Monday, June 15, 2009

Busting stereotypes...

Tricia Bishop on how voir dire is a bunch of hoodoo

Sirlilar Stokes... hey, I just put two and two together, the Sirlilar Stokes who Jacques Kelly reported about a few weeks ago is the same one accused of shooting dancer Ashley Davis in Robert E. Lee park, then going back to the strip club. (Pic at right)
Not all lesbians are innocent and cuddly, Mel!
(See also Newton, Sharone, accused of killing Sctario Edwards outside of Coconuts)

WTF? "A 30-year-old woman was seriously injured Sunday evening when her brother pushed her out of a moving vehicle and into the southbound lanes of Interstate 695 near Security Boulevard"

RJR dwarfed by megalithic pile of applications


ppatin said...

Hey look, Peter Hermann interviewed Buz for his article about fudged crime numbers.

Maurice Bradbury said...

Hey, look at that!

Bill Mill said...

the link titled "Sirlilar Stokes who Jacques Kelly reported about" is busted.

Maurice Bradbury said...

Fixed it, thanks

helix said...

I've always felt that "voir dire" was a ridiculous and hypocritical exercise.

As jurors, we are supposed to look at "the evidence" to determine guilt or innocence. We can't consider things like what was the past criminal history of the defendant, what was his occupation, and if he did have a problematic past what would he be doing in a drug infested area at 2am, etc.

However, when we get picked during voir dire, things like our occupation, criminal history, appearance and all that stuff can be used by the lawyers as a basis for judging whether or not we are fit to be jurors. I don't like it.

I actually would feel better if the juries were more random.

Cham said...
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Cham said...

I think the trick in picking a jury if you are a prosecutor is to do it Chex mix style, get one of everybody. I've been on a 12 man jury that had 10 black women. Black women will generally vote as a block, they will not oppose each other. That jury ended in a hung jury, as one jurist refused to go along with 11 not-guilties. I found out that day I didn't like getting poked with extra long fingernails.

ppatin said...

I like the Rod Rosenstein photo. Speaking of job applications, is there any word on who his replacement will be? I believe his term ends in June.

buzoncrime said...

Thanks to Peter for interviewing me for his article in the Sun yesterday morning; my wife says some of the quotes are such that a reporter would die for.

I guess someone could read in context that I was accusing the commissioner of lying; I don't think he orders anyone to do anything like that about downgrading or not reporting crime--personally. I think it's systemic, and to a degree Compstat driven. Plus some officers, hate to say it, just don't want to write reports and others find report writing difficult. However, the incentive overall, is not to write crime as Uniform Crime Reporting wants, but how the State's Attorney might prosecute or plea bargain the case.

But, a minor correction: I never attained the rank of major, I retired as a captain, which was the highest attained civil service position at that time. Once, the department had about 18 captains. But, beginning with Frazier, commissioners did not like that rank, because they felt they could not "control" those command staff members as well as those who were appointed and served at the commissioner's pleasure--majors and above. So, an effort began to phase that rank out, and they eventually replaced that rank with a new rank of "deputy major", which is appointed, non-civil service, and serves at the pleasure.

So, I appreciate Peter's promotion (Thanks!), but, alas, no money comes with that, and since the city's broke, they don't want to increase my pension anyway.

buzoncrime said...

There is way too much emphasis placed on the crime rate and the police role in the crime rate. Crime is a complex social, economic, political, and psychological phenomenon which is both a cause and result of problems.

It's not just the police: the bail system, judges, juries, prosecutors, corrections, parents, parole and probation all have a role intertwined in the criminal justice system--which is embedded in the larger political and economic and historical system. Police are the most visible and direct. Sometimes, Bill Bratton notwithstanding, there is not a lot they can do, given the other things going on in the environment--if that system is essentially overloaded and broke.

However, do you think for a minute that any commissioner would keep his job if crime went up?

BomTrown said...
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BomTrown said...

ppatin said...


I had a couple of questions about the department's rank structure. I was under the impression that captains were eliminated when Ed Norris was commissioner, and that up until then all district commanders were captains. From what you're saying it sounds like the rank was either gradually eliminated, because I could swear I could remember reading a CityPaper article about the rank of captain disappearing back when Norris was commissioner. Is my memory faulty? Also, if "deputy major" replaced the rank of captain does that mean that district commanders were always majors? Pardon my confusion here.

Anonymous said...

I never said that lesbians were cute and cuddly.

So I guess if they aren't "cute and cuddly" it's okay to murder them?

buzoncrime said...

PP---I'll try to clarify.
When I first came on the department in 1971, Commissioner Pomerleau's era, the districts were in fact commanded by Captains. (A civil service rank).

A few years later the commissioner declared that due to the complex and delicate nature of their positions, district commanders were to be elevated to Major rank (but he did not declare so much that they were now an exempt position, serving at his pleasure) So, for any reason or no reason, the Commissioner could demand a major or above resign and retire. (Those without 20 years on go back to their highest civil service rank, eventually mostly lieutenants.)

So, district commanders were majors for a while. But eventually, it became apparent that the major needed someone else to be second in command of the district in his absence, since there were 5 or 6 lieutenants in the district, and the senior one or appointed one, usually the admin lieutenant, was then in charge. Thus, the position of Deputy District Commander was created at the rank of Captain.

Though Frazier stopped promoting anyone to captain, you are correct in that Norris took action to trim their ranks during his tenure. When i retired, there were only 3 captains left. Apparently, during Norris's tenure all captain positions were eliminated one way or another. Once all those incumbents were gone or promoted, the rank of "Deputy Major" was created, but it is exempt--serving at the pleasure of the commissioner.

So, one can easily see that the commissioner has tremendous power to demand the loyalty of his command staff; the highest civil service, merit system rank is now lieutenant.

ppatin said...


Thanks for the clarification.

helix said...


How long did it take to get a hung jury? I was in a similar situation. About 8 jurors were going with "not guilty" for absolutely idiotic reasons, but had dug their heels in. The rest of us were willing to say guilty on at least one charge. We eventually gave up because we had no idea how long the deliberations would last-- we had jobs to get back to, and all the shouting and arguing was making everyone weary.

When I think back, it really bothers my conscience that I gave in. I didn't have the nerve to ask the judge how long I would have to stick it out to get "hung jury", but that's what I really wanted to know.

Cham said...

To hold out for a hung jury you have to be willing to put some skin in the game, both literally and figuratively. The trial was held the day before labor day weekend. I had no plans for the weekend, plus I had the smarts to bring 14 magazines, 2 crossword puzzle books, 2 sandwiches and 2 apples with me. I figured I could go about 2 days with what I had.

The black women all had day care issues, a few had employment issues and, from the looks of that crew, some of them had to track down their welfare checks. I just told them how it was and then refused to speak to them. That is when they started poking me with their finger nails. I decided the jury table wasn't the place for me and staked out a spot on the floor in a little nook (the 4th floor jury rooms have nooks over the staircases). The ladies spent their time waiting for me to come to my senses discussing how the white prosecutor and the white judge were racists, and the young black crack dealer who had 27 bags of crack in his pocket was framed. I managed to complete several crossword puzzles and enjoy an apple so the time wasn't wasted.

At 4:30PM the ladies realized they were going to have beaucoup daycare issues and started seeing the light that they either had to kill me or go with the only offer I was willing to put on the table. So it was 11 to 1, the judge poled the jury twice. Then he spent about 20 minutes reaming us all because he had never seen such a giant pile of evidence for a guilty verdict. I didn't take his words personally.

I now refuse to serve on juries because I am not sure that the next black female posse will let me live. They scare me.

Cham said...

BTW, I might add one more comment. In those ladies defense, 2 Baltimore City police officers testified for the prosecution in that trial. I am really surprised one of them didn't bring his white cloak and pointy hat to the witness box. I've never seen anyone so racist. But the kid was still guilty so the cop's nasty attitude didn't sway my opinion.

anonymous said...

Hermann, you are weak. Billyfield is weak. And Busduk is weak.
Weak! Weak! Weak!
All of you are going down.