My first book describes police procedures so young people can avoid unnecessary arrests because of their actions, dress, vehicle and demeanor. My second is a primer on criminal defense for the families of the accused. My column and proposed third book discuss how to make policing effective without being abusive and unconstitutional. This is not a contradiction. Civil society requires vigorous policing, just prosecution, stout legal defense, and equal protection under the laws. This was the ideal of America's founders. We may not be closer to it than they were, but we must never cease trying to get there.
This is the definitive book on police procedure to show you and your family how to avoid unnecessary arrests. Because most cities and counties digitize court and police records and make them freely available on the Internet, an arrest will give you a lifelong record, even if charges are dropped or you are acquitted or diverted into treatment.
Arrest-Proof Yourself describes what police look for on the street and why they decide to stop and question one person and not another. Covered are the famous cop trick questions that fool you into waiving your right against warrantless search of your person and vehicle.
You'll learn how to stand and act in the presence of police. Each book contains the famous Cop Card that presents police with your legal name (as required pursuant to a ruling by the Supreme Court) and informs them that your attorney will speak for you. You can then legally remain silent and will not babble, lie, confuse or contradict yourself and incur an avoidable felony charge for lying to a law enforcement officer. Asserting your rights politely like a citizen and not belligerently like a thug means you go home and not to jail.
Arrest-Proof Yourself shows you how to search for illegal guns and drugs that other people hide in your home or vehicle and that can get you arrested on a constructive possession charge. It tells you how to dispose of narcotics without incurring legal jeopardy and how to use an attorney to deliver to police any firearm you discover.
Charts show you behaviors that are suspicious and will attract police. Other lists show areas where crime and police activity are highest and that are best to avoid.
Peace and prosperity in America are hard to enjoy when you have arrestable interactions with police and courts. This book shows you how to avoid doing stupid stuff with stupid people at stupid times in stupid places.
That's how you stay free.
Arrested is a guide to criminal defense for defendants and their families. It explains what is criminal defense actually is in the real world, not as seen on TV. It reviews the pre-trial motion hearings that are the essence of a strong defense.
It explains the workings of the courts, what defense attorneys, whether private or public, should and should not do, and details how defendants can work to assist their attorneys. The book describes the most egregious hustle in criminal defense—private attorneys who charge you thousands of dollars to get a plea deal which a public defender can get for free, usually with a single phone call.
You will learn in detail the incessant demands your defendant will make for money to fund jail phone calls, jail commissary snacks, bail bonds and private attorneys. The book will advise you when, and when not, to pay for these things. It will inform you about statutory bail reduction hearings that can lower bail amounts from the impossible to the manageable.
It also discusses when it is better NOT to bail a defendant who is likely to violate the conditions of release and cause the family to lose their cash and property. Sometimes it is better for a defendant NOT to accept probation or parole when the defendant is likely to violate and be remanded to prison with an additional sentence.
Also covered are advice for staying out of trouble in jail and avoiding self-incrimination on recorded jail phones. Most important, Arrested alerts you to dangerous jail scams for which the defendant’s family can be coerced to pay hoodlums outside the jail satisfy defendant gambling debts, drug use, or protection payoffs.
Policing to Save Life is a proposal to save lives and restore peace to America’s crime-ravaged cities by adapting the tactics by which, thirty years ago, the New York Police Department cut the murder rate by sixty percent in two years and began a miraculous renaissance of the city.
Section I—Reinstating Law and Policing
In the most violent cities, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Louisville, Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco and, tragically, New York, effective policing and prosecution have been abolished by diktats from mayors and district attorneys, without a vote of the people or the legislatures. Underlying criminal law remains in place. So removing bad actors can enable a rapid return of effective policing and prosecution.
Legal renewal will require the following:
• Recall elections.
• Challenges to the law licenses of radical prosecutors and judges.
• Judicial complaints appealed to state supreme courts.
• Quo Warranto (by what warrant) lawsuits seeking court orders to strike administrative diktats not derived from statutes.
• Lawsuits seeking court appointment of Special Masters to supervise out-of-control officials and compel adherence to law and judicial orders.
• Public naming and shaming prosecutors, mayors, and officials who hinder effective policing and refuse to prosecute, jail or bail criminals.
• Public information campaigns to explain to the public what good policing is, and is not, and why it matters.
• Civil disobedience. The Deep State actors who enable chaos, rioting and crime will not go easily or quietly.
• Legislation to withdraw sovereign immunity against civil lawsuits for officials who flout existing laws regarding bail, prosecution, sentencing, probation and parole.
• Daily attendance by trained observers at pre-trial hearings, arraignments, trials, bail hearings, and parole board reviews. These are the places where dark deeds are done in prolix, confusing and purposefully opaque proceedings.
• Freedom of Information requests and litigation to obtain memoranda, emails, correspondence and changes to police standing orders, instructions to prosecutors, instructions to probation and parole officers, and practices regarding bail bonds and forfeitures.
Section II—The Office of Citizen Safety
Black Lives Matter and Antifa are extraordinarily well organized, funded and directed. Street berserkers are paid stipends and travel expenses, radical attorneys are retained to be on scene during riots, bail funds are instantly available, and rioters are trained in depth and provided with uniforms to disguise their identities and protect them against cops.
Restoration of law enforcement and justice will require no less. A privately funded Office of Citizen Safety would aggregate attorneys, publicists, social media specialists, community organizers and lobbyists to remove lawless officials who so far have felt no pain, no shame and little push-back.
Section III—The New York Miracle
The New York Police Department miracle that reduced murder by sixty percent in two years did not occur because of Broken Windows Policing, a strategy to reduce graffiti, litter, blight and misdemeanor behaviors. Neither did it utilize Stop and Frisk, an unconscionable tactic that, like stop-and-search road blocks, violates fourth Amendment protections against warrantless search and seizure.
What the cops actually did was to exploit the fact that a very small percentage of offenders commit the crimes of violence—murder, rape, assault and battery, home invasion and car-jacking. In each precinct, officers formed a daily list of the “Dirty 30,” defined as the thirty people most likely to maim or kill in the near future. These known bad guys were stopped and questioned almost daily.
Because most were on probation, parole or bail, they had waived their fourth amendment protections as a condition of release. Their persons, vehicles and apartments could be searched at will for illegal drugs, weapons or contraband. Any violation, no matter how minor, caused arrest, probation and parole violation, and a return to jail and prison. In short order, a few violent actors went straight, some left the city, and many more were incarcerated.
Section IV—Institutionalizing Homicide Reduction
The New York miracle occurred because a small number of brilliant cops and a mayor who was a former prosecutor worked together to change policing overnight. It was a triumph of men, not laws and practices. As such, the New York model of policing was never replicated in other cities. In the last four years, unfortunately, a left-wing mayor and radical prosecutors returned New York to the violence and disorder of the 70s—a tragedy for New York and America.
This section will discuss how to institutionalize practices that reduce homicides and violent crime and allow different cities with different people and politics to adopt them. The base proposal is to index the pay of senior police commanders and city department heads to the homicide rate. They need, like private sector workers, immediate rewards for excellent performance and immediate suffering for failure.
Saving lives needs to pay.
Crime City is the name of Wes Denham columns on crime, policing, criminal justice and the politics thereof. To read them on Substack, click the button below. On the Substack website, click "Dashboard" at the top right next to my picture to see my columns. Recent titles include:
Why the Left Hates Badge-Cam Video
The Magic of Jail for Young Ladies and Gents
White Crooks Gone Wild
The Man With No eyes Looks At Street Mobs
The Ottoman Inspiration of Identity Politics
The Epistemology of Hug-A-Thug
The Problem of the Pre-Evil Criminal
No Sensa Yuma is a novel that is a love story and legal thriller set in Yuma, Arizona, and Mexico.