March 12, 2005

Nichols is in custody!

Brian Nichols, suspect in the murder of Fulton County Judge Rowland Barnes, a Fulton County deputy, a court reporter and a Customs Officer, has been captured by a SWAT team in Gwinnett County this morning.

He is most likely being taken to the Fulton County jail complex in downtown Atlanta.

UPDATE - 12:30P - Nichols was taken to the FBI field office in DeKalb County (off of I-85 & Clairmont for us locals) for processing.

UPDATE - 12:45P - From WAGA/Atlanta: Nichols kidnapped a woman, went to her apartment, held her all night, then let her go this morning. He let her go this morning, and she dropped a dime after she left, to let them know that he was at her apartment in Gwinnett County. Nichols then gave himself up.

UPDATE (1P) - Press conference scheduled with all the players at 4P ET at City Hall East in Atlanta (per APD Chief Richard Pennington on WAGA)

UPDATE - 1:25P - Nichols has been transported to APD HQ at City Hall East in Atlanta. The pecking order most likely is that the rape trial (which was already in progress) gets first priority, then the state/local murder charges kick in, finally the feds get him after the fact.

UPDATE - 1:35p - From the Gwinnett PD presser: they got a call at 9:50 from a woman saying Nichols was in her apartment. They've said that the FBI will take the lead on the case, and go from there (though we may find out more from the 4P local/state presser)

UPDATE - 1:55P - Nichols most likely didn't know that the high-ranking ICE official found dead this morning; he just happened upon this home where a man was working on his home, just off of Lenox Road in Buckhead. He was off-duty at the time, and it is thought that he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. After robbing the man, apparently, Nichols realized he had a LEO on his hands. (per Morse Diggs with WAGA)


Nichols being placed in a vehicle at FBI headquarters, for transport to Atlanta Police Headquarters at Atlanta's City Hall East.

UPDATE - 2:20p - On WSB-TV, members of the Georiga Capital Defenders' Office are upset that they are not being granted access to Nichols by APD officers; they claim they are afriad that Nichols' rights are being violated.

Posted by mhking at March 12, 2005 11:49 AM

Fox is reporting that Nichols is in fact tied to the killing of the customs officer.

Posted by: Retread at March 12, 2005 01:01 PM

I was wondering how long it would take for the "moonbats" from the left to come out of the woodwork.

"2:20p - On WSB-TV, members of the Georiga Capital Defenders' Office are upset that they are not being granted access to Nichols by APD officers; they claim they are afriad that Nichols' rights are being violated."

Pretty sad, disgusting state out society is in.

Posted by: Renee at March 12, 2005 03:43 PM

Damn shame he didn't resist. $.35 trial would have been much better for us all.

Posted by: jbrookins at March 12, 2005 05:33 PM

You obviously put a lot of work into your reports so I'm going to give you a tip that will improve them greatly.

Your last blog entry marks twice in one week that I was momentarily confused by your language. The first incident was your use of "used food" for "shit." Directly above is the second. There you use "dropped a dime" to mean called the police.

Cute metaphors like that take away from your prose. They cause readers to stop and try and figure out what you're talking about instead sailing smoothly along.

Someone once said you should aim for readers with a sixth grade reading level. This is not bad advice. By doing that, you'll miss no one.

Study Hemingway; he's the master at straight-forward, concrete writing. Prune all the cuteness out of your writing and just tell what happened.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

Posted by: Ric Landers at March 12, 2005 05:49 PM

Say, Ric why don't you start your own blog?

Posted by: kimberley at March 12, 2005 09:43 PM

"You know, Rita, it's tough to do Monday-morning quarterbacking on this..."

Ahem. It's not Monday morning quarterbacking to hold the APD (and FBI) accountable for not bothering to review the parking deck videotape, for chrissake. The "MM quarterbacking" charge by the APD and their aplogists is ludicrous. Are they willing to admit:

* If they'd just looked at the freakin' tape -- if only to see which way the "green Honda" was headed when it "left the parking deck" -- we'd know the guy was (1) on foot and (2) wearing a blue blazer? (Our green Honda victim would've told us the color.) And that we'd have known this, say, around 10am Friday morning, and not 11pm Friday evening?

* If they'd done this, a bulletin would have gone out to MARTA immediately to lock down all station exits and surveil a guy wearing a blue blazer?

* If they'd been too late to catch him at Lenox station, at least they could have informed the public to keep their eyes peeled for a 6'+ black man with a blue blazer instead of a green Honda?

* It's more likely the places he bought food/snacks would have reported him to the authorities?

* It's likely the Customs agent w/the blue truck would not have been working on his house at 9 pm that evening with the front door wide open if the guy was still on the loose?

Buckhead residents and daytime workers were in grave danger on Friday during the lunch hour and beyond. Ditto for Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, and subsequently, the entire Metro area. All we'd have expected from the APD, or frankly the FBI, was for them to take a glance at the tape footage at the parking deck security booth. (Or did they never even bother to show up - does anyone know?)

Posted by: RD at March 13, 2005 01:24 AM

I,for one, enjoy your writing which is why I come back here daily. Based on the popularity of your site, I would say most of us should be taking tips from you.
Keep up the great work.

Posted by: BobG at March 13, 2005 08:26 AM

Let me give you an example of how strange police work can be.

20 years ago I threw a pencil at a desk clerk in an Atlanta hotel. He ducked then called security. I was drunk so I ran. Once outside the hotel I kept running into a forest.

Not long after this the forest was packed with Atlanta police offices and their search dogs while up ahead helicopters flew in and out. But I hadn't gone no further than the entrance to the park where I flopped down flat next to a thicket of bushes.

I swear the cops and their dogs walked by me at least 3 or 4 times. How they didn't see me there I haven't figured out to this day.

I fell asleep and in the morning went back to the hotel, got my things from my room and drove off laughing my ass off all the way back to New York.

On my site I wrote about the real problem with this case -- the misuse of female police officers. The Atlanta PD (and sheriff's dept.) requires female officers be treated precisely the same. They make no distinction between the two.

Had the female deputy expressed concern about escorting a thug like Nichols alone this would have been noted in her records and it would have harmed her career.

Game over. Female officers are not the same as male officers and we now have proof, so let's stop putting them and everybody else in danger.


Posted by: Ric Landers at March 13, 2005 10:08 AM

This is what happens when a county twice elects an incompetent Sheriff strictly because he is the only black on the ticket. The last Sheriff had to be removed by the Governor. Last fall two highly qualified white candidates ran for Sheriff of Fulton County.This one can't speak before the press, has no clue what went wrong and whines that he has only been on the job for a couple of months. He disregarded a direct request from the Judge who was killed for more security. This is politics gone awry!

Posted by: Leon Van Gelederen at March 13, 2005 03:37 PM

Thank you for your email.

Yes I agree. That initial post of questions was a seat of the pants quickie. I am doing a follow up blog on the questions that surround the search and also on the dreadful security at the courthouse. I have decided to separate these into two separate issues and am probably going to start another blog to track only this case and its implications. I will have a link to it on my site if I go that route. I have only been blogging for a total of 5 days and am still trying to figure out all of the advanced HTML goodies to do this stuff. I am amazed and overwhelmed to find myself near the center of the blogswarm on this issue and am racing to keep everyone up to date. My original intention was to learn and "gussie up" my site over time, but this has accelerated that considerably. I was linked from Michelle Malkin yesterday, and my site traffic is amazing (at least to me).

BTW it's nice to know someone else in the area keeps my hours!

Stephanie Key
Atlanta, GA

Posted by: Stephanie Key at March 14, 2005 04:38 AM

BTW your email address won't send and your link isn't active.

Posted by: Stephanie Key at March 14, 2005 04:39 AM

Hi Stephanie - You're kicking butt over there. If that's you trying to raise me, snag my e-mail off of the link here at the bottom of this msg. Will send you a quick one as well just to be sure...

Posted by: RD at March 14, 2005 05:28 AM

Brian Nichols, Bart Ross, Perceived Unfairness (Courts Under Attack)...

Taking a life is wrong!

Fighting the justice system outside of its contour isn’t rational. Freedom has provided civil liberties when used correctly removes insurmountable barriers such as segregation, discrimination and the like. Although many Americans have formed certain perceptions about the judiciary that represents an overall lack of trust, one must prove their argument within the structure provided and advocate change through civilized conduct. There are many methods of mentally or physically withdrawing from a hostile situation. The most common, attribute racist behavior to ignorance and chose to educate as a response to discrimination, which can give a sense of empowerment.

A spate of violence in the judicial system has many uneasy and on edge. Security at federal, state, and local courts across the country has been increased in the wake of the shooting of three people in Atlanta (Judge Rowland Barnes, his court reporter and a Fulton County deputy) today and last week’s killings of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow’s husband and mother in Chicago.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, courthouses today are already secured by electronic surveillance systems, armed security officers, and metal detectors and scanning devices at every public entrance. In short, Judges are often the target of threats from defendants or litigants. They worry that their addresses and other personal information are easily accessible using the Internet and public records. And, there are trials that have the potential for additional security concerns.

In Chicago, police concluded that 57-year-old Bart Ross, a Poland immigrant, harbored a grudge against Judge Lefkow because she dismissed his malpractice lawsuit. In Atlanta, observers say a second rape trial was going badly for 34-year-old Brian Nichols, an African-American. It was his second trial in as many weeks. The first ended in a mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict (8 to 4 in favor of acquittal).

Public confidence plays a significant role in the ability of courts to perform their function effectively. Courts must rely for enforcement of their decisions on retaining sufficient respect from individual citizens so that the vast majority will comply voluntarily. Perceptions influence, even shape, behavior. Both Bart Ross and Brian Nichols appear to have expressed a concern about possible unfairness. Note, more than one-third of all Georgians see African Americans as receiving worst treatment than others by the court system. See “Essay: Race and the Georgia Courts: Implications of the Georgia Public Trust and Confidence Survey for Batson v. Kentucky and its Progeny,” 37 Ga. L. Rev. 1021.

In fact, there are twenty years of surveys (1978 to 1998), that identify positive and negative images of the judiciary recurred with varying degrees of force-fulness across the nation. See David B. Rottman’s, “On Public Trusts and Confidence: Does Experience with the Courts Promote or Diminish It?” Negative images centered on perceived inaccessibility, unfairness in the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, and lack of concern about the problems of ordinary people. There is also a concern that the courts are biased in favor of the wealthy and corporations - political considerations exerted an undue influence on the judiciary.

Nonetheless, improving public trust and confidence of the courts is fundamental and likely to be the best defense against the emotional reaction of losing a legal case. As early as 1988, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, William H. Rehnquist, detailed the extent, almost since the inception of our system of government, that the courts require the public’s trust and confidence. See “The Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years Were the Hardest,” 42 U. Miami L. Rev. 475, 477 (1988).

Justice Rehnquist provided the following example:

“When former Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, an appointee of President George Washington, fell ill in December 1800, president John Adams turned to John Jay asking him to return to that position (Jay having served as the first Chief Justice). But, John Jay refused the appointment writing ‘The Court, labored under a [judicial] system so defective that amongst its other problems, it did not possess the public confidence and respect which as the last resort of the justice of the nation, it should....’”

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in her address to the National Conference on Public Trust and Confidence in the Justice System (July 1999) has expressed a similar concern:

“[i]n the lasts analysis, it is the public we serve, and we do care what the public thinks of us.”

But, prior to a 1999 study sponsored by the National Center for State Courts and the Hearst Corporation, “How the Public Views the State Courts” there was no systematic body of evidence that could document the extent to which and the ways in which perceptions of the court differ across social groups.

The 1999 survey findings reveal stark differences in how minority groups view the judicial system. African Americans consistently display a more negative view of the courts and less trust and confidence in the judicial system than do White/Non-Hispanics or Hispanics. That is, as a general matter, blacks express low levels of confidence in the courts, lower than other groups.

Minority groups perceive themselves as treated worse by the judicial systems because: (1) court personnel aren’t helpful and courteous; (2) most juries are not representative of the community; (3) courts fail to make reasonable efforts to ensure that individuals have adequate attorney representation; (4) judges are generally dishonest in deciding cases; and (5) courts are just “out-of-touch” with what’s going on in their communities.

Interestingly, Caucasians appear to either not understand or discount the perceptions of minority group members about the fairness of the court process.

A perception that money (court costs) matters in the treatment one receives from the courts is also an important component of the court’s public image. Nearly all respondents (87 percent) believed that having a lawyer contributed “a lot” to the high cost of going to court. More than half the respondents believed that the slow pace of justice, the complexity of the law, and the expenditure of personal time (e.g. missing work) additionally contributed “a lot” to the cost of going to court. Most distressing, all of the groups said courts handle cases in a poor manner. Family relations cases and juvenile delinquency cases, in particular, are said to fare worst.

In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that a government lawyer prosecuting an African American criminal defendant violates the Equal Protection Clause if the prosecutor uses peremptory challenges for the purposes of excluding African Americans from the jury. The decision was premised in part on a desire to bolster public confidence in the fairness of the court system.

The Batson principle has been extended in a series of subsequent decisions, so that the prohibition on racially discriminatory peremptory challenges now extends to all trial attorneys, regardless of the nature of the case or the identity of the client. See Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1992); Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614 (1991); Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400 (1991). In Powers v. Ohio, the Court held a jury “acts as a vital check against the wrongful exercise of power by the State and its prosecutors,” and that racial discrimination in jury selection “damages both the fact and the perception of this guarantee.”

While Batson has not produced a general public consensus that all races receive equal treatment in the court system, that does not necessarily mean the decision has been completely ineffective, or that it is somehow fundamentally misguided. By striking at the use of racial stereotypes as the basis for peremptory challenges, one expected outcome of the Batson decision would be to increase the number of minorities serving on juries. Such an outcome could play a potentially significant role in improving public confidence in the court system. Data from the Georgia survey (Essay: Race and the Georgia Courts: Implications of the Georgia Public Trust and Confidence Survey for Batson v. Kentucky and its Progeny,” 37 Ga. L. Rev. 1021) suggests that, in certain respects, those who have served as jurors tend to have greater trust in the court system than other citizens, and this hold true when minority jurors are examined.

Posted by: kstreetfriend at March 14, 2005 09:28 PM

now do you believe there is a demonic spirit that's real. Stop looking for the little red man with the pitch for and the horns. God didn't make it that easy for us. He wants to see who can withstand the things that satan puts us through. Brian was a victim of satan, satan made Brian look at his situation as something God would work out if he was innocent in the rape case, but unfortuanatly satan won. I pray for the victims and their families that God would heal the whole that has been placed in their hearts, but sympathy is also for Mr. Nichols and his family, who would have thought that a man of his upbringing would fail a test that satan placed before him. The message is "People gain as much faith and strength in God as you can because the devil is busy here on earth. To. Ms. Ashley Smith, God Bless You! He took what the devil meant for bad, by taking your husband & also being kidnapped, and turned it into a testimony. Thank You for Believing and having Faith in God as you do, because you saved not only others but Mr. Nichols as well. This is to Mr. Brian Nichols, life is not over, there will be people you will run across in life, that will need this entire testimony to make it through. If you are a true soldier, get and stay on the battlefield for CHRIST, although you may not see it now, there is a purpose and it's up to you to fullfill this purpose. Hold your head up, God is looking for you.

Posted by: kim bradwell at March 16, 2005 01:29 PM
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