29 August 2019

The Court of Appeals sic'ed Me

I'm the guy in my office who gets tasked with writing most of our petitions for appeal. It's not too much of a burden since these don't happen all that often because prosecutors can only appeal under very limited circumstances. Anyway, recently I petitioned in Commonwealth v. Smith and the Court of Appeals was kind enough to accept the appeal on three of the five issues I raised. I was satisfied that some of my semi-brilliant legal research and writing had paid off. Then, while I was basking in my semi-glory, I read one of the errors accepted:
The trial judge erred in ruling that snipe hunting was legal in Virginia on 12 June 2017 [sic] as long the defendant was wearing a flannel shirt.
They sic'ed me! What the heck?

For those of you who don't know what "sic" means, its official meaning is "intentionally so written used after a printed word or passage to indicate that it is intended exactly as printed or to indicate that it exactly reproduces an original." In reality it means "I'm writing this erroneous piece of error exactly the way the poor benighted idjut wrote it."

OK, let's discuss why I would write a date in a concise manner that nobody can possibly misunderstand. It's because it's a concise manner of writing a date that nobody can misunderstand.

There are all sorts of ways to write dates. 12/6/17 and 6/12/17 mean the same exact thing depending on which continent you grew up on. June 12th, 2017 is unwieldy. If I had my druthers, I'd write 12JUN17 like the Army taught us to because it was entirely unambiguous. However, I compromise some and write 12 June 2017 because otherwise I expect to get sic'ed by lots of people who will use more ambiguous and unwieldy formats out of habit and societal norms. Bah humbug! There's nothing to sic here.

Now I'm tempted to see what I can write as a date and slip into my next petition for appeal. I'm leaning toward "In the year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Seventeen, on the Twelfth day of the Sixth month - named in the vernacular after the pagan goddess, Juno." Or maybe I'll use dates ad urbe condita. Even better, because the judges could possibly, perhaps get a wee bit upset with me using the founding date of Rome, maybe I'll use לבריאת העולם or  التقويم الهجري . Lets see them ding me on one of those without triggering the PC Police.

Now all I have to do is go freshen up on my Hebrew and Arabic so I can remember how to write dates in them again.

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