If there’s one thing the San Joaquin Valley of California hates more than anything, it’s a good defense attorney. In Kings County, it’s long been rumored that if you do your job — your actual job of defending clients — you will lose your right to defend indigent clients. If you represent people for money in that county, you will find your ability to practice severely limited by the court. So far, I’ve not heard of one case where this caused a problem for the Fifth Appellate District Court, so if the rumors are true, I guess it’s constitutional.
The courts — and no doubt the attorneys I’ve seen counseling their clients (plural) en masse about plea agreements in the foyers of the County courthouses — would say I’m mistaken. I heard it wrong. They fight like hell. Like hell they fight! Like hell.
Now federal prosecutors in Fresno say what’s good for Kings County is good for the King.
There’s just one problem: the defendants are police officers.
And if there’s one thing the San Joaquin Valley of California loves more than anything, it’s a police officer.
For those looking for a post bashing the police, you will be disappointed. For those looking for a post praising the police, you will likely be disappointed, also (but only because you’re never happy when my praise is not unqualified). This post is not exactly about the police, although it necessarily discusses them quite a bit.
This post is something I began thinking about writing on the day two law enforcement officers were killed in Minkler (2015 update: I should learn not to link to Fresno Bee stories; they always disappear after a short time) and another was wounded by a deranged individual who planned their deaths, as well as his own. This post is about my worship of law enforcement.
Eric Essman, a self-described left-wing radical, has recently posted several comments on my blog taking exception to my characterizations of Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and claiming I’m being unfair to the police. I want to address the issues raised in his various comments in this blog entry instead of appending individual responses to each comment because, among other things, I hope it will clarify exactly the points I was making in the posts which were attacked — points which I feel may be lost by the distraction the discussion in those comments and my responses to them may create.
Besides, even as I write this, Mr. Essman is posting more comments on other articles I’ve written, making similar points to his prior comments. (I get it, Mr. Essman: you like the police and you don’t care much for what I’m saying. I got that after the second comment. By the sixth, it became overkill. Feel free to take a breather.)
Secondarily, I will be correcting attributions of thoughts, beliefs and attitudes to me which I do not hold and clarifying what I do actually think on those issues.
Lastly, I thought doing this would make a “regular comment” too long and since Mr. Essman’s comments follow two different posts and may come to span more at the rate he’s moving, I’ll hopefully just be able to shift everything here, to one place.
Besides, it saves me trying to write a long response and still being left looking for a topic about which to blog today. 😉
Break a law that you did not know existed. It doesn’t matter how vaguely worded that law is. If a police officer wants to arrest you for it and if a Deputy District Attorney decides she wants to prosecute you for it, you will be prosecuted. You will, unfortunately, almost certainly lose: you’ll either realize that you’re going to lose and take an offer, or you’ll be convicted. Even if somehow, some way you win, you will lose, because you will have paid an attorney, or posted bail, or — in the event you were too poor to hire an attorney and the offense did not require you to post bail — you will have lost time, effort and sleep over the case.
Unless you’re a police officer.