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February 24, 2009

Federal sentences imposed on cops after deadly collateral damage from the drug war

As detailed in this CNN report, a trio of "former Atlanta police officers were sentenced Tuesday to prison terms ranging from five to 10 years for covering up a botched drug raid in which a 92-year-old woman was killed."  In this discussion of the sentencing, Radley Balko at Reason notes some drug war comparison outcomes:

By comparison, Ryan Frederick — the Chesapeake, Virginia man who says he mistakenly fired one shot that struck and killed a police officer during a drug raid on his home — received a 10-year sentence. Cory Maye, who also mistakenly shot and killed a cop during a botched drug raid, is still in prison for the rest of his life.

February 24, 2009 at 09:44 PM | Permalink


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I don't know anything about the specific facts of these cases. But, if I understand what is described above, law enforcement officers unjustifiably shot a preson and covered it up? Right? Doesn't sound like their conduct was much different than the "border agents" cases.

There is a pattern I'm starting to see: when the people we expect to enforce the law, violate it and then cover it up, they get sentenced less (or commuted), while a person who doesn't have such an obligation and isn't in a position to cover it up gets harsh treatment.

Posted by: DEJ | Feb 25, 2009 12:21:05 PM

An invevitable evil of the NO-KNOCK warrants. Knock and announce rules saved lives of innocent folks at home who thought they were being robbed and intruding law enforcement officers as well--recognized since the time of Semayne's case (1650???). Now, inexplicably, the knock and announce protections all but gutted by the Supremes in cases like U.S. v. Ramirez, 523 U.S. 65 (19980(my case, I'm sad to say) and what is perhaps the worst decision this decade: Hudson v. Michigan 547 US. 586 (1996) (violation of no-knock does not require suppression). More blood will flow.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Feb 25, 2009 1:14:30 PM

Not that I am in any way optimistic that the Roberts Court will issue a Fourth Amendment decision favoring criminal defendants, but I wonder if these sad cases create at least a tiny window to argue that cases like Hudson were ill-considered and should be abandoned. The Court has done this before with relatively recent precedent (order of analysis in 1983 claims, double jeapordy rules) that didn't work out well in practical application...

Posted by: Anon | Feb 25, 2009 5:18:26 PM

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