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January 09, 2011

Arizona Sheriff Says He Doesn't Know Why Loughner Shot Giffords And Others But He's Pretty Sure It's Because Of Republicans UPDATED With Video

This clown, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, just gave an interview to Megyn Kelly on Fox News where he admitted he had no evidence about the Arizona shooting but then went on to speculate it involved Republican opposition to Democrat legislation, unidentified donors to political issue groups and free speech.

Keep in mind, Dupnik isn't just some guy or some local official...he's the lead investigator in this case. Why in the world is publicly speculating about this? It's political hackery and sheer incompetence of the highest order.

He also talked about how much he misses the America that existed when he was younger. He's in his mid 70s. So he misses things like Puerto Rican nationalists shooting 5 members of the House on the House floor, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and on and on.

I don't have a link yet but it was quite a performance. He made similar remarks yesterday. Arizona Senator Jon Kyl smacked him around earlier today for yesterday's partisan attack.

Frank J. from IMAO caught the interview as well and this quote from Dupnik.

Just to reiterate, Sheriff Dupnik puts some of the blame of the shooting on "one party blocking another party from bettering this country."

Here's the interview, if you can stomach it.

Below the fold is a post I wrote back in April of this year but never got around to posting about Dupnik and his views on the Arizona immigration law. He talked about it on Countdown with Keith Olbermann (of course). He wasn't impressed by it but he also didn't seem to know what he was talking about.


Original Unpublished Post from April 29th, 2010:

One of the things that has really annoyed me about the 'debate' over Arizona's immigration law is the fact free nature of a lot of it. Last night Olbermann's show took it to a new level.

Keith interviewed the Pima County Arizona Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. Sheriff Dupnik says he won't enforce the law because it's "racist". While explaining this, Dupnik made some strange statements.

First of all, law enforcement people—state and local law enforcement people—now have the authority to stop and detain people who they believe are illegal immigrants and turn them over to the border patrol.

We have been doing that for—I‘ve been a police officer here for 52
years, 30 years as sheriff—and we‘ve been doing that for as long as I‘ve
been a cop here. And the Pima County sheriff‘s department does that in
greater numbers than any other state and local law enforcement agency in
our state. We don‘t brag about that.

One of the reasons we do it is because we‘re situated directly in the
corridor from Mexico to the United States where the vast majority of
smuggling of contraband and illegals is taking place. And that‘s one of
the reasons that we do that.

But my objection to the state law that was enacted by the governor and
the legislature is twofold. One: I believe it‘s unconstitutional. I don‘t
think, as you pointed out earlier in this show, that the states have the
authority to preempt federal government when it comes to immigration
issues.

And second of all, I think it‘s going to be held unconstitutional on
the basis of the key phrase in the bill that says we can stop them and ask
them for papers and so forth on reasonable suspicion. Now, I‘ve been a cop for 52 years. I‘m not sure what reasonable suspicion means, and I suspect that‘s going to be constitutionally vague. (emphasis mine, DrewM.)

Um, if it's something you've been doing all along, why exactly is it suddenly "racist"?

Second and more troubling, is it really believable that this officer with over 50 years of law enforcement experience doesn't know what the standard for "reasonable suspicion" is? Even to my non-lawyer ears that sounded, um, wrong.

"Reasonable suspicion" goes back to a case called Terry v. Ohio and led to something widely known as a "Terry Stop". 29 states have so-called Stop and Identify laws. One of them is, wait for it, Arizona.

A. It is unlawful for a person, after being advised that the person's refusal to answer is unlawful, to fail or refuse to state the person's true full name on request of a peace officer who has lawfully detained the person based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. A person detained under this section shall state the person's true full name, but shall not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of a peace officer.

B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

The emphasis is mine.

My point isn't that these laws are exactly the same. There are whole lines of cases about when detention begins, what people's rights are at various stages of detention and arrest and on and on. Seems the sheriff may need to do some home work.

If Sheriff Dupnik is still unclear on these points, perhaps he should consult Andy McCarthy's (a former federal prosecutor) post at The Corner.

Brief detentions are known in the law as "Terry stops" — thanks to the famous Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Under Terry, a police officer may only detain a person if the officer has reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity. This standard is not met by a hunch or a generalized suspicion — a cop who says to himself, "Those look like Mexicans, they must be up to no good," does not make the grade. Instead, the officer must be able to articulate specific facts which, together with the logical inference to be drawn from those facts, reasonably suggest that criminal activity has occurred or is imminent. Courts are deferential to the judgment of police officers — the standard is not what any person would think of the facts observed but what an experienced cop acting reasonably and responsibly would think. But there must be specific, describable indicia of criminal activity.

...Now, why do I say the Arizona law is more restrictive of police than is federal law? Well, the Supreme Court has held that one common rationale for a permissible Terry stop is to ascertain the identity of the person who is detained. That is, federal law would probably permit an inquiry into citizenship as a part of establishing who the detainee is — again, as long as the officer had a good reason for detaining the person in the first place.

The Arizona law, by contrast, does not give a cop this latitude. Instead, the officer is permitted to attempt to determine the person's immigration status only if, in addition to the initial contact being lawful, there also exists specific "reasonable suspicion that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States." As I noted above, our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence teaches that reasonable suspicion requires specific, articulable facts — not a hunch or generalized suspicion. Thus, the Arizona law requires that there be reasonable suspicion for both the initial stop (e.g., the police officer observed erratic driving and concluded the person might be intoxicated) and for pursuing a line of inquiry about whether the person is an illegal alien.

Read the whole post, it's rather instructive. Unless you prefer name calling and ill-informed commentary, in that case, stick with Olbermann and the like.

Are there reasonable points to be made against this law? Of course. The preemption objection clearly can be argued in good faith.

Might it be abused by cowboy cops? Yes, it might. Just like every other law might be and probably has. There will be time for these "as applied" challenges later. If the idea is that laws can't be passed because they might be abused were to take hold, well, we might as well but every legislature out of business (which is a whole other discussion).

Can on argue this is simply not good policy? Of course but that's a legislative issue, not a judicial one.

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posted by DrewM. at 03:06 PM

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