Killing With Impunity: A Police Prerogative

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New Jersey State Trooper Robert Higbee was in hot pursuit of revenue on September 26, 2006 when he ran a stop sign and his cruiser collided with a minivan. At the time Higbee was speeding in pursuit of a speeder, doing at least 65 in a 35 m.p.h. zone.

The collision, for which Higbee was entirely to blame, took the lives of two passengers, 19-year-old Christina Becker and 17-year-old Jacqueline Becker.

Had Higbee been a productive private citizen as opposed to a tax-feeder of the enforcer caste, he would almost certainly have been convicted of vehicular homicide.

But thanks in part to the light touch of Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten and Cape May County assistant prosecutor David Meyer, a jury saw fit to acquit the trooper of the charge.

The court then dismissed charges of careless driving and failing to stop or yield at a stop sign, downgrading the offense of a single charge of “unsafe driving.” Fines and court fees totalled $728 — or $364 apiece for the two young women who were killed by Higbee as he tried to apprehend someone whose irresponsible driving didn’t take any lives that evening.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quotes Judge Batten as calling Higbee “a good person otherwise engaged in a lifetime of usefulness and doing good deeds,” and insisting that any term of incarceration “would yield no additional public utility.”

Now, had some mere mundane killed one of the state’s sanctified enforcers by running a stop sign….

8:18 pm on June 13, 2009