Criminal Justice

Justice Clarence Thomas

When deciding on a judge, there only seemed to be one choice and that was Justice Clarence Thomas. Currently, Justice Thomas is the only African American Justice on the United States Supreme court, and in a day that cries and demands for diversity, appeared to be an intriguing fact. How does he rule his decisions and state his opinions? Is there a recollection of his past youth experiences where he was a victim of racism or does he carry a modern conservative view point? Various articles refer to him as a seriously conservative perspective among the Justices.

Justice Thomas was born as one three siblings in Pin Point, Georgia, a community founded by the freed slaves, and thusly was a majority of African American members (Supreme Court Review).  Thomas described Pin Point as smaller than a town and that many necessities weren’t easily accessible. For example, because doctors were so scarce, that when one become sick, they are sick until their death (Supreme Court Review). During his childhood, the family faced several challenges including the abandonment of his father and becoming homeless due to a home fire (Supreme Court Review). Eventually, he and his siblings went to live with their grandparent where they “experienced indoor plumbing and regular meals for the first time” and began attending the Roman Catholic Church (Supreme Court Review).

Justice Thomas credits all of his work ethic, self reliance and educational achievement to his grandfather who own and managed a “fuel and ice delivery business” (Supreme Court).  Upon high school graduation, Justice Thomas pursued priesthood at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, where he was the only black student and faced forms of racism (Supreme Court Review).  From there he ventured off to Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri and then College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where racism would continue to appear, which lead Justice Thomas to help found the Black Students Union (Supreme Court Review).

During all of this, he questioned the church’s passive view for civil rights (Ovyez). It made no sense that the one institution designed to address the needs of communities, remained silent on such important issues. It wasn’t until the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  in 1968 where he would drop his studies of priesthood  (ovyez).

It was from this point, his major changed to English Literature and his passion for civil right directed him towards working in law (Ovyez).  He engaged in many political causes and activities including a protest against the war in Vietnam (Biography, 2016). Thomas confessed that he was impacted by aspects of both Malcolm X and the Black Panthers (Cummings, 2005). The irony is that Thomas would’ve likely been drafted to Vietnam if he hadn’t failed a medical examination “due to curvature of the spine” (Supreme Court Review).

Once he graduated from Holy Cross, Thomas ventured off to Yale Law School. There he graduated as middle ground student as well as became a father (Supreme Court Review).  After his law school graduation, he applied and was interviews at various law firms with no success; many of these firm trusted that Thomas only made it into law school based on affirmative action and not on his own merit (Supreme Court Review).

It was the difficulty of the finding employment which  lead  Thomas to his distain towards affirmative action (Oyez).  Cummings (2005) in his paper, “The Sun Don’t Shine Here in This Part of Town”, references that affirmative action can been seen as “reverse racism.” Justice Thomas, concerning the case of  Grutter v. Bollinger, compares affirmative action as a form of racial discrimination. Reason being is that rather than accepting students for their merits schools, in a hope to achieve greater diversity, use affirmative action to generate that diversity (Cummings, 2005). As a response to his own criticism of school’s use of affirmative action, he suggested that schools lower their standard in order to achieve the desired diversity (Cummings, 2005).

Thomas later regretted attending Yale due to the affirmative action allegations and in biography; he stated he felt that he was granted a discount degree for his skin color (Supreme Court Review).  Eventually Thomas returned to Missouri and began working for Attorney General John Danforth, prosecuting both “criminal and civil cases for the state of Missouri” (Supreme Court Review).  In regards to his position there, he referred to it as the best job he ever acquired (Supreme Court Review).  When Danforth became a senator, Thomas went on to be an attorney for Monsanto, an agricultural and pesticide corporation for several years (Biography, 2016).

After leaving Monsanto, Thomas moved to Washington DC where Senator Danforth offered Thomas to be his legislative aid regarding energy issues (Supreme Court Review).  While in Washington D.C., Thomas served as Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education and was even appointed by President Reagan as the Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Oyez).  After the eight years as Chairman of the EEOC, Thomas was nominated by President Bush in 1989 for a seat in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Biography, 2015). This was Thomas’ only time as a judge prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Bush in 1991 (Supreme Court Review).

Justice Thomas was immediately greeted with criticism and negative feedback regarding his appointment to the court. A major factor to the criticism concerns his predecessor, Thurgood Marshall whom was the first African American judge and a polar opposite ofThomas (Doyle, 2015). Thomas brought a strong conservative perspective  to the court replacing the “liberal giant and trailblazer”, and many in the African American Community believed he had not connection with them, going as far to discredit his ethnic pride (Doyle, 2015).

Famous Civil Rights Activists Jesse Jackson referred to Justice Thomas as a betrayal to the heritage of the struggle of civil rights, and Representative Major Owens went as far as making a comparison to Benedict Arnold (Sigelman & Todd, 1992).  Other criticisms sound as if from the mouth of a 3rd grader. For example, some say “Thomas is lazy” due to his lack of questions during the course of oral argument (Doyal, 2015).

The strong conservative values are an easy target by liberal opposers concerning Justice Thomas. He has expressed of possessing libertarian values in addition to his conservatism (Sigelman and Todd, 2005). This would further separate himself from the African American community due to less than 20% of African Americans holding libertarian view (Sigelman and Todd, 2005 ). Perhaps it was his experience of self reliance that attributed to his mixed political mentality, as he saw government not as a solution to his problems but a problem itself (Sigelman and Todd, 20055). Several of his views regarding civil right can be seen as demeaning and practically insulting to opposite party members. He has voted against same sex marriage and argued against the comparison of equal marriage rights to the antimiscegenation laws, as these laws were established due to slavery (On The Issues). His viewpoint on affirmative action was clearly stated earlier, as it discounts and discredits the work and achievements of African Americans (On The Issues).  His memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, furthers his viewpoints such as “black problems should be solved by black” people and that “preferential policies should apply” towards disadvantaged whites (On The Issues).

With being a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas is task with stating and  writing opinions on several cases; in additition to his dissent and concurrences. Many of his case opinions reflect his conservative values. Provided below are several of Thomas court opinions.

In the case of Good News Club v. Milford Middle School, Stephen and Darleen Fournier wished to use the schools grounds to hold a private Christian club. The school denied stating that by doing so violated a community policy due to its appearance to religious worship. The school argued that the school purpose was: 1) the introduction in education, learning, or the arts and 2)social, civic, recreational and entertainment (Legal Information Institute).  In his opinion, Justice Thomas claimed that the school had refused the groups’ right of free speech because of religious discrimination (Supreme Court Review). He also argued that because the group was being held on school grounds that it not threaten, but rather ensure “neutrality towards religion” (Legal Information Institute).

United States v. Madison involved a college freshman whom claimed to be raped my members of the school’s football team. The Court’s decision considered that section of the Violence Against Women’s Act was unconstitutional as it “exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause as well as under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution” (Laws).  Originally the act’s provisions provided civil remedies where violence occurred due to gender discrimination, and that the remedies can still take effect even without charges being filed (Laws).  After one of the students admitted to performing unwanted sexual contact with the victim, punishment intended for the student was discarded by the school’s administration (Laws).  Justice Thomas provided the majority opinion, as well as the concurring opinion “which expressed concern about Congress appropriating state police powers under the name of commerce regulation” (Laws).

In Carter v. United States, Floyd J. Carter with a ski mask covering his face enter a bank and stole $16,000 before escaping the scene to eventually be apprehended by local police officers. During the course of the robbery, Carter forced a customer back inside the bank as she was leaving and he was entering it. Based on these facts he was charged and convicted. He argued, however that he had not used force or intimidation in the robbery and motions of a lesser sentence if convicted, a tactic described in §2113(b) (Legal Information Institute). The court ruled that element of a lesser offence need to be demonstrated by the defendant.  In Thomas’s opinion he referenced Smuck v. United States, which originally established the need to demonstrate the lesser element of the accused crime, by the dependent. The element required by §2113(b) included that there was an specific intention of theft, there was a act of asporation (detachment or carrying aware of property) and that the theft  was beyond $1000 (Legal Information Institute).   Thomas therefore agreed that the lower courts were decision to deny motion of the defendant and to affirm the conviction.

In the proceedings of Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, regarding racial classifications over turned the precedent of Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC.  The two tier system that was to analyze racial classification, established in the precedent would be replaced as the court’s opinion “held the federal government to equal standards as both the local and state governments by using a process of “reverse incorporation,” which used the Due Process Found in the Fifth Amendment to bind the federal movement to the standards of both state and local governments (Laws). This was another case in which Thomas’s value of the constitution was demonstrated.

Justice Clarence Thomas has been noted as a quiet and silent member of the Supreme Court, but still has left an impactful tenure. He is either admired or ridiculed for his conservative stance and his high regard for upholding the constitution. The challenges and stigma, in which he overcame, are inspiration to which other legal officers should astride to. From the poverty stricken community  of Pin Point, Georgia to Washington D.C., and from the abandoned childhood to the United States Supreme Court, Justice Thomas’ journey demonstrates the reward of thrive and strong work ethic. Though he is often mocked and criticized he values his position as he fights to up hold constitutional values in the many case that are send to the Supreme Court. As of now he has no intention of retiring or stepping down, and will continue to hear and argue cases for the betterment of citizens of the United States of America.

 

 

Works Cited:

Bio Editors. (2016). Clarence Thomas. Biography. Web Retrieved From: http://www.biography.com/people/clarence-thomas-9505658#synopsis

Cummings, Andre’ Dougals Pond. (2005). Grutter v. Bollinger, Clarence Thomas, Affirmative Action and The Treachury of Originalism:  “The Sun Don’t Shine Here In This Part of Town.” EBSCO Host. Web. Retrieved from: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.ccis.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=d2641d86-c294-4d53-89c0-d07d899fc76d%40sessionmgr4009&vid=5&hid=4201

Doyle, Ty. (2005). Why is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas so Viscerally Disrespected. Quora . Web. Retrieved from: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Supreme-Court-Justice-Clarence-Thomas-so-viscerally-disrespected

Laws. (n.d.) Clarence Thomas. Supreme Court Laws. Web. Retrieved from: http://supreme-court.laws.com/clarence-thomas

Legal Information Institute (n.d.) Good News Club v. Milford Middle School. Cornell University Law School. Web. Retrieved from:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/99-2036#writing-99-2036.ZO

Legal Information Institute. (n.d.) Carter v. United States. Cornell University Law School. Web. Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/99-5716/#writing-ZO

On The Issues. (n.d.) Clarence Thomas on Civil Rights: Supreme Court Justice. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.ontheissues.org/Court/Clarence_Thomas_Civil_Rights.htm

Sigelman, Lee and Todd, James S. (1992). Clarence Thomas, Black Pluralism, and Civil Rights Policy. The Academy of Political Science. Web. Retrieved From: http://www.jstor.org.proxy.ccis.edu/stable/2152657?origin=crossref&seq=8#page_scan_tab_contents

Supreme Court Review. (n.d.) Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Justice Clarence Thomas. Web. Retrieved from: http://supremecourtreview.com/default/justice/index/id/31

Oyez. (n.d)   Clarence Thomas. Web. Retrieved from: https://www.oyez.org/justices/clarence_thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gideon’s Trumpet

Gideon’s Trumpet

Damian Anderson

Columbia College

 Gideon’s Trumpet chronicles the circumstances of an arrest, and appeal that eventually changed the course of the criminal justice system. The film, directed by Robert L. Collins, stares Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon, poor man of average intellect who is arrested for breaking into a pool room after a witness identifying Gideon as the culprit. Along with the witness’s report, the taxi driver whom transported Gideon stated that Gideon asked the driver not to mention seeing him and there was a large amount of change found on Gideon’s person, which seemed incriminating as there were coins stolen along with the break in.

                               Based on the evidence above, local police made an arrest. At trial Gideon requested an attorney from the judge due to his low funds. The judge responding stated that lawyers/counsel was only appointed in capital cases, and that he would not be appointed counsel, as the case was a capital offense.  Therefore Gideon, a poor man of average intelligence, had to argue his case of innocence against a lawyer whom has both experience and the educational training.

The constitution stated in the Fourteenth Amendment that every citizen “shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Cornell University Law School). Due to this amendment, citizens are receiving the following:  right to speedy trial, right to public trial, right to counsel among other things (Justia). However, the concept of fairness is debatable and can be different based on each circumstance, as cited in Synder v. Massachusetts (Justica).   Because of this, the courts could argue on whether a defendant without counsel was considered unfair, as in regards to their ability to defend themselves. That said, a case mentioned often in the course of the film was Betts v. Brady ruled that indigent defendants would only be appoint counsel based on special circumstances. These special circumstances could be based on education level, illiteracy, and competency (Landmark Cases). Since Gideon only circumstance was his lack of funds, the court didn’t find a reason to appoint counsel.

During his prison stay Gideon often visited the library researching on constitutional rights, and doing so he reached out to the Supreme Court.  During his trial, Gideon was able to only call one witness and was unprepared and uninformed during his questioning while the prosecution was the opposite.  The 3 steps that Gideon needed to take in order to for his case to be heard by supreme court included: 1) petition Florida Courts Habeas Corpus, 2) Ask Supreme Court Certiorari, and 3)sign an affidavit  stating he was unable to pay $100. During the course of this process in the film, Gideon’s becomes an inspiration to other prisoners; scenes included prisoners asking Gideon could listen to their case.

The film provides insight into how the Supreme Court works and functions. They considered each case sent into them, reviewing the facts and ruling. Here they determine which of the ruling seemed questionable, and then have a meeting in which they discuss further and conduct votes.

Regarding Gideon’s case, their discussion poses several discussions.  One of which included other prisoners whom were tried without counsel. If they would indeed overturn this, they had to consider all the other entire prisoners whom were convicted without having counsel. Would their conviction be overruled and be tried again? That would create massive chaos, as there were quite a number of those in prisoner under those circumstances.

During the course of their meeting it was stated that a simple man should be able to defend himself in a simple case. This is full of problems, as it was briefly touch upon above. A case could be considered simple, based on the facts and evidence of the situation, but to have a simple man of average intelligence defend himself is entirely unfair. Attorneys and lawyer venture off to law school for years perfecting their craft of argument and education of the court system. A person cannot expect a person of average intelligence to compete with such education and training.

The defense in court in all honesty, requires someone of above average intelligence to properly and effectively defend someone. Court proceedings are bound by rules and complex guidelines. For example, during his questioning of the landlord, the prosecution called an objection due to leading questions. Gideon seemed confused and unable to effectively question the landlord. When deciding the jury, he probably didn’t realize he could challenge the members as being bias against him, thus further establishing an unfair trial. Overall, his understanding of the court system was limited which created much confusion for himself, until he began researching aspects of unfair proceedings.

During proceeding with the Supreme Court, Abe Fortas pose question related to identifying with special circumstances. In regards to Betts v. Brady, how does the court determine if an individual falls under special circumstances? Is this it his skin tone, his education level or whether he has a stupid look? Fortas even stated that there were no “special circumstances” concerning other than his poor economic standing in the community.  Next, he argued that defendants should be appointed counsel, when need, from the initial arraignment to the appeal proceedings.

The court then rebutted back with concerning reason not to overturn or modify Betts v. Brady: 1) the is no historical basis for the states appointing counsel, and 2) Betts v. Brady provides clear standards for the right to counsel in the form of special circumstances. Following that, 2 key consequences we were mentioned if Betts v. Brady would be overturned: 1) the demanding of lawyer for every single case would create a high strain on citizens as well as huge case loads, and 2 over 5000 prisoners prior to this had no counsel for their case. The court did make a point to ensure that the overturning of Betts v. Brady would be retroactive to prevent a massive caseload on the court system, however it was mentioned that some prisoner would go free.

The Supreme Court is task with hearing cases that can alter the course of court proceeding all together. Through precedents the court and other can argue for a new or modified standard to a ruling. This film was just an example of the changes that can occur due to Supreme Court. Because of the Supreme Courts, suspects have Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona), defends have right to counsel (Gideon v. Gainwright), and assurance of due process (Sydney v. Massachusetts) . Though the case load seems rather large for the court, it seems to an effective system by approaching each case one at a time, giving each case their proper and undivided attention.

When pertaining to right, each defendant in the American court system should be allowed the right to counsel. However, if the defendant has the financial means to afford an attorney. Reason being, that it puts less of a strain on community by using government funds (Nolo). When appointing does happened by the courts, lawyers can obtain a massive caseload which may negatively effective their performance; they may as efficient as they have too many cases to handle properly. But even if those negative aspects, the Supreme Court was correct and wise when ruling that ever defendant is entitled to counsel. It is included in the constitutional amendments that defendants have the right to a fair trial, and active participation doesn’t equal fair trial. As stated many times above, defendants of average intelligence are not  adequately equipped to handle court proceeding; as they can appear complex and confusing to the defendant. In appointing attorneys to each defendant we are ensuring not only the constitution, but eliminated the chance of a wrongful conviction. Well, or at least a reduced chance.

Works Cited:

Cornell University Law School. (n.d).US Consitution: 14th Amendment. Legal Information Institute. Web. Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

Houseman, John & Collins, Robert L. (1980). Gideon’s Trumpet. United States. Worldvision.

Justia. (n.d.) Fair Trial. Justia US Law. Web. Retrieved from: http://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-14/57-fair-trial.html

Landmark Cases. (n.d). Summary of the Decision. Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. Web. Retrieved from: http://landmarkcases.org/en/Page/593/Summary_of_the_Decision

Nolo. (n.d.) Court Appointed Attorneys in Criminal Cases. NOLO. Web Retrieved from: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/court-appointed-criminal-defense-attorneys

 

 

All Fletched Up- Film Analysis

Damian Anderson

Professor Barry R. Langford, J.D.

CJAD 301

7 October 2009

All Fletched Up

Through the use of film, artists are able to either entertain or educate. It is a fact that films are considered more of entertainment value than educational; however both can consist.. This doesn’t have to be intentional. For example, taking a look at the film Fetch starring comedy legend Chevy Chase, criminal justice majors are able to identify with where law violations occur whereas casual viewer student may or may not notice.

Hailed as a comedy classic by fans and critics alike, Fletch follows Chevy Chase’s character by the same name as he unravels though a plot of deception and corruption. As a journalist Fletch, goes to many extremes and multiple hilarious scenarios to uncover the truth. Through all the hi-jinks, law students are able to find several law violations within the film. There are six main events to be discussed.

The first event occurs very early in the film as Fletch, while working undercover for a journalism article, is approached by Allen Stanwyck with a proposition. Allen offers 50 thousand dollars to be murdered due his supposed bone cancer. The scenario is completely laid out: where to find the gun, where Allen will be present, the location of the open safe, the getaway card and plan tickets to Rio del Janiero.  Fletch initially agree, but investigates the circumstances as the film goes on.

In agreeing to commit the act several issues arise. Since the plan is planned out and premeditated and completely thought out, if the act is committed then Fletch would be charged with first degree murder. But since this is only agreeing to do so, it would be conspiracy to commit murder because there is a contractual agreement to commit the murder.  Stanwyck could also be charged with solicitation according to the Model Penal Code 5.02 where it defines that a suspect guilty of criminal solicitation “request or commands another person to engage in conduct that would constitute as a crime.”

Not long after following that scene, Fletch plans a doctor visit with Stanwyck’s doctor to get further information concerning Stanwyck’s supposed cancer. After receiving no answer from the doctor, he goes undercover as a doctor to reach the records room. In doing so, along with setting up a hilarious scenario where Fletch assisted with autopsy, impersonates a doctor and reads confidential patient files.

This is considered a violation of privacy, since there files were only for the patient and the doctor(s) to see. Model penal code defines that a violation of privacy can occur through a breach of privates message, and though medical files are typical “messages” it is a way for doctors to communicate to each other as well as revealing result to a patient; thus, becoming a form of communication between people.

One of the more notable scenes in the film involves the police. Actually, there are several scenes worth mentioning. The first takes part on the beach where Fletch is working undercover for a drug trafficking case, when police arrive chasing down a specific young man. When arriving to the scene Fletch witnesses the police violently attacking the young man, whom is unarmed and never posed a threat of any sort. When Fletch approaches the scene, he too is attack by the police before the leave with the young man in custody.

There is a times where police officers need the use of force to prevent a suspect from harming themselves or other. The Model Penal Code section 3.07 sites that the use of force can be used in the following situations: to prevent escape from custody, prevent suicide of commission of a crime, and by a private person assisting an unlawful arrest.

In the second scene, Fletch arrives home and is surprised by two detectives waiting for him. After a quick pat down they plant heroin on Fletch and take him into the station. Once again the police are being rough where there is no need. At the station Fletch is brought in to see Chief Karlin whom is corrupt as well. He threatens to shoot Fletch in the face and claim self defense or Fletch can cancel his story involving the police brutality at the beach earlier. Fletch under duress and fear of his life agrees to do so.  This case also follows the violation of the use of force continuum.

When returning home, again, Fletch discovers police officers waiting on him. In response, he begins a car chase where he eventually “borrows” another car that provides better speed. A young boy is in the vehicle prior and during the chase reveals that the car had already been stolen. As he drives he intentionally runs police cars off the road in an attempt to get way but endangering lives in the process.

Section 242.2 of the Model Penal Code covers the issue of resisting arrest. It defines that resisting arrest as a misdemeanor if the suspect creates a serious risk of bodily injury to the public official or others. That is exactly what occurred in this scene, Fletch risk the safety of the officers, the kid in the vehicle with him and other drivers in order to effectively escape arrest. Fletch, however, could argue that the police had been harassing him unjustly and feared for his own safety.

When checking the flights prepared by Stanwyck, Fletch discovers a lady named Sally sitting next to him and her ticket was purchased by Stanwyck as well. With interests sparked, Fletch travels to Utah to find Sally’s home unlock and enters the home to look around for any evidence of who she is. This is interrupted by a friend of the landlord.

Fletch could be charged with Trespassing and burglary in this scenario. Burglary could be charged, because he did enter the premises unlawfully regardless of the door being unlocked or not however it would be difficult to prove if he indeed planned to commit a crime once inside.  Regarding trespassing, Fletch could agree that the premises appeared to have been abandoned according to Model Penal Code 221.2.

As the film begins to close it is revealed that Stanwyck travels to Utah once a month to visit his parents and Sally, who is revealed to be his wife. The issue here is that Stanwyck is married to a lady named Gail in Los Angeles.  Thus, Stanyck is guilty of bigamy.  Schmalleger and Hall, defines that bigamy is a person being married to one person “while legally married to another person.”  It is considered a misdemeanor under the Model Penal Code and several states (Schmalleger, and Hall, 2014).

In conclusion, Fletch provides a series of law applications that could go unnoticed by viewers. Because of an understanding of how law works and the Model Penal Code, students are able to identify the cause and effects of law violation depicted in film. Fletch still contains its laughs and suspense but now, for some, it will be a mean educational application of law.

Works Cited

Hall, Daniel E., and Schmalleger, Franks. Criminal Law Today.  Boston, Ma. Pearson Education, 2014.  Print

Fletch. Dir. Michael Ritchie. Perf. Chevy Chase, Joe Don Baker, Dana Wheeler-Nicolson, and Geena Davis. Universal Pictures. 1985. Film.

 

Finger Prints in Criminal Justice

Finger Prints

Damian Anderson

Columbia College

The use of finger prints have revealed to be trustworthy method of identifying suspects involved with a particular crime.  It is often referred to in the fields of film, television and literature, and because of that, there are a number of misconceptions concerning its methods and use. Similar to DNA evidence, finger prints have gained a CSI effect, where citizens get the idea that finger prints can be easily extracted from any surface, but on the contrary is actually can be a difficult process. There is a need to understand why and how fingerprinting works. Let’s begin with some history.

Fingerprinting isn’t a new by any means whatsoever. Though it has been popularized in the United States, finger prints have been used by different culture for different reasons besides criminal investigation. For example, finger prints were used for business transaction in ancient Babylon (US Marshals). Clay tablets of thumbs prints have even been discovered as far out as China (US Marshals). Finger prints were used on government documents in 14th century Persia.

However, the first official use of finger printing was by Sir William Hershcel in 1858 for the use of contracts (Lyman, 2014). And it wasn’t until 1891 that fingerprints were used to identify criminals (Lyman, 2014). This new system devised by Juan Vuchetich, which he bases on the Bertillion system (US Marshals). The Bertillon system, named after Alphonse Bertillon, involved a formula that applied the identification of specific people based on bony part of the body (Lyman, 2014).  This system was proved to be practical when Juan Vuchetich identified a mother who murdered her two sons (US Marshals).  As the years continued, finger printing became a cornerstone in criminal justice.  Many prisons began using fingerprints on criminals; the first systematic system was used in 1903 in the New York State Prisons (US. Marshals).

As mentioned early, finger prints aren’t a simple concept but a complex entity. There are different kinds of prints and patterns. Latent prints for example, also known as patent prints, are transferred when an object it touched (Lyman, 2014). This transfer occurs due to the natural grease and oil in our skin (Lyman, 2014). These prints are usually found on smooth surfaces and can be visible to the naked eye (Lyman, 2014). Prints that are the result of pressing against plastic and leaves and impression are called plastic prints (Lyman, 2010). A third type of print is called a dust prints (visible print). This is a when a finger leaves a print among a “dirt surface.” A dirt surface can include” flour, dust, blood, or oil (Lyman, 2014).

Though each finger print is individualized to each person, there are only a number of patterns applied to each print. There are 3 generalized groups of patterns which include the arch, the loop, and the whorl (Lyman, 2014). The divided patterns include: arch loop, whorl, plain arch, accidental, loop, double loop, central pocket loop, and tented arch (US Marshals).

There are a number of different methods used to uncover the prints found. Black powder is a magnetic powder in which particles attach to the print to make it visible (Lyman, 2014).  Iodine fumes are released on a surface in which discolors the print and allows it to be noticed (Lyman, 2014). Lasers have also been used and are favorable because it is easy, clean and requires no pretreatment of the surface area (Lyman, 2014).

Preserving prints can also be a complicated task. Since they are evidence prints need to be sent to a lab for further investigation, but there are times where the print is on a surface that is too large/difficult to transport. These prints are transferred through a thin adhesive tape that transfers the print to a card (Lyman, 2014). Of course the investigator must make sure there are no air pockets in the adhesive that may defect the print (Lyman, 2010).

A final important detail concerning finger prints is the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS. This is a constantly running system that helps all law enforcement from state level to federal level, to both solve and prevent crime (FBI). It is not only limited to identifying criminal through print, it includes “mug shots; scars and tattoo photos; physical characteristics like height, weight, and hair and eye color; and aliases” (FBI).  This biometric database is the largest in the world containing information on more than 40 million subjects (Lyman, 2014).

Fingerprinting may be a common phrase but is definitely not a simple subject. There are a number of variable when collects, analyzing and preserving prints left at a scene. As time goes on, technology used by crime enforcement will only become greater and more effective and yet this “simple” concept will continue to aid us. The finger print will continue to be an everlasting use for identifying suspects and preserving safety for communities.

Works Cited:

Lyman, Michael D. (2014). Criminal Investigation: The art and Science. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Publishing. Print.

FBI. (n.d.) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. FBI.gov. Web. Retrieved from  https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/iafis/iafis

US Marshals (n.d.) U.S. Marshal Service for Students. US Marshals. Web. Retrieved from http://www.usmarshals.gov/usmsforkids/fingerprint_history.htm

Change in Departments

Change in Departments

Damian Anderson

Columbia College

           Ironically, change is a constant in our lives, and it is no different in police agencies. Changes occur for a number of reasons, 8 of which are discussed in Police Administration. The first reason is an event in which leads to a change in chief of police due to civil litigation. For example, if a chief of police displays poor judgment when having deceives handle a rape victim’s case causing further emotional distress and a lack of safety may result in civil litigation against the department. This would all be based on the chief’s decision making.  A second reason would be a newly elected mayor replacing an existing mayor. This can occur if the mayor carries a new vision for the community that the current chief of police doesn’t uphold to.  Another reasons would be if a major political figure suffers a sever embarrassment and argues that “the law enforcement agency is to blame” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  A fourth reason would be that a chief of police has either retired, fired, or accepts another position. When a “new sheriff is elected and implements the changes that were part of the platform on which he or she ran,” change is bound to occur (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). For example, the new sheriff may find there is a need to review policy and request changes.  A sixth reason for change is when high expectations are not respected and honored such as a sheriff’s relationship with a newspaper printing company and the sheriff’s decision to move to another paper for advertisement (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

Another reason of change is if the chief of police attitude and conduct become a serious issue and eventually needs to his/her dismissal of officer (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The eighth and final reason for change is when moral of the department is considered law and the current administration is responding to issues without preparation and thought. These situations are identified by the following: high volume of complaints against officers, excessive use of sick leave by officers, high rates of turnover, and low levels of experience in the department (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

There are 5 reasons in which why change should not be made, and they are as followed: 1) when the knowledge, skill, or other resources needed to carry out effectively do not exist inside the department, 2) when an appropriately experienced external change agent is not presently available, 3) when the effort of making the change is greater than any of the benefits to be derived from change, 4) when collateral damage may lead to chief to use their limited stack of “political chips” on another issue of greater concern to them and the community, and 5) when too much damage is already underway in the department and that change is not sufficiently important at the current time (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

The Traditional Action Research Model is comprised of 5 steps. These steps include: 1) recognizing the need for change, where awareness for changes arises from Supreme Court rulings to findings from civil litigation, 2) Assessing/diagnosing the situation, this is where a) the opportunity or problem is determined and b) the gap and difference between what is happening and what the department would like to have happen is determined,  3)action planning, the chief determined who is in charge of the change process based on internal candidates skills and capabilities, 4) change intervention/implementation, this is when plans are completed and implemented accordingly, and 5) evaluation, where  a series of report and periodic observation and conversation with personnel involved in various level of the department are conducted, from which a decision is made whether a change is needed or not (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

Works Cited:

Swanson, Charles, R., Territo, Leonard, Taylor, Robert W. (2012) Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behaviors. (8th) Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Print.

Assessment and Discipline

Assessment and Discipline

Damian Anderson

Columbia College

 

Progressive discipline is defined as “slowly increasing the severity of sanctions unless a higher level is immediately required;” the highest of which is termination (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  This is used by law enforcing agencies across the country as their proper means of discipline within the department (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). This system can include the following steps: 1) verbal counseling, 2) oral reprimand, 3) written reprimand, 4) monetary fine, 5) transfer/reassignment, 6) suspension without pay, 7) loss of promotional opportunity, 8) demotion, and, as mentioned, 9) termination (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). There are some situations in which this system isn’t functional, and at times termination is immediate (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

Early warning systems are designs to identify when abuse of power is occurring in law enforcement agencies. These abuses can occur in administration and with patrol officers. The unfortunate truth is that abuse of power does occur and officer across are nation are stereotyped because of that behavior. Statically, a low percentage of officers actually cause of problems.  After an 8-year study was conducted, results shows that out of 2000 officers only 100 of the officers “were associated 25% of the use of force reports” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  This system was “rebranded” as the Early Identification and Intervention Systems (EIIS), which works as a support to officers and “includes them in decision making” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The 3 goals of the Early Identification and Intervention System are: 1) to guide officer to more successful performance, 2) to reduce the number of incidents involving supervisors that create liability exposure, and 3) to enhance the accountability of supervisors for the actions of their subordinates (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

Assessment centers use several exercises and job simulation that are designed to elicit from the candidates the behaviors  of which are fount o be important to success in a job through analysis (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). These centers in the past have been hotels, technical schools, community colleges, and civic centers (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). Police departments have not proven to be the best location for the assessment center as there is lack of neutral feeling and unbiased (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The exercised conducted by assessment centers include: 1) press conference, individual presents a brief to a “new media” on an incident, 2) role play: citizen meeting, example is sergant meets with an agitated citizen who wished to complain about the sergent’s subordinates, 3) in-basket,a candidate replaces a sergent who is currently away which includes paper work and make dispositions, 4) Written problem analysis, 5) leaderless groups discussion, a group is assigned to discuss problem and there is no leader designated, and 6) video-based, a video showing an officer conducting  traffic stops and performing other responsibilities (Swanson, Terriro, Taylor, 2012).

In assessment centers, candidates are tested based on several dimensions. These dimensions include perception, oral communication, written communication, decisiveness, judgment, planning and organizing, and finally, leadership (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The six ratings are as followed: 1) unable to perform, 2) needs much improvement, 3) needs some improvement, 4) satisfactory/adequate, 5) effective, and 6) outstanding.

 

 

 

Works Cited:

Swanson, Charles R., Territo, Leonard, and Taylor, Robert W. (2012) Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behaviors. (8th ed) Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Print.