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December 26, 2011

Correct Expectations, Kick the Can, Accountability re Jordan Miles

Sometimes, evaluating an experience depends on your expectations. If your expectations are informed and realistic, you are more likely to end up with the appropriate degree of satisfaction.

Before you go downtown — for dinner, a play, a meeting, business, etc — make sure you have the correct expectations.

From the excellent Rick Lord in today's Post Gazette::
The City of Pittsburgh paid a consultant, Joseph J Stine, to write a report which "concludes that jumping out of an unmarked car, pursuing Mr. Miles and striking him until he submitted to being handcuffed were consistent with police training."
If that's not your expectation when you go into the city, perhaps you should recalibrate. Also, a minor nit: testifying for cash that something is "consistent with training" is not the same as saying it's legal, justified, or moral. The Police Academy lesson plan doesn't trump the Constitution.

Playing Kick the Can

The report is not a whitewash; it does find one instance of incorrect procedure. When the policemen threw away the Mountain Dew can that they thought was a gun, they violated evidence rules. The report explains that this error is understandable in the context.

Jordan Miles insists there was no Mountain Dew. The report asserts without evidence that there was one.

The Mountain Dew is the purported basis for the police beating. No Dew, no justification.
If there ain't no Can,
Why did you Beat the Man?

If there ain't no Dew,
WTF is wrong with You?

Hired guns deliver the desired outputs. According to AELE, Mr. Stine's rates are:
  • $275 per hour for review of material and report preparation and submission
  • $100 per hour for travel
  • $2,000.00 per day depositon [sic]
  • $2,500.00 per day for trial testimony days
  • $1,200.00 per day for monitoring testimony
  • All plus expenses

Traditionally, a litigant gives a consultant money to get the desired report which is biased in favor of their case. What's curious in this instance is that the litigant (the City of Pittsburgh and the Mayor of Pittsburgh) are public and elected, respectively, and so they are presumably accountable for their decisions and the way they spend the Public Treasure.
  • It would be interesting to hear the Mayor support (or disavow) the expert report He paid for.
  • It would be interesting to hear who decided to hire this consultant, and what process guides public spending on this sort of thing.
  • It would be interesting to know, what public official supports the expense and the report that the City has introduced to the Court as authoritative and reliable?

The intriguing question is whether the City, the Pittsburgh Police, and the CopOnTheBeat actually believe this report (which they have told the Court is truthful). I kind of hope that they don't believe it, either.



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