Thursday, June 6, 2013


BROWNSVILLE POLICE AND THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT TO EXPAND POLICE POWERS

On Monday last, the US Supreme Court in a divided opinion ruled that law enforcement can take DNA from all arrested individuals such as they take fingerprints.  The DNA evidence can then be put into the national data base.

To the shock of a lot of faux Court watchers, so called liberal justice Stephen Breyer sided with the majority of so called conservative justices, while so called conservative justice Scalia wrote a dissent denouncing the opinion of the majority as an unwise and unconstitutional expansion of police powers.

Real Court watchers - as opposed to the talking heads with the news services - know that sometimes votes are exchanged by the justices.  Former Associate Justice Powell shortly after the Bowers v. Hardwick decision (Supreme Court upheld criminalizing consensual oral sex between homosexuals or heterosexuals) said had he known the reaction to the decision he would have voted the other way.  Many decisions have a soft 5th vote based on promises by other justices to be the 5th vote in another case. 

We shall see how Chief Justice Roberts votes in some of the remaining cases to see of their was a vote exchange.

BISD POLICE

From a practical point of view, Brownsville cannot afford to be taking DNA swabs from everyone arrested so I am not concerned about this being a reality in Brownville.

BUT

Every day I look at the arrests by the Brownsville police.  There are far too many arrests for possession of a joint, or criminal trespass.  These arrests are ruining the lives of these young adults.  It takes away hope for a future.  Can anyone tell me how this makes us a safer or better or more just society?

The city commission along with the police chief and city manager need to visit this issue.  Yes, possession of a joint is illegal.  But are were prepared to take away hope of a future from these young adults over possession of a joint?

For now our DA can order all first time offenders be immediately offered pretrial diversion which will eventually lead to expungement of the arrest.  But there is still a problem.  Companies have popped up which retrieve all of these mugs shots.  Expungement orders do not apply to them.  So while you can have your record expunged, your mug  shot along with the charges will always be on the Internet.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS

There are different  forms of criminal trespass.  When the police arrest someone for being in a closed city park they are wasting limited resources and causing harm to the person being arrested.

For me criminal trespass only becomes an issue when someone goes on private property after that person has been specifically told to stay off the property.  Many times we are dealing with a fear issue.  The person ordered off the property is really someone who may present themselves as a danger to the homeowner.

Another example of a good criminal trespass case is, whether public or private property, you have the criminal trespass and the person has on their person evidence of their intent to destroy property - intent to engage in vandalism. 

The city is spending way too much money pursuing frivolous arrests, without regards for the long term consequences on the arrested person, or real costs  to society.

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