12 May 2008

'Testi-lying' In NYC Gun Cases

According to the New York Times, many "gun crime" cases in New York City are being switched over to federal court where penalties can be harsher. But more than 20 cases from the past few years have turned up something startling: the judges don't believe the testimony of the NYC police officers involved the arrest. And they have used blunt language to point out their disbelief over what is being presented in court.

Worse yet? Despite court records that show the judges flat out believe officers' testimony is false, with few exceptions no one has been reprimanded and prosecutors do not pass along judges' findings regarding this testimony to the NYPD.

Walter Oleson at Overlawyered asks whether this relates to the arrogance of a city administration hardened in the belief that individual rights always have to give way to the greater social good of "getting guns off the streets."

Here's an excerpt from the NYT story, and it's a doozy:

"And these cases may fuel another longtime concern that flared up again in recent days: uspicions that the police routinely subject people to unjustified searches, frisks or stops. Last week, the Police Department reported a spike in street stops, which it said were “an essential law enforcement tool”: 145,098 from January through March, more than during any quarter in six years. The judges’ rulings emerge from what are called suppression hearings, in which defendants, before trial, can argue that evidence was seized illegally. The Fourth Amendment sets limits on the conditions that permit a search; if they are not met, judges must exclude the evidence, even if that means allowing a guilty person to go free."

Mr. Bloomberg, would you please care to comment on this one, or are you still trying to rationalize setting up illegal straw purchases in other states to make political hay?

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