Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Next come the bookings, the way things is looking.


In between stories about Bow Wow (ugh) and Kid Cudi (UGH) and M.O.P. working with Premier (yaaaaay), HipHopDX just posted "The Right to Remain Silent," an article by law student and my new hero Chris Thomas that breaks down what happens after an arrest in general, and to make it extra fancy, what happened after Prodigy's arrest in particular. The article is a little east-coast-centric, with unsurprising/depressing stats about the ethnic makeup of the adolescent population over on Riker's, but it's interesting throughout, well-written (if I do say so), and makes a complicated matter easy to understand. And the author's apparent concern for kids knowing and asserting their rights during the arrest/question/detain process makes me feel all warm and happy and full of hope.

Now, honestly, if you were:
16; in handcuffs; ignorant of your rights; and deprived of your freedom;
would you remember the Miranda warning? Probably not. Most juveniles don’t.

Basically, if you get arrested for, say, stabbing somebody in the face with their nosebone, the author suggests that you shut your mouth until your lawyer arrives. Shut your mouth. It's a memorable, succinct way of saying what the ACLU has been trying to convey for years.

There are (certain) tactics you want to look out for (when being questioned). These include:

- (The police dept.) sending a Black/Latino/Asian/White detective to speak to you (If you are Black/Latino/Asian/White). This is a calculated move designed to gain your trust.

- Sending a young DA to prosecute you. The ADA in Mobb Deep member Prodigy’s case, for example, was younger than he was. This was most likely a tactical move by the DA’s office. If Prodigy’s cool, how bout we send our cool ADA to make it look like we’re cool too?

- Talking to you on the ride to the police station. This is important. The Miranda warning generally doesn’t apply here and anything you say here is up for grabs to be used against you. Fight the urge to chit-chat. That cop doesn’t want to be your friend.

This particular blogger, criminal justice nerd, ACLU groupie, and avid non-fan of blue-uniformed individuals needs more pieces like this on sites that report on, dissect, and praise hip-hop in order to be content. HipHopDX, I love and appreciate your fine work. And I love that your corny "pictures of girls you would like to see naked" section is called "Beauty & Brains" instead of just "Eye Candy" like they do over at XXL. It's that "brains" part that makes all the difference. But you knew that.

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