Tuesday, July 7, 2009

taking the police at their word

Confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination begin next week, and I wanted to share an article on the Obama nominee's powers of persuasion in a previous ruling that hinges on her taking the police at their word, then asks how broad are the grounds for arrest; Sotomayor's ruling nullified the decision of a jury that saw a process rife with police abuse of power:

A semi-truck breaks down on an expressway, with about 4 feet of the trailer jutting out into the right-hand lane. Worried about causing an accident, the truck driver runs almost a mile to the nearest gas station, which has a payphone with an extra long cord attached to the receiver that, at the time, was being used by a man sitting inside his car.

The truck driver claims he ran up and told the man there was an emergency because his truck was jutting out onto the expressway. The man told him to find another phone. The truck driver repeats it's an emergency, the man swears at the truck driver, the truck driver hangs up the phone, and soon the man in the car (who turns out to be an off-duty police officer) has a gun pointed at the back of the truck driver's head. Eventually another officer formally arrests the truck driver.

The man in the car claims he was asked for the phone by the truck driver, but there was never any mention of an emergency, and that the truck driver hit him in the face with the receiver, at which point the off-duty police officer pulled out his gun, and made the arrest.

Reference: http://www.slate.com/id/2219251/pagenum/all/

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