One In 25 Americans Was Arrested In 2011

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One In 25 Americans Was Arrested In 2011

Postby Brandon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:17 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/one-in-25-americans-was-a_n_3720526.html?utm_hp_ref=the-agitator

One In 25 Americans Was Arrested In 2011

By Radley Balko

We've heard a lot of talk lately about mass incarceration, the stop-and-frisk policies in New York, reforming the drug laws, and mandatory minimum sentencing. There's also been discussion about over-criminalization -- that we have too many laws, too broadly enforced -- from groups as ideologically diverse as the Heritage Foundation, the ACLU, the Cato Institute, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

But here's a related statistic that's pretty mind blowing in and of itself: According to the FBI, in 2011 there were 3991.1 arrests for every 100,000 people living in America. That means over the course of a single year, one in 25 Americans was arrested.

The FBI also reports that the arrest rate for violent crime was just 172 per 100,000, and for property crimes, it was 531. That means that in 2011, one in 33 Americans were arrested for crimes that didn't involve violence against another person, or theft of or damage to property. More people were arrested for drug crimes than any other class of crimes -- about one in every 207 of us. One in every 258 of us was arrested for drunk driving. The FBI doesn't keep track, but presumably the remaining arrests were for crimes like prostitution, vandalism, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and other consensual crimes and relatively minor offenses.

One major allegation levied against the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy is that it comes with quotas encourages false arrests, with new allegations surfacing just last month. (Worse yet, tricks people into committing crimes they wouldn't have otherwise committed.) But it isn't just New York. There have been recent allegations of systematic false arrests among police departments in Florida, Utah, and Newark.

Arrests can be damaging, even if they never result in criminal charges. They generally go on your criminal record, which can be checked each time you apply for a job, housing, or credit. An arrest can also be a barrier to your ability to adopt, obtain some types of professional licenses, and obtain a visa or passport. And of course an arrest also comes with some social stigma.

Suing for damages from a false arrest is extremely difficult. It's tough to even get in front of a jury, much less actually win a favorable verdict. Even then, litigation can take years, assuming you can find an attorney to take your case. Even police who make clearly illegal arrests -- such as arresting people who attempt to record the officers in public -- are rarely held accountable. As with other areas of the criminal justice system, all of the push is in a punitive direction. There are lots of reasons and incentives for cops to make lots of arrests, and very little in the way of consequences for making too many, or for arresting someone without cause.

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Re: One In 25 Americans Was Arrested In 2011

Postby Brandon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:25 pm

Bottom line? You should probably avoid these uncivil servants the best you can, but be advised, running from them is also a crime.. damned if you do, damned if you don't.

http://www.jaxobserver.com/2009/12/18/court-just-running-from-the-cops-is-a-crime/

Court: Just Running from the Police is a Crime
Posted by News Service of Florida • December 18, 2009

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT - Simply running away from police in a high crime area is enough to land you in jail, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday in an opinion that even members of the majority found troubling and potentially discriminatory.

But asked to resolve a discrepancy between two appellate opinions, the state’s highest court, by a 5-1 vote, ruled that it was bound by state law and a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court precedent saying essentially that, even if adhering to both could result in the arrest of a person who had done nothing wrong.

The Florida Supreme Court was asked to resolve conflicting lower court rulings over whether the simple act of running away from police constitutes resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, in certain circumstances. The Second District Court of Appeal said yes. The Third District Court of Appeal came to the opposite conclusion, saying that if a suspect bolts – but officers didn’t have a legitimate reason to stop the person in the first place – then no new crime was committed.

But the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 ruling in Illinois v. Wardlow said that simply running away from police in a high-crime area does constitute probable cause for an arrest. And Florida law clearly makes it an offense to resist arrests from officers engaged in legal duty. The Florida court’s majority said it was forced to conclude that in high crime areas, it has to be illegal to run from the police.

“This Court is obligated to apply the law as written by the Legislature and to follow the Fourth Amendment precedent laid out by the United States Supreme Court, even if we question the wisdom of that precedent or the public policy behind the law,” the majority said Thursday. “…Whether or not the (U.S.) Supreme Court … considered that one possible effect would be to further criminalize otherwise innocent behavior is not for us to decide.”

Four of six judges who ruled on the case asked the Legislature to step in and clarify the law.

But in a dissenting opinion, one justice went further, saying the ruling sets a clear double standard: Running away from police in a “nice neighborhood” is OK, but high-tailing it in a poor, crime ridden neighborhood is not.

“I cannot believe that we as a society have come to the point where we are willing to make criminals of people, especially our young people, based on where they live,” Justice Peggy Quince wrote in dissent.

Though concurring with the majority, Justice Barbara Pariente issued a separate opinion to which two other justices signed on. Citing studies that juveniles living in high crime areas are more likely to distrust police, Pariente said the ruling opens the door for abuse based solely on circumstances of residence.

“I strongly urge the Legislature to act to prevent the potential for disparate and unnecessary criminalization of otherwise innocent conduct that ultimately impacts those who live in high-crime areas differently than those who do not,” Pariente said.

The Florida case is C.E.L. v. State of Florida.
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