Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another "expert" from the defense

Hazleton trial, Wednesday, March 21

We were not able to send a blogger to Scranton today for the continued proceedings of the Hazleton anti-immigrant trial, but we did touch base with our legal team at the lunch break.

This morning the defense called two Hazleton police officers, Detective Orozco, who heads the recently formed street gang unit, and Detective Zola, the head of the narcotics unit. Both officers emphasized that there is a problem with drugs and gangs in Hazleton.

However, on cross-examination, it became clear that their definition of a gang is two or three people. In addition and most importantly for this case, actual evidence of a connection between gang activity and undocumented immigrants is low. In fact, the overall level of gang activity in the city appears to be relatively low.

And the connection to the ordinances and how they would suppress gang activity is not clear.

The defense also called Jared Lewis, the founder of, as an "expert" witness on gang activity. Mr. Lewis offers himself as a gang expert after serving "for a short period of time" as a police officer. He attended college for two years but did not finish and does not have a post-secondary degree. He stated that he gets all of the knowledge he needs from the streets. He has written one article that was not peer-reviewed.

Now, there is nothing wrong with not having a degree. There is an expectation, though, that an expert witness has some type of academic background. As an example, it's difficult to undertake research without knowledge of research methodology.

In addition, Lewis has no firsthand knowledge of Hazleton, other than driving through town yesterday. The opinions he offered are supposedly based on a phone call he received from Detective Orrosco.

In addition to today's testimony, Judge Munley did not allow a law professor from Temple University to be admitted as an expert for the defense because the judge found that the professor had nothing to offer that was relevant to the case.

After lunch, Lewis will continue to testify. The defense will also call Michael Cutler, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a former INS agent.

Andy in Harrisburg

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Blogger Atheism Quotes said...

I'll never forget back in gradeschool in social studies when our teacher asked us how we would define "freedom."

At that age, many kids use something like "you can do anything you want" which is a very immature definition. They don't take into account rules, laws, other people... they just think it means being free to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

So many times nowadays, I'm reminded of this when I see things like the Patriot Act taking away our rights, a president who seems to think the Constitution doesn't apply to him, and states and cities around the country passing laws that trample individual's rights, all "for our own good."

Anonymous has argued that the federal government should stay out of local issues. That would be great, except some things are GUARANTEED to ALL people (not just citizens) at the FEDERAL level.

Granted, I know our current leadership would be more than happy to back Hazelton, but as long as we still have some form of court system to defend the Constitutional rights we have, I hope we see more fights against the trampling of our rights.

Many people hate the ACLU because "civil rights" is a four-letter word to them for some reason. As long as these intrusions stay off of the typical white-Christian-conservative grounds, I guess they won't ever see the dangers. Until it's too late.

I'm just glad someone is watching what's going on, and trying to do something about it.

Thank you, ACLU. I may not always agree with all your positions, but I do appreciate the job you're doing and the importance of it.

10:09 AM  

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