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DOJ Report on Public Experience with the Police:
The Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics has just published a fascinating report on police-citizen interactions based on interviews with about 70,000 people in the year 2005. The report gives an extremely interesting look at how people view the police, as well as their experience with the police. None of the stats in the report were checked with actual police records, so some of the numbers may be a bit suspect. But it's still really interesting stuff. The report is only 14 pages long, so it's easy to read in its entirety. But here are the key findings:
An estimated 19% of U.S. residents age 16 or older had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in 2005, a decrease from 21% of residents who had contact with police in 2002. Contact between police and the public was more common among males, whites, and younger residents. Overall, about 9 out of 10 persons who had contact with police in 2005 felt the police acted properly. Of the 43.5 million persons who had face-to-face contact with police in 2005, 29% had more than one contact. The most common reason for contact with police in both 2002 and 2005 involved a driver in a traffic stop. Other frequent reasons for contact included a crime to police or being involved in a traffic accident.

Nearly 18 million persons — or 41% of all contacts in 2005 — indicated that their most recent contact with police was as a driver in a traffic stop. This represented about 8.8% of drivers in the United States, a percentage unchanged from 2002. Stopped drivers reported speeding as the most common reason for being pulled over in 2005. Approximately 86% of stopped drivers felt they were pulled over for a legitimate reason.

In both 2002 and 2005, white, black, and Hispanic drivers were stopped by police at similar rates, while blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be searched by police. About 5% of all stopped drivers were searched by police during a traffic stop. Police found evidence of criminal wrong-doing (such as drugs, illegal weapons, or other evidence of a possible crime) in 11.6% of searches in 2005. Police issued tickets to more than half of all stopped drivers and arrested about 2.4% of drivers. Male drivers were 3 times more likely than female drivers to be arrested, and black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be arrested. Drivers stopped for speeding (71%) or for a seatbelt violation (74%) were more likely to be ticketed than drivers stopped for other reasons, such as an illegal turn or lane change (58%), a record check (34%), or a vehicle defect (32%).

Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, a rate relatively unchanged from 2002 (1.5%). In both 2002 and 2005, blacks and Hispanics experienced police use of force at higher rates than whites. Of persons who had force used against them in 2005, an estimated 83% felt the force was excessive.
Joe Bingham (mail):
Police found evidence of criminal wrong-doing (such as drugs, illegal weapons, or other evidence of a possible crime) in 11.6% of searches in 2005.

2 Questions:

(1) Am I retarded for thinking that this means that on average, of searched cars, there was about a 11% chance evidence would be found?

(2) Is a 10% chance of finding evidence "reasonable cause"?

http://.flexyourrights.org
4.30.2007 2:08am
OrinKerr:
Joe,

Yeah, that's one of the figures that struck me as odd. About half the searches were alleged to be consent searches, so no PC was required, but I wonder if there is some significant self-reporting bias found here. But I don't know. (I'm also not sure that what people think are consent searches are the same as what the law would consider consent searches.)
4.30.2007 2:13am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Police found evidence of criminal wrong-doing (such as drugs, illegal weapons, or other evidence of a possible crime) in 11.6% of searches in 2005.
That's a pretty low number. Doesn't it seriously call into question police judgment if they were only able to find evidence one out of every ten times they searched someone?

Presumably, searches are only conducted when police feel that they have a reason to do them, right? So doesn't this suggest that their feelings are pretty unreliable, and should not be grounds for conducting searches at all?
4.30.2007 2:26am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Wow. Joe -- you're fast. Beat me to it.
4.30.2007 2:29am
Ak:
Actually, that's people REPORTING that police found them with something illegal 10% of the time, right? Somehow, much like how everyone in prison is innocent, I have serious doubts to the veracity of that number.
4.30.2007 2:32am
Joe Bingham (mail):
DMN,

(a) I'm flattered.
(b) Yep, when I'm on the tail end of 6 hours of research on contemporary popular reviews of Our Mutual Friend, I'm refreshing VC every 15 seconds or so in hopes of an escape from actual work.

Ak,

Approximately 86% of stopped drivers felt they were pulled over for a legitimate reason.

To me, that statistic suggests that the self-reports were more reliable than you might think. It's unlikely 100% of stops were for a legitimate reason; supposing they all were, that gives a margin of 14% error on that question. It's not a huge stretch, then, to suggest that between 0% and 25% of stops found evidence of a crime.
4.30.2007 3:13am
Joe Bingham (mail):
I should've made it clearer that in the italics I was quoting the article, not quoting Ak.
4.30.2007 3:16am
Hattio (mail):
Ak,
I've gotta agree with Joe Bingham. Why would you lie about whether police found something? I mean presumably you were already charged and arrested or let go. The question didn't ask whether or not the driver felt the search was justified. If anything, I would think the 50% consent figure would be more skewed by self-reporting than questions regarding whether illegal stuff was found.
4.30.2007 3:25am
Erasmus (mail):
Did the sample exclude people in prison? That would obviously change the numbers a bit. If they asked people in the street, for example, they would obviously necessarily exclude all people in prison, even if they didn't intend to.
4.30.2007 3:41am
Erasmus (mail):
This post also gives me an excuse to post my favorite citation regarding the reliability of "police suspicion":

Reflexive reliance on a profile of drug courier characteristics runs a far greater risk than does ordinary, case-by-case police work of subjecting innocent individuals to unwarranted police harassment and detention. This risk is enhanced by the profile's "chameleon-like way of adapting to any particular set of observations." 831 F.2d 1413, 1418 (CA9 1987). Compare, e. g., United States v. Moore, 675 F.2d 802, 803 (CA6 1982) (suspect was first to deplane), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1068 (1983), with United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 564 (1980) (last to deplane), with United States v. Buenaventura-Ariza, 615 F.2d 29, 31 (CA2 1980) (deplaned from middle); United States v. Sullivan, 625 F.2d 9, 12 (CA4 1980) (one-way tickets), with United States v. Craemer, 555 F.2d 594, 595 (CA6 1977) (round-trip tickets), with United States v. McCaleb, 552 F.2d 717, 720 (CA6 1977) (nonstop flight), with United States v. Sokolow, 808 F.2d 1366, 1370 (CA9), vacated, 831 F.2d 1413 (1987) (case below) (changed planes); Craemer, supra, at 595 (no luggage), with United States v. Sanford, 658 F.2d 342, 343 (CA5 1981) (gym bag), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 991 (1982), with Sullivan, supra, at 12 (new suitcases); United States v. Smith, 574 F.2d 882, 883 (CA6 1978) (traveling alone), with United States v. Fry, 622 F.2d 1218, 1219 (CA5 1980) (traveling with companion); United States v. Andrews, 600 F.2d 563, 566 (CA6 1979) (acted nervously), cert. denied sub nom. Brooks v. United States, 444 U.S. 878 (1979), with United States v. Himmelwright, 551 F.2d 991, 992 (CA5) (acted too calmly), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 902 (1977). In asserting that it is not "somehow" relevant that the agents who stopped Sokolow did so in reliance on a prefabricated profile of criminal characteristics, ante, at 10, the majority thus ducks serious issues relating to a questionable law enforcement practice, to address the validity of which we granted certiorari in this case.

- U.S. v. Sokolov, (Marshall, J., dissenting):
4.30.2007 3:43am
Freddy Hill:
Nearly 18 million persons — or 41% of all contacts in 2005 — indicated that their most recent contact with police was as a driver in a traffic stop.

Am I the only one to be bothered with statements such as this one, which are all over the report? These statements are false. 18 million persons DID NOT indicate that their more recent contact with the police was blah blah. The authors did not interview 40 million people, only 86,000. Statements such as "41% of all contacts were..." may refer to the sample, and may be defensible as oversimplifications. The above statement, however, is absurd. Or maybe this is an accepted "literary license" in statistical circles?
4.30.2007 3:53am
Viscus (mail) (www):
Freddy Hill,

I suppose you are literally right, 18 million people did not so indicate, because they were not asked. But assuming that the statistics are valid, approximately that number of people would indicate, if they were asked.

On the other hand, your concern doesn't really matter. Do you think that many people who does not understand statistics and do not grasp the concept of sampling really read these reports? Of those that do read the report and are somehow mislead, do you think many are making decisions of any significance based on the content therein?

On the other hand, I don't have any real objections to being more literally accurate. Maybe it is a little less concise. ("You have to say that 41% of sample indicated and therefor approximately 18 million people would be expected to indicate if asked...."). I think that this lack of conciseness might get tiring if you are reading these types of things all day -- you don't really need it explained to you that 18 million would be the expected proportion of the population, rather than the actual proportion of the sample every single time someone goes through the statistics -- it wastes a little bit of your time as you have to read something that is more precise, but less concise (and you end up reading the same precise caveat over and over again).

That said, I tentatively agree that more precision is called for. There may be some sort of slipperly slope to sloppiness in using these "literary licenses."
4.30.2007 4:47am
Steve E.:
Reports from the Bureau of Justice Stats suck. See there reports on mental illness in jails and prisons reporting nearly 70% prevalence rate.
4.30.2007 8:54am
another_townie (mail):
Thank god my state requires reasonable suspicion before permitting the police for consent to search.
4.30.2007 9:05am
another_townie (mail):
ummm that should have read:

Thank god my state requires reasonable suspicion before permitting the police to ask for consent to search.

:: must remember to hit preview before post comment ::
4.30.2007 9:06am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
On the other hand, your concern doesn't really matter. Do you think that many people who does not understand statistics and do not grasp the concept of sampling really read these reports? Of those that do read the report and are somehow mislead, do you think many are making decisions of any significance based on the content therein?
Yes, I do think that many people don't understand statistics, etc. As importantly, in the near future, people are going to start stripping stuff out of this report to makes points. And as such, it will be soon lost that this was a statistical report of a certain size, with a certain margin of error. Instad, we will be seeing facts like "Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005..." with no acknowledgement that that 43.5 million was pulled out of thin air. We see this sort of thing all the time, where someone does a rough guess based on some statistical margin of error, and that figure becomes gospel truth.
4.30.2007 9:28am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Yeah, that's one of the figures that struck me as odd. About half the searches were alleged to be consent searches, so no PC was required, but I wonder if there is some significant self-reporting bias found here. But I don't know. (I'm also not sure that what people think are consent searches are the same as what the law would consider consent searches.)
I agree that it is not clear what is considered a consent search. And I suspect that the police and the searchees are going to have very different answers here. This is arguably one of the more egregious places where police cut corners, by asking for permission in such a way that it sounds more like an order, but is phrased as a question. And, yes, I know of at least a couple of major departments that at lesat used to teach this.

Next time you experience, or see on TV, or whatever, the police asking someone "Do you mind stepping out of the car?" for a roadside sobriety test, just remember, the police there are asking permission to acquire probable cause to arrest someone.

It will be interesting if/when we get our police contingent chiming in here what they think, and esp. why so many guilty people seem to give permission for the police to search their houses, cars, etc. Is it that they think that the police won't find anything? Or are they figuring that refusing permission makes them appear to be hiding something? Or do they just not understand that they are really being asked, and not ordered?
4.30.2007 9:40am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Does legitimate reason mean a reason that would hold up in court or a morally correct reason?

For instance, a driver who is operating at 60mph on a highway designed to be safe at 75mph, and where the median speed is at that moment 60mph might be pulled over if that stretch is signed 55mph -- it's somewhat random, but more likely if some teenager just killed himself driving drunk, or the town is short of money, and there's a ticketing incentive; more likely if he's got out-of-state plates; less likely to get a citation if he can bat his eyes and flash his cleavage; etc.

Or, more in line with stated VC positions, a citizen might be busted for purchasing some marijuana for his personal consumption.

The reason might be legitimate in that it was within the law and would hold up in court, but that doesn't make it morally correct, and it generates disrespect, fear, and distrust of the police.
4.30.2007 10:08am
davidbernstein (mail):
I don't think it's good news that approximately 10% of people who had interaction with the police thought the police acted inappropriately.

On a related topic, I've received two tickets in the last five years, both in Arlington, one for speeding, one for making an illegal left turn (in the latter case, I didn't see the "no left turn" sign). In both cases, it seemed obvious to me (given how many cars were being pulled over) that the police had engaged in a revenue-making "trap," and, interestingly enough, in both cases, within a few months the rules had been changed, with the speed limit raised in one case, and the left turn allowed in the other. I think that the County knew in both cases that the rules needed to change to be consistent with traffic patterns, but decided to send the police out to make some money before they changed the rules. Hardly promotes respect for the law, or the police.
4.30.2007 10:18am
Joe Bingham (mail):
Or do they just not understand that they are really being asked, and not ordered?

That one.
4.30.2007 10:21am
SpenceB:
...these kind of 'statistics' are just noise -- no way for the reader to know their validity.

One needs some 'factual' details on how this "survey" was conducted and conclusions "made".

I would especially need to know the 'non-response rate' for this survey. Suspect at least 80% of the statistical population 'sample' did not answer the survey questions -- thus totally invalidating the whole thing.
4.30.2007 10:42am
Swan:
I hope you don't mind an off topic comment once, but I wrote a post on Kelo you might like to read.
4.30.2007 11:12am
Nate F (www):
Joe Bingham is right. I walked in on a friend watching an episode of Cops the other day and was commenting about how dumb the one suspect was to consent to a search. My friend had no understanding whatsoever of how consent worked in traffic stops, and he is, how shall I put this, an intelligent individual who, given his lifestyle choices, would be well-advised to understand these things. I doubt that the average person has any clue.
4.30.2007 11:30am
TomHynes (mail):
<b>Of persons who had force used against them in 2005, an estimated 83% felt the force was excessive.</b>

Can I give a tip of the hat to the other 17%?
4.30.2007 12:11pm
whit:
"Or do they just not understand that they are really being asked, and not ordered?

That one."

false. yet consistently claimed, in this website. any evidence? the reason is psychological, and your rationale is wrong.
4.30.2007 12:34pm
whit:
"I don't think it's good news that approximately 10% of people who had interaction with the police thought the police acted inappropriately. "

that doesn't surprise me at all. i think a large part of that is attributable to the media created myth of "racial profiling"

i bet if you discounted that reason (where perception is reality for many motorists), the # would be lower by a significant margin.
4.30.2007 12:36pm
Hattio (mail):
David Chesler,
Somehow, I don't think guys flashing cleavage get out of that many tickets. Let me know how it works though, and maybe I'll try it.
4.30.2007 1:09pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
I thought that most states were somehow able to get you to waive your right to refuse a warrantless search (pre-consent to breathalyzer) as a pre-condition for obtaining a license. Am I incorrect?
4.30.2007 1:13pm
whit:
in many states, when u drive on the roadway, you consent (implied) to a breathalyzer given an arrest based on probable cause of DuI

but if u refuse, the only SANCTION for the refusal is administrative (licesne suspension)

iow, it's not a criminal thing
4.30.2007 1:22pm
allwrits (mail):
Those interested in the subject the impact that even the perception of unevenness based on race (and I strongly suspect the stats in the report are correct based on my own observations as a crim def atty) would do well to look at I. Bennett Capers thoughtful piece on the subject entitled "Crime, Legitimacy, and Testilying" . Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 83, 2008 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=981416
4.30.2007 1:26pm
Hattio (mail):
Whit,
It may be true in some states that the only consequences for refusal are administrative. In AK they are criminal and are considered per statute a DUI in regards to the number of DUI's you've had.
4.30.2007 1:33pm
whit:
those wishing to see how media has created the concept of "racial profiling" might want to look at heather mcdonald's work (city journal)

what most fail to mention is that the rate that cops disproportionately stop people of different races is almost exactly equal to the rate that crime victims (and most crime is intraracial) report as the offenders race (per the NCVS)

iow, cops stop races disproportionately to victims reports of them as offenders.
4.30.2007 1:36pm
Fub:
whit wrote 4.30.2007 12:36pm:
iow, cops stop races disproportionately to victims reports of them as offenders.
I think you meant "proportionately"
4.30.2007 1:51pm
whit:
i guess. iow, they report them proportionately to victims report of offender's race, but disproportionately to the races representation in society.

the same thing is generally true for gender as well. nobody accuses cops of "gender profiling" for stopping/arresting men more than women.
4.30.2007 1:56pm
Porkchop:

davidbernstein wrote:

On a related topic, I've received two tickets in the last five years, both in Arlington, one for speeding, one for making an illegal left turn (in the latter case, I didn't see the "no left turn" sign). In both cases, it seemed obvious to me (given how many cars were being pulled over) that the police had engaged in a revenue-making "trap," and, interestingly enough, in both cases, within a few months the rules had been changed, with the speed limit raised in one case, and the left turn allowed in the other. I think that the County knew in both cases that the rules needed to change to be consistent with traffic patterns, but decided to send the police out to make some money before they changed the rules. Hardly promotes respect for the law, or the police.


David, as a longtime Arlington resident, I can tell you that in many cases, what seems like a "speed trap" has less to do with revenue than with teaching people to stay within posted speed limits. Arlington is primarily residential, but has considerable through traffic because of its location. I have actually seen 85 mph traffic on a 25 mph residential street -- North 16th between Glebe and George Mason where they actually have a radar speed indicator set up. That's a narrow two-lane residential street with parking on one side, which I would have had to cross to take my kids to the closest park.

I still have pictures of a rollover from a 2-car accident at North 16th and Abingdon (same stretch) at 10:00 am on a Sunday. There are lots of speeders in Arlington, and lots of them get stopped, but it has nothing to do with revenue.

In my neighborhood, we bring the ACPD officers coffee and doughnuts when they set up -- we're very glad to see them.

Another of my neighbors had a car break down their front door after a speeder and an elderly driver with poor vision managed to carom a wholly blameless driver out of the street, through the front yard, and into the house.

I don't know where you were speeding in Arlington, but if you were over the limit, then I applaud ACPD or ACSD for issuing your ticket. There are kids in the community -- slow down! Perhaps it was appropriate to change the rules, but remember that pedestrians and other drivers rely the rules as they are at the time, not as you think they should be.
4.30.2007 2:12pm
whit:
this is very similar to the whole racial profiling and war on drugs thing, porkchop

what we see is that people in a neighborhood negatively affected by (speeding, drug sales, etc.) are among the strongest advocates for police enforcement. at meetings, letters ot the chief, etc.

'we need this drug dealers off the street" "we need these speeders cited" etc.

the people who don't live in the neighborhood (and are either callously disregarding its safety, or subverting it in the case of drug sales) see themselves as victims.

very very typical

for example, whatever one thinks of the more serious penalties for crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine, it is the case that it was community advocacy (mostly in minority neighborhoods) for stiffer penalties against crack dealers, that helped spurn such legislation
4.30.2007 2:31pm
Fub:
whit wrote at 4.30.2007 12:56pm:
i guess. iow, they report them proportionately to victims report of offender's race, but disproportionately to the races representation in society.
Yes, that's what I thought you meant.
4.30.2007 2:31pm
Hattio (mail):
Whit,
When you say that the stops are in proportion to the reported perpetrators of crimes are you including all stops or just stops for violent crimes? For example, if the rate of traffic stops broken down by race corresponds with the rate of reported crimes by race of perpetrator, does that make sense? Most people don't report all the other people who drive over the speed limit, and I think you would find very little difference in the racial balance of alleged speeders vs. the racial balance in the community as a whole.
What I'm getting at is this; if all stops are at the proportion of crimes reported by race of perpetrator, then you are basically saying that there is racial profiling, but there's a good reason for it, which is a whole different argument from there is no reacial profiling.
Hmmm. I have a feeling this post is clear as mud, but I hope the basic idea is clear and maybe another poster with more clarity/time/intelligence can pick up on my point.
4.30.2007 2:53pm
whit:
hattio, iirc (i am quoting heather mcdonald's work from memory), studies were done of stops and differentiated for traffic offenses vs. etc.

what was also mentioned was a followup study ot the alleged racial profiling in NJ where video cameras were used to check the race of people speeding in that jurisdiction. they found a disproportionality consistent with the disproportionality in cops stops of motorists.

and of course , the press (that created the myth of racial profiling) failed ot mention the followup studies.

but i understand your point. also note that in many jurisdictions, "pretext stops" are perfectly valid, so the line between a traffic stop and a terry stop (with a vehicle) is somehwat muddied for the purposes of the stats
4.30.2007 3:32pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
for example, whatever one thinks of the more serious penalties for crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine, it is the case that it was community advocacy (mostly in minority neighborhoods) for stiffer penalties against crack dealers, that helped spurn such legislation

Please. Please. Take me now.

false. yet consistently claimed, in this website. any evidence? the reason is psychological, and your rationale is wrong.

You seem quite sure, as well. Please point me to your explanation and the evidence for it.
4.30.2007 4:48pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Tell your kids not to play in the street. Traffic generally moves at a reasonable speed, if not slower. People have a strong interest in not getting in accidents.
4.30.2007 6:26pm
whit:
take you where, joe? what i stated is fact. community advocacy has been exceptionally strong against crack dealers, and that was part of the impetus (as well as the extremely violent drug trade) that resulted in higher penalties for crack.

joe, my claim comes from several classes in interrogation technique, as well as what i learned in grad school (for psychology), as well as probably over a hundred consent searches i have done myself, as well as post-search interviews, as well as experience with ferrier warnings. so, sorry i don't have any links.

but i have one sort of proof. in many jurisdictions, we HAVE to advise people of their right to refuse a search in very clear terms. and they still consent frequently. that makes it clear your claim is false. they do know they can refuse. i have to tell them that. clearly.

so, clearly, this shows as false the claim (w/o evidence) that people consent just because they don't understand that they can say no. it's a natural inclination to assume that, it's just clearly not supported by psychology, or empirical data.

i've probably done several hundred consent searches, and interviewed tons of people after they consented. there is no doubt that they know they can refuse.

it's a psychological thang. what distresses me is the way people assume they know something without doing any research whatsoever.

it just seems counterintuitive to them that people who understand they can say no - do not

but assumptions based on intuition are not stated as such. they keep being stated as fact.

i do not have 16 peer reviewed studies. i merely have scores of examples of getting consent, several training classes (as well as grad school classes in psychology), and numerous post-search interviews. and they ALL dispute your unsupported assertion.

so, find some evidence yourself, or stop making stuff up
4.30.2007 8:26pm
Taltos:
A lot of people consent to searches because they think refusing will make them look guilty, which of course it does.
4.30.2007 10:33pm
loki13 (mail):
There is, apparently, a new aphorism:

Brevity may not be soul of whit, but falsity is.

Am I to believe that the perception of racial profiling is wrong because of the anecdotes (perception) of one internet poster, and a (partisan) like Heather MacDonald? Why would MacDonald want to debunk racial profiling?

Oh yes, because if it doesn't exist now, it will be an effective tool to use in the future:
MacDonald Wants to Racially Profile Arabs

....sigh, so sad.
4.30.2007 11:05pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Whit,

I was pleading with God to take me anywhere in response to your use of "spurn" as a synonym for "drive" or "foment" or "facilitate" or "accomplish" or something.

but i have one sort of proof. in many jurisdictions, we HAVE to advise people of their right to refuse a search in very clear terms. and they still consent frequently. that makes it clear your claim is false. they do know they can refuse. i have to tell them that. clearly.

It really doesn't make it clear my claim is false, for two reasons, although it makes it more likely my claim is false.

First, it's quite possible that some police officers, like you, do not always follow protocol.

Second, it's quite possible that most districts, unlike yours, do not require police to inform people of their right to refuse a search.

I agree that it's likely a psychological pressure much of the time that would persist even in the face of knowledge that leads people to consent. However, you're generalizing--without anything but anecdotal evidence--from the districts with which you're acquainted. That's not really legitimate evidence to support a nationwide conclusion.
4.30.2007 11:21pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
Couple clarifications/corrections to that post:

-The plea to God was in jest.
-UNlike you, I meant.
4.30.2007 11:47pm
whit:
look. i have PERSONALLY notified people of their right to refuse, and their right to withdraw consent at any time. many many many times. and gotten consent

similarly, i have witnessed numerous other officers do it first hand. so, yes. cops can lie. so what? it doesn't dispute the fact that the claim about consenting because they don't understand they have the right not to - is false.

i'm not going to go deep into the psychology, but it basically comes down to this. people who are guilty of and concealing X have a desire. the desire is to "allay suspicion". this has a # of effects. one of the effects is that their immediate desire to "prove" themselves not guilty of anything overrides their sense of self-preservation (which might cause them to say no).

in the long run, it's not necessarily against heir best interests, as i have had former drug arrestees and dui arrestees thank me for arresting them, cause it said it helped them start to turn their life around (and heck, i don't even believe in drug criminalization).

as for your ad hominems against mcdonald's work. you can't attack her data, so you attack her as "partisan". i have no doubt she is partisan. i don't think there is a researcher alive who is not. it's irrelevant to the validity of her research (not to mention my experience and that of every cop i know) that racial profiling (in any sort of institutional aspect) is largely mythological.

again, nobody accuses cops of sexism cause they arrest far more men than women. because it's "PC" to accept that one gender commits FAR more crime than the other.

however, it is not "PC" to accept that some races commit far more crime than others (for whatever reasons) and that this is naturally gonna be reflected in the data.

if cops were truly racially profiling, why do they stop/arrest asian americans (per capita) LESS than whites? that's kind of absurd. why? cause they commit less crimes.

if you can offer a reasoned refutation to mcdonald's work. go at it. calling her a partisan aint it. it's just your cognitive dissonance drive kicking in when u are presented with "inconvenient truths"
5.1.2007 12:48am
Joe Bingham (mail):
look. i have PERSONALLY notified people of their right to refuse, and their right to withdraw consent at any time. many many many times. and gotten consent

You're right! What could I have been thinking. Of course, if you've personally notified people of their right to refuse consent, then it must universally be the case that people never are unaware of that right. It follows. Really.
5.1.2007 1:23am
whit:
wow. way to backpedal and change the argument when you know you are wrong.

i quote: "then it must universally be the case that people never are unaware of that right. It follows. Really."

nobody said they were NEVER unaware of that right.

great strawman. very much what i expected. when it's not attacks on the messenger (mcdonald), it's morphing the argument to exclude a middle.

of course, SOME people are unaware. the idea that people consent BECAUSE they are unaware does not therefore follow.

which was my point.

but way to go. it's a sure sign of desperation when you change the claim.
5.1.2007 1:53pm
Porkchop:

whit wrote:

this is very similar to the whole racial profiling and war on drugs thing, porkchop

what we see is that people in a neighborhood negatively affected by (speeding, drug sales, etc.) are among the strongest advocates for police enforcement. at meetings, letters ot the chief, etc.

'we need this drug dealers off the street" "we need these speeders cited" etc.

the people who don't live in the neighborhood (and are either callously disregarding its safety, or subverting it in the case of drug sales) see themselves as victims.

very very typical



I suppose that the perceived need for enforcement or the perceived victimhood may be similar. On the other hand, there are no pesky constitutional issues involved in detecting and punishing speeding violations. All you need to do is get out a well-calibrated radar gun and start detecting speeders. No need for probable cause, warrants, or any of that other stuff. It is a relatively cheap solution, and, as David points out, it pays for itself.
5.1.2007 2:49pm
whit:
there are constitutional issues with stopping speeders, just as there are with drug dealers.

all seizures must be "reasonable". stopping a motorist for a civil infraction triggers constitutional issues, just as stopping somebody for a drug investigation.

there really is no qualitative difference.

the constitution exists to protect suspected speeders just like it exists to protect suspected dopers.

although, to some extent, there are different investigative methods (like undercover drug stings).

i know that many here love to make the claim that the war on drugs has eroded the 4th, bla blah blah.

frankly, i see far more constitutional issues with many (legally mandated) domestic violence enforcement issues, than i have ever seen with drug cases. i also have seen way more erosion of constitutional rights. for example, there is only ONE type of crime in my jurisdiction that MANDATES arrest (domestic violence). iow, even when it is against common sense, etc. if there is probable cause an arrest MUST be made.

it is also the only crime where law enforcement (in my state) is given good faith immunity for arrests, etc. we have that for no other crime than domestic violence.

it is also the only crime i am aware of where the penal code actually says (in essence) that even when you got weak probable cause, go ahead and arrest. seriously. it's amazing.

i quote:
RCW 10.99.070 Liability of peace officers.
A peace officer shall not be held liable in any civil action for an arrest based on probable cause, enforcement in good faith of a court order, or any other action or omission in good faith under this chapter arising from an alleged incident of domestic violence brought by any party to the incident.
[1979 ex.s. c 105 § 7.]

also, even when the victim does not want to press charges, arrests are (usually) mandatory. and many times prosecutors will go for "victimless prosecutions". this distinguishes it from most other crimes against persons where if the victim doesn't want to testify or does not feel they are a victim, the case is almost always dropped.

also, the right to free association is totally violated. even against victim wishes, judges will routinely issue nocontact orders upon arrest (not even a determination of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, merely arrest) of a suspect, and even AGAINST the victim's wishes. and even if the victim INVITES contact, it is still a mandatory arrest for the respondent if he does so.

also, a person's 2 amendment rights can be eliminated merely because an affiant makes some claims in a protection order petition. there is no right to jury trial, and a very low standard of evidence, etc.

having worked drug investigations extensively as well as domestic violence investigations, i find this rather chilling, frankly. certainly, there are far more innocents (iow they didn't do the offense) arrested for DV vs. drug crimes. at least in my experience, and based upon the way the law is written

and even supported by a recent supreme court case, prosecutors etc. try to routinely get in statements made in 911 calls, when the vicitm refuses to testify. i guess the right to confront one's accuser doesn't apply in these cases (rolls eyes)

oh also, somebody slagged me for using the word "spurn" when i meant "spur" (to incite)

oh, the horror.
5.1.2007 6:31pm
Porkchop:

whit wrote:
there are constitutional issues with stopping speeders, just as there are with drug dealers.

Well, yes, but if all you are doing is stopping them for speeding, issuing the ticket, and sending them on their merry way, then not so much. Presumably, your trusty radar gun gives you a basis for the stop.

If on the other hand, you decide to ask for consent to search based on some information on the driver that comes up when you run the license, or if you smell alcohol on the driver's breath, or if any of a myriad of situations that could develop do in fact occur, it's a different matter. I wasn't addressing situations that go beyond a simple traffic ticket, like the one David got.
5.1.2007 6:47pm
whit:
"Well, yes, but if all you are doing is stopping them for speeding, issuing the ticket, and sending them on their merry way, then not so much. Presumably, your trusty radar gun gives you a basis for the stop."

not so much? that's simply not true. it's a seizure.

there are plenty of issues.

i don't have a radar gun, but yes it would give me reasonable suspicion for a stop. just as numerous other things would give me reasonable suspicion to stop a suspected drug dealer.

seizures are seizures. the constitution applies equally.

here's one constitutional issue. defense attorneys have questioned the authority of police to run warrant checks on people stopped for speeding. no, i'm not joking.

i don't see the last paragraph's point.

it's this simple. EVERY seizure is a constitutional issue. speeding stops, drug stops, whatever.
5.1.2007 7:18pm