Qaanol wrote:All right, so we have a serious and widespread problem where the people who are tasked with carrying out and upholding the law, can and do frequently violate the highest law in the land, with no penalties levied against them.
First: federal law is not the highest law in the land. The Constitution is. Local Law can and does contradict federal law. (See the smoking of Pot in Colorado). Still illegal on a federal level, but the States can contradict the federal law.
As for the prosecutor... the Attorney General AND
Police Chief are often both available for election. If not, then your state legislature / county council are available for election. Lets take Bob McCulloch for example, the prosecutor in the Ferguson case. He was elected 6 times in a row by wide margins. He's been serving as St. Louis prosecutor since 1991. By the very definition of our political system, the people love him. Chances are however, the people of St. Louis County don't even understand their own political system.
The Ferguson Police Chief is not an elected position however. But I don't think elections would solve the core issue. Personally speaking, small police departments just seem like they're too small to really be an effective trained force. Sensitivity training is something that scales, police departments need a wide base to learn from their mistakes. Some consolidation of our 50,000+ police departments would probably be a good thing. Obviously, this should be up to the individual cities / states to decide how to govern themselves.
In the US, towns can have police "departments" as small as a single elected Town Marshall... or departments as large as New York City's 40,000+ strong NYPD.
My approach to situations like this is a good old-fashioned brainstorming session:
What does a solution to the problem look like?
How can we make it happen?
I dunno, maybe people can pay attention to their local rulers, and throw them out when they don't like em. Lets see if Bob McCulloch gets reelected to Prosecuting Attorney again next year.
If a town wishes to pay them, they can also set up Citizen Review Boards, with explicit powers over police officers. In New York City, the CCRB
officially hears about cases against Police Officers. They hold the power to subpena individual officers and prosecute them. They're just a phone-call away in the city, with "311". Wikipedia Link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_ ... view_Board
Such boards are overkill for most towns. I mean, if a single Town Marshall (or maybe one of the 5 Sheriff Deputies) is misbehaving, the people can just elect a new Marshall or Sheriff. Civilian Complain Boards can only happen in larger police departments, which is one of the arguments I have for consolidation.
I mean, its a known fact that our democracy only works if the voters are paying attention. So the job is to make sure that people are paying attention. Unless you've got an idea for a better system, democracy is what we've got.
Every time I hear about a trial where the defendant shows that certain evidence was gathered in opposition to the 4th amendment, all that happens is the evidence can’t be used in that trial. I never hear about the police officers who unconstitutionally gathered the evidence being prosecuted for violating the constitution.
While uncomfortable, unconstitutionally gathered evidence holds no value in Court. The Attorney General / County Prosecutor has to defend every piece of evidence in the preliminary parts of a trial. If a specific piece of evidence is deemed illegal, then the jury is not allowed to be shown that evidence EVEN IF
the evidence were true or central to the case. See Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
and the Exclusionary Rule
Of course, Judges themselves are often elected positions at the city / county / state level. Judges in the Federal System are appointed by the President and approved by Congress.
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