Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Watching the Watchmen

Unfortunately I have grown to question the trustworthiness of the system of justice. This doesn't mean I think it is totally corrupt but I think the amount of lawlessness by those given the responsibility to serve society has grown too large. It seems to me more oversight is needed. And unfortunately those with such responsibilities are doing the opposite. For example, the despicable political actions by the Justice Department undermine the public's confidence in honest government just when we need to have a government we can trust to protect us from terrorism and increasingly well armed criminals.

Cop Busters is a program that is headed by a man that is most likely in it significantly for the publicity. I would wager the vast majority of those in the law enforcement community are honest and law abiding, in general. However, the community seems to be far too tolerate of abuses by those in their ranks. Given that shows like cob busters may help. Why doesn't the law enforcement community itself find the corruption and illegal practices and eliminate those involved themselves?


There was no probable cause. So a couple of questions come up. First, how did the cops get turned on to the house in the first place? Cooper suspects they were using thermal imaging equipment to detect the grow lamps, a practice the Supreme Court has said is illegal. The second question is, what probable cause did the police put on the affidavit to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant? If there was nothing illegal going on in the house, it's difficult to conceive of a scenario where either the police or one of their informants didn't lie to get a warrant.

Cooper chose the Odessa police department for baiting because he believes police there instructed an informant to plant marijuana on a woman named Yolanda Madden. She's currently serving an eight-year sentence for possession with intent to distribute. According to Cooper, the informant actually admitted in federal court that he planted the marijuana. Madden was convicted anyway.

What we need are watchmen inside the government that are trustworthy and vigilante. What we need are people at the Justice Department that put the safety and security of the public first. What we need are people that put the rule of law above the rule of their personal desires.

10 years ago (whether I was right or wrong) I would not have said the abuse of law enforcement authority was a huge concern. Yes, any time you have many thousand of people involved in something, some are going to abuse their authority. But I thought on the balance that abuse was minimal and the danger from such abuse was much less than the danger from actual criminals. Now I am sadly much more inclined to side with the founding fathers worries about the unchecked power of the government.

As those in law enforcement fail to address these problems they make the situation much worse. People are losing the ability to rationally believe the law enforcement community is most interested in enforcing the law. Seeing so many examples of abuses of power by the watchmen is a dangerous thing for society. And when the law enforcement community is more interested in protecting those inside their ranks engaged in unlawful behavior than in upholding the law it is very dangerous for society.

It is not acceptable for those with the awesome responsibility to protect society from criminals to behave as too many are now.

Related: Freedom Increasingly at Risk - Tired of Incompetent Government Harassment - Photographers are not a Threat - More SWAT Failures

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