Assorted Stupidity #66

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  • Speaking of geniuses, Kent Easter was convicted the other day after being retried on false-imprisonment charges. He's the attorney who, along with his attorney wife, planted drugs in the car of a school volunteer to get back at her for some stupid kid-related thing. (She pleaded guilty last year.) You'd think law degrees from UCLA and UC Berkeley would indicate enough combined brainpower to either avoid doing this or get away with it, but no.
  • I gave Kent one creativity point for using a fake Indian accent when he called police to report the volunteer, but took it away for later claiming ignorance and blaming his wife. Stanford undergrad and UCLA law, and that's the best you can do? Disappointing.
  • Speaking of planting things, Australian Federal Police said last week that they had identified the organization responsible for putting plastic explosives in a traveler's suitcase at Sydney Airport. They also apologized, because the organization turned out to be the Australian Federal Police. Apparently they put the explosives in an unclaimed bag as part of a training exercise, then forgot about them. Later the bag was given to a traveler as a replacement for a damaged bag, and she learned when she got home that the bag contained a special bonus surprise. There was no detonator, but somebody's still in big trouble, probably.
  • As I told the Australian who sent me that one, our crack security squads also do that kind of thing. The difference is that here they generally don't apologize.
  • Speaking of cops that don't apologize, Boing Boing reports that the CBC recently warned Canadians not to carry cash on road trips into the U.S., because our police might just take it and keep it if you can't prove you're not a drug dealer or terrorist. A recent Washington Post report on "civil forfeiture" said the "total haul" since 9/11 has been $2.5 billion, much of it taken from innocent people. Welcome to the States, neighbor!
  • On that same topic, everyone who cares should be reading Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko, which talks about civil forfeiture, militarized police forces, the now-routine use of SWAT raids to serve warrants even for non-violent offenses, and so on. My book is a lot funnier, but his is probably more important.