24 April 2006

New Additions to the Blogroll

I added a number of new additions to the blogroll yesterday and thought I'd mention a few:

Mr. District Attorney is back - always one of my favorites, I thought he'd stopped a while back and took his blog down. I was wrong. Here's a sample:
We had an out of town attorney try to get the chief judge to issue a writ of habeas corpus for his client, who was pending arraignment, on an oral motion. And the dummy was going to grant it! Happily for the chief’s reputation in the building, the clerk of the court is also an attorney and was able to advise him that the writ could only issue on a properly filed complaint. And Mr. Out-of-Towner had not filed such a complaint. Oh, and in the same breath, while he was issuing an illegal writ, he was ordering our office to appear forthwith and arraign the defendant. Aside from the fact that we were still waiting on the police report/request to charge, there’s a tiny little separation of powers thing going on there. Ya think? And the final insult? Mr. Out-of-Towner may have outright lied to the judge about the circumstances of his client’s detention. We don’t know. Why? Because the judge ordered the court reporter to go to lunch (don’t want to incur any comp time) and shut down the Dictaphones. Another attorney was in the courtroom while this was going on and left to call my boss and give him the heads up. So, two of us spent an enjoyable hour drafting a complaint in mandamus against the arraignment court, just in case. We didn’t need it, thank God, because who needs to be in the middle of that kind of firefight between the courts.
Gruntled Center isn't a blawg. It's a blog by a professor who teaches at my undergrad, Centre College. I had one class with this gentleman - it was well taught (something about defining modernism and post-modernism - I can't remember the title) and he didn't try to shove a particular world-view at us. Anyway, he's undoubtedly brighter than me and maintains a level of civility on his blog (which always impresses me). An example:
Marriage is an institution in which men and women learn to be husbands and wives by doing it. The structural logic of marriage draws a couple closer, and works best if they act in a unified way. It is especially important for a married couple to present a united front to their children.

Divorce is also an institution. Ex-husband and ex-wife are roles, too, though they are less defined by law and custom than are their affirmative counterparts, husband and wife. The structural logic of divorce pushes a couple apart. The natural drift of people who no longer have to accommodate one another would produce a widening gap. More than that, though, the divorce will be easier for each of the exes to bear if the couple is demonstrably different from one another, too different to live together. The more different they get, the more the divorce seems justified, even inevitable.

Marquardt's point is that the more different the parents become, the harder it is for their kids to construct one coherent moral worldview.

- It ranges from funny to serious to silly to strange but it's almost always interesting:
A hot springs theme park in Hakone has introduced doctor fish to one of its baths in a move that is proving to be quite popular with its visitors.

The doctor fish is a kind of carp found in Turkey and other countries of west Asia, which eats old dry human skin. Visitors dangle their feet in the water and the fish get to work removing old skin. Some say that the fish not only cleanse the feet, they also have a healing effect.
And now for a couple which aren't exactly new . . .

OrinKerr.com doesn't exactly need a recommendation from me but he's going to get it anyway. It's a mixture of law school matters and criminal law which is always interesting. A sample:
I’m reminded of a session at the AALS New Law Teacher workshop in June 2001, the summer before I started teaching. A professor who looked to be in his late 40s lectured to us about today’s students, and told us that we had to be ready for something very new: “Students today are part of the MTV Generation.” They grew up watching MTV, he told us, and MTV caused them to have a short attention span and made them want to be entertained in class.

Having spent a large chunk of the 1980s glued to MTV — I think I probably memorized every music video aired from 1982 to 1986 — I wasn’t entirely sure how to respond. I remember thinking that the AALS workshop seemed pretty useless; could I blame my inability to appreciate its merits on a misspent youth warped by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Bryan Adams, and the Thompson Twins? Had I watched the complete Thriller video too many times to appreciate the latest in “learning theory”? Hmm, perhaps.
Judging Crimes just about has me convinced to move to New Mexico and take up a defense practice. Apparently, from the ire Joel expresses, courts out there must be excluding the evidence in every third case on the grounds of constitutional violations. Maybe he and I can switch places so he can come to Virginia where I'm pretty sure I'd need some very compromising photos to get certain judges to suppress anything. Anyway, Joel's entries are always well thought out and worth reading:
The strength of the common law system - the source of its political legitimacy as a non-democratic generator of law governing a democratic society - is that it chains together the intellects of judges across time. If 20 judges hear cases involving the same issue at roughly the same time, assuming that most (not necessarily all) of the judges are of average intelligence and honesty, and 15 of them arrive at the same conclusion, there's something like a 75% chance that solution is a reasonable one.

If, however, 20 judges hear cases involving the same issue over the course of many years, and 14 judges follow the lead of their predecessor, there's roughly a 73.7% chance the approach they adopt is a practical one, because the impracticality of an unworkable rule will always become apparent over time. In the real world, practicality is an even more important consideration than reasonableness, as Hedley observed four centuries ago.

What made the common law so powerful was precisely its lack of self-consciousness. The judges thought in terms of concrete problems, and sought workable solutions. As other, future judges applied the lesson of the old case to a new reality, they tinkered with the rule laid down in the earlier case. They didn't do so for the purpose of perfecting the rule, of establishing it once and for all in its crystalline form, but to deal with the new variation on the old facts.
Check 'em out.


Anonymous said...

For someone with guaranteed employment and a generally favorable court system, Mr. DA is quite the whiner.

Also, as much as I like the idea of keeping people in jail without hearings (so long as they look different than me), I don’t think that there is a separation of powers problem in issuing a conditional writ.

Ken Lammers said...

Yeah, we defense attorneys never complain because a judge doesn't follow the proper legal procedure.

At least I know I don't. Nope. Not ever. Never . . .