Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2007

DRJ Pores Through the Border Patrol Trial Transcripts – Cross-Examination of Jose Compean (Volumes XIII-XIV):

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — DRJ @ 9:52 pm

The testimony of the last witness, Jose Alonso Compean, concluded late Friday evening and the parties rested.

Compean was a weak witness because he was unable to explain many of his actions, but his story was more consistent than I expected. It seems clear that this case came down to whether the jury believed Aldrete-Davila or Agents Ramos and Compean. The agents’ failure to report the shooting could have been a big factor in who the jury believed.

One of the factors the prosecutor focused on was that Compean should have realized Aldrete-Davila did not pose a threat that day. Hindsight suggests it’s true Aldrete-Davila was just trying to get to Mexico but I wouldn’t be as certain as the prosecutor in a real-life situation.

Finally, the sealed testimony was recorded and redacted at the beginning of Transcript Volume XIV. Based on various references in the transcript, I think it’s likely the subjects of the sealed testimony were Aldrete-Davila’s alleged second offense in October 2005 and Rene Sanchez.

(more…)

Did That Guy Resign?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor — Patterico @ 3:52 pm

The L.A. Times web site . . . always current and up-to-date:

did-he-resign.JPG

I took that screenshot today. Martinez quit on March 22.

I mean, we already knew these Old Media types were slow on the uptake — but this is ridiculous.

P.S. If there is a serious point to be made here, it probably has to do with the importance the paper assigns to its web site.

Or, uh, lack thereof.

The Benefits of Having Lower Standards Than the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:38 pm

I spoke to L.A. Times Op-Ed and Current Editor Nick Goldberg today on the phone about his nixing Jack Dunphy’s proposed piece about LAPD’s anti-gang initiatives. The background is in this post of mine from Thursday. Briefly, Dunphy contacted Goldberg proposing to write an article about (to use Dunphy’s words) “the sham that is the LAPD’s new anti-gang efforts.” Goldberg said no.

I asked Goldberg today why he refused to give a green light to Dunphy’s proposed piece. Goldberg e-mailed me this quote, which he authorized me to use:

We’re reluctant to use anonymous pieces. While I don’t want to close the door to Dunphy forever — he’s a good writer and he brings an important point of view — I want to keep it infrequent and I want to limit it, if possible, to pieces that really are special in some way. The more I think about it, the more I don’t want him just writing on any old LAPD subject. As I’ve told you before, we don’t let people write without using their real name except in extraordinary circumstances.

Goldberg also pointed out that the paper has run two pieces by LAPD officers in the past week: this piece by “L.A. Rex” author Will Beall, and this piece by Central Division Captain Andrew Smith.

I take Goldberg at his word when he says that he hasn’t blackballed Dunphy entirely. I find Goldberg to be a smart and honorable guy. But I am distressed by this part of Goldberg’s quote: “The more I think about it, the more I don’t want him just writing on any old LAPD subject.” That sounds to me like we’re not going to be seeing much from Jack Dunphy in the pages of the L.A. Times. After all, the LAPD is what Dunphy knows best. Dunphy is a capable writer on other subjects, but his best pieces all relate to the LAPD, where his experiences infuse his writing with the sure authority of someone who actually knows what he’s talking about.

I don’t know what “any old LAPD subject” means. I don’t know what it would take for Goldberg to find a Dunphy topic to be “really . . . special in some way.” I hate to be a pessimist, but Goldberg’s quote makes it hard to be an optimist. Dunphy is not just any anonymous submitter of op-eds. He has been published in the L.A. Times many times before. He has met L.A. Times personnel (and he has met me). They know that he is who he says he is. The paper is far less likely to be embarrassed by a Dunphy piece than they are to be embarrassed by some random piece submitted by, say, the owner of a sewer pipe company.

To me, all Dunphy pieces “really are special in some way” — because the quality of the writing, coupled with the insights they convey, are head and shoulders above what most writers in The Times are capable of producing.

Take, for example, Dunphy’s latest piece from National Review Online, titled Where Have All the Fathers Gone? Here is a sample of the sort of writing that L.A. Times readers are missing:

I met the boy one summer day while taking refuge from the heat. I had parked my police car beneath the spreading boughs of a large tree, one of the few spots in the neighborhood that offered a patch of shade. He rode his bicycle down the sidewalk past me two or three times, slowing a little with each successive pass to allow himself a better look inside the car and at all the hardware it contained. I recall doing much the same when I was his age.

On the next pass I called him over and invited him to sit in the front seat, which he did with great enthusiasm. He checked out the car’s computer and my flashlight, but of course he was most interested in the emergency lights, which he delighted in turning on and off and on and off.

We continued to meet in this fashion once or twice a week over that summer, and before long I met his sisters (one of whom was his twin) and their parents. They had moved from Colorado, they said, to be near relatives in southern California. They had heard that things were rough in parts of Los Angeles but they weren’t prepared for the life they found in this building and on this block.

They couldn’t afford much. The father was disabled, and the family got along on government assistance and charity from their church, so when they found the apartment on the tree-lined street they considered it a blessing. But they could smell the marijuana and hear the loud music coming from the other apartments all day and all night, they said, and some of the young men in the building sold drugs on the street.

The kids adopted a stray puppy, a scrawny little mutt they found wandering the street one day. They named him Lucky. But even inexpensive dog food was a luxury beyond the family’s means, so they fed it whatever meager scraps were left from their own table. I took to dropping off cans of dog food from time to time, and sometimes I chipped in for the family’s food or medicine or for some little toy for the kids. When I dropped in my presence was greeted with stony silence from the other tenants in the building.

One day I was parked in my usual spot under the tree and saw my little friend riding down the sidewalk toward me. But instead of stopping at my car as I expected him to, he just kept on riding as if he didn’t see me.

Some of the boy’s neighbors, I came to learn, took a dim view of the boy’s friendliness with the police, and they had dispatched an older, larger boy to teach him a lesson. My little friend had taken a beating, one that achieved its intended purpose. It was many days before the boy would so much as look at me again, and even then it was only when he was safely out of the view of his neighbors.

It’s a good thing that standards are so much lower at National Review Online than they are at the Los Angeles Times, so that writing like this can see the light of day.

Jack, my standards are lower here, too! So please: keep that guest login handy.

Former DoJ Official: Pursuing Voter Fraud Cases Indicates Intent to Depress Minority Turnout

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:30 pm

Lefties have been citing an L.A. Times op-ed by a former Justice Department official, who claims that Bush has politicized the Justice Department. It’s an eye-opening allegation — but if you actually read the piece, you quickly conclude that the author’s viewpoint is so skewed as to render his entire piece suspect. For example, he actually sees voter fraud cases as indicative of an intent to depress minority turnout:

[The Justice Department under Bush] has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

Or maybe it indicated an intent to fight voter fraud, sir.

I’m sorry, but I can’t take seriously anything the guy says after that. I actually find it disturbing that somebody with such a warped perspective held such a high-ranking position in the Justice Department (his op-ed bio says that he was “chief of the voting section in the Justice Department’s civil right[s] division from 1999 to 2005.”)

Reading on, I find more nonsense:

[Interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Bradley] Schlozman was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the division when the Justice Department OKd a Georgia law requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls. These decisions went against the recommendations of career staff, who asserted that such rulings discriminated against minority voters.

What? To me, such laws are designed to ensure that voter fraud is not taking place. But Mr. Rich doesn’t seem to care much about voter fraud, except to assert that investigating it shows a motivation to depress minority turnout.

Schlozman continued to influence elections as an interim U.S. attorney. Missouri had one of the closest Senate races in the country last November, and a week before the election, Schlozman brought four voter fraud indictments against members of an organization representing poor and minority people. This blatantly contradicted the department’s long-standing policy to wait until after an election to bring such indictments because a federal criminal investigation might affect the outcome of the vote. The timing of the Missouri indictments could not have made the administration’s aims more transparent.

Wait a second. How does it affect an election to indict somebody for voter fraud — as long as the indictment is legally proper? Doesn’t it affect an election to allow somebody who is committing voter fraud to continue to do so before an election?

But did Schlozman have the goods? As to at least one of those individuals, Dale D. Franklin, he apparently did. Earlier this year, Franklin pleaded guilty to voter fraud:

Dale D. Franklin, 44, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to the charge contained in a Nov. 1, 2006, federal indictment.

. . . .

Franklin worked as a voter registration recruiter for ACORN in late September and early October 2006, obtaining voter registrations prior to the Nov. 7, 2006, election. Franklin admitted that he knowingly caused to be furnished to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners a voter registration application on which Franklin forged the signature of the applicant and on which the address and telephone number listed were false.

Rich has since joined the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, whose mission statement is “to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.” Attorneys for this organization can pursue discrimination cases without giving a second thought to whether doing so will drain resources from voter fraud cases. I think Mr. Rich will be much happier there.

I’d read this op-ed with a skeptical eye. If the quoted passages make sense to you, then the rest of the op-ed probably will too. If, like me, they leave you with a furrowed brow and a headache, then (like me) you will be inclined to discount the rest of it as the ravings of an off-kilter individual.


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