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Photographing Police: Deletion Is Not Forever 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the evidence-of-evidence dept.
Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harassing people who do so — even journalists, who sometimes have their cameras confiscated. As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgeable about how deletion works. I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with 'resisting arrest' when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"
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Photographing Police: Deletion Is Not Forever

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  • Privelege (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scarboni888 (1122993) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:05PM (#39211475)

    If you can't be above the law then why be a cop?

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:08PM (#39211547) Homepage Journal

    See Blade Runner.
    The simple reason that police are not arrested for destruction of evidence is that the police enforce the law. And the police cover for each other when they break the law. Therefore the police are above the law.

    I know you like to think you're living in a democratic republic where all are equal under the law, but that's just not the case. And the sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Insightful)

    by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:09PM (#39211553) Homepage

    Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

    Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:10PM (#39211567)
    So basically you're saying that as long as the police tell everyone to stop being witness to their criminal and unlawful acts, they are within their legal rights to detain those witnesses and destroy any evidence they may have collected.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:11PM (#39211591) Homepage Journal

    Welcome to the former land of the free and the brave - should we ever again be worthy of that title, we'll let you know.

    We know everything about you and where you live

  • duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:12PM (#39211599) Homepage Journal

    Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

    You must be new here? they're cops , everyone knows cops don't like to arrest other cops. And DA's don't like to charge cops unless there's a public outcry. And their sergeants usually give even the dirtiest of cops "their full support", even when there is public outcry. Most of the time they just get some paid vacation for their bad behavior. It's no wonder it just doesn't stop. When's the last time you saw a cop get suspended instead of "placed on administrative leave"?

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:12PM (#39211605)

    No, what I'm saying is that it is possible for police to issue a lawful dispersal order to a group or area (not passing judgement on whether or not this one was, since I don't have all of the information), and you're not exempt because you happen to have a camera in your hand.

  • Crimes Code Origin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:17PM (#39211691)
    Other than the basic tennents that we agree are fundamental crimes like theft, robbery, and murder a lot of the other behaviors that were criminalized were done in the interest of controlling the poor. The foundation of the anti-drug laws in America were all about fear of the poor, immigrant labor. Opium was originally outlawed simply because of the Chinese labor building the Union Pacific Railroad. Since more and more behavior is becoming criminalized and there is greater pressure on police to make arrests, we need ways of keeping government honest. The video as a standard of truth then becomes increasingly imporant in guarding a person's civil rights.
  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:19PM (#39211737)
    And I'm saying I disagree.

    A dispersal order is supposed to be used by officers to difuse a potentially dangerous situation, or an unlawful or unsafe gathering (on private property, or blocking safety exits, for instance). If a cop is telling you that you have to leave only because he doesnt want you to witness his activities then he is wrongfully applying his authority and you are within your rights to decline his order.

    If you start down the path of conceeding that you have to do what a cop says just because he said so, you have forfeited your freedoms gauranteed by our Constitution. And you're not likely to get them back.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:19PM (#39211741)

    If the photographer/journalist committed a crime, then the photos/video shouldn't be deleted as it is evidence.

    If they didn't commit a crime, then the photos/videos shouldn't be deleted since the they were engaging in a legal activity.

    If a police officer (or worse, security guard) orders you to or seizes your camera to delete a photo/video you've taken, they are either destroying evidence, infringing on your civil liberties, or both.

  • by n5vb (587569) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:19PM (#39211749)

    American outrage has been downgraded to camping in public places or really really aggressive drum circles.

    Because here in the USA, if you do much more than that without really covering your ass, you become a "terrorist" and a guest of the government down in Gitmo. Dissenting speech is only "free" in theory here .. for all practical purposes, it might as well be illegal for all that you get to exercise it.

    And never underestimate the teaching power of a public (and clearly nonviolent) drum circle in certain places at certain times .. ;)

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:21PM (#39211779)

    Was america ever worthy of that title? Slavery for the first part of the countries history, women didn't get sufferage until 1919. Blacks were still segregated until the 60's and by then there was the paranoia over the cold war with people getting accused of being a communist (so what if you are?). Perhaps after the wall came down for that 10 years or so people were fine and then 9/11 happened and the US went to a police state. Also when your country has one of the highest incarceration rates you can't really claim to be very free.

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:28PM (#39211875)

    The laws for when and under what circumstances police may issue a dispersal order vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They can indeed be lawfully used for mass public gatherings, on public or private property, even in cases where no imminent danger exists. In the case of some of the Occupy camps, municipalities justified removal on the grounds of the camps being a "public nuisance", or a public health hazard.

    Clearly some disagree with these judgments, but once that judgment is made by a duly elected or appointed authority, police may lawfully clear the area. Those who disobey the order would be subject to arrest, and it's not the job of the police to discern whether someone may or may nor be press, affiliated with the camp, an innocent observer, etc. If someone is refusing to obey the dispersal order, they'll be arrested.

    It's that simple. Again, this isn't a value judgment — just the facts.

    Also, following the directions of law enforcement officers is required in many states and jurisdictions, and this isn't a new or recent construct. There are varying degrees, some of which include provisions for presenting identification and similar. It's your opinion, like the submitter's, that this is somehow "illegal". The rule of law doesn't work when individuals get to decide what applies to them on a whim.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:31PM (#39211915) Homepage Journal

    You cannot arrest a cop. You can try, but he'll hit you with his billy club, or taser you, or shoot you, because he feels he's in the right and you're the perp, and nothing you do will change that. The more you try and arrest him, the angrier he'll get.

    So, it comes down to numbers. He'll call for backup to take you down. You then need to have enough backup to take him and his backup down. So, they'll call for more backup, and it will simply escalate until it's a full-blown shooting war and the national guard is involved.

    Ever see 5 police cars to pull over 1 guy? Ever see 30 cops questioning one dude in the subway?

    Cops use overwhelming force to take down a perp. So unless you have a significant army at your disposal that can outgun, essentially, the entire police force, and possibly even the SWAT teams, the National Guard, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, you can't arrest a cop.

    How'd that work out for those Branch Dividians?

  • by DM9290 (797337) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:35PM (#39211967) Journal

    Further, it's the submitter's OPINION that this person was being arrested "illegally". That's something the courts will now decide. The troubling part is that the video would probably be the key evidence in such a case, I agree.

    Of course, it's pretty clear that he disobeyed a direct (and likely lawful) order to disperse, and whatever happens after that I sort of lose interest in. :-/

    Obviously it depends upon the jurisdiction, but in most places police do not have the authority to order people to disperse except under certain special circumstances.

    If we're talking about an officer who would actually DELETE THE VIDEO then I seriously doubt the order to disperse was lawful because it is that video which would prove in court that the order to disperse was lawful. The act of deleting the video reasonably implies that the motive behind the order to disperse was simply to prevent the video from being made. In most places, destroying evidence is not a valid justification to interfere with a persons liberty and order them to disperse and consequently the order itself was without a valid purpose and was thus unlawful.

    police have no right to destroy other peoples private property at their own discretion.

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:37PM (#39212001)

    In the case of some of the Occupy camps, municipalities justified removal on the grounds of the camps being a "public nuisance", or a public health hazard.

    Safety. I mentioned that.

    Also, following the directions of law enforcement officers is required in many states and jurisdictions, and this isn't a new or recent construct. There are varying degrees, some of which include provisions for presenting identification and similar. It's your opinion, like the submitter's, that this is somehow "illegal". The rule of law doesn't work when individuals get to decide what applies to them on a whim.

    So by your reasoning an officer can show up at your home right now, and tell you to let him in. According to you, you must comply.

    This is wholly false. You are protected by law. You have rights. You may legally and rightfully refuse this order from an officer when it voiliates those rights. That officer MUST provide a warrant issued by a court, or have probable cause to enter your home. Period. End of discussion.

    Your stance is based on the fact that most people are ignorant, or complacent, or fearful, and do enforce their rights when challenged. The rule of law doesnt work when those enforcing it are above it.

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:38PM (#39212011)

    That's an accurate assessment. The reality is that if a police officer is issuing a direct order and you choose to disobey it, there will likely be consequences. Indeed, even if you think the police officer's order really is unlawful, you're probably still going to be detained or arrested if you refuse to obey it.

    Even if one makes this argument from a moral/ethical perspective, in such frameworks there is still the notion that as an independent, thinking being, one has the ability to do anything that they physically can do — whether it's take a walk, kill someone, leak a secret, tell a lie, or disobey the police. The key is recognizing that the event can have consequences.

    In this case, my only concern comes from the police attempting to delete imagery from the camera. The courts can now decide whether or not this arrest is legitimate.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:42PM (#39212065) Homepage

    If you can't be above the law then why be a cop?

    Cops aren't above the law. Bad cops think they're above the law. In the same way bad judges think that ruling on law allows them to create new law.

    The role of the police is to be the enforcer of the law. The problem is, you have idiototards at police colleges now teaching that you're an enforcement arm of yourself, not to solve problems but to be judgmental of the law itself. Screw discretion...and to hell with case law.

    It only gets worse when you get the left-leaners with their carefully crafted policies that ensure that you can have no discretion at all, and if you violate it. It becomes a "PSA"(services act) issue. Common sense? Not allowed, the policy says fuck and you in that order. You use it, it's job loss+jail time sucker.

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:44PM (#39212091)
    My concern is the overwhelming willingness to be treated unlawfully so as to avoid the consequences, and yet so little consideration is given to the consequences of allowing society as a whole to be consistently treated unlawfully.
  • Am I the only one? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:48PM (#39212181)

    Am I the only one who thinks, in this day and age of easy video & audio recording, that ANY interaction police have with ANYONE for ANY reason (in an official capacity or as "an off duty police officer" responding to something) should be required to be recorded by the police themselves or "it didn't happen"?

    Traffic stops, parking tickets, entering homes - ANYTHING - get it all on video and audio and require that said videos be made available for all parties privy to that.

    Were I in charge of the world, that's one of the first things I would do - require all law enforcement people to wear video and audio recording devices at all times, even inside of their offices etc.

    It should be a no brainer that civilians should be able to record any interaction they have with police, of course. I can't think of a single reason why it shouldn't be.

  • Re: Judges ruling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:49PM (#39212191)

    All judges make rulings on law. If the ruling take precedence, then it is in effect a new law. It is the basis of our judicial system. I.e. trial court, to intermediate appellate court, to highest appellate court.

    It doesn't matter if a Judge is good or bad; new law through judicial interpretation is going to happen in our system. If the legislature doesn't like the ruling, they have the power to change the law.

    Learn about our legal system; don't just think that only 'bad' judges make new law through rulings.

    Disclaimer: I AM a lawyer; but I'm NOT your lawyer.

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:50PM (#39212209)

    Yes, but the example you gave is clear-cut: other than in exigent circumstances, one does not have to allow law enforcement personnel onto/into private property without a proper warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction.

    The situation here of clearing an Occupy camp and issuing a dispersal order is anything but clear-cut. Assuming for a moment that it's possible this dispersal order was lawful, at least as far as it goes, why would you claim that they can't compel this person to clear the area as well? How, specifically, was the arrest inappropriate if this was a lawful order to disperse?

    Now, if you're saying the order to disperse wasn't lawful, what's your basis for that, given that nearly all municipalities that have cleared Occupy camps have ensured that they at least have a justification for removal that can withstand some scrutiny? Again, without having sat in on all of the council meetings that resulted in this order, I can't comment for certain.

    My stance is in no way based on the fact that people are any of those things you claim. But you don't get to decide on your own that something doesn't apply to you. This was not about a legal or constitutional violation (UNLESS the dispersal order was unlawful). There was what was very likely a LAWFUL order to disperse issued by appropriate authority, and this guy chose to say, essentially, "I'm not doing anything wrong," and refused to disperse instead of obeying the order. Well, 99% of the people in the camp probably weren't "doing anything wrong" at that very moment, either, other than being there. If I walked in just to "observe" the camp and refused to leave when directed by a police officer, I can guarantee you I would be arrested on the spot, no matter what I said.

    Now we're getting to places where someone might say, hey, the "law" is made by those in "power", and these Occupy camps are just people trying to "take back" their power, so someone needs to stand up and fight the system, document the struggle, etc., etc., etc. Okay, fine. But if you're going to actively oppose civil society and the system of laws that are in place, regardless of from where they stem, expect that there will be consequences to those actions.

  • by Bardwick (696376) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:51PM (#39212223)
    In the military, you are only allowed to follow *lawful* orders. Following any other kind will result in personal consequences.
  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:57PM (#39212341)

    How does this garbage always get modded up? The US has only existed for 340 years, give or take. At the time of the first colonization, Europe had slavery as well. While America's past is not one to be proud of, it has made tremendous strides in a shorter timespan in comparison to other European countries.

    Regarding the Suffrage Movement; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women's_suffrage [wikipedia.org] (New Zealand credited as the 1st, 2 US states allowed women to vote during the same year)

    Regarding Slavery; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline [wikipedia.org]

    Just these 2 issues alone show that the movements you say America took FOREVER to embrace, were embraced within the same century as the rest of her peers.

    So quit being an elitist. It only makes you look worse than the American's you despise......

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:58PM (#39212355)
    I believe we're in disagreement mainly because I didn't clarify myself in that I am no limiting my comments to this one case. There are cases in which a cop can lawfully ask people to disperse and those people need to comply. I mentioned that. But I adamantly disagree that just because a cop says you have to disperse it does not inherently mean that he has done so lawfully. Too few people peacefully challenge this because they dont want to deal with the consequences. And as that concession becomes more and more common, it becomes expected by both the citizens and law enforcement. The rights which we rely upon to remain free become effectively void in practice if not in law.
  • Re:Privelege (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rasperin (1034758) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:02PM (#39212415)

    Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

    Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

    Internal Affairs...

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:02PM (#39212419)

    Fair enough — and as someone else noted, I think we're in fundamental agreement here.

    — wait, what's happening here? A rational discussion on slashdot?!?

  • by VernonNemitz (581327) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:09PM (#39212551) Journal
    A key fact is that the Police are Public Servants. Their salaries are paid by the Public. So, if the Public wants to record the activities of the Police, a very simple reason why is, "to ensure that they are actually Serving the Public". It is quite logical that if it can be proved that certain members of the Police are actually only serving themselves (thereby misusing their Power and Responsibility), they should be fired.

    One could argue that all Congresscritters should always be on-camera, a separate video channel for each. Then we will see how many of those "Public Servants" are actually doing their jobs, Serving the Public, instead of working for their own selfish interests.
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:12PM (#39212585) Journal

    my only concern comes from the police attempting to delete imagery from the camera

    So you have no concern whatsoever with your tax dollars spent to deal with it, or with the company's money being spent on lawyers to deal with it? Lost wages and productivity while sitting in jail and/or court dealing with it?

    These too are consequences, yet much of it is incurred before a court decides whether or not the cop's order was lawful.

    The key is recognizing that the event can have consequences.

    But only for the little people. Cops have their union to protect them, and prosecutors are immune from so much as a pay cut, even if they violate the Constitutional protections of innocent people by hiding exculpatory evidence.

  • by Jessified (1150003) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:13PM (#39212599)

    I was a legal observer during the Vancouver Olympics. Luckily there were no major abuses of police power (although one officer did put a mark on our head by telling a drug dealer that we were collecting evidence against him, pretty unprofessional if you ask me).

    The best advice I've been given for videotaping police is to ask where they want you to stand so that you are not in their way. If you record them saying that they want you completely out of sight, then you have collected evidence that their request was unreasonable. If they give you a reasonable distance where you can keep filming their activities, then it's not really a problem. It's dangerous to disobey a police officer even if you think you are in the right, and if you turn out to be wrong there could be consequences.

    You don't have to be right beside the officers to get a good view of what's going on, and standing back a few meters often affords a better vantage point anyways.

    As far as police deleting your footage, it's good to have a second voice recorder under you shirt. Vocalize your objections, "Why are you destroying this evidence??" It might be useful later.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:23PM (#39212769)

    Why not install the latest version of dropbox and have the picture automatically uploaded as soon as its taken.

    That way its propagated to all the computers you have which are idling with Dropbox running in the background.
    There are other services that do this as well.

  • Re: Judges ruling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:25PM (#39212793) Journal
    Hes not creating, hes breaking the law in question against the rock of the Constitution.
  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:37PM (#39212961) Homepage Journal

    Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

    Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

    Internal Affairs...

    Thank goodness Internal Affairs is a completely independent and unbiased organization then, eh comrade?

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:42PM (#39213031)

    Perhaps more importantly: the police aren't military. Though, they are becoming more and more so in approach, there is an important distinction that seems to be getting lost.

    Especially with HLS trying to fill in the role of a national police force.

  • by DM9290 (797337) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:54PM (#39213219) Journal

    The way these things are best challenged is usually after-the-fact in court. If you want to ignore that and challenge police while they're doing your duty, you'd better have a really good reason.

    The fact that an order was unlawfully given is a really good reason to disobey. The fact that you are engaged in capturing a photographic record of events that will otherwise be lost forever, is another one.

    The moment an officer attempts to exceed their authority they are no longer doing their duties. The only problem is that in almost every jurisdiction, your sincere belief that the order is unlawful is not good enough justification to disobey. The order must ALSO actually be unlawful. The officer is not under an obligation to convince you that the order is lawful (although sometimes they are required to say certain special words). If it is a lawful order, you must obey whether you understand why.

    unless you have a really good reason to risk being in the wrong, you might want to just comply to be on the safe side.

    maybe that is what you intended to say?

    However.. I'm going to pretty much assume any cop who destroys video evidence on purpose without a judges order was not acting lawfully. destroying video evidence goes against their training and standard procedures.

  • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:54PM (#39213225) Journal
    If its not evidence, then its destruction of private property under the color of law, a much more serious crime. The plain fact is, an officer erasing digital private property, especially in the field, should be almost universally illegal.
  • by kermidge (2221646) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @04:23PM (#39213615) Journal

    "A key fact is that the Police are Public Servants. Their salaries are paid by the Public."

    Yes. Yes they are. So were the Gestapo and the Stasi.

    Good luck to us all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2012 @04:33PM (#39213739)

    A key fact is that the Police are Public Servants.

    Not trying to troll, but while this -should- be the case and this was how the system is/was envisioned, the data speaks otherwise. As illustrated in this story, a very large percentage of the time police will violate your rights when you (legally) record them on video.

    They should be, but in practice what they are NOT, is "Public Servants"- They are "Authority".

    When police break the law, the number of instances where officers have to take responsibility for their actions are exceedingly few. Only when they break faith with their department (fraud, embezzlement, etc.), are they sometimes dealt with more harshly.

    A cop here in Houston causes a wreck while drunk driving, he's suspended with pay and demoted... That's IT. A cop in Deer Park is caught (on video) regularly stealing substantial amounts of stuff from a refrigerator and is suspended without pay for 30 days- not even fired. A cop in San Francisco shoots a guy (in the back), and kills him while he's laying face-down and handcuffed, and he gets a relative slap on the wrist....AND he wouldn't have gotten THAT if the police had managed to round up all the phone videos of the incident, as they tried to. You or I would spend the rest of our lives in prison had either of us done that.

    Most police are "Authority"- If you're lucky, they may provide help when you're in a bad situation, but they work for and report to those who write their paychecks, not us (yes, yes, I know that the "taxpayers" are the source of those paychecks, but our "leaders" decide to whom and how much to pay...not us). Police report to those people and otherwise do more or less as they please with few consequences, barring a Federal civil rights investigation now and then. They do not "serve" the public.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:29PM (#39214371) Homepage

    When you read the letter in its entirety, it doesn't really pass the smell test. If I had to guess, I'd say it was written by someone trying to make schools look bad to promote their homeschooling agenda, but it could just be a prank as well. Either of those are more plausible than a teacher emphasizing a student correcting a legitimate mistake over his ostensibly disruptive methods of doing so. The way to write that letter, if it really happened, would be to emphasize the disruptive behavior and probably not even mention the details of the mistake the teacher made. The "accept my teachings without resistance" bit is particularly suspect.

  • by crakbone (860662) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:14PM (#39214921)
    "Ask your self, what if Stalin's Russia looked like, lets say, small town Iowa.....how could you tell the difference" Because it's not littered with corpses? Stalin was a psychopathic genocidal killer. He killed more people by his order than the entire population of Nazi Germany. Of course we have a bigger prison population than Stalin. He would have killed anyone he didn't need and their families just for fun.
  • Re: Judges ruling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:32PM (#39215091)

    Homosexual Marriage has NEVER existed in history until very recently. Marriage was for the purposes of a man an woman(women/polygamy) having a family and defining the rights and responsibilities thereof. Homosexuals are incapable of producing children therefore aren't given the protection of Marriage.

    By that argument, heterosexual marriages should end at death of either spouse ("'til death do you part"), when the wife enters menopause, when the husband becomes impotent, or when either suffers an injury or illness that renders them infertile.

    In that scenario, marriage licenses would also require signed notification from a medical practitioner certifying the fertility of each spouse, which would require one of:
    * the prospective wife currently being pregnant and the prospective husband being the father as determined by DNA testing
    * the prospective husband providing a sample for testing with his own hands and the prospective wife undergoing medical testing to ensure her fertility
    * a medical practitioner performing testing on both prospective spouses to ensure their fertility

    None of those options seem particularly palatable to me. Taking that one step further, you would also need to show that same evidence to an IRS auditor if you filed a joint tax return and were audited. If you wanted to visit your spouse in the hospital after a serious accident and the hospital had a "relatives only" visiting policy, you wouldn't be allowed to visit until the doctors were certain their reproductive capabilities had not been damaged. And don't adoption agencies favor married couples when deciding who is allowed to adopt? Then people who had one of the best reason for wanting to adopt would no longer be favored.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:35PM (#39215107) Journal

    Thank goodness someone's browsing through the thread with a citation to show that it has, in fact, happened, eh comrade?

    http://www.pixiq.com/article/Houston%20Police%20Threaten%20To%20Arrest%20Photographers%20To%20Protect%20Own [pixiq.com]

    Executive Assistant Chief Dirden, who is over the Internal Affairs division (“IAD”), admitted in an interview that none of the officers on the accident scene, including Capt. Manzo, had reported any information from which IAD could open an investigation.

    We know that Capt. Robert Manzo and a number of the officers on the accident scene were, in fact, aware at the time that there was alcohol in Sgt. Trejo’s truck based on pictures that were taken of the truck and accident scene.

    We also now know that Sgt. Trejo arrived at the hospital with a blood-alcohol content of .205 – nearly three times the legal limit. We know that Sgt. Trejo was only minutes from climbing behind the wheel of an HPD vehicle where he was to supervise an entire shift. We know that Sgt. Trejo was not placed under arrest at the time of the accident or at the hospital. And finally, we know that Capt. Robert Manzo, the supervisor and ranking officer on the accident scene failed in his duty to report any of this to his supervisors.

    Each and every decision Capt. Manzo made on April 13th was a violation of the public trust. His efforts to cover up Trejo’s crimes began as soon as he arrived at the accident scene. He used his rank and position to direct the actions of the officers under his command to assist with this cover up insuring the omission of particular information in their reports and eventually falsifying his own report.

    Sorry, but the pictures of Cap'n Manzo's men covering up beer bottles and telling everyone for two weeks that the cop's breath was minty fresh and he was clean as a whistle just aren't serious enough to get IA's attention. Can't open an investigation on Cap'n Manzo's coverup, unless Cap'n Manzo says so.

    Bonus points: because of Cap'n Manzo's coverup, the guy was not immediately arrested. Because he was not immediately arrested, the hospital's .205 reading isn't admissible evidence, so the cop can't be charged with DWI. It's not clear whether the poor lady driving the bus had her ticket (which probably got her fired) expunged, or if the cops even bothered to pull her back out after she was "thrown under the bus" by Cap'n Manzo's men as part of the coverup.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:48PM (#39215253) Homepage Journal

    I think the prisoners in an American prison are treated much better than prisoners in a Soviet-era gulag in the middle of Siberia. The number of differences between a small town in Iowa and even 1970's Russia (heck, make that even 1970's Iowa if you want a comparison, but I presume you think the "police state" is more recent in America) is still quite substantial and personal freedoms still are substantially better in Iowa than in that Soviet-era small town you are presumably trying to compare.

    At the moment, guns are not pointed at the borders preventing Americans from leaving, and it is still possible to stand on any street corner of America, holding a sign which proclaims "The President of this country is an ass and needs to leave office!" Blatant election fraud is not happening on a widespread scale, and when a clear majority of the citizens want somebody different in office it usually happens. If you think otherwise, that is fine, but please spare me the conspiracy theories on that topic.

    So far, there haven't been millions of Americans forced out of their homes at gunpoint left to starve to death and die due to exposure simply because they are political dissidents. That did happen in Stalin's USSR. One reason he didn't have so many prisoners is in part because he killed those he considered very dangerous, so they didn't remain in prison all that long. In that sense, prison was merely something for torture.

    I'm not disagreeing with you that there are some very disturbing trends in terms of increased authority for police officers in America, and I also would agree that the "war on drugs" is something that has filled up the prisons with people that really don't belong in them and would do much to reduce that notion that America has "a bigger prison population than Stalin". I am also concerned that America may get to that point, and that this intrusion of the government into our lives is something that needs to not only be stopped but reversed. Then again, I think that the whole of the government needs to be cut down substantially in America at all levels, and not just the military and police.

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