Patterico's Pontifications


IRS Says Lerner Blackberry Wiped Clean After Start of Congressional Probe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:22 pm

My, this is starting to sound like intentional destruction of evidence, isn’t it?

Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.

Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”

That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

“We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.

“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

So. Her hard drive has already crashed. Congress is starting to look into her activities. Her Blackberry would have emails from her Outlook account — presumably including emails that were missing from the crashed hard drive:

In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations, we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.

So they . . . wiped it clean??

Are you kidding me?

They know this looks bad — which means whatever they’re hiding would have been worse.

P.S. Judicial Watch is also making claims that the Administration admitted it can access the emails, but it would be “too onerous.” The Administration denies it said that. I don’t know what to make of that.

I do know what to make of a destroyed Blackberry. My humble suggestion? Convene a grand jury, please.

Rick Perry Files for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

He’s not in custody, but the writ of habeas corpus can apply to constructive custody as well as actual custody — so maybe this is the right vehicle. I don’t know. (P.S. When lawyers use the word “constructive” it means it’s not real.) The arguments in the petition repeat a lot of arguments that were made by Eugene Volokh here and here. Check it out:

Rick Perry writ of habeas corpus.pdf

Via William Jacobson.

NYT: It Was Wrong of Us to Say Michael Brown Was “No Angel”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

In a recent profile of Michael Brown, a New York Times piece describes an anecdote in which Brown claimed to have seen an angel in the clouds. He told his dad that “he saw Satan chasing the angel and the angel running into the face of God” — and said that the experience had made him a believer.

In the fifth paragraph, after describing the anecdote about the angel in the clouds, the reporter, John Eligon, goes on to say:

Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.

At the same time, he regularly flashed a broad smile that endeared those around him. He overcame early struggles in school to graduate on time. He was pointed toward a trade college and a career and, his parents hoped, toward a successful life.

Now the reporter and the New York Times are taking grief for using the phrase “no angel” to describe Brown. They are pushing back, explaining that the phrase is a reference to the angel story at the head of the piece — and anyway, they add, he’s on tape committing a robbery, which is hardly angelic.

Ah, who am I kidding? The last sentence of the previous paragraph is fictional. Actually, the Times is in full backpedal mode. Here’s their public editor:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: That choice of words was a regrettable mistake. In saying that the 18-year-old Michael Brown was “no angel” in the fifth paragraph of Monday’s front-page profile, The Times seems to suggest that this was, altogether, a bad kid.

Some people take their protests further; they say that The Times is suggesting a truly repellent idea — that Mr. Brown deserved to die because he acted like many a normal teenager.

What’s “obvious” to the public editor is not obvious to me, but an intense Twitter backlash has apparently moved the Overton window on what phrases are acceptable to describe Brown. The Twitter mob has even managed to get the reporter, a black man who wrote a balanced piece about Brown, to express regret over his choice of words:

Mr. Eligon told me in a phone conversation that he proposed the idea of a profile of Mr. Brown — an in-depth article that would give readers insight into his life. . . . As a 31-year-old black man himself, Mr. Eligon told me, he is attentive to many of the issues in the Ferguson case.

. . . .

“I understand the concerns, and I get it,” Mr. Eligon said. He agreed that “no angel” was not a good choice of words and explained that they were meant to play off the opening anecdote of the article in which Mr. Brown saw an angelic vision. That anecdote “is about as positive as you can get,” Mr. Eligon said, and noted that a better way to segue into the rest of the article might have been to use a phrase like “wasn’t perfect.”

“Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I would have changed that,” he said.

In general, he said, the profile was a “full, mostly positive picture” of the young man.

Reading the full profile, I don’t get the impression that Brown was an altogether bad kid. He had some positives going for him: a dad in the picture and a diploma from high school. But it is true he was no angel; most people caught on video committing a robbery aren’t. For that matter, most people aren’t, period. There are very few angels out there. But I think it’s safe to say that the Venn diagram of “angels” and “robbers” doesn’t really intersect.

Apparently it’s no longer allowed to tell the truth, even if the truth is told with sensitivity and balance.

Eligon deals with words on a daily basis. I guarantee you he thought about whether to use the phrase “no angel” — and consciously decided to go forward with that wording because it provided an artful and truthful transition from the story about the angel in the clouds to the grittier story of Brown’s actual life.

The most irritating thing about this is that of the horde of whiners on Twitter, my guess is that not one in 100 has read the whole piece. They just take a phrase out of context and run with it, because OUTRAGE!!!!

So, you have your marching orders, folks. Michael Brown was an angel after all, and don’t you dare say otherwise.

P.S. The story also says:

Mr. Brown’s uncle Bernard Ewing remembers talking to his nephew about how to interact with police officers.

“I let him know like, if the police ever get on you, I don’t care what you doing, give it up,” Mr. Ewing said. “Because if you do one wrong move, they’ll shoot you. They’ll kill you.”

Good to advice. Is it wrong of me to say it’s a shame Michael Brown didn’t take it?

P.P.S. There is now unconfirmed audio of the gunshots. Apparently some guy was chatting it up with his girl and recording the conversation on his computer, as you do, and in the background can be heard what CNN claims may be the shots that killed Brown. If these are the shots, it sounds like a cluster of six, a short pause, and a cluster of four. Bear in mind: Brown was hit six times. If he was advancing on the officer during the shots, the cop probably missed him more in the first cluster than the second, meaning Brown might have been hit only twice in the first cluster. Was he really still coming at the cop after the first cluster and the pause? If so, why? And another question: was the recording on during the first gunshot — the one that went off when Brown was struggling with the officer in the car? Why didn’t we hear that one?

Judge: California 10-Day Waiting Period Unconstitutional — As to Some People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:35 am

Namely, those who have already passed background checks before:

A federal judge in California has struck down a law that requires a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases, but only for current gun owners who have already passed a background check and those who have a permit or certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

Eastern District of California Judge Anthony W. Ishii said Monday that the waiting period provision violates the Second Amendment rights of those who have already been approved to own a gun. This includes those who have previously undergone a background check and own a gun, people with concealed-carry permits and people who have a state certificate of eligibility to own a gun.

First-time gun buyers would still be subject to the waiting period, which Ishii emphasized in his ruling.

This does not seem like a huge development — but it does show that judges are now willing to consider arguments like this, post-Heller. The judge, by the way, was appointed by Bill Clinton . . . so there goes the left’s narrative that this is a partisan decision.

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