The Billings media is all abuzz about a nearby small town cop who arrested someone for misdemeanor DUI and negligent endangerment after the cop shot at the guy through the windshield of his own patrol car. Yeah. Video available at the above link, w/more here and here.
Also in the local headlines, a high speed chase took another life Friday morning. There are some jurisdictions that have made it illegal for cops to pursue at high speeds in urban areas. The logic is: If you don’t chase at high speeds, people are much less likely to drive at high speeds where doing so puts many people at risk. Get the license plate, send cars ahead, monitor the suspect, and pick that person up later. Could such a tactic have saved this woman’s life? We’ll never know, but it certainly makes sense to me.
Unfortunately, it looks like the victim’s family won’t be able to sue the pursuing cops, at least it doesn’t sound like it based on this report of a 2007 SCOTUS decision on a similar issue. More comment here, w/links to what was apparently the decisve cop car video in the case, which was Scott v. Harris. Fascinating. Someday I’d love to have time to dig deeper into this, but it’s not going to be today….
For something completely different, here’s how a federal jury is picked in Billings and that “Montana is the largest geographically of the 94 judicial districts in the continental U.S.,” meaning some jurors might have to drive nearly 300 miles to appear for jury duty. Crazy. Also in the story: A potentially good voir dire question when you think race might be a factor in your case: “Do you tell jokes about minorities?” It’s amazing how many people do, which is just one reason why Judge Cebull’s claim that race “doesn’t matter to Montana juries” is naive at best. Montana is somehow the only place in the country that sees no color? Riiiiight.
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