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Current Law Students / Re: Legal Reasoning
« on: December 24, 2011, 10:25:01 PM »

On June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men's restroom, where he was accused of soliciting an undercover police officer for sexual activity. During the resulting interview with the arresting officer, Craig insisted upon his innocence, disputing the officer's version of the event by stating that he merely had a "wide stance" (Craig states that he said he was a "wide guy") and that he had been picking a piece of paper from the floor.

Despite his statements of innocence during the interview, Craig later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct by signing and mailing a plea petition, dated August 1, 2007. He paid $575, including fines and fees. Senator Craig signed the petition to enter his guilty plea, which contained the provisions, "I understand that the court will not accept a plea of guilty from anyone who claims to be innocent... I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of guilty." Craig mailed his signed petition to the court, and his petition to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge was accepted and filed by the court on August 8, 2007. In an August 28, 2007, press conference Craig regretted filing the guilty plea, stating "In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously"


Both the 2009 documentary Outrage and the magazine Newsweek (June 7, 2010 issue) listed Craig, among others, as a prominent conservative politician who had a record of anti-gay legislation and then was caught in a gay sex scandal.

bhut jolokia, I found another post related to Craig's case:

Senator Larry E. Craig used a dirty word as he explained how in June 2007 he wound up suspected of cruising for sex: profiling. Mr. Craig said the police officer working undercover in the next stall at a Minneapolis airport bathroom had lumped him neatly into the behavioral profile of someone on the prowl: the wide stance, the toe-tapping, the upward-facing palm, the flash of a wedding ring. In the well-developed profile of how a man intending to engage in lewd conduct in that bathroom behaved, the gestures added up to a coded message. The police were using a common tactic that has received less attention than the widely criticized practice of racial profiling (or gender, age, weight, ethnic or religious profiling, for that matter). That sort of profiling targets suspects based on their innate attributes, not on what they say or do.

But behavioral profiling, highly nuanced, draws heavily from cognitive psychology and, often, on the personal experiences with previous crimes and the subjective interpretations of the profilers. In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Mr. Craig said: "I now know that this cop is this officer is a profiler. He said looking into a stall was one of it, and then a hand gesture or foot tap is another one. Now I know all about profiling. I know what people feel like when they're profiled, when innocent people get caught up in what I was caught in as an innocent person. It's very angering at times."

There are essentially two kinds of profiling, inductive and deductive. Inductive profiling, as was the approach in Mr. Craig's case, uses statistical probability and behavioral clues from previous offenders to create cookie-cutter profiles and predict the likelihood of a future crime. Deductive profiling involves analyzing the evidence a tire track, DNA, a bloody knife after the crime occurs in order to create a profile of that offender and use it to catch him. Behavioral clues, on the other hand, can range from the physical to the ethereal. For example, the possession of cold medicine, mason jars, rubber tubing, coffee filters and brake fluid would quickly lead investigators to suspect someone of intending to produce methamphetamine. A traveler with a stack of small bills, with only carry-on luggage and a one-way ticket, could easily be suspected of being a drug courier. Tattoos and the color of clothing and even more obvious, a grab at the waist as if to draw a gun are basic clues to gang activity.

First of all, let me address the issue of a possible "set-up" that several people mentioned to me when discussing this case. They argue that it was because they wanted Craig to resign, why they used his being gay (the rumor was circulating for years) to make him give up the Senate spot. They talk about Karsia (the undercover police officer who arrested him) being on the take as a Democratic operative, and that what happened was an elaborate plan, with Craig being set up in a carefully studied operation. If that's the case, please apply what I'll be saying about Craig's case specifically to plain gay guys who get busted all too often for this kind of thing.

That said, as an Italian woman, having been in the States for a while, I found Craig's arrest scandalous. Not that I feel sorry for Craig, who was a hypocrite having had voted consistently against gay people's rights. After all, Craig probably considered himself to be "straight," just having a quickie with a stranger miles and miles away from home, something that hardly made him gay.

What is appalling to me is the actual arrest procedure, the kind of thing that happens everyday to gay people in this country. According to the police report, the incident began with Craig's peering into the Karsia's stall several times through the crack in the door. Then, Craig entered the stall to the left of Karsia's and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. Once seated, Craig tapped his right foot - a signal, according to the police report, used by people wishing to engage in lewd conduct. After Karsia moved his own foot up and down (LOL!) - Craig, moved his right foot so that it touched the side of Karsia's left foot under the stall divider. Craig also swiped his left hand under the stall 3 times before Karsia held his badge down by the floor so Craig could see it.

Now, to me, this whole story is a nightmare of out-of-control police. Craig was simply the innocent victim of a banal set-up by the MN airport police - one that Joseph Stalin would have admired. There was no sex act of any kind. The idiotic cop - who appears to spend his entire work day sitting on a toilet in smelly airport bathrooms - walks him off, provokes him, and arrests him for lewd conduct. All this for tapping his foot in a public bathroom. This is insane! 

In my country - as it is also the case in other European countries - sex sting operations utilizing undercover police officers are illegal. Such an operation would be considered entrapment by the police, enough reason to drop the case per se. (Funny how these officers actually believe they are not themselves gay - to them, spending a few minutes peeking at gay men hardly makes them gay - after all, they are there to bust gay guys, not have fun with them!).

The other thing that irks me is the way the GOP tossed Craig overboard as if he were a terrorist. Even if turned out that Craig was gay, so what?! There are a lots of fine gay public servants. His party should have been rallying in his defense, not make him walk the plank. In Europe printing in media the sex stories of politicians is frowned upon - let alone taking stories of this kind to court!

So much for SuperFace!

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