Don't worry. We may be violating the constitutional rights of 685,724 people, but at least crime is down. And since those two things happened near the same time, the NYPD's authoritarian practices must be working and cannot be stopped.
That was the gist of Mayor Bloomberg's speech to the First Baptist Church in Brownsville, reports the New York Post.
Apparently, no one’s bothered to point out the correlation-causation logical fallacy to the Honorable Mayor yet. Until there is a statistical study that shows that, based on reasonably accurate numbers, that the two must be related, there probably won’t be enough of a connection to justify the violation of constitutional rights in court.
What do you mean, justify the violation of rights?
Well, in limited circumstances, when there is a ‘compelling state interest,’ such as reducing the murder rate, it can justify laws that might impinge, ever so slightly, on the everyday man’s rights.
However, the law, such as stop and frisk, must be ‘narrowly tailored’, meaning it must impinge upon rights to the least extent possible while still achieving the goal.
It might be hard to argue that a policy that stops 685,764 in 2011, while only 1.9% of the stops produced a weapon, was ‘narrowly tailored.’
Shortly after we published a post in our Criminal Law blog about the constitutionality of stop and frisk, a class-action lawsuit was approved by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, reports the New York Times.
Her opinion, which granted class-action status to the lawsuit, stated that she was disturbed by the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights …” and that “suspicionless stops should never occur.”
The class action lawsuit will allow the lawyers for plaintiffs in that case to represent all of those who have been stopped and frisked without actual probable cause to have their injuries redressed. These suits, if successful, can result in a large pool of money. Those who were harassed by the NYPD can then file a claim and get their share of the pie if monetary damages are awarded by the court.
Her opinion was released just a few days after we wrote our piece. If we apply Mayor Bloomberg’s correlation and causation logic, we must have been the cause of the opinion.
You are welcome.
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