Radley Balko


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Here’s the latest roundup of the Trump administration’s record on issues related to civil liberties and the criminal justice system. As usual, if you can think of anything I’ve missed, please feel free to leave links in the comments section.feedback
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May 22 2017 Human Rights
We found 33 articles in which Radley Balko said something. The most recent Radley Balko’s quote is: “Detroit police raid the wrong house, terrorize family after bogus tip about alleged sex trafficking.”. In addition, all sources we refer have quoted Radley Balko 50 times. On this page, you will find all of Radley Balko’s quotes organized by date and topic.
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Radley Balko quotes

When Jeff Sessions was a senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was part of hearings to address the National Academy of Sciences report on the use of forensics in America’s courtrooms. The NAS report had been commissioned by Congress after DNA testing had revealed not only that hundreds of people had been wrongly convicted of serious crimes like murder and rape, but also that about half those people had been convicted due in part to or because of forensic testimony that could only have been wrong.feedback

Federal judge approves consent decree for Baltimore Police Department, over the strong objections of Attorney General Jeff Session and the Justice Department.feedback

The Tampa Bay Times has just published a survey of Florida police shootings between 2009 and 2014. What the newspaper found is striking - although if you’ve seen similar studies from other states, it also isn’t terribly surprising.feedback

A new bipartisan bill in Congress would require border agents to obtain a warrant before searching the electronic devices of travelers.feedback

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that he’s ordering a review of all “consent decrees, ” the reform agreements the Justice Department has forged with police agencies that federal investigators found to have engaged in a pattern of constitutional violations. From The Post.feedback

Attorney General Jeff Sessions orders the Justice Department to review all consent decrees with local police agencies.feedback

Here’s the latest from the Trump administration on civil liberties and criminal justice.feedback

A new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general finds that during the past 10 years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more than $4 billion in cash allegedly tied to drug activity. More than 75 percent of that total never resulted in criminal charges, and 80 percent ended up in the federal forfeiture fund through administrative procedures — meaning that the owners never got a day in court.feedback

Last week, I wrote about L.A. County v. Mendez, a case currently before the Supreme Court. In the case, the police were looking for a rogue parolee. They got a tip from an informant that the man they were looking for was seen riding a bicycle past a particular house. Based only on that, two deputies searched the house without a warrant. They then saw a small shack in the back yard. They were told that the woman who owns the house had let a down-on-their-luck couple - Angel and Jennifer Mendez - live in the shack until they were back on their feet. The two deputies then searched that residence without a warrant as well. When the deputies opened the door, Angel Mendez reached for a BB gun he kept near the bed. He later said he wasn’t even reaching for the gun to scare away the intruders, only to move it so he could get out of bed. The two deputies opened fire, striking both Angel and Jennifer. Angel Mendez was shot several times and lost part of his leg. Jennifer was shot in the back.feedback

Supreme Court rules that Texas can no longer consult texts like Of Mice and Men when assessing the mental competency of people the state wants to execute.feedback

Back in 1970, Congress passed a couple of bills authorizing the “no-knock raid.” This was an issue that President Richard Nixon had pushed during the 1968 presidential campaign. Prior to the late 1960s, police did sometimes enter residences without knocking, but they’d only decide to do so under “exigent circumstances, ” such as pursuing a fleeing fugitive or hearing screaming from inside of a house. They would then need to justify their actions to a judge. Nixon wanted cops to be able to get warrants authorizing no-knock raids ahead of time, particularly in drug cases.feedback

Before his altercation with Eric Garner, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations filed against him, four of which were sustained by the city’s civilian review board.feedback

In Monday’s morning links, I noted the story of Andrew Scott, a Florida man who was shot and killed by a police officer who came to his home, pounded on his door and never identified himself as law enforcement. Scott wasn’t suspected of any crime and did nothing illegal during the altercation. What he did do is grab his own gun, which he held pointed at the floor after he was understandably startled by the banging on the door to his apartment. Scott opened the door, saw a figure with a gun and then attempted to close the door. The officer fired six shots, three of which struck Scott, killing him. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit threw out the lawsuit filed by Scott’s family, finding that the officer who killed Scott is protected by qualified immunity, the court-invented doctrine that makes it nearly impossible to sue police officers, even for egregiously over-the-top use of force that ends in death.feedback

In my series on policing in South Carolina last year, I noted the story of Julian Betton, a Myrtle Beach man who was raided by a multi-jurisdictional drug task force after allegedly making two $50 pot sales to a friend who, unbeknownst to him, also happened to be a police informant. There were some new developments in the case this week. But first, some background.feedback

Six weeks ago, I wrote about a case in Pennsylvania in which a prosecutor was attempting to use bite mark evidence in the murder trial of Paul Aaron Ross. This, despite the fact that every scientific panel to review bite mark analysis to date has found no scientific basis for its underlying premises: a) that human dentition is unique, and b) even if (a) were true, that human skin is capable of recording and preserving bite marks in a way that preserves that uniqueness in a usable way. So far, the discipline has been found to be scientifically unreliable by the National Academy of Sciences, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The latter two panels have called for barring bite mark evidence from criminal trials. Experiments by University of Buffalo scientists Mary and Peter Bush have also found no scientific basis for bite mark analysis.feedback

Missouri’s paltry public defenders system means poor people languish in jail, even for petty offenses.feedback

Your latest roundup of stories about the Trump administration’s approach to civil liberties and criminal justice.feedback

There was a time when false confessions were thought to be entirely fictional. DNA testing has taught us that they’re more common than we think. It isn’t that people are rushing to confess to crimes they didn’t commit - it’s that police interrogation methods are designed to wear suspects down. I’ve had defense attorneys tell me that innocent people are more likely than guilty people to falsely confess after extended interrogations because innocent people naively assume that the facts will eventually set them free.feedback

Much of the destructive, extra-punishment punishment we inflict on sex offenders is due to the widely held belief that they’re more likely to re-offend than the perpetrators of other classes of crimes. This has been the main justification for the Supreme Court’s authorization of sex-offender registries and for holding sex offenders indefinitely after they’ve served their sentences. Lower courts have then cited those rulings to justify a host of other measures, from severe restrictions on where sex offenders can live to GPS monitoring of their every move.feedback

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting just published a massive study of prosecutor misconduct in Massachusetts going back to 1985. The report found more than 1,000 cases in which misconduct was alleged by criminal defendants and 120 in which a state appeals court reversed conviction due to misconduct. The group found an additional 134 verdicts reversed or thrown out due to misconduct after reviewing data from the state bar.feedback

Seven Baltimore police officers have been indicted on federal racketeering charges, including “shaking down citizens, filing false court paperwork and making fraudulent overtime claims.” This all went on as the Justice Department was investigating the department for systemic civil rights violations - an investigation Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested was unnecessary and demoralizing to police officers.feedback

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