Just a typical week in American criminal justice

It’s kind of sad that Radley Balko even needs to have a feature of his column named “Police Raid Roundup.”  A couple highlights from this week really struck me:

  • The grandson of a New Hampshire woman who was shot by police during a drug raid says she was reaching for her 18-month-old grandchild when the police fired at her. The bullet ripped through her arm and lodged in her abdomen. Two of the woman’s daughters were arrested on drug charges during simultaneous raids, but neither lived with the woman. According to the grandson, the police then tore the woman’s home apart but did not find any contraband.
  • In a case we’ve been following here at The Watch, an Illinois judge just ruled that police in Peoria did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they raided a home to unmask the identity of the person who had been operating a Twitter account that parodied the town’s mayor. Let me reiterate to highlight the absurdity: A judge has ruled that the police did nothing wrong when they raided a home because someone making fun of the mayor on Twitter. [emphasis in original] …
  • Meanwhile, a federal judge in Utah has ruled that the government isn’t obligated to compensate you when the police damage your home during a mistaken raid. There’s nothing particularly unusual about this ruling. It’s consistent with a long line of qualified immunityrulings when it comes to these raids. But as with the previous item, it’s worth reiterating: The government can send armed men to raid a home, they can then raid the wrong home, and the government is under no obligation to compensate the people who were wrongly raided. [emphasis mine]

Yep, just your typical week of criminal justice in America.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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