Friday, May 1, 2009

Bloodbaths, Real and Imagined

@ 3 p.m. Police tweet "SHOOTING: Reported @ S. MONROE ST."

Jurors are due to begin death penalty deliberations in the Byers case today

CP: "Nathan "Bodie" Barksdale and Kenny Jackson tell their versions of Baltimore's street life in The Baltimore Chronicles: Legends of the Unwired"

Governing Magazine has a not-very-flattering piece on Baltimore's police cameras (from the BPD's own Facebook page, oddly enough)

IV covers HarfCo's homicide, which the victim claims was in self-defense

A knee-slappin* tale from the DOJ of a 40-chugging felon who got 15 years
*(only funny because no one was hurt!)

Yeow! Why do these pedophiles collect so many images?

Media blabber: more about the Sun "bloodbath" at The Real Muck and The Baltimore Brew

Gun Nut Busted

On Facebook, the BPD reports a major gun seizure:
On April 30, Southest District Drug Unit & BPD SWAT executed a search warrant at 711 Oldham Street.

The following property was recovered:

Norinco SKS (w/ 10 rounds in clip)
Norinco SKS (w/10 rounds in clip)
Norinco AK-47 (w/30 rounds in clip)
Enfield bolt action 303 cal.

Also about 1000 rounds of ammo for the weapons. Suspect arrested was Augustine Tambuvello W/M/9-7-48, he has prior convictions of felony narcotics.
Notes Sebastian Sassi: "Two things: a Norinco is an AK knockoff, it's not a true AK47 which is select fire by definition (ie, semi auto and full auto).

Also, those rifles also have magazines, not clips. Clips are devices that band rounds together leaving them exposed at the dangerous end, whereas magazines (much like the magazines in your duty Glock 22 .40SW sidearm) fully encase the rounds."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Supreme Court Newsflash

Souter is stepping down, just as we were dabbling in Sparklit, begging the question: who is the ... Best! Judge! Ever! (see the sidebar for the poll)

Super fun poll

We all have to go sometime...

Which would you rather?

Run over by truck
Executed by state
Smoking-related illness
Stabbed by lover
Suicide in course of Jihad
heroin OD
mauled by dogs
First bosses, then self

Buz on Drugz

Buz left a brilliant comment a while back that deserves a bump. Buz has changed our minds on decriminalization, at least when it comes to the white drugs. We still think they should sell pot out of washtubs at the farmer's market. Anyway:

"...if drugs were somehow "decriminalized", these groups, would not stop declaring territory, and not stop doing illegal things, including black market selling of the now decriminalized drugs? Why should they stop? Oh, I suppose, depending on how one decriminalizes, the legal market would cut into their sales; Buz remains skeptical. A large factor in gang belonging is protection from the "other"-whoever that is.

I read some about Switzerland's heroin treatment program, and some aspects of it have a certain charm. The Lancet article of 2006 was generally supportive, but it did note that heroin maintenance was long-term, and for those who engaged in the program and stopped, virtually all re-entered the program within 10 years. It did, however, have the effect of heroin being now viewed as a drug for "losers" and "junkies". Who woulda thunk? Oh, and only 1300 of Switzerland's 30K heroin addicts are in the heroin prescription program.

Clearly, young folks like yourself and Abstract and Cham are trying to come to terms with this issue for the future. I did not notice in my short look any reference to other criminal activity or other measures of social health. One article lauded a guy who gets his heroin, goes to work, and plays dad on weekends. I guess that's possible; in fact, I've heard of "working addicts", but have yet to meet an actual one. In my experience as a vocational caseworker, the general rule of thumb is that persons currently using hard drugs will have extreme difficulty getting jobs, and if they do manage to get hired, will rarely keep the job for long ... Of course we know that addiction has been declared a disease by folks more highly educated than I could ever hope to be. And I can understand that it is difficult to stop using some drugs, but you know, they gotta want to. After my law enforcement career, I have worked at 2 non-profits, both seeing a high incidence of drug users of all kinds.

At the one I still work at part-time, 70% are court-ordered. So, I have talked to many addicts, and DWI offenders face-to-face and try to help them find employment. And, I must say: the ones that have been to DOC are much more motivated than those who have learned to game the system. I know it's anecdotal, but there it is: if you want to succeed in treatment, you often can. And, sometimes punishment or the threat of punishment is a motivator.

It seems difficult to follow your logic, at times. While you say that drug use is not an excuse for other crimes (besides possession), you seem to believe/feel that they should "get treatment", and not jail. Well, suppose they refuse to follow through with treatment? And they continue to commit crimes against the rest of us, larceny-from-auto; burglary; shoplifting, etc.? As P points out, the success rate of treatment is highly problematic in many programs; relapse rates for heroin are often 95%.
In my several year experience being around drug programs, two phrases often are heard: "he/she is not ready" or "persons who are SERIOUS can turn their lives around". These phrases are used both in conjunction with treatment and gaining employment. If you're not serious, it ain't gonna work.

So, if they say they are not responsible for committing crimes against the rest of us, yet they don't/can't stop, should we just throw out the laws for them? While I appreciate your compassion, and am not lacking it myself (believe or not), my lack of bleeding-hearted liberalism is tempered by hard-headed compassion of experience.

One experienced therapist, a Vietnam veteran, who works in a treatment program told us: "ain't no addict around here who doesn't know where they need to go for detox." This same program has floor-to-ceiling mirrors in its common areas of the residential treatment facility. When I asked what's the deal with the mirrors, the answer was: "everywhere you look, there's a problem". Many of the folks I talk to who are current, recent, or struggling users are deeply troubled people. The drugs, and as you point out, the illegality of the drugs, just exacerbates their problems. For the most part, if they were just given the drugs, they would still have trouble finding and keeping employment, with relationships, and with keeping out of legal trouble. Treatment is not a pill like an antibiotic; it's a long-term psycho-social process of personal change.

Almost no residential program will allow their patients to use illicit drugs while there; detection usually results in immediate expulsion. And these programs are run by what some might call bleeding heart liberals, and ex-addicts.
Perhaps we should keep Guantanamo Bay open and use it for addicts who claim they can't stop, but also can't succeed in treatment; however, they can't stop/won't stop committing crimes against the rest of us?

And though some folks feel sorry for the addict who presents in court and says the theft was because of addiction, I wonder why don't we feel similarly sorry for the drunk drivers who kill people (usually innocent people), who often are repeat offenders, but can't seem to stop drinking-and driving.

And yes, I think the illegality of heroin and cocaine does deter a fair amount of people from going out and buying it, and trying it, particularly young people.

This problems is a serious one that folks such as yourselves will struggle with to make public policy about. But any wholesale "decriminalization" which may occur, must occur in the context of society agreeing to accept a huge increase of use, addiction, accidents, and other maladies. Perhaps that is better than jail, but life is full of tradeoffs."


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Melody Smith, age 54, dead by blunt force trauma/asphyxiation in the 500 block of Yale Avenue, Tuesday April 21


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Frank Swiston, 48, was beaten to death five days ago in the 2800 block of Erdman Avenue.

Porcine Republican delegate says getting a woman to sign over her Pasadena condo to him was "doing the Lord's work"

County police are ISO a Kevin Federline lookalike who stole a woman's purse at the White Marsh Giant and used her credit cards to go shopping.

Too Dumb to Die?

Patrick Byers' supposed low IQ could save him from the death penalty

IV reports on gang-related harbor melees. (Best gang name ever: the Dirty Slobs)

City code: you can own two sexy massage parlors for the price of one unleashed dog

Media Blabber: The Daily Record reports that the toll of this week's Sun layoffs is 61. "Spokeswoman Renee Mutchnik confirmed that the paper had informed the guild of layoffs .. and added that the cuts would help the newsroom operate in a way that allowed the company to better use the Internet." Huh?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Years for Solicitation of Murder

Patrick Byers could get the death penalty for the same crime, so this guy got a pretty good deal. Details:
At a hearing today, George Thompson, 38, of the 1400 block of Shefford Road pled guilty to solicitation to commit murder. Judge Martin P. Welch sentenced Thompson to 15 years in prison suspending all but three years and five years probation. He also ordered Thompson to stay away from the intended victim. The State asked for 20 years in prison suspend all but seven years.

Between June 4 and June 12, 2008 in the area of Belt Street Thompson contacted a witness while he was on a work site in Baltimore City. Thompson asked this witness to kill his wife, offering $20,000 and displaying a bag of cash. Thompson contacted this witness at least two times between the dates to discuss the murder. Thompson supplied money to purchase two prepaid cell phones for the witness and himself. On June 10, 2008 this witness contacted the police. Further investigation was conducted including a tape recording of Thompson making arrangements for the murder and giving specific details on where and when his wife would be home and how to commit the actual murder. An undercover officer was present for some of these meetings. On June 12, 2008 Thompson met with the witness and the undercover officer to complete the details for the murder and he was arrested at that time.

Four Years for Killer of Patrice Marable

.. does not seem like nearly enough.
The details from the SAO:
At a hearing yesterday Judge Timothy J. Doory sentenced Sampson Ashby, 28, of the 3000 block of Fendell Avenue to four years in prison. On February 27, 2009 Ashby pled guilty to one count of automobile manslaughter. The State had asked for a cap of eight years at the time Ashby pled guilty.

On July 6, 2008 at approximately 3:00PM Officers from the Northern District responded to 1123 Gleneagle Road for a reported vehicle fatality. Upon arrival officers discovered the body of Patrice Marable lying on the ground in the alley next to a telephone pole. Investigation revealed that the Marable and Ashby had been engaged in an altercation with Ashby attempting to strike Marable with a tree limb. He then pushed Marable down, causing her to drop her cell phone. Ashby took the cell phone and entered a pick-up truck. Marable proceeded to the driver’s side window and jumped partially through it in attempt to retrieve the phone. Ashby then backed up the truck at a high rate of speed out of the yard and turned the vehicle to his right heading for a telephone pole located in the alley. The victim was pinned between the vehicle and the pole, causing what was later to be determined a massive contusion. Ms. Marable fell lifeless to the ground. Ashby got out of the vehicle, saw Marable, recovered some broken auto parts from the scene, and fled in the vehicle.
Police and prosecutors say they charged the wrong guy in the Chinese Cuisine beating and shooting case from last December

LOLz.. barfing drunks cause Swine Flu panic on flight to BWI

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Bad News @ Sun

Word is 15 .. wait, 21.. of the Sun's mid- and top-level editors were laid off today, with more newsroom cuts to come, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Very sad.

Also, tweet the police: "SHOOTING: Reported @ 2735 Ashland Ave. Police investigating crime scene, avoid area."

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With a Defense Like That...

"The defense attorney for a Baltimore pastor accused of hiring a hit man to kill a blind and mentally disabled man for life insurance money said that at least two other disabled people whose policies listed Pushia as a beneficiary had died"

Teenage Riot

Two men shot in the NE

Due to a massive water main break at Lombard & Gay, all city buildings have closed, including the courts. The leash-fine hearing has been rescheduled to 9 a.m. May 12.

Last Saturday at the Harbor= some kind of teenage riot. WJZ says two teens were stabbed in two separate incidents. Though a reader's friend said there were shots fired in front of M&S Grill, police say that there were no reports of gunfire.

Club Miami on the block has lost its liquor license... for not selling enough hooch!

Monday, April 27, 2009


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A man's body found at Christian and Smallwood streets by Samuel Morse Elementary, two weeks after the body of 30-year-old Russell Day was found close by.

Trial is scheduled to start tomorrow for the three defendants accused in the murder of Ken Harris: Charles Y. McGaney, 20, Gary A. Collins, 20, and Jerome Williams, 16.

Prosecutor: the Black Guerrilla Family pays $10k for hits on correctional officers

Drunken assaults and robbery around JHU (via Spotcrime)

Criminal perpetrators, fashion victims:
Two people assaulted and robbed an MTA bus driver on 33rd street. Police are seeking two suspects, one sporting a fur hat and the other in a hoodie and fuschia knit cap (for the record, it was 91 degrees today)

County police are ISO a woman with a pierced lip and a distinctive wrist tattoo accused of stealing an ATM card from a mentally-challenged sexagenarian to feed her Hot Topic addiction
A Saturday-night stabbing at the Inner Harbor

The new Death Penalty bill could affect existing cases