How do Grand Juries work (split from Protests over Garner Grand Jury thread)

By: First Man
December 7th, 2014
4:43 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
Now we've got ourselves a conversation, First.

Acting under color of law is not the antithesis of negligent or malicious, First. In other words, acting under color of law does not preclude doing so in a negligent or reckless fashion.
You're mis-understanding. Those were two separate statements: Pantaleo acted without malice nor negligence, and he was also acting under the color of law and within departmental guidelines. I'm not saying that because it was under color of law, it somehow cannot be negligence nor malice. I certainly agree that police can act with malice and/or negligence while doing so under color of law, but that did not happen in this case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
So that isn't an argument in favor the police; I'm not trying to be an asshole, but this just doesn't make sense. Beyond that, whether an act is reckless is a determination made by a jury, not the Grand Jury.
That's just silly. Grand juries make that determination all the time. Was it first degree murder or was it criminally-negligent homicide? They look at the statutes and the evidence and decide what charge, if any, should be brought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
Again, this is progress. It no doubt started as a half-nelson and no doubt turned into a chokehold. And that chokehold, according to your naked eye, as well as a medical examiner cause the death of Eric Garner. Those are the facts.
I'm not so sure those are the facts at all. I've yet to find the actual autopsy report anywhere, not for lack of trying, but everything I can find says that the "choke-hold" MAY have been A contributing factor to the death, not a definitive proximate cause of the death. I can only assume that at some point, the medical examiner testified before the grand jury (they had something like 38 witnesses testify, IIRC). Based upon what I'm reading in the Michael Brown case, it seems completely reasonable to think that the grand jurors could have heard "maybe" and "might" and "contributing factor" and started trying to pin down the M.E., who, it sounds like, could not say firmly, definitively, that this "choke-hold" definitely caused the death, period, full-stop. And of course I don't know any of these people on the grand jury, but if I were in that room, I would be exceptionally skeptical, REGARDLESS of who is involved or why, if an M.E. cannot say "this caused the death."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
The "thrashing" (massively overstated though it may be) is an argument that is appropriately made at trial after a finding of probable cause. In other words, you're making an argument that is not the function of the grand jury. That's why we have trials.
Not at all. It's a determining factor as to whether a crime was actually committed. If there was no intent to put anyone into a choke-hold, no intent to cause harm, no negligence that led to harm occurring, no foreseeable consequence, then no crime occurred.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
You're talking about asphyxiation. I understand that Eric Garner did not asphyxiate. But I also understand that the hold in question killed him. That's all that matters for liability purposes, First, not how it killed him, but that it killed him.
The problem here is that it is not, at least at this point, established fact that the choke-hold caused the death.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
"Thug" comment aside, what you've done here is make a conclusion on the ultimate criminality, or in your view, lack thereof of the officer's action. That is not what a grand jury does. It determines whether there is probable cause, that test is nearly identical to the standard warranting an arrest (very, very low standard).
The primary function of a grand jury is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed, and then, if a crime has been committed, then whether the person(s) under grand jury investigation committed that crime. The grand jury in this case (as in the Michael Brown case) determined that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that a crime was committed in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
So the problem here, First, is that a GJ suddenly becomes very, very stringent in determining PC when a cop is a putative defendant, and incredibly lax when it comes to, well everyone else (including and especially people of color). If this is John Q. Citizen and Jack Q. Citizen, we've got ourselves an indictment and a trial. Think about it, First, if an average citizen put another in a chokehold and he died as a result of that, is there any part of you that doubts that that person would be arrested? That's the standard we're talking about. And who knows what happens at a trial, but the point is we'd get one. That's why folks are pissed, and they're right to be. And you're right, people are emotional; and the reason why is the facts of this case are outrageous. The facts.
I think that's a not-unreasonable point, that X grand jury treats something one way, and Y grand jury treats something another way. This is actually why I said that a "special grand jury" (as this one was) would have made no difference in the Brown case: "special" or not, the grand jury in question would fundamentally be subject to the same rules. The more I read on the Brown case (I've got about six more witnesses to go), I think it was actually considerably more wise to use a grand jury that had already been empaneled for some time, experienced with the process, and confident enough to ask questions, be skeptical of witnesses, pin people down (including Wilson; his testimony was no cakewalk, nor that of his sergeant), etc. Are all grand juries the same? Do they get the same presentation? I rather doubt it. In most cases, it's a foregone conclusion because in most cases, there's already very little doubt about the guilt of the accused. Most crime is pretty straightforward: X robbed the convenience store, there were three witnesses who all tell essentially the same story, and X is on video pointing his gun at the clerk, etc. Relatively few cases that are handled by grand juries are high-profile cases; after all, in the grand scheme or all things crime, there are relatively few high-profile cases, period. That's what makes them high-profile cases, after all. Police shootings are, by definition, high-profile cases. Police shootings (and other, less-usual cases in which someone dies, such as Garner or cases in which someone dies from a taser or whatever) are actually relatively rare in the United States, hence why they make the news. We don't hear about the dozens and dozens of people killed in Chicago every weekend because it's so commonplace, it's not news. But when a cop shoots someone or has some other encounter that has a death associated with it (someone dies in jail, suicide or not, someone gets hurt or killed during a chase, etc.), it's all over at least the local news, if it doesn't go regional or national. And in any high-profile case where it isn't cut-and-dried, I don't think it's at all unreasonable to have a grand jury make the decision. I don't think that it's reasonable to claim that X ordinary civilian would not get a similar fair shake at a grand jury if the situation were the same. And that's the issue here: seldom will the situation actually be the same. Each case is different, and trying to point to any one, or even a few cases and saying "that's unfair treatment" just simply isn't accepting the fact that every case is different.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NortheastCynic View Post
On edit: I want to be clear on what I mean when I say the hold 'caused' his death. In order to be criminally culpable, the act in question has to be both the cause in-fact (the literal cause) and the proximate cause (the legal cause) of death. The point in posting about the eggshell skull rule was to point out that one is still legally responsible for their negligence or reckless, or even intentional behavior even if such behavior would have killed/injured someone absent a pre-existing condition that was not known to the defendant. It's undisputed that the hold killed Garner, that is, it was the cause in-fact. In order for the hold not to be the legal cause of his death there would have to have been some intervening factor that essentially would negate the fact that the defendant's action would have killed Garner. It's important to note that there is no evidence of that. The only thing left is an argument similar to what First was saying, that Garner's movement caused his death. The thing is, as I've mentioned, that's an argument you make during a proceeding where witnesses and competing evidence are weighed and an ultimate determination of guilt or innocence is determined. A trial. There is no excuse for a no-true-bill here.
Everything you say is predicated upon the bolded, and it simply is not true.

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Grand jury reaches decision in case of Ferguson officer

By: lily
November 24th, 2014
11:40 am

WaPo


I'm not much on sources say, but this time I'll make an exception, since more than one news outlet is reporting this.



Quote:

Grand jury reaches decision in case of Ferguson officer


A grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, Mo. police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked days of turbulent protests, sources close to the process said.

News conferences are being prepared by the county prosecutors’ office and the Missouri governor, sources said. Those news conferences will likely come later today.

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Jubilee

By: underdawg
September 23rd, 2014
9:51 pm

While researching something for a book I was writing, I stumbled upon a concept god had for the people of Israel. Not only did he tell his people to keep the sabbath day holy, but God commanded his people to rest the land every seven years. A sound environmental message to keep the land productive. And after seven times seven years, was to be the year of Jubilee. A time when not only the land to be given a rest, but a time when slaves were to be set free and all debts were to be wiped clean. A time when the poor burdened by debt could start over. This was discontinued once the temple had been destroyed.

During the time of Jesus when Israel was occupied by the Romans and wealthy merchants had the people bound by debt.

Jesus seems to be talking more than just forgiving people, he also talked about forgiving the poor of their debts. In the Lord's prayer it takes about the forgiveness of debts, not just the forgiving of sins. Jesus seemed to be talking about reinstating the jubilee.

If anyone needs a Jubilee, we as a nation needs a jubilee.


http://sojo.net/blogs/2011/07/06/wha...ve-our-debtors

http://books.google.com/books?id=jJS...ubilee&f=false

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_(biblical)

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As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?

By: bishop
September 21st, 2014
8:30 am

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...-anthropocene/

Quote:
There are more than 7 billion people on Earth now, and roughly one in eight of us doesn't have enough to eat. The question of how many people the Earth can support is a long-standing one that becomes more intense as the world's population—and our use of natural resources—keeps booming.

This week, two conflicting projections of the world's future population were released. As National Geographic's Rob Kunzig writes here, a new United Nations and University of Washington study in the journal Science says it's highly likely we'll see 9.6 billion Earthlings by 2050, and up to 11 billion or more by 2100. These researchers used a new "probabalistic" statistical method that establishes a specific range of uncertainty around their results. Another study in the journal Global Environmental Change projects that the global population will peak at 9.4 billion later this century and fall below 9 billion by 2100, based on a survey of population experts. Who is right? We'll know in a hundred years.

Population debates like this are why, in 2011, National Geographic published a series called "7 Billion" on world population, its trends, implications, and future. After years of examining global environmental issues such as climate change, energy, food supply, and freshwater, we thought the time was ripe for a deep discussion of people and how we are connected to all these other issues—issues that are getting increased attention today, amid the new population projections.

After all, how many of us there are, how many children we have, how long we live, and where and how we live affect virtually every aspect of the planet upon which we rely to survive: the land, oceans, fisheries, forests, wildlife, grasslands, rivers and lakes, groundwater, air quality, atmosphere, weather, and climate.

World population passed 7 billion on October 31, 2011, according to the United Nations. Just who the 7 billionth person was and where he or she was born remain a mystery; there is no actual cadre of census takers who go house to house in every country, counting people.Instead, population estimates are made by most national governments and international organizations such as the UN. These estimates are based on assumptions about existing population size and expectations of fertility, mortality, and migration in a geographic area.

We've been on a big growth spurt during the past century or so. In 1900, demographers had the world's population at 1.6 billion, in 1950 it was about 2.5 billion, by 2000 it was more than 6 billion. Now, there are about 7.2 billion of us.

In recent years we've been adding about a billion people every 12 or 13 years or so. Precisely how many of us are here right now is also a matter of debate, depending on whom you consult:The United Nations offers a range of current population figures and trends, the U.S. Census Bureau has its own estimate, and the Population Reference Bureau also tracks us.

The new UN study out this week projects that the world's population growth may not stop any time soon. That is a reversal from estimates done five years ago, when demographers—people who study population trends—were projecting that by 2045, world population likely would reach about 9 billion and begin to level off soon after.

But now, the UN researchers who published these new projections in the journal Science say that a flattening of population growth is not going to happen soon without rapid fertility declines—or a reduction in the number of children per mother—in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa that are still experiencing rapid population growth. As Rob Kunzig wrote for National Geographic, the new study estimates that "there's an 80 percent chance . . . that the actual number of people in 2100 will be somewhere between 9.6 and 12.3 billion."

A History of Debates Over Population

In a famous 1798 essay, the Reverend Thomas Malthus proposed that human population would grow more rapidly than our ability to grow food, and that eventually we would starve.

He asserted that the population would grow geometrically—1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32—and that food production would increase only arithmetically—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. So food production would not keep up with our expanding appetites. You might imagine Malthus' scenario on geometric population growth as being like compound interest: A couple have two children and those children each produce two children. Those four children produce two children each tomake eight, and those eight children each have their own two kids, leaving 16 kids in that generation. But worldwide, the current median fertility rate is about 2.5, (or five children between two couples) so, like compound interest, the population numbers can rise even faster.

Even though more than 800 million people worldwide don’t have enough to eat now, the mass starvation Mathus envisioned hasn't happened. This is primarily because advances in agriculture—including improved plant breeding and the use of chemical fertilizers—have kept global harvests increasing fast enough to mostly keep up with demand. Still, researchers such as Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Ehrlich continue to worry that Malthus eventually might be right.

Ehrlich, a Stanford University population biologist, wrote a 1968 bestseller called The Population Bomb, which warned of mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s because of overpopulation. Even though he drastically missing that forecast, he continues to argue that humanity is heading for calamity. Ehrlich says the key issue now is not just the number of people on Earth, but a dramatic rise in our recent consumption of natural resources, which Elizabeth Kolbert explored in 2011 in an article called "The Anthropocene—The Age of Man."

As part of this human-dominated era, the past half century also has been referred to as a period of "Great Acceleration" by Will Steffen at International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. Besides a nearly tripling of human population since the end of World War II, our presence has been marked by a dramatic increase in human activity—the damming of rivers, soaring water use, expansion of cropland, increased use of irrigation and fertilizers, a loss of forests, and more motor vehicles. There also has been a sharp rise in the use of coal, oil, and gas, and a rapid increase in the atmosphere of methane and carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases that result from changes in land use and the burning of such fuels.

Measuring Our Rising Impact

As a result of this massive expansion of our presence on Earth, scientists Ehrlich, John Holdren, and Barry Commoner in the early 1970s devised a formula to measure our rising impact, called IPAT, in which (I)mpact equals (P)opulation multiplied by (A)ffluence multiplied by (T)echnology.

The IPAT formula, they said, can help us realize that our cumulative impact on the planet is not just in population numbers, but also in the increasing amount of natural resources each person uses. The graphic above, which visualizes IPAT, shows that the rise in our cumulative impact since 1950—rising population combined with our expanding demand for resources—has been profound.

IPAT is a useful reminder that population, consumption, and technology all help shape our environmental impact, but it shouldn’t be taken too literally. University of California ecologist John Harte has said that IPAT ". . . conveys the notion that population is a linear multiplier. . . . In reality, population plays a much more dynamic and complex role in shaping environmental quality."

One of our biggest impacts is agriculture. Whether we can grow enough food sustainably for an expanding world population also presents an urgent challenge, and this becomes only more so in light of these new population projections. Where will food for an additional 2 to 3 billion people come from when we are already barely keeping up with 7 billion? Such questions underpin a 2014 National Geographic series on the future of food.

As climate change damages crop yields and extreme weather disrupts harvests, growing enough food for our expanding population has become what The 2014 World Food Prize Symposium calls "the greatest challenge in human history."

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Islamists Misunderstand Americans

By: bishop
September 5th, 2014
6:45 am

this has gotten a little bit of discussion in the media, but perhaps not enough..

it's something that was first stated by obama, and then most directly stated by biden.. when you do something to us (americans), we will first tend to our own, and then look to kill you. some good, honest, and well-deserved vengeance.

a bit nationalist, maybe even ultra-nationalist. then again, and given our enemy, so what?

does ISIS actually create these beheading videos with the intent of scaring americans, and leading them pressure the government to appease their demands? do militant islamists/terrorists understand that out of all the groups out there that we (as americans) don't like, we like them the least - to the point where we more or less believe they need to be killed, rather than appeased or negotiated with, or anything in between? if anything, this only makes us want to bomb them even more, and exterminate them as we would cockroaches or other vermin.

we'd like to see muslim countries and people step up to beat back this virulent ideology, and those who are infected by it. but, expecting them to get with the program is also something that we have very little faith in. we also owe these people nothing whatsoever, and we've given far too much.

it's time to mow the lawn..


http://www.ijreview.com/2014/09/1743...is-4-1-margin/

Quote:
While President Obama admits “we don’t have a strategy yet” and continues to send mixed messages about his ultimate objective in dealing with ISIS, one message from the American people is very clear:

They want war with ISIS. By a 4-1 margin.

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St. Louis Cops Shoot and Kill Man in Incident Near Ferguson

By: lily
August 19th, 2014
12:14 pm

Don't the cops own any other ways to stop a suspect other than a gun?

Did they think he really meant it when he said "Shoot Me"?


Quote:
St. Louis Cops Shoot and Kill Man in Incident Near Ferguson



Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation a few miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.

The man, 23, had taken energy drinks and a package of pastries from a nearby convenience store, Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters. He said that the man was “acting erratically, walking back and forth, up and down the street.”

The chief said that the officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife. The chief said the man answered: “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” He said the man moved toward one of the officers and came within 3 to 4 feet.

“One of the witnesses described it as a suicide by cop,” Dotson said.

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36% of adults lack retirement savings, including many 65 or older

By: Corodon
August 18th, 2014
3:52 pm

Very bad news, despite the little silver lining (in boldface below). In the Los Angeles Times written by Jim Puzzanghera:

Quote:
More than a third of American adults have no retirement savings, and 14% of those ages 65 and older also haven’t put money away yet, according to a new study.

The low savings rate for people at or approaching retirement age is alarming, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, which conducted the survey. The results were released Monday.

About a quarter — 26% — of those ages 50 to 64 haven't started saving for retirement, the survey said; the figure was 33% of people 30 to 49 years old.
36% of adults have no retirement funds saved
More than one-third of Americans haven't begun saving for retirement, a study says.

Overall, 36% of those 18 years or older have not started saving for retirement, according to the survey of 1,003 adults.

“They still have time to start, but they still have to save so much as a percentage of their income to make up for the years they weren’t saving that it puts them in a tough spot,” McBride said.

Savers have been hurt in recent years by historically low interest rates caused by the Federal Reserve’s attempts to stimulate the economy after the Great Recession.
These people will be a powerful interest group, needing total support to keep the wolf from the door.
Quote:
The survey's findings were not all bad, McBride said. It indicated that younger people are starting to save earlier than in past generations.

Twice as many adults who are 30 to 49 years old started saving when they were in their 20s instead of waiting until their 30s, the survey said.
Seniors were just as likely to have waited until they were in their 40s to start saving as they were to have started in their 20s, McBride said.

Greater awareness of the financial problems of Social Security is a main reason younger people have started earlier on their retirement plans, he said. Automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans also has helped people to start saving earlier.

This is the reason companies had pensions. Pushing savings on to the individual to handle will cause more harm to the society. Ultimately society will have to handle those who were unfortunate, unlucky, made risky choices etc.

“The burden for retirement savings is increasingly upon us as individuals, and people are aware of that,” McBride said.

Still, 69% of those 18 to 29 years old have no retirement savings, according to the survey.
It's a Broke, New World.

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The Letter From A Jewish Londoner That Went Viral

By: djharkavy
August 17th, 2014
6:18 pm

I have said before that being anti-Zionist is not the same as being anti-Semitic.

But it appears that the current anti-Zionism can lead to anti-semitism.
====================================
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014...?utm_hp_ref=uk

A letter from an "ordinary middle-aged Londoner" expressing fears about growing anti-semitism in Britain has gone viral, with many taking to social media to express their own discomfort.

The letter from Stephen Spencer Ryde, sent to the Independent, has been retweeted more than 1,000 times since it was published on Friday.

It reads:

I’m just an ordinary middle-aged Londoner.

I work in an office. I go to football. I like eating out. I enjoy the arts. I am a proud family man. I give up time for charity work. I try to be a decent contributing member of society. I pay my taxes honestly. But there appears to be something that sets me and my kind apart.

At park gates in East London a friend of mine gets told to f**k off for photographing a flag. At a pub in Bath my wife gets called scum when she mentions her background. In a student hall in Manchester a friend’s son is asked to leave as the specially prepared food he chose to eat is not permitted because it carries a label written in a language used by a country that is “banned” by the student union.

In Belfast a historic blue plaque is removed to deny part of my history. In theatres in Edinburgh and London I am told to denounce my opinions or lose the right to perform. A sportsman in Ireland tweets if he sees my kind he’ll punch us in the face and recommends others follow suit.

Protesters across the country show no shame in shouting that my historical persecutors were right and social media is rife with vitriol towards me (even from so-called friends). And in Bradford I’m told that I am not even permitted to enter the city.

What is this? Racism. Where is this? Britain and Ireland. When is this? Now. Who am I? I am a Jew.

Never again, we say, never again.
Sent from my GT-P3113 using Tapatalk

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Top Organization Contributions: All Federal Contributions

By: Corodon
August 10th, 2014
6:46 am

A report from the Center for Responsive Politics is fascinating, even though it excludes 501(c) organizations.

Quote:
Totals on this page reflect donations from employees of the organization, its PAC and in some cases its own treasury. These totals include all campaign contributions to federal candidates, parties, political action committees (including superPACs), federal 527 organizations, and Carey committees. Because 501(c) organizations do not disclose their donors, contributions to those groups are not included here, except in cases where the group discloses voluntarily. Only contributions to Democrats and Republicans or liberal and conservative outside groups are included in calculating the percentages the donor has given to either party.
After ActBlue and Tom Steyer, the list is dominated by unions. Elliot Management (#8) and Uline, Inc. (#17) are the first conservative-leaning donors listed.

The evil Koch Brothers are #36.

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Hamas May Not Have Kidnapped and Killed the 3 Israeli Teens After All

By: Theski
July 28th, 2014
5:43 pm

so.. war under false pretenses.. . seems familiar..

Quote:
When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region.

But now, Israeli officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all. (Update: The comments from the Israeli spokesperson in question indicate that the group thought to be responsible, a "lone cell," may not have been under direct orders from Hamas's leadership, but was loosely affiliated with the group.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer...after-all.html

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