Monday, July 25, 2011

Minorities more likely to get tickets and get searched AFTER a stop

I'm not typically alarmist when I see stories claiming there's discrimination and racial profiling, but this one is more careful about it than most.

Often, studies talk about who gets stopped. My problem with those studies is that they can't or don't account for neighborhood or regional composition. For instance, why would it be significant that a high percentage of Hispanic people are stopped for traffic tickets in Chicago in an area that is largely comprised of Hispanic residents? None.

Contrast this with a recent study linked below that says something quite a bit more significant about traffic ticket enforcement in Illinois. This study is about what happened after the stop, and that's where the discrimination is suggested. To be fair, the Chicago Police Department comes off fairly well. The story is worth reading, and I welcome hearing your comments.
Study: Minorities more likely to get tickets, have vehicles searched - Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Help! Canada won't let us in!

One of my least favorite calls frequently happens around 2 or 3pm.  Usually it's a young newlywed bride on the verge of tears.

"We're here for our honeymoon and the Canada border people won't let us in because my husband had a supervision for DUI in Chicago four years ago! My hubby didn't even remember this! Can you do something?" [note - expletives deleted to protect my innocent readers].

Sadly, for the most part, the answer is no. You see, in Canada, DUI is a felony offense every time, and is a basis for exclusion from admission.  The most I can suggest in this situation is to ask to speak to a senior agent that has the authority to override the exclusion.  Planning ahead would help, and a call to the Canadian Consulate to determine eligibility for what our northerly neighbors lovingly call "rehabilitation."

According to a recent article in the National Post about DUI exclusion, it would appear that Canada's tourism folks would prefer that exclusion based on DUI cases were perhaps a bit less rigid.  We're thinking somebody told them that occasionally, hunters and fishermen (fisherpeople too) sometimes drink *gasp* alcohol. We'll let you know if we hear about any movement on this.

Meanwhile, let us know what you think about Canada's policy for punishing newlywed brides for DUI arrests their husbands have already forgotten about.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Evidence disallowed by the trial Judge shown in Clemens Criminal. Result? Mistrial.

In any criminal court trial, the Judge decides what evidence is admissible and what is not - they serve as a gatekeeper. Nowhere is this more important that in a criminal Jury trial. The Court in Roger Clemens' criminal perjury trial decided that certain evidence was inadmissible and would unduly prejudice the defendant, in this case, The Rocket himself.

This legal process of having the Judge serve as a gatekeeper of information is fundamental to our system of justice. The Judge is charged with preserving the integrity of the system, and most importantly, with assuring fundamental fairness. Nowhere is this more important than a case where freedom is at stake, like in a criminal trial or, you guessed it, a DUI trial.

Why after a direct order would a prosecutor attempt to introduce the prohibited evidence or exhibit? What do you think?