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Nap Time!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
About that petition

I just noticed that the petition was posted (PDF) at the ASUC website. Some amusing notes:

1) The petition does not list the names of the signers. Seriously. The only person they told was the Attorney General.

2) The petition did not "fulfill[] the standards of authentification for signatures specified in Title IV of the ASUC By-Laws" as required by the Judicial Council opinion allowing online signatures. Specifically, the name of the individual was pre-written after the signer's CalNet ID was authenticated, which is specifically prohibited by the section referenced in the Judicial Council opinion.

3) The petition required signers to give their e-mail address.

The latter two points I confirmed while the petition was still online, but the first point absolutely blows me away. "We, the undersigned, don't want you to know who we are, but we really did sign!"

I think I'll make an effort to have the names on the petition posted, too.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 1/20/2009 12:26:00 AM #
Comments (13)
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The petition gives each signer's student ID number. The AG should have authenticated those as authentic and matching the initials given. If you want to know the names, you can check them on the Berkeley website.

I don't see what publishing the names of the petition does except bring a red herring into this whole situation that already has a good dozen of them. The signers clearly aren't trying to hide behind a wall of anonymity - they gave their initials and student ID numbers and are easy enough to track down.
Please explain how one would use a Student ID number and initials to track down a name. Note that the petition itself declares that this is impossible, and deliberately so.

You may find the names of the students who signed a petition declaring "we, the undersigned, think x" is a red herring. I take the view that that's what a petition is.
Never mind. I thought you could use the registrar's office to link a student ID to a name.

I yield to you, Quixote.
This is from an old ASUCer who happened to stumble on this. They actually allow a recall petition to be done with electronic signatures? 1,000 e-signatures is pretty easy to get, 1,000 physical signatures would be a much more daunting task.

Has anyone argued that a signature means the traditional written signature?
The Judicial Council ruled that it was okay in an advisory opinion. No one argued the other side.
Hey Beetle, check this out.


How do you read this?
Advisory opinions mean nothing. They should sue based on them needing physical signatures.
Advisory opinions certainly mean something, considering how the Senate has reacted to them. While not binding, they are going to be used as a starting point for any such suit, in which the petitioners will argue that they asked the Judicial Council and got permission, which puts whoever does the suing in a disadvantageous position. I doubt such a suit would succeed, anyway, because since there are no rules about recalls, there are no rules to accuse folks of violating.
As far as the police report goes, I've long since lost interest in that, as I've accepted that the truth will not come out. The opinion of a police officer is the opinion of someone who wasn't there, based on witness statements from people with deep interests in certain outcomes. Carefully selected excerpts from a police report by one side of the dispute, which provides "analysis" at times unsupported by the excerpts will not be particularly compelling to me.
The police investigation includes such frivolous things as checking medically verified injuries and comparing all the statements to each other and checking for consistency.

Considering that the investigating officer did this and that he is a totally neutral third party, how can you be so quick to dismiss his conclusions as politically motivated and prejudicial? I suggest you order the report yourself if you believe they are misquoting it, but it'd be pretty difficult to prove since they ARE quoting the conclusions.

Maybe you should ask whether your decision that the truth 'never come out' has been a bit hasty, especially since it's staring you in the face?
Because the truth isn't staring me in the face. If a fight was started, folks get injured. This doesn't depend on who started the fight.

The police conclusions are not necessarily politically motivated and prejudicial. The witness statements upon which they are based are. The police are forced to come up with a recommendation based on such information. That recommendation is not necessarily accurate or complete, and determining that is the job of our court system. The police are not omniscient dieties, and their investigations cannot be treated as absolutely credible simply because they do one. The DA, faced with a different responsibility, determined he would be unable to get convictions. Why? My guess is that it's because the witness statements are so unreliable, and he-said she-said isn't going to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. But hey, maybe it's something else. I'm not a mind-reader. In any case, I don't have enough information to draw conclusions I'd be willing to rely on, and so I won't.

I don't believe the police report is being misquoted. It's being selectively quoted by an even less credible group. I won't be ordering a copy simply because I have no use for that information, and it's outside my scope in reporting.
I don't understand how you can prove there's selective quoting going on if you don't point to parts of the report that are relevant but that are not mentioned because they might exonerate Moghtader and Weiner and prove that the people quoting are 'less than credible.'

Actually, if the police investigation was inconclusive, couldn't they have recommended that the DA do nothing? And if they are required to issue some recommendation to charge someone, why didn't they recommend charges be filed against the Palestinian students, if there equal amounts of equally believable he-said she-saids?

Relatedly, your division of labor between the police and the court system doesn't match reality. The police investigate, they have to figure out what happened as best they can. Then the DA decides whether to prosecute the case based on whether or not he thinks he can get a conviction using the facts the police uncovered. This rationale is often different than being able to prove what actually happened.

Even if the evidence is not enough for a conviction, it is enough to prove that Moghtader was involved, that the police thought he was responsible based on ALL witness statements, and that we as students fortunately have separate means to keep our elected officials accountable if they commit acts of violence. Why does this police report, this independent third party confirmation of the Palestinian students' story, not have any traction or meaning whatsoever? Is everyone really totally clueless, less than credible, or naive when it comes to this? Would you have been as skeptical if the police had come out saying that they can't know for sure?
It's clearly selective in the sense of only being parts of it. Whether it's selective in the sense of deceptive I can't prove and don't particularly care to, since the details really don't matter to me, but the folks doing the selection aren't particularly credible. That doesn't mean they're lying, it means I have no reason to believe them to be giving me the full picture, and my experience with these kinds of conflicts backs up that skepticism. I simply won't trust the people involved in this.

Maybe the he-said she-said isn't equally believable. For me, it's all equally not credible, but maybe the police have a different view. Like I said, I don't have to come to a conclusion about what happened, and as a result, without information from sources I can trust, I won't.

What you describe is not an independent confirmation of the Palestinian students' story, because the police weren't there when it happened. It's a judgment call by the police that the Palestinian students' story is more credible. I see no need to defer to the judgment of the police in this case. Many of the supporters of this petition are the last people I would expect to see use "the police said so" as an ultimate authority.

In short, yes, everyone is totally clueless, less than credible, or naive on this topic. Luckily for me, I don't have to declare what "the truth" is, so it works out fine for me.

Asking if I would be skeptical if the police said nothing doesn't even make sense. There's nothing to believe or not believe.

I haven't said a thing about how it relates to the recall election. You can choose to base your vote on this incident, though the recall petition doesn't mention it. For my part, I've already decided to vote against the recall because I reject the system of at-large recalls in a proportionally representative body. He could have murdered fifty people for all I care.
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