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Deadly pursuits: The aftermath....

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  • Deadly pursuits: The aftermath....

    I reported on this last year. One of the victims was in my daughter's graduating class last year.

    http://www.gomemphis.com/mca/midsouth_news/article/0,1426,MCA_1497_1901723,00.html
    "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
    -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division

  • #2
    That is tragic What is depraved heart murder? Is it a murder charge with some type of aggravating circumstances?
    I am disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? - Mr. Sparkle

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    • #3
      I found this bit about it on google:

      quote:
      The prosecution in the Burrows case is charging second-degree murder on basis of the theory known generally as "depraved heart murder," a theory in which the requisite state of malice for homicide is implied rather than explicit. The California criminal statutes provide for malice to be implied by circumstances that show "an abandoned and malignant heart" (California Penal Code

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      • #4
        I've also heard it explained as 'an action done in reckless abandon, done without concern for the safety of others.'

        The charge could be applied to circumstances such as described, or to a care giver who deliberately neglected their charge (bedridden elderly persons come to mind), an individual purposefully plowing a car through a crowded playground, etc., resulting in death or grievous bodily injury.
        "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
        -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division

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        • #5
          quote:
          The lawsuit states that law enforcement officers should have let the shoplifters go and attempted to locate them after the danger of a high-speed collision had passed.
          I can't say that i disagree with that statement. The officers had the tag number of the car and most likely the suspects' faces on Wal-Mart surveillance tapes.

          Although I don't know the whole story, I don't fully see why a multi-agency pursuit was organized just to catch some shoplifters who probably could have been easily identified and arrested at a later time.

          It's situations like this that create the stringent pursuit policies that so many agencies have and that prevent them from pursuing truly dangerous offenders.

          [ 04-22-2003, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: PatrickM98 ]

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          • #6
            I guess that would be similar to our 1st degree murder charge as follows:

            (d) Under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person, or persons, other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another;
            I am disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? - Mr. Sparkle

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            • #7
              quote:
              Originally posted by Xanthorius:
              I guess that would be similar to our 1st degree murder charge as follows:

              (d) Under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally...

              Not really. The big difference here is that malice is not present. To be convicted of first degree murder in most places, the defendant must actually have the malice and intent to kill someone.

              The felony murder rule could also be applied in this case, as the suspects were fleeing from the police (a felony) and caused the death of others during the comission of said felony.

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              • #8
                I disagree with the theory of the danger subsiding after the police have stopped pursuing suspects. My department had an innocent die and two critically injured during a pursuit approximately 2 months ago. Since then we have discontinued 3 pursuits where the suspect has either been spotted still operating recklessly dangerous or crashed his vehicle after the pursuit was called off. Prior to that we had 3 pursuits discontinued where the suspect crashed and put a total of 5 people in the hospital. Pursuits and the law enforcement field are inherently dangerous and this is a fact which needs to be understood. Discontinuing a pursuit WILL NOT stop a suspect from killing or injuring due to his driving. Keeping officers with the suspect who have emergency equipment activated will help keep the suspects approach known to innocent people on the roadway.
                Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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                • #9
                  Perhaps the biggest thing officers/departments need to do is to evelauate the need for a chase in the first place. Is shoplifting or running a redlight really worth chasing somebody. I personally don't think so.

                  The only time that we will vehicle chase is if there is a known felony against a person and there is more immediate danger by letting the offender get away. Examples would be kidnapping, rape, murder and such.
                  "Integrity is like virginity. Once it's lost, you can't get it back." --drunkhunter

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                  • #10
                    For once, California has it right in this area. We have a statute that makes it illegal to sue the police because they chased somebody that was flleing from them. Now, if a cop blows a steady red light and is totally at fault, it's a different story. However, they can't be held liable for the suspects actions or stupidity.

                    I guess I'm in the minority here, I say CHASE 'EM. As soon as we stop chasing people, there will be alot more that refuse to stop. Then again, I'm all for ultra strict sentencing (say 10 years minumum) for failure to yield as well.
                    "Get busy dying or get busy living".....Andy Dufrain, Shawshank Redemption

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                    • #11
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by jeeper:
                      Pursuits and the law enforcement field are inherently dangerous and this is a fact which needs to be understood. Discontinuing a pursuit WILL NOT stop a suspect from killing or injuring due to his driving.

                      That's true, but my point (and the point Drunkhunter made) was addressing whether or not the pursuit should have been initiated in the first place. There is little doubt in my mind that if the officers had not begun the pursuit, the offenders would not have been speeding through the county.

                      While terminating the pursuit does not mean that the risk of injury subsides, it does release the department from some liability if they do so out of concern for the public and if procedure dictates that they do so.

                      I don't feel that just anyone should be chased. Why risk lives of officers and civilians because of minor traffic offenders? Run the plate and if it comes back clean, let them go. It's not worth the risk. As to lawsuits, I can't say I blame people for filing them. Say an innocet civilian gets killed in a pursuit, leaving his family with mountains of bills and debts. Do you think the POS who ran from the police has deep enough pockets to cover that? Of course not. Is the department directly responsible for the civilian's death? Nope, but they are indirectly responsible.

                      [ 04-22-2003, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: PatrickM98 ]

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                      • #12
                        Ok, say you run the plate and "it comes back clean" as you say. Who's to say that guy didn't just rob a bank, kill his parents or set off a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City? Based on your criteria, the trooper would have let Timothy McVeigh go if he failed to yeild. the stop was after all just for a minor traffic violation.
                        "Get busy dying or get busy living".....Andy Dufrain, Shawshank Redemption

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                        • #13
                          quote:
                          Originally posted by Blue Leader:
                          Ok, say you run the plate and "it comes back clean" as you say. Who's to say that guy didn't just rob a bank, kill his parents or set off a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City?

                          First off, how many pursuits involve such instances? VERY few. The vast majority of suspects have minor warrants, are DUI, or are suspended. That's no justification for pursuing every traffic offender. Simply pulling someone over doesn't guarantee that an undiscovered crime will become discovered, anyway. How many officers have missed warrants because they didn't run the driver of a car that they stopped?

                          And what happens if you get someone who has committed such a crime to pull over? McVeigh was arrested because of a CCW, not because he fit the discription of John Doe #1. Federal agents arrested him for that before he made bail for the CCW charge. If McVeigh didn't have the CCW, he would have been cited and let go. We're talking about LUCK here on the trooper's part, not some bit of brilliant police work.

                          Regardless, the case in point here involved KNOWN shoplifters...not murderers and not terrorists. Enough evidence probably existed about these suspets to make their capture at a later date quite easy. A multi-vehicle, multi-agency pursuit should not have been conducted if no other issues were at hand.

                          [ 04-23-2003, 01:22 AM: Message edited by: PatrickM98 ]

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                          • #14
                            First off, the point is YOU NEVER KNOW. I wasn't specifically talking aboutthe shoplifter case but it could still apply...you never know what else they may have done.

                            You're right, it doesn't happen often that a traffic stop yeilds some fantastic arrest but YOU NEVER KNOW.

                            As far as th McVeigh argument, what he was arrested and held for is irrelevant. The bottom line is it started as a plain ol' traffic stop and he wouldn't have been caught if they let him run w/o a pursuit.

                            I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
                            "Get busy dying or get busy living".....Andy Dufrain, Shawshank Redemption

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                            • #15
                              quote:
                              Originally posted by Blue Leader:

                              I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

                              I guess so. Personally, I just don't feel that putting the lives of officers and civilians in jeopardy is worth the risk simply because "you never know" what someone may have done. The only thing that we do know is that all pursuits are inherently dangerous and have the potential to result in unnecessary death or serious injury.

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