March 30, 2012

BOBBY BROWN'S LAWYER NEEDS TO SHUT UP

Whenever a star is arrested, it's big news for Hollywood. TMZ, the Huffington Post, Entertainment Tonight and a host of other shows torture us with reruns from every angle.

The news of the day is the arrest of Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown for DUI.

Bobby Brown was allegedly pulled over for talking on a cell phone while driving. That's the allegation. Of course, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove up that there was a valid basis for the stop. That is, unless, your lawyer admits the police report is correct and waives the attorney-client privilege.

In a statement to the press, Brown's newbie lawyer, Tiffany Feder, explains: "Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and Mr. Brown was not driving erratically. He was speaking on his cell phone. Mr. Brown has not been convicted of anything associated with this incident. Mr.
Brown is taking this matter seriously and an investigation is under way. The legal process shall run its course.""

When a lawyer actually reveals facts that are privileged attorney-client communications, such as an admission that he was driving without a hands free set and talking on his cell phone, that destroys any chance of the defense lawyer prevailing on a suppression motion. What Ms. Feder has done is dash any possibility that Brown can prevail on a suppression motion because she had made an admission based on what should have remained a privileged attorney-client relationship.

Bobby Brown's lawyer just needs to shut up.

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March 26, 2012

LAPD FINDS DEPUTY ENGAGED IN PROFILING-ITS ABOUT TIME

The LAPD, for the first time in its history, had admitted that a cop engaged in racial profiling. While some may laud this finding, I think it is sad that the year 2012 is the first year in the history of the department that they admit racial profiling occurred. Before, they just lied and denied.

Officer engaged in racial profiling, LAPD probe finds

By Joel Rubin

March 26, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

A white police officer targeted Latino drivers for traffic stops because of their race, a Los Angeles Police Department investigation concluded -- marking the first time the agency has found one of its officers guilty of racial profiling.

For decades, the question of racial profiling -- "biased policing," in LAPD jargon -- has bedeviled the LAPD. Accusations that the practice was commonplace in minority neighborhoods throughout the 1970s and '80s helped earn the LAPD a reputation for bias and abuse of power.

And, despite dramatic reforms that have boosted the department's image over the last 10 years, the persistence of profiling claims has prevented the agency from shaking its dark past altogether. With hundreds of officers accused of profiling each year, department officials have cleared all of them of wrongdoing, telling exasperated critics that it was all but impossible to determine whether a cop was motivated by racial bias.

The investigation into Patrick Smith, a 15-year veteran who worked alone on a motorcycle assignment in the department's West Traffic Division, found he was stopping Latinos based on their race and deliberately misidentifying some Latinos as white on his reports -- presumably in an effort to conceal the fact that the people he pulled over were overwhelmingly Latino, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case who requested that their names not be used because police personnel issues are confidential.

At a meeting last month, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck reviewed the evidence against Smith and heard from members of his command staff who recommended that the officer be found guilty. Beck signed off on the investigation's findings and ordered Smith sent to a disciplinary hearing, where the department will attempt to have him fired, the sources said. In Los Angeles, the police chief cannot fire an officer unilaterally but instead must let a three-person board hear the case and decide if firing is warranted. Smith had been relieved of duty during the investigation, sources said.

Smith did not respond to an email seeking comment, and the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers, declined to comment.

John Mack, a member of the department's civilian oversight board who has pushed in recent years for reforms in how profiling investigations are conducted, said the case signaled "a giant step forward," when informed of the findings by The Times.

"It represents a confirmation of the seriousness with which the department is now considering the issue," he said. "It means we've come a very long way."

Profiling complaints typically arise from traffic or pedestrian stops, in which the officer is accused of targeting a person solely because of his or her race, ethnicity or other form of outward appearance.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times