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Old 02-12-2009
 
#31
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

they broke the law and got arrested? who would have thought.
 
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Old 02-12-2009
 
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

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Originally Posted by The Hawaiian View Post
Which crime would he be charged with, GA?
You seem to be conflating the fact that I think the sheriff has a justification for looking into this based upon Phelp's participation as some kind of claim on my part that I'm a D.A. or that I'm a sheriff. I assume that if they can video you breaking the law and ticket you for it via video cameras, they can in fact find something to hit you with on drug charges if you've got material evidence, photographic proof, and eyewitnesses willing to testify that you were party to illegal behavior.

I will certainly acquiesce that I do not have a law in mind, but then I'm not the one choosing to move forward with this investigation. I have already stated in no uncertain terms that this is not an action that I would take.
 
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Old 02-12-2009
 
#33
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

Assumption is the mother of all fuckups. You cannot, and absolutely under no circumstances, charge someone with possession without physical evidence of the drug they allegedly possessed. I could make a youtube video right now of me smoking a blunt and I could not be charged with possession unless my house was raided and they actually found marijuana in there (physical evidence). The youtube video itself does not constitute possession since you were not in possession at the time of arrest (which is all that matters).

We have absolute proof that our last 2 presidents used drugs along with our current president, but of course they cannot be charged with possession either.

Let's say you are running from the cops because you have an ounce of methamphetamine. Let's say we have absolute proof that you have this amphetamine because it was sold to you by an informant or police officer. If you ran all the way to the beach and made it, your best option would be to run into the water. There it would be easy to get rid of the drugs since they would get washed away, the lack of evidence makes prosecution impossible, even though you were on camera with witnesses, you still could not be charged with possession since there is no physical evidence. You could be charged with running from police but considering the difference in sentencing that would be more desireable.

If you have drugs, always ditch them or try to get away. No drugs = no case. Even if they otherwise are certain that you had them at one point, if they are unable to log the drugs as evidence then they will never make it into the courtroom, which means charges will never be filed. You must have drugs on you at the time of arrest (that can be taken away, examined, and stored) in order for a successful charge of possession to be filed.

Phelps will not face any jail time.
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#34
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

Going by the article quoted, I find it a bit odd that it is the sheriff being frowned at in this case.

As a citizen, even one working in law enforcement, one might have opinions on what laws should or should not be, but as an officer of the police one is charged with upholding the law as is, not as one wish it to be.

Of course, police are not robots, so some discretion will be used, but it ironically systematic negligence of enforcing more or less any law risks bringing us closer to a police state. Laws that are regularly enforced make the public aware of them and also frequently force people to think about and possibly review them. Laws that are not regularly enforced run a very great risk of just being used as excuses to apprehend people the officers of law does not like but have nothing else on. This is a real problem, especially if enforcement of the law is so rare that the general public is not actively aware of its repercussions or even that they are committing a crime when not following the law.

Now read the news piece with a critical eye.
Has the sheriff been pestering the news media with a torrent of press releases and forced them to print them, or has the news media pestered the sheriff with questions because of Phelps possible involvement?

Realize that most sheriffs do not have extensive media training and are probably prone to utter things that can be easily taken out of context. As most communication is largely based on context - especially verbal - it is very easy to take a direct quote and make it sound very strange.

The quoted sheriff's statement viewed as a complete explanation of the affair does have a ring of a self-serving, holier-than-thou idiot, but it could be a case of badly chosen words or a quite reasonable answer to the preceding question by a reporter (Why did you chose to go in there sheriff? I mean, sure, if it had been a bunch of red-necks in a run-down apartment I could understand, but a college party with Phelps attending. He is rich and famous, surly he warrants special consideration!).

Also notice that a sequence of events is not really established in the piece. The order of them implies one, but it is never confirmed.


What we do know is that a picture of someone with a bong was published together with a text describing a party where drugs were used. Parties and drugs is a combination that may not unreasonably lead people charged with upholding the law to think about drug distribution - generally viewed as a worse crime than drug possession. They have reasonable cause and get a warrant. Now eight are charged, but not Phelps, which seems quite reasonable as the evidence encountered because of the warrant probably has very little to do with Phelps.

Consider if this is really that out of the ordinary or if it just receives an unusual amount of attention by the news media because of the Phelps angle.

I am not going to rule out that the sheriff is less than well gifted in the upstairs department, but the only warranted conclusion I can draw from the news piece is that it is a badly reported and rather horribly written piece of news.
 
 

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Old 02-13-2009
 
#35
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorphous View Post
Realize that most sheriffs do not have extensive media training and are probably prone to utter things that can be easily taken out of context. As most communication is largely based on context - especially verbal - it is very easy to take a direct quote and make it sound very strange.
Realize that most sheriffs, if they don't have extensive media training, will hire a professional spokesperson.
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#36
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lackey View Post
Realize that most sheriffs, if they don't have extensive media training, will hire a professional spokesperson.
I am sure they do, but I doubt that the sheriff can always evade commenting himself. I do not know anything in particular about this sheriff's department, however, so I cannot say anything specific as far as this goes.

It is a bit beside the point, though. Even answers provided by people with media training are susceptible to the time-dishonoured practice of taking things out of context. Giving a prepared statement is one thing, but answering questions automatically puts your answer in the context provided by the one asking them. Avoiding all possibilities of misrepresentation is impossible.

You should always be wary of single sentence quotes and be aware of that they do not give more credit to a report.
 
 

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Old 02-13-2009
 
#37
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

I'm not sure how we can incorrectly interpret the arrest of eight people in connection with this photo.
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#38
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hawaiian View Post
Assumption is the mother of all fuckups. You cannot, and absolutely under no circumstances, charge someone with possession without physical evidence of the drug they allegedly possessed. I could make a youtube video right now of me smoking a blunt and I could not be charged with possession unless my house was raided and they actually found marijuana in there (physical evidence). The youtube video itself does not constitute possession since you were not in possession at the time of arrest (which is all that matters).
I'm pretty sure they found physical evidence in the frat house, so I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this tirade is.
Quote:
Let's say you are running from the cops because you have an ounce of methamphetamine. Let's say we have absolute proof that you have this amphetamine because it was sold to you by an informant or police officer. If you ran all the way to the beach and made it, your best option would be to run into the water. There it would be easy to get rid of the drugs since they would get washed away, the lack of evidence makes prosecution impossible, even though you were on camera with witnesses, you still could not be charged with possession since there is no physical evidence. You could be charged with running from police but considering the difference in sentencing that would be more desireable.
I wish you had a law degree, because honestly a bare assertion doesn't convince me. I've seen enough cops on episodes of law enforcement shows build bodies of evidence for drugs and claim that it was going to be used for prosecution. You can claim the cops were full of it but unless I see the actual outcomes, there's no way to verify any claims. In short, we need Grog's wife in here.
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#39
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

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Originally Posted by Lackey View Post
I'm not sure how we can incorrectly interpret the arrest of eight people in connection with this photo.
Quite a bit.
There simply is not that much information in the article.

The article does, for example, not tell us whether the search warrants were motivated solely by the picture or if other evidence played a part.

Reasonably speaking the eight persons were arrested because of what turned up in the searches.
 
 

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Old 02-13-2009
 
#40
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

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Originally Posted by GenocideAlive View Post
I'm pretty sure they found physical evidence in the frat house, so I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this tirade is.
Did they find it four months later or at the time of the party though?
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#41
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

I think a better question would be "can the photographic evidence from four months ago be tied to the drugs found"? I hardly think that bodies of evidence that constitute a smoking gun of illegal activity can be collectively ignored once relevant illegal materiel is found. Perhaps it could, but again, I'd like to posit that the sheriff's / DA's ability to prosecute Michael Phelps is predicated on his ability to find and enforce a law, not mine. You can prove that I have no idea what laws are applicable (which I believe I spared you the legwork already. ), but that does not constitute anything other than an uninterested bystander lacks the expertise to unable to prosecute.
 
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Old 02-13-2009
 
#42
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Default Re: The overextending arm of the law

The defense has so many outs on this that it's ridiculous. The substance could have been tobacco for all they know. They have no material evidence against this guy.

This is just a monumental waste of everyone's time. They should spend their resources investigating cases where there's an actual victim. I'm sure there's a stack of theft reports they haven't done shit with that they could follow up on rather than harassing Phelps.
 

Last edited by Golgo 13; 02-13-2009 at 04:29 PM.
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