22 December 2006

The (Un)Demise Of CrimLaw

FYI: I ended up not closing up shop here. The Direction died a quick death and will stay dead as long as I work in a political office. However, no matter how many other projects I take up CrimLaw keeps going and hits have gone way up over the last couple years. Of late CrimLaw's been more about the novel I've been writing "Ambush in Bartlette." Click on the title and it will take you to the newer posts. -  28 October 2013.

I've been considering shutting down CrimLaw for a while now. In the last couple months I have seen two of my favorite blogs go down even though they still enjoyed great popularity (Commonwealth Conservative and Southern Appeal). On the other hand, CrimLaw's readership has slipped significantly over the last year. Without random hits from Google I'm not sure that the number of daily hits would rise much above 100 per day. There are numerous reasons for this which need not be dwelled upon. In any case, it has become harder and harder to justify the effort to keep up a blog which is limping along. There is also another project I am more interested in at the moment and I want to spend time developing it. Consequently, I am closing up shop.

I want to thank all those of you who have spent your precious moments (usually stolen from work if sitemeter is correct) reading my posts over the last few years. I especially want to thank everyone who has from time to time helped out by posting here either in comments or as a guest. In particular, there were times over the last few months when there would have no posting except for the efforts of Steve Armstrong (2L Appalachian School of Law) and Daniel Dovel (3L West Virginia Law). Thank you gentlemen.

As for me, I'm moving on to do a weekly videocast about the Virginia political scene. I've been doing it now for about 5 weeks and the bugs aren't all worked out, but I have high hopes. Feel free to click here to drop by and watch.

20 December 2006


MyYahoo! has eaten all my Criminal News feeds. I also have to get a memo done for the boss (that slavedriver). Hopefully, I'll get something out later today - maybe even something about life as a prosecutor: My Name is Lammers, I Carry a Badge.

19 December 2006

Police Grab a Camera

Anybody know the full story on this? The video we're shown is obviously done as a propaganda piece, feeding anti-police truthiness. However, it's also obviously got a core of real truth to it.

Why were they after this particular camera? They weren't after the guy for trespassing and there were obviously other, high quality cameras filming. In fact, it should have been obvious that they had a crowd full of people waiting with baited breath to catch them doing something wrong on camera. The actions taken make no sense. If you were furthering a repressive, right wing conspiracy against the press you'd arrest the guy and take his film while he was in jail or you'd try to round up all the cameras.

As best I can figure it, one guy lost his head and the others followed his command. Any other theories?

via Amanda Congdon on ABC

OMG - It's Gonna be WORSE than Reno 911

and it'll be "real."

Forsake That Robe

Nothing like accusing the judge of being a member of a false priesthood to get yourself declared incompetent.

Should an AG be Allowed to Run for Governor?

Kentucky Law:

If an elected Democratic AG turns his Bureau of Investigation against the Republican Governor should he be forbidden from running for governor against that same governor?

My take is different from KL's. I think that it is appropriate that the AG not be allowed to run. No noble act should come without a price, otherwise it could easily become an act of self-aggrandizement (and, yes, I am going to assume that Stumbo was acting on noble - not political - impulses). If there is no price paid then why wouldn't every AG keep an ongoing investigation in place against the sitting governor (a natural political enemy, especially if they are of different parties)?

Background for this: One, Two, Three, Four, Five

18 December 2006

Life in the Richmond Jail

The TD is doing a 4 part series. Part one is the serious felony cage and part two is the learning cage.

The Richmond jail is a disaster and there's no change in sight. It's doubtful the city will have the money to build a new jail and all the nearby counties have already built their own and/or already joined a regional jail so it's unlikely that Richmond will be able to find financial partners either.

At least the new Sheriff isn't treating the canteen money as his own personal petty cash.

Rich, White "Gang" Kids

Y'know, before federal funding for anti-gang enforcement these kids were called "wanna bes."

Cali and Florida Stop executions

on grounds of incompetence.

Dude You Got Delled

And then he got his.

15 December 2006

Can You Be Convicted of Both Murder and Manslaughter?

Holy crud. Why would you take a jury - which sentences in Virginia - on a case as open and shut as this 2d DUI fatality? Were the sentencing guidelines (which the judge gets, but a jury is forbidden by law) that bad?
Payne was drunk and driving her boyfriend's truck home from work when she lurched off the pavement and struck Patel as he walked alongside the westbound lanes of Midlothian Turnpike at the entrance ramp to north- bound Chippenham Parkway. At the time, she was fleeing from a rear-end accident she had caused.
She was convicted on all counts
The jury found Payne guilty of felony murder, aggravated involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony hit-and-run in connection with Patel's death. The jury imposed 20 years each for the murder and the manslaughter convictions and a total of six years for the hit-and-runs.
It took me a minute to figure out how she could be convicted on both murder and manslaughter, but I think I've figured it out. Felony murder arises from the fact that she was fleeing from the felony and neither flight nor an ongoing felony is an element in manslaughter. Manslaughter comes out of the drimking while driving and DUI is not necessarily an element in felony murder (it could be if it was the third DUI in 10 years). Still, it will be interesting to see if they both survive appeal.

There's lots of case law in Virginia which supports felony murder for recklessly driving away from a felony crime in an attempt to escape and accidently causing a death through that recklessness. The problem is that reckless driving is a lesser included offense of DUI. There was a case a while back in which the Virginia Courts Appellate held that when a robbery was acquited a subsequent charge of grand larceny was barred by double jeopardy because both included petit larceny. Both had their own individual elements; grand larceny requires over $200 to be taken and robbery requires the use of force or threat. However, that was not enough to overcome the fact that they both had a lesser included offense in common.

I predict that the Court of Appeals will uphold the conviction based on the fact that the reckless driving could be based upon the manner of the driving rather than the fact she was DUI. The trickier question is how the Supreme Court will handle it.

Internet Intervention

It's at least 5 years too late (maybe 10) and it'll be amazingly easy to circumvent, but at least Virginia's AG is trying to shut down sexual predators on the interweb. It's even sadder if, as the article states, he's the first to do so.

Violent Sexual Offenders Shan't Be Allowed in Schools Anymore

And the scary part of that statement is the word "anymore."

13 December 2006

11 officers died in Virginia this year

Virginia was second only to California in officer deaths. Please remember those that paid the ultimate price for the Commonwealth and their community in your prayers.

No More Ten Talk in Virginia

Virginia police are halting their use of code over the radio.

Actually, I think the fact that the NY Federal Prosecutors are losing some cases is a good thing

It indicates that the office is willing to take on the tough cases.

Deadly Dumb

Jumping off a 60 foot bridge into a river while handcuffed is not going to end well.

Mounties in Virginia

Not in red uniforms though.

Kervorkian Gets Parole

Promises not to help other people kill themselves.

Girls Go Wild

Guys get community service.

09 December 2006

Infinite Creativity

How do you pull off the theft of an entire ATM machine?

You use a bulldozer from the construction site across the street. The real question is how they did it without a single witness.

Bringing a Cougar to a Kid's Birthday Party

The handler is charged for the maiming which followed. Should the parents be charged as well? Would you bring a wild predator to your kid's birthday?

Lie Detecting on the Cheap

So, your local sheriff doesn't have the budget to go out and get the super-expensive, state of the art lie detector? That's okay, all it takes are a few lego blocks and he can build his own.And here are the instructions.

08 December 2006

Taking charges on your 70 year old stalker.

Global Warming in Action

Push the play button twice.

My only question is whether I'm North of the line where Dennis Quaid says it's too late to evacuate because global warming is making the world freeze.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow . . .

07 December 2006

Oh For Goodness Sake

Y'know, I can think of one really good reason why you wouldn't want to publish the names and addresses of meth-manufacturers and/or dealers on line.

Anybody out there who can guess what it is?

In the "This Person Deserved to Get Caught" Category

Ummm . . . If you are getting drugs illegally, don't try to write it off with your insurance company.
25% of males start with marijuana before booze or cigs.

Gotta admit, I'm skeptical of that.

Not Only Virginia

What do you know? Virginia isn't the only place in the world which declares anti-speeding detection devices illegal - there's also South Africa.

06 December 2006

How to Avoid That Nasty Rape Charge

Get it in writing.

This is absolutely hilarious. I probably wouldn't play it at work, but if you don't make sure you see it at home.

05 December 2006

Tough Love. VERY Tough Love...

A South Carolina boy, 12, was arrested Sunday morning after his mother called police to report that he had unwrapped a Christmas present without her permission. The boy's mother described her son as a disruptive child, noting that she hoped his arrest would serve as a corrective to disorderly behavior at school and home.

Read the police report here.

02 December 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion...

I visited Ken at his new offices in Wise this past week and I mentioned that I won "Best Advocate" in my Appellate Advocacy class. For those of you who don't know, I am a 2L at the Appalachian School of Law in beautiful, downtown Grundy, VA. Below is a clip of my argument. My learned classmate an I were arguing a criminal case before the "U.S. Supreme Court". The issue was whether passive receipt of firearms constitutes "use" of those firearms in a "drugs for guns" transaction under 18 USC, Section 924(c). You can find my rebuttal to the government's argument at my website (still very much under construction).

01 December 2006

Appalachia's Former Mayor Guilty 233 Times

This all happened in the courtroom across the hall from me and all I saw were the cameramen waiting outside. The Commonwealth Attorney - Chad Dotson, formerly of Commonwealth Conservative fame and glory (c'mon Chad bring it back online the Virginia blogosphere needs quality blogs) - was ordered out of the case and the office has tried to stay scrupulously neutral ever since.

So, I missed the 233 guilty pleas and 10 nolo contendere. That must have taken forever.

Translating Tom

"The common sense of the majority of people lead them to support the death penalty-- they instinctively realize that certain heinous crimes call for the ultimate punishment, not because of bloodlust, but because justice calls for a congruent satisfaction in order to restore as much as possible the moral damage done by the perpetrator."


"The common sense of the majority of people" & "instinctively realize" = "gut reaction"

"certain heinous crimes" = "anything bad some Yankee done to me & mine"

"justice calls for a congruent satisfaction" = "get a rope"

Or, if you want a short and easy translation of the whole paragraph: "Some people just need to get kilt."

Hmmm . . . That sounds a lot like vengeance to me. Oh well, I can't possibly keep up with Tom's quoting of 13th century Latin screeds so I'm not in a position to get into a theological argument with him. Even if I tried he'd probably nuke me by starting to discourse in Latin, Greek, Hebraic, or Sanskrit (well, probably not Sanskrit).

BTW: Tom, Priti Patel looks kinda cute - any chance of getting me an introduction?

BTW, BTW: Why isn't the killing of likes instead of actuals acceptable as a valid punishment? For instance, if Jon Smith kills Peter Jones' infant child wouldn't society accomplish a more congruent punishment by killing Jon Smith's child? And wouldn't that, in general, create much more of a deterrent?

That there's a gator . . .

Crack, skinny dipping, and a gator - not a good combination.

Polk County deputies handle the situation.

The Coercive Abortion Prevention Act

Is it unfair to men?


I don't car how aggravating women can be, you cannot try to cook them.

Hurray for Bollywood!!!

It seems Hollywood actors aren't the only ones who ask for special dispositions.

He's been good while he's been on bond and therefore shouldn't get prison time. Wow. Ummm . . . That argument didn't sway many judges when I was representing people charged with illegal firearm possession and it really wouldn't sway me much now that I'm a prosecutor. But I guess if you're a big Bollywood star I might cut you a break (if you ever caught a charge in Wise).