Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March 13

Travis Davon Terry was convicted of first-degree murder today by a Harford County jury in the shooting death of Edwin Lee Potillo. He could get a death sentence.

Police and family members are seeking new information about the murder of Gap Suk Suh, who was murdered on Friday, November 3 after a minor accident with a Buick Rendezvous at the corner W. Mulberry St. and Jasper St. Suh would have turned 60 yesterday.

18-year-old Raymond Zubrowski Jr. has been missing from North Point for 45 days and "seems to have disappeared without a trace."

Good times in the city over the past few days: a shooting, two shootings, a shooting, a shooting, and a bank robbery.

Joseph Kopera's false credentials and make-believe science may lead to the review of hundreds of murder and shooting cases.

Perv of the day: William Wray of Crespatown, who was charged with abusing an 11-year-old girl.

Perv of the day, part II: A transcript from last night's "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees" on CNN, where Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts discusses being abused by former Calvert Hall chaplain Father Jerome Toohey from 1987 - 1990.

Michael Dean Jackson Jr. got the maximum sentence -- 10 years -- for voluntary manslaughter for shooting Anthony James Owens-Smith to death in Howard County.

Leeander Blake's confession is admissible in his federal murder trial.

BFD Captain Brian K. Edwards is in trouble for talking to the Sun.

The City Council is considering banning BB guns because they "have the same effect as real guns when they're used by criminals." Uh, yeah, the same effects, except for real bullets' tendencies to tear flesh and shatter bones and destroy organs.

In other City Council news, members unanimously agreed that the death penalty is bad, even if the killer used a BB gun.


ppatin said...

Oh, you just have to love The Sun. This crap is what I saw at the top of their website today.

"Paris Hilton (left) and Nicole Richie, one-time co-stars on "The Simple Life," square off in a first-round grudge match as The Sun tries to identify the most annoyingly overexposed celebrity in America. "

Maurice Bradbury said...

But What if you didn't know?!

John Galt said...

Responding to an earlier post:

The Cybrarian said...
How good of a conviction rate that is I'm not sure-- but I don't think it's very good. The national average clearance rate (a suspect is arrested) is 63 percent for 2004.

I looked around and found the statewide murder conviction rate for California in 1999 was 83 percent, San Francisco' is 87 percent. The SAO of Jacksonville, Florida claims a 97 percent conviction rate. Michigan's SA claims a rate of "higher than 90 percent." And Japan's is higher than 99 percent, which is a little scary. But what does it all mean? A SA could have a very high rate just for only bringing "slam dunk" cases to trial. Or, if you have a population of jurors that are, say, very intimidated by criminals and think everything the State says is a lie, what can be done about that?

Mon Mar 12, 03:26:00 PM EST

What you do is to merge circuits until your juror pool no longer consists of people who are so predisposed. Consider the Southern District of New York. Suburbanites from Long Island are as likely to hear a criminal case as people from the inner city. It's sort of a question: what contitutes a jury of one's peers?

If you live in a hellhole, does your jury consist of only the disfunctionals who also live there? That would argue strongly in favor of urban flight.

The jury population should be constructed in such a way that it is not particular to a locale, for that would undo the principle that the laws of the State apply uniformly across it.

I'd recommend redrawing the circuits in such a way that contiguous chunks of Baltimore City (and presumably Baltimore County, since it kinda wraps around us) be merged with the circuits for AA, Harford, Carroll, etc. The resulting circuits would look sorta like a pizza pie whose center is in Charm City and whose 'crust' corresponds to the outer boundaries of surrounding counties.

John Galt said...

This solution also rather elegantly addresses the corollary problem of 'easy' city judges and State's Attorneys, as they would have to secure election from a more suburban, presumptively less crime-tolerant electorate.

ppatin said...

I assume that a smarter jury pool is part of the reason that federal prosecutions in Baltimore seem to go a lot better than those in the state court system.

ppatin said...

Galt, your NY comparison is a little off since you're comparing federal and state systems. Nobody from Long Island will be serving on the jury for a state case that was commited in NYC. The Southern District of NY example is only for federal cases. All the state stuff (i.e. most of the day to day crime) is done by county.

John Galt said...

True. And it's actually the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The principle that the composition of the jury pool may be taken into account in establishing a jury plan, however, is ancient.

Qualifying jury members outside of voir dire was standard, and was only discontinued after it became untenably abused so as to implement racial segregation and frustrate equal protection.

Idiots should not be jurors. The crime-tolerant should not be jurors. It should not be left to the voir dire process to weed out basic inappropriateness, but rather idiosyncratic defects in juror suitability.

In Kent County, I can count on basic protection from criminal acts under statewide law, but not in Baltimore City. When the nature of the population surrounding me makes that protection unavailable, then I am denied equal protection by the composition of the county of jurisdiction, which means such a county is ineligible to discharge the constitutional carriage of justice under those state laws, and therefore must adopt a remedial jury plan, possibly including the redrawing of infeasible jurisdictional boundaries.

ppatin said...

It would probably help if the Baltimore City court system wasn't seperate from Baltimore County's. Of course, I'm sure that no one in the county wants anything to do with that part of the city, and I can't blame them.

Dopple said...

I've seen jury lists for murder trials in Baltimore City and helped the court with voir dire, and i'll tell you that it is not "disfunctionals" that get on the jury. The jury pool itself consists of large group of people from homemakers to teachers to lawyers and the unemployed. Baltimore is a big place that is very diverse and juries often reflect that.

I would not blame the Asst. SA's or sympathetic juries, but I would blame the police department for evidence handling, internal investigations that fail to weed out bad cops, poor recruitment practices, and all the other things that make the evidence and police lose credibility.

It doesn't take a jury of "disfunctionals" or scared residents to not convict a criminal, but it does take critical thinkers to understand that an IED report goes to credibility.

John Galt said...

I cannot claim the ability to determine what percentage of this problem is attributable to which contributing department/branch, but in spite of my extensive unfavorable experience with Baltimore's Finest, I find it hard to believe that police ineptitude is the sole factor.

Realized penalties in Balto. County are statistically much higher and convictions are more likely. Are we then suggesting that the numbers would reverse if we simply swapped police personnel ?? I doubt it.

I've watched SA's and judges (mostly in District Court) give away the store because they didn't want relatively sound cases go to Circuit Court by jury prayer. Maybe they aren't comfortable with juries, maybe with judges, or maybe they just cannot find an open timeslot on the docket.

Any way you cut it, jury trials here deter justice.

Now, let's get to street justice:

The Sun reports on three shootings in two days, but omits the shootings just last night of one on the 3100 block, Cliftmont, and two on the 2900 block, East Coldspring, both in Northeast Balto. City.