U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf said he is “seriously contemplating” whether to drop a number of criminal immigration cases where the crime is being in the U.S. illegally. This, he said, will free up the 10 federal public defenders in Omaha and Lincoln who have a constitutional obligation to defend an accused person who cannot afford to hire counsel.
The judge wrote about this on his blog, which is itself quite fascinating. Here’s to judges speaking truth to power!
In Fenuxe, a publication which describes itself as “the voice of Atlanta’s gay community,” The Anonymous Queer Public Defender (AQPD) advises:
If you’re straight-up busted and you plan on negotiating the best plea, you’re better off saving your money and letting the public defender negotiate for you — they know the prosecutors really well and many times get the benefit of a “bulk rate,” if you will. They are usually better clued in on alternative ways to resolve the case that they’ve seen the prosecutors accept in the past. Public defenders do criminal law all the time so often they are more knowledgeable about the law than many private attorneys who do criminal.
If you definitely want to go to trial (and have the money), it makes sense to hire a private attorney, but only if he/she has lots of experience and is known to go to trial.
All reasonable advice, except, really, if you can afford a lawyer you should hire one so that public defender can focus on the clients who truly deserve his or her services. Right? Right.
Don’t miss the AQPD’s previous advice on what to do if the police pull you over!
From Willamette Law Online, the Supreme Court of the United States has granted certiorari in Fernandez v. California to consider:
Whether, under Georgia v. Randolph, a defendant must be personally present and objecting when police officers ask a co-tenant for consent to conduct a warrantless search or whether a defendant’s previously stated objection, while physically present, to a warrantless search is a continuing assertion of 4th Amendment rights which cannot be overridden by a co-tenant.
Check out the full summary for more detail. (And pick your roommates carefully!)
The class action lawsuit alleging New York City cops have been illegally stopping and frisking black and Hispanic men for years is about to wind up with closing arguments today. According to NPR:
Plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York claim the New York Police Department, its supervisors and its union pressured police officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of people each year, even establishing quotas. They argue that 88 percent of the stops involved blacks and Hispanics, mostly men, and were in fact a form of racial profiling.
The police and the city argued that these policies were goals, not quotas, and have made New York the safest big city in America.
“I can’t imagine any rational person saying that the techniques are not working and that we should stop them,” says Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Seriously, dear mayor? The city claims the practice is justified by the fact that crime is down 80 percent in the city in the last two decades, but it apparently fails to consider that state action is not constitutional just because it reduces crime.
As for the claim that all of this stopping and frisking is reducing crime? Perhaps. But there’s also some pretty convincing evidence that crime may be down recently for a completely different reason.
According to NPR, “the judge’s ruling is not expected for several months.”