An ugly job, but it’s a living

Latest

They need to be told?

Texas lawyers are going to vote to decide if it’s wrong to have sex with a client.

The committee decided that lawyers are not immune from the effects of sexual attraction on human judgment.

“It’s pretty sordid,” Eads said. “We had a hearing. A number of women said we needed an absolute prohibition. Lawyers will say, I want to have sex with your daughter or your son. Sometimes on the eve of trial they’ll say, you owe me $10,000, but if you have sex with me I’ll reduce it to $5,000.”

Doctors and psychologists have long understood the conflict of interest in this kind of relationship, but lawyers are still working on it.

And they wonder why people hate them so.

This just in from an unexpected place

Here’s something you will rarely read here.   I found a thought-provoking article at the Daily Kos.

No, seriously.

Just read for yourself:

Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.

Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms.

When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check rational thought at the door. They dismiss 40% of American households that own one or more guns, and those who fight to protect the Second Amendment, as “gun nuts.”  They argue for greater restrictions.

I’ve never been a gun nut, but I’ve always thought that the 2nd Amendment was at least a little more important than some of its brothers.  Like Judge Kozinski said,

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

The strong opposition to the 2nd Amendment has always made me very suspicious of the left in  this country.  The only reason someone would be so interested in taking away a free people’s arms is so they can’t protect themselves.    If you look at the written debates (Federalist Papers and their opponents) it’s obvious that they all understood that an armed people would remain a free people in the face of governmental tyranny.  Couple the left’s stance on arms with its historic interest in expanding government’s role in our lives, and it tends to make people nervous that they might wake up one morning living under a government run amok and no way to fix it.

And then Kaili Joy Gray comes along and writes something like this, in the Daily Kos.

This is an appeal to liberals, not merely to tolerate the Second Amendment, but to embrace it. To love it and defend it and guard it as carefully as you do all the others.

Because we are liberals. And fighting for our rights — for all of our rights, for all people — is what we do.

I wasn’t brave enough to read any of the 1500 comments attached to Gray’s article –  I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down – but you can check it all out for yourself here at this link: Why liberals should love the Second Amendment.

JFK reads the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1957, then Senator John F. Kennedy reads the Declaration of Independence on the radio.

She Lied?

So, I’ve been working my way through the Supremes’ most recent 2nd Amendment case, McDonald vs. City of Chicago, and I find Sonia Sotomayor was on the losing team.  No big thing, I think we all know she was going to be to the left, and her votes would follow.  But the interesting part is that she joined, with Ginsberg, in Breyer’s dissent.  The dissent that says, the court got Heller wrong, and now that,

“In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense.”

Wait a second.  Is this the same Sonia Sotomayor who swore to the Senate that Heller was valid law, settled law?

I’m still working on McDonald, but it seems to be quite similar to Heller in one important respect.  It opens the door for all kinds of new cases as to what restrictions can be put on gun ownership under the 2nd Amendment.  Fat Tony really left the back door wide open in some respects when he wrote Heller.

So, does anyone believe Elena Kagan is a friend of the 2nd Amendment?

Does your watch say it’s time to go to jail?

(Saved from the old blog – this was posted July 25, 2004 with the above title.)

At 4:30 Saturday morning I was knee deep in one of my collateral duties. It was one and a half hours into the operational phase, and we were in the process of arresting 75 drunks, drug dealers, prostitutes and other miscellaneous criminals at a Salvadoran bar. The street was full of police cars, as was the parking lot, in addition to a bus with “Some City Police” emblazoned across the sides. There were half a dozen cops in the parking lot and more coming from the club with handcuffed prisoners for the bus ride to jail.

Through the middle of this came Mr. Genius strolling down the sidewalk heading straight to the club. Six foot 2, and most definitely not a Salvadoran. I was talking with a couple of officers who their had their backs turned to him, but they saw the curious look on my face and turned around to see the dude.  Mr. Genius was called over and asked where he was going.

”In the club, man”

I was incredulous. Pointing to all of the police, police cars and the bus full of people going to jail, I asked him if he thought that his course was really all that wise.

“Man, I ain’t worried about that cause I’m not no criminal. I’m a good person.”

Sigh.

“No, you’re not. It’s 4:30 in the morning and the only people on the street at this time are paperboys, criminals and cops.  I don’t see any newspapers or a badge.

His criminal record and the judge who had signed a warrant for his arrest seemed to agree with me.

I would have liked to have seen the puzzled looks on the faces of the jail booking officers, who were expecting  the big load of prisoners that Vice was bringing in from a raid on an Hispanic club, only to see 75 Salvadorans got off the bus with Mr. Genius standing in the middle of them.

Exposing yourself

Get your mind out of the gutter please, we’re talking about cops who blog and the risks they assume when they do.  Or in this case, when they post on Facebook and somebody doesn’t like what they see.

Deyna Carabajal is a police officer in Houston and she’s riding a desk rather than working the streets while IAD investigates her work-related Facebook postings.   Another Facebook user complained that Carabajal’s page contained postings that were inappropriate.  Apparently she doesn’t like Hondurans, or more accurately she doesn’t like Hondurans who are illegal immigrants and otherwise find ways to break the law.

The postings on Facebook were discovered by a Honduran woman who was connected as a “friend” with the officer on the popular social networking site, allowing her to read the officer’s posts on the World Wide Web.”At first, they were offensive to me and I just thought she wasn’t doing her job,” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”I just feel uncomfortable and, to be honest, she’s in law enforcement and they should protect and guide us to the right path,” said the woman, who has never met the officer in person.

Numerous postings by Officer Deyna Carabajal, 32, spelled out her dislike for Hondurans, including numerous posts where she suggested she would arrest them for various reasons.”Zero tolerance 4 yall today,” she wrote in one of her posts. “Y’all look at me wrong at all today — y’all riding,” she wrote. “Riding” is police lingo for taking a trip to jail.

I’ve seen this before too many times, and I’ve discussed it in detail before: Staying Low And I’ve outlined my research on the legal issues as well as laying out my rules for cops who want to blog and stay out of trouble: Freedom of Speech and Internet Publishing for Da Pohleece. If you don’t want to read all of that – what you need to know is, don’t post work stuff where the general public can see it. Yes, you do have 1st Amendment rights like everyone else, but when it comes to publishing work related information your rights get limited. And, if you are going to post work stuff on the internet, you have to balance the public’s interest to be informed against your agency’s interest to run without being embarrassed by its employees.

If you’re wondering if Officer Carabajal is going to get zapped – the answer is almost certainly that she will.  If she’s lucky she gets to keep her job, but at the very least she’s going to get some form of discipline.

The first problem is that she publicly said that there is a nationality, Hondurans, that get no slack from her.  That is the sort of thing that makes police administrators’ jaws start clenching.

Chief McClelland said, “This is not the first time an individual, if that’s true …what you’re saying, have been disciplined for this type of behavior. It happens from time to time and we certainly have policies on the books to deal with that.”

That’s chief-speak for, “I already know what policy violations we’re going to cite her for”.

And to be fair you have to concede the man’s point here. While real cops are rolling around in the street wrestling crooks, guys like the chief spend their days talking with politicians and their uglier cousins, “community activists”. (I’ve played the police game both of those ways and I would rather ‘rassle a thief than swim in the shit with a politician any day of the week – the street cooks are more honest.) But chiefs of police have to listen to shit from the politicians, and they listen to the community activists. Plus, for every drunk, law-breaking Honduran that Officer Carabajal ever met, the chief has met Hondurans who are titled “Professor”, “Doctor”, or “His Excellency the Ambassador of Honduras”. When one of his officers publishes something that says all Hondurans are all crazy and have no regard for the law, it makes the chief’s life considerably less pleasant when dealing with Hondurans who aren’t crooks.

The other issue is a more practical one.  She has damaged her professional credibility.  Every criminal defense attorney in town will have this story in hand if they ever find themselves working a case in which Officer Carabajal is a witness.  The shysters love to twist things, but it just makes sense to attack the credibility of a witness who leaves themselves exposed like this.  If the defendant is a Honduran then the defense attorney is going to smell blood in the water.  And it won’t be limited to Hondurans, a good attorney will just throw this thing out there to see what damage he/she can do.   “Well, we know you hate Hondurans and discriminate against them.  How do we know what hatreds you harbor towards Pakistanis like my client?   The practical problem here is pretty easy to see – what good is a cop who can’t testify on the stand and be believed?

Watch your asses folks.

Original KPRC story here

Homecoming

1stSgt Humphrey

1stSgt Humphrey

Readers of the old blog may remember when Jack and I rode off toward New Orleans in September 2005 to help out during Katrina. It was an interesting time, worth a couple of lengthy posts, but mostly anti-climactic. But there was a moment on the last shift we worked when I thought I was about to get my ticket punched.  In a traffic accident of all things.

It was an in-progress call on the other side of the Mississippi and we were running hot across the bridge at the same time an Army convoy was crossing.   The guy I was riding with was a good cop, but I had only known him for a few days and I didn’t know how much about him – like how good a driver he might be.

At about 110 MPH we topped the crest of the bridge and started picking up speed as we came down toward the T-intersection – where the convoy was blocking us as its trucks were turning left in front of us.  And my partner was not slacking off on the accelerator as I tried to come to an understanding of exactly how he was going to maneuver through the clot of trucks blocking the intersection while maintaining Warp 9.

We made it, obviously, but I had a moment in which I thought “this dude is going to get us killed”.  Which was followed immediately by the thought, “How is my family going to deal with this?”  And, finally, “How long before they know what’s happened to me, and how are they going to get my body back home to bury it?”    (I think I also asked myself, “Hey, is that the 82nd Airborne?”)

I guess it is that “been there done that” feeling that made the story of 1stSgt George H. Humphrey’s homecoming particularly poignant for me.

1stSgt Humphrey died thousands of miles from home and family, and his body lay in an unmarked battlefield grave for almost 92 years.  But two days ago his family was able to lay him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

It’s a good story.

0300 – 12 September 1918 South of Thiacourt, France:

The 6th Marines moved into old trenches as they prepared to step off after the artillery barrage.  The war was years old, but it was almost over.  The armistice would be signed in a matter of weeks and by 17 November the 6th Marines would be marching on the Rhine River to occupy Germany.  But at 0500, as the artillery barrage rolled forward, the 6th Marines moved forward into battle once again.

This was the Old Corps, the stuff that Marine legends are made of.  The 6th Marines was commanded by LtCol Albertus Catlin – on board the Maine when it sank in Havana Harbor, awarded the Medal of Honor for the expedition at Veracruz.  Among the 6th Marines was Capt Clifton B. Yates, one of the few officers of any service who would command a platoon, a company, a battalion, a regiment and a division under fire, he went on to become the 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Yates is well remembered by Marines for his situation report during the battle of Belleau Wood two months earlier:

I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company.  We need support, but it is almost suicide to try and get here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us.  I have no one on my left side and only a few on my right.  I will hold.

Compared to the battle of Belleau Wood the previous June, where in one day in those bloody wheat fields the Marine Brigade suffered 1,056 casualties (more than the Marine Corps had lost in its 143 years of existent up to that point), the fighting at Thiacourt (Battle of St. Mihiel) was relatively light.  Still, of the 2883 men of the 6th Marines who entered the battle on 12 September, there were 706 casualties (more than 100 would be KIA).  Most of the casualties for the 6th came on 15 September as they held their position on the line of resistance somewhere between Thiacourt-Regnieville and St. Mihiel.

Originally reported among the dead was 29-year-old 1stSgt George H. Humphrey.  Under fire from enemy machine guns, Humphrey fell from rounds that pierced his helmet.  His troops were unable to evacuate the body and were forced to bury it in the field. After the war, fellow Marine Frank A. Cleland of California, wrote to George’s brother Oliver.  After the battle, attempts were made to try and find where they had buried 1stSgt Humphrey, but they were not successful and his status was changed from KIA to MIA.

I know my parents would be equally as anxious as you are if the circumstances were reversed.  During the day, we buried your brother on the crest of that hill about 150 yards from that trail.  Whatever personal effects your brother had were buried with him as they were shelling the hill all the time and we didn’t have time to search him, and there was no one to send them in with anyway.

For more than nine decades the grave of George Humphrey was unknown.  On visits to Arlington National Cemetery his family would speculate if cousin George was there, in the Tomb of the Unknowns.  But 1stSgt Humphrey lay in a forest in the hills of Northern France in an unmarked grave waiting to be brought home.

He lay there until last October, when some French relic hunters with a metal detector began to dig in a forest near Rembercourt-sur-Mad.  What they found was the body of 1stSgt Humphrey, still wearing his boots and bullet-riddled helmet. His uniform appears to have disintegrated, but some more durable items survived such as his canteen, razor, toothbrush, fountain pen, a pipe and a marksman badge with “GH Humphrey” engraved on its back.   The Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) was able to positively identify the remains this past March using dental records.

This last Wednesday, on a sunny Summer day in Northern Virginia, 1stSgt George H. Humphrey was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery. His family was able to attend and received the American Flag from BrigGen Walter Miller.

Humphrey’s cousin, 90-year-old retired farmer John Humphrey was quoted as saying “You’d think after 92 years he’d never be found. It tells people don’t give up. There’s always hope for families.”

There are hallmarks, values and traditions that differentiate Marines from anyone else. From the first day of Boot Camp all recruits learn that every Marine is a rifleman, and throughout his/her career, whether it is as a clerk, aircraft mechanic, or computer programmer, there lives inside that Marine a trigger-pulling grunt. It is a great strength in the Marine Corps, this spirit of oneness, this brotherhood.   As Army Colonel Daniel Bolger wrote in his 2009 DEATH GROUND: TODAY’S AMERICAN INFANTRY IN BATTLE:

The entire Corps, all 170,000 or so on the active rolls, plus the reserves, are all infantry.  All speak the language of the rifle and bayonet, of muddy boots and long, hot marches. It’s never us and them, only us. That is the secret of the Corps.  It explains why Marine commanders routinely, even casually, combine widely disparate kinds of capabilities into small units…. Marines send junior officers and NCOs out from their line rifle companies and expect results. They get them, too.

Among the traditions that make us Marines is our sacred vow to never leave our dead and wounded behind to the enemy.  Gunnery Sergeant William J. Dixon, who oversees official funerals at the Marine Barracks Washington, DC., said it very well when referring to the funeral arrangements for 1stSgt Humphrey:

There is no greater honor to me than to direct this funeral in honor of such a fallen warrior who laid down his life in defense of the world.   His remains were lost to time, but only for a moment to the Marines.

Colonel Bolger’s assessment of the Marine Corps and Marines does get to the heart of what makes us different.   But in in his last sentence, GySgt Dixon illuminates how it is all possible.  We are not just brothers while we are under arms together, we are Marines for life, and that connects us in an unbroken chain of faithful brotherhood to every Marine who ever served in nearly 235 years.  And it is what will connect us to every future Marine in the years to come.  In that shared sense of honor, values and purpose we are strong.

1stSgt Humphrey had to wait a while, but his brothers in arms brought him home, laid him to rest with honor, and made sure his family knew what happened to him.  No future Marine can expect any less from the brotherhood.