Friday, June 29, 2007

Ivory Webb Acquitted, Double Jeopardy, Concurrent Jurisdiction, and the Race Card

Followup to a story from February and March 2006. Here's the latest:

A jury took less than four hours Thursday to acquit a former sheriff's deputy of charges he illegally shot an unarmed suspect at the end of a high-speed car chase in Chino.

Ivory J. Webb Jr. thrust his hands into the air and embraced his attorneys as a court clerk read the not-guilty verdicts in a jam-packed San Bernardino courtroom....

The verdict brings to an end a monthlong trial in which the key piece of evidence was a grainy, amateur videotape of the Jan. 29, 2006, shooting.

The video, which gained widespread notoriety after it was broadcast on television news and the Internet, appeared to show Webb shoot Elio Carrion as Carrion, an off-duty Air Force senior airman on leave from Iraq, followed the deputy's orders to "get up" off the ground....

Webb's lawyers claimed the deputy fired in self-defense while trying to single-handedly apprehend two drunken and belligerent criminals.

They said the video showed Carrion reach a hand inside his jacket, as for a weapon, and lunge at Webb....

Carrion's family held a news conference late Thursday evening outside their Montclair home.

Carrion's father, Heliodoro Carrion, and Elio Carrion's aunt and godmother, Connie Madrigal, spoke to the media with several other siblings and family members standing behind them.

"As you can tell, the jury's verdict was an injustice - it was a great injustice to our military hero, Elio." Madrigal said.

The verdict is not the end of the case, Madrigal said.

The family plans to go to Los Angeles on Monday to speak with members of the U.S. Attorney's Office to see if they can prosecute the case in federal court.


Now's as good a time as any to review the relevant portion of the Fifth Amendment:

...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb...

However, the courts have ruled that double jeopardy is trumped by concurrent jurisdiction:

Another method [to "federalize" crime] is bringing federal charges upon criminals in addition to the standard state prosecution, as in the case of the four L.A.P.D. officers acquitted in the state Rodney King beating trial. After a state trial acquitted the officers, the United States Department of Justice decided to file a federal civil suit. The American Civil Liberties Union objected strongly, condemning the federal prosecution as "a violation of double jeopardy."

In United States v. Lanza, the Supreme Court ruled that the Double Jeopardy Clause -- "nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb" -- does not preclude federal and state prosecution for the same offense because of the idea that dual sovereignties may have concurrent jurisdiction: "An act denounced as a crime by both national and state sovereignties is an offense against the peace and dignity of both and may be punished by each."...

But a conflict between dual sovereignty and double jeopardy presupposes that the prosecutions deal with the same offense....[I]n the case of the L.A.P.D. officers, the charges were substantially different....

Thus, even discarding the dual sovereignty precedent, a retrial of the police was still "entirely proper under prevailing double jeopardy doctrine" because federal charges differed from the state's....

In addition...there is a strong public-policy-oriented reason for the dual sovereignty exception to double jeopardy: Double prosecutions have proven instrumental in securing governmental interests. In fact, there is a striking parallel between the King incident and the 1964 murder of Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn. Penn, a black man, was shot and killed by Georgia Ku Klux Klan members who, despite strong evidence to the contrary, were acquitted by the state. The Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Guest allowed the federal government to reprosecute, and the murderers were subsequently convicted.


So one could argue that Federal action would serve to redress alleged persecution of a minority...except in this case it was another minority that was doing the persecuting.

I guess it would be nice to reopen the case in which two Latinos were subjected to inordinately long prison terms...except that in this case there's no appeal - the Feds were the ones that threw them into the slammer.

ivorywebbjr

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Video cameras do lie.

Anonymous said...

Did you expect anything other than a not guility verdict? The POLICE are not goverened by the same laws that the rest of us have to abide. As can be seen by the way they drive and ignore the speed limits and they are never held accountable for their actions as proven by the number of times that an officer has been let off with so called deadly shootings even when the suspect didn't even have a weapon! Just hope that there arent that many Ivory Webbs on the forse, one was enough!

robert said...

Webb is a stupid coward who should be shot three times just like the person he shot in cold blood three times. I guess it is true that cops can get away with anything. I hope webb rots in hell. stpid rotten bastard.