Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Systematic Injustice

The city of Costa Mesa will pay a six-figure settlement to a man who claimed a police officer planted drugs on him, resulting in an arrest and a guilty plea in court.

California has a "Three Strikes" law where a minor drug charge can effectively send somebody to prison for life.Though I believe that most cops are honest, I do know through personal experience that some of them have a tendency to not be. In this case, we have a clear situation where the cop was crooked.
Months after pleading guilty, the former Costa Mesa resident said he learned the substance was not cocaine after all. Timothy Slappy succeeded in having the conviction sealed and removed from his criminal record and, in March 2011, filed a lawsuit against the city, asking for $1 million.
And it seems that those who run the departments, such as District Attorneys are corrupt as well.
In the federal suit, lawyers representing Slappy claimed the officer planted the substance during the search, and that laboratory results that would have exonerated Slappy were kept hidden from him while he made his plea deal.
So, we have a D.A. who knew his evidence was fraudulent and still bullied an innocent man into a guilty plea.
Eventually, justice would prevail in this case. Who knows how many others might be living with convictions when we know how this case occurred.
It was in spring of 2010 that Slappy was called to Harbor Court in Newport Beach, where he said he was subpoenaed for a hearing regarding Harris and several complaints that had been filed against him.According to the suit, it was there that Slappy was told by Costa Mesa detectives that the evidence found on him was not rock cocaine.

Now, here is my bitch:Why was it necessary for the aggrieved to petition the courts that his conviction be expunged? Shouldn't that have been automatic? You'd think so, anyway.

The public needs to be notified as to the fate of Officer Harris, whatever punishment or discipline was administered... and to the D.A. and prosecutor as well.

No less than three people in a position of public trust need to face criminal charges in this matter, and at least two of them should be looking at serious jail time.

This story of what has happened here in Orange County and likely happens in several places across the country should be national news. In my opinion, it's more important to our notions of decency, justice and rights under the law than four Marines taking a piss.


Brian said...

But it is all totally worth it to keep people from getting high. THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Bike Bubba said...

In the book of Deuteronomy, the penalty for perjury is the perjurer suffers the punishment he sought to inflict.

Would love to see that imposed on the Chicago area cops who got 13 innocents put on death row.....and Costa Mesa's finest.

Mr. D said...

Really good post, Gino. When law enforcement is corrupt, trust evaporates and freedom does too. And we face that sort of thing all too often.

Brian said...

Corrupt law enforcement is an entirely predictable consequence of a criminal code that makes a very large portion of the population "criminals".