walkandtalkk OP t1_j6okt68 wrote

Fortunately, according to the New York Post, over 100 convictions based on the detective's work or testimony have been vacated (https://nypost.com/2023/01/31/manhattan-da-abruptly-drops-case-against-crooked-cop-joseph-franco/amp/).

Still, this failure denies a lot of people justice. And it will embolden supporters of abusive police to claim that public accountability efforts are just an anti-cop witch hunt.


walkandtalkk OP t1_j6ok6yj wrote

I rarely entertain conspiracy theories, especially when incompetence is a valid alternative. But given this conduct, I'm reserving judgment.

Edit: On second thought, I'm changing my view a bit. It's possible that someone in the DA's office botched this on purpose, but I think it's extremely unlikely that the senior prosecutors on the case, or in the DA's office, were involved. I've explained why in another comment, so you can downvote that one.


walkandtalkk OP t1_j6oiui2 wrote

A New York judge abruptly, and permanently, dismissed over a dozen charges against a former NYPD detective, who was accused of fabricating evidence in criminal cases, after prosecutors admitted that they had repeatedly failed to turn over evidence to the defendant's lawyer before trial.

The prosecutors, who worked for the Manhattan district attorney's Police Accountability Unit, apparently told the court that the failure to turn over evidence was the result of "gross negligence," rather than intentional misconduct. Either way, the judge dismissed the charges "with prejudice," meaning the prosecutor cannot bring those same charges again.

Because of the statute of limitations, it may not be possible to bring any more charges against the defendant.

The case's lead prosecutor was fired.

Edit to add: It appears that the lead prosecutor was removed from her role as deputy director of the Manhattan DA's Public Accountability Unit, but that she remains an employee of the DA's office. Speculating, it may require a lot of procedure to outright fire a public employee in New York, so they may still be going through the procedural requirements to do so.


walkandtalkk t1_j5ozn6s wrote

Not the good ones.

One day, perhaps scarily soon, AI will be able to go through so many computations that it can mimic the human brain. I think that will be a disaster for humans and will lead to a massive loss of trust as people have no clue whether the person on the other end of the call, text, or email is human or not. It will be far worse than the lack of trust we experience online today. My theory is that people will return to phone calls and in-person meetings, simply to have some confidence in the veracity of their communications.

But law will be one of the last things to be taken over by the Borg. At least in the United States and other countries that use common-law systems or flexible civil-law systems. That's because, at least in the U.S. and other countries that derive their legal systems from England, the laws are often written in relatively general terms.

For instance (this is a hypothetical), there might be a law that criminalizes assault with a deadly weapon, but it might not define what "deadly" means. That leaves it to the judge to figure out, and it can involve a lot of clever lawyering by the parties to argue what counts as a deadly weapon. Is it a weapon that is usually deadly? Always deadly when used as a weapon? "Reasonably likely to be deadly"? Courts in the U.S. are often given the task of figuring those questions out and then setting a precedent that lower courts have to follow.

In short, laws are often not highly technical and rigid. Some are—I'd say AI can tell if you're speeding—but others aren't. Even with that speeding ticket, what if you were speeding to avoid a mass-shooter? What if you jaywalked to avoid a fight between two people on the street? Or someone having a mental breakdown, even if they were not, at that instant, threatening you?

There's a lot of complex reasoning in the law. A lot of it requires an understanding of the social context in which people operate. Other cases involve debates over what the Constitution's authors meant, or whether we should care what they meant if we think the text of the document is clear.

AI is not yet ready to have those debates. It may be able to contest whether you were speeding, but it's not ready for the court of appeals.*

*But it could probably win in the Supreme Court by repeating the phrase "abortion hurts women too."


walkandtalkk t1_ixx30d4 wrote

Based on the article, it sounds like she committed several crimes in her getaway attempt(s).

Given her behavior and apparent contempt for just about everybody, she should face serious consequences, barring, I dunno, the discovery of an overnight tumor that caused her to behave recklessly.

Having lived in California and spent time in Miami, I think truly reckless driving is serious misconduct that genuinely degrades a city and culture. It's not cute and jail time is warranted.


walkandtalkk t1_iv99wen wrote

A lot of this comes down to enforcement. You can have all the bike lanes, weekend street closures, and no-turn-on-anything policies you want. But that's only going to stop halfway-responsible drivers. The people who seem to be making D.C. a lot more dangerous for pedestrians recently are the many complete assholes who just do not care about traffic laws. Or the halfholes who may not intend to run a light but are willing to text while driving.

Constant enforcement is how you deal with that. It doesn't even have to be super strict. Just reliable enough to deter assholes.


walkandtalkk t1_iv99i4z wrote

I think we need much tougher driving enforcement, but I don't see why we can't also making our road system functional and sane. While cars and dirt bikes are racing up 14th Street, we're ticketing drivers for $125 for going more than 7.5 MPH through the K Street underpass. We also refuse to time stoplights on a lot of major streets, which actually incentivizes people to gun it through a yellow in order not to get stuck at the next eight intersections in succession.

It is very possible to make driving both easier and safer by shifting focus from revenue collection to bona fide safety enforcement and efficiency.


walkandtalkk t1_isrc760 wrote

I appreciate that he's marched past the "We just oppose affirmative action" talking point and straight to the "too many not-whites here" grievance. Almost better to have that kind of overt racism than the creepy, winky dog whistles you get from two-thirds of the Republican Party.

Someone should have asked Sviggum, "If I say 'yes,' what do you propose we do?" Let him sviggle.