Trump Is Right About ‘Stop and Frisk’

stopandfriskOne of the strategies that helped bring about an 85% reduction in crime in New York City between 1994 and 2013 was the careful and appropriate use of “stop and frisk.” This practice dramatically reduced the number of guns, knives and other dangerous weapons, as well as illicit drugs, in the city. But according to candidate Hillary Clinton and moderator Lester Holt during Monday night’s presidential debate, stop and frisk is “unconstitutional.” They are wrong. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, it’s the usual misrepresenting she does when she does not know what she is talking about. As for Mr. Holt, if a moderator is going to interfere, he should do some homework and not pretend to know the law when he does not. Mr. Holt and NBC cannot overrule the U.S. Supreme Court.  See my previous post on this subject for the citation and an excerpt of the case.

  Continuing with Mr. Giuliani’s piece: In the case discussed during Monday’s debate, federal Judge Shira Scheindlin found in 2013 that the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly applied stop and frisk was unconstitutional. The practice had been expanded to 600,000, the vast majority being of African-Americans. Previously, during my administration, for eight years under Commissioners William Bratton, Howard Safir and Bernard Kerik, the stops and frisks always fell short of 100,000.

During my administration, the U.S. Justice Department spent two years examining stop and frisk and it filed no case. After continued use of the practice during the administration of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, Judge Scheindlin found that the volume of stops and the focus on the African-American community made the practice not unconstitutional in general but unconstitutional as applied. This is the distinction that is so important–yet was misunderstood by Mr. Holt and misrepresented by Mrs. Clinton.

During the debate, Donald Trump described the history of the case correctly. He said that after the judge decided the case, the city appealed and asked for a stay of the lower court’s decision. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a scathing opinion, criticized Judge Scheindlin for improperly steering the case to her courtroom. It issued an unusual stay to allow the Bloomberg-Kelly form of stop and frisk to go forward until the court could decide the appeal. And in a rare action, it removed Judge Scheindlin from the case.

See this post of October 31, 2013 for more on the USCA2 action.

Then a not-so-funny thing happened in the Big Apple.  For many years the people of that city had exercised good or at least decent judgment in electing mayors, but a few days after the USCA2 decision they took a turn to the hard left.  The city, under its new leader, caved and asked the Court of Appeals to remand for settlement a case they would very likely have won if they had fought on.

It is seriously misleading to simply say that the stop-and-frisk policy in New York under Mayor Bloomberg “was held unconstitutional” without noting the remarkable history that makes Judge Scheindlin’s ruling very doubtful.  I would give it Three Pinocchios on the WaPo scale:  “it could include statements which are technically correct … but are so taken out of context as to be very misleading.”  To cite that decision for the proposition that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional across the board is a Four Pinocchio whopper.

Continuing with Mr. Giuliani: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision underscores Mr. Trump’s position that stop and frisk is constitutional and plays a critical role in saving lives. The Court of Appeals issues a stay or injunction only if there is a likelihood of success on the merits for the appeal and the lower-court ruling will create irreparable damage. The likelihood of success means the court believes there’s a good chance that the judge’s ruling of unconstitutional as applied was going to be reversed. And irreparable damage means that the court came to the same conclusion as Mr. Trump, that stop and frisk plays a critical role in reducing crime.

Donald Trump was right. Hillary Clinton was wrong. Lester Holt should apologize for interfering and trying so hard to help Mrs. Clinton support her incorrect statement that stop and frisk is unconstitutional. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that apology.

Original Post from “Crime & Consequences by Kent Scheidegger: click on this link: Stop & Frisk