Black Lives Matter did not kill Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth

August 31, 2015

I write today to criticize Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman for blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth, who was shot in the back on Friday evening at a gas station in a Houston suburb as he was fueling his patrol vehicle. The person who shot Goforth then approached and shot him multiple times as he lay on the ground. Sheriff Hickman has identified the shooter as 30-year-old Shannon Miles. According to Reuters,

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman has linked the shooting to anti-police rhetoric following protests against deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers around the country. Goforth was white and the suspect is black.

Hickman said the department assumed Goforth was a target because he wore a uniform.

“We’ve heard black lives matter; all lives matter. Well cops’ lives matter too,” Hickman said. “At any point where the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen(s), this rhetoric has gotten out of control.”

(Emphasis supplied)

Mr. Miles has been charged with capital murder, which means he could be sentenced to death if a jury finds him guilty and decides to sentence him to death.

Sheriff Hickman should know that it’s never appropriate for a police official to speculate regarding a suspect’s motive in any criminal case, especially a capital case. If asked, it’s better to say you don’t know or you don’t want to speculate.

Sheriff Hickman and all other police officers in this country need to understand that the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) did not murder the deputy. As far as we know, Mr. Miles is not connected to BLM and there is no evidence that BLM knew who the deputy was or that it hired or encouraged Mr. Miles or anyone else to commit an act of violence, much less kill anyone.

Let’s set the record straight once and for all:

  1. BLM would not exist but for the epidemic of police killing unarmed black males.
  2. According to the Washington Post, which is keeping track of police shootings this year, police killed 385 people in the first five months of the year.
  3.   49 people were unarmed. 13 others had toy guns (total = 62). In all, 16% were either carrying a toy or were unarmed.
  4. Two-thirds of the unarmed victims were Black or Latino.
  5.  Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
  6. If the sheriff were Black, especially if he had a son between the ages of 15 and 30, he would have to be deaf, blind and dumb or just plain stupid not to be concerned about the epidemic of police killing unarmed Black males.
  7. BLM engages in peaceful non-violent protest that it has a right to do pursuant to the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly clauses of the First Amendment.
  8. Therefore, BLM is a legitimate movement with legitimate concerns that need to be addressed in a peaceful manner.
  9. If someone wants to play the blame game, the logical place to start is with the police who killed and continue to kill unarmed people.
  10. Killing unarmed people needs to stop.*



*We also need to be concerned about police killing the mentally ill because, according to the Washington Post, about one-third of the of the shooting victims were mentally ill. Some were armed and some were not. Many who were armed were not armed with guns and many who died appear to have committed suicide by cop.



Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, died alone and afraid in jail: Someone needs to pay

August 30, 2015

In case you believe you may have lost your capacity to feel outraged, check out this story in the Chicago Tribune,

As thefts go, this was about as petty as it gets: a Snickers bar, a 2-liter Mountain Dew and a Zebra cake worth about $5 total.

But a 24-year-old Portsmouth [Virginia] man died in jail while awaiting trial on the charges.

Jamycheal Mitchell, who had a history of mental illness, was found dead in his cell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail early on Aug. 19, four months after being arrested and charged with petty larceny and trespassing at a 7-Eleven.

Still to be determined is how he died, why he was jailed for so long on such charges and who represented him during his months in jail. His next scheduled hearing date was Sept. 4.

Master Jail Officer Natasha Perry said Mitchell’s death appears to be from natural causes. Donna Price, spokeswoman for the state Medical Examiner’s Office, said its investigations typically take between 12 and 18 weeks.

Mr. Mitchell was incompetent to stand trial and the case should have been dismissed. Here’s the Trib article again,

A forensic psychologist evaluated Mitchell to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. The psychologist said Mitchell was “manic and psychotic” during the interview. “Mr. Mitchell’s thought processes were so confused that only snippets of his sentences could be understood, the rest were mumbled statements that made no rational sense,” wrote Evan Nelson.

Mitchell twirled around the visitation cell, rapped, spit on the floor and exposed himself, Nelson wrote.

Another court document for a mental health evaluation dated 2010 described Mitchell as “acutely psychotic.” Later that year, an evaluator wrote to the court that Mitchell was “unrestorably incompetent to stand trial” on a charge of petty larceny and recommended the case be dismissed, with continuing outpatient treatment.

Mr. Mitchell may have starved to death, according to relatives. His aunt, Roxanne Adams, who is a registered nurse, told The Guardian, which broke the story,

Adams said medics at the jail told her Mitchell refused to take medication for his conditions. Before his arrest her nephew was on prescriptions for the antipsychotic drugs Prolixin and Zyprexin, and the mood stabiliser Depakote, according to Adams. She said prison officials then prescribed him the antipsychotic drug Haldol and Cogentin, which is intended to reduce the side-effects of the other medication, but he refused to take the drugs.

[Little wonder since Haldol is an older generation drug rarely given anymore because it turns people into zombies with severe muscle spasms and a thousand-mile stare. Jails give it because it’s cheaper.]

Adams said prison officials said her nephew had also been declining to eat. She said she saw Mitchell in court in recent weeks and estimated that he had lost 65 pounds since being detained. “He was extremely emaciated,” said Adams.

The aunt said relatives had not been able to visit Mitchell because he had not given jail officials their names as approved visitors. “His mind was gone because he wasn’t taking his meds, so he didn’t have a list for anyone to see him,” she said.

Mr. Mitchell was being held in solitary confinement because that’s what jails do with the mentally ill. If the jail staff did not kill him by withholding food, he may have starved himself to death by refusing to eat or drink. The jail cannot escape responsibility for his death, if he starved himself to death, because they should have realized what was happening and transported him to a medical hospital long before he died.. Apparently, they did not give damn. Unfortunately, that too is typical of how jails treat the mentally ill.

The prosecution and the court also bear moral responsibility for his death because he was permitted, if not encouraged, to sign a waiver of his right to counsel while he was incompetent and unable to understand what he was doing. Neither can be sued because both have absolute immunity from liability for what they do, according to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

Although a public defender was eventually appointed to represent him, the lawyer was on vacation when he died. Because I do not know when, or even if, his lawyer knew that she had been appointed to represent him, I cannot determine whether she bears any responsibility for his death.

On May 21st, a judge found him incompetent to stand trial and ordered him transferred to a state mental hospital. Unfortunately, the transfer never happened. The jail claims that they were told that no bed was available at the hospital. The hospital isn’t talking. The lawyer is on vacation.

In short, everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else or refusing to talk.

Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself. Due to gross negligence while in state custody, Jamycheal Mitchell is dead. He died alone and afraid.

This is how we treat the mentally ill in this country.

Possible side effects for Haldol

Possible side effects for Cogentin

Psychology is a questionnable science

August 29, 2015

Science is a process that begins with observation that leads to the formulation of a theory that is tested experimentally. Even if the result confirms the theory, there is another critically step that must be completed before the theory can be validated. The result must be independently reproduced. Reproducibility is a foundation of science. If an experimental result cannot be reproduced by an independent lab, the theory is unreliable and cannot be accepted as part of scientific knowledge.

Peer review is the process by which scientists review and evaluate the work of other scientists that is published in professional scientific journals.

A recent study published in the professional journal, Science, concluded that only 36% of 100 experimental results published in the top three professional journals in the field of Psychology could be independently reproduced. This result means that much of what psychologists assume to be true is not reliable.

In the Abstract of a research article titled, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, the authors conclude,

No single indicator sufficiently describes replication success, and the five indicators examined here are not the only ways to evaluate reproducibility. Nonetheless, collectively these results offer a clear conclusion: A large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings despite using materials provided by the original authors, review in advance for methodological fidelity, and high statistical power to detect the original effect sizes. Moreover, correlational evidence is consistent with the conclusion that variation in the strength of initial evidence (such as original P value) was more predictive of replication success than variation in the characteristics of the teams conducting the research (such as experience and expertise). The latter factors certainly can influence replication success, but they did not appear to do so here.

Reproducibility is not well understood because the incentives for individual scientists prioritize novelty over replication. Innovation is the engine of discovery and is vital for a productive, effective scientific enterprise. However, innovative ideas become old news fast. Journal reviewers and editors may dismiss a new test of a published idea as unoriginal. The claim that “we already know this” belies the uncertainty of scientific evidence. Innovation points out paths that are possible; replication points out paths that are likely; progress relies on both. Replication can increase certainty when findings are reproduced and promote innovation when they are not. This project provides accumulating evidence for many findings in psychological research and suggests that there is still more work to do to verify whether we know what we think we know.

The American Psychological Assocoation (APA) is already under fire for its continuing support of the use of torture enhanced interrogation techniques, even though the organization and the war criminals people who use these techniques have never been able to show that they have produced accurate information not already known. The results of this study cast further doubt on whether Psychology is a science or junk science.

There has been a lot of talk this year about the need to reform the criminal justice system. No doubt we will hear a lot more talk about the subject in the run-up to the election next year. Most of the discussion has focused on releasing nonviolent offenders from our overcrowded prisons. I agree that we should do that and I have also proposed that we officially end the failed War on Drugs and decriminalize the use and possession of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, by following the successful model established by Portugal.

Based on my extensive experience as a criminal defense attorney specializing in death-penalty defense and forensics, I can assure my readers that we also have to tighten the foundational requirements for expert witnesses in Evidence Rule 702, as it relates to self-described mental health experts, particularly psychologists. One especially troublesome area is the prediction of future violence. Despite the absence of any evidence that a psychologist can more accurately predict whether a particular individual will commit a future act of violence compared to merely flipping a coin, prosecutors in death cases still put on their whore psychologist who predicts the defendant will commit future acts of violence. Jurors, who don’t know any better, respond with death verdicts. This crap needs to stop.

I will leave for another time a discussion about the woeful state of forensic laboratory work. Indeed, forensic fraud is one of the major causes of wrongful convictions. Just to provide a quick for example, Kentucky crime lab ‘experts’ still testify that a hair found on a victim’s body at a crime scene ‘matches’ a defendant’s known hair. The so-called match is based on a visual hair comparison using a stereoscopic microscope. They do this even though we have known for 20 years that the most can say about a visual hair comparison is that two hairs were contributed by two belonging to the same race. Further differentiation is impossible unless a nuclear DNA test (assuming a root is attached) or mitochondrial DNA (assuming a follicle with no root) is performed. Because the visual appearance of a hair differs substantially depending on what part of the hair is examined under the microscope. it’s impossible for an examiner to accurately conclude, unless he makes a lucky guess, that two segments of one hair follicle came from the same individual (assuming he does not know that the hair follicle was cut into two lengths).

Disgusted and Infuriated with MSNBC

August 28, 2015

I am disgusted and infuriated with MSNBC. Andrew Lack, Chairman of the NBC News Group, has pulled the plug on Reverend Al Sharpton’s daily show as part of his strategy to make the network even more bland and boring than it is reduce MSNBC’s left-leaning programming during the daytime hours in favor of more straight news shows. His last show will be September 4th. He hasn’t been completely cut-off.  Beginning Oct. 4th, his “Politics Nation” will air at 8 a.m. Sundays.

This decision follows the network’s decision to terminate the Ed Schultz Show. His last show was July 31st.

I don’t know what else to say.

Public Health Hospital and Charity Hospital New Orleans Internship of 1958

August 27, 2015

by Crane-Station

Many thanks to a reader who commented on a post yesterday, for bringing our attention to the grand opening of a new hospital in New Orleans, that will replace Charity Hospital. For those interested in a small first-hand account from back in the day, this post is a true story of internship at the Public Health Hospital and at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 1958, as told by Ray Owings, MD, age 92, and his wife Letty, age 90. Raymond H Owings MD is listed in the Charity Hospital Administrative Board report on Charity Hospital Louisiana at New Orleans here, as an intern at Charity, September-October, 1958.

Charity Hospital in New Orleans was specifically founded by grant in 1736 to serve the indigent population in New Orleans, and it was a teaching hospital affiliated with the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO) for more than 250 years until its close after Hurricane Katrina. The hospital was notable for being the second largest hospital in America in 1939 with 2680 beds and it has been featured in a TLC series called Code Blue, which was a documentary series featuring the ER that was one of the busiest in America. Here is one video from that series, titled, “Kernisha:”

Public Health Hospital and Charity Hospital New Orleans Internship of 1958

Letty relates:

The first thing Ray said to me was, “Maybe you shouldn’t have come down here.” Ray was never, ever able to come home and the place was just a madhouse. It was a weird, weird, weird year. Everything was crooked in the politics, and we had the likes of Earl Long getting out of his car and peeing by the side of the road. It was just bizarre. Somebody shot Huey Long right there in the Capitol because you had to get dramatic in New Orleans. Earl, at thirty-six, called Huey “the yellowest physical coward that God had ever let live.” Huey Long said of Earl: “Earl is my brother but he’s crooked. If you live long enough he’ll double cross you.”

We had the shrimp people who paid for their baby delivery in shrimp because they thought the doctor ought to get a little something for his services and they were very grateful, so they brought shrimp. There just weren’t enough people to man the place, so I was home with the kids a lot and the first thing I did was slip and fall on some concrete slabs because everything was so wet your shoes turned green. It was truly a bizarre year but for all of its utter craziness, New Orleans had such a haunting and deep beauty about it. The weeping trees were gorgeous, and the flowers were so pungent it was like putting your face into a jar of perfume. We had four small children at the time.

Ray relates:

During the internship at Public Health Hospital in New Orleans that year, the interns could go to Charity Hospital right near the Mississippi River as well, so that’s what I did. I reported for duty July 1, 1958 and at first I just rented a room. It was hotter than the damn hinges of hell, so I bought me a little old fan and had the thing directly on me during the night. Letty moved down there but I wasn’t so sure she should have even come.

The training was very good. At the Public Health Hospital we treated merchant seamen and their families as well as fishermen and their families. Charity Hospital was quite interesting because if you wanted to see a disease, you could find it in that hospital. For example, there were very few cases of diptheria in the US, and a physician may go through an entire career without seeing it, but on the Pediatrics ward we had 25 cases of diptheria at one time.

At Charity I worked with a resident named Clarence MacIntile from Idaho. He went back, and we kept in touch. Interns had free run to do what they wanted, so we ran the Pediatrics Deartment by ourselves. The place was always jammed, and I mean there were hundreds of them. But there just weren’t enough hours in the day, and you were lucky to get to a little bed across the street and get a few hours of sleep.

Emory had been a good school because during the clinical years, students got to do a lot of things and this was not true of some medical schools. I felt that my training was much better than others, so I was happy about that.

What took place over my lifetime to get to that point might have been called the ‘American Dream’ just a little while ago. You hear that term, but no one ever talks about the nitty gritty of how this was obtained. My philosophy has always been that no matter what it is one chooses do do in life, it is essential to do the very best you can do at it.

End Note: In the Charity ER video (above), a 9-year-old girl was involved in an accident where the frame of a swing set fell onto her skull. She has a severe head injury with bleeding and her brain is swelling. The brain has few places to swell to inside the rigid skull except through the foramen magnum at the base of the skull, and this is called herniation. Doctors will monitor the pressure, as they explain. They will also likely induce a coma to rest the brain and decrease oxygen demand. Posturing is an indication of severe head injury, where the arms become rigid and either turn out and away from the body or move inward toward the core of the body.

Was Vester Flanagan suffering from paranoid delusions and losing his sanity?

August 27, 2015

Vester Lee Flanagan II, who used the name Bryce Williams professionally, shot and killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward yesterday morning as Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, the director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ward, who worked with Parker regularly as her cameraman, was filming the interview which was being broadcast live by WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, VA. Although wounded, Gardner survived the shooting and is listed in good condition today after undergoing emergency surgery yesterday. Flanagan committed suicide yesterday around midday by shooting himself in the head after he attempted to flee from a Virginia state trooper and appeared to lose lost control of his vehicle ultimately stopping in a grassy median between the E/B and W/B lanes of I-66.

In a 23-page manifesto that Flanagan faxed to ABC News yesterday morning after the shooting, he described himself as “a human powder keg” claiming that he had been a victim of racial and sexual discrimination at the television station where Parker and Ward worked. He accused Parker of making a racist remark to him and Ward filmed his physical removal from the television station in 2013 after he was fired and refused to leave the premises. From Wikipedia:

WDBJ announced their hiring of Flanagan, using the professional name Bryce Williams, as a multimedia journalist on April 19, 2012. During his time there, he had heated confrontations with coworkers and was noted to have breached the company’s journalism standards, a poor on-air performance, and demonstrated a lack of thorough reporting. Office memos from WDBJ showed that in July 2012, Dan Dennison, then news chief of the station, ordered Flanagan to contact the Health Advocate after complaints that coworkers were “feeling threatened or uncomfortable” while working with him. The station dismissed him on February 1, 2013, citing his volatile temper and difficulty with coworkers. According to a former colleague, Flanagan lashed out at newsroom staffers after learning of his firing, resulting in the staffers being put in a room while police escorted Flanagan out of the building. Ward was said to have recorded Flanagan as he was escorted out and had a confrontation with him that day. WDBJ provided security to the staffers for a time after the incident, and directed them to call 9-1-1 if he ever returned to the station. Flanagan filed an EEOC complaint against WDBJ, again alleging racial discrimination; he allegedly named Parker in his complaint. Following an investigation, the EEOC dismissed the complaint after Flanagan’s claims were not corroborated.

I suspect Flanagan was struggling with a worsening mental illness that made it difficult for him to distinguish between reality and his imagination. He was difficult to work with and his work performance was sub-par. Here’s Wikipedia again,

Between March 1999 and March 2000, Flanagan worked as a reporter for NBC affiliate WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida. After losing his job in March 2000, Flanagan filed a civil lawsuit against WTWC alleging racial discrimination. He also allegedly threatened to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Flanagan’s lawsuit against WTWC was settled under unspecified terms in January 2001 (WTWC’s news operation itself was discontinued by its owner earlier in November 2000 due to ratings and budget issues). Former colleagues at WTWC later stated that Flanagan was fired for his poor work ethic and that he had fabricated his allegations of discrimination.

Flanagan spent a short period of time working in customer service in a Bank of America branch in San Francisco, then Pacific Gas and Electric in Greenville, North Carolina. He later joined Media General owned CBS affiliate WNCT-TV in Greenville from 2002 until 2004. He also found some work at ABC affiliate KMID in Midland, Texas.

He was apparently unable to secure another job after he was fired by WDBJ-TV in Roanoke in 2013. In his manifesto, he expressed admiration for the Columbine high school shooters and the Virginia Tech shooter. To top it off, he live-tweeted the murders while filming them. Then he posted his video on his Facebook page, set to auto-play, and linked to it with a tweet.

These were not the acts of a sane man. They appear to be the acts of an angry, vengeful and frightened paranoid man losing his sanity.

Flanagan never should have had access to a gun.

I would like to know if Flanagan was being treated by a mental health professional and, if so, whether he disclosed his intent to kill Parker and Ward.  If Flanagan disclosed his intent to kill Parker and Ward to a mental health professional, that person may have had a legal duty to warn them and the police.

Flanagan certainly acted with premeditated intent to kill because he had to get-up early, prepare himself and drive to the remote location by 6:45 am where the interview took place. We also know that he had previously rented a car at the Roanoke airport and parked it in the airport parking lot. After the murders, he drove to the airport, abandoned his car and drove out of the parking lot in the rental car.


We must decriminalize drug use and possession ASAP

August 26, 2015

The verdict is in. Portugal decriminalized* drug use and possession in 2001, including heroin and cocaine. Fourteen years later, heroin addiction rates have been cut in half and the number of drug-related deaths has been cut by 75%. The fear that decriminalization would cause an increase in so-called drug tourism never materialized.

In his white paper** analyzing the effects of decriminalization in Portugal, Glenn Greeenwald concludes,

None of the fears promulgated by opponents of Portuguese decriminalization has come to fruition, whereas many of the benefits predicted by drug policymakers from instituting a decriminalization regime have been realized. While drug addiction, usage, and associated pathologies continue to skyrocket in many EU states, those problems—in virtually every relevant category—have been either contained or measurably improved within Portugal since 2001. In certain key demographic segments, drug usage has decreased in absolute terms in the decriminalization framework, even as usage across the EU continues to increase, including in those states that continue to take the hardest line in criminalizing drug possession and usage.

By freeing its citizens from the fear of prosecution and imprisonment for drug usage, Portugal has dramatically improved its ability to encourage drug addicts to avail themselves of treatment. The resources that were previously devoted to prosecuting and imprisoning drug addicts are now available to provide treatment programs to addicts. Those developments, along with Portugal’s shift to a harm-reduction approach, have dramatically improved drug-related social ills, including drug-caused mortalities and drug-related disease transmission. Ideally, treatment programs would be strictly voluntary, but Portugal’s program is certainly preferable to criminalization.
The Portuguese have seen the benefits of decriminalization, and therefore there is no serious political push in Portugal to return to a criminalization framework. Drug policy-makers in the Portuguese government are virtually unanimous in their belief that decriminalization has enabled a far more effective approach to managing Portugal’s addiction problems and other drug-related afflictions. Since the available data demonstrate that they are right, the Portuguese model ought to be carefully considered by policymakers around the world.
Criminal justice reform is one of the most important and pressing issues of the day. We are the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in our nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. In October 2013, our nation’s incarceration rate was the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. We have imprisoned 25% of the world’s prisoners even though our population is only 5% of the world’s population. More than half of the people incarcerated in federal prisons were sentenced to prison for drug offenses. A June 2015 ACLU poll of citizens likely to vote in 2016, found that 7 in 10 people favor criminal justice reform.
Meaningful criminal justice reform cannot happen in this country unless we decriminalize drugs. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for President who supports decriminalization. Unfortunately, however, he only supports decriminalization of marijuana.
We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Portugal’s 14-year successful experience decriminalizing drug possession and use, including heroin and cocaine, provides us with a comprehensive master plan to follow. No legitimate reason exists to not implement this plan as soon as possible.
The first step, of course, should be to declare amnesty and restore full civil rights to everyone convicted of a non-violent drug offense and to release everyone who is incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense.
*Decriminalization in Portugal does not mean legalization. Decriminalization means drug possession for personal use and drug usage are still prohibited, but violations are deemed to be non-criminal administrative violations similar to parking tickets. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.
**Greenwald, G., Drug Decriminalization in Portugal, Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies (Cato Institute July 2015)

Seneca Police Department hires PR firm instead of releasing dash cam video of Hammond shooting

August 25, 2015

On July 26th Lieutenant Mark Tiller of the Seneca (South Carolina) Police Department shot and killed 19-year-old Zachary Hammond in a Hardee’s parking lot. Tiller claimed that he shot Hammond in self-defense to prevent Hammond from driving into him with his vehicle. I wrote about the incident here.

The shooting happened after Hammond’s passenger and date, Tori Morton, sold a few grams of marijuana to an undercover cop. She was subsequently arrested and taken to jail. Tiller shot Hammond through the driver’s side window, which casts doubt on his claim that he reasonably believed that his life was in danger when he fired his gun.

According to Andrew Emett of the Free Thought Project,

Hammond’s autopsy revealed that the teen was shot in the back of his left shoulder and his side. According to witness statements, Hammond’s vehicle was not moving when Tiller shot him twice. In a letter from Hammond’s attorney to the FBI, a witness has recently come forward describing officers planting evidence under Hammond’s body and high-fiving his dead hand after the shooting. Although police found no weapon or drugs on Hammond, Chief Covington claims that a white powdery substance was found at the scene.

Instead of releasing a dash-cam video of the shooting, city officials have hired a PR firm to defend the police from public criticism.

What criticism, you ask? In addition to the troubling facts, here’s a couple of for-examples, provided by Emett.

These alleged acts of misconduct do not make it more or less likely that Lieutenant Tiller lied about the shooting, but the double standard evidenced by the favorable treatment accorded to Chief Covington’s son, the department’s apparent coverup of Tiller’s disciplinary file, and the decision to hire a PR firm instead of releasing the dashcam raise all sorts of questions that the Justice Department may find more than a wee bit “curious.”


Trial judge defends LWOP sentence for James Holmes

August 24, 2015

NBC News is reporting that Judge Samour, the judge who presided over the James Holmes murder trial (AKA: the Aurora theater shootings) defended the outcome (life without parole) against criticism by the mother of one of the shooting victims. She said the result showed more concern for Holmes than his victims. He said,

“You can’t claim there was no justice because it wasn’t the outcome you expected,” Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. said in an unusual speech from the bench during Holmes’ formal sentencing hearing for the 2012 attack.

Samour said the jury was fair and impartial and that he tried his utmost to be the same.

“And that’s how you know it was justice,” he said.

Holmes killed twelve and wounded 70 people. He was schizophrenic and delusional when he committed the crimes. Experts testified that he would not have committed the crimes if he were not mentally ill.

I agree with Judge Samour.

Prior to trial, the defense offered to plead guilty to a life-without-parole sentence, but the prosecutor rejected the offer. I have have criticized that decision harshly as a catastrophic waste of time and money because juries are reluctant to sentence the mentally ill to death. The result was predictable. I feel bad for the victims and their families, but this trial and its attendant emotional roller coaster did not need to happen.



We are not yoyos for the rich to play with, damn it!

August 24, 2015

Bill Maher with a spot-on slam of greed-is-good.

There is nothing good about greed. Nothing at all.

I am really sick and disgusted with the Republicans. I wish they would all STFU.

They have nothing relevant to say about anything.

We need jobs that pay a living wage and affordable colleges and universities.

The rich are not job creators. They are parasites. They need to start paying taxes or go to prison.

BTW, the stock market plunged 1,000 points when it opened this morning. China’s economy is slowing down and investors are freaked out.

We are not yo-yos for the rich to play with, damn it!

We are human beings.

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