commented on Federal Judge Threatens to Steamroll Over Seattle Police Union If It Blocks Reforms, Because "Black Lives Matter"
The whole entire problem here is that the city government has historically been willing to negotiate away its power to safeguard civil rights.
To wit, here's some text taken verbatim (emphasis added) from an internal OPA memo written a few years back:
"The OPA process, governed by stringent procedural processes prescribed by the collective bargaining agreement, is particularly unsuited to conducting fact gathering relating to potential civil claims against officers individually or against the city in general..."
(And in case anyone wonders about the context in which those words were written, the purpose of the memo was to justify letting two SPD officers off the hook for a clear-cut civil rights violation.)
So, yeah -- police chiefs can come and go, OPA directors can come and go, but the legal handicaps imposed on the accountability process are enshrined in the policy and the law of the city of Seattle because the Seattle Police Officers Guild sees to it, and our city government lets them.
Wouldn't it be just amazing if some hero, operating outside of our city government, beyond the reach of local political opposition, could somehow put an end to the city's habit of bargaining away the safeguards that protect our civil rights?
commented on Federal Judge Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey Murder Conviction Thrown Out by Federal Judge
Dassey's "confession" was never introduced as evidence in Avery's trial, but it screwed Avery in two ways:
First, Dassey was supposed to be an alibi witness for Avery, since he was together with Avery at the time the murder was thought to have taken place. The prosecutors neutralized him as a witness by turning him into an accomplice.
Second, the prosecutors used the Dassey confession to make a series of huge PR splashes, tainting the pool of potential jurors.
If Avery's new attorney Kathleen Zellner actually delivers on her promise to exonerate Steven Avery, those press conferences by lead prosecutor Ken Kratz may prove to be Kratz' undoing in a civil suit by Avery. This is because a prosecutor's immunity from civil liability only extends to prosecutorial acts - whether or not to charge, or dismiss, etc. Holding press conferences is not recognized as part of a prosecutor's duty. It ruined Mike Nifong; hopefully it ruins Kratz as well.
commented on Seattle Police Union Goes to Court to Block Release of Officer Photos
The claim that these photos could be used to replicate access cards is ridiculous on its face.
When making fake access cards -- something one actually does in my line of work, no kidding -- you use photos of *yourself* so the picture on the fake badge matches you. The last thing you want or need with a fake badge is a picture of somebody else on it.