Criminal Justice

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Rising Violent Crime in US Sparks a Search For Answers

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Voice of America
URL: 
http://www.voanews.com/english/Crime2006-08-02-voa11.cfm

New "Meth Gun" Not as Cool as it Sounds

Courtesy of Pete Guither at DrugWarRant comes this terrifying story.

From CNET News:

A new "meth gun," in development by Maryland-based CDEX, enables police to use ultraviolet light to detect trace amounts of chemicals left by methamphetamines and other illegal drugs.

Civil libertarians have been concerned for some time that drug war profiteers would begin marketing something like this. Of course, the obvious problem with this type of technology is that it will inevitably be wrong sometimes.

More likely, it will be right way too often. Drug molecules are ubiquitous. Take for example the rumor that 80% of U.S. currency contains cocaine residue. It’s actually true.

So if your lifestyle involves touching money periodically, the "meth gun" might catch you red-handed.

Here's a hilarious example of the uselessness of this technology:

From BBC News last year:
A Welsh assembly member who called for his colleagues to volunteer to try out a new drug detection machine has tested "positive" for cannabis himself. Swabs taken from Conservative AM William Graham's hands at the Welsh assembly building revealed traces of the drug, probably from a door handle.

I think that pretty much says it all. It should be obvious to anyone who isn’t drunk on drug war hysteria that this technology can’t reasonably be used as a means of establishing probable cause to search people.

But alas, it would be foolish to expect that logic will prevail over insanity among those who build and operate creepy drug war machines that spot meth with ultraviolet lasers. Inevitably, police agencies will stock up on "meth guns," and it will be up to the courts to decide whether the device passes constitutional muster.

It might destroy the 4th Amendment forever, but there’s no question the "meth gun" would make a totally sweet membership gift.

Afterthought: remember the "meth rocket"?

Localização: 
United States

Mother Nature Implicated in Massive Marijuana Grow-Op

Your tax dollars at work:

From the The Norman Transcript
A call from a concerned farmer in southeast Norman led Cleveland County Sheriff's Department deputies and Norman police officers to a field of 8,889 "wild" marijuana plants growing on private property early Monday morning. The plants ranged in size from 3 feet to 9 feet tall and would have a street value of up to $1,000 each, or around $8 million total, if allowed to grow and be harvested in the coming months, said Captain Doug Blaine, of the Cleveland County Sheriff's Department.

Now I’m not surprised about the plants. Feral hemp, also known as ditchweed, is indigenous to the region. The shocker here is that these officers, in a fit of unbelievable idiocy, actually attempted to place a street value on it. Ditchweed doesn’t get you high! It’s as worthless as the dirt it was yanked from.

And so it appears we may have stumbled upon the most absurd over-estimation of a marijuana crop’s value in the whole stupid history of bored police officers over-estimating the value of marijuana crops.

But you can’t fault the “concerned farmer” who called it in. With Captain Doug Blaine calling the shots, I’d kill every plant in my yard just to be on the safe side.

Yet despite its abundance of ill-informed sensationalism, this article ironically fails to mention the real danger posed by the feral hemp plant. Any commercial marijuana growing in proximity to such a sizable crop of ditchweed stands a strong chance of becoming pollinated by its impotent cousin. The result would be hybridized marijuana of extremely poor quality.

Thankfully, marijuana enthusiasts and bored Oklahoma police can agree on one thing: the ditchweed’s gotta go.

Localização: 
United States

Drug Czar: Meth Battles Needs Tighter Border Control, Treatment

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/15172904.htm

Police Killing of Suspect Tests Newark's Novice Mayor

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/nyregion/01newark.html

Wild Weed Whacked

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Norman Transcript
URL: 
http://www.normantranscript.com/localnews/local_story_213003124?keyword=topstory

British Drug Policy Controversy Heats Up

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Guardian Unlimited
URL: 
http://society.guardian.co.uk/drugsandalcohol/story/0,,1833889,00.html

They Should Put Surveillance Cameras in Police Stations

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Allegheny County district attorney's office has launched an investigation into what happened to $4,000 that Glassport police failed to return to a local bar owner when drug charges against him were dropped. "The fact that money was seized and placed in an evidence locker and turned up missing is unacceptable," said district attorney's office spokesman Mike Manko.

I agree, but I’d go a step further and call it a crime. Grand larceny to be specific. Of course, Glassport officers think it’s just a procedural problem:

Officers testified yesterday that the borough doesn't have a strict procedure for handling evidence and they don't know what happened to the money.

I hope Glassport area defense attorneys are paying attention, because they might have some appeals to file. It’s not everyday that your local police department admits general incompetence with regards to the collection of evidence. That’s the sort of candor that gets convictions overturned.

But keep in mind, it’s the honesty here that’s anomalous, not the apparent theft. Illegally searching people, confiscating private property, and stealing from the evidence locker are all routine activities in the war on drugs.

If you don’t believe me, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

Localização: 
United States

Canadian "Up in Smoke Cafe" Raided, Probably Closed for Good

Localização: 
Hamilton, ON
Canada
Publication/Source: 
Cannabis Culture
URL: 
http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4795.html

To Snitch or Not to Snitch

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill has a fascinating editorial at AllHipHop.com about the moral dilemmas created by the growing Stop Snitching movement.

The movement, which has been accompanied by a flurry of t- shirts, songs, websites, and DVDs, is ideologically grounded in the belief that people should not cooperate with law enforcement authorities under any circumstances.

As you might guess, the movement is not without its critics:

In response to the "Stop Snitching" campaign, community organizations, politicians, and law enforcement agencies have mounted a full-fledged counter-movement, informally titled "Start Snitching", designed to encourage the hip-hop generation to cooperate with authorities when criminal acts are committed.

Hill doesn’t elaborate on their tactics unfortunately, and I’m left wondering how police and politicians plan to popularize snitching among a demographic already ravaged by the criminal justice system.

Afterall, this us-against-them mentality is hardly limited to the African-American community:

Even the police, who are among the strongest opponents of the "Stop Snitching" movement, have a 'blue code' of silence that protects them from internal snitches.

It’s true. Police advocates are fond of claiming that “a few bad apples” are responsible for all police misconduct, but police are loathe to expose criminality within their ranks. It’s ironic that those who’ve maintained a long-standing and virtually impenetrable “don’t snitch” ethic are now begging the public to stop following suit.

Ultimately, the “Stop Snitching” movement is a form of protest literally woven into the fabric of popular culture. A counter movement of police and prosecutors begging young people of color to “Start Snitching” is comically hypocritical, serving only to further legitimize the anti-informant crusade by proving its effectiveness.

The hard truth is that the “Stop Snitching” movement will continue to grow. Those that have been born the brunt of our war on drugs and the crime it causes have discovered a form of silent resistance. Thanks to the drug war, our most dangerous criminals are capitalizing on a climate of distrust between the police and the public in minority communities.

And if the DAs are up in arms over this, just wait til 50 Cent writes a song about jury nullification.

Localização: 
United States

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