31 August 2008

Ken Want

With the price of gas in the modern day, I've looked around at scooters/mopeds a little bit. An interesting thing out there is the 3 wheelers.

I pretty much fell in love with the Piaggio MP3 at first site.



The nearest quality competition is the Brudeli 625L. It's not as cool looking as the Piaggio, but it looks sturdier and the articles claim it has more power. Of course, it's $25,000 as opposed to the $8,000 ticket on the Piaggio.



However, it doesn't look like I'd be able to afford either one of them so the Bonzai looks like it might be closer to my price range ($2,000). I like the concept of this vehicle and it's supposed to be street legal. However, since I'm not a mechanic, it probably isn't a good choice.



Of course, there are any number of two wheel vehicles selling for about $700, but none are quite as interesting as the above. Honestly, I doubt that a scooter/moped would get me over the mountains on my way to work unless I buy one of the ones with a powerful engine and I don't think I'm going to find that on this side of $5,000. Oh well, I guess I'll stick with the Jeep.

29 August 2008

Animotoing

I've been playing around with Animoto. It's a site to which you upload pictures and it mixes them with music and effects. Here's an example using various logos I've used over the years:










The effects used are chosen by the web site and don't always turn out perfectly. However, it does allow you to remix using the same pictures if you are not satisfied. The above was the video I thought the best; below are two videos the were not quite as good, but show other effects which might manifest themselves.



















27 August 2008

Should Juries Be Able to Declare a Defendant Innocent?

In yesterday's CLTV, I proposed that juries be given three options: guilty, not guilty, and innocent. Scott doesn't cotton to this idea at all.
It shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defendant, where a verdict of innocent would require that the defendant prove "actual innocence" while the prosecution tries to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Ken's lightened the load a bit, suggesting that only 10 out of 12 jurors need agree on actual innocence. It's a kind thought, but still not enough.

And it suffers from yet another infirmity. It is quite possible that a wholly innocent defendant be placed into a position of appearing more likely guilty than not (the preponderance standard), when an eyewitness identifies the defendant as the perpetrator of a crime that he simply did not do. This is compelling evidence, even though it's of dubious value given the frequency of false identifications and the problems inherent in eyewitness testimony. But even when it may not be sufficient to meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard, rarely would a jury reject it so completely as to conclude the defendant to be innocent.
First, let me say that I recognize my idea is not a perfect - it's just better than the system as currently laid out. Currently, even if the jury thinks the charges are the most bogus, unsubstantiated pile of malarky, all it can do is find someone not guilty. Ironically, in Virginia the only way get a finding of "innocent" is to be convicted, file for a writ of actual innocence, and have it granted. I suspect this is similar to other States, although most of them probably do this in habeas proceedings where the defendant can find himself right back in murky waters. Is a defendant innocent or just not guilty if his conviction is overturned because of ineffective assistance of counsel?

In any event, I accept that in some cases the jury will find someone not guilty when he is actually innocent - just like juries now wrongly find some people not guilty or guilty. As long as we human beings are involved the system will never be perfect. However, that does not relieve of of the obligation to try to make it better.

And this system would be better. I suspect that the number of people found innocent rather than not guilty would be a small percentage. I could be wrong in this. Faced with legal mumbo-jumbo about whether someone is merely not guilty or innocent jurors may default to innocent (thus making Scott a happy man). Either way, a number of people who are now being found not guilty would find themselves completely cleared of the charge.

As to the burden of proof, I disagree with Scott. There is no burden shifting under the system as I envision it. I envision what we call around here a "waterfall instruction." It would go something like this:
If you find that the prosecution has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt you must then decide whether the prosecution has proven its case by a preponderance of the evidence. If 10 jurors agree that the prosecution has failed to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence you shall find the defendant innocent. Otherwise, you shall find the defendant not guilty.
That puts no burden whatsoever on the defendant to prove anything. In fact, in most cases it would just add ammo to the defense attorney's arguments: "Not only do they have to prove Mr. Smith "not innocent", which the prosecution has failed to do, they must climb even higher and reach beyond a reasonable doubt. Since they've failed to prove him "not innocent" they've failed abysmally in their attempt to reach that hallowed level of proof."

It'd be a pain in the posterior region. However, sometimes such a pain is acceptable if it makes the system more just.

26 August 2008

CLTV 38: Levels of Proof & Presumptions

Why presumption of innocence is a poor concept, levels of proof, and allowing jurors to decide innocence.

Larger CLTV version here.

25 August 2008

Never Wanted to be a LawProf so Much . . .

How much does it pay?
"Salaries for full professors vary widely and remain undisclosed by most private schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary in 2006 for law teachers was $94,290. The median associate law professor salary, according to www.Salary.com, is $101,558. Salaries for full professors at the most elite law schools can range from $250,000 to $300,000 annually."
Just in case anybody out there an "elite" law school is wondering: Yes, I can be enticed away from my current job. Heck, I'll even give you a little bit of a discount and agree to come in for only 200,000.

Giving Officers Contradictary Duties

Previously on CrimLaw:
2) Should the Denver Chief of Police be fired for enforcing the laws he's sworn to enforce?
-----
Comment:
well that Denver comment is certainly pure sound-byte spin. are you saying the citizens of a city should have no say in the order of priorities for law enforcement?
Okay, here's the oath a Denver police officer takes:
I do solemnly swear by the ever-loving God that I will support the Laws and Constitution of the United States and of the State of Colorado, and the Charter and Ordinances of the City and County of Denver; and that I will faithfully perform the duties of the office of Police Officer of the City and County of Denver, to which I have been appointed.
And here's the State's statute making marihuana illegal:

18-18-406. Offenses relating to marihuana and marihuana concentrate.

(1) Any person who possesses not more than one ounce of marihuana commits a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.

(2) Whenever a person is arrested or detained for a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the arresting or detaining officer shall prepare a written notice or summons for such person to appear in court. The written notice or summons shall contain the name and address of such arrested or detained person, the date, time, and place where such person shall appear, and a place for the signature of such person indicating the person's written promise to appear on the date and at the time and place indicated on the notice or summons. One copy of said notice or summons shall be given to the person arrested or detained, one copy shall be sent to the court where the arrested or detained person is to appear, and such other copies as may be required by the law enforcement agency employing the arresting or detaining officer shall be sent to the places designated by such law enforcement agency. The date specified in the notice or summons to appear shall be at least five days after such arrest or detention unless the person arrested or detained demands an earlier hearing. The place specified in the notice or summons to appear shall be before a judge having jurisdiction of such class 2 petty offense within the county in which the class 2 petty offense charged is alleged to have been committed. The arrested or detained person, in order to secure release from arrest or detention, shall promise in writing to appear in court by signing the notice or summons prepared by the arresting or detaining officer. Any person who does not honor such written promise to appear commits a class 3 misdemeanor.

(3) (a) (I) Any person who openly and publicly displays, consumes, or uses not more than one ounce of marihuana commits a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished, at a minimum, by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars or, at a maximum, by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars and, notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1.3-503, by fifteen days in the county jail.

(II) Open and public display, consumption, or use of more than one ounce of marihuana or any amount of marihuana concentrate shall be deemed possession thereof, and violations shall be punished as provided for in subsection (4) of this section.

(b) Except as is otherwise provided for in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), consumption or use of marihuana or marihuana concentrate shall be deemed possession thereof, and violations shall be punished as provided for in subsections (1), (2), and (4) of this section.

(4) (a) Any person who possesses more than one ounce of marihuana but less than eight ounces of marihuana commits:

(I) A class 1 misdemeanor; or

(II) A class 5 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to a prior conviction in this or any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of a violation to which this subsection (4) applies or would apply if convicted in this state.

(b) Any person who possesses eight ounces or more of marihuana or any amount of marihuana concentrate commits:

(I) A class 5 felony; or

(II) A class 4 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to a prior conviction in this or any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of a violation to which this subsection (4) applies or would apply if convicted in this state.

(5) Transferring or dispensing not more than one ounce of marihuana from one person to another for no consideration shall be deemed possession and not dispensing or sale thereof.

(6) The court may utilize treatment, probation, and deferred prosecution or deferred sentencing for any person who violates subsection (4) of this section.

(7) (a) Any provision of this article to the contrary notwithstanding, any person eighteen years of age or older who transfers or dispenses more than one ounce of marihuana for consideration to any person under eighteen years of age but at least fifteen years of age or any amount of marihuana concentrate, with or without consideration, to another person under eighteen years of age commits a class 4 felony and, in addition to the punishment prescribed in section 18-1.3-401, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars. For offenses committed on or after July 1, 1985, the fine shall be in an amount within the presumptive range set out in section 18-1.3-401 (1) (a) (III).

(b) Any person eighteen years of age or older who transfers or dispenses any amount of marihuana, with or without consideration, to any person under the age of fifteen years commits a class 4 felony and, in addition to the punishment provided in section 18-1.3-401, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars. For offenses committed on or after July 1, 1985, the fine shall be in an amount within the presumptive range set out in section 18-1.3-401 (1) (a) (III).

(c) Any person commits a class 3 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to a prior conviction in this or any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of a violation to which this subsection (7) applies or would apply if convicted in this state, and, in addition to the punishment provided in section 18-1.3-401, the court shall sentence the defendant to the department of corrections for at least the minimum term in the presumptive range. For offenses committed on or after July 1, 1985, the fine shall be in an amount within the presumptive range set out in section 18-1.3-401 (1) (a) (III).

(8) (a) (I) No person knowingly shall cultivate, grow, produce, process, or manufacture any marihuana or marihuana concentrate or knowingly allow to be cultivated, grown, produced, processed, or manufactured on land owned, occupied, or controlled by him any marihuana or marihuana concentrate except as authorized pursuant to part 3 of article 22 of title 12, C.R.S.

(II) Any person who violates the provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a) commits:

(A) A class 4 felony; or

(B) A class 3 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to a prior conviction in this or any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of a violation to which this subsection (8) applies or would apply if convicted in this state.

(b) (I) Except as is otherwise provided in subsection (7) of this section and except as authorized by part 3 of article 22 of title 12, C.R.S., or by part 2 or 3 of this article, it is unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute marihuana or marihuana concentrate; or attempt, induce, attempt to induce, or conspire with one or more other persons, to manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute marihuana or marihuana concentrate.

(II) As used in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), "dispense" does not include labeling, as defined in section 12-22-102 (16), C.R.S.

(III) Any person who violates any of the provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b) commits:

(A) A class 4 felony; or

(B) A class 3 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in this or any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States of a violation to which this subsection (8) applies or would apply if convicted in this state.

(9) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2003, p. 1428, § 12, effective April 29, 2003.)

(10) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person who possesses, uses, prescribes, dispenses, or administers any drug classified under group C guidelines of the national cancer institute, as amended, approved by the federal food and drug administration.

(11) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person who possesses, uses, prescribes, dispenses, or administers dronabinol (synthetic) in sesame oil and encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule in a federal food and drug administration approved drug product, pursuant to part 3 of article 22 of title 12, C.R.S.

(12) In addition to any other penalty imposed by this section, upon each conviction, entry of plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or receipt of a deferred sentence for a nonfelony violation of this section or adjudication as a delinquent for an act that would constitute a nonfelony violation of this section if committed by an adult, any driver's permit or minor driver's license held by the offender shall be suspended as provided in section 42-2-127.3, C.R.S.


Good gracious, that is a huge statute; Virginia's anti-marijuana statute is all of a single paragraph.

Anyway, you have officers which swear an oath to federal, State and local laws. In case there's any confusion here, federal trumps State and State trumps local. Even if Colorado has walked away from the Dillon Rule (IDK), the fact that the State has set out a law makes that the law of the entire State. It does not matter if
"[i]n Denver, voters . . . voted to legalize personal possession of marijuana" and "voted in majority numbers for a failed statewide legalization initiative."
The law of the State remains the law of the entire State and the responsibility of police to enforce.

Now, as to this:
"[Denver voters] voted to make marijuana enforcement police's lowest priority."
Really? Do you think that police are salivating at the mere thought of enforcing simple possession of marijuana violations? Most every marijuana possession I've seen comes out of something else. These "lower enforcement" ordinances probably aren't legal and whether they are or not, they are basically just propaganda.

When is a Rockefeller Not a Rockefeller?

When he's Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German who tried to kidnap his daughter.

No Dissent for You

The problem with refusing to let a Supreme Court Justice publish his dissent is that there are plenty of other places to publish it and it gets more attention than it ever would have.

BritGov Loses Prisoner Info

for 130,000 prisoners.

The Virtual Boyfriend Plot

If you plan to kidnap your virtual boyfriend you probably shouldn't leave your real dog behind.

23 August 2008

Things are Looking Bungles Bad



Y'know it's bad enough that the Reds have been so bad this year and engaged in a fire sale that has even their most hardbitten fans contemplating abandoning them:
One last thing: I said I’d rename this site, but I’m not entirely sure this site will still exist. I have completely lost my enthusiasm for the Reds. I’m sick of living and dying with a team that has had 8 straight losing seasons, has little hope of emerging with a decent team in the very near future…and are below the Pirates and Royals this year.
Do you know how far you have to go before you get that kind of reaction out of that diehard a fan?

Of course, the Bungles are doing everything they can to under perform the Reds. Chad Johnson's offseason histrionics. Injuries. Injuries. Injuries to both the number one receiver, Houshmandzadeh, and number two receiver, Johnson, have crippled the team's offense. They rehired the criminal despite the coach making it crystal clear that he does not want this guy on his team. And there doesn't appear to be any improvement at all in what the Bungles laughingly call a "defense." It's going to be a long year.

21 August 2008

Theft and Burglary

1) You may be able to sneak in using the air ducts, but you also need to be able to fit on the way out with your ill-gotten gains.

2) Sometimes when you jump into a river in an attempt to escape you don't make it out alive, but in England they send police dogs in to save you.

3) Of course, in England they also take dogs along during the burlary attempt.

4) Pistols top screwdrivers every day of the week.

5) Beware the Teddy Bear.

6) ATTENTION ALL LAWYERS: You cannot accept your client's stolen paintings as payment.

7) Dead neighbor? Cops everywhere? A perfect opportunity to purloin from a purse.

8) A five hour manhunt for copper thieves.

9) Stealing $7,000 worth of unmentionables from Victoria's Secret (somebody must be planning some big-time fun).

10) Laundering your theft through your own, or your parents', yard sale might prove problematic after a while.

11) Somebody went to the trouble of specializing a truck to steal manhole covers.

12) Don't give your bank deposit to the "guard."

13) Attempted hamster food theft.

14) Using a baby to hide a theft. People who do this need to spend a looooooooong time in prison.

18 August 2008

Prosecutor (& PD) Loan Payoff

Only one problem:
"[S]ubject to the availability of appropriations."
As someone who could really, really, use some relief, I most definitely hope Congress decides to fund this.

CLTV 37: Prosecution of a Jury Trial
And Zen and the Art of Mowing

Most of this episode is a scattershot of ideas about what tactics, etc. a prosecutor should consider during a jury trial. It ends in a demo of what you have to do when your riding mower breaks down - you get your fat tucus out there and mow the lawn, section, by section, by section, by section . . .

The larger CLTV is here.

New CLTV Coming: Prosecutor in Jury Trial

Assuming the upload continues without problem and conversion to Flash goes okay, a new CLTV about the way a prosecutor should view and do a jury trial is going to be up later today.

16 August 2008

Bragging on Centre College



(in my best Thurston Howell the Third accent) Some of us just happened to have graduated from superior schools.

Centre, my beloved undergrad, has been ranked by Forbes as the 13th ranked college in the entire country.
Several relatively unknown schools do surprisingly well in our rankings. . . Centre College, a highly regarded liberal arts school in Danville, Ky., ranks 13th. . . Centre was in the top 10% of schools on all criteria.
Yep, always knew we were better than you Nancy-boys who went off to school at places like MIT, Chicago, or (shudder) Berkley.

Actually, comparing a school like Centre to a place like MIT isn't so much like comparing apples to oranges as comparing apples to '67 Studebakers. Same thing with comparing any schools to the various military academies. Still, Centre ranked 12th among private schools and beat out a lot of schools which are directly comparable (Sewanee: 67, Davidson: 93, Washington & Lee: 38, Depauw: 47, Colgate: 44). Of course Swarthmore is still king of the heap among these type of schools, but taking it and Amherst down are long term projects. ;-)

Unlike US News, this ranking seems to be based upon student satisfaction and actual results. And they seem to have compared the average result, which weighs in favor of a school like Centre where a large percentage of graduates are successful - as opposed to a school like North-Southwestern PolyTech U. which graduates 15,000 a year, but has a far lower percentage of graduates go on to be successful.

It's the first year for this ranking which means that schools haven't had an opportunity to game them yet. IMHO, this lends weight to the rankings. In the future the odds are that Centre's rank will drop, not because the school will become less amazing, but because other schools will throw gazillions of dollars and millions of man hours into skewing the results.

Anyway, at least for now, I get to look down my nose at most of you mere mortals. After all, who would you rather have impressed with your school, the folks who read US News or the gentlemen and ladies who read Forbes?

Now, if we can just have another basketball season like last year (unlikely, but I can hope).

BTW, read the comments in the Forbes article. They are filled with a lot of hilarious sour grapes which manage to say in so many subtle, not so subtle, and varied ways, "But you didn't rank my school high enough! Waaaaah!!!"

14 August 2008

Is it lawbreaking or violating rights?

The video below has been bandied about as something which can be seen subjectively, either as police or the man videotaping acting improperly.



After they have removed him from the building:
"This is private property. You were advised not to come into the building. This is private property. You come back into the building you will be arrested for trespassing. You understand that?"
. . .
"It's Private Property. You are not invited. You are not a part of the official(? word garbled) press. So you are not invited."
Here's the statutory law on trespass in Washington:
RCW 9A.52.070 - Criminal trespass in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building.

(2) Criminal trespass in the first degree is a gross misdemeanor.

RCW 9A.52.080 - Criminal trespass in the second degree.

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree.

(2) Criminal trespass in the second degree is a misdemeanor.

RCW 9A.52.090 - Criminal trespass — Defenses.

In any prosecution under RCW 9A.52.070 and 9A.52.080, it is a defense that:

(1) A building involved in an offense under RCW 9A.52.070 was abandoned; or

(2) The premises were at the time open to members of the public and the actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the premises; or

(3) The actor reasonably believed that the owner of the premises, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed him to enter or remain; or

(4) The actor was attempting to serve legal process which includes any document required or allowed to be served upon persons or property, by any statute, rule, ordinance, regulation, or court order, excluding delivery by the mails of the United States. This defense applies only if the actor did not enter into a private residence or other building not open to the public and the entry onto the premises was reasonable and necessary for service of the legal process.
Now, I'm not certain how Washington decides what a 1st or 2d degree trespass is, but I'm going to assume it's "knowing" and "unlawful" to enter private property after having been told that you are forbidden to do so.

That leaves the enumerated defenses. (1)The building wasn't abandoned. (3) The actor was forbidden to enter, so he didn't have a reasonable belief that the owner would license him to enter. (4) He wasn't serving legal process.

That leaves the 2d excuse. There's a colorable argument that the building was "open to the public" with a political function being filmed by the press. As well, there were people present who were not members of the media or the Seattle Police Officer's Guild (notice the boy on the right). However, the police officer's statements seem to indicate the media was invited and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts the boy was invited by an officer.

The most likely reality here is that the man was trespassing. There are some things which might contradict this and show that the Guild's building was "open to the public." In example, an invitation for the public to attend via flyers or the internet would be evidence that the meeting was public. Per the statute, there does not seem to be an allowance for parties to forbid entry once a place becomes "open to the public." However, I suspect that this has probably had some pretty tight reins put on it by case law, because under the theory as I've laid it out if someone were coming in twice a week, to Wal*Mart and stealing $5 worth of merchandise each time, the store could never bar him from the premises. Maybe someone more familiar with Washington law can fill in the gaps?

Finally, I want to comment some on the encounter itself. By about half way through it, I wanted to clock the kid myself. What that kid is doing is offering passive resistance and playing for the camera. Saying "I'm not doing anything" a hundred times does not mean that he's not trespassing. He also appears to be refusing to leave, despite being told he's not allowed on the property more than once. To top it all off, when the officer called to the scene walks down the street to talk to the complainant (off duty officer) and the kid follows right behind them filming it crosses over into harrassment. Please note, I didn't say he broke the law; people are obnoxious all the time without breaking the law. This kid is doing what we're all starting to see over and over in the age of YouTube, he is doing his best to provoke in a manner which will allow him to claim innocence.

As for the police officers, I don't think they handled the situation well either. Not because they went overboard, but because they tried to handle it in what I'll call a "middle-way." They were faced with a number of ways to handle this and they tried to talk it down. Personally, if I'm in an encounter with police I'd prefer that they use this method. However, in this case talking it down just plays to what the kid is trying to do; he gets a wonderful little thing to put up on YouTube. There were two ways to handle this better (if we solely look toward the possibility of YouTube publication). One would have been to ignore the kid and let him film. Of course, that's not the natural reaction of an officer who has given a warning and is seeing someone blatantly ignoring it and breaking the law. As well, I don't know if this kid might have a record of doing harassing things to the candidate, ala Mike Stark (doubtful, but possible). The other would be to grab the kid, hustle him outside - as they did - and immediately arrest him, taking the camera and turning off the video right after stating "You are under arrest for trespassing after having been given notice not to come on this property" or something similar. It would have devalued the film and probably made it too short to be very interesting. They had probable cause and a whole bunch of credible witnesses to the trespassing; I'm pretty sure the charge would have stuck. But, hey, they tried not to be too big of jerks and consequently gave the kid his day on You Tube.

13 August 2008

When Will Hadood Laws be Established in Islamic States?

Islamic Penal Laws "like adultery . . . like drinking alcohol . . ."





At first it's Arabic, but about 20 seconds in it changes to English.

12 August 2008

Because I Spell Justice Hammer

Sadly, it's not even the worst lawyer ad I've ever seen.

Is the Juror or the Judge Right?

The juror and the judge differed on a constitutional interpretation. The judge, by virtue of the power vested in his position, won. The question remains, in a debate over the law and constitution, without far reaching precedent to predetermine the answer, who would win the argument? After all, imagine that you were handed a copy of the federal constitution and asked to justify a federal law against drug distribution. Would your first answer be that it was valid because it affects commerce? Honestly?

Of course, the commentary descends into an argument over the wonderfulness of jury nullification which I've addressed over at CLTV here.

CLTV 36: Realities of Indigent Defense in Virginia

Answering a letter to the best of my recollection.

At CLTV here.

It's All a Matter of Perspective




Sorry to whomever's blog I found this on, but I can't remember and it's just too good not to pass on.

11 August 2008

Spam Comments Advertising

Scott laments the spam advertising he's getting as comments. His comments are pretty much spot on, although I'd like to add a couple pet peeves of my own.

1. Someone is putting the Chinese/Japanese/Korean comments on 5 of my posts every month or so (I can't read it, so I don't know which language). My primary question is, WHY? I can't imagine that I have a huge readership in someplace like Hong Kong (and sitemeter backs me up on this).

2. I have gotten paranoid enough that, even when comments are pertinent, I check the link for each comment which comes from someone I don't recognize. The reason for this has been that I have run into comments to things which are actually in the post and then the address of the poster has linked back to some interesting places. Sometimes it's a law office (not too bad); sometimes it's a porn site; a lot of times it's a merchandise site (again, often in a foreign language).

I'm not naive enough to think this will ever stop. However, I must admit that I wonder how people who read my English language blawg, which has a primarily U.S. readership (and a small one at that), come to the conclusion that this would be a good place to link to a Thai language site which is selling Viagra.

07 August 2008

Black Defendants Argue Against the Yankee Government

Y'know, I've heard intelligent people make the argument that the imposed amendments to the Constitution are not valid (they were not properly ratified because Southern States were forced at gunpoint to "ratify" them in order to get the army of occupation out of their States). However, I must admit that it is in the jails/prisons that I have seen this raised to an art form. Fringed flags, Esquire as a title of nobility, sovereign citizen, misspelled name on the indictment - you name it, some prisoner has latched onto it (see here).

I'm not terribly surprised that Black prisoners have latched onto this sort of argument despite the fact that it has roots in White separationist-supremacy movements (click through and read the article as well). The guys in prison who are making these arguments don't care where the argument comes from. They want (1) an argument which will invalidate the prosecutor's evidence, (2) cause as much trouble as possible for the prosecution (either on the theory the prosecutor will give up and settle for a lesser conviction or just to be ornery), or (3) to entertain themselves.

When I was doing defense I ran into Black defendants who wanted to use some of these arguments. I can remember back about 2000 reading (and rereading) all sorts of statutes in the UCC section of the Virginia Code because one of my clients swore it would stop a child support case dead in its tracks. Unfortunately for the defendant, I couldn't find any of the stuff he kept swearing to me was there if I just looked in the right section.

Bulletproof Bras

Cutting edge German tech.

06 August 2008

Paucity of Posts

Sorry posting's been light to non-existent. I had three juries scheduled within a week and prepping them took priority. Two of them didn't go forward, but I still had to prep them. And, of course, the one that did go forward was on Friday and I didn't get home until after 8 p.m.

And I just found out I might have another one this Friday. Joy of Joys.