every single officer in every single jurisdiction in the country has perjured himself in such a manner, that this practice is pervasively routine and accepted..." /> The “Good Cop” Fnord and Selective Enforcement of Law – no third solution

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The “Good Cop” Fnord and Selective Enforcement of Law

December 26th, 2009

A friend of mine got a traffic ticket the other day, it wasn’t anything serious. As chance encounters with “the man” often do, this got me thinking.

The officer wrote him up for “unsafe start” or something like that, which is the equivalent of “impeding traffic”. I believe it is a moving violation so the officer can apply it towards his monthly ticket quota, but a bunk ticket worth no points against his license and minimal fine (although I think “minimal” is still $110 in MI). However, this is not what he was doing. In fact, he was attempting to complete a left-turn through a downtown intersection, and at this precise intersection (not all intersections) it seems left turns are prohibited. Oh well, it was posted, so technically he should’ve know better or whatever.

So yeah, this got me thinking. I mean, aside from the fact that every single officer in every single jurisdiction in the country has perjured himself in such a manner, that this practice is pervasively routine and accepted. Many people are content with this because of the presumption of that the officer is somehow helping you out or doing you a favor by reducing the infraction. (You know what would be even more favorful? Yep: not writing a ticket in the first place!)

This is the “good cop” fnord: the officer could’ve made your life far more miserable, but shows a degree of restraint and only subjects you to a slightly lesser degree of punishment, therefore he’s “good” and you should be grateful for his benevolence.

But consider: the officer wrote him a ticket for something they both know he didn’t do. Isn’t this “falsifying a police report”?

A common argument used by law enforcement apologists is that the officers don’t get to decide which laws they want to enforce, they don’t get to decide which laws are just or which laws to enforce, rather they are just enforcing the law to the letter (IMO this is a variant of the “following orders” fallacy). But the fact of the matter is that law enforcement officers routinely decide which laws they want to enforce. Perhaps they don’t pull anyone over for speeding unless they’re really speeding. Maybe they ignore the fact that you didn’t use your turn signal. In other cases (e.g., racial profiling) they selectively enforce laws, perhaps only pulling over speeders who are black or Hispanic, etc.

You might say, “Well, these are minor civil infractions and not crimes per se…” but you’re falling in to that exact same trap of deciding which laws are appropriate to enforce, to what degree they will be enforced and under what circumstances and you’re using only the letter of the law as your guide.

You can not use “the letter of the law” as your guide to evaluating the propriety of the law.

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  • Don says on: December 26, 2009 at 5:57 pm

     

    David, you know just how to push my buttons.
    To be fair, just about everything is a hot button with me these days.

    I bet your friend was alone when he got that traffic ticket.

    I have a 1991 Chevy S10 that I bought *brand new* and about 15 years ago a jackboot gave me a speeding ticket for speeding in an area that was simply impossible to do. It was on a curve in a residential area. I don’t remember now what speed he claimed I was going, but the next day I went back to that site with my brother in the truck with me and tried to achieve the speed the jackboot claimed I was doing and it was physically impossible in that truck without it tipping over. The tires were skidding and my brother was terrified and I was at least 5 mph UNDER what the asshole wrote me up for. An S10 sits fairly high off the road and the ass end is very light so in a hard fast curve like that its easy for the ass to outrun the front.

    I paid the ticket, and afterwards I started paying attention, and thinking. I have had my share of traffic tickets over the years and I have never received one when other people were in the vehicle with me. Have you? Its only when I have been alone, and its my word against the thug, as to whether the ticket has merit or not. I have never contested a ticket, figuring, why throw good money after bad?, and simply pay them and grow more attentive to the highwaymen that lay in wait.

    Curious, as a victim of massive lifelong theft, a taxpayer, how is it possible for me to be in violation of rules pertaining to property I own and have paid for?

    You may have to read that sentence more than once, but it is accurate.

    Its the same sort of enigma that lies at the base of all things governmental. We hire people to represent us so that they can require certain things of us for our own good or of their own whim and as their employers we allow them to dictate how much we will pay them. We cannot fire them nor can we criminalize them. After we hire them they can ignore us and they can do whatever the hell they want to do. If we ignore them and their silly and arbitrary rules they can legally torture, kidnap or kill us. Even if we don’t hire them, but other people do, the same rules apply to us just because.

    How in the fuck does this make sense to any non insane person? You know, I marvel at this thing hundreds of times every fucking single day. Seriously, this seems like a morphology between a psycho fairy tale and a really bad windowpane trip and for the life of me I just don’t fucking get it.

    **I purchased my 1991 S10 brand new in Oct 1990 and it was the first new vehicle I ever bought. As far as I can tell it is also the last brand new vehicle I will ever buy. It has 155k miles, runs good, looks OK and gets me from A to B for minimal money and other than for vanity purposes why would I ever want to change? Oh yeah, I paid $8,888.00 for it and have never had any serious repairs done to it. Try that today.

    “There are more legal thugs running around today than illegal ones”.
    –gs, 2009

  • David Z says on: December 27, 2009 at 12:48 am

     

    nope, he was not alone when he received the ticket. He admits to the violation so that’s not at issue. He’s arguably “guilty” of an illegal left turn, but he’s not guilty of the offense written on the ticket. Of course if he contests it, it’s his word against the cop’s (nevermind the fact that the cop has demonstrated an inability to tell the truth) The “good cop” routine lied on the infraction form and wrote him up for something else. Upon reflection what I find perplexing is the frequency with which tickets of this nature (admit to offense X and we’ll charge you with “lesser” offense Y) are written and the contradiction it poses to those who say that LEO’s don’t get to choose which laws they want to enforce. lol.

  • Don says on: December 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

     

    Similar to the practice of plea bargaining to lessor crimes. Its become SOP to slam a suspected criminal of lots of lessor crimes, that may or may not have committed, and then coerce him/her to plead guilty to any or all of the lessor crimes, whether they did them or not, to avoid being convicted of the greater crime.

    Justice and Incarceration are BIG business in the US.
    The shining light evolves into the dark night.

  • Zach S says on: December 27, 2009 at 11:33 am

     

    Is it possible if you contest such a ticket to say to the judge that this is not the infraction you committed and since the jackboot lied and charged you with a faulty crime, be released from any?

  • David Z says on: December 27, 2009 at 1:54 pm

     

    yeah, you’d be admitting to a more serious offense, and remember, the judge and the cop are on the same team…

  • Don says on: December 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

     

    But, citing the 5th amendment, couldn’t you just say you didn’t commit the crime the jackboot said you did and force him to prove you committed it, which he couldn’t because you didn’t do it?

    (you have no obligation to admit to any crime, actual or fantasy)

    But then you’re back to square one which is your word against the jackboot.

    Besides, who has the coin to mount such an endeavor when its cheaper to just pay the thing and be done with it, which is what the jackboot is counting on.

    Helluva racket, no?

  • David Z says on: December 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

     

    Right, then you end up with the your-word-against-his, and I’m sure he’d be none too pleased with your insolence.

    Indeed, a helluva racket.

  • Brad says on: December 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

     

    I need to go and look at that intersection again to see if there were “3 VERY visible signs” that said no left turn.

    I threw this around to friends and family over Christmas weekend and they could not believe what was coming out of my mouth. Why would I want points and a higher fine? I told them I want accountability out of the people who are in place to write and enforce the laws.

    It feels messed up saying that, but it leads (lede – nice scrabble word Dave) into why my anti-government thinking keeps growing. They lie all the time.

  • Zach S says on: December 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm

     

    It’s not just the lying… its the selective nature of enforcement of the rules and such. Not everyone is held up to the same standard.

    It’s like when super religious people preach to you about “X”, but they reason out why “Y” is ok for them to do, even though “Y” is a rule just the same as “X”

    Buggers

  • Don says on: December 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm

     

    Lemme get this straight Brad, you want accountability from thieves?

    Little bit of sagely advice, don’t give this thing anymore free rent in your head than is absolutely mandatory.

    I said this here before but I’ll say it again. There are more *legal* criminals running around today than illegal ones. Further, there are even more people that are 1 step away from being a legal criminal, and these are the braindead idiots that will turn you in in a nanny second because they believe in the new world version of the rule of law. So freedomists must be ever vigilant at all times. I know, I don’t like it either, but such are the times we live in.

    I have not spent one day of my 54 years on this earth as a free man but I will never stop trying and I don’t give one good goddamn if I am the only person anywhere that understands this let alone the rotten thugs with the brain capacity of an amoeba with a taser.

    The world began the day I was born.

  • Don says on: December 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

     

    One more thing, look and see if there is a sign that specifically says you CAN make a left hand turn.

    Say what?

    The rules don’t always mean what you think they mean.
    Lemme ‘splain.

    The otherday I pulled out of a camping area and as I was about to pull out onto the road I saw a small state installed sign next to the driveway. It said, “It is not legal to drive golf carts on the highway”.

    Ponder that for a moment.

    It didn’t say it was illegal (a violation of written law) to drive the golfcart on the highway.

    The presumption here is that it is ALREADY illegal to drive the golfcart on the highway UNLESS there is a state installed sign granting legality to doing so.

    You see where this is going don’t you?

    Now this may sound crazy but as far as I’m concerned its a complete possibility that sometime in the future it will be presumed that everything is illegal unless permission has been granted, which more than likely will mean surrendering some coin in order to do whatever it is that you want to do. This is already the case with many things, like drivers license, hunting license, fishing license, etc. And you can’t even plead ignorance.

    I hope I get a cellmate that has the capacity to converse intelligently.

  • David Z says on: December 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm

     

    Brad you’re screwed. I just used Google Maps street view. There’s an overhead sign for the no left turns on Fourth & Main.

  • Brad says on: December 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

     

    It figures. Should of Google Maped the place before leaving so I would not have been told to “turn left right now” at the last second not paying attention to the signs.

    My co-pilot does not like the idea of riding bikes to the bar in winter or taking $8 cab rides for a mile. I hate driving in downtown areas because of what happened. Too many rules and no where to park in a small area.

  • David Z says on: December 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm

     

    I loathe downtown Royal Oak. Usually, by the time I’m able to park my car, I’m so fired up that I can’t possibly enjoy myself the rest of the evening. It’s just not fun to deal with the parking & driving arrangement down there.

  • Zach S says on: December 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

     

    That’s why its nice living 2 blocks off the strip in Tampa. You all should come down.

  • Don says on: December 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm

     

    Zach – you live close to my son, in Tampa. He lives on Willow. You aren’t from Cape Coral are you?

  • Zach S says on: December 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm

     

    Negative. From Michigan.

  • theftthroughinflation says on: January 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

     

    DOn nice uesage of the word “jackboot”…time to switch it up because I have seen more cops in the last year or two than I have in my life and saying “zee gestapo” each time is getting lame.
    I had the goodcop pulled on me once too. I got an infraction from a local jackboot he decided to scrutinize my window tint. Of course window tint is beneficial for many reason and is normally ignored by jackboots; unless they decide to upgade your ticket. Anyways he gave me a notice to have my tint inspected at a licenced pro-state garage within 48 hours or face a 400$ fine. According to the white knight himself it was really great of him to give me the notice of inspection because he could have given me a ticket on the spot. Of course the pro-state monopoly garage was only open 10-4 so I had to loose half a day’s pay to go there and pay 50$ for the inspection and 20$ for my tint guy to ripoff the front side window tint on short notice. Anyways I remaind polite with the officer even though he warned me that if he saw me in the area again he would pull me over if the tint wasin’t fixed – I was just happy he didn’t taze me to death in front of my girlfriend.
    Thanks officer! Thank you so much for protecting me against myself and forcing me to remove my evil tint! I won’t mention that you reveresed against traffic and pulled an illegal/dangerous U-turn to follow me.

  • Brad says on: January 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

     

    $125 for illegal left turn.

  • David Z says on: January 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm

     

    Balls. Ballsagna.

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