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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH MURDER .....


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

HAVE YOU EVER WITNESSED A MURDER .....?

Police officers have, arguably, one of the most difficult jobs in our country.  At the ripe young age of 18, they can apply for admission into one of many police academies.  If they get through the physical and mental examinations and manage to learn something about the law, they can graduate with a diploma and earn the right to possibly get hired by a police department.

After they are employed, and given a period of probation, where a Field Training Officer (FTO) usually spends six months with them, they are then placed on the street to "protect and serve".  They are issued a service revolver, a Taser, a badge, and presumably, enough understanding of the law, that they can enforce it - fairly and safely - to the public and to themselves.

In every profession, there are bad apples.  There are bad lawyers, bad politicians, and there are, bad cops.  The difference with the police officer is, that they are sometimes forced into making a split second decision, one that could mean the difference between life and death; and then that decision will be analyzed and scrutinized, second by second, and if there is video, that second can even be broken down into milliseconds, about their decision-making in a certain event.

Officer Michael Slager is a police officer employed by the North Charleston Police Department.  He is 33 years old and he is white.  And today, he was charged with the murder of 50 year old Walter Scott, a black man, who was driving his Mercedes Benz, with a broken tail light.

This is a BLOG run by a criminal defense lawyer and many of our readers are criminal defense lawyers.  So, being a fellow criminal defense lawyer, we will presume Officer Slager innocent and wait until all of the facts are presented in a court of law.  But, unfortunately for Officer Slager, and fortunately for Mr. Scott's family, and the rest of the citizens of North Charleston, an innocent bystander caught some of the encounter between Slager and Scott, on video. 

Here are some of the facts:  Scott had previously been arrested about ten times; mostly for failing to pay child support.  His most serious arrests include an assault and battery in 1987 and a 1991 conviction for possession of a bludgeon.  Scott's brother surmised that, Scott likely had an outstanding warrant for back child support and didn't want to be taken into custody.  Thus, he ran from the traffic stop.

Slager was previously in the US Coast Guard for five years before joining the police force.  He fired his weapon eight times, striking Scott five times; three times in the back, once in the buttocks, and once in the ear.  One of the shots entered Scott's heart.

You can read the entire New York Times story here.

The video of the alleged murder is disturbing and today, the lawyer for Scott's family released it to the New York Times.  Here it is below.  Did the officer shoot because he was in fear for his life?  (The Supreme Court has held that an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that he “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”). Was the color of Scott's skin a factor in how and why all of this got started?  Scott was driving a Mercedes Benz.  This was all over a tail light being broken.  How does that kind of traffic stop escalate into an officer shooting at someone, running away from the officer, eight times, striking him five times, and killing him?


So, now it's your turn to weigh in on this.  Have at it.

JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2016 - UPDATE .......

Today, newly appointed Circuit Court Judge Jason Bloch woke up to reality.  After Judge Darrin Gayles ascended to the Federal bench last year, Governor Scott appointed Bloch to replace Gayles in November of 2014.  Enter Marcia Del Rey.  Ms. Del Rey has been a member of The Florida Bar for nine years.  She has a family law practice.  If you Google her, you may recall seeing her rather large billboard promoting her law office.  If you Google her, you also may not hire her.  From reading many of the comments posted from Avvo, or Yahoo, or City Search, etc., it appears Ms. Del Rey has made a few enemies of her former clients.

CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

37 comments:

REAL FORMER JUDGE said...

Mark Geragos said it right tonight on TV:

"There are more prisoners in the State penitentiary who were driving with a defective tail light then any other crime!"

PS: these civilian video tapes taken from iPhones are changing the criminal justice system. I love the police, but doesn't it seem that there is a "SCRIPT" that every officer uses when a person is shot dead .... "I was in fear for my life and I saw the defendant reach into his waist band and thought he had a gun"!

It would be almost impossible to convict any police officer WITHOUT a video. Remember how important the defense bar thought it was when DUI cops unilaterally stopped video taping?

Anonymous said...

The man is a coward,a fraud and should never have been given a badge. He shot an unarmed man in the back multiple times then planted a weapon on him and did it like he was picking up the mail. If he were not white and badged the country would be calling for his execution. How is it the police departments employ so many men without ant regard for human life?

Real Fake Former Judge said...

Mark Geragos is a dope. Anybody who gets their info from talking heads news shows is a mope.
Only I give hope.

Anonymous said...

In Broward they wouldn't prosecute the cop. They'd give him an award.

Anonymous said...


All those cops who helped other cops get away with killing people are responsible for this. All those DAs who declined to prosecute when they should have are responsible for this. All those juries who acquitted when they should not have are responsible for this. They sent a clear message that no matter how obvious it was that excessive force was used, being a cop is a license to kill. Period.

This murder is the INEVITABLE result of letting all those previous shootings go unpunished. Of there being exactly zero deterrence—except one's own, weak conscience—to gunning down a suspect.
The only real question left is how often this happens when video cameras are not running.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no doubt that this killer cop is going to be granted a major break by a judge, jury, prosecutor, or all of the above. Just how they will pull it off, is anybody's guess, but trust me, they'll find a way... THEY ALWAYS DO!

Anonymous said...

I watched the video in complete disbelief. The execution of Walter Scott is just so disturbing.

Everyone acknowledges that police officers have an extremely difficult job, have to make split-second decisions and have enormous responsibilities.

That being said, the officer's execution of Mr. Scott was unjustified, unwarranted and illegal.

Walter Scott's only crimes were being poor and black and for those reasons he is dead.

No matter what the reason was for Mr. Scott to run from the officer, he didn't deserve to be shot, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, executed, and then handcuffed and left to die face down in the dirt.

What kind of person does that to a fellow person?

I also question what kind of town and police department creates an environment by which a police officer would think he could just kill a person so cavalierly, cover up the crime, plant false evidence and lie to his superiors. Sadly, there appears to be far too many of these types of towns and police department all across our nation.

The only reason that North Charleston's mayor and police are charging the officer with murder and taking some ownership for the crime is because of the video and they got caught! If not for the video, this murder would just be another crime statistic in that town.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Scott family.

How many more Mr. Scotts have to be killed before our citizens demand an end to these police killings?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Bloch will be welcomed back with open arms at the County Attorney's Office, making almost $100k more per year than he is as a judge. Jason will be fine in the long run. Ms. DelRey will be just another pretty face on the bench, with little experience. We all know most divorce lawyers are soul crushing hacks with complete disregard for the law.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to offer a suggestion on how to get around having police officers even bother stopping drivers for infractions like broken tail lights and having such a simple situation turn into the scene of a murder of an innocent person, as is becoming all-too-common:

No more pulling drivers over for simple infractions of this nature. Instead, use the license plate to identify the vehicle owner and issue a warning to the vehicle owner by mail or service, giving them 30 days to replace the tail light (or whatever needs to be remedied) and to provide proof of having done so. If the vehicle owner has not provided proof within the 30 day time frame, then a ticket is issued and the driver is fined and the vehicles license plate cannot be renewed until the fine is paid and proof of the replaced tail light is provided. Problem solved, no violence/death required to do so.

Anonymous said...

Why the conclusion this is a RACE issue? Yes, obviously wrong. Yes, officer is white and victim is black. But the news declares as if a fact that this is all BECAUSE of race. Is it not even possible same would have happened if runner was white? Why the presumption of race as the REASON? Cops don't abuse power over white people? Why is everything a race issue when there is white and a black person? Video shows an out of control cop but does not see inside his head to show evidence of racism. What happened before the video? Why far away from any cars? What got the cop so wired up to shoot a runner (regardless of race)?

Anonymous said...

Jason Bloch the lawyer is intensely disliked and distrusted by most who litigated against him.....he even negotiated an agreed judgment with an unrepresented party that contained material misrepresentations of law and fact which the JNC knew about but nominated him anyway and the governor appointed him circuit judge cause he had friends on the committee and the governor's office. There were better candidates for the job but they appointed, in my opinion, an ethically challenged political operative to the job. "Merit Retention and appointment " indeed!

the trialmaster said...

If Bloch is taking 100k less to be a judge, that is a refreshing change from one who has no practice to get a salary increase as a judge. It appears that this unknown hispanic female is yet another little girl looking for a salary increase. We have too many of those now on the bench, such as ruuiz-cohen, Gordo, Areces ect.

Anonymous said...

The more times I've seen this video the more disgusted and disturbed I am.
I don't know if this was a race issue or not. But what kind of people are we giving guns and badges to if they have no problems firing that many times (or at all) into a human being running away from him like in that video. I have little hope for the future of humanity.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know what a really good defense lawyer like Mark Eiglarsch would say to a jury in defending this police officer?

Anonymous said...

9:11, is there proof about the agreed judgment? If so, where can we see it.

Anonymous said...

9:11 is hector lambana. At least sign your name. You misrepresent the facts and constantly dog Bloch.

I'm sure you put this puppet up against him.

Anonymous said...

8:59 is an idiot and a racsist. Yes it is wrong to shoot traffic offenders in the back but there are'nt black,white,female or hispanic cops shooting white people in the back for traffic infractions or choking them to death over misdemeanors or killing children in parks for having a toy gun. If this type of stuff were happening to white people the country would come to a complete stop. Who gives a shit what happened before the video, the man planted the taser next to the murder victim. It's people like you who empower and encourage these sons of bitches. Fuck him and fuck you.

Anonymous said...

Can't speak for Gordo or Areces, but Ruiz-Cohen's husband is a top notch asbestos lawyer. She doesn't need to work as her husband is worth millions!!!

Anonymous said...

Bloch is crazy when it comes to any issues involving money....any clients declared indigent with private counsel have to fight tooth and nail to get money to pay for their defense and then he makes all spent funds part of their probation at the end. Only judge in building that does this.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


Washington Post weighing in on the shooting:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2015/04/08/the-walter-scott-shooting-we-cant-afford-to-look-away/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

Cap Out .....

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...



And also here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2015/04/08/the-shooting-of-walter-scott-and-the-way-we-watch-people-die/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

the woman who is running doesn't need the money..Haven't you seen her billboards ?.....2/3 of Dade county already knows her name ...And Jason will be earning his county attorneys salary in January 2017

Anonymous said...

Thats what you get when you have warrants, neglect your children while driving a mercedes(probably stolen) and flee from the law. At least the children will now get money after the city settles the wrongful death case.

the trialmaster said...

7:52. Mark is far from a "dope". I have had cases with him in LA and I can assure you he is very sharp and a great trial lawyer, both civil and criminal.

Anonymous said...

If this hero witness had not recorded this video, unobserved by police officers, this would have been just another cop saying "I feared for my life" and would have gotten away with murder.

Had this hero been observed by officers...well we know what would have happened to the recording.

Anonymous said...

We'll never truly know if race was a reason for the officer's fear. What's troublesome is the planted weapon, suggesting that he was in fear. He had the time to think how to cover up what he just did. Police officers love to say that the truth is what I write in my report.

Anonymous said...

Referring to judges as "little girls" is demeaning and sexist. The"trialmaster" should know this.

Anonymous said...

Vincent flynn
Jack Denaro
Roy black
Albert Krieger
All go in 1st ballot if there was a miami criminal lawyer hall of fame. Even trialmaster would agree... I think we live in a time where people hate the success of their fellow competitors. Mark is not a hall of famer but he is a gamer.

Anonymous said...

5:07- you sound extremely ignorant. I feel sorry for you, and your family.

Why in the world would his Mercedes be stolen? You are such an idiot! Get over your ignorance and grow the f up!

Anonymous said...

Bloch is getting what he deserves. He is absolutely unreasonable on the bench.

Anonymous said...

KARMA

the trialmaster said...

8:28-- agree on all but Vinnie. Although he was indeed colorful,(Yale boxer ect) he is not in the class of the others. He never went to a sentencing and at least once argued that the Judge was involved in the conspiracy against his client. I would put Eddie O'donnell in that catagory. Doesnt Eddie O resemble Spurs coach Popovich? Maybe Phil Carlton deserves mention in the group.

the trialmaster said...

Been thinking about the trial lawyers hall of fame. Henry Carr aka "The Silver Fox" clearly belongs in it without a reasonable doubt.

Anonymous said...

Jason Bloch is likely to attract more opponents.

the trialmaster said...

The reason Bloch busts balls on indigent investigatin ect fees is because that was his job at the county attorneys office to screw private counsel on fees oand investigators fees as well/. He knows no better.

Anonymous said...

There was a couple of years there where Art Carter was as good as any who ever stepped into the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Trialmaster
perhaps Vincent is my sentimental favorite because of his trusted and old school advice. He is a true counselor. Eddie o lacks attention to detail and preparation although one could argue that his natural ability to speak directly and persuade, and his ability to sort through facts at rapid speed, place him in the hall. Not sure about 1st ballot.