Tuesday, July 18, 2006
A Substitute For Good Police Work
In what still stands out to me as an astounding disregard for the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Orange County (Stalag California) Superior Court Judge Daniel Didier "....signed a preliminary injunction restricting the activities of more than 150 suspected gangs members...."
See story here.
The injunction "....prohibits gang members from associating with each other in a designated area of Santa Ana and drinking alcohol in public....."
"It enjoins people from doing things that are completely legal," (Defender Tony) Ufland said. "Things like wearing certain colors, drinking in places where it is legal to drink, associating with people of your choosing. They are looking for a brass ring and going well beyond what the law says is constitutional in this injunction."
Within the limits of Mr. Ufland's quote, he's right. The Constitution says what it says, and if we're going to get back to being a Republic of laws, not of men, we have to limit our arresting, prosecution and punishing to those individuals who actually break the law.
Maybe each and every member of the Santa Nita street gang has broken the law any number of times each, and maybe they should all be in prison, but according to the rules, they each have to be tried for his specific crime in a court of law, and if found guilty, sentenced.
We never, in the United States of America, should be saying that because an individual belongs to a particular group, he's guilty of a crime. That's unAmerican, not to mention immoral by any philosophical system for which I have any respect.
My opinion? I think the Santa Ana police are lazy. First, I shouldn't single out the Santa Ana police--the Los Angeles police have been following a similar path for some time now. Lazy.
I remember my hard-boiled detective stories. You identify a crime. You inspect the site, gathering clues and reconstructing the crime. You identify, locate and question witnesses and other involved persons. Eventually, you identify one or more suspects. You investigate them, question them, and with any luck, you can make an arrest and assemble the information to be used by the prosecutors.
Never having been a cop, I may not have all the details, but I think it's fairly close.
Sometimes it comes fairly easily, and other times not. Maybe some criminals don't get caught. That's unfortunate, but it's a better situation than arresting people willy-nilly, based mostly on the color of their shirts.
Perhaps we should force all suspected members of street gangs to pin some kind of a badge on their shirts?
They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!