We Have Met The Enemy….

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121 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    Abraham Lincoln walks at Midnight.

    What really makes you think it’s “Authority Figures” keeping you safe at night, anyhow? It doesn’t take all that much to be a private dick. And there are tons of places in this world sane authority figures fear to tread.Report

  2. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    This quote comes to mind:

    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
    George Orwell

    Of course, that says nothing about keeping said people ignorant of the actions of the rough men, or about these rough men being required to violate the rights of others in the name of “peace”. For that, you need this quote:

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
    George Orwell


    • Avatar Kim says:

      Worry when we’re no longer needed.
      47% of current jobs will no longer exist in 20 years.
      They are in general segregated, as you might suspect, in particular areas that machine learning already considers solvable.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Or people keeping themselves ignorant.

      The BBC did a great documentary about WWII in the 1970s called the World at War. One of the women interviewed was British but married to a German and living in Germany during the 1930s and maybe the War. She said that you didn’t realize how bad Nazi Germany was until they did an action that affected you or made you inadvertently complicit in some way. In her case, she said it was because the doctor for her children was Jewish and he came over and did an emergency night call and told her the next day that he was threatened with physical violence if he ever touched or treated a non-Jewish child again.

      Another guy from an occupied country said the same thing. He filled out the questionnaire for his identification card and it was only much later that he realized that filling out the card and answering the questions truthfully made him complicit in the Final Solution.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Considering the willingness of people to remain ignorant of the bad acts of those in power, or the willingness to wave such acts away for some “greater good”, I’ve never understood the seemingly pathological need for such bad actors to resist transparency. The best explanation I can come up with is that the less transparency there is, the more reasonable doubt exists when they get caught, which usually lets them wiggle out of trouble.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I see your point and an essay on similar lines in the drafts. But there is research that shows sunshine really is the best disinfectant as the slogan goes.

        Transparency does make it hard for people to ignore things. The only pushback the Third Reich really received was when they were being transparent about murdering the mentally disabled.

        I think that a lot of people avoid thinking about this stuff to avoid depression and a sense of hopelessness. It is easier to be light and fluffy and silly than a dour person who constantly screams “attention must be paid”.

        “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle”-OrwellReport

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’m sure by now you know very well how I feel about government transparency.

        CSPAN should have a channel for every government official, with a camera on them 24/7 and an unedited streaming feed.Report

  3. Avatar trizzlor says:

    I never understood why the ticking time-bomb hypothetical was always limited to foreign terrorists. I guess the Chicago PD doesn’t either.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      The point of the ticking time bomb is to get the nose of the camel in the tent. Nothing more.

      After that, you can then get away with anything. “Why did you shoot the rabbi/priest/shaman/whateveratheistshave as he was crossing the street when he had the right of way???” “Well, you agree that it’d be okay to torture a terrorist if there was a ticking time bomb, right?” “What does that have to do with anything?” “Well, now we’re haggling.”Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        The ticking time bomb appeals to people who lack the courage of their convictions. Or, alternatively, people who never understood that ‘going to jail’ was part of civil disobedience.

        If the situation is truly so dire as to warrant torture, it’s worth going to jail over. (Indeed, if it were truly such a scenario, I’d imagine you’d be pardoned — or charges not filed or any one of a number of other things).

        Mainstreaming torture will be one of the lasting legacies of Bush. Or possibly the producers of 24, which the CIA seemed to be viewing as a reference material during the 2000s.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I want the person who tortures to go to jail, at the least. Oh, sure he can keep his job in prison (if it’s a job that can be done there), and it can be a cushy prison.

        But to me torture is A Priori wrong, and deserves punishment even when done with the best intentions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        “Go to jail” is a fantasy. I’d settle for “Going to trial”.

        Which, now that I think about it, is probably a fantasy too, given that we already know what “Going to a grand jury” looks like.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        when truth meets ideology, it’s not truth that’s knocked to the floor.
        Well put.Report

  4. Avatar Kim says:

    God save the fourth estate.
    It does take a certain amount of bravery to report on something like this.
    I’m glad this didn’t happen in London.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    ““The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.

    “They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.””

    Quoted for truth.

    Also, ““It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.”

    On another post, someone once asked me about my comments regarding Quislings. This second quote provides a good example. You knew and did nothing.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Julia spoke, and she is not dead. Says something, don’t it?

      I count her as not a Quisling. For we may be small and easily squished, but when we find problems, we do what we can to fix them. [Dial the FBI is a good trick.]Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Standing up and fighting the government is a big ask, @damon . Especially when the government flexes its muscles in this way, and the principal mission of the lawyers you’re calling Quislings is not to change the system but to exonerate their clients, or at least minimize the punishments imposed on them.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Going on the record is fighting, though.
        I wonder who brought this to the reporter’s attention?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Attorneys are officers of the court aren’t they? They have higher obligations thrust upon them for the privilege of their office do they not not? And even if they don’t, you’ll please explain to me how bringing to the courts attention that a client was tortured, held incommunicado, and denied his civil rights WORKS AGAINST getting him off on the charges he’s accused of committing.

        “It’s sort of an open secret”. They means a lot of folks knew what was going on.

        Maybe. I’m a hard core cynic, because frankly, I’ve been expecting this type of news for quite a while now.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        You think very highly of attorneys, @damon , which is flattering. Like much flattery, it has only some basis in reality.

        While I’d expect a defense lawyer to bring up the defendant’s claim of abuse and torture I’d expect the prosecution to deny these scurrillous, unfounded rumors and move to exclue the mere mention of them in the jury’s presence. And I’d expect that except for evaluating the weight of the defendant’s confession that motion would be granted more often than it was denied.

        Sorry. Didn’t say I liked it.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        It cheers me every time I hear about abuses of the system. That means our system is working.

        I can cite some systems where it isn’t working — where people know about abuses, and they’re simply covered up because they’re inconvenient.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “On another post, someone once asked me about my comments regarding Quislings. This second quote provides a good example. You knew and did nothing.”

      Congratulations, you’ve just shown her that she should have pretended she didn’t know.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        And, y’know, that’s one quote in a news story. Maybe there was another whole discussion on what she’d tried to do to deal with this, how she’d tried to get the word out about it but nobody would believe her, etcetera, and it got cut because of space.Report

  6. Avatar Citizen says:

    Thanks Saul, I hadn’t seen this one yet.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    How do we fix crap like this?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Fuck if I know.

      I have a lot of parents who are parents of small children. The thing I noticed about my friends who are parents of small children is that they are highly likely to post Amber Alerts on social media.

      You can jump up and down about how Amber Alerts are useless because most children are taken is custody disputes gone awry and how the children are not in grave danger but all of this to no avail. The must protect child part of their brain overcomes and they have a logic of “I hear what you are saying but come on, what if it was your kid…”

      So maybe we need to work on the reptile portions of our brain?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        People are idiots about kids. At least their first one. Give em a few years, and a few more kids, and they pretty much learn that “bump on head” does not equal “traumatic brain damage”. Same goes for Amber alerts and other crap.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      In Pittsburgh they took control of the police away from the locals, and had the Feds on their neck until they got the whole thing straightened out.

      I suggest the same thing here.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Investigative journalism, leading to the shaming of the public officials who countenance things like this.

      Lawsuits. Expensive ones. Until the billshut stops.

      Civil rights prosecutions. Enough to scare people sufficiently to make them think twice before letting things get out of control.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Haha. Lawsuits.

        The police are de facto immune to such petty things as lawsuits. It’ll be tied up in courts for years, and the only response from officers or the DA will be scoffing about soft liberals who don’t understand the risks police face.

        Good lord man, first you tell them they can’t torture, then what? They can’t tazer people ten times for failure to be properly respectful? They can’t shoot unarmed men and women? They can’t toss flash-bangs into cribs?

        What, are you some sort of pinko anarchist?Report

      • Avatar nevermoor says:

        From my experience with such lawsuits, even a complete win only helps so much. Court’s aren’t going to do much more than monitor the ongoing lack of compliance with the permanent injunction.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Do you remember a case from law school where the Supremes overturned a case on due process grounds because the Defendant was kept awake for about 2 days and denied food and counsel until he confessed? I believe it was a Jackson or Black decision? Wasn’t that also involving the Chicago PD?

        Monroe v. Pape is a Chicago case.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        That’s one of them. There was another case from after WWII.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Stop voting for the lesser of two evils.

      This is not likely to happen though.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Voting is for small problems.
        Fixing The System is not when you advocate Voting, as it’s fundamentally a collective action problem (you need everyone to vote one way).

        How to fix? Propaganda, Manufactured Outrage. Tell the stories, and start to organize.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      One method by which ordinary gentlemen and ladies can change crap like this is to constantly, determinedly, push back always and at every chance, against the drumbeat of fear and paranoia.

      “Crime is way up”- No it isn’t. Its way down.
      “The urban areas are lawless jungles!” No, they aren’t. And certainly not to outsiders.
      “ISIS/ AQ/ Hitler-of-The-Week is coming to kill us in our beds!”. No, they can’t even break out of the desert they claim, much less march on Times Square.

      Its always fear, the gateway drug to tyranny. The enemy is always at the gate, and only the sacrifice of some foreigners and undesirables will repel the invasion.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        The thing is, the media is complicit in generating the fear. Their hand stokes the coals through sensationalist reporting, and then they report on the bad acts of government that are done in the name of quelling the fear the media has gleefully inflated.

        And I’m not sure if they are truly clueless about their hand in it all, or willfully blind, or happy to keep at it for the profits it generates.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        It goes beyond sensationlist reporting, it can also be in fiction.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        It goes beyond sensationlist reporting, it can also be in fiction.

        Perhaps, but much less so. Fiction is, after all, fiction. People know that when they pick up the book or turn on the show that what they are viewing is fiction, no matter how realistic it may be.

        Where I think fiction causes trouble is in it’s depiction of real, existing organizations. When Law & Order consistently shows the NYPD & DAs office as being decent & noble crusaders for truth & justice, who only ever violate the rights of bad people, and who feel bad & work extra hard when they screw something up, and who aggressively go after bad actors within their ranks, they are showing a lie. It’s one thing when that lie is told in a movie, even a popular movie. But when that lie is told for over 1000 episodes just in the L&O franchise, plus almost every other cop show out there over the last 50+ years.

        When you tell a lie often enough…Report

      • Avatar James Pearce says:

        I can dodge folly without backing into fear.

        – Rex StoutReport

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist I believe that is what Saul meant. Most American media depicts all cops, DAs, or government intelligence officers as being beautiful noble crusaders. The idea that a non-guilty person could end up behind bars is unthinkable in the world of American fiction. Part of this is a legacy of the Hayes Code, which prevented the depiction of corrupt officials. Another part is that is what the market wants.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Oh, well, in that case Saul & I agree!Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        This Hays Code?Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        The idea that a non-guilty person could end up behind bars is unthinkable in the world of American fiction.

        The original Fugitive ran from ’63-’67 and concerns a doctor convicted of a crime he did not commit. To Kill A Mockingbird was 1960. These were just the first two things that came to mind, I’m sure there are many others.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Lee Goodwin called, and would like to remind you of that liar, Temple Drake.

        Though Temple Drake then called, and would like to remind you that she did her best to make up for it with Nancy.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        The idea that a non-guilty person could end up behind bars is unthinkable in the world of American fiction.

        One of the stranger comments I’ve read on this site. I think LeeEsq must have been undergoing a seizure, as this theme and related ones on the corruption and evil of law enforcement and security institutions generally are central to American fiction – genre fiction and serious fiction, in books, movies, and television. You can hardly escape them, and it’s not surprising that they shape the reception and discussion of stories like Ackerman’s, including in my opinion right here on this thread.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “How do we fix crap like this?”

      Stop telling police officers that they’re Judge Dredd.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      @jaybird this goes into what I consider the fatal flaw of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendment. It is very easy to get Americans to care about abuses of the 1st and 2nd Amendment because many of us can imagine the government trying to censor us or take away our guns. Being the truth-teller or practitioner of the right faith that evil people are trying to suppress is a common romantic fantasy.

      The 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments are different because many Americans can’t imagine using them or even being in a situation where they might need them in their lives. They are primarily needed by people who most Americans code as bad. Many Americans like to see themselves as honest, law-aibiding citizens who would never need the protections offered by the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments. That is why we keep doing crap like this and not caring.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    This is the same department that tortured black men.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      For decades sadly.

      A good portion of the cases we read in law school that expanded the rights of Criminal Defendants and Civil Rights came because of actions of the Chicago Police Department. These cases went back to the 1940s.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      At least as far back as the 70s and 80s. Likewise, no suspects were Mirandized before 1965, and many were denied access to lawyers before 1963. Conflating this kind of behavior with the Guantanamo or the GWoT is, to put it mildly, fanciful.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Would making it a partisan issue result in it being fixed? Because, if it would, I would be more than happy to make it a partisan issue.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        It was a partisan issue already. The Dem’s were “soft on crime”, coddling the criminals and blaming poverty for all those no goodnicks until St. Ronnie and the R’s came in to get tough and say no to drugs. Limiting police power was a partisan issue and the cops and the fear mongers pretty much won.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Maybe we should get some Democrats in charge of Chicago, then?Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Somehow, “Zing!” doesn’t seem strong enough.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I know BSDI is the dominant paradigm. I’m no fan of the Rahminator. However history is a PITA. Dem’s fought and lost on the crime issue. R’s won. Who were R’s then in the 70’s and 80’s? The R’s won until there were few D’s left who could even get nominated on being all soft on crime. D’s could have used some good allies with power on the Right back then.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, if the Dems had no choice but to become Republicans, I guess they had no choice.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        The Dem’s became R’s? But they are socialist and communists! That is their problem, they are all three at the same time. I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out how the D’s are a pretty darn middle of the road group, not a left wing party and not even all that liberal, on many issues. That would seem to be a fruitful area of commenting someone should look into.

        But still, R’s and all the good rights lovin conservative folk won over the lefties. You aren’t’ suggesting it would have been better if the liberal wing of the D’s had won on that issue? It was a partisan issue and the conservatives won. I don’t see anybody arguing that point.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I don’t know that it’s fanciful. It’s hyperbole, to be sure: these people weren’t kept without charges, even after we knew they were innocent, for years in a maximum security military prison on an island in the Caribbean, so it’s not Gitmo. Hyperbole can be revealing, though, and in this case it’s certain to make people take notice, so I don’t mind it.

        (Also, seriously, Chicago’s PD has had problems like this since at least the 30s, exclusively under Democrats. This isn’t a case of both sides do it, this is very clearly a case of one side does it, and it ain’t got nothing to do with Reagan).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Maybe they should have become communists who didn’t wrongly imprison people.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It’s not a partisan issue. It’s a question of whether we still value the rights that the Warren Court invented, to the disgust of conservatives and libertarians alike.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I don’t know @greginak , saying that the Dems had to be tough on crime to stay in power tells me the Dems lost that messaging battle. Still, the Dems have kept a firm grip on Chicago politics for decades, with little risk. They’ve had time & power to make changes to the local criminal justice system & they’ve chosen not to.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Which Criminal Justice rights did Warren invent that bother libertarians? Or did you find some more straw to build men with?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I’ve never seen a libertarian pundit or publication have a good word to say about him. It’s always judicial tyranny and legislating from the bench.

        OK: one exception. It became a trope that he would have approved of Citizens United, which sounds too much like “Martin Luther King would have hated Affirmative Action” for me to take seriously.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Which Criminal Justice rights did Warren invent that bother libertarians?

        The right to live free of Japanese neighbors?

        Terry v. Ohio also enumerates a right that Libertarians aren’t cool with.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I don’t think Brown vs. Boards of Education was too popular at the time. I’m sure it’s grown on people.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @jaybird @mike-schilling

        Back to my original question (since the OP and the bulk of the discussion is in regard to criminal justice):

        Which Criminal Justice rights did Warren invent that bother libertarians?

        Terry v. Ohio does bother Libertarians, but that is not a question of invented rights of citizens, as it is expanded police powers.

        Brown v. Board is not a criminal justice issue, and at that, the decision prevents the state from establishing segregated schools by law, which is something libertarians would arguably support, even if the idea of state enforcement of diversity is problematic.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist Oh yeah the D’s lost the messaging war to the R’s in the 70’s and 80’s. Does that mean they lost every city and state; no of course not. But D’s who weren’t harder on crime couldn’t get elected in most places or even nominated. Parties are often pushed by the electorate, it isnt’ all just parties dictating things. The electorate wanted gov to be harder on crime so that is who they elected whether they were R or D. This led to far fewer D’s who were left in the party who were “soft on crime.” The D’s followed the people.

        Was it just D’s trying to “hold on to power”? Meh. D’s wanted to get their policies put in place, some of those were pushed to be harder on crime but some things were all the other D priorities: uni HC, pro-union stuff, etc. I think it is to easy for people who don’t feel alligned to a party to poo poo getting elected. Getting elected is how you get to do the stuff you think gov should do. Even if you think gov should do little you need to get elected to bend things in that direction.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Specifically. the rights from Miranda and Gideon. If you can find libertarian praise for those decisions at the time they were made, I’d like to see it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        If you can find libertarian praise for those decisions at the time they were made, I’d like to see it.

        Given the timelines, if you can find many libertarians as we’d recognize them today at the time of those decisions, I’d like to see them.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Is it relevant if I can find a bunch of Democrats who opposed the decisions of the Warren Court?

        Because if the point is that Republicans and Libertarians opposed them without regard to whether Democrats did, it’s kinda stacking the deck.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Political parties are messy things: lots of Southern Democrats had hated Warren since Brown vs. Board of Education, and were the main ones who wanted to impeach him. I wouldn’t call them liberals, even if they did support the New Deal. (As they should have; it did a lot for the rural South.)

        Are you saying that there were no libertarians 50 years ago that count as intellectual ancestors of today’s crop, or that they existed but had quite different views from today’s? If the former, when was it invented? If the latter, yes, I agree that libertarians, like conservatives, eventually accept some liberal accomplishments.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Are we allowed to beg the question? If we can beg the question, I’d say that Warren himself was obviously displaying libertarian sensibilities (if imperfectly).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Liberal sensibilities as well, and without risking anachronism.Report

      • I wouldn’t call them liberals, even if they did support the New Deal. (As they should have; it did a lot for the rural South.)

        ….unless you were a sharecropper kicked off your farm, or a farmhand or domestic servant who wanted FLSA protection, or a homeowner in land flooded by the TVA.Report

      • @mike-schilling

        Are you saying that there were no libertarians 50 years ago that count as intellectual ancestors of today’s crop, or that they existed but had quite different views from today’s? If the former, when was it invented? If the latter, yes, I agree that libertarians, like conservatives, eventually accept some liberal accomplishments.

        There are different ways to approach this question as well as your broader claim that “libertarians” hate the criminal justice decisions of the Warren Court.

        The first concerns what I quoted from you above. I wonder (and sincerely so, because I don’t know) what people like Hayek or Friedman thought of such decisions.

        The second is to acknowledge the anachronism (as you seem to in a subsequent comment). Perhaps anyone who could have plausibly been called a libertarian then would have found the criminal justice decisions to be beyond the pale or flatout overreach. I have my doubts, but for the sake of argument I’ll say they existed and were by far the only contemporary libertarians we need concern ourselves about. What about the people who call themselves libertarians today? Well, there are the Rand Pauls. I don’t really care much about what they think, even if they are the most numerically dominant and outspoken. But there are also the James Hanleys and the Mark Thompsons and the Jaybirds and the Jason Kuznickis and the D.A. Ridgely’s–I think that whatever criticisms they have of Warren Court overreach, the fact that the court applied the bill of rights against the states is not only not on their list of grievances, it’s probably one check in the “plus” column of that court’s legacy.

        The third way to approach the issue is to define libertarianism as “protecting individual autonomy against arbitrary state power.” That’s perhaps not the only definition, but it’s a definition that most libertarians would either claim to accept, or at least admit is a key feature of whatever definition they would agree to. In that sense, anyone who opposed, say, Miranda would not be a true Scotsman. And while that’s potentially a fallacy, it’s not wholly a fallacy. It’s possible for someone to believe in something and yet when challenged to pursue that belief to its logical ramifications that same someone refuses to get onboard. That may have been what happened in ca. 1950 to ca. 1970. (Or maybe not. I’d like to know, as I said, what people like Friedman or Hayek thought of the Court.)Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        we JUST got a liberal in charge of Pittsburgh. First one since Sophie.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        This might be a dumb question but was state overreach worse prior to the Warren Court decisions than it is today?

        I suppose we could add a “for whom?” zinger here but if we were to compare the demographics of the people regularly detained in the black site to those most afflicted prior to Warren, how would things stack up? (How good of a defense is “at least being made to stamp out license plates in prison is better than chattel slavery!”?)Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @jaybird, state over-reach was both better and worse before the Warren court. It was worse in that criminal suspects had their rights ignored in many times. Before Gideon, many states only gave criminal defendants court-appointed lawyers for felonies. Some only did it for capital crimes. Gideon made it clear that in all criminal cases, even for minor ones, criminal defendants get a court appointed lawyer if they can’t afford one. There was more routine violation of 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendment rights jus as there was more active censorship before the Warren Court really expanded the definition of these rights and elaborated on them.

        It was better because the lower level of technology meant that government had fewer physical tools at their disposal to make life hell for criminal defendants.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Gideon is an unfunded mandate against the states to provide a system of public defense. If the federal government is going to insist on something like that, it should pay for it. Of course, that sort of program needs to originate in the legislature, not the courts. But an even better solution is private legal aid societies. If the American people consider it important for the indigent to have legal representation, they’re capable of voting for that with their dollars, in a way that will be both more efficient and more effective than a government program.

        Miranda is micromanaging of police procedure. Surely the states are in a better position to define the procedures that work for them than a one-size-fits-all federal definition.

        And if these sound far-fetched, read the Cate amicus brief for the plaintiffs in Shelby County. All about overreach, and not a word about the amount o disenfranchisement actually prevent by pre-clearance.Report

      • Avatar Citizen says:

        “protecting individual autonomy against arbitrary state power.”

        That’s pretty good. I can’t claim to be libertarian as I chart beyond that camp.

        IMO there is currently a problem with current liberalism in that it manifests the power to enforce egalitarinism through state power and rule by law.

        It’s almost odd to hear a liberal chide a libertarian about what some court decision was or what state power is, or some flavor of rule by law, as these folks are the few that push back against the most of it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’d kinda like to know what the numbers are for public defenders vs. paid ones.

        My suspicion is that public defenders are… well, let’s say that there are probably some true believers in the mix that make everybody feel better about the ones that aren’t true believers.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I mean if we give a defendant a crappy lawyer who pleas him into a crappy deal that he doesn’t understand and then say “We’ve met our effing obligation” and then when a Libertarian says something like “I’m not sure that I’m that big of a fan of Gideon if all it does is provide a rubber stamp to what the government was going to do anyway”, we can yell about how Libertarians oppose the original goals of Gideon.

        Can we try giving the cops fewer reasons to take people to black sites for a while?Report

      • @mike-schilling I think you need a citation to support that there was/is criticism of those decisions from libertarian circles at the time, or at the very least current libertarian publications claiming that the Warren Court’s civil liberties decisions were inappropriate legislating from the bench. I just looked through Reason’s archives and I couldn’t find a single criticism of the Warren Court, or even Earl Warren, save an oblique reference to his role in internment, which reference was not made in the context of a discussion of his later decisions on the Supreme Court.

        There’s also a reference to the Warren Court in this article: http://reason.com/archives/2014/12/11/when-judicial-activists-switch

        But it seems to me that the reference there is an indication of praise for Warren, seeing as it’s contrasting him favorably with Robert Bork and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Yes, it indicates that the Warren Court was activist, but the author is someone who thinks that judicial activism is a good thing (and it is!), particularly when it comes to protecting individual liberty.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @mike-schilling Well, I’ve said more than once that I have a lot of ideological sympathy for what I understand the libertarian gestalt of today to look like (inasmuch as there IS one libertarian gestalt – libertarian thought is sharply divided on some issues, and on other issues seems to offer little useful standalone guidance at all), and funding public defenders seems like it’d be considered a win-win from what I can see.

        Defending individuals from State power, while making the State pay for it (though of course we all pay for that, but hey…government should be for our “collective defense”, perhaps ESPECIALLY *from* government) seems consistent with supporting the individual vs. the state, plus it diverts some State funds/resources to public defenders and away from more aggressive activities it could be engaging in with those same tax dollars. Set The Beast against itself, you know?

        And all I meant was, yeah, sure there were a handful of ancestors prior to the founding of the Libertarian Party in 1971.

        But, well, there weren’t all that many of them (even fewer than today!), they had little public visibility/influence (even less than today!), they had limited venues to promote their views (even more limited than today!), and little mass amplification of those views by the media of the day (even less than today!); so it seems to me like kind of a lame “gotcha” to complain that you can’t find much from them supporting this or that initiative taken by one of the major political movements of fifty years ago.

        Maybe they were spending their extremely-miniscule resources elsewhere. Maybe somebody wrote a supportive paper in some lonely mimeograph that’s long lost to history. Who knows?

        More importantly, why would it matter that one can’t find a fifty-year-old libertarian “+1”, unless one is attempting to conflate conservatives and libertarians today?

        If you have something showing libertarians (then, or now) coming out AGAINST Mirandizing suspects or funding Public Defenders, then I’d agree *that’s* interesting, but otherwise…eh.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Political parties are messy things: lots of Southern Democrats had hated Warren since Brown vs. Board of Education, and were the main ones who wanted to impeach him. I wouldn’t call them liberals, even if they did support the New Deal.

        That is quite the convenient definition of liberal.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        liberal at the time included quite a few republicans. so there is that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It was the standard definition, at least by the 1950s: “liberal” meant liberal on race, and included northern Democrats like Humbert Humphrey but not southerners like Richard Russell. And there were liberal Republicans in those days too, like Rockefeller and Javits.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    This isn’t Guantanamo sneaking into the U.S, this is traditional American police practice. Holding a suspect for 24 without charging him isn’t unusual, nor is manipulating the system to prevent him from calling a lawyer. This is just the rougher and more explicit version of it.Report

  10. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Ackerman already won a Pulitzer for his membership on one of the large teams that worked on the Snowden disclosures. That’s obviously a fairly widely-shared honor, facilitated as much by the leaker as by classic investigative reporting.

    I’m sure there’s a big team behind Ackerman on this, but it’s his byline alone, and it’s the epitome of investigative journalism as ideally conceived. I will be shocked and mystified if he doesn’t win a more individually-focused Pulitzer for this story. I don’t know how you beat this for investigative journalism in the U.S.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I’m curious what sorts of people were singled out for this sort of treatment. Ackerman’s main witness was white, as were his buddies, though they were also leftist troublemakers.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Chicago has the best organized anti-police brutality movement in the U.S., from what I can tell. They’ve even made the UN interested in what cops are doing there, but the power structure is so deeply entrenched there that they have barely made a dent so far. Any extra attention they can get can only help.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        This wasn’t supposed to be a reply to Mike, but whatever.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        As I understand it, Chicago is a place where old-school Ward politics still carries the day and people who get into positions do so by proving they have lived in the Ward since the day they were born and been active at the Ward office since they were 14.

        There are exceptions but those are still exceptions.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        It is true that Chicago’s politics are still ward-based, but I hadn’t heard about the other stuff. Where did you hear it?

        I imagine that, given the redrawing of the wards that had occurred so frequently, demanding proof that someone prove they were born in a ward would be problematic.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        As I understand it, Chicago is a place where old-school Ward politics still carries the day and people who get into positions do so by proving they have lived in the Ward since the day they were born and been active at the Ward office since they were 14.

        There are exceptions but those are still exceptions.

        I think @chris has it right in his comment. Ward re-drawing sometimes becomes a lot like gerrymandering. The 2nd ward, for example, was redrawn to look like the miniature of any awkwardly gerrymandered Congressional seat and almost everyone believes it was done to punish Fioretti, who was critical of the Emmanuel administration.

        And I’ll add this: at least since the Shakman decrees, the power of being a ward boss (and a mayor and a chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party) has declined. The upshot is that the stakes are lower when it comes to ward politics, the stakes are lower, and gate-keep against “outsiders” is harder and less important. Combine that with demographic changes from the last 30 years, many of the old-style neighborhoods have gentrified or are in the process of gentrifying (Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village, Old Town, Logan Square, Lincoln Square, and even old standbys like Bridgeport). That means, among other things, that it is less and less important to have been born in the ward.

        I will admit that even though ward power has declined, it still is something to be reckoned with. And it’s probably the case that a native son or daughter has a better chance to get elected than someone from outside the ward, but it’s not a given that someone born in a different neighborhood can’t win.Report

      • (Also, it’s not lost on me that most of the neighborhoods I mentioned are historically “white ethnic” and on the north side. The dynamics might very well be different on the south side. Or not. I’m just acknowledging I should be wary of generalizing overmuch.)Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Greg does raise a somewhat interesting issue insofar as attempts to reform this will get counter-arguments of the form “But! Crime!” and the whole “we shouldn’t keep people in black sites without trial” discussion will get derailed by “we need to be tough on crime!” counter-arguments.

    You’d think that just pointing out bullshit like the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence would be somewhat useful here… but it’s nowhere near as useful as you’d think it should be.Report

  13. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    I can see every reason in the world to be concerned about police excesses, but, having now read through the article a second time, I find the comparison to “black sites” exaggerated and sensationalistic. Did someone notice an incident where a detainee was held incommunicado for longer than “hours”? Apparently, there was some rough treatment of at least one detainee, and possibly mysterious (possibly adequately explained) circumstances around the death of another, but most or all of the other alleged violations are of the PD’s own policies or directives, not of the Constitution of the US of A or even of statutory law. The report is also obviously a mostly one-sided, which isn’t to say it’s not a worthwhile piece that might point to something important. I think – or thought – we were all aware of vastly more problematic aspects of the American penal system.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      …most or all of the other alleged violations are of the PD’s own policies or directives, not of the Constitution of the US of A or even of statutory law.

      Well… if I were to forcefully detain you, transport you to an unknown location, deny knowledge of said detention and transport for up to twenty-four hours, chain you to a bench, beat you up, and then finally release you, I’m pretty sure I would be facing some fairly serious charges starting with kidnapping.

      Due process under the law is what makes what police do, when they’re doing it right, legal, and due process is precisely what is being denied citizens in this facility.

      So yeah, I’m pretty sure something wrong is being done here.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        @road-scholar “pretty sure something wrong is being done” is a statement applicable to every “here” occupied by every human being in existence. As for the particular allegations in this article – and the article, responsibly, uses the word “allegation” – there is, as I said, one specific allegation of cruel treatment, the man being left for 17 hours in uncomfortable restraints, and then one other of an individual who died in custody, but whose cause of death is not attributed to police conduct. Other than that, there are general allegations that probably apply to every large police station in the US, possibly the world, not to say anything of prisons and other detention facilities. I am not sure that there is a single universal 24-hour limit on “due process,” but perhaps one of the several hundred lawyers who frequent this site can update us all on the history and contemporary legal meaning of the term.

        In any event, I have not defended anything done or alleged to have been done at this facility. I have questioned the comparison to so-called “black sites,” and have questioned the tendency to reach conclusions about the particular matters on the basis of one one-sided report in the Guardian.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “I’m pretty sure something wrong is being done here.”

        That’s the attitude that got people in the black site in the first place.Report

  14. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I have a question for the legal-eagles amongst us. Reading thru the Ackerman piece, it hit me that the CPD “black site” usually holds people for less than 24 hours. That got me athinkin about how long cops can detain without charging. Which got me to awonderin whether this so-called “black site” isn’t just a venue to take folks who they really wannt put the screws to (metaphorically speaking) because they think some dastardly Dudley-Doings are afoot, and they don’t want a paper trail demonstrating cops crackin some skulls (metaphor, again) to break a big case. Or, you know, the type of conspiratorial shit that some cops get really fired up about.

    So, the question: forgetting for a minute the alleged beatings and whatnot, is a “black site” actually illegal insofar as it’s used as tank for holding folks without charging them?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:


      Although arrestees cannot be held without formal charges for an unreasonable amount of time, the Constitution does not spell out what this time is. Instead, these are typically set forth by state law, and the time period differs from state to state.

      As a general rule, however, if you are placed in custody, your “speedy trial” rights typically require the prosecutor to decide within 72 hours which charges, if any, will be filed. Many states adhere to this 72-hour limit.

      The U.S. Supreme Court explains that this protects defendants from serving lengthy jail times before a conviction. Speedy trial rights also lessen the time that the accused must endure the anxiety and publicity of an impending trial, and minimize the damage that delay might cause to the person’s ability to present a defense.

      – See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/how-long-may-police-hold-suspects-before-charges-must-be-filed.html#sthash.iKKxdiYF.dpufReport

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        I guess what I’m wondering is whether a site like this is sorta the inversion of the normal understanding of the “can’t hold for an unreasonable time” provision. Instead of viewing it as a constraint, the CPD is viewing it as an opportunity. So they created a “black site” where the “normal” understanding of process doesn’t apply while still being quote-unquote legal.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        Well, gee, Stil, of course they view it as an “opportunity.” Oddly enough, many cops consider it their jobs to catch criminals and punish them.


      • Avatar Citizen says:

        As long as your name isn’t Andrea Salsedo at 15 Park Row at 4:20 in the morning everything is peachy.

        I guess sometimes a speedy trial approaches terminal velocity.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “Oddly enough, many cops consider it their jobs to catch criminals and punish them.”

        Which is the problem, because it isn’t their job to punish criminals. That’s what the correctional system is for, and that doesn’t happen until after the accused has been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Like I said earlier, we’re telling cops that they’re Judge Dredd and then getting upset when they act like it.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I would want to know what happens at this place if they request an attorney, and what kind of supervision and record keeping do they have there.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Yeah, right. So: do cops have the legal authority to detain and deny a request for an attorney? The way I’ve always understood it is that person charged with a crime has the right to an attorney and so on. But what if the cops are just holding you? Is it illegal for them to deny you the right to an attorney if you haven’t been charged with anything? I mean, they have the right to hold without charges, yes?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @stillwater as long as a person is in detention, meaning not free to get up and go, they have a right to an attorney. It does not matter if they are charged or not.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        Thanks for clearing that up. Nothing bothers me more than facts getting in the way of a perfectly good theory.

        I’m still clinging to the notion that the CPD was inverting the 24 hour rule to set up shop outside “the norm” to drag the nets deeper on their tolling expeditions. Nothing less than FACTS will shake my commitment to that view!Report

  15. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


    I guess my true objection is that while the Dems obviously lost the messaging battle of Hard/Soft on Crime back in the 70’s/80’s, I haven’t seen a lot of action on the party’s part to regroup & re-engage on that front. As a matter of fact, Rand Paul seems to be the biggest firebrand for CJ reform, and while he is attracting some Dems to his cause, overall the Dems don’t seem interested in finding a way to work with him, and in many cases are doubling down on being tough on crime.

    I can understand once bitten, twice shy, but the tides of public opinion are turning, this is an area where the Dems should show some leadership & some intelligence with regard to the messaging & win this.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      @mad-rocket-scientist It is true that the D’s haven’t pushed hard for CJ reform in many years. Sadly true. Rand is the biggest name in the R’s AND that also gets press action for pushing for CJ reform. All or almost all “his” bills have D co-sponsors so it seems like they are just as much D bills as Rand bills.

      Rand gets the headline media but D’s are right there next to him. There has also been plenty of under the radar D’s or liberal types pushing for CJ reform. They either don’t get press or haven’t been able to make much noise at the national level. CJ reform is only a minor issue in the wide spectrum of D issues and definitely not one the national party is putting much into. But it has been a continuing belief in a subset of the D’s and in liberals. I’m glad to see an ally like Rand and i hope he gets some movement but D’s have been there for a while. Not as much as i would like but they have been there.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that there weren’t Dems fighting the good fight, and Rand does always find somebody on the other side of the aisle to team up with. I was being critical of the party as a whole and especially it’s key players, the heavy hitters, who are happy to talk the talk, but always seem to find a reason to not actually do anything about it.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:


      Given history, inertia and politics-as-usual, I don’t criticize Demism, or liberalism, for failing to make this a political issue. It’s just not on most people’s radar, so ascribing fault to them doesn’t make much sense to me. Personally, I think change is gonna come, but only because of non-partisan, non-political, grass-rootsy changes in people’s views on this. Once enough folks are not only aware of how effed up our CJ system is but sufficiently POd about it, politicians will be pandering all over em in a big ole goopy mess.Report