Thursday, August 09, 2007

No Oaths For Unsworn Officers

Notwithstanding this week's bombshell discovery that most of IMPD's officers were never sworn at the time they became officers in the newly-created, merged police department at the beginning of this year, city officials say they have no plans to swear the unsworn officers. Now, I understand Judge Reuben Hill's decision to toss out a pending DWI case because the offender was arrested by an unsworn officer is taking fire from many corners, including Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (R), but what harm is done in taking the small step of swearing in the unsworn officers during a daily roll call? For that matter, what's wrong with the idea of asking officers to reaffirm their oath from time to time as a matter of practice. It doesn't seem to be a novel idea which just sprung out of nowhere. The notion of public officers taking an oath can be found in our state constitution. At least one Indiana statute concerning law enforcement seems to contemplate law enforcement officers will be sworn. And someone thought it important enough to include it in the new policy manual for IMPD. Yet, city officials now seem determined to ignore the long-standing practice just to prove themselves right in the disagreement with Judge Hill.

Based on Judge Hill's statement according to the Star's Jon Murray, it looks like there isn't going to be any wholesale dismissal of pending cases any time soon. "I made the best decision I could under the circumstances that were presented to me in this case," said Hill, 69, who just started what he said will be his last six-year term on the bench. "I had no delusions the decision would stand on its own without any review from the Court of Appeals." Nonethess, Murray reports that Judge Hill will delay ruling on any similar motion in his court for the time being. And apparently other criminal court judges are dismissing the motions before them.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer, I'm livid.

Here are the raw political facts, unvarnished:

1. Judge Hill is not known as a legal scholar. A rather pedestrian judge, I'm told. If that's true, he's in good company in the Marion Superior Court system.

2. The mayor and sheriff are loathe to admit there could be a problem. Safest thing to do, it seems, is your common-sense solution. But that, you see, would be admitting they were/could be wrong. That can't happen now, because the Mayor can't take that kind of hit.

3. The ordinance is fairly clear: I read it again last night. But if the good judge wanted to tilt at windmills and allow the COA to hear this, so be it. They'll toss him out on his ear. But what happens in the meantime?
__________________

To ensure we're all safe and that these good officers' work is not wasted, re-oathing them seems logical. As you point out, it wouldn't hurt a thing.

Except, there's an election in aboout 85 days.

I'm so damned sick and tired of John Dillon wetting his finger and sticking it in the wind, afraid to do anything that might anger more voters. You can bet your ass that if anyone involved with this fiasco, had given, say, $1,000 to the mayor's campaign, there'd be a different decision PDQ.

Do the right freaking thing for once. With any luck, it might become a habit.

Hey, I can hope, can't I?

Wilson46201 said...

Ch. 8 interviewed the Indiana State Attorney General Steve Carter who said he is planning to lead the City's appeal. It seems Carter agrees with Kobi Wright ...

Anonymous said...

By the by, isn't is highly improper for a sitting judge, to comment to a reporter about a case he's adjudicated, while it is (supposedly) being sent up for appeal?

If it doesn't violate some judicial ethics, it should.

Button it up, Reuben. Hell one of the appeals court judges might be Cale Bradford, who's been bitch slapped by the COA himself. On a case from which he should've recused himself.

Anonymous said...

Gary, I know you don't practice criminal law, but I have to tell you, those of us who do do not have a good opinion of Judge Hill. I have seen it from both sides-from the prosecutor's table and the defense attorney table. Anonymous said it correctly, he is not a legal scholar. He calls prosecutors racists on the record, he is famous for rejecting a plea one week by saying it is too harsh, then rejecting the very same plea the next week by saying it is too light. He has a Howard Hughes like obsession with noise in the court room. I am not talking cell phones or beepers, I am talking about the quiet shuffling of papers. During a jury, he threated to throw an attorney supervisor (who was sitting second chair with an attorney who was doing her first jury) in jail for contempt for passing notes to the rookie, saying note passing between attorneys is not allowed. The reason they were passing notes is because Judge Hill does not allow whispering between attorneys. He will do anything to avoid having a jury trial. I have seen him release defendants with horrible criminal histories because they asked for a fast and speedy date that was fast approaching. He told all the attorneys he didn't want to have a jury this summer, and promptly began congesting everything off the calendar.

Check out this link http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06080703jgb.pdf and you will see proof of the laziness and the depths Hill will go to do any work.

Judge Hill likes to think of himself as a sort of Solomon who is making wise decisions that are the most "just," with just being defined by him. He is not going to let a little thing like the law or the facts stand in the way.

I say all this because those who are familar with Judge Hill wonder about the reasoning behind this ruling. We are highly skeptical as to whether his ruling will stand on appeal. You The CoA is not going to let everyone arrested for the last six months out of jail. The public outcry would be too much.

I am not commenting on whether it would have been easier to just sweat the officers in on January 1-of course it would. I am just pointing out that this case also gives us a perfect opportunity to examine our trial court judges, and not praise someone who is so deficient as "doing the right thing" when we don't know the judicial temperment of this judge.

Anonymous said...

The last post hit the ball out of the park, without steroids.

I hate to admit it, but I'm close to wishing for an appointed judiciary.

Why?

The two county political chairmen made a deal with the deveil two years ago regarding adding courts; now, if you wanted to vote for 35 Democrats, you couldn't. Vice versa, too. There will never be more than a one-judge margin on the bench. This is an "election" ?

This leads to some pretty interesting vetting. I'm a committeeman, and during judicial slating, I've seen some of the biggest losers trapse through that process. If they grease the right palms, they get slated.

If I'm ever involved in a trial here, the chances are better than 50-50 the judge will be a complete goof, a failure as an attorney who ran to the bench for income security.

As much as I detest this governor, I'd prefer letting the gov appoint someone from a list put forth by a panel. Electing judges in this county just doesn't work. It's not really an election, either...

Yeah, there are some good ones. But their number is dwindling. Ya wanna start naming names? Here's one for starters: John Handley. Nice guy, Horribly under-qualified, and a bad judge by almost all measure. DUI and didn't resign.

Next?

Jason said...

If you read General Order 1.1 (the standing orders of the day to day operation of the Police Department), the language is extremely explicitly clear that all officers, prior to assuming sworn status for the new IMPD, MUST be sworn in by the Chief of Police or the Sheriff of the department. I would tend to agree that people were grandfathered in to the new department, but if they were why did the powers that be write on page 1 of standing orders a statement contradicting their prior decision?

Obviously procedural bylaws don't trump the law of the land, but if they contradict a good defense attorney (Voyles) can use that contradiction to create doubt. And, as everybody who's been in a courtroom knows, the new standard isn't reasonable doubt. It's any doubt. Even if the city is wrong and they're ordered to swear us in they'll overturn this case just because the Appellate and/or Supreme Court don't want the city to burn to the ground.

Anonymous said...

It should also be pointed out that Hill was a lifelong Democrat who became a Republican when the Democrats refused to slate him as judge. This was back in the day when votes for Judge actually mattered. The Republicans, wanting to pick up black votes and keep a spot, slated him.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Jason, whatever a "General Order" is has no requirement to be obeyed under law. It sounds like a workplace rule (and who makes those? ...the boss, so the boss can supercede or overrule them).

Cities may pass ordinances, State Agencies may have administrative rules in the Administrative Code, and the legislature has the Indiana Constitution and Indiana Code.

Bottom line...a "general order" is only a rule made by a supervisor and it can be superceded, exempted, or not enforced by that supervisor.

Anonymous said...

Once again some of you here totally miss the point. Judge Hill may not be loved by many, but he didn't create this mess. Jim Voyles whether you like it or not was just doing his job as a defense attorney by raising this valid question. Go to any court on any given day in any case being tried and you'll find attorneys trying to have cases dismissed for the wildest reasons. This is the fault of Mayor Bart who wanted soo badly to create this cluster. If you want to see how NOT to start up a new police department all you have to do is look at IMPD. All of this and more that will come could have easily been avoided if that A-Hole would have just treated LEO's with some decency and left them alone. Judge Hill was only ruling on a request by an attorney who was just doing what he gets paid to do. These rulings like them or not also happen in court every day. Its how our judicial system works, and no its not perfect, but unlike our current CCC meetings you have a right to speak and the deck aint stacked when the Mayor walks in the room.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1106,
A general order is not "a rule made up by a supervisor that can be superceded, exempted or not enforced by a supervisor." An IMPD general order is made up by the planning and research dept of IMPD. It has to be in accordance with state and federal law and the legal wizbangs like Kobe Wright have review and sign off on it before it is issued. General orders are based on court rulings and law which could hold the department liable if not obeyed. For example, Fair Labor Standards Act which covers how an officer will be compensated for overtime is part of IMPD general orders. If anyone including a supervisor is caught not obeying a general order they can be disciplined for violating it.

Anonymous said...

No swearing in huh?? Looks like our mayor and sheriff have taken another "wrong turn in the war on crime".

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Ballard thinks.

Anonymous said...

Well, if judge hill is a goof, Jim Voyles is one of those snake attorneys always trrying to free the "guilty"...because the police & Pros. charged them, the WHY didn't the prosecutor have a valid objection? Perhaps there is no valid objection and Hll & Voyles are correct. Bravo for protection the people's rights.

Jason said...

11:06, if you'll go back and reread my post you'll see I addressed that issue. If a defense attorney can find a discrepancy between conduct (legal or no) and the way general orders state you should conduct yourself, you can create enough doubt to grant a motion to suppress (which is what happened.) In court it's not really a question of state law when you show procedure wasn't followed.

For example, cases have been dismissed because an officer stopped a car on an infraction and a criminal arrest was made, but that officer never wrote the arrested a citation for the original infraction. It's not against the law to give someone a verbal warning for an infraction under any circumstances, but judges will still throw cases because of 'bias.'

Anonymous said...

Where's Ballard on this?! Another screwup for him to exploit and he's silent on it?!

Wilson46201 said...

When the Republican State Attorney General says it wasn't a screwup, the GOP candidate for mayor might find it prudent to bite his tongue ... but don't let me stop him running his mouth again!

Anonymous said...

11:36 Sorry, but you are (respectfully) mistaken.

Any workplace rule (call it policy, "general order", personnel manuel, or anything else) is only that....Without power of law the only people it applies to are the subordinate employees who are employed by those rules. What you call it is not important. I can call it "Executive Dicta" or "Grand Policy", but it all reverts to the authority of the person who wrote or implemented it. Persons outside that organization are not subject to it. The remedy for violation of such rules is determined by the executive of the corporation or entity, and likely may only be enforced through fines, suspensions, or separation from the entity.

Anonymous said...

Jason 11:51

Judges do what they want. I've been in enough courtrooms to see it. I've seen them disgrace the judiciary, call laws they are sworn to interpret "stupid" from the bench, dismiss cases improperly....

...the actions by the judge are not right because he took them. That is why there is a Court of Appeals and other higher courts, to review the actions of the lower courts to be sure the proper administration of justice.

Anonymous said...

Oh, shut up Wilson, weren't you banned?

Anonymous said...

11:36 The only authority subject to a "general order" (workplace rule) is the employee subject to that rule. Nobody else need pay attention to it and there is no cause of action for someone not subject to that workplace rule to obey it.

Example: If there is a "general order" that lunch breaks are only 1 hour long and an employee takes a 2 hour lunch break there is not a thing that can be done to enforce the "general order" on that employee by a court. I cannot file a cause of action against the employee for taking 2 hrs lunch break in a court of law, because I have no standing to file a cause.

Again, the only enforcement of such "general order" is from the supervisor, not a court. If someone has a "general order" that requires a ceremony and there is no such ceremony, a court cannot accept venue to require the ceremony merely because there is a workplace rule that requires it.

That is the basis of this thread. Reuben "Over The" Hill cast a judgment trying to impose a workplace rule that called for a ceremony to take place. There is no LAW that requires such ceremony to allow him to take venue.

Just because workplace rules are (often) reviewed by committees, legal counsel, supervisors, and other authorities does NOT make them applicable to anyone other than the entity that holds those as their tenets, rules, policies, regulations, "general order" or whatever you want to call them.

Anonymous said...

Wilson why are you always diverting the threads? Aren't you banned from several blogs, including this one??????

Why don't you just go trespass through the tulips and stay off of the blogs that have banned you?

Anonymous said...

Wilson is just here to protect Bart. Bart screwed up and we might have to release every person arrested since the first of the year.

WHERE IS BALLARD?!

Jason said...

2:52 and 2:40, once again you're completely missing the point. If General Orders have no bearing in court why are they brought up by high-price defense attorneys virtually every time there's a suppression hearing? You're stuck trying to look at GO through the lens of criminal law and that's where you're mistaken. Regardless of what the law says, if a good defense attorney can show that an officer has violated his SOP's sometimes that's all the doubt that's needed. I'm not saying that I agree with the ruling, but I can see where he's coming from because whoever wrote them up created that potential loophole.

If you're in a court with the type of judge who thinks you're only guilty if your mother testifies against you that's what's going to happen, again and again.

Ref. the 2 hour lunch break, the city has been known to construe that as ghost employment (which is a crime.) True story. By violating G.O.'s you open yourself up to many, many potential tort claims. They're there for a reason. All I'm saying is, why would they write it up this way if they never intended for the new officers to follow the protocol set forth in it? Is that how all the other G.O.'s are?

Anonymous said...

Jason 3:01

In court you can obfuscate just like Wilson does on this blog & bring up all manners of things not germane.

Workplace rules, call them what you want (general orders, grand dicta, supreme policy, employee manual) only apply to the subordinates. They are made by the executive authority of the entity.

Now to clarify: you brought up a good point that by breaking workplace rules you may subject yourself to tort claims. That is one reason why there are workplace rules.

Now, Jason, you are starting to see the point when you state that an employee taking the 2 hr lunch is committing a crime. -Get it? A Crime is punishably by LAW.

The employee would be subject to punishment from a supervisor for taking too much time on his lunch break. Nothing more...based on a workplace rule.

But, as you point out, some workplace rules are made to prevent torts or crimes one otherwise might not be aware of (see Monroe Gray conflict of interest with concrete contract at Airport Authority).

Bottom line, Jason, you cannot take a workplace rule and establish it as law. It isn't. Therefore you cannot say that if someone violates a workplace rule a court has venue over the rules...it has venue over the law.

In this thread, there is no LAW requiring the oath that Judge "Over The" Hill wrongfully ruled. The only remedy for not obeying a workplace rule for Mr. Voyles' client is to whine to the authority that wrote the rule.

You can't ask a court of law to take venue over workplace rules alone, there must be law to support taking venue.

Anonymous said...

Jason 3:01

As one who knows, allow me to politely clarify how things work. First, the standard to bring a cause of action in court is law. Has a tort been committed? Has a crime been committed? Has a law been violated?

The "general order" is simply a rule from a superior. Violation is only subject to the authority of the superior. A court cannot take venue over a rule that male employees must wear a tie & jacket to work. That is a "general order" or rule from a superior.

Judge Hill's ruling takes a ceremonial rule of an entity and tries to construe it as LAW. It is not law.

Example: If a company states that every new hire must be presented a certificate of employment, a court cannot state that the person's action's during the course and scope of employment were invalid because the employee did not receive his certificate of employment before he took the actions in the course and scope of his employment.

In that case, Jason, the employer must decide...because it is merely a workplace rule, not law.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

So here's a thought for all you double talking hate all things Peterson crowd...

Staging a repeat ceremonial oath performance cost taxpayers MONEY! Good grief, you folks are thick; it's either Peterson the tax and spend democrat or you're lying about your agenda!

Anonymous said...

7:21 The Machine says: Tax and Spend!

Give the rich a new stadium...tax abatements...and tax the working people, who cannot afford to see the millionaires play games, but who pay for their incarceration.

Why wasn't Jim Irsay charged with prescription fraud?

Wilson46201 said...

Ask your Republican County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi!

Anonymous said...

Go away Wilson

Anonymous said...

If I were you guys I'd want Wilson to go away too. Fact is, he exposes all your nonsense and you all can't stand the truth being told.

GO WILSON!

Jason said...

Just read my earlier thread. You're stuck on the criminal law thing. If you're confused talk to a good defense attorney and ask him/her why they has a copy of General Orders. I'll repeat again, I don't agree with the ruling, but when you write an SOP and then purposefully don't follow it you're going to open yourself up to this doubt, regardless of whether it's criminal (to some judges.) If they didn't matter why were they brought up in the argument?

Anonymous said...

Jason 5:39, doubts do not enter the picture here.

1. There is no doubt that the oath is ceremonial and not mandated by law.

2. Any workplace rules are just that. They may be enforced, suspended, superceded or overruled by the executive who made them. Courts cannot come take venue of workplace rules and declare venue and law. (Although some judicial activists think they can legislate from the bench)

Anonymous said...

Welcome, you are now in South Gary, Indiana!

Anonymous said...

Reuben Hill is a fool.