Patterico's Pontifications


ICE Overwhelmed by Referrals from North Texas 24/7 Criminal Alien Program

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ

I’ve previously written here and here about the success and popularity of the Irving, Texas, 24/7 Criminal Alien Program. The program is designed to identify criminal aliens and turn them over to federal authorities for identification and, if appropriate, deportation.

The Dallas Morning News reports that, due to an overwhelming response, ICE has instructed Irving and other area cities to cease referrals of illegal immigrants who are charged with Class C misdemeanors like speeding, assault, public intoxication and hot checks:

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in North Texas will no longer detain most illegal immigrants arrested for Class C misdemeanors, citing a dramatic increase in referrals and limited resources. The agency began notifying area cities this week that it wants to target suspected illegal immigrants charged with more serious crimes for deportation.

Dallas ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said Tuesday increased awareness of the Criminal Alien Program has led to a recent spike in the number of referrals the agency receives from local law enforcement agencies. “These additional referrals required additional resources not immediately available,” said Mr. Rusnok, whose office covers 128 Texas counties and all of Oklahoma.

ICE officials are directing local law enforcement agencies to refer people suspected of being in the country illegally if they have been arrested for Class B misdemeanors or more serious crimes. The agency will continue to look at those arrested for Class C misdemeanors if, for example, the person is in possession of a firearm, has an immigration warrant or a criminal record involving a Class B misdemeanor or more serious crime.
Irving officials estimate that 60 percent of the more than 1,700 suspected illegal immigrants they have turned over to ICE for deportation since last year faced only Class C misdemeanor charges. Such charges include speeding, assault, public intoxication and hot checks. The penalty for Class C misdemeanors is a fine not to exceed $500.”

Hispanic activists see this as a victory:

“Today it’s a big celebration for all immigrants that the CAP program is going to be revised and that illegal immigrants in Irving will not be deported for traffic citations,” said Carlos Quintanilla, who has gained media attention for organizing rallies in opposition to the program. “That means our fight has been a great fight.”

He said his attorney plans to file a lawsuit this week challenging the constitutionality and disparity in how CAP is implemented.”

Enforcement advocates expressed frustration:

” State Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, said Texas and other border states are frustrated that the federal government is not following through on its job. “If we’ve identified illegal immigrants, especially if they’re committing crimes, it needs to be dealt with,” said Mr. Paxton, who is also on the board of directors for the Texas Conservative Coalition. “They’re not supposed to be here.”

Farmers Branch Mayor Pro Tem Tim O’Hare said ICE’s change in policy is telling. “The first thing I think it tells you is how many people who are here illegally break other laws, other than just being in the country illegally,” Mr. O’Hare said. It’s also indicative of the large number of illegal immigrants in the Dallas area, he said.”

This is a good news/bad news story. It’s bad news that ICE won’t cooperate with local authorities to deport criminal aliens but the good news is the increase in cities that are participating in the federal Criminal Alien Program.


Did LAPD Shooting Policy Almost Cost a Cop His Life? Does the L.A. Times Care?

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

The Los Angeles Times has a story titled L.A. officer injured during drug probe. A more accurate headline might have been “LAPD Officer Seriously Injured by Motorist.” But, as we shall see, the editors may have had their reasons for failing to highlight the fact that the injuries were caused by a moving vehicle.

An undercover Los Angeles police officer was seriously injured this morning when he was apparently run over by a suspect during a narcotics investigation in Boyle Heights, authorities said.

The officer, identified by colleagues as [redacted], suffered two broken legs and head trauma and was taken to County USC Medical Center, authorities said. He was listed in serious condition.

It may be the case that only one of three officers fired their weapons:

Three officers were involved in the incident, which occurred about 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of East 4th Street and Dacotah Street, said Capt. Rigo Romero. At least one officer fired his weapon at the suspect’s car during the confrontation, he said.

Why might only one of three officers have fired at a car that drove at an officer fast enough to break his legs and put him in serious condition? The answer might well lie in LAPD policy. After the Devin Brown shooting in 2005, the LAPD instituted a new policy that prevents officers from shooting at vehicles in most cases, even if the vehicle is threatening an officer’s life. The L.A. Times ran countless editorials and slanted news articles geared towards achieving this change in policy, which now reads:

Firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle. For the purposes of this Section, the moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly force.

(My emphasis.)

Today’s Times story reports that “[i]t was unclear whether the suspect, who fled the scene and remained at large, was armed.” So under the revised policy, officers may not have been permitted to shoot at the car — even though it could have killed Officer [redacted]. Even if one could argue that shooting at the car was permitted, it is certainly possible that officers may have hesitated because of the uncertainty of the revised policy’s reach.

Did the LAPD’s restrictive shooting policy contribute to a situation in which an officer was hospitalized in serious condition?

I don’t know.

But I do know this: I don’t trust the L.A. Times to investigate the question.

Thanks to Robert C.J. Parry.

P.S. Jack Dunphy is invited to weigh in on this if he so chooses.

UPDATE: More information can be found at the local NBC affiliate. The suspect is named Jose Gubiensio Ortiz, Jr. He attempted to strike another officer before hitting [redacted], who apparently did fire at the suspect. Officer [redacted] was originally in critical condition.

UPDATE x2: I am told that LAPD didn’t want the officer’s name released for safety reasons. I am redacting the name for now out of respect for their wishes. Browsing through news stories, it appears that only the Los Angeles Times has named the officer.

Supreme Court will Hear DC Gun Case

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Law — DRJ @ 5:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ScotusBlog reports the Supreme Court agreed to hear a DC Circuit case that has been closely watched because of its Second Amendment ramifications:

“After a hiatus of 68 years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to rule on the meaning of the Second Amendment — the hotly contested part of the Constitution that guarantees “a right to keep and bear arms.” Not since 1939 has the Court heard a case directly testing the Amendment’s scope — and there is a debate about whether it actually decided anything in that earlier ruling. In a sense, the Court may well be writing on a clean slate if, in the end, it decides the ultimate question: does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to have a gun for private use, or does it only guarantee a collective right to have guns in an organized military force such as a state National Guard unit?

The city of Washington’s appeal (District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290) seeking to revive its flat ban on private possession of handguns is expected to be heard in March — slightly more than a year after the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Second Amendment right is a personal one, at least to have a gun for self-defense in one’s own home.”

The Volokh Conspiracy also has several posts on this subject.


The New York Times Exhales

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 4:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ

The New York Times editors have been holding their collective breath for years as they predicted the worst for Iraq and its citizens. Iraqis have seen the worst of war but now even the New York Times admits this may be the beginning of the end:

“Five months ago, Suhaila al-Aasan lived in an oxygen tank factory with her husband and two sons, convinced that they would never go back to their apartment in Dora, a middle-class neighborhood in southern Baghdad.

Today she is home again, cooking by a sunlit window, sleeping beneath her favorite wedding picture. And yet, she and her family are remarkably alone. The half-dozen other apartments in her building echo with emptiness and, on most days, Iraqi soldiers are the only neighbors she sees. “I feel happy,” she said, standing in her bedroom, between a flowered bedspread and a bullet hole in the wall. “But my happiness is not complete. We need more people to come back. We need more people to feel safe.”

Mrs. Aasan, 45, a Shiite librarian with an easy laugh, is living at the far end of Baghdad’s tentative recovery. She is one of many Iraqis who in recent weeks have begun to test where they can go and what they can do when fear no longer controls their every move.

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.”

The authors describe Iraqis as “uncertain about the future but defiantly optimistic.” For their sake, I hope this attitude takes hold and lasts within all Iraqis.

For America’s sake, I hope the New York Times’ change in attitude lasts, too.

Update: The Weekly Standard notices the far-left’s response to this article.


What Do You Do Before the Holidays?

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 4:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ

What a great time of year! After work, I put up some of the Christmas lights so they would be there to welcome our college son when he gets home for Thanksgiving later tonight.

What’s going on in your pre-holiday lives? Whatever it is, I hope you’re having a good week.


I Have a Question about the European Court of Justice

Filed under: International,Law — DRJ @ 3:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I was reading this Guardian article about the recent death (at age 77) of the “longest-serving UK prisoner.” I’m not sure why I decided to read it except 77 seems young to me for the “longest-serving” prisoner. I feel sure the US has inmates serving life sentences who were sentenced at a young age and lived to be far older than 77.

However, my question has to do with the last paragraph of the article:

“Straffen’s death comes as the European Court of Justice reviews whether “whole life” prison sentences are a violation of human rights. If lifelong imprisonment had been outlawed, Straffen’s case would have been referred to the high court and he would have received a new minimum term.”

This sounds like the European Court of Justice, which I assume is part of the European Union, is or was considering whether a life sentence is cruel and inhuman punishment and should be outlawed. If so, this seems like big news to me, especially given the US Supreme Court’s recent tendency to refer to foreign law in death penalty cases.

I’ve searched for references to “whole life” prison sentences (and life sentences), human rights, and the European Court of Justice without success. Does anyone know about this or can you help me find something on it? Thanks,


NY Sun: Clinton, Obama endorse Bush Doctrine

Filed under: 2008 Election,War — DRJ @ 9:07 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday’s NY Sun editorial points out that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have, in substance, endorsed the Bush Doctrine:

The big news out of the most recent Democratic presidential debate was that two of the leading Democratic candidates, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, endorsed the Bush Doctrine that is at the core of our current president’s foreign policy. We haven’t seen it reported anywhere else, but it’s a big story.

Here’s what Mrs. Clinton said: “There’s absolutely a connection between a democratic regime and heightened security for the United States.” Here’s what Mr. Obama said: “The more we see repression, the more there are no outlets for how people can express themselves and their aspirations, the worse off we’re going to be, and the more anti-American sentiment there’s going to be in the Middle East.”

Or, as President Bush has put it in enunciating what has come to be known as the Bush Doctrine: “For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy.”
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama spoke their share of silliness during the debate, and they lost no opportunity to criticize the president. But the comments they made about the connection between freedom, democracy, and American national security are a reminder though it may be fashionable to talk about how divided America is, there is a broad consensus on certain key principles, a consensus that extends from Mr. Bush on the right to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton on the left.

It’s good when Americans are united on important issues. I think this is one of those issues.


L.A. Times Corrects Jena 6 Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Race — Patterico @ 6:06 am

A correction in today’s Los Angeles Times:

“Jena Six”: An article in Friday’s California section about nooses found at Cal State Fullerton said that six black teenagers in Jena, La., who became known as the “Jena Six,” were arrested on suspicion of attacking a white student accused of hanging nooses from a tree. Three students in Jena were accused of hanging nooses; however, the student who was attacked was not among those accused of hanging them.

You first read about it here.

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