It Starts With The Children


Whenever someone wants to pass a bad law, the sales pitch is nearly always based on the idea that we need to “do it for the children.” I originally titled this post “Do It To The Children,” but as I thought about what I really want to say, “It Starts With The Children” seemed more apropos.

The uninformed would almost get the impression that Americans are all about the children, raising a happy, healthy, wonderful generation of progeny. They would believe that we care about nothing — nothing at all — more than securing a safe, and supportive, childhood.

The truth is a little less sublime.

[Read more...]

Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Die

Death Room

Federal District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney held, in an Order filed July 16, 2014, that California’s death penalty system was unconstitutional.  [Read more...]

You Say You Want A Revolution (Redux) (Update)

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Scott Greenfield has a post up that has had me thinking all day, even when I’m ostensibly working on something else. And I knew I wanted to try to blog today — I’ve been upset at myself for letting my blog go untended for too long — so here we are.

It’s not that I didn’t try to look elsewhere. I checked Defending People, but there was nothing new there — besides, I’ve learned Mark is frequently so far over my head that there’s probably nothing intelligent I could ever do by trying to riff off one of his posts.

Gideon was no help, either. Besides, I think Gid’s mad at me. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t come back to California since running into me at a seminar the last time he did come out here.

And Gamso. He was busy reading. Or writing about reading The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, to be more exact.

So then I distract myself by listening to music and….

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

So here we are.  [Read more...]

Likelihood Ratios in Attorney Marketing

Internet Marketing

This post is a bit outside my normal range of writing. I usually leave this sort of thing to others, like Scott Greenfield, who frequently complains about things like this, saying:

[O]ne need not worry about legal competence when, with a few bold keystrokes, one can appear to be the most competent lawyer ever on the internet.

And, of course, Mark W. Bennett.

I have neither as much knowledge, nor as much experience, as the two of them. My posts therefore generally stay limited to the area where I’ve so far been able to learn enough, and spend enough time thinking about what I’ve learned, to feel confident talking about it.

Attorney marketing is just not something to which I’ve paid much attention.

Yesterday, however, I saw this… [Read more...]

The Molestation of Justice

Not authorized

I originally titled this post, “Will the Real Sex Offenders Please Fuck Off.”

But I was afraid some of you might think less of me, upon realizing that — even though it’s completely appropriate under the circumstances, as you will see — I sometimes use foul language.

In Manassas City, Virginia, the police department, with the blessing of prosecutors and, possibly, at least one of their judges, want to give a boy a hard-on.  Then they want to take a picture of it.

And they don’t want to do this in the normal way that cops usually use to give underage boys hard-ons.  [Read more...]

For Whose Hobby Do We Lobby?

Statue of Religious Liberty

Federal Judge Kopf, writing about the Hobby Lobby decision – and is there anyone in the United States, and possibly several other countries, who doesn’t now know about Hobby Lobby? — said, among other things, that the United States Supreme Court should “stfu.” More importantly, he said something that I think just about nails why so many Person-Persons are upset over the Hobby Lobby ruling:

In the Hobby Lobby cases, five male Justices of the Supreme Court, who are all members of the Catholic faith and who each were appointed by a President who hailed from the Republican party, decided that a huge corporation, with thousands of employees and gargantuan revenues, was a “person” entitled to assert a religious objection to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because that corporation was “closely held” by family members.

As Judge Kopf correctly noted,

To the average person, the result looks stupid and smells worse.

Frankly, I’m not as inclined to give the “Justices” of the Supreme Court a pass as is Judge Kopf. I think the result smells because, contra Judge Kopf, those “Justices” did rule according to their biases.

Or maybe, not being a judge, I just have a more sensitive nose. [Read more...]

When Half a Loaf is (Not) Better Than None

gavel and money

Sometime in the last few days, I ran across a story about a court-appointed attorney “strike” that failed. I don’t remember exactly where I read it, but Scott Greenfield picked up the ball with a post referencing the story at the Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine.

Court-appointed attorneys in Maine have been paid $50 an hour for the past 15 years, and while they are set to get a $5 raise starting July 1, the “striking” attorneys said the raise was insulting compared to the $333 an hour the state pays private attorneys to defend Centers for Disease Control officials in an ongoing whistleblower lawsuit.

Imagine that. Fifty dollars per hour. Fifteen years ago, that might have been a decent fee. I don’t know; I wasn’t practicing law in Maine (or anywhere else) fifteen years ago. Today, you could not hire a private investigator where I live for that amount.

And they don’t have law school loans to pay back.  [Read more...]

The Black Hole of The Exception to the Rule

Justice & Law

I know. I haven’t been writing much lately. Frankly, from time to time, you just have to take a break. One of the drawbacks — at least it’s a drawback for me — of being a criminal defense attorney is that, eventually, you find that either you’re living in an alternate universe, or the rest of the world is. And for me — maybe other criminal defense attorneys don’t have this issue, so I have to quit speaking as if it were generally true (although I suspect it might be) — the danger is that after awhile you can lose sight of that.

Now I have no idea how you, I, or anyone else should really take that last paragraph, but part of why I haven’t been writing is that I’ve been trying to figure out whether I’m the one living in the alternate universe, or the rest of the world is.

Let me make an argument for why I think it’s the rest of the world that is, rather than me.  [Read more...]

Blithely We Go

Who Cares?

In 2008, Edward Robb Ellis’s, A Diary of the Century: Tales from America’s Greatest Diarist, was published. In it, the retired journalist chronicled his life from 1927 to 1995, keeping track of what was happening in his life, and the world.

On May 29, 1940, just as the day was ending, he wrote:

Why am I writing this? Because I want to preserve a record of the mood of the people of this period. And what do I succeed in doing? Merely demonstrating how vague is our comprehension of those horrific events beyond the horizon, how unsure we are of their relationship to us, how unstable seems the future and yet, how blithely we go our accustomed ways.

How blithely we go.  [Read more...]

The Suspicion Tax

Shark vs. Guppy

Scott Greenfield wrote a post Friday on a topic that I’ve often wondered over, and which I’ve occasionally discussed with other attorneys. This is the question of the delay between a warrantless arrest, and the time when the arrested person is finally taken to court.

One of the reasons that I’ve thought about this from time to time is that it’s always seemed to me that, in California, the law relating to this question says one thing, but the practice is to do another.

As I noted in a comment I left to Scott’s post this morning,

I’ve often wondered why we defense attorneys don’t do more to fight this, as there’s really no good excuse for it.

I’ve pointed out the law to attorneys who have been practicing longer than me to ask what gives. They usually shrug, and occasionally state a belief that case law allows the longer time.

Your post makes me want to take a closer look at this issue.

This post is the result of that closer look.  [Read more...]