Friday, September 29, 2006

Op Ed by Galt

Mayor needs to point that finger at himself.

Have you seen the lame response of the Mayor's office to the position of the Governor's office that it offered policing assistance which was rebuffed by Baltimore's executive?

link here to my OpEd Letter in GaltSpace.


I'm including in the comments section a discussion of the legal basis for Mr. O'Malley's false arrest policies, because of its length.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kristin MaHoney is a J-O-K-E! She doens't care whats going on with crime or with the police. She's just another one in love with O'Malley willing to defend him no matter wha the cost to anyone else.

John Galt said...

In a recent article, Mayor O’Malley has issued a new basis for his police department’s persistent abuse of civil liberties: the gap between probable cause and reasonable doubt. This he claims to raise as a former prosecutor, but please recall that he is also a former criminal defense attorney.

Let’s review:


The Sixth Amendment, called First Appearance, requires that a defendant be brought before a magistrate without delay. In Maryland, District Court provides for a Preliminary Hearing to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe a defendant is guilty, to a standard somewhat less than a reasonable doubt. If so determined, a trial will determine whether the charges have been proven, under the rules and procedures of the Maryland judiciary, beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is clearly a need for law enforcement to be able to apprehend a criminal, given reasonable suspicion and having satisfied the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of Probable Cause. The Supreme Court has characterized probable cause as the "accumulated wisdom of precedent and experience."

Draper vs. U.S. gave us that "Probable cause is where known facts and circumstances, of a reasonably trustworthy nature, are sufficient to justify a man of reasonable caution or prudence in the belief that a crime has been or is being committed." and Smith vs. U.S. that "Probable cause is the sum total of layers of information and synthesis of what police have heard, know, or observe as trained officers. "

These principles have their genesis in the colonial history of this nation. Under English colonial rule, Writs of Assistance authorized by the royal governour were presumptive in character, requiring no justification beyond the will of the governour. Redcoats used to just bust in and do the governour’s will.

At the time of the framing of our legal system, the population consisted primarily of smallholder homesteaders. Even our leading cities were sparsely populated by European standards. As a result, if a crime occurred on or to your property, it was most likely the case that the primary witness was the victim. Further, since antivagrancy laws were in effect, most of the candidates for criminality were well-known to the victim and his neighbors. Enforcement would be carried out by fairly certain citizens swearing out warrants through a constable, whose job was primarily one of due process. There were very few transients, at least outside of ports, so identifying perps was pretty easy.

With urbanization and the corresponding influx of unrecognized immigrants speaking foreign tongues, places like New York and Boston came to realize that they needed a professional police force, such as then existed in London, because many of the modern perps were strangers, or were transient. And as citizens’ lives became more complex and less associated with tilling the soil at the family homestead, the likelihood of observing crimes oneself diminished, creating the need for a municipal watchman, the modern patrol officer.

When the officer (constable) was primarily processing a warrant for a victim/complainant, it would have been quite reasonable that the complainant meet first a loose standard for probable cause and then a somewhat stricter standard before the court for guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The logic being that it is the court’s function and not that of the executive branch, to adjudicate innocence or guilt. In the contemporary setting, however, the officer is both the complainant for the warrant/charges and the principal witness at trial. It is, therefore, unnecessary for him to face a far less exacting standard for probable cause leading to arrest than the guilt beyond reasonable doubt which he will still need to demonstrate at trial. By that standard, if a police officer cannot using the facts at his disposal convince himself of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, how could he expect anything but injustice to come of his arresting based upon a probable cause which in his mind is apparently far, far removed from guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It becomes more or less a speculative detainer with the burden placed upon the prosecutor to establish a case to the satisfaction of the court where the arresting officer felt very likely none existed.

Therefore, it seems to me, to the degree that the conviction on a charge will hinge exclusively on the offerings of the arresting officer, except for the forms of pleading interposed by a prosecutor, then in the same degree the probable cause must bear similitude to the expectation of guilt beyond reasonable doubt by that pivotal officer. Where the gap between the two is great, a grave injustice is done by facilitating the arrest of the defendant on flimsy grounds.

In fact, Mr. O’Malley thereby comes to be in the same boat with George W. (Dubya) in respect of foreign detainees without charges.

The Cybrarian said...

glat, this is just off the hook.
You know how on the front page there's a button that says "get your own blog"? You need to get it on it.

I keep a tight format for a lot of good reasons-- mainly that people simply tune out when it comes to diatribes (espeically on computer screens), and I don't think a reader should have to wade through a lot of sludge find out what's going on out there.

I avoid casual speech like 'izzat' and 'gonna' because it sounds sloppy and casual, and what's going on is serious business.

And I did not start this to be promoting candidates. Unless I really like someone and think it might matter. But it doen't make any difference to Baltimore City who becomes governor. We're getting screwed either way, so I am not endorsing anyone, and I resent you using the audience that I've built to push your personal point of view and chosen candidate.

That's not my vision for where we're going here. sorry buddy but I gotta cutcha off.

John Galt said...

I think I've been rather more critical of our Mayor than supportive of the Governor. I agree with you: if he's our Governor, we're screwed. If he's our Mayor, we're screwed, unless perhaps a higher jurisdiction imposes supervision.

I've spoken with the State Police, who tell me they do not at this moment have jurisdiction to enforce Maryland law here. That comes from Attorney General Joe Curran, the Mayor's father in law.

The bill requesting that grant of jurisdiction, introduced by Keiffer Mitchell, is sitting in Committee with Bobby Curran, the Mayor's uncle in law.

If it comes to pass, it will probably be challenged in court, perhaps to come before the judge, Mrs. Mayor.

Forget the election. This is just a bad, anti-crime-control administration. And they're lying about it.

Rodya said...

phew, it was starting to sound like g-alt himself was gonna run for mayor.

John Galt said...

Why would anyone in their right mind want to be Mayor here? I mean, if you actually intended to do the job?

Now if you just wanted a steppingstone to higher office and to hell with the people who continue to live here, ok, I could see it.

Not that I'm ascribing that behavior to any particular politician, or even to any particular Irish one.

Almond Smash said...

Mahoney is an O'Malley civilian appointee into the PD; she isn't a police and she has no business speaking in public representing the agency.