Patterico's Pontifications

4/11/2007

North Carolina Attorney General: Duke Lacrosse Players “Innocent”; Nifong Overreached

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 4:44 pm

The North Carolina Attorney General has not only dismissed the Duke lacrosse charges, but has issued a very strong public statement, saying the defendants are innocent, and that Nifong overreached. It is much more than he needed to say to justify dismissing charges, but it is an important step in being fair to the accused.

It is also important as an effort to restore confidence in prosecutors generally. If my commenters are any indication, a not insubstantial segment of people lost faith in thousands of prosecutors across the country largely because of the actions of a single out-of-control prosecutor in Durham. I think it’s a mistake to stereotype based on one bad apple, but people do it anyway, so I’m glad to see such a public reproval of Nifong.

Allah has video.

E&P Fluff Piece on Kathleen Carroll Praises Her Diligence in Seeking Corrections — And the Error Regarding the Four “Destroyed” Mosques? Never Happened!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:06 am

Editor & Publisher has a fluff piece on AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll. The opening is typical of the obsequious tone:

Her day usually starts around 5:30 a.m. in her Montclair, N.J., home, when she consults her Treo to check news from Europe and Asia while many neighbors are still sleeping. After a few quick calls to foreign news bureaus, she heads off to catch the train. It’s unlikely that any of her fellow passengers on NJ Transit’s Midtown Direct to New York give her more than a passing glance as they peruse the morning papers, tune out with their headphones, or utilize hand-held Web connections. After all, among the commuters from North Jersey to Manhattan, the 51-year-old suburban mother resembles any other fare-paying customer.

But, truth be told, Kathleen Carroll likely has more influence over the content of their news feeds than anyone else in the country.

Get this. The piece praises her diligence in seeking corrections:

Her push for accuracy also led to the creation of a correction database that tracks corrections by geography, cause, and other criteria, and is constantly analyzed for ways to improve and prevent errors. “We look at where this is happening and why,” she explains. “Is editing too aggressive? Is information not coming in too clearly?”

Despite this super-diligence, there’s one correction that never quite made it: the story, reprinted in several news outlets in different places around the globe, that said:

Sunni residents in a volatile northwest Baghdad neighborhood claimed Friday that revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen had destroyed four Sunni mosques, burned homes and killed many people, while the Shiite-dominated police force stood by and did nothing.

Not only has Michelle Malkin brought back evidence that four mosques were not “destroyed.” One had a dome that could fairly be described as “destroyed.” The other three had varying degrees of much less serious damage. The AP itself said in a separate story that at least one of the mosques had only “slight damage.” What the AP didn’t do was acknowledge that it had said something completely different earlier. That’s the essence of a correction: admitting error — and AP never did.

E&P has also been eerily silent about the AP‘s error on the mosques, and manages not to bring it up in the fluff piece on Carroll — even as E&P strives (beginning at paragraph 54) to portray the Jam(a)il Hussein controversy as a victory for AP:

At a time when media criticism is skyrocketing, including the growing microscope on AP, Carroll says it is important to respond to complaints and mistakes, but not in a way that is overly reactive. “When you get a lot of eyes on something, you are going to find flaws,” she says. “There are a lot of thoughtful people out there who are seeing and consuming news, and there are a lot of good voices to have in the conversation.” Still, she stresses some readers with critiques have a clear agenda: “There is a whole group of people who are pissed off, and are not going to like what I say.”

Among them is probably syndicated columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin, who led a drive challenging AP’s repeated use of a police source in Iraq, Jamil Hussein, who had provided information on several stories. In late 2006, Malkin and other conservative critics challenged Hussein’s existence and publicly ripped AP, even visiting Iraq to claim Hussein’s information was false. “A barometer can be if it’s a question of fact or of our motive,” Carroll says about the Hussein dispute. “We always take questions of fact seriously.”

What is that? To “claim” Hussein’s information was false? How about: to prove that AP‘s claim about the mosques was false?

Meanwhile, Eric Boehlert has another self-righteous screed about warbloggers and their alleged failure to correct errors. I still don’t believe he has corrected his error from his last column about warbloggers’ alleged failure to correct errors.

You gotta love this crowd.

L.A. Times Misstates Requirements of Special Order 40

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 12:02 am

The L.A. Times reports:

The Los Angeles Police Department’s landmark Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects, has come under an aggressive assault by anti-illegal immigrant activists who argue that it ties the hands of police.

Unfortunately, this is misinformation, as Special Order 40 actually does no such thing. You can read Special Order 40 here. Contrary to today’s Times article, Special Order 40 does not prohibit officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects. The Rampart Independent Review Panel explained this quite clearly in a 2001 report on Special Order 40:

On November 27, 1979, Chief of Police Darryl Gates issued Special Order 40, which is now codified in the LAPD Manual. . . [N]othing in the [LAPD] Manual actually bars an officer who is investigating an individual for criminal activity other than an immigration violation from asking that person about his or her immigration status and then advising INS.

Indeed, if local government tried to prohibit law enforcement from cooperating with the INS (now ICE), that would violate federal law.

What does Special Order 40 actually do? Its primary dictate is to prevent LAPD officers from initiating contact with a suspect for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws. As the Panel report explained:

As set forth in the Manual, Special Order 40 provides that “[u]ndocumented alien status in itself is not a matter for police action. It is, therefore, incumbent upon all employees of this Department to make a personal commitment to equal enforcement of the law and service to the public, regardless of alien status.” Special Order 40 precludes LAPD officers from initiating “police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person,” and from arresting or booking a person for “illegal entry” into the United States.

Once a person is lawfully in custody for a non-immigration related offense, however, nothing in Special Order 40 prevents an officer from inquiring into the suspect’s immigration status.

The reason that Special Order 40 is generally thought to prohibit any inquiry into immigration status is because, despite the wording of the order, that has been LAPD’s practice. As I explained in a March 2005 post, interviews with then-Chief Bernard Parks and other LAPD officials revealed that the Department’s actual policies and procedures are stricter than what is called for by Special Order 40 or anything else in the LAPD Manual. As the report by the Rampart Independent Review Panel explained:

Indeed, as articulated, the procedures are more restrictive than as written. First, LAPD officers are not supposed to ask individuals suspected of criminal offenses, crime victims, or witnesses, about their immigration status. Second, in practice LAPD officers do not notify the INS of the arrest of an illegal alien. Only after a person has been arrested, arraigned, and held in the county jail pending prosecution will his or her alien status be investigated by the INS, and that is in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff, not the LAPD. Thus, there is no reason for an LAPD officer to even ask a person who has been arrested for a crime about his or her alien status, although that appears to be permitted under the Department’s articulated policies and procedures.

The Panel emphasized that these informal policies (with which the Panel largely agreed) were not set forth in Special Order 40 or the LAPD manual, but rather were practices that had developed apart from the specific requirements of the written Manual, including Special Order 40.

It has become conventional wisdom that Special Order 40 “prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects.” However, the fact that something is conventional wisdom doesn’t make it so, and the L.A. Times owes a clarification to its readers.

P.S. The article also downplays the conflict between LAPD’s practices and state law by describing the relevant state law as “obscure”:

Los Angeles was the first major city to enact the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on illegal immigration, though most other police agencies have followed suit. So the outcome of the legal challenges could have a widespread effect.

The latest challenge would come this week, with a lawsuit that would ask a judge to require that the LAPD inform federal immigration officials when illegal immigrants are arrested on drug charges.

The suit, which is endorsed by the Federal Immigration Reform Enforcement Coalition and is scheduled to be filed as early as today, cites an obscure state code that appears to require local police to report to federal authorities the names of any illegal immigrant arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking or possession.

I’m pretty sure that laws don’t have to be followed if they’re “obscure.” Isn’t that how it works?

UPDATE: I should note that I haven’t reviewed a recent version of the LAPD Manual to see whether stated practices are currently in line with Special Order 40. Can any readers provide that information? Jack Dunphy?

I’m Back

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

I’m back after a nice week on Hilton Head Island. Thanks to the guest bloggers for filling in. I hope everyone here appreciated their efforts as much as I did.

I will have several book reviews in coming days. I got to finish “My Year Inside Radical Islam” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, and plan a review shortly. I am also overdue in posting a review of “L.A. Rex,” which I enjoyed. Also, I plowed through almost all of “Next” by Michael Crichton on the return flight. The new Lawrence Block will be on deck once I’m done with that.

I got to relax, do a little beach sunning (though not too much with the cold snap), play a round of golf for the first time in years, play several rounds of miniature golf with the family, go kayaking, see alligators, read, hang out with the kids, drink some wine and margaritas, go for long and beautiful walks, swim in the ocean with the kids, and enjoy the views off of our hotel balcony. The eating was excellent.

And I got to ride a tandem bike with my four-year-old, which is an interesting experience. He doesn’t ride bikes and doesn’t really have a sense of balance, so every so often there was a shudder as he overreacted to a slight lean on the bike. No big deal, and we got the hang of it very quickly. And the bike riding is beautiful.

If you were watching the Salty Dog web cam at about 10:30 or so Monday night (Eastern) you would have seen us. My brother-in-law took a screenshot.

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