Patterico's Pontifications

3/10/2008

Why We Have Celebrity Justice

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:33 pm

Posting at Power Line, William Katz has a post about celebrity justice that I agree with:

When you actually look at the record, you find that, yes, stars are treated differently, but not in the manner you might think. If they seem to get away with murder, it isn’t because the law is looking the other way, it’s because of two things: First, they can afford the best legal talent. Second, the juries adore them. It’s the public, through its purchase of tickets and its service on juries, that is more responsible for “Hollywood law” than any action or inaction by the D.A. It was juries that acquitted O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. The prosecutors had come down on both of them.

. . . .

[N]ext time you hear about Hollywood justice, don’t necessarily blame the police, the D.A. or the judge. It’s you and me on those juries, and juries believe what they want to believe.

Indeed. Some people nullify because they don’t like the laws (“drug laws are fascist!!!”), some nullify because of race (“I’ll never convict a fellow Klan member” or “I just won’t send a brother to prison”) and some nullify because they are star-struck (“maybe he’ll invite me to a party at his mansion after we acquit!” or “I’ll ask her for her autograph!”).

We’re a star-struck society. It doesn’t end when we become jurors.

Two Shootings Near the Compton Courthouse

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:56 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

Authorities say two people were killed overnight in two apparently unrelated Compton shootings.

The first shooting was reported at 9:50 p.m. Sunday in the 300 block of West Alondra Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Butao.

Witnesses said four men approached a car in which two women were sitting with a child and the groups exchanged words, Butao said. One of the men then opened fire before his group fled on foot, Butao said. One woman was killed and the other was wounded, Butao said. . . .

. . . .

Deputies responded to a second fatal shooting at 12:05 a.m. in the 300 block of West Magnolia Street and found a man dead at the scene.

Each shooting occurred within 1/3 mile of the courthouse. Pin #1 represents 300 W. Alondra Boulevard, near the first shooting. Pin #2 represents 300 W. Magnolia St., near the second shooting. The orange square in between them has a blue arrow pointing at the location of just below the courthouse.

compton-shootings.JPG

Here is an aerial of the same area:

compton-shootings-aerial.JPG

Nothing to see here, folks.

At least the paper reported it this time . . . That hasn’t always been the case.

Another Spitzer Post — If this Report is True, His Problems Are A Lot Bigger Than First Seemed the Case — Updated

Filed under: General — WLS @ 5:56 pm

Posted by WLS:

According to this abcnews story, Spitzer’s involvement with this ring was not uncovered by virtue of some happenstance over-hear on a wiretap involving a prostitution ring. Rather, the feds targeted Spitzer himself based on a suspicious activity report filed by his bank, which noticed him paying large amounts of money in ways that it thought were evidence of criminal conduct. This report says Spitzer is suspected of “structuring” which is the intentional structuring of financial transactions involving cash in amounts less than $10,000 for the purpose of avoiding the filing of “Currency Transaction Reports” with IRS and FBI. They indicted the prostitution ring based on what they uncovered in looking into Spitzer, but the facts suggest to me that Spitzer has received a target letter indicating that he is the target of a federal criminal investigation for his conduct.

Combine this with the play between the sheets, and I think NY has a new governor by late morning tomorrow.

— WLS

Updated 3/11 — After having taken a few minutes to read through the documents posted, what I can say is this.  The SDNY has charged 4 people in connection with violations of federal law connected to their operation of an international prostitution ring.  This investigation included a wiretap that went up in Dec. 2007, and was probably up for 90 days — which is pretty normal.

They are looking into an intentity called “QAT Consulting,” which is the “business” name used by the prostitution ring to run through credit card bills and pay its taxes (according to the operators). 

Because much of this business is done in cash, both the johns and the pros have to handle large quatities of cash, which can tend to make banks suspicious and leads them to file STRs with the FBI and the IRS where they identify the account, account holder, and any principals named on the account.  

But I suspect that separate and apart from this investigation there was a second investigation initiated of Spitzer based on STRs filed.  The suspicion was that his deposits for the benefit of one or more shell companies operating as “QAT Consultants” were transactions designed to shield something.  Some of the reporting suggests the investigators thought he might be laundering bribe money into shell companies, and they went looking into QAT to see if they could find how the money was getting back to Spitzer.

I think it was at that point that the two seperate investigations came together — one looking at QAT Consultants as a prostitution ring, and the other trying to figure out why Spitzer was deposition large amounts of cash with a shell company that did no business so far as anyone could tell. 

Then Spitzer turns up on the wiretap around February — though I doubt that was the first time they caught him on the wiretap.  In addition to recording each incoming and outgoing call to the Prostitution ring, the technology allows the government to “trap” the incoming number or to record the number called by the phone being monitored.  So the agents on the wiretap would have known almost instantly that the call was coming from a cell phone (or hardline) linked to Spitzer. 

From there its pretty ordinary police work. 

Breaking New York State News (Updated x2)

Filed under: Books,Politics — DRJ @ 11:04 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the New York Times, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has told his senior aides he is involved in a prostitution ring:

“Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning.”

The Times’ article adds these details:

“Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved. But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.

The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13.

Mr. Spitzer appeared on a CNBC television show at 7 a.m. the next morning. Later in the morning, he testified before a Congressional committee.”

Spitzer, a former New York Attorney General, ran for Governor by pledging to “bring ethics reform and end the often seamy ways of Albany.” He is expected to issue a statement today.

Perhaps Glenn Greenwald should consider adding a few Democrats to his newest book, Great American Hypocrites. Gov. Spitzer might be available for the book tour.

UPDATE 1: Rumors abound that Spitzer will resign. Beldar weighs in here.

UPDATE 2: A suggested resignation speech from XRLQ.

— DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: DRJ suggested that Glenn Greenwald might actually be put out by Eliot Spitzer’s amazing hypocrisy in denouncing prostitution even as he sought out prostitutes.

OK, she didn’t really believe Greenwald would care about Spitzer’s hypocrisy. And, as it turns out, he does not. Spitzer’s hypocrisy is merely an inconvenient fact that Greenwald knows he must acknowledge — so he can move on to the real point, which is that what he did isn’t that bad, that the prosecution seems political, etc.

I’m sure Ellensburg would react the same way if it were a conservative who had been caught.

Jeez, what a hack that guy is.

Democrat: Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game Would Be Bad

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:03 am

Ah, the irony. Howard Dean on changing the rules in the middle of the game:

Party leaders must find a solution that satisfies both the Clinton and Obama camps. Clinton got the most votes in the Florida and Michigan primaries, but Obama’s name was not on the Michigan ballot, and both candidates agreed not to campaign in either state.

“Everybody, including me and, I think, both candidates, wants to find a way to seat Florida and Michigan,” Dean said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But it has to be done in such a way that you don’t change the rules in the middle of the game. The only justification for doing that is to beat Republicans in a general election.”

Okay, I made up that last sentence. I was just too amused by the idea of a Democrat pontificating about how you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game in Florida.

The thing that makes all this especially important is that, as I understand it, each candidate has to achieve, not just a majority of delegates, but a specific number. If you take two large states out of the mix, that makes it harder to achieve that specific number without a lopsided margin of unelected superdelegates — something that, conceivably, might not be achievable for either candidate. But figuring out how to re-do votes in these states will be expensive and divisive.

I’m buying a new popcorn maker.


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