Above the law


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k_dawg
February 8, 2006, 04:17 PM
Yet another example of LEO's believing in a different system of justice for their own. In this case, we have nine Chiefs of Police who believe their own are "too good" to go thru the regular system of justice as you or I would.

I congradulate the DA for not giving into those, who believe the "thin blue line" should protect one from our system of justice.

"Many would say that at the charging level, they (troopers) should be treated the same as any other citizen."

Here here!

10 chiefs oppose gun charges against state troopers Administrative discipline urged if needed

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYKNews-DemocratBELLEVILLE - Nine chiefs of police have endorsed a letter written by Belleville Police Chief Dave Ruebhausen urging that three Illinois state troopers charged with weapons violations not to be prosecuted.
If they are guilty, they should be punished administratively, according to Ruebhausen's letter given Tuesday to the News-Democrat.
The letter also was endorsed by two state senators, two sheriffs and retired Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, a former U.S. marshal.

But a statement on Tuesday issued by interim U.S. Attorney Edward McNally cautioned, "These matters are now in public court ... no doubt many of the officials (listed in the letter) will look forward to an opportunity to have a complete understanding of all the facts in the case...."
The statement added, "Many would say that at the charging level, they (troopers) should be treated the same as any other citizen."
The troopers -- Greg Mugge of Jerseyville, John Yard of Collinsville and James Vest of O'Fallon -- are charged in federal court in East St. Louis with illegal possession of automatic weapons. They face a maximum of 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
Vest and Yard are assigned to the State Police in Collinsville and Mugge works out of Litchfield. They were suspended with pay pending a hearing before the state police merit review board.
A physician, former Glen Carbon resident Dr. Harold Griffiths of Spaulding, also is charged. All were released on their own recognizance.
The troopers could have legally possessed automatic rifles or "machine guns" on their jobs if certain federal paperwork had been completed. Under certain circumstances, this would allow them to take the rifles home.
Ruebhausen urged that the troopers, who are said to have unblemished records, be disciplined internally.
His letter stated, "We do not see how the citizens are made safer by placing these troopers in jail."
In an interview, Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"
McNally's written statement, released after a copy of Ruebhausen's letter was sent to the U.S. attorney's office, stated, "The United States respects the views of the chiefs, sheriffs and the senators and the fact that they too, have to make decisions every day about whether to treat public officials the same as other citizens."
The statement continued, "Every man and woman who has worn the badge has risked their life to protect others. That is one of the reasons there are few situations more challenging than allegations that a police officer has violated the law...."
Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, declined to add his name to the letter.
"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."
The charges were announced Jan. 17 at a news conference at the U.S. attorney's office. At that time, State Police Director Larry Trent said the troopers "... are not above the law." He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to information from the news conference, the weapons were rifles, an M-16 designed to fire automatically and two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles that had been converted to fire fully automatic, or as long as the trigger is depressed.
Vest, 39, is a weapons instructor who purchased his M-16 in 1998 and used it often for police firearms instruction. He allegedly told police that he sometimes took the weapon home.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, a former Madison County state's attorney, said he was "stunned" when he read that the troopers had been charged.
"In this case there does not appear to be any conduct intended to violate the statute," he said.
Besides Ruebhausen, the area police chiefs who signed the letter are, Chris Sullivan, Alton; Richard Miller, Granite City; Scott Williams, Collinsville; Patrick Delaney, Sauget; Joe Brauer, Waterloo; Joe Edwards, Columbia; William Webber, Wood River; Darren Carlton, East Alton; and Brian Vielweber of Smithton.
Williams, the Collinsville chief, said that while he allowed his name to be added to the letter, he is still in favor of criminal charges, if the facts warrant.
"I'm not saying they shouldn't get in trouble over this," he said, " (but) they shouldn't be made an example of because they are officers."
Sen. James Watson, R-Greenville, whose name is on the letter, could not be reached. Delaney also could not be reached.
Bond County Sheriff Jeff Brown and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz also added their names to the letter. Hertz was out of town but Brown said, "I see this as driving a wedge between (federal officers) and local and state law enforcement."


btw: i wish that we could have in law, any LEO advocating that another LEO not be judged under the same system of justice, be irrevokably kicked off the force.

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griz
February 8, 2006, 04:29 PM
I agree with the principle that LEOs should obey the law. I also agree with Mearl Justus, the sheriff of St. Clair County, who said:

"They asked me and I said I'd rather not sign it because I don't think anybody knows enough about what happened."

fourays2
February 8, 2006, 04:36 PM
no-one should be charged with BS possesion laws like these.

Molon Labe
February 8, 2006, 04:41 PM
no-one should be charged with BS possesion laws like these.

+1.

We need to rescind The NFA of 1934. But until that happens, everyone must be treated equally under the law.

GTSteve03
February 8, 2006, 04:49 PM
Can you imagine the media frenzy if a group of 3 "civilians" were found with 3 illegal fully-automatic weapons? You'd hear the following words thrown about for sure:

-bloodbath
-militia
-Columbine
-Beltway Sniper
-gun nuts
-terrorists/ism

And yet here we have higher-ups wanting to shush this whole thing and reprimand with a slap on the wrist because the offenders aren't "civilians," but law enforcement professionals. :barf: :barf:

The Real Hawkeye
February 8, 2006, 05:00 PM
His letter stated, "We do not see how the citizens are made safer by placing these troopers in jail."Well, the same can be said for anyone arrested for mere illegal possession of NFA weapons. If an upstanding dentist or accountant or carpenter were arrested for it, would we actually be better off as a society with the man in jail? That's the problem with jail time, or even excessive fines, for mere possession of something. You should actually have to do something that we all agree is inherently wrong before you can go to jail, e.g., steel something, threaten someone without justification, cheat someone out of their paycheck. We can all agree that people who do those kinds of things deserve jail time, but possessing a certain kind of gun? Just possessing it? That's really insane. Any government that would do that is, well, malevolent. There's no other way to say it. And the same goes for any cop who enforces such laws.

swampsniper
February 8, 2006, 05:09 PM
"Every man and woman who has worn the badge has risked their life to protect others""
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dayam, so have I, badge, or no badge!
Where is my "get out of jail" pass?:rolleyes:

Molon Labe
February 8, 2006, 05:26 PM
You should actually have to do something that we all agree is inherently wrong before you can go to jail, e.g., steel something, threaten someone without justification, cheat someone out of their paycheck. We can all agree that people who do those kinds of things deserve jail time, but possessing a certain kind of gun? Just possessing it? That's really insane.It's called a might crime.

A might crime is when you're arrested because you might commit a crime.

There are two kinds of might crimes:

1. There is overwhelming evidence that the action puts innocent people at consider risk of injury or death, or violates an innocent person's inalienable rights.

2. There is very little or no evidence that the action puts innocent people at consider risk of injury or death, or violates an innocent person's inalienable rights.


Driving while intoxicated or pointing a gun at a crowd of innocent people would fall under #1. It is usually justified to arrest someone for committing this type of might crime.

Possessing a machinegun without NFA paperwork would fall under #2. It is not justified to arrest someone for committing this type of might crime.

ArmedBear
February 8, 2006, 05:35 PM
I think that 99% of the people who have or want a full-auto weapon do so because they have a little Beavis and Butthead in them, not a little Bonnie and Clyde.

In New Zealand, it's fairly easy to possess a machine gun, though, oddly, open-hammer Side by Side shotguns are illegal -- no other shotguns, just open-hammers. I haven't heard that there are any problems. People just want to play with a machine gun. What sort of heterosexual man DOESN'T?:p

swampsniper
February 8, 2006, 05:43 PM
Didya ever get your thumb smacked by one of those open hammers? Goodness gracious, those dayam things are brutal!:eek:

Kevlarman
February 8, 2006, 05:53 PM
I'd like to hear what Sideshow Bob thinks about this:

Bob: Well...you see, Birch, I'm presently incarcerated.
[scene switch to prison where a riot is taking place]
Convicted of a crime I didn't even commit. Hah! Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?


Seriously, if anything law enforcement should be held to an even higher standard than your average Joe is, don't you think?

1911 guy
February 8, 2006, 05:56 PM
We've got the standard response here. Fellow officers, so let's sweep it under the rug. Administrative punishment for a criminal act? What would happen to "average Joe" if he were to do the same thing? Probably shot in confrontation with these fine officers.

Just once I'd like to hear a department have the integrity to say "We expect our officers to uphold the image we present to the public. Throw the book at them." But instead we get this "thin blue line" bullsh$@. If you want me to think highly of you as a police officer, stand aside as the bad ones get dealt with, just like every other profession. If you stick with them, you're guilty as an accomplice after the fact.

TrekkieFromHell
February 8, 2006, 05:59 PM
Where is my "get out of jail" pass?:rolleyes:

http://blogs.ipswitch.com/archives/get%20out%20of%20jail%20free.jpg

Here you go swampsniper, but I dont know if your local law enforcement official will accept it. :neener:

bigun15
February 8, 2006, 06:17 PM
Ruebhausen said, "You're not supposed to own (illegal) weapons... But the bottom line is that with all the thugs out on the street, is society served by putting these officers in jail?"

You idiot. The only difference between the cop and the thug on the street is that you didn't hire the thug. Not applicable to all police officers, but certainly these ones.

ArmedBear
February 8, 2006, 06:19 PM
If you want me to think highly of you as a police officer, stand aside as the bad ones get dealt with, just like every other profession. If you stick with them, you're guilty as an accomplice after the fact.

Don't stand aside, work doubly hard to weed out the bad apples. I'm from San Diego, remember.

And rest in peace, Cara.

http://zyberzoom.com/CaraKnott.html

answerguy
February 8, 2006, 06:21 PM
btw: i wish that we could have in law, any LEO advocating that another LEO not be judged under the same system of justice, be irrevokably kicked off the force.

I agree, I think there should be a special court set up for LEOs who try to set up special courts for their fellow members.:scrutiny:

joab
February 8, 2006, 06:28 PM
I believe that these cops should get off scott free

Then they should go through their arrest records and the records of the chiefs.
Find any arrests that they made stemming from the mere possession of "illegal weapons" and serve the time of every body that they helped to put away under the very laws that they violated.
The falsely imprisoned should get to divvy up all their assets amongst themselves, plus be compensated the average yearly wage of all that chose to take a stand with the officers times the number of years that they served for these weapons crimes.

Standing Wolf
February 8, 2006, 06:32 PM
Why don't we just repeal the N.F.A. of 1934?

k_dawg
February 8, 2006, 06:39 PM
I notice the distinct silence from those, who always complain about "cop bashing", "reserve judgement", "do not presume them guilty" etc..

It's almost deafening.

Why don't you stand up, and speak loudly and clearly: "If this is the law, then by god, these officers should be charged and tried just like you and I!"

Come on, try it for once.

Jeff White
February 8, 2006, 07:09 PM
k_dawg,
They are being charged and tried just like anyone else. The US Attorney gave the correct answer. What more do you want?

You would have reason to wear your keyboard out whining about how the man keeps the brothers down if the charges had been dropped after that letter reached the US Attorney's office. But guess what, they weren't, so this is a non issue.

I sure hope I don't see you post any support for a private citizen who is charged with a crime. That would be inconsistant with your premise that all laws are just and should be enforced without regard to any circumstances.

Of course we could use this as an example of just how stupid the National Firearms Act is, but then that would get in the way of all the cop bashing and wouldn't be near as much fun......:rolleyes:

Jeff

GTSteve03
February 8, 2006, 07:15 PM
Of course we could use this as an example of just how stupid the National Firearms Act is, but then that would get in the way of all the cop bashing and wouldn't be near as much fun......:rolleyes:
Except for the fact that the NFA has been brought up 4 times previous. But don't let that stand in the way of being a self-proclaimed martyr against all those cop bashers out there. :rolleyes:

WvaBill
February 8, 2006, 07:38 PM
I would like to know, forget the NFA, how is the public safety enhanced by my being prohibited from carrying in a federal facility/National Park?

Desertdog
February 8, 2006, 07:42 PM
Find any arrests that they made stemming from the mere possession of "illegal weapons" and serve the time of every body that they helped to put away under the very laws that they violated.

If the police chiefs get their way and these 3 are not charged, there could be a chance a good lawyer would use it to get some convicts out of prison, get them to walk later for simple possession of automatic firearm.

Huntzman
February 8, 2006, 07:44 PM
It's a light day, so I'll pitch in........ :rolleyes:

I normally don't hang out here, but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me at the menu page and I take a look. I usually get a little burn going on because I'm retired NYPD and it seems that cop bashing is a budding Olympic sport. But unlike the bashers, I believe that common sense should always be employed.

My take on this situation is simple. They broke the law, not by error which can happen, but by choice. They should face the music just like everyone else. People seem to think that cops are different and maybe they should be. But as I have said before we don't import law enforcement officers from another galaxy. We pick and choose them from Earth. That idiot you went to high school with might wind up in uniform. Newsflash, he is still probably an idiot. :what: But don't judge the rest of us. FYI: I spent twenty years in LE, and probably represent the "average" cop.

I feel every law abiding American citizen has the RTKBA.
I have never feared a lawfully armed citizen.
I have never blindly stood by some lunatic chief that thought he was the poster boy for Gun Control.:banghead:
I do believe that we as CITIZENS, one and all, of this great Nation need to support each other, not tear each other down.

I don't think that active or retired cops have any more rights than the average person. I do believe that if we stand apart, we will all find ourselves standing along one by one. These guys were wrong, but lets look beyond this issue and address the larger one. Why are the politicians WE elect dictating through policy what rights we can and cannot exercise:cuss:

I have no desire to shoot fully automatic weapons but I should have the right to decide that, not some bureacrat in DC. These guys broke the law and shouldd be punished accordinly, but lets not lose sight of the fact that we should be focusing on changing THAT law.

Right now in Illinois the Chicago Dem's are looking to push another "assault weapons" ban. Some politicians, seeking to appease gun owners, have already begun to draft "grandfather" amendments. We as citizens (read: VOTERS) need to send a message loud and clear to stop the nonsense or be prepared to find another job.

The Wall Street Journal might not agree with the Village Voice in issues of sum and substance. But raise the spectre of "freedom of speech" and see them join hands and begin singing "we shall overcome". Meanwhile, we supporters of the 2nd amendment throw stones at each other.....

Thank you for your time and consideration of my humble diatribe !!

joab
February 8, 2006, 08:38 PM
I notice the distinct silence from those, who always complain about "cop bashing", "reserve judgement", "do not presume them guilty" etc..Well I'm one of those that is usually being called statist lapdog for the cops, did you see my post

If the police chiefs get their way and these 3 are not charged, there could be a chance a good lawyer would use it to get some convicts out of prison, get them to walk later for simple possession of automatic firearm.That'll work too.
If they stand up and say they broke the law because it is an unconstitutional law I support them

If they say that they broke the law because they are cops and can't be prosecuted then screw em

Assuming that they did in fact break the law.

My main problem right now is with the chiefs attitude that they shouldn't even be prosecuted to find out, maybe someone should check out the chief's closets

LawDog
February 8, 2006, 08:44 PM
this "thin blue line" bullsh$@.

Incivility. Thinking that by passing the swear word filter with a cute little "$@". Rudeness. Discourtesy.

You know, I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to wonder if those who can't be bothered to engage in a civilized "HIGH ROAD" kind of debate might need to find a new home.

I'm going to suggest that a whole bunch of people take some time off and think about how important THR is to you.

Lights out.

LawDog

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