Posts Tagged ‘DEA’

Via The Aging Rebel here

How all of Waco must laugh at the Constitution. How all its bolo tied mandarins must giggle at the men who have died and suffered in the last 240 years for the silly notion that the natural condition of man is to be free.

This morning, a mere 47 days after Dallas Attorney Clint Broden filed a motion to remove a buffoon named Walter H. “Pete” Peterson from presiding over any further proceedings involving his client, Matt Clendennen, a retired judge named Joe Carroll, photo above, granted the motion.

In his motion for recusal, Broden argued that the buffoon had violated the law when he rubber stamped 177 criminal complaints that were identical except for a blank space that could be used to fill in any name – like Benedict Arnold or Charles Manson or Daffy Duck. Peterson broke the law when he allowed the charging officer, a piece of work named Manuel Chavez who wouldn’t have known any of the men he accused if he fell over them, to just swear that a full ream of affidavits was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Oppressive

Broden argued that the $1 million bonds Peterson set for all the defendants were oppressive and unreasonable. Broden also complained that the August 10 date Peterson set  for Clendennen’s “examining trial,” comparable to what most states call a probable cause hearing, essentially undermined the whole point of an examining trial – which is to see if probable cause exists to prosecute. Peterson later refused to expedite Clendennen’s examining trial without explanation.

Broden also complained that Peterson is “not neutral and detached.” He wrote, “It appears that Judge Peterson was at the scene of the alleged incident related to which Mr. C1endennen was arrested. Indeed, upon information and belief, Judge Peterson,
a former Department of Public Safety Trooper, may have injected himself into the law enforcement investigation.”

Broden also accused Peterson of colluding with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office in choosing the date for Clendennen’s examining trial.

Bottom Line

Peterson is self-evidently biased. He told both the Waco Tribune Herald and the Los Angeles Times that he set all the bonds at $1 million to “send a message” because many of arrested “were from out of town.” And, his actions arrantly violate the Cannons of Judicial Ethics. Broden has filed a complaint against Peterson with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

And the result of this seven week long legal dance is nothing. C1endennen’s examining trial was not rescheduled this morning. It is still scheduled for the second Monday in August. A regional judge named Billy Ray Stubblefield will now decide who will preside over it. Perhaps he will select Judge Roy Bean or Popeye the Sailor Man. Clendennon and Broden are still forbidden to publically discuss Clendennon’s case. And today’s ruling will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the cases of the other 176 defendants charged by Peterson.

From Balko…

Meet Derek Cruice, your latest collateral damage in the drug war:

A deputy shot and killed an unarmed man while attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant in Deltona, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said deputies were entering the home on Maybrook Drive when Derek Cruice, 26, allegedly advanced on a member of the SWAT team around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“Volusia County Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators and the Street Crimes Unit were attempting to serve a search warrant at a residence. They were met with resistance and a shooting occurred,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said.

A deputy shot Cruice in the face right in the doorway, investigators said.

Cruice was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Hospital in Orange City as a trauma alert, but later died.

There were five other people inside the home at the time of the shooting, but no one else was injured.

If he was shot in the doorway, it seems unlikely he had much time to process what was going on around him. In fact, not only was Cruice unarmed, according to his roommates, he was wearing only basketball shorts. The roommates also dispute the police account that Cruice “advanced” on them.

Two of Cruice’s friends, who told WESH 2′s Claire Metz that they were inside the house when he was shot, insist that he did not threaten or resist the deputy.

“That is completely a lie. I was there; I watched the whole thing. There was no advancement. There was no reaching for anything. The guy was wearing basketball shorts like I am. It’s kind of hard to conceal anything or hide anything when this is all you have on,” said Cruice’s friend, who asked not to be identified.

Another friend called the incident “murder.” There were no weapons in the house.

It seems likely that Cruice was dealing pot. The police say they found a ledger book, a scale, about a half-pound of marijuana and some cash. It also seems likely that if the police had simply knocked on the door and waited, or apprehended Cruice as he was coming or going, Cruice would be still be alive. This insistence on serving drug warrants by barreling into homes creates needless violence, confusion and confrontation. They’re designed to do this. I doubt that Cruice knowingly decided to take on a raiding police team armed only with his basketball shorts. It seems far more likely that he thought they were criminal intruders and was either trying to confront them, or was trying to escape. But there is no room for errors in judgment for the people on the receiving end of these raids — even though sowing confusion and disorientation are the stated aim. But it is only the suspects, the targets of the raids, who are expected to do everything right. When the police screw up and kill someone, they’re generally forgiven, owing again to the volatility of the situation.

So judging from the many, many prior incidents similar to this one, it’s probably safe to say that this officer will be cleared of any wrongdoing. It’s also probably safe to say that any investigation will determine that there’s nothing wrong with the police department’s warrant service policies. At least that’s how these investigations usually go. And if it is determined that the cops in these cases are following policy, and that there’s nothing wrong with the policies themselves, then the only conclusion we can draw is that the police agencies believe unarmed men getting shot in the face is an acceptable consequence of the effort to stop people from getting high on marijuana.

Of course, even that is an illusion. If there’s one thing we can say with near-absolute certainty, it’s that it is no more difficult to buy pot in Volusia County, Fla., today than it was before Derek Cruice was gunned down in his own home. And so we add another body to the pile.