Breaking News
Police Unions Call for “Rational Voice”         Texas Moves to Save Pensions         City Refuses to Pay Officer’s Legal Bills         Rank and File Question Dubious Hiring         The Mounties Have Never Had to Contend With a Union         Police Week: Anguish, Anger, Empathy         Rookies Sue for OT Pay During Academy Training         FLSA Pay Ruling: Use Cash, Not Benefits         Record Crowd Attends Annual Candlelight Vigil         Everyone Needs Sleep, Especially Cops         Questions Raised About New John Jay President         Hennepin County Sheriff Joins NYPD Shield Program         Big Surprise: Paper Misrepresents Contract Talks         County Budget Leaves Us Underfunded         VIDEO: Omaha Unions Say No to Gov         City Says “No Police Floats” In Parade         One-Minute Man         Is This the Solution to Cop Shootings?         Ingredients for Better LE Outcomes         Why the Police Need Unions         Mounties Demand a Union & Contract         Indebted to Some Very Brave People         We’ve Been Abandoned by Politicos, Command Staff         VIDEO: The Most Hated Man In Pensionland         Underfunded Pensions: a Disaster Waiting to Happen         Another Ambush Attack!         Today, It’s You; Tomorrow, It’s a Security Guard         VIDEO: NJ Police May Get Control of Unfunded Pensions         Thousands of Officers to Get BIG Bonuses         Improving Economy Hurts LE Recruitment         Another Fundraising Scam         Threats to Police Retirement Programs Escalate         Conflict Rises, Billboards Go Up         NJ Unilaterally Changing Police Contract         Pensions Slowly Being Reduced and Replaced         Baltimore Chief: “No More Plainclothes”         When Will All This Stop?         Top Police Union Leader Joins Protest         VIDEO: “Line of Duty” is HERE!         Chicago Cops Get Thanks They Deserve         Mayors Missing as Pension Fund Goes Down         Pension Bill Draws Protest         Deputies Association Hires High-Powered PR Exec         Finally, a Contract for NYPD Officers         Nebraska Corrections Officers Seek Out F.O.P.         Outrage Grows Over Pension Plans in Peril         Sanctuary Cities: Police vs. Mayor         Police Unions Seek to Overhaul Obama’s Reforms         Super Bowl Security         Look Hard at Your Pension Fund         Pension Mediation Talks Cease; Lawsuit Looms         How Much Would You Pay for Policing?         Hazardous Workplace         Officers Leaving in Droves         Technology, Police, and Privacy         Fake Guns Destroy Lives         War Against Unions Gaining Ground         Washington D.C. Police Union in Turmoil         Teamsters Face 20% Cut in Pension Benefits         Body Cam Screw-ups Lead to Mistrial         VIDEO: Body Cam Catches Shootout         Restraining Order for Black Lives Matter Leader         New Chief Has Fight On His Hands         Pension Panic Spreads         Carrots and Sticks         Another Agency May Fold         Community and Police Join in Prayer         VIDEO: We Are There For You!         Feds Seek Repeat of Disastrous Police Hiring Practices         VIDEO: Officer’s Gift of Kindness Keeps on Giving         Is Trump Going After Collective Bargaining Rights?         Police Union Not “App”y         Police Union Fights Back Against Budget Cuts         Police Union Reinstates Body Cam Program         Citizen Wants Officer Fired for FB Post         VIDEO: Use of Force Policy Fiasco         Attacks on Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Where Is the Outrage?         Millions May Lose Overtime Pay         Mayor Violates Officer’s Right to Due Process         VIDEO: Police Union Heals With Song         State Moves to Nix Benefits From Collective Bargaining         City, Officer Cleared in Wrongful Death Case         Trump Puts OT, Benefits On Chopping Block         VIDEO: A World Without Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Shake It Off         HUGE Refund for AZ Public-Safety Pensioners         Eloquent Goodbye         Cheerleader In Chief         The Trouble With Trauma         Shocking News About Local Gov Pension Funds         See You In Court!         One of the Good Guys         Chief Resigns After No-Confidence Vote         Zika Virus Hits Cops         Iowa Officers Ambushed         Policing the Police         For Real Community Policing, Let Officers Do Their Jobs         VIDEO: Who Needs Cops?         VIDEO: Officer Breathes Life into Toddler         Civil Rights Lawyer: “Mayor Publicly Hanged Sergeant”         These Pensions Could Be in Trouble         Arlington PU Files Suit         Returning the Money         Better Pay Sought         Cam Policies Finalized         VIDEO: Officers Shot!         Officers Need to Review Body Cam Footage         Baltimore Cops’ DIY “Reforms”         It’s Time for Our Input on Use-of-Force Policies         VIDEO: Facebook Threat         Fort Worth POA Fed Up         Mayor Threatened Seattle Police Union         The Unthinkable May Come to Pass         PBA Needs Your Help for a Music Video         Police Union Objects to Defense Attorney’s Pin         Prop 57: Criminal’s Bill of Rights         Pension Panic in Dallas         True Reform Can Only Come From Within         A Harsh Look at Police Union Contracts         Private Pensions in Chile = Total Disaster         Judge Won’t Halt Body Cam Program         9/11: A Look Back         “We Searched Everywhere. We Never Found Anyone.”         “It Was Like Looking Into Hell”         Hellbent on Killing Unions         O.C. Deputies Land 8.5% Raise         Fake Cops Target Off-Duty Officer         Suing Over Social Media         Sr. Deputies Quit After No Raise         Police Pensions Endangered         Where’d the $$$ Come From?         VIDEO: Not Without Sacrifice         Newsweek: The State of U.S. Law Enforcement         Pride in Honoring Our Own         Local Newspaper Slanders Law Enforcement         Arbitrator: Firing Upheld of Officer Sending Racist Texts         Dallas Police Pensions Facing Disaster         More Unfair Attacks from the L.A. Times         Federal Judge: I’ll Steamroll Police Union         VIDEO: Here’s What Happened In Dallas         Officer Deaths Prompt FOP to Demand Action         Baton Rouge Police Union: We Are Grieving         VIDEO: PBA Prez Gets Ahead of Curve on Shooting         Make Threatening an Officer a Federal Crime         Union Prez Told to Not Wear Uniform         It’s Time to Have a Difficult Talk         An Officer’s Plea to the Public         Toxic Rhetoric Must Stop         Now, HERE’S Double-Dipping!         My Job, My Gun         VIDEO: Dade County PBA Speaks Out         Dallas Tragedy: How You Can Help         VIDEO: Indy F.O.P. Prez Talks Dallas         Reflections From a Dallas Police Officer         Using Video to Reach Members         The True Pride of Americans         VIDEO: We’ve Got a Jumper!         Alcohol & Cops: The Risks are Real         Portland Police Assoc. Prez Speaks Out         Supremes Limit DUI Test Laws         Send Your Challenge Coins!         Not Guilty         NYC PBA Honors Its Own         Sensible Policies for Body-Worn Cameras         Raw Deal         The New Face of Law Enforcement?         Indicted Sheriff To Get Pay Raise         RNC Convention: Cleveland Cops Set Up for Failure         LAPD Sgt.: “Ali Was Like a Gift”         Louisville Cop Gave Ali His Start         Trump Divides Union Members, Leaders         Defense Attorney Calls Police “Dishonest”         VIDEO: Cops Did NOT Stand Down         Cops May Be Forced to Carry Insurance         Hacker Targets Celebs, Police         Prepared For Crime, Not the Media         Furor Over Police Pension Funding         Police Union Reaches Out—With the News         Mass Exodus in Dallas         The Charade Is Over!         Our Integrity Has Been Compromised         VIDEO: Cops & Social Workers         Former Chicago FOP Prez Speaks Out         Cops Without Vests Need Your Help         VIDEO: Trump Gets “Seuss”-ed         VIDEO: 34% Less         Thousands Attend National Police Week         Traffic Tickets Plummet         Video: Intolerable Disrespect         Police Week TV Special         Cops Accused of “Slowdown”         Background on Pension Fund Debacle         Deputies to the Rescue!         Tribute to Law Enforcement Heroes         Recruitment Crisis is Huge         Low Pay Means No Deputies         Chief Suspended, Job On Line         Why Defined Benefit Pensions are Doomed         Shakedown        
By September 21, 2016 Read More →

Police Union Objects to Defense Attorney’s Pin

Ed. Note: Steve Grammas (above) of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association wrote this letter to Chief Judge David Barker of the Regional Justice Center on behalf of his members after a defense attorney showed up in court wearing a Black Lives Matter pin. Steve made the argument that the pin is a sort of public protest, which should be displayed in a public forum, not the halls of justice.

1-7cf5f7e678

 

Below is how the controversy was reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

A Las Vegas judge and a deputy public defender clashed Tuesday over the attorney’s right to argue for her client while wearing a “Black Lives Matter” button.

At issue is whether the button is a political symbol that should be kept out of court — or protected free speech.

In a courtroom packed with attorneys, Erika Ballou told District Judge Douglas Herndon she would not remove the button and wanted another judge to hear the case.

“I took an oath to support the Constitution, all of the Constitution,” Ballou said. “My oath is to protect everyone’s free speech, even if I disagree with it. I am not comfortable giving my case to someone else to handle. And I’m also not comfortable abridging my free speech.”

Herndon said he would not recuse himself from Ballou’s cases and delayed sentencing of Ballou’s client, a 61-year-old man, on a battery conviction.

“We’re not here on a petition about a movement or a protest or anything like that,” Herndon said. “We’re here to dispense justice on a criminal calendar of cases. And that’s why I think it’s inappropriate.”

Herndon referenced U.S. Supreme Court decisions that allow judges to prohibit political symbols in the courtroom.

Ballou said she did not believe the button was a political matter.

“This is an issue about criminal justice,” she said. “I believe a courtroom is the proper place to make issues about criminal justice. This is not political speech.”

Herndon’s decision came less than a week after the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union for rank-and-file members of the Metropolitan Police Department, sent a letter to Chief District Judge David Barker expressing concern about several public defenders who have been wearing Black Lives Matter lapel pins in court.

“This has nothing to do with the letter from Metro,” Herndon said Tuesday, adding that earlier in the day he asked people supporting victims in an unrelated case to cover up T-shirts. “I’m asking the same things of them that I ask of anybody else. Please leave any kind of political or opinion protest statements outside the courtroom.”

The police union’s new executive director, Steve Grammas, authored the letter, which objected to “attorneys and other citizens who display ‘Black Lives Matter’ propaganda in court.”

“We have received complaints from our member officers who believe that such displays have no place in courtrooms in which justice is to be dispensed,” the letter read. “We are certain that the courts would not allow similar public displays from citizens who believe that killers should be sentenced to death or that sexual predators should be castrated.”

Earlier Tuesday, Ballou removed her button, handed it to another defense lawyer and left the courtroom, but other defense attorneys showed up in the courtroom wearing Black Lives Matter pins.

According to Grammas’ letter, the police union supports the First Amendment right to free speech but thinks courtrooms are an inappropriate venue.

“While we appreciate that judges control their courtrooms, we urge you to consider directing such protesters to reserve their displays for public forums,” the letter concluded.

Barker could not be reached for comment.

The Black Lives Matter movement protests controversial shootings of black people by police and advocates for police reforms.

Metro has taken several steps in recent years to improve its relationship with minorities. The department meets with a multicultural advisory council every month and uses programs like “adopt a cop” to introduce police recruits to minority communities.

The department has pointed to such programs as a reason the Las Vegas Valley has not had the large-scale protests against police shootings that many large cities have seen.

A Metro spokesman refused to comment Tuesday on the position of its officers union.

Deputy Public Defender Sarah Hawkins said she tries to remember her Black Lives Matter pin every day, and although she has been treated more coldly by court marshals lately, no one has said anything to her about it.

And she does not consider wearing the pin a political act.

“Human life is not political,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “Frankly, I think it’s appropriate to remind people.”

She said she can look over at suspects waiting for arraignment on any given day and see that racial disparities exist within the criminal justice system. She said black people are disproportionately represented in criminal proceedings.

Grammas said the union had to write the letter after Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn refused to address the issue. The union only takes issue with political statements in court, Grammas said.

“We don’t want to step on anyone’s political beliefs,” he said.

Kohn called the letter “very troubling.”

Like Ballou and Hawkins, he did not view the pin as a political statement.

“I guess I wouldn’t categorize it,” he said. “I remember last year passing a very large billboard on my way home every night that the police union put up saying blue lives matter. And I agree with that. I don’t wear either button, but I certainly do believe police officers do a great job. And I don’t want any police officer hurt, and I don’t want unarmed black people shot. … I don’t want anyone to die needlessly.”

Kohn said no one from his office wore the pin in front of a jury.

“I don’t think one should wear any insignia in front of a jury because it is nonverbal communication,” he said.

READ MORE

Posted in: Intel Report

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: