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1 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 2:30:47pm

This looks like a much less complicated and better run op than "Fast & Furious". The ATF agents who ran this op appear to have done it right.

2 jvic  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 3:51:16pm

1. re: #1 Dark_Falcon

This looks like a much less complicated and better run op than "Fast & Furious". The ATF agents who ran this op appear to have done it right.

It looks that way...but why the helicopters and armored personnel carriers at the ranch?

2. The government wants to seize what sounds like all the Reeses' assets: assets which they otherwise could liquidate to pay for quality lawyers. The government wants the Reeses held without bail. Undercutting their ability to prepare a defense?

3. I wonder if the Constitutional right to counsel should be interpreted more fully than is being done. To that end, perhaps criminal defendants who cannot afford a lawyer should be provided resources in the ballpark of those utilized by the prosecution.

4. Terms like J. Edgar Hoover, Waco, and Ruby Ridge cross my mind. I want to hear the Reeses' side of the story.

3 Obdicut  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 4:17:21pm

re: #2 jvic

1. There might be people there they don't know about.

2. Any proof for that speculation?

3. Why? Do you mean, a lawyer of similar ability, or just a monetary expenditure? Prosecutors are quite cheap for their quality, most of the time, so are you talking equal amounts of money, or what?

4. Er-- Waco and Ruby Ridge were operational fuckups, but Koresh really was a bastard pulling all sorts of illegal shit, and if federal marshals are telling you to do something, you should do it.

I have no idea why you're comparing this to those anyway, when they obviously took measures to make sure this didn't erupt into a firefight. Can you explain?

4 wrenchwench  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 6:02:35pm

re: #2 jvic

1.

It looks that way...but why the helicopters and armored personnel carriers at the ranch?

2. The government wants to seize what sounds like all the Reeses' assets: assets which they otherwise could liquidate to pay for quality lawyers. The government wants the Reeses held without bail. Undercutting their ability to prepare a defense?

3. I wonder if the Constitutional right to counsel should be interpreted more fully than is being done. To that end, perhaps criminal defendants who cannot afford a lawyer should be provided resources in the ballpark of those utilized by the prosecution.

4. Terms like J. Edgar Hoover, Waco, and Ruby Ridge cross my mind. I want to hear the Reeses' side of the story.

Did you read this? That might answer #1.

About #2: I would think the Reeses constitute a major flight risk. Mexico is practically across the street, and apparently they have friends there.

About #3: Public defenders can be damn good. I can't see why ill-gotten gains should be allowed to be used by those who gained them by (allegedly) nasty means for their defense, especially since it doesn't mean there will be no defense for them.

About #4: WTF? And you can read about Mr. Reese at the link I gave. Then tell me whether you need to hear more from them at this point. They will have their day in court.

5 jvic  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 6:36:20pm

re: #3 Obdicut

1. There might be people there they don't know about.

All by itself, such an unquantified possibility doesn't justify deployment of helicopters and APCs. Moreover, the authorities presumably had the compound under surveillance.

2. Any proof for that speculation?

If I had proof, I wouldn't have expressed the point in question form. Afaic my context was clear.

It remains true that, whatever the prosecution's intent, the effect of its actions wrt confiscation and requested denial of bail is to make it harder for the Reeses to prepare a defense. The prosecution cannot be unaware of that. If the prosecution presents credible evidence that the Reeses are a serious flight risk, I will adjust my attitude.

3. Why? Do you mean, a lawyer of similar ability, or just a monetary expenditure? Prosecutors are quite cheap for their quality, most of the time, so are you talking equal amounts of money, or what?

I don't have, and did not claim to have, expertise to formulate detailed remedies. I do have the sense--e.g. via Radley Balko's work as blogger, Reason Magazine writer, and Huffington Post reporter--that the playing field between the typical citizen, let alone the disadvantaged citizen, and the law enforcement apparatus is tilting to the benefit of the latter.

4. Er-- Waco and Ruby Ridge were operational fuckups, but Koresh really was a bastard pulling all sorts of illegal shit, and if federal marshals are telling you to do something, you should do it.

I have no idea why you're comparing this to those anyway, when they obviously took measures to make sure this didn't erupt into a firefight. Can you explain?

First they overreached against bastards who were pulling all sorts of illegal shit...

I did not make an explicit comparison between Hoover etc and the Reese case. My point is that with the passage of time I've become aware of enough malfeasance or misconduct by law enforcement that I am fundamentally more skeptical about the justice system than I used to be.

5. If indeed the Reeses are guilty, the seriousness of their crime is augmented by the existence of the Drug War.
*****************
wrenchwench, I saw your comment after writing the above, which IMHO addresses most of your points. I consider your remark that "Public defenders can be damn good" to be true but unpersuasive given the severity of the charges.

About #4: WTF? And you can read about Mr. Reese at the link I gave. Then tell me whether you need to hear more from them at this point. They will have their day in court.

And so I had. However, as your update noted, the family had been lured away from the site.
************************
Whether or not readers agree with me regarding the Reeses, I assert that the playing-field issue, i.e. whether the government's prosecutorial advantage is growing with time and affecting judicial outcomes, is highly worthy of in-depth study by analysts of the justice system.
*************
Here's hoping that future American history does not record something like:

First they overreached on the slimeballs that decent people had no sympathy for. Then they overreached on the wingnuts or moonbats, depending on who was in power. Then...

6 wrenchwench  Thu, Sep 1, 2011 7:07:59pm

re: #5 jvic

OK, knowing you are a Radley Balko reader, I have some idea of where you're coming from. I agree that the justice system needs a watchful eye on it at all times.

I do not see anything wrong with using helicopters and APCs in raiding the compound. I think law enforcement was very responsible in doing what they could to have no people in the compound if possible. I think they also took advantage of the situation to have some real life practice with their tools. Probably had a trainee or two along.

If the prosecution presents credible evidence that the Reeses are a serious flight risk, I will adjust my attitude.

I presented evidence they are a flight risk. Down here, if you are being considered for release from jail before your trial, you will be questioned extensively about your visits, contacts, feelings, and anything else they can think of regarding Mexico. Since the lawyers have evidence the Reeses were dealing closely with the worst elements in Mexico, they probably didn't even see they need to ask any of that.

I don't see this as anything like an overreach on slimeballs. I see this as law enforcement taking great care to make their case and take the suspects into custody without injury.

So, yeah, be skeptical, but don't turn it into paranoia. Don't turn it into hostility to people doing their jobs the best they can. That's what it sounds like when you bring Waco and Ruby Ridge up like that.

7 Obdicut  Fri, Sep 2, 2011 4:43:29am

re: #5 jvic

All by itself, such an unquantified possibility doesn't justify deployment of helicopters and APCs. Moreover, the authorities presumably had the compound under surveillance.

Um, what does? I'm not a fan of no-knock warrants and the like, but I'm not sure why helicopters need a 'justification'. Can you explain?

It remains true that, whatever the prosecution's intent, the effect of its actions wrt confiscation and requested denial of bail is to make it harder for the Reeses to prepare a defense. The prosecution cannot be unaware of that. If the prosecution presents credible evidence that the Reeses are a serious flight risk, I will adjust my attitude.

They have to make the case for no bail to a judge, who has to agree. So, the judge was convinced they were a flight risk. Is there a reason you think they're not one? Especially when the allegation is that they're trading weapons illegally into Mexico, and presumably have contacts there?

I don't have, and did not claim to have, expertise to formulate detailed remedies. I do have the sense--e.g. via Radley Balko's work as blogger, Reason Magazine writer, and Huffington Post reporter--that the playing field between the typical citizen, let alone the disadvantaged citizen, and the law enforcement apparatus is tilting to the benefit of the latter.

Not really. It's a lot more complex than that. First of all, if you're an average person committing a crime, you'll get away with it. Most crimes go without a conviction. Second of all, it depends entirely on how aggressively the prosecution is pursuing your particular case. Finally, a lot of that imbalance comes from the fact that the cops tend to try to build a case against a subject, rather than doing a complete investigation; this is a matter of them not having the time and resources to do otherwise. They have to figure out who looks good for it. Furthermore, the forensic tests et al. will generally be skewed towards the prosecution, because the labs that they use tend to be quite badly run and full of scientific flaws.

It's certainly true that a public defender is not going to be able to mount a good defense for an accused, broke, admitted drug dealer accused of murder, if the cops can show a reasonable amount of evidence that he might have been involved. But that problem is a large structural one in the justice system and couldn't be solved by just upping the resources on the defense side. I think that it could be solved with a change in the philosophy of policing and prosecution.

First they overreached against bastards who were pulling all sorts of illegal shit...

Overrreached? I mean, they tactically fucked up, and it was stupid of them to not wait to see if the Ruby Ridge guy would show up for his warrant, but I'm not sure 'overreach' is the word you want here.

I did not make an explicit comparison between Hoover etc and the Reese case. My point is that with the passage of time I've become aware of enough malfeasance or misconduct by law enforcement that I am fundamentally more skeptical about the justice system than I used to be.

You did, actually, make an explicit comparison. You said that they cross your mind. If what you mean is the inherent fucked-up-ness of the justice system, those are terrible examples to use. The trials highlighted by the innocence project would be better. What you cited-- Hoover aside-- were cases of armed conflict between law enforcement.

It's odd to me that this incident is what raises your alarm bells, when the problems of the justice system in general have nothing to do with cases like this.


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