempt to look like a highly productive employee, prompted the release of hundreds of convicts, raised questions about thousands of cases, and forced the state to spend millions to address the problems.

    source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/lhg1mwd9U3J8eh4tNBS63N/story.html