Quiz: Which Law Enforcement Fiasco Was More Unethical?

It’s Quiz Time!

Chief Wiggum would be an upgrade.

Today’s topic: Why the public doesn’t trust the law enforcement system. Here are two horrible and true, tales of AWOL ethics involving law enforcement in New York and Tennessee. Which is more unforgivable, A or B?

A. Brooklyn, NY: The Perpetual Warrant

What is the fair limit of “the police made  an honest mistake”? Let’s say the police have a warrant to search your house, and come to your door because they got the address wrong—and it’s a mistake. At least they didn’t break down the door in the middle of the night. OK, mistakes happen. Then they come again, because they got your address in error again. Annoying, but they seem embarrassed: they aren’t trying to harass you.

And then they arrive 48 more times. Continue reading

When Law Professsors Attack!

On his excellent blog “The Ethical Lawyer,” Franco Tarulli sounds a perceptive, and unusual, ethics alarm.

On January 11, 2011, there was another botched police raid at the wrong house, this time in the San Francisco suburb of Castro. Police had apparently given a mistaken description of the house that was supposed to be raided when they sought the warrant. As a result, innocent law professor Clark Freshman was put in handcuffs and scared out of his wits, as police ignored his objections that they had the wrong house. Continue reading

Police Raid Ethics

At 5:30 a.m. on Thursday of last week,  police officers, weapons drawn, burst into the home into the house and pointed guns at the McKay family of Spring Valley, New York. David McKay said officers were screaming for someone named Michael, and when he tried to explain that nobody by that name lived there, the police pulled him, in his underwear, outside into the freezing cold. Then officers ordered McKay’s 13-year-old daughter out of her bed at gunpoint, a trauma that caused her to vomit, faint, and later to have an asthma attack. Continue reading