The Dangers of the (prosecutor-enabled) Two-Track Justice System

The victims’ shot up truck – a “no crime” scene

Remember the LAPD shooting two completely innocent women in a pickup truck during the Chris Dornan manhunt days? Well, the city has decided to settle and pay them over $4 million:
“The women injured when Los Angeles police opened fire on them during the manhunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner have reached a $4.2-million settlement with the city, sources told The Times.
Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were delivering newspapers in Torrance on Feb. 7 when LAPD officers shot repeatedly at their blue Toyota Tacoma. Hernandez was shot twice in the back, and Carranza was injured by broken glass, an attorney for the women said.”
As a commenter on the article asks, “So what became of the cops that shot up that neighborhood?????”
What became of those cops was that they didn’t get charged with anything, thanks to the conscious, deliberate, and very calculated decision by the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey NOT to put those cops’ (and/or their superiors if they issued some kind of an unlawful see-something-shoot-something kind of order) actions in front of a grand jury. I mean, 4.2 million dollars, two injured people, and a pickup truck destroyed by bullets ought to be some kind of a signal that some serious criminal wrongdoing took place.
LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey
When this kind of thing happens – a wrongful police shooting with no prosecution whatsoever – the very dangerous precedent is set that innocent civilians in an American city can be fired on with less restraint than the US military is often required to use when conducting combat operations (battles) in war zones. I would know – I did three tours in Iraq where US Marines were required to give verbal warnings and other signals (hand signals or pyrotechnics) before firing upon “suspicious vehicles.” You couldn’t just shoot up a car because it matched the description; you had to give some kind of warning, an honest attempt to get the driver’s attention – even in an environment where suicide car bombs were a favorite tactic of an enemy that consisted of far more than one man.

Judge Does the Right Thing – Prosecutor Doesn’t

State Attorney Glenn Hess might want to look through some of those books behind him to see what they say about trespassing and destroying evidence


Judge in Florida dismisses case, explaining that police broke the law,¬†trespassing¬†on suspect’s property in order to place a GPS.
Found story via Dennenger via Reason.
Some of the judge’s words:
“…Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a clearer example of this than what happened here; that is, law enforcement destroyed the only relevant GPS data after they obtained the data illegally and fully intended to withhold the data from everyone. Law enforcement clearly intended to cover up the illegal use of the GPS by both withholding and destroying the relevant GPS data from not only the Defendant, but also from the State. This clearly offends the sense of justice and fairness upon which the judicial system relies…”
Destroyed evidence….”illegally obtained”…”illegal use”…”cover up”
What also offends the sense of justice and fairness upon which the judicial system relies is that the prosecutor knows all this – his office has just been notified in the most blunt and obvious manner, verbally and in writing, by a judge – and he decides not to prosecute the cops involved for things like trespassing and destruction of evidence.
Glenn Hess, State Attorney, 14th Judicial Circuit, Florida, has no problem with police illegally trespassing on private property or illegally destroying evidence.

A Proposed Reform

This may not be the cure all for official abuse and look-the-other-way prosecutors, but it beats having one or a handful of individuals deciding who gets a free pass (much thanks to Pete of WRSA for the language below):
A proposed amendment to the state’s criminal procedure law regarding grand jury practice:
A) Whenever an employee or contractor of the state or any political subdivision thereof is
1) terminated for cause; or
2) found to be criminally or civilly responsible based on the results of an official investigation; or
3) whenever actions by that employee or contractor form the basis for any civil settlement or judgment,
the district attorney for the county in which the employee or contractor was employed or acted must bring all evidence from any investigation, civil suit, and any other competent source before the grand jury of that county to determine whether to indict the employee or contractor for criminal charges.
B) The provisions of subdivision A apply whether or not any of the parties in any related litigation have entered non-disclosure agreements.