Friday, September 29, 2006

Gary Goes to the Citizens Police Academy - S.04

Who would have thunk it? Who would have thunk learning about the law would be so much fun. And I pulled into the session feeling half past dead. Through a combination of humor, visuals, audience participation, and surprises, Lieutenant Donnelly showed he could hold our attention for nearly three hours.

Lieutenant Donnelly used the first hour and a half of the training to review the rules, or more appropriately, the first ten amendments to the rules. He covered the Bill of Rights in detail with helpful hints thrown into the cocktail for remembering each amendment (e.g., five fingers over the mouth, six letters in lawyer). Beyond entertaining us, Lieutenant Donnelly genuinely wanted us to learn.

The second half of the session was about the exceptions. We learned from this self proclaimed NYC King of Kicking Doors Down about the Gumbyese nature of warrants as provided in the 4th Amendment. We learned that the 4th amendment is poked and pulled by "plain view," "wherever it can fit," "inferred by appearance," and the Carroll Doctrine exceptions.

Hollywoodland is not the real world when it comes to the Miranda right, and many other issues. Little surprise there. Still demythicizing is very empowering, as is learning generally. When learning brings with it the thrill of an amusement ride, all the better. Lieutenant Donnelly will be back in 2 weeks. I am already there!

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