Police Turning to UK to Learn De-Escalation

Scottish police officers simulated a riot at the Jackton training center in Glasgow, Scotland, where police leaders from throughout the United States gathered to discuss department tactics.
“A difference long curious to Americans stands out: Most British police officers are unarmed, a distinction particularly pronounced here in Scotland, where 98 percent of the country’s officers do not carry guns. For them, calming a situation through talk, rather than escalating it with weapons, is an essential policing tool, and one that brought a delegation of top American police officials to this town 30 miles northeast of Glasgow.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/nyregion/us-police-leaders-visiting-scotland-get-lessons-on-avoiding-deadly-force.html

Adams v. US ex rel. McCann

There is a very interesting quote in Adams v. US ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S. 269 (1942) that “What were contrived as protections for the accused should not be turned into fetters. [. . .] To deny an accused a choice of procedure in circumstances in which he, though a layman, is as capable as any lawyer of making an intelligent choice, is to impair the worth of great Constitutional safeguards by treating them as empty verbalisms.” (Id., at 280). The odd thing is that Adams is like a snake eating its tail. It’s not very useful in and of itself, but the phrasing is righteously potent.

Lewis v. New Orleans, 415 U.S. 130 (1974)

Back in the 1970s, Louisiana had a statute making it “unlawful and a breach of the peace for any person wantonly to curse or revile or to use obscene or opprobrious language toward or with reference to any member of the city police while in the actual performance of his duty.” After much procedural harangue that included affirmation by the Louisiana Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court held that such statute “is not susceptible of application to speech, although vulgar or offensive, that is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 18-22 (1971); Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4-5 (1949); Gooding v. Wilson, supra, at 520. Since [the law], as construed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, is susceptible of application to protected speech, the section is constitutionally overbroad and therefore is facially invalid.” Read the full opinion on Google Scholar.

George Zimmerman Trial

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin BOTH used bad judgment, but why is it that only Zimmerman’s judgment is scrutinized? The “girlfriend” testified that Martin was the one who initiated verbal contact. Recently someone tried to tell me that Martin was within his First Amendment rights to say whatever he wanted to. But by that same logic, Zimmerman was within his First Amendment rights to assemble where he wished. But it was Martin who created the confrontation between them. And Martin could have chosen to explain that he was visiting a resident and that would have diffused the situation. Let’s not forget about Trayvon Martin’s poor judgment.

On Belief and Justice

On my first day of law school, my professor says two things. First was: “From this day forward, when your mother tells you she loves you – get a second opinion. If you want justice, go to a whorehouse; if you want to get fucked, go to court.” Richard Gere as Martin Vail, Primal Fear