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Editorial: Now They Care About What's Right?

David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
One of the stories carried by major news networks this week was the arrest in the US of famed bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, sought for extradition by Mexico over what authorities there said was an illegal detention. Chapman and members of his team had captured a wealthy cosmetics company heir, Andrew Luster, who was wanted in the US on rape charges (and who is now serving a 124-year sentence). The Mexicans wanted Luster turned over to them, arrested the bounty hunters after they refused, then released them on bond pending a court hearing, which Chapman and company skipped.

Chapman and his wife Beth are supremely colorful figures. They are especially well-known in their home state of Hawaii, but have a national following through a popular reality TV show based on his work, "Dog the Bounty Hunter." I was literally minutes away from appearing with Chapman on a national cable show earlier this year, discussing methamphetamine, before a format change nixed it.

Prosecutor-types appearing on news talk programs this week were fairly sympathetic to Chapman, and I found one of their arguments rather stunning. Basically, their take was that while he might have violated Mexican law, and while the violation might or might not be extraditable by the US under US law, the important issue -- this is the stunning part -- is what the "right" thing to do is. It's not right to extradite Chapman to Mexico, because the thing he got into trouble doing was good and important.

What's stunning is not the idea itself -- I am fairly sympathetic to the idea that that which is right and just is ultimately of greater importance than that which is legally prescribed when they are in conflict. Not everyone agrees with this, but it's not an unknown argument.

What's stunning is who was making that argument. Would the same prosecutors also say that judges should ignore mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses if they believe the terms of imprisonment required are unjustly long -- e.g., are "wrong"? Did they oppose the extradition requests by the US government to get back medical marijuana refugees like Steve Kubby and Renee Boje -- for prison terms many feared at the time would be draconian, or for denial of access to medicine -- because for Canada to give them safe harbor in the face of such sentences would be "right"? Would they lend their support to cities and police forces who allow illegal needle exchange programs to operate, because it's critical to stop the spread of Hepatitis and HIV and the people handing out the needles are praiseworthy for doing so?

Maybe they would. But I am guessing there is a good chance they would not, in some or all of these cases. For the most part, prosecutors and their allies profess the view that the law is the law, work politically to change it if you disagree with it, but if you break the law you knew you were risking punishment and you have nothing to complain about.

Not that I am rooting for extradition in this case. Chapman's supporters have some good arguments. The individual he captured was accused of a serious and vile crime, and Mexican authorities had failed to apprehend him. If allowed to stay on the loose, he could have committed the same crimes against women in Mexico. Chapman's capture of Luster did Mexicans, and his victims here in the US, a service. I don't think much of his random "citizen arrests" of meth users, even when he takes them to treatment instead of police, but that's not the issue here. And at least he's in favor of marijuana legalization.

But it's not as if there aren't arguments on the other side. Chapman did skip out on a court date. He violated the laws of a country that had allowed him in as a guest. If Chapman can ignore a nation's laws and enforcement procedures, others can ignore them too -- possibly victimizing innocent people by mistake or even causing harm or loss of life in the process. If the US can ignore the extradition treaties to which it's a signatory, other countries with people in custody who we want can also ignore them. Mexico's democratically-elected legislative bodies laid out certain rules governing this area of activity. Those rules may be wise or unwise, but presumably the legislative body that enacted them took more time to consider their implications, their benefits and costs, than Chapman did in the heat of the moment when he disobeyed the orders of Mexican police.

And so because there are arguments on the other side -- agree with them or not -- it is revealing to see people who effectively serve as spokespersons for the prosecutorial profession speak up for someone they like, but in a way they would likely argue against in most other cases.

Whatever the right thing is in this case, the right thing for prosecutors to start doing is to begin to honor their oaths to seek justice instead of just seeking as many convictions as they can, with the longest prison terms that they can, as is commonly the case now. If justice is to take priority over the letter of the law for their friends, they should also stand up for real justice for all.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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hypocrites

Like those worthless hypocrites would stand up for what's "right". What's "right" to them is them getting their way and everyone else be damned. I hope that scumbag bounty hunter spends the rest of his life being raped every day in a Mexican prison.

Dog and Tim and Leland

Your coment blew me away......Do you watch the show ? Do you know what kind of people they are ? Are you a ICE HEAD ? What an awful thing to say about them.......May God have Mercy on your soul...or do you have a soul ?? Linda in California

Killing dogs and handcuffing children

This kind of "drug raid" activity is getting out of hand. If that dog urinated out of fear it was NOT aggressive, and the cops should have shut the bathroom door after it went in there and left it alone, alive and safe. I believe that cops kill people's dogs out of a desire to cause as much pain as possible, they are sadistic (which is the reason many becoem cops -- it has been proven that there is little to no difference between the mentality of a cop and the mentality of a violent criminal. As for handcuffing children under the age of 15, well that's just plain wrong!

Dog should have went to court

Dog should have went to court but now since Mexico wants to extradite him and his team, he screwed up. When initially all he would of had to do was to get a U.S Ambassador to support him in court (and to show up), even with Mexicos court system being archaic, the judges would most likely to have seen the lesser of two evils with the capture of a degenerate, making women safer (in Mexico and the U.S.A.)
and sentenced him to a minimal sentence or even a cash fine. Now he should face the music and just GO to Mexico on his own to show that he really does believe and honor justice

children handcuffed

The post entitled "Killing dogs and handcuffing children" was in response to the "children handcuffed . . ." article under "latest news", it had nothing to do with Dog the bounty hunter. Just wanted to make that clear.

How 'bout that?

The bounty hunter gets popped for jumping bail. Man broke the law and than is confused when it catches up with him? Please.

Extradite him!

I too find it funny that prosecutors are concerned about "what's right". I remember reading a newspaper article in the early 90's about civil forfeiture of cars because a joint was found in an ashtray. It quoted a federal prosecutor saying " Don't tell me what's right or what's fair. We don't operate that way.". Now they are concerned about whats fair? Give me a break.

Personally I think we should have to return Lusker to Mexico and give them Dog. Maybe if we lose a few we'll stop extraditing people for thing that are not a crime in their country or arresting foreign nationals for running a legal online gambling site because they happen to be changing planes in this country.

Drugs in a seniors' center

Dog, this was suppose to be a blind copy to you, but I'll be darned how to do it. So, here goes my message.

THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT!!!

Within 48 hours of my arrival here at 21 S. Kuakini Street, the Makamae Senior Center (and now disabled center also), I was told of the drug business on the third and fourth floors. This is federal housing. Drugs have no place here.

Right away I asked John and Pat, the people who paved the way for me to reside here, about the drug problem. They told me that they were aware of it but they haven’t been able to catch the pushers in the act. The police officer with whom I spoke on my second day here, told me the same thing. I don’t understand it.

When complaints about this situation go to the police department, the complainant is that this is private property and that they can do nothing about the drugs being sold, and the prostitutes turning tricks. This to me is absurd! The law is the law. Everyone has to obey the law, or pay the consequences. No one is exempt! If we waited for drug pushers to do business on the streets (only), we would never be free of the problem. As I see it, Dog, the bounty hunter, takes them down no matter where they are!

The occupant of this apartment in which I now live, had to move because she got sick from the smell of meth being cooked. And, before I got here (according to her), walls had to be replaced in order to get rid of the stench. From what I understand, I live directly below the apartment where the cooking is taking place. Personally, I don’t know what cooking means, and I don’t know what the smell is like. Therefore, I’m no help to anyone if I’m asked to get more details.

Since the overt possession of meth and marijuana is so rampant, I don’t know why the police haven’t been able to make an arrest. How much more do these people have to do in order to get arrested? They couldn’t advertise their wares any more than they are! They do everything but set up shop right in front of the police station!

These druggies/pushers are hard to NOT catch. They are blatantly open! The neighbors on the third and fourth floors are inundated with the offenses displayed every night. Sometimes, when the dullened brains of the user/drug pushers are in full action, they spill some of their merchandise over on innocent neighbors’ front doorsteps. (This was told to me by a man who has had the dubious privilege of receiving such packages. He wants to move out of this seniors’ center because of the relentless onslaught of drugs, and drug people, and prostitutes being abrasively open in front of him. Other neighbors are afraid to even walk in the corridor of their own floor). At night, these users/drug pushers party, party, party, and openly show off their criminal activities.

All it would take is for a couple of plainclothes officers to come to the Makamae any night and make a clean sweep! There have been people looking in my window in the middle of the night. And there are footsteps around my door at night. This is suppose to be a safe place for senior citizens. It isn’t. I live in apartment 104 of the Makamae. Please take steps IMMEDIATELY to remedy this criminal element from these premises.

I must mention the following. Just on Christmas Eve this year, a man walked up to me, shook my hand, and passed me an obviously expensive watch. As he was handing it to me, he turned around and walked away. I never saw him again. While he was walking away from me, he said that he’s always giving people things and he has a bunch of jackets to give away too. I just stood there stunned. There was a witness to this – a very elderly and frail man who lives in 108.

I’m blind in one eye and the other eye tries to compensate – sometimes erroneously. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I kept looking at the watch and wondered why such a watch could be given to a total stranger. My first reaction was to go to the police, but then I got cold feet. I still have the watch. Whatever law enforcement agency wants it can have it.

Some men have told me that the reason the criminal element is still in here is because everybody is afraid of them. That’s why people bake goods and deliver to them. Neither the cops nor the federal housing will do anything because of fear, I’m told. We are not in the days of Al Capone. I don’t know why there could be any accuracy in their beliefs.

Just before I let you go, I want to report that the young lady in 208 takes to yelling, shouting, and whaling starting about 4:00 a.m. 24/7. She makes the most horrible sounds and says that “It’s not on this floor. It’s on the third floor, and the fourth floor, it’s not on the second floor!” To me, she sounds like a person who is on drugs. Nobody in their right mind it going to start yelling, shouting, and whaling at 4:00 a.m. Sometimes I hear a man say “SHUT UP!”

This woman’s language turns the air blue. It is disgusting! When I take my cat out in the morning, she (the cat) cowers, and sticks close to me. It is unbearable for me to be in the courtyard in the morning (or any time of day) and have to put up with the language and unbelievable sounds that come out of her mouth. Someone has to do something about this. Seniors should not have to listen to these drug-like utterances.

Everybody around her just vents! Nobody does anything to rid the Makamae of these problems. If I can be of help to someone, please let me know.

Annette Fashelle 392-8799 [email protected]

P.O. Box 235658, Hono., Hi 96823-3510

Did you get this massage? There was no acceptance notice

THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT!!!

Within 48 hours of my arrival here at 21 S. Kuakini Street, the Makamae Senior Center (and now disabled center also), I was told of the drug business on the third and fourth floors. This is federal housing. Drugs have no place here.

Right away I asked John and Pat, the people who paved the way for me to reside here, about the drug problem. They told me that they were aware of it but they haven’t been able to catch the pushers in the act. The police officer with whom I spoke on my second day here, told me the same thing. I don’t understand it.

When complaints about this situation go to the police department, the complainant is that this is private property and that they can do nothing about the drugs being sold, and the prostitutes turning tricks. This to me is absurd! The law is the law. Everyone has to obey the law, or pay the consequences. No one is exempt! If we waited for drug pushers to do business on the streets (only), we would never be free of the problem. As I see it, Dog, the bounty hunter, takes them down no matter where they are!

The occupant of this apartment in which I now live, had to move because she got sick from the smell of meth being cooked. And, before I got here (according to her), walls had to be replaced in order to get rid of the stench. From what I understand, I live directly below the apartment where the cooking is taking place. Personally, I don’t know what cooking means, and I don’t know what the smell is like. Therefore, I’m no help to anyone if I’m asked to get more details.

Since the overt possession of meth and marijuana is so rampant, I don’t know why the police haven’t been able to make an arrest. How much more do these people have to do in order to get arrested? They couldn’t advertise their wares any more than they are! They do everything but set up shop right in front of the police station!

These druggies/pushers are hard to NOT catch. They are blatantly open! The neighbors on the third and fourth floors are inundated with the offenses displayed every night. Sometimes, when the dullened brains of the user/drug pushers are in full action, they spill some of their merchandise over on innocent neighbors’ front doorsteps. (This was told to me by a man who has had the dubious privilege of receiving such packages. He wants to move out of this seniors’ center because of the relentless onslaught of drugs, and drug people, and prostitutes being abrasively open in front of him. Other neighbors are afraid to even walk in the corridor of their own floor). At night, these users/drug pushers party, party, party, and openly show off their criminal activities.

All it would take is for a couple of plainclothes officers to come to the Makamae any night and make a clean sweep! There have been people looking in my window in the middle of the night. And there are footsteps around my door at night. This is suppose to be a safe place for senior citizens. It isn’t. I live in apartment 104 of the Makamae. Please take steps IMMEDIATELY to remedy this criminal element from these premises.

I must mention the following. Just on Christmas Eve this year, a man walked up to me, shook my hand, and passed me an obviously expensive watch. As he was handing it to me, he turned around and walked away. I never saw him again. While he was walking away from me, he said that he’s always giving people things and he has a bunch of jackets to give away too. I just stood there stunned. There was a witness to this – a very elderly and frail man who lives in 108.

I’m blind in one eye and the other eye tries to compensate – sometimes erroneously. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I kept looking at the watch and wondered why such a watch could be given to a total stranger. My first reaction was to go to the police, but then I got cold feet. I still have the watch. Whatever law enforcement agency wants it can have it.

Some men have told me that the reason the criminal element is still in here is because everybody is afraid of them. That’s why people bake goods and deliver to them. Neither the cops nor the federal housing will do anything because of fear, I’m told. We are not in the days of Al Capone. I don’t know why there could be any accuracy in their beliefs.

Just before I let you go, I want to report that the young lady in 208 takes to yelling, shouting, and whaling starting about 4:00 a.m. 24/7. She makes the most horrible sounds and says that “It’s not on this floor. It’s on the third floor, and the fourth floor, it’s not on the second floor!” To me, she sounds like a person who is on drugs. Nobody in their right mind it going to start yelling, shouting, and whaling at 4:00 a.m. Sometimes I hear a man say “SHUT UP!”

This woman’s language turns the air blue. It is disgusting! When I take my cat out in the morning, she (the cat) cowers, and sticks close to me. It is unbearable for me to be in the courtyard in the morning (or any time of day) and have to put up with the language and unbelievable sounds that come out of her mouth. Someone has to do something about this. Seniors should not have to listen to these drug-like utterances.

Everybody around her just vents! Nobody does anything to rid the Makamae of these problems. If I can be of help to someone, please let me know.

Annette Fashelle 392-8799 [email protected]

P.O. Box 235658, Hono., Hi 96823-3510

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