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Today’s tale of the absurd in the world of law enforcement reasoning

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Yesterday I provided a quote from the remarkable dissent from People v Weaver, a 1991 Court of Appeals decision involving a drug profile.   Today I’d like to share the reasoning (accepted by the Court’s majority, written by Judge Roger Wollman) as the basis of reasonable suspicion for a stop.

[An officer is waiting at the Kansas City Airport, watching people get off of a flight from Los Angeles at 6:45am].  As Weaver disembarked from Flight 650, he caught Officer Hick’s attention because he was a “roughly dressed” young black male who was carrying two bags and walking rapidly, almost running, down the concourse towards a door leading to a taxi stand.    Because Hicks was aware that a number of young roughly dressed black males from street gangs in Los Angeles frequently brought cocaine into the Kansas City area and that walking quickly towards a taxicab was a common characteristic of narcotics couriers at the airport, he became suspicious that Weaver was a drug trafficker.   –  People v Weaver, 966 F.2d 391 (1992) (Judge Roger Wollman).  

Wait, are you kidding me?  A “roughly dressed” young black man walking swiftly towards a taxi-cab after getting off a 3 or 4 hour flight is suspicious, since Los Angeles is a source city for narcotics in the midwest?  

I’ll say it again, are you kidding me?     This is a classic example of the way judges – particularly federal judges – accept wholeheartedly and uncritically – the rationales that law enforcement make up for profiling in the war on drugs.    While we can lay much blame for racial profiling on the police,  the Judicial branch deserves its share of blame for allowing such travesties of justice.   

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Tumblr told me that my blog, “Scanning the Heavens” turned 2 today!   Yet, I have been neglecting it the past few months, for no other reason than that I have been busy with other things.      But enjoy a calorie-free cupcake.  Sadly, they taste calorie-free too.

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This law protected us for almost 50 years, and today, has been gutted, due to 5 judges who are out of touch, never once served in elected office, and are a disgrace to the robe.  

todaysdocument:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

 An act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States and for other purposes, August 6, 1965. 

Signed into law on August 6, 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson, the act outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

This “act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution” was signed into law 95 years after the amendment was ratified. In those years, African Americans in the South faced tremendous obstacles to voting, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic restrictions to deny them the right to vote. They also risked harassment, intimidation, economic reprisals, and physical violence when they tried to register or vote. As a result, very few African Americans were registered voters, and they had very little, if any, political power, either locally or nationally.

In 1964, numerous demonstrations were held, and the considerable violence that erupted brought renewed attention to the issue of voting rights. The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi and the attack by state troopers on peaceful marchers in Selma, AL, gained national attention and persuaded President Johnson and Congress to initiate meaningful and effective national voting rights legislation. The combination of public revulsion to the violence and Johnson’s political skills stimulated Congress to pass the voting rights bill on August 5, 1965.

The legislation, which President Johnson signed into law the next day, outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of Federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in those jurisdictions that were “covered” according to a formula provided in the statute. In addition, Section 5 of the act required covered jurisdictions to obtain “preclearance” from either the District Court for the District of Columbia or the U.S. Attorney General for any new voting practices and procedures. Section 2, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color. The use of poll taxes in national elections had been abolished by the 24th amendment (1964) to the Constitution; the Voting Rights Act directed the Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia’s poll tax to be unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required. [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)]

The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.

via OurDocuments

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wilwheaton:

jenniferdeguzman:

He said Star Trek is too “philosophical”? Screw that noise.

mechcanuck:

I don’t know when this interview happened but I AM SAD AND ANGRY NOW 

The philosophies in Star Trek are kinda part of the actual setting. If you don’t get that, why are you allowed to make Star Trek movies.

Sigh. The whole point of Star Trek is that it’s philosophical. If you don’t want philosophical Science Fiction, there’s plenty of that for you to enjoy, but Star Trek is philosophical. Philosophy is part of Star Trek’s DNA, and if you’re given the captain’s chair, you’d better damn well respect that.

Agreed!  Screw JJ Abrams.  

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