Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Illegal anti-gay discrminiation

Slate has a piece this afternoon about how the New York City police continue to arrest people under an anti-cruising law that was voided as unconstitutional way back in 1983.

It's true. [I]n the 26 years of this law's odd posthumous career, district attorneys brought 4,750 prosecutions and judges convicted 2,550 defendants. For violating an imaginary law, these defendants paid a decidedly non-imaginary $70,000 in bail and $190,000 in court fees and fines. In the last 10 years, NYPD officers also issued 9,693 citations, forcing citizens to pay $71,000 in fees. The criminal records of these victims have never been expunged and the fees and fines have not been refunded.

The city was sued in a class action last year, and the NYPD brass told the police to cross out the relevant section in their copies of the Penal Code. Yet they're still arresting people.

This raises a couple of questions. First, what of the illegal conduct by public officials up and down the line, from beat cops up to the assistant district attorneys who prosecute those cases? How can an ADA justify signing a complaint alleging that the defendant violated a law that doesn't exist?

Odds on whether any of those ADA's have been brought up on ethics charges? My bet would be the same as yours: zero.

Another question that occurs to me, though, goes all the way out of New York to Minneapolis, and Senator Larry "Wide Stance" Craig. Sure, the crime he was charged with and convicted of was disorderly conduct, not cruising. Still, the essence of the crime was not hypocrisy, much as we wish it was, but looking for sex with another man.

If we are rightly outraged about what has happened to thousands in New York, what should we think about one confused senator from Idaho?

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Anonymous Tom McC said...

We should think that, embarrassing to him and delightful to us as his situation was, he was mistreated.

October 22, 2009 9:37 PM  

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