When there is no justice

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    There is a certain kind of anger that certain news items inspire: Bush lying, the weak Senate Democrats, and so forth; Kansas creationists, the Katrina response ....

    But this time, it's a different anger, something more intimate that somehow tempers the disgust. It's the kind of anger that keeps you warm.

    The event is hardly unique, and perhaps that fuels the anger.

    I picked up the story shortly after it broke. A murder-suicide occurred at the University of Washington during class hours. The moment must have been surreal for the people in the vicinity; people heard the gunshots. Talk about nightmares, though? KUOW radio (94.9 FM, Seattle; see KUOW.org) reported that nobody really reacted at first because there is a lot of construction taking place in the area. But apparently there was one professor who paused in his lecture, waited a few seconds, shrugged and said, "I don't hear any screams," and went on with the lecture. Poor guy.

    Reports on the first day stated that the victim's co-workers knew she was being stalked; the assailant's picture was even posted in the office where she worked. Allegedly, a restraining order had been issued but not served.

    It is a tragic story, and hardly unique. And it had slipped my attention for a few days. But then The Stranger stepped in. Among the regular columns in Seattle's best newspaper is one "Police Beat", by Charles Mudede. Typically, the column consists of excerpts from police reports mingled with existentialist commentary. But this week, they decided to cover the big story.

    This week it is a difficult read, but I encourage all to do so: "Police Beat", April 5, 2007.

    Talk about nightmares ....

    The summary:

    June 30, 2006: Jonathan Rowan busted for DUI, presumably arrested.

    March 5, 2007: Jonathan Rowan moves out of his Ballard (Seattle) home under "weird" circumstances involving Seattle police. Rebecca Griego informs police that Rowan may be wanted by British authorities for prior crimes.

    March 6, 2007: Police learn that Rowan allegedly assaulted Griego in January. Rowan calls Rebecca Griego at work, tells her that she cannot get away from him, should be looking over her shoulder, and threatens to harm or steal her dogs. Rebecca Griego seeks court protection order. Later in the day, Rebecca Griego reports that Rowan called her cell phone ten times, including threatening messages such as, "I'm going to fuck you up."

    March 31, 2007: Police respond to call accusing Jonathan Rowan of attacking Rebecca Griego at her home.

    April 1, 2007; 4:16 PM: Police arrest Jonathan Rowan at Rebecca Griego's home after he attempts forced entry. Rebecca Griego reveals that she is five months pregnant with Rowan's child.

    April 2, 2007; 9:30 AM: Jonathan Rowan shoots Rebecca Griego several times with a stolen .357, killing her, and then takes his own life.​

    They had him.

    Seventeen hours.

    I think it's that number that stokes the anger.

    Seventeen freaking hours.

    There are, of course, many questions remaining. Rowan was in the country illegally, and yet police repeatedly released him from custody. What, exactly, was happening with the restraining order? Given that they had him in custody seventeen hours before the shooting, why did they not hold him for the violation? Was his name even Jonathan Rowan?

    The Rochdale Observer reports:

    The Observer understands the gunman to be a Jonathan Ghulam Nabi Rowan, who was born on 13 March, 1966, at Birch Hill Hospital.

    His parents, Michael and Dorothy (maiden name Holt), are believed to have lived in Clover Street – a house thought to have later been demolished.

    But police in Seattle say they cannot rule out the possibility that the dead man was using a stolen identity, having found at least three aliases and two passports at his home address.

    What is clear is that a man carrying a passport bearing the name Jonathan Rowan left Britain for America in 1996, where he was later arrested several times for driving offences and being drunk in Washington State.

    He began a relationship with Miss Griego, a university reasearcher, but this ended in 2004 because of his growing obsession for her.

    In the weeks before her death, Miss Griego had taken drastic steps to avoid her ex-boyfriend, changing her mobile phone number, moving house and later obtaining a restraining order after he hurled a glass candlestick holder at her in a drunken rage.

    Some excerpts from Rebecca Griego's application for a restraining order can be found at True Crime Blog UK.

    I warned you not to go.
    I warned you not to stay.
    I warned you not to dig your own, dig your own little fucking grave ....

    .... Did I warn you?
    Did I warn you?
    Did I warn you?
    Did I warn you?
    Did I warn you?

    This time I'll concentrate;
    Lie back in the water and wait.
    This thing I intend to do
    Is harder on me than it
    Is on you!

    (Floater, "Kill the Girl")​
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    In most cities of the USA, it's forbidden for the police to enforce immigration laws. Like you, however, I think the police should arrest all illegal immigrants and ship them back to their own country!

    A restraining order is just a court document, a new "law", so as to use it in court to prosecute the individual if he violates that order. It's not a document which gives the police authority to follow him around and harass him and take away his normal civil rights.

    Even if he violated that restraining order, the police can only cite him for the violation, not take him to jail and hold him indefinitely.

    You've cited one instance of a crime which happens hundreds of times all over the nation. It's no different to many others ...like releasing a suspected murder on bond ...who then goes out to kill some of the witnesses to the original crime. It happens all the time, all around the nation.

    To do anything differently, we'd have to take away more and more of the normal person's civil and human rights. Is that what you want?

    Are you suggesting that the police arrest and throw in jail anyone because someone else "warns" them of another person's POSSIBLE criminality or violence? ...just because someone "warns" them???

    Baron Max
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  5. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    The Law can only Punish, it cannot Defend.
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    To be honest, I hadn't realized this applied to people in criminal custody. I knew they weren't doing their own raids.

    I was trying to avoid this, but recently the father of a friend of mine was busted for violating a restraining order. Technically, the girlfriend violated the restraining order, but he was held for days before being released, not just a few hours. Of course, this comes back to a simple point: my friend and his father are black. Rowan, aside from having non-Western middle names, looks white.

    If we take away a white person's "right" to be treated with such preference before the law compared to other people, that's just fine.

    Nope. Although I think when the police have the guy in custody, they ought to do their jobs.

    But it's not the fault of the police that the laws are apparently so racist that a white DV abuser can be turned so quickly while a black man can be wrongly arrested and held for days.

    And it's not the fault of the police that the University of Washington staff failed at their duties, too.

    There's plenty of anger to go around on this one. And I'm sure there are more people who've screwed up.
  8. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    And what would you suggest that would have been? And please don't forget the legal aspects of what you WANT to suggest versus what the law says.

    Ahh, so you want to make this a racist issue, not one of law and legality???

    My guess is that you could find almost exactly the same thing has happened where everyone was white .....but that's not sensational or racist enough for you, huh? Or the news?

    Baron Max
  9. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    I'm still waiting, Tiassa. Why don't you tell us what should have happened to have prevented the killing. Tell us exactly how you'd have accomplished saving that woman AND preserved the civil and human rights of the killer.

    Baron Max
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Making terroristic threats and violating a restraining order is grounds for incarceration and denial of bail pending psychiatric evaluation, and conditions such as bracelet monitoring if bail is even allowed.

    Police can hold illegal aliens arrested for other crimes, pendng investigation by Immigration.

    Nothing like that would have violated his rights.

    In my state if the police are called and see evidence of violence or physical threat they must -by specific law -remove at least one of the parties from the scene and jail them. That law has saved several lives, if statistics inform.
  11. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    Key phrases: evidence of violence + physical threat.

    With the flexibility of these phrases a fascist state can control its 'citizens'
    and a democratic state can move toward fascism, quickly.

    Just imagine how these phrases can be used against rights of assembly, rights of protest, normal reactions to repressive measures. The old South African Gov was happy to go after mourners at funerals, even sharing grief just looked a bit too threatening.

    And on an individual basis, there are thousands of ways someone can be 'disappeared' using those phrases and some deductive logic - see Southern South America in the 80s for clever applications.
  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    You're wrong! Even murder suspects can be released on bail unless there are proven flight risks involved. Your idea of holding that guy for psych testing is utterly ridiculous!

    In most cases, no they can't! Some locales are trying to amend that right now, but only a few have been successful, and it has yet to be deemed constitutional in court.

    All of your suggestions would have violated his rights!

    Please give me the name of the state and that specific law. Personally, I think you're full of shit ...because situations like that have been shown over and over in court to be unconstitutional and a violation of civil and human rights.

    Baron Max
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    As I said, "I was trying to avoid this."

    But now that I have your attention in general, the larger point is that at a certain time he was arrested: within seventeen hours, he would be released, obtain a stolen handgun, and do the job. Other people aren't turned in seventeen hours, period, much less early enough to find and steal a handgun.

    If ethnicity is a factor, society needs to address that. As Iceaura noted, "Making terroristic threats and violating a restraining order is grounds for incarceration and denial of bail pending psychiatric evaluation, and conditions such as bracelet monitoring if bail is even allowed."

    To the one, we'll know better what should have happened once we know what did actually happen. To the other, since we're prone to holding people without charge for no crime with the blessings of the court, and in immigration issues, the least that could have happened would be a call to ICE. After all, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have been heard in recent weeks on NPR and other radio-news outlets discussing their efforts in which each enforcement team has over fifty thousand targets to follow up. One would think that having one of these cases dropped in their lap, and at a time when that particular illegal is presenting an ongoing threat to public safety, that maybe our public officials could behave consistently. It would have been an easy and overdue collar for an overworked unit, alleviated an immediate and ongoing threat to public safety, and certainly would have been with better cause than many currently tangled up in the system.

    My big question right now is a matter of his release from custody and what happened next. Hopefully this sad tale won't float away like so much refuse in the current.

    Then I picked up my iPod and looked at the music Rowan put on it. All counted, he gave me 39 albums. With the exception of Barry White's Greatest Hits and nine efforts from U2, it's all English pop. There are 14 Oasis albums, including every one of their studio releases, a couple of B-side comps, and different live performances. There are six Manic Street Preachers records, four Verve albums, all three of Richard Ashcroft's solo releases, both Kasabian records, and a collection of early Bowie singles. On shuffle, I don't have to wait long to hear a track Rowan gave me—one comes up every five songs or so ....

    .... Looking back, there were so many warning signs. Legal problems. Drugs. Booze. Suicide threats. What made me think of this guy as fun dinner company? Even after he stole from his roommates and disappeared, why didn't it occur to me that he might be dangerous? Because he taught me how to make perfect asparagus? Because before he went to the store, he always asked if I needed anything? Because he could make me laugh and was nice to his fucking dog? (Wilson)

    Also from this week's The Stranger: "I, Anonymous: Sorry, Rebecca"

    Enforcing the law, Baron Max, would have been sufficient to prevent this crime. And, as you see, there are many people whose consciences still wonder what they, individually, could have done that might have changed the outcome.

    This is a good thing, Baron. It won't save Rebecca Greigo, but it might save someone else.

    This is happening too much.
  14. Kendall ......................... ..... Registered Senior Member

    Stupit criminals rule the world!
  15. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Actually it's getting better and better for criminals these days with liberals being so lenient with them. Crime is beginning to pay off well these days. And for smart criminals, it's even better ...with a good lawyer, a few liberals and the liberal news media, most criminals are right back out on the street with most doing almost no time in prison at all.

    Baron Max
  16. Kendall ......................... ..... Registered Senior Member

    I should have said criminals rule the world, it is disgusting when criminals are not punished in a manner to deter them from doing the crime.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The key phrase was actually "when the police are called".

    Theres is no such problem. The police have to be called, they have to see evidence of violence or physical threat (i.e. evidence of a crime), and they have always had the ability to detain people under those circumstances. The only difference now is procedural - that they can't just walk away. They have less discretion, not more. It's like saying the cop who pulls you over for speeding and sees an open bottle has to give you a ticket for the open bottle. Fascism is nowhere in sight.
    No, I am not wrong. Judges can deny bail for cause, and terroristic threats coupled with evidence of dangerous psychiatric instability is definitely cause. People get picked up and held for psychiatric evaluation all the time - it's common.
    City of Duluth, State of Minnesota. There are several other places doing that. here's how Wisconsin words it, in it's state law:
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2007
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Update: The Rebecca Griego Act

    Source: Slog
    Link: http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/01/rebecca_greigo_act
    Title: "Rebecca Griego Act", by Josh Feit
    Date: January 14, 2008

    An update on the effects of this murder:

    Since politicians only tend to screw things up worse, we'll see how this goes.

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