LA’S INSPECTOR GENERAL PRAISES LASD ON PUBLICLY SHARING DATA ON OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS
The LA County Sheriff’s Department now shares detailed information on deputy-involved shootings as part of the department’s online data sharing project.
At the end of 2014, the Inspector General issued a report that pointed to other law enforcement agencies’ comprehensive public data sharing practices and recommended that the LASD follow suit by including data on officer-involved shootings, use-of-force, complaints, and discipline.
In a letter and follow-up report to the LA County Board of Supervisors this week, Inspector General Max Huntsman, who has been pushing hard for increased transparency, praised the sheriff’s department for initiating the first stage of public data sharing—shooting statistics dating back to 2010.
Statistics for shooting incidents include: hit shootings (where someone is injured or killed), non-hit shootings, unintentional discharges, warning shots, animal shootings, and more.
The website also includes suspect information for shootings including incident date and location, suspect’s age, race, mental health concerns, criminal history, whether the suspect was wounded or killed, on probation or parole, under the influence, the number of involved deputies, and the weapon involved.
Deputy details for shootings include gender, race, age, years of on the force, assigned unit, number of previous shootings, district attorney action, whether force and tactics were within policy and whether the deputy received training or discipline.
Huntsman’s report also has a few recommendations for improving the data sharing website, including sharing a summary of the circumstances of each shooting, and making the interface more user-friendly.
“The Inspector General thanks the Sheriff for his enthusiastic implementation of this important step toward open policing,” the letter reads. “The OIG looks forward to observing the public data sharing website grow and evolve to fulfill its potential.”
HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG TO KNOWINGLY WAIVE YOUR RIGHTS? A 10-YEAR-OLD’S CASE HEATS UP THE DEBATE
Ten-year-old Joseph was convicted of fatally shooting his abusive neo-Nazi father while he slept. Joseph said that his father had threatened to burn down the house and kill the family.
While a majority of the California Supreme Court Justices declined to review Joseph’s murder case, the two dissenting justices called for guidelines to be established for interrogating kids, who are more likely to talk to detectives without a lawyer present than adults, and far more likely to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. It was reportedly the first time the court upheld a confession of a juvenile as young as 10 years old, and the case will likely set a precedent for future cases. More than 600 kids under the age of 12 were arrested for felony offenses in 2011, the year Joseph killed his father.
Because Joseph’s case has the potential to affect other young children’s cases, it has pointed a spotlight on the debate about whether kids who are suspected of crimes understand the consequences of waiving their miranda rights.
When a detective asked Joseph if he understood his miranda rights, he told the detective, “That means I have the right to stay calm.” After a more in-depth explanation from the detective, Joseph waived his miranda rights.
On KCRW’s Which Way LA?, host Warren Olney discusses the complex issue with the LA Times’ legal affairs writer, Maura Dolan, as well as the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation’s Kent Scheidegger, and the Juvenile Law Center’s Marsha Levick.
Scheidegger said that the high court’s decision was correct, because the boy spontaneously confessed before any questioning began.
Levick disagreed, saying, “It’s not just a question of whether or not one can be compelled to make statements, it’s whether or not the statements were knowing…it’s simply inconceivable to imagine that a 10-year-old could knowingly waive his rights under miranda.”
“There’s a significant amount of research that has shown that children below the age of 15—the vast majority of them—don’t understand the miranda rights, continued Levick. “They don’t understand what they mean, and they don’t understand the consequences of waiving those rights—which means even the long-term consequences of being convicted, of being sentenced, of what lies ahead.
The Times’ Maura Dolan has more on the issue. Here’s a clip:
“With many adolescents, the most important thing is what is going to happen to them in the next half hour,” said University of Massachusetts emeritus medical professor Thomas Grisso. “Can they go home? Adults are much more likely to consider the longer-term consequences.”
“Consideration of special safeguards for young children need not await judicial action,” Justice Goodwin Liu, joined by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, wrote in a dissent. “Many states have found the issue worthy of legislative attention.” Justice Leondra Kruger also wanted to review the case but did not sign Liu’s dissent.
Liu noted that 613 kids under the age of 12 were arrested for felonies in 2011, the year Joseph killed his father. More than 500 minors in that age group were arrested for felonies in 2012, nearly 450 in 2013 and 281 in 2014, Liu said.
“The proper application of Miranda to children in Joseph’s age range likely affects hundreds of cases each year, even though few such cases result in a trial and appeal,” Liu wrote.
LASD DEPUTIES’ HEROIC RESCUE OF INFANT BURIED ALIVE
After two sisters called 911 when they heard a baby’s muffled crying, LA County Sheriff’s Deputies Adam Collette and David Perry found and rescued the infant, who had been buried alive in a hole along a bike path in Compton.
Doctors said the baby, whose face was covered with loose dirt, might not have survived through the night, if Collette and Perry had not found her.
The Associated Press’ Robert Jablon has the story. Here’s a clip:
He pried up two large pieces of asphalt, dug out loose dirt and plucked the newborn girl from the hole along a bike path, cradling her in his arms.
“I think the baby had a sigh of relief, and so did I,” Collette said Monday. “We kind of felt each other like, ‘Hey, everything’s going to be OK.”
The girl, estimated to be 24 to 36 hours old when she was found Friday, was healthy and in stable condition at a hospital.
“I think the baby definitely had a touch of God that day,” Collette said at a news conference.
Authorities urged the unknown mother to come forward in case she needs medical attention and also put out a call for people who might want to provide a foster home for the baby.
Two sisters walking on the bike path near a riverbed in suburban Compton heard the child’s cries Friday afternoon, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
“My sister said, ‘Can you hear a baby crying?’ And I said no, I don’t know,” Angelica Blount told KCBS-TV. “That might be a cat. And she said, ‘No, that is a baby.'”
The hole, in the pavement at the base of a fence, was filled with loose dirt, vegetation and pieces of asphalt. Collette and his partner knelt and began removing the asphalt chunks.
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