Patterico's Pontifications


Rudy: We Must Publicly Fund Abortions

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 9:48 pm

Via Allah, it’s a very embarrassing video for the would-be President. It’s from 1989, but it’s still going to be tough to get around.

DRJ Pores Through the Border Patrol Trial Transcripts – Court Matters After the Government Rested Its Case (Volume XII)

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:54 pm

Lots of legal talk in this intermission after the Government rested its case and the defense case begins. The primary issue discussed by the attorneys was 18 USC 1512, a federal criminal law statute that, insofar as it applied to this case, deals with obstruction of justice. There was also discussion of a similar federal statute, 18 USC 1001, that I believe is the statute involved in the Libby case.

I was impressed with the argument by Ramos’ attorney, Stephen G. Peters, regarding the Garrity and Calkin cases that address the Goverment’s ability to criminalize a defendant law enforcement officer’s failure to file inculpatory reports. Like Peters, I’m concerned that a law enforcement officer has an affirmative duty to make an administrative report but can be criminally sanctioned for his failure to comply. However, the Court did not share that view.

I was also interested in the defense argument that 18 USC 1512 requires an overt act, another argument that did not persuade the Court.


How Will They Trash Fred Thompson?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Politics — Patterico @ 12:07 pm

If Fred Thompson runs for President — something that appears to be a distinct possiblility — what will be the prime Democratic talking point against him? I see two:

  • He acted on a TV show while he was a sitting U.S. Senator:

    U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) has begun work as an actor on Law and Order for the fall season, even before his current term ends at the end of the year, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday). “It may be without precedent for a sitting U.S. senator to have a regular part in a dramatic TV program,” the Times observed. A spokesman for Sen. Thompson said that “his commitment to the Senate would be foremost” until his term ends. The senate is currently on Labor Day recess.

    Even though he did his TV work during recesses, you can count on the Dems sniping about how he still owed the public a commitment to do the work of the country, etc. etc. etc. Count on it. There will be endless debates about what other Senators do during their recesses, and whether it’s all Senate-related. I can hardly wait . . .

I think the Libby thing is the only one that might stick. I don’t think the public would fault Thompson for doing acting work during a recess. But the Libby thing will be guilt by association with the one high-ranking Bush official convicted of felonies. Not good. This may actually earn Thompson points with hardline conservatives, like readers of this blog, but I’m not sure how well it will play with the public at large.

Jails Still Checking Only a Fraction of Inmates for Immigration Status

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Last year Michael Hiltzik and I had a little debate about the City of Costa Mesa’s plan to check the immigration status of arrestees in Costa Mesa jails. Hiltzik said it wouldn’t do anything; inmates in jail already have their immigration status checked. I said he was wrong, and argued that only a small percentage of arrestees are checked.

Who was right? Well, why do you think I’m bringing it up?

The L.A. Times reported yesterday:

A spot check by federal agents has identified 59 street gang members in Southern California jails who are illegal immigrants subject to deportation, sparking a debate about the role of border enforcement in the region’s battle against violent gangs.

And guess what? We’re still checking only a fraction of the arrestees in L.A. County — just as I said last year. The article states:

The Times reported last month that an increase in screeners allowed authorities to question nearly 10,000 of the 170,000 inmates who went through county jails last year about their immigration status.

10,000 of 170,000. That about 6%, if you’re keeping score. If we checked all of them, we’d get about 17 times as many.

The number red-flagged — those who face possible deportation once they serve their sentences — went from 3,050 in 2005 to 5,829 last year.

If checking 10,000 resulted in 5829 deportable immigrants, then if the numbers remained constant, checking them all would result in about 99,000 illegal criminals that we could deport.

But why would we want to do that? Let’s let them walk our streets instead. That’s a much better solution!

They’re really cracking down in Costa Mesa, the city whose policies sparked last year’s debate between me and Hiltzik. And is the crackdown working? Why, yes. Yes, it is:

In his first month on the job, the federal agent stationed in the Costa Mesa jail recommended that 46 foreign-born inmates be deported, triggering praise from anti-illegal-immigration activists and concern from local Latinos.

Officials found the number surprising:

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the number of those arrested who were sent to a federal judge for deportation proceedings was “higher than we anticipated. But the volume will probably fluctuate significantly” month to month.

And there are some serious criminals among those nabbed:

Of the 46 suspected illegal immigrants arrested in Costa Mesa last month, 23 are accused of felonies and 23 of misdemeanors, according to city statistics.

One man had an arrest record in five states and had been deported three previous times, Kice said.

Another had drug convictions and been deported five times before, she added.

Naturally, The Times has chosen instead to focus on those they consider less dangerous, such as this sob story about a hardworking guy arrested for driving his bicycle on the wrong side of the road. Note that, further down in the story, there is a passing mention that he is not necessarily representative of the bulk of criminals to be deported:

Although Tzir’s crime was minor, many of those swept up in Costa Mesa in December were arrested on serious charges. Of 20 arrest records the city was able to provide, most involved men in their mid-20s charged with crimes such as selling drugs and burglary. One involved a 19-year-old accused of having sex with a minor.

Why weren’t any of these folks the subject of a lengthy L.A. Times profile?

I think you know the answer to that.

The bottom line is this: as I have argued before, our top priority in fighting illegal immigration should be ridding the country of the criminals — especially the gang members and other violent criminals who prey on our citizenry.

Yesterday’s story reports that Special Order 40, which prohibits police from inquiring into suspects’ immigration status,

has been loosened slightly, allowing gang officers to ask about the immigration status of suspects only when they recognize them as having been previously deported.

That’s not good enough. Gang officers should be able to check the immigration status of any violent gang member. And we need to be checking every single person in our jails — not just 6% of them.

This isn’t hard, folks. Why aren’t we doing it??

UPDATE: My statistics above depend upon the numbers staying constant, as I say in the post. Commenter David Markland notes that the numbers might not remain constant because the population selected might not be random. It’s a good point, and I don’t know the answer.

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