18. If you wanted to design a system to produce the least amount of product while consumed the maximum effort, you would design our court system. The last serious reform was abandonment of legal size paper. There are still feelings of resentment about that one.[comment] We're still having difficulties with this one in Virginia. Everybody still uses the monster size legal paper files and there are still many who use legal paper itself. I think the problem may be that Jefferson never approved the switch to 8 1/2 X 11 (everything in Virginia must have had Mr. Jefferson's tacit approval). Still, Mr. Jefferson never expressly decried such a switch either so I think things are slowly getting there. Next up: Computers a C-64 for everyone!
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Public Defender Dude discusses the rape shield laws and a potential closing argument in a rape case. It's a thought provoking line of argument although I suspect the courts would not allow it because it implies the very thing which a court has excluded. If the prosecutor is on the ball he should object because it basically says, "I've been forbidden to tell you about it, but there's something relevant out there, in her past, which you should consider." Still, it's an interesting argument created in reaction to a type of statute which often violates the constitutional right to confront. Maybe with a little more subtlety:
Now, it's clear that the way someone dresses to come to court is not always the same as they dress outside of court, the prosecutor told you this when he told you Mr. Smith is cleaned up today, but in the real world he was a predator. However, let's not be mistaken - the prosecutor didn't have his witness come to court wearing short-shorts and a skin-tight tube top either. He had her come to court wearing a nice, conservative dress. He called Mr. Smith a predator but I can't call Miss Jones anything like that. There's no evidence to that effect and I am forbidden, by law, to ask those sorts of questions.
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Meanwhile back on the ranch . . .
Infinity Ranch comments on my answer to "How can you represent criminals."
I would just add that while most people I represent are guilty, many aren't charged with what they actually did or are sentenced to terms much more harsh than they deserve. Trying to limit that damage for the guilty, and maybe preserving some hope for rehabilitation in the future, is as important a function of my job as anything else.
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You'll remember that a while back I posted about a district court judge from my home circuit who went to another circuit and shocked them with a harsh sentence. Well, upon appeal the local circuit court judge gave a much lighter sentence.
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A new blawg: Law Notes. (Don't worry about it, more than one blawg has borrowed the "Week in a Life" format) Mark has been e-mailing me, helping me with graphic problems, and commenting on this site since sometime in his 1L year. I look forward to seeing how his blog develops.
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Finally, I find this non-legal site via Stop the Bleating. And let me be perfectly clear, if you are among the "Hot Women of the LORD" and want to make sure I am on the right path . . .