A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memories of Birmingham, Criminals Watching Public TV, And An Arrested Clown

Been busy the last few weeks. Some of us "bloggers" actually have day jobs and aren't as attentive to our "entitled" audience as we'd like to be. So today I bring you three stories that pretty much sum up the state of our criminal justice system today, and the paranoia, hype that surrounds it.

First, Birmingham. Five cops beat the crap out of a jerk who almost ran over one of their own. The guy deserved to have the crap beaten out of him, but not by cops. We as a public are divided on this, as we are divided on what a video actually shows.

With the advent of video, we now get to see what sometimes goes on post arrest. We also get to see how two completely sane people can watch a video and see two different scenes. We have come to hear of the "adrenaline" defense of punching cops - "you know, these guys just have all this adrenaline after one of these chases and you know, they just are so emotional about the whole thing that we understand how they can get so upset and lose control."

Even the media pimps this defense.

Blah blah blah.

If you ever wanted to know why cops don't want interrogations taped, this case is the reason.

Imagine if there was no video. "These cops beat the crap out of me for no reason."

Sure they did.

Cops are professionals, just like anyone else. The day we excuse, and many of us do, the rogue behavior of a professional, we diminish their position in society. Just like a boy should never hit a girl, a cop should never hit a suspect. He should shoot and kill him if he is in danger of the same happening to him, but post-arrest, or once on the ground and not moving - no hitting, no shooting, never.

So now we watch these videos. We all see the same thing, some of us claming that the video doesn't give us "the whole picture."

That's a load of crap as well.

I'm shocked these Birmingham cops were fired so quickly. Happy, but shocked. I was waiting for the weeks and weeks of attorneys appearing on TV pontificating on either side about whether these cops really hit the guy.

Congratulations Birmingham.

And yes, I know, the streets are "less safe" now that they've been fired.

Speaking of safe, you ever wonder what "criminals" do when their not commiting crime? Apparently, according to the Chief of the Ft. Lauderdale Florida police department, they watch public television. This is the reason he wouldn't disclose to the city commission his request for millions in additional funds.

"Police Chief Frank Adderley asked this week for $2.8 million more. He said he needed some of the money to fight rising crime. Commissioner Romney Rogers insisted the commissioners get an accounting of how the money would be used.

Adderley said he didn't want to publicly air his crime-fighting strategies because criminals might be watching the commission on TV."

You sure they're not watching Charlie Rose on PBS?

And the clown arrest.

Seems Patricia Ingalls was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in her clown suit.

This is a big story, worthy of a serious discussion: "Are our kids safe when we hire birthday party clowns?"

Watch this clip. The depth of the story, the length, the details, the anchor with the balloon as a prop.

My understanding is that this clown has a decent defense. I hear the other 16 clowns who remained in the car are witnesses. I also understand that the field sobriety exercises will be excluded due to the shoes worn while walking the line. Also, the finger-to-nose test "fail" will be rebutted, as the "honking" noise heard by the cop during this test is explainable.

The biggest issue, of course, will be the inability of the jury to determine from the mugshot whether the defendant in court is the same person who was arrested.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com


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