Morning Ed: Law & Order {2018.09.26.W}

[LO1] One way to avoid getting killed by the cops is to play dead. You might even walk away scot free. In the Philippines at least.

[LO2] Police officers in Seattle are getting really tired of being demonized, according to police officers in Seattle.

[LO3] If you want to avoid getting killed by Islandic vikings, the answer is to choose your family wisely and grow it.

[LO4] OFFS

[LO5] The files the FBI kept on the literary world.

[LO6] This is not surprising, societal biases being what they are. A lot of it just seems… random. A coach at my high school got convicted and didn’t get any prison time despite it most likely not being the only incident.

[LO7] Solving murder mysteries on Mars.

[LO8] Well this is just lovely.

[LO9] Revenge!


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22 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Law & Order {2018.09.26.W}

  1. Lo2 – it seems that as long as I’ve been reading stories on the internet, the Seattle police have the worst reputation among all ‘liberal city’ police forces (far worse than the NYPD or LAPD).

    Lo4 – it turns out the most unrealistic thing about the Wire is how much David Simon valorized the Baltimore Police department; to almost Dick Wolf levels, in hindsight.

    Lo6 – that article seemed to be more anecdotes than data. A hypothesis test of ‘do women teachers get punished less severely than men teachers’ needs to account for the fact that there are so many more women teachers than men teachers, and ickily enough, if there is any statistically significant variation in the average age of the victims between the two types of offenders.

    Lo7 – criminals need to keep track of the Mars intraplanet date line, and they’ll be fine.

    Side topic. Speaking of the FBI, the whole ‘we need the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh’ was kind of a gambit – and I’m a bit surprised that the bluff didn’t get called. I think for the most part the FBI is professional, but to the extent it is (may be) politicized and contains partisan hacks masquerading as career civil servants, all those folks have a Republican bias. (Though they are mostly in the NY field office, which would probably have nothing to do with such an investigation).

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    • Lo6: Yeah, I also think the anecdote list overlook the fact that when a crime is committed that has a range of sentences from zero to five years, for instance, then there are going to be a lot of underlying facts that will influence the actual sentence. And in particular, just because the crime is statutory rape, doesn’t mean that there was not evidence of violence or threat of violence underlying it.

      Given male upper-body strength, violent proclivities, and issues relating to pregnancy that the article gives little attention, I think a system that tends to judge males more harshly is probably just. The harder issue is the disparity in reputational harms. If the society tends to judge a girl victim in these situations less sympathetically than boys, shouldn’t the punishment be more?

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  2. [LO3] Funny, worrying about being killed by Icelandic Vikings has seldom occurred to me. But we have been considering a trip to Iceland sometime in the next few years. I guess I should look up the extended family in Ireland (many of whom fit the look of ‘Viking Irish’) first, just in case…

    As to Kavanaugh side note, I’m actually a bit surprised that bluff didn’t get called too. But I admit it’s one of those things that counts against him for me. I mean, if your reputation was being smeared, wouldn’t you *want* an investigation to clear your name? Generally when someone accused of something is going with a version ‘of nothing to see here, officer. Just go about your business.’ I get suspicious.

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      • Did the R’s refuse the FBI investigation, or did the FBI say no to it? I am not clear on that. And I wouldn’t call getting a judge confirmed a power grab unless you want to call the attempt at Garland the same thing… YMMV.

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        • I’m not 100% clear myself, but from what I’ve read, it seems it went something like this:

          1. Ford team requests FBI investigation as precondition to testify.
          2. McConnell resists FBI investigation citing 1) its an Exec Branch thing and 2) Senate is empowered to conduct its own investigation as they see fit (e.g. a hearing would be sufficient)
          3. Ford team drops FBI investigation request, agrees to testify under certain conditions.

          I tried to find corroborating link that team Ford dropped the request, but google is proving obtuse… seems anything with “FBI investigation” provides a surfeit of information no matter how you qualify it.

          My uninformed suspicion is that both sides recognized discretion as the better part of valor (as noted by the fire-breathing frog below) … once it became clear that a) the investigation would likely be little more than a few days and sworn affidavits and b) sworn affidavits don’t do anything other than provide rope to hang yourself by… and why give an affidavit to the FBI when you can just go straight to National TV? There’s no upside in this particular case.

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          • That’s my impression too. McConnell is reluctant to request an FBI investigation because either he believes having one won’t make the confirmation more likely, or because (and I’m more inclined to believe this explanation) Trump has explicitly expressed that he doesn’t want one, and the investigation can only be called by the executive. Important to remember that McConnell is a water carrier in this process. Kavanaugh is not only *not* his guy, he publicly expressed that he didn’t want him nominated. So Kav is Trump’s guy, for whatever reason. I think Trump is driving this process more than the media is reporting, and more than GOP Senators are letting on. Grassley’s bizarre behavior only makes sense to me as an effort to appease Trump by trying to salvage a sinking nomination by ramming it through.

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          • Lindsey Graham: “The FBI has told me, ‘We don’t know how to help you. We don’t know where to go, we don’t know what town to go, we don’t know what month to look at, we’re not even sure about the year.” LINK

            I think it may not be appreciated that an investigation of Ford’s story would really amount to an investigation of Ford. That’s where the leads would potentially be.

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            • That may be, but Ford is not only willing to be investigated, she requested the investigation. It’s not like she can unilaterally determine conditions of her appearance. It’s a very politically charged negotiation. And her only leverage, seemingly, is that she threatens to take her story to the media rather than the Senate. That said, I’d be surprised (mildly) if she shows up for the hearing as it’s currently scheduled, partly because there was no investigation into the veracity of her claims but also because she’s going to be interrogated by outside counsel and not the 11 angry white dudes. :)

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            • Right, my initial impression (perhaps mistaken and not withstanding a personal policy of not believing 1 in 7 of the words Lindsey Graham utters) was that there was a notion that the FBI would investigate the… idea… that Kavanaugh did something in the early 80s. But pretty quickly it was clear that the only starting point would be a sworn statement by Dr. Ford… which was partially pre-empted by public statements of the rumored witnesses.

              Ms. Keyser made her (almost-)public statement on 9/22 denying any recollection of the event… I suspect this may have ended their interest in FBI involvement.

              Dr. Ford’s team announced her willingness to testify on 9/23

              There’s still something a little bit odd (on both sides) for not having the FBI get statements and follow-leads for the record, and to serve as the basis for the accusation and (attempted) rebuttal.

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              • One potential caveat with the Graham statement is that I don’t know what the FBI has beyond a redacted letter, which may have no witnesses or dates or places. They did their job by reading it and putting it in the Kavanaugh file.

                Added: I see a lot of federal investigations as maintaining files. I’ve tried to get files closed that have been publicly opened on clients, and after being told they are satisfied with the response and information and they are considering the matter closed, they won’t actually give any indication that the file is closed. It just waits for someting to happen or not.

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        • Did the R’s refuse the FBI investigation, or did the FBI say no to it?

          Neither.

          Ahh, you mean “did the Rs refuse Ford’s request for an investigation”. Yes, they did (though “refuse” probably isn’t the most appropriate way to describe it).

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    • I don’t know about that – if anyone can be expected to have truly internalised the maxim that talking to cops can never make things better, only at best not worse, then I would expect a judge to have done so.

      If I were accused of a crime I didn’t commit, I definitely would not want a police investigation into the accusation. At worst I might go to prison for something I didn’t do (or for something else I did do, incidentally uncovered by police in the investigation), at best I’d be no better off than if the police had never gotten involved in the first place.

      Clever people may say “if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear” but only stupid people practice it.

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  3. LO4, LO8: The problem with unions is that it is a formalized fraternity. But the unions are the tip of the iceberg that is the actual fraternity between members of law enforcement.

    (If I wanted a better Linky Morning to act as counter-point to Sam’s post on that pesky presumption of innocence thing, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.)

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  4. Speaking of L&O, the immigration crackdown is burning through money.

    Seems the budget for ICE, etc. is getting back filled with budget from FEMA, the Coast Guard, the CDC, Cancer Research[1], etc.

    It’d be interesting if law enforcement had to submit budgets and stick to them absent a congressional approval for more funding. Want to conduct an immigration crackdown, better have the budget lined up ahead of time. Running out of budget and there is no dire emergency you can use to ask for more? Better prioritize what crimes you are going to pursue.

    Won’t happen, because LE professionalism is a joke, and as soon as they feel the budget crunch, they’ll prioritize revenue generating crimes (like traffic tickets) over other things (like violent crimes and burglary/theft)[2].

    [1] I’m sure NPR picked those examples for a reason, but still…

    [2] I know they will, because departments have in the past, and not just the little speed trap departments.

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    • The fix for [2] would be to not let police departments keep ticket revenues. City councils might pressure LE to prioritize such offences, but at least it wouldn’t do them any good to prioritize them on their own initiative.

      And for goddess’s sake, get rid of civil forfeiture.

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