What's Wrong with California?

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Why can't the state handle simple things, like murder trials, without huge problems?

What's with judges that they can't tell jurors who want a fucking boat hauled to court, "No. Here's a picture. Now go get a verdict, and stop watching so much goddamned TV. This is not about you."

Are all California DA's inept, or just the ones who get the slam-dunk murder cases?

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  1. Remember, this same state couldn’t even convict a bunch of cops who got caught on camera beating the crap out of a guy who was on the ground.

  2. Much of the state’s apparent DA buffoonery can be attributed directly to one Mr. Garcetti, among the most incompetent human beings to ever hold office in a major city in the United States of America.

  3. I haven’t been following the case. What’s this about a boat?

  4. Remember, this same state couldn’t even convict a bunch of cops who got caught on camera beating the crap out of a guy who was on the ground

    The Rodney King officers were acquitted in large part because several of them were innocent of the charges brought against them, and that made the actually guilty ones look better. The prosecutors stupidlty decided to lump them all together and charge them collectively, regardless of who was guilty of what. They compounded their mistake by not even having King testify against the officers.

    So, yeah, L.A. prosecutors pretty much stink.

  5. Kudos to you Jennifer.

    Anywho…. Evidently the defense argued that the fuckhead’s boat was too small to dump a body out of, which got the jurors to thinking, which is the last thing you want. These dopes asked for the boat to be rolled in so they could monkey with the thing.

  6. Kudos to you Jennifer.

    Anywho…. Evidently the defense argued that the fuckhead’s boat was too small to dump a body out of, which got the jurors to thinking, which is the last thing you want. These dopes asked for the boat to be rolled in so they could monkey with the thing.

  7. Dan,

    Let’s not forget the stupidity of trying them in Simi Valley.

  8. The criminal justice system has two dirty not-so secrets:

    1) cops make mistakes all the time
    2) it’s designed to process poor people through as quickly as possible

    You never know quite what’s going to happen but if you can afford a good lawyer, it’s usually not too hard to gum up the system somewhere. Most people go to jail because they’re indigent and plea bargain to something.

  9. Jeff, cleary you support boater suppression.

  10. Well, at least no one tried to frame the guilty, have the specious evidence of that get aired before the jury, have a detective flat-out lie under oath, have the district attorneys tell the jury how disgusting that detective is, and then have the defendant walk free. “100% Not Guilty” wasn’t just a plea, but a freaking omen.

    As for the boat: If the body doesn’t fit, you must acquit.

  11. What’s wrong with Californicate?

    You want it alphabetically? Or at random?

  12. Well, at least no one tried to frame the guilty,

    And here I thought I was the only person in America who believed both that Fuhrman had framed OJ and that OJ was guilty

  13. Of course that’s what it was. Prosecution is about getting convictions, not justice. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either hopelessly naive or a district attorney.

    Kinda makes you wonder how many innocent guys get framed, doesn’t it?

  14. Tim,

    Don’t try that line with Roger Simon.

    He will freak.

    I’m also one BTW.

    At first I couldn’t decide guilty or innocent. What was never in doubt was that the LAPD enhanced the evidence. I said this in the Two years before Rampart. I thought Rampart would be vindication. No way.

    If the data doesn’t fit – it will be ignored.

  15. I hear some of the prosecutors in Colorado aren’t too sharp either.

  16. Tim Cavanaugh,

    That’s always been my take on the matter. As much as I do not like murderers to walk, I thought it best that OJ did to teach the prosecutors and cops of California a lesson.

    jon,

    Prosecutors have a dual role: (a) prosecute those charged with crimes; and (b) ensure that the constitutional, procedural, etc., rights of the accused are not abused. In other words, a prosecutor is not merely the attorney of the party – the state and the victim – but also the attorney of the accused in a manner of speaking. Anyway, invariably one or the other of the portions of this dual-role gets the short end of the stick.

  17. So many false and misleading claims, where to begin?

    First of all, in response to the subject of the post – “Why can’t the state handle simple things, like murder trials, without huge problems?” and “Are all California DA’s inept, or just the ones who get the slam-dunk murder cases?”

    California has no problem handling murder cases. In the case of Scott Peterson, you have a case based almost solely upon circumstantial evidence, which is difficult to prove a murder charge on, especially when the defendant has high-priced defense lawyers. Two bay area lawyers that I’ve interned for who graduated from Stanford Law School have told me from the beginning of the investigation that Peterson will be found not guilty because of this fact.

    As to all the California bashing, the state is not some liberal hippie land where criminals get off easy for their crimes. California has the strickest Three Strikes Law in the country and voted against a proposition on Nov. 2nd to reform it.

    Stop making sweeping generalizations based off of a couple of high profile cases that you understand little about other than the few sound bites the media throws at you.

  18. I haven’t been following this case either, but I got the impression that it wasn’t a slam dunk, that the case was purely circumstantial, with no physical evidence or eyewitnesses (although Scott P. is clearly a major asshole who certainly acts guilty as hell).

  19. I don’t know, if I was on that jury and heard an “expert” hired by the defense that the boat was too small and another “expert” hired by the prosecution that the boat was big enough, I might want to take a look at the boat myself.

    BTW, I think Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty and framed. Sacco and Vanzetti as well.

  20. Mike,

    Mindless California-bashing is de rigeur here.

  21. Not that it matters much, but still…

    Ken Shultz,

    LA’s then DA Ira Reiner didn’t try the Rodney King cops in Simi Valley because he found this to be a cunning idea, there was a defense motion for a change of venue out of Los Angeles County. The defense appealed the denial of their motion and the California Court of Appeals unanimously granted the change of venue motion.

    Judge Weisberg then transfered the LAPD Officers’ case to neighbouring Ventura County, to be held at the East Ventura County Courthouse in Simi Valley. While Simi Valley as a community indeed is predominantly white and conservative, that’s not true for Ventura County in toto, and the jury pool wasn’t drawn from Simi Valley but from communities all over Ventura County, including blue-collar Ventura and rather liberal Oxnard.

  22. Jeff Taylor,

    The Peterson prosecution was never a “slam dunk” case. In capital murder cases, where there is no direct evidence, you are always going to have jurors waffle with regard to the circumstantial evidence, and indeed, a defense attorney worth his salt is going to play up that fact, that not a single shred of direct evidence has been found to implicate the defendant, and that state is prosecuting this man due to perceptions about his moral worth (e.g., that he fucked around on his wife, etc.).

  23. I figure that numbskull Peterson and OJ will be golfing buddies some day, laughing at what stupid fucks we are.

  24. Mr. Nice Guy,

    That would be something. Maybe they can share his house in Florida.

  25. I was hoping the Peterson, Jackson, Blake and Spector trials would be over before I left CA next June after three years here. Speedy trials my ass.

    If the short list of reasons why CA is less desirable than some other state is mindless, than, dammit, I’m proud to be mindless.

    Everything in this state is expensive.
    Build houses in ridiculous places and then bitch when they burn down, fall off the montain, are washed away (they share this trait with coastal and flood plain dwellers so this is not just a CA thing).
    As corrupt as NJ but won’t admit it.
    Can’t own a decent rifle.
    A drizzle causes Autobahn style pileups. While on the subject of driving, residents think the right lane is for driving fast and that the turn signal is the equivalent of the appendix – vestigial and no use at all.

  26. “What’s Wrong with California?”

    You don’t understand. LA is the capital of entertainment. If they sent the guy to the chopper in the first day of trial, the series will be over in five minutes. Enjoy the show or tune to something else if you don’t like it.

    “Everything in this state is expensive.”

    try living in the east coast and you will now what expensive is.

  27. I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who think Peterson will be acquitted. In my eyes he’s been railroaded since day one.

  28. a,

    I own a townhouse (paid 145,000, just above the median price) in Pennsauken which is 20 minutes by car or commuter train from Center City. I could buy something comparable in Compton for 250,000 (the median price according to the LA Times). I’d have to live in Compton, though. Food prices, gasoline, utilities, etc. are cheaper as well but I though a house price would be a good example.

    So, unless you want to live in Manhattan or similar areas, the East does not compare for expense to CA. God help them if they ever have to pay for their water.

    California delenda est.

    I’ll give CA this, though, it doesn’t rain very often and some of the scenery is nice.

  29. a,

    I like the show and I want to see the end of the show but they keep dragging it out. I’ll be back east in six or seven months and I won’t get all the gory details on the local news shows.

    I won’t get the breathless, live action over the internet. Boo, hoo.

    The authorities may incompetent and corrupt but they’re still guilty as hell. All four of them.

  30. Based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the case, Scott Peterson has done everything in his power to make himself look guilty, but the prosecution has not established any direct links between him and the crime. I don’t know that it’s reasonable to doubt the allegations when the defendant has done everything in his power to validate the suspicions, but I do think it’s reasonable to demand some direct evidence when the stakes are so high.

    So I’ll defer to the jury either way on this.

  31. So Scott Peterson walks and talks like a murderer, but the evidence is circumstantial? Why not just refer him to the UN security council for sanctions?

  32. Tim,

    They framed a guilty man. Just like Rather and TANG memos.

  33. “LA’s then DA Ira Reiner didn’t try the Rodney King cops in Simi Valley because he found this to be a cunning idea, there was a defense motion for a change of venue out of Los Angeles County. The defense appealed the denial of their motion and the California Court of Appeals unanimously granted the change of venue motion.”

    It was widely beleived at the time, and by widely I mean by the hospital employees I worked with in Hawthorne, that moving the trial to Simi Valley showed that the DA’s office was in bed with the Defense. I think this is the first time I’ve heard anyone argue that moving the trial to Simi Valley was anything other than an attempt to fish for sympathetic, white jury.

    That’s not to say you’re wrong, but I’d bet that if the DA’s office had it to do over again, they would have handled the motion differently.

    They might have pushed for a harder sentence in the Latasha Harlins case as well.

  34. And now *another* juror lost.

    Oh boy.

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