Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

The facts of the Zimmerman case

July 20, 2013

Elizabeth Scalia, blogging as “The Anchoress”, made some sadly uninformed comments about the Zimmerman trial.  I wrote this, and decided to post here so I don’t have to write this up again.  All feedback of a factual nature, either positive or negative, is quite welcome:

I am very disappointed in you, Elizabeth. Because it appears you’ve decided to comment on the Zimmerman case without bothering to actually find out what happened in the Zimmerman case.

So let’s consider some facts you appear to have missed, and see if you can come to a more enlightened opinion:

1: A neighbor of Zimmerman’s was home alone with her infant, when someone tried to break in. 911 told her to grab a weapon and hide. She grabbed a screwdriver, and hid in her room with her baby. Someone jiggled the handle on her bedroom door, robbed her house, and escaped, all before the police arrived.

Zimmerman and his wife befriended the woman, helped her deal with her terror, and bought her a new deadbolt. Then Zimmerman started the Neighborhood Watch program for their area.

2: Relying on police reports about burglary suspects, Zimmerman made multiple calls to the police about teenaged boys engaging in suspicious behavior. The result of those calls was that a black male teenager who lived in the complex was caught with stolen goods from multiple houses in the neighborhood. In one little irony, the kid was convicted in Judge Nelson’s courtroom (and if you don’t know that Judge Nelson was the trier of this case, you’re not qualified to comment on the trial, and should be embarrassed in yourself if you have commented on it).

3: Trayvon Martin was suspended from school twice. Once because he was caught with stolen jewelry in his backpack, the second time (which was why he was in Sanford) because he was caught with a used marijuana pipe in his backpack. The school security officers followed their boss’s policy of rarely reporting criminals, in order to get their boss awards for “cutting the crime rate”. (This came out because of this case.) If they’d actually reported the crimes, instead of just suspending Martin, he probably would not have been in Sanford that night.

4: Trayvon Martin’s cell phone had, hidden in a password protected file, pictures of him with jewelry on his bed, texts about his street fighting, texts from his younger brother asking to be taught how to fight, texts about buying and selling guns, and pictures of naked underage females.

5: The toxicology report on Martin said that he had the active form of THC in hsi bloodstream the night he died.

In short, Trayvon Martin was a thug. He was a crook, and he was a drug user. If Zimmerman had not killed him, the only real question is “would Martin have killed someone else before he got himself killed?” Happily, that answer turns out to be no.

6: George Zimmerman called the cops to say he saw someone wandering around, looking into the windows of a house where he knew the person didn’t live, acting strange, almost as if he was drugged.

If you have a problem with him making that call, your problem is with the whole idea of the Neighborhood Watch, not with George Zimmerman. The behavior he reported SHOULD be reported, it doesn’t matter if the person doing it is white black old or young.

7: Zimmerman tried to keep this suspicious character in sight. Eventually the person disappeared from his view, even when he stopped his car and got out. The person on the other end of his non-emergency police call told Zimmerman they “don’t need him to do that” (try to follow on foot), so Zimmerman went back to his car.

None of the above facts are disputable. You could, I suppose, try to claim that Zimmerman lied in his call, and Martin wasn’t really looking into any windows. But you would have to make that claim with zero supporting evidence.

So, please, tell us where Zimmerman displayed “bad judgment” in any of the above.

8: Zimmerman says he walked around in the area around his car, trying to find a street sign so he could tell the police who were on their way exactly where he was. Neighbors who lived there testified during the trial that it was hard to see street signs in the area, and that the street name had recently changed. In any event, Zimmerman got off the phone with the police.

9: Four minutes after Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, Martin confronted Zimmerman less than 20 yards from where Zimmerman’s car was parked. (Time information taken from phone records entered at the trial. Location taken from where Martin’s dead body was found.) If Martin had been trying to go home, he would have been there, safe and sound. If I understand Jeantel (the girl who was on the phone with Martin), Martin DID get to his dad’s girlfriend’s place, and then turned around and went back. In any event, given the amount of time Martin had to get home, the ONLY reason for him to run into Zimmerman at the place where he did was because he chose to seek out Zimmerman.

10: Martin confronted Zimmerman, Zimmerman responded defensively (rather than going on the offense and saying “why are you looking into windows of other people’s homes?”). We got that from Jeantel’s testimony. Then she claimed the call ended.

11: Zimmerman was struck in the nose, his nose was damaged, and bleeding. The back of his head was damaged from being struck into a concrete sidewalk. The defense’s forensic expert testified that the damage done to Zimmerman was potentially life threatening, that the police should have sent Zimmerman to the ER, and that if Zimmerman had died from his injuries, the police would have been sued, and lost. The prosecution’s witness, John Good, testified that he heard the screaming, went outside, saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, pinning Zimmerman down, and striking down at Zimmerman (he could not testify that he heard the blows hit). Good told Martin to stop. When he didn’t, Good said he was calling 911. Martin’s attack continued.

12: The witness who claimed that Zimmerman was on top said she was sure that the bigger person was on top, and since the only images she’d seen of Martin were the pictures from when Martin was 12, she assumed Zimmerman was bigger. This was false, as the defense demonstrated when they had Zimmerman stand next to a life sized cutout of Martin.

13: Martin was killed by a single shot to the chest. His shirt was in contact with the gun, but the gun was shot from two inches away from Martin’s chest (as determined by the powder burns on Martin’s chest). The hole in the shirt and the hole in Martin’s chest lined up to show that Martin was leaning forward when he was shot.

In short: Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman, punched him in the face, tackled him to the ground, and spent 40 seconds beating on him, inflicting potentially deadly damage on him, and giving no indication that he was going to stop until he had killed, or at least crippled, Zimmerman. Zimmerman then got his gun out, and shot his attacker, killing him.

There can be no “duty to retreat” when you’re pinned to the ground. Every state in the nation allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself when you can’t retreat, and are in reasonable fear of death. Zimmerman could not retreat, and was in reasonable fear of death.If you still think Florida has “some laws that should probably be reviewed” because of this case, it’s because you are taking the utterly fringe position that self defense should never be allowed.

I hope you will take some time to get yourself actually informed on this issue before saying anything more. And I hope you will offer George Zimmerman the apology he so richly deserves after your ill-informed and utterly unjustified hostile comments about him.

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What tribe are you part of? Another comment on Zimmerman

July 17, 2013

“Whether it is because of conservative tribalism, race, guns, or something else”

It’s amazing how ignorant you are, Arthur. And it’s kind of sad the way you are so eager to show your ignorance.

“conservative tribalism”: Zimmerman was a 2008 Obama volunteer

“race”: both Zimmerman and I are humans, so we share the same race.  I’m pretty sure Martin was human, too, which means all three of us shared the same race.  (You, I’m not so sure about.)  If you mean “race” the way you leftist bigots and racists use the term, Zimmerman appears to share a lot more ancestors with Trayvon than he does with me

“guns”: plenty of thugs with guns.  I’m generally quite happy to see them arrested, and convicted,  Hell, Trayvon had texts saying that he was interested in both buying and selling guns

It is funny, because you almost managed to swerve into a truth.  Because (I hope) Zimmerman and I DO belong to the same “tribe”, the tribe of people who work to make the world a better place.  The tribe of people who are willing to go out of their way to help other, to protect others.  The tribe of people who are willing to take a stand against the barbarians of the night.

The tribe of people who are willing to stand against the Trayvon Martin’s of the world.

Trayvon Martin was a thief, and a drug user, and thug, a street brawler who liked to fight.  He was on a straight path to a worthless life, and the only real question was would he get killed before, or after, he killed someone else.  And on a dark and rainy night, his ego and his thuggish nature lead him to attack a good and decent man, at best because that man’s attempts to protect his neighborhood hurt Martin’s ego, pride, or feelings.

Happily, that good and decent man was armed, so instead of being beaten to death, or until he was crippled for life, he was able to defend himself, and the young thug died instead.  Sadly, he’ll probably have nightmares for the rest of his life.  Also sadly, some leftist inspired PoS will probably murder him, for the “crime” of having committed self defense at a time when our Dear Leader Obama needed a patsy to stoke racial tensions, in order to eventually get his voters out to the polls.

If you gave a sh!t about the other young men on Trayvon’s path, you’d be out there screaming “don’t be like Trayvon.  Build a worthwhile life, don’t be a punk, don’t be a thug.”  But you don’t care.  all you want is some talking points so you can pretend to be morally superior.

30 days with a gun

June 16, 2013

Over at Ms. Magazine, a writer is trying an experiment:

Yes, I bought a handgun and will carry it everywhere I go over the next 30 days. I have four rules: Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.

Why? Following the Newtown massacre in December, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, told the country, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  I wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun? What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun. Finally, what happens when you don’t want that gun any more?

I decided to find out.

In it she whines about all the things she’s allowed to do.  I wrote the following response (it’s “in moderation”)

Wow, have you killed anybody yet?

No?

So, despite deciding to be a completely irresponsible idiot, nothing bad has happened? the magic talisman of a gun hasn’t forced you to start a fight? It hasn’t forced you to grab it and shoot somebody?

Really? What a shock! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Do you really want to live in a society where the government has the power to force you not to “be an idiot”? You know, a government that banned people from majoring in English Literature, or Gender Studies, because of the almost complete lack of jobs for people in those fields? A government that stopped people from going to LA, or NY, to try to become actors, because the vast majority will fail, so it’s really idiotic to try?

You are, supposed, an adult. That means YOU are, and should be responsible for your choices, and your actions. Not the government. Not society. Not your parents. YOU.

If you’re not willing to handle that burden, you’re not an adult. So go find someone to take care of you, and turn in your driver’s license. Because a car’s a far more deadly weapon than a Glock.

After that, I had this thought (also waiting moderation):

Oh, BTW, once you’re done with this article, why don’t you find some 18 year old woman and get her to write “My month having sex with everyone I can”, where she goes out and has sex with as many different people as she can, following only those rules the law requires her to follow.  No condoms, no birth control, anal, oral, and vaginal sex.  then see how many different venereal diseases she has at the end of the month, whether or not she’s pregnant, and / or whether or not she’s caught something that will make her sterile for the rest of her life.
And then compare the negatives that result from her actions, with the complete non-negatives that come from yours.

Because there’s a lot more things in life more dangerous than carryign a gun.

No sympathy for “non-violent” drug offenders

December 12, 2012

By way of I found this article by John Tierney, the best writer at the NY Times.  Tierney is decrying the effects of mandatory sentencing on “non-violent offenders.”  I find myself entirely unmoved.

Let’s be clear here: I would be ecstatic to support ending the war on drugs, killing the FDA, and telling people: It’s your body, do whatever you want to it (just don’t expect us to pay for it).  But that’s not on the agenda.  What’s on the agenda is cutting the punishment of “non-violent offenders.”  And I’m opposed, because when it comes to drugs, there aren’t any “non-violent offenders.”

Those Mexican drug cartels that are murdering people and corrupting Mexican society?  They exist because, and only because, of those “non-violent offenders.”  Those teenage and twenty+ year old boys shooting each other (and the occasional innocent bystander) over “turf” for selling drugs?  Again, without the buyers pumping all that money into the system, those shootings wouldn’t be happening. So don’t tell me how sad it is that their life’s been “ruined”, because they are the ones ruining everyone else’s lives.

End the trade.  Make it all legal, sell heroine through drug stores, slash the prices so there’s nothing to fight over.  Great, got no problem with that.

But so long as those people are paying (and working, in the case of the “mules”) to destroy the US inner city, Mexico, Columbia, etc., they deserve the misery that mandatory sentencing brings them.

The Individual Mandate and Welfare drug testing

April 19, 2012

There’s been a lot of arguing recently about whether or not the Federal Government should have the power to force individuals to buy health “insurance” policies they don’t want, and don’t need (I don’t need a $5,000 / year “comprehensive health insurance” policy if I’m a 25 year old male with no health problems. Catastrophic coverage, maybe, “comprehensive” coverage? No). The Left is in favor, the right is opposed.

From Tom McGuire I just learned about a different fight.  In this one, the State of Florida has decided that it doesn’t want to give cash assistance to drug users, and so is requiring drug tests from anyone who wants to get cash assistance (it pays for the drug test, if you pass it).  The Left is outraged at this.

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the mentality that approves of the first, but not the second.  The best I can come up with is that, to the Left, all money, everywhere, is theirs.  Not the government’s, most certainly not the property of the individual who made it, all money belongs to the Left.  Don’t want to spend your own money buying an unneeded “health insurance” policy?  Tough.  They want to cut costs for people they care about more than they care about you, so you have to pay.  Don’t want to give cash to drug users?  Tough.  They like drug users, esp. ones who’ve so screwed up their lives that they can’t survive without outside help, so the drug users get your money.

 

Any other justifications?

Al Gore’s “massage”

June 25, 2010

Our favorite tree, former Vice President Al “Forrest” Gore is in the news, as a Portland Oregon massage therapist has accused him of soliciting sex during his massage.  (Note, I’ve been getting a lot of my information on this from Tom Maguire, and posted part of this as a comment on his site.)  In our latest twist, Gore’s defenders have admitted that he paid $540 (including a 20% tip) for a massage while at the Hotel Lucia.

This, IMHO, is a “game over” admission.

A $540 bill with a 20% gratuity is $450 for the massage, and a $90 tip.

This was at the Hotel Lucia, which has an associated spa, the Portland Spa and Boutique.

Looking at their price list, the most expensive massage they offer is $140 (90 minutes of either “warm stone” or “Table Thai” massage). Al paid over 3x that, plus a 20% tip.

Now, if you have someone coming to your room to give you a massage, you should expect to pay more than you would pay to go to their place.  But you don’t expect to pay an extra $310.

So, there are a couple of possibilities here:

  1. The Hotel told him that’s how much it would be.  In that case, the Hotel was pimping out the massage therapist, because for that kind of money, you’re expecting a medium to high class prostitute, not  massage therapist.  (It would be great for some enterprising reporter to try to find out if that is the price the Hotel routinely give to its customers.)  But, if Gore asked for a “massage” at that price, he was looking for a prostitute, not a massage therapist.
  2. The Hotel quoted a lower price, Gore paid more as hush money, or because they really did have sex.  If that’s the case, I do wonder why she submitted the bill through the Hotel, rather than just getting cash from Gore.

In either event, unless it was a four hour massage, there’s no way that Gore paid that much for just a massage.

I don’t know whether or not former Vice President Al Gore had sex with a massage therapist in Portland Oregon.  But I do know that that is what he intended to have happen.  Nothing else justifies the amount he paid for his “massage”.

The Political Lessons of the Fort Hood Shooting

November 9, 2009

Megan McArdle claims there are no political lessons to be learned from the Fort Hood shooting.  I think she’s wrong.  Here are the lessons I think we’ve been taught (again).

  • Political Correctness kills
  • It is better to be rude than to be screwed
  • If you think it was wrong for the US to free Muslims from a totalitarian dictatorship (Iraq), or from a theocratic dictatorship (Afghanistan), you are a lunatic.  If you are an “American” who is a Muslim first, and an American second, and you believe those things, you are, presumptively, and enemy of the United States of America
  • “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”  Supporting the jihadis is Treason, and should be treated as such.

Other lessons?

Why the Supreme Court made the right choice in OSBORNE

June 19, 2009

The Supreme Court today released it’s decision in District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne (08-6). There’s been a lot of vapors about this case (even Instapundit got it wrong), so I’m going to stop commenting on this in other people’s posts, and write my own instead.

The crime:

On the evening of March 22, 1993, two men driving through Anchorage, Alaska, solicited sex from a female prostitute, K. G. She agreed to perform fellatio on both men for $100 and got in their car. The three spent some time looking for a place to stop and ended up in a deserted area near Earthquake Park. When K. G. demanded payment in advance, the two men pulled out a gun and forced her to perform fellatio on the driver while the passenger penetrated her vaginally, using a blue condom she had brought. The passenger then ordered K. G. out of the car and told her to lie face-down in the snow. Fearing for her life, she refused, and the two men choked her and beat her with the gun. When K. G. tried to flee, the passenger beat her with a wooden axe handle and shot her in the head while she lay on the ground. They kicked some snow on top of her and left her for dead.

The evidence:

At the scene of the crime, the police recovered a spent shell casing, the axe handle, some of K. G.’s clothing stained with blood, and the blue condom.
Six days later, two military police officers at Fort Richardson pulled over Dexter Jackson for flashing his headlights at another vehicle. In his car they discovered a gun (which matched the shell casing), as well as several items K. G. had been carrying the night of the attack… Jackson admitted that he had been the driver during the rape and assault, and told the police that William Osborne had been his passenger.
The State also performed DQ Alpha testing on sperm found in the blue condom. DQ Alpha testing is a relatively inexact form of DNA testing that can clear some wrongly accused individuals, but generally cannot narrow the perpetrator down to less than 5% of the population… The semen found on the condom had a genotype that matched a blood sample taken from Osborne, but not ones from Jackson, K. G., or a third suspect named James Hunter. Osborne is black, and approximately 16% of black individuals have such a genotype. In other words, the testing ruled out Jackson and Hunter as possible sources of the semen, and also ruled out over 80% of other black individuals.

The Trial:

Osborne and Jackson were convicted by an Alaska jury of kidnaping, assault, and sexual assault. They were acquitted of an additional count of sexual assault and of attempted murder.
Osborne then sought postconviction relief in Alaska state court. He claimed that he had asked his attorney, Sidney Billingslea, to seek more discriminating restriction-fragment-length-polymorphism (RFLP) DNA testing during trial, and argued that she was constitutionally ineffective for not doing so. (Billingslea testified that she had no memory of Osborne making such a request, but said she was “ ‘willing to accept’ ” that he had.) Billingslea testified that after investigation, she had concluded that further testing would do more harm than good. She planned to mount a defense of mistaken identity, and thought that the imprecision of the DQ Alpha test gave her “‘very good numbers in a mistaken identity, cross-racial identification case, where the victim was in the dark and had bad eyesight.’” Because she believed Osborne was guilty, “‘insisting on a more advanced . . . DNA test would have served to prove that Osborne committed the alleged crimes.’” The Alaska Court of Appeals concluded that Billingslea’s decision had been strategic and rejected Osborne’s claim.

The court relied heavily on the fact that Osborne had confessed to some of his crimes in a 2004 application for parole—in which it is a crime to lie. In this statement, Osborne acknowledged forcing K. G. to have sex at gunpoint, as well as beating her and covering her with snow. He repeated this confession before the parole board. Despite this acceptance of responsibility, the board did not grant him discretionary parole. In 2007, he was released on mandatory parole, but he has since been rearrested for another offense, and the State has petitioned to revoke this parole.

The Ruling:

  1. The Federal government, and 46 States, have rules in place for post-conviction access to DNA evidence. The elected governments of the States are actively confronting the challenges DNA technology poses to our criminal justice systems and our traditional notions of finality, as well as the opportunities it affords. To suddenly constitutionalize this area would short-circuit what looks to be a prompt and considered legislative response.
  2. Under the State’s general postconviction relief statute, a prisoner may challenge his conviction when “there exists evidence of material facts, not previously presented and heard by the court, that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence in the interest of justice.” Alaska Stat. §12.72.010(4) (2008). Such a claim is exempt from otherwise applicable time limits if “newly discovered evidence,” pursued with due diligence, “establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is innocent.” §12.72.020(b)(2). (Since he had the chance to get this evidence during his trial, and refused to take it, that means the evidence is not “new”, and so doesn’t qualify under Alaska Law.)
  3. A lot of verbiage on the type of appeal he should be using, and what kinds of things each type of appeal allows. IANAL, but what I could understand seemed reasonable.
  4. Having been found guilty, and exhausted his appeals, he now bears a presumption of guilt, rather than a presumption of innocence. (This is not new.)
  5. In other words, [Osborne] has not tried to use the process provided to him by the State or attempted to vindicate the liberty interest that is now the centerpiece of his claim. When Osborne did request DNA testing in state court, he sought RFLP testing that had been available at trial, not the STR testing he now seeks, and the state court relied on that fact in denying him testing under Alaska law.
  6. Establishing a freestanding right to access DNA evidence for testing would force us to act as policymakers, and our substantive-due-process rulemaking authority would not only have to cover the right of access but a myriad of other issues. We would soon have to decide if there is a constitutional obligation to preserve forensic evidence that might later be tested. If so, for how long? Would it be different for different types of evidence? Would the State also have some obligation to gather such evidence in the first place? How much, and when? No doubt there would be a miscellany of other minor directives. In this case, the evidence has already been gathered and preserved, but if we extend substantive due process to this area, these questions would be before us in short order, and it is hard to imagine what tools federal courts would use to answer them. At the end of the day, there is no reason to suppose that their answers to these questions would be any better than those of state courts and legislatures, and good reason to suspect the opposite.
  7. Alito (correct, IMHO) quotes an expert :“[F]orensic DNA testing rarely occurs [under] idyllic conditions. Crime scene DNA samples do not come from a single source obtained in immaculate conditions; they are messy assortments of multiple unknown persons, often collected in the most difficult conditions. The samples can be of poor quality due to exposure to heat, light, moisture, or other degrading elements. They can be of minimal or insufficient quantity, especially as investigators push DNA testing to its limits and seek profiles from a few cells retrieved from cigarette butts, envelopes, or soda cans. And most importantly, forensic samples often constitute a mixture of multiple persons, such that it is not clear whose profile is whose, or even how many profiles are in the sample at all. All of these factors make DNA testing in the forensic context far more subjective than simply reporting test results . . . .”
  8. I see no reason for such intervention in the present case. When a criminal defendant, for tactical purposes, passes up the opportunity for DNA testing at trial, that defendant, in my judgment, has no constitutional right to demand to perform DNA testing after conviction. Recognition of such a right would allow defendants to play games with the criminal justice system. A guilty defendant could forgo DNA testing at trial for fear that the results would confirm his guilt, and in the hope that the other evidence would be insufficient to persuade the jury to find him guilty. Then, after conviction, with nothing to lose, the defendant could demand DNA testing in the hope that some happy accident—for example, degradation or contamination of the evidence—would provide the basis for seeking postconviction relief. Denying the opportunity for such an attempt to game the criminal justice system should not shock the conscience of the Court.

This last part, to my mind, is key: He had the chance to do DNA testing at his trial, he (or at least his lawyer) passed on that chance, now, when it can’t hurt him, he wants the test.

No.

Let’s be realistic here. He should have been found guilty of attempted murder. The only reason I can think of for the jury not to find him guilty was concern, concern caused by having 84% certainty from DNA evidence rather than 99% certainty. He gambled, he made his choice, now he gets to live with it.

A Generalized Right to Post-Conviction DNA Testing Carries Significant Risks

“But,” you say, “why shouldn’t we let anyone who wants to pay to get DNA testing to prove his innocence?” Simple: because it may be more likely to release guilty people, than innocent ones.

No test is perfect. Every test will have problems with false positives (saying yes when it should have said no), and false negatives (saying no when it should have said yes). In our search for justice, we prefer false negatives (letting the guilty go free) to false positives (punishing the innocent). But the two are competitors (pushing down one tends to increase the other). And a test that’s reasonable before a trial (when the defendant has the presumption of innocence) may not be reasonable post-conviction (when the prisoner is presumed guilty, and must prove his innocence). Then there are issues of lab failure, DNA degradation (caused by weather, time, and even by extracting a sample), and, most importantly, contamination. And when you’re running a newer, more sensitive test, contamination that wouldn’t have mattered 10 years ago could now be a serious issue. Finally, let us consider the time frame. Osborne’s case is 16 years old. A ten year old case would have had the RFLP testing done, and we’d already have the DNA evidence that he is guilty. These cases are all going to be with old, and therefore less reliable, samples.

So, let’s assume that 1 major conviction in 1,000 is wrong. Let’s also assume that the tests will give a false positive 1 time in 100, and same for a false negative.

Let’s have 100,000 prisoners decide they want to get tested.

There will be 99,900 guilty people in that pool. 999 will be freed despite being guilty.

There will be 100 innocent people in that pool. 99 of them will be exonerated. That’s 9% of the total freed people.

You may think that’s a good trade. I disagree. But I don’t think any reasonable person can claim that the Constitution requires us to make that trade. Not post conviction.

If you can get the false negative rate to be the same as the false conviction rate, then you’ll end up with half the people being freed being guilty. Better. But how many innocent people will be harmed by those guilty people you’ve set free?

Conclusion

The Supreme Court made the right call, both for Osborne in particular, and the issue in general. People should read the ruling before shooting their mouths off about it, and not trust some of the hysterics who have been screaming the loudest, with no justification.

Obama Finance Fraud, II

October 27, 2008

Ok, so National Journal has done an article about the way Obama is raising money via the Internet, It’s too bad there’s not contact information for the author, Neil Munro, because he including this howler in the article

Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “We review our contributions to ensure that the information donors provide is complete and verifiable. We would only accept a contribution from a pre-paid credit card if the donor provides complete and verifiable information, consistent with FEC guidelines.”

Now, let’s consider what the Chicago Tribune said about Obama’s September 2008 Fundraising

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe did not detail the contributions, beyond saying that the campaign had added 632,000 new donors to its rolls and that the average donation for the month was less than $100.

632,000 new donors, which is to say more than 20,000 new donors a day. How many of those donors do you think the Obama campaign “checked out”?

Let’s assume the average donation was $100 a month (the campaign claims less, but we’ll bump it a bit to make them look better). In that case, 1,500,000 people donated to the campaign last month. So they have 600,000 new donors, and 900,000 repeat donors. How many of those donations, do you think, got checked out?

Then there’s this

Campaign funding experts say that real-world difficulties present a significant barrier to anyone trying to make surreptitious direct donations. For example, National Journal‘s $25 donation would have to be quadrupled to $100, and then repeated 10,000 times, to deliver $1 million to the Obama campaign, which has collected more than $600 million from at least 3.1 million donors.

Well, the Obama campaign is refusing to report any donations less than $200 (following the letter of the law). So, you start by make $150 donations. You make one in the morning, and one at night. That’s $9,000 you’ve donated to the campaign in September, almost 4 times the legal limit, for a comparatively trivial effort.

You want to give more than that? Hire a kid to make donations for you. Or use a computer program to make the donations for you. You know, one that emits random strings of letters for the name. Or, even one that’s more sophisticated, andgrabs random real names and addresses and uses those to donate. Although, in that case, you probably want to make sure the random number generator is good. Otherwise you might end up donating $174,800 in the name of the same person.

Finally, there’s the sub headline for the article

Reports Of Irregularities In Donations Under $200 Raise Questions Of Who Bears The Burden Of Filtering Out Improper Money

Well, if you simply publicly release all the names, WE The People will check it out for you.

But, if you don’t turn off the standard anti-fraud protections, you can let your credit card company do most of the work. In fact, they’re charge you less if you do it that way.