A few months after the “double standards” occurrence, I was again at the same club and speaking with two ladies. Something in the conversation prompted a third to disclose that she was municipal police (and although the club was not in that city, municipal police in this state have extended jurisdiction for the entire county in which the city partially lies, which did include the county of this particular club). No fan of cops (and definitely not white cops), I excused myself from the conversation and went on my way. Over the course of the eveningContinue Reading
I just finished watching The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix and I am conflicted more than ever by the death penalty. How does homocide remedy homicide? To what degree is the death penalty entrenched in antiquated Judeo-Christian religiosity? And what do the evolved states of those religions say about the preciousness of life? Does the Talmud not teach that to save one life is to save the whole world? Did Christ not teach that even the most wretched life is still worth sparing? And to what degree is pronouncing the death penalty our attempt to vangloriously exalt ourselves to equality with God to decide who should live and who should die? I think that as a society the death penalty must exist as the ultimate repudiation and condemnation of intolerable crime. But as a civilization, should we not then immediately commute that death sentence to exile (which is to say, prison)? We euthanize animals in the name of compassion, but we refuse that same compassion to those agonizing in the throes of slow natural death. Yet we force death upon those we condemn in the name of justice for the victims. Is that just a reverse–and a perverse–euthanasia? Using death in the name of compassion, not for the one dying, but for the one already dead? More death does not reverse the finality of the a priori death. And no, I haven’t been the victim of anyone like Ted Bundy, but I can say that the natural death of the alcoholic who terrorized my childhood brought me neither pleasure nor displeasure. His death closed the cover of an open book, but it did not erase the contents of the chapters.
El Congreso no legislará respecto al establecimiento de una religión o a la prohibición del libre ejercicio de la misma; ni impondrá obstáculos a la libertad de expresión o de la prensa; ni coartará el derecho del pueblo para reunirse pacíficamente y para pedir al gobierno la reparación de agravios.
America has (de)evolved to a point where ignorance of law is no excuse and knowledge of law is no defense! Vox
For a couple of years now I have come to believe that the death penalty should not be enforced. By this, I am not saying that the death penalty should not exist or that the death penalty should be abolished. On the contrary, there are acts that are so heinous that justice demands a sentence of death! However, once pronounced, humanity must step in and commute death to life imprisonment…unless the offender consents.Continue Reading
It occurs to me today that Americans do have a Constitutional right to be “weird” by virtue of the First Amendment’s freedom of expression.Continue Reading
Though it offers nothing not already contained in the research and publications of Univ. of Utah law professor Terry Kogan, Time magazine’s Why Do We Have Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms? is still a good, medium-length read.
I’m going to predict that Amber Guyger will be (or should be) convicted of the lesser manslaughter. It is so bizarre. No explanation makes sense. I can believe that she was so tired as to go to the wrong apartment. I could also believe that she was doing blow or meth to stay awake and work those extended hours (which, btw, in and of itself is full of shit; plenty of departments work standard 12-hour shifts). Whether she was exhausted or not, the first response of any person is not to shoot. If I were in my home and someone walked in, yeah, it would be lights out. But if I walked into my home and immediately saw an intruder, I’d duck out as fast as I could and re-assess the situation from cover. If I came home and found my door ajar, I’m not sure what I would do. And maybe that’s what happened for her, but her always-right, never-wrong, bad-ass cop programming took over and she acted as if she had just responded to a burglary in process. But even then, she would have been justified in shooting if she saw a weapon or something that appeared to be a weapon. I am unaware of any such testimony. Whether she was mistaken or not, she was negligent. Her negligence caused the death of a person. That is manslaughter.
Though already strongly suggested by Cohen v. California and Houston v. Hill, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has now specifically recognized that a Michigan woman who flipped off a cop after receiving a traffic ticket was exercising her protected free speech pursuant to the First and Fourteenth Amendments.Continue Reading
I once experienced a freak Saharan heatwave with highs over 40° C while studying in Madrid. It was a dry heat, though, and very different from one recent 103° F July afternoon in south Georgia. I bounced to a thrift store in search of some well-worn (breathable) medical scrubs and that’s when I saw it: the plain, charred olive A-line mini. It struck me as the ultimate heatbuster and looked so sensible and professional that it triggered a brief flashback to my days in the corporate offices of a large regional bank and I wondered, as progressive as the bank was, if I would have been permitted to elect its female dress code. On second thought, I have no desire to cross-dress, but shouldn’t gender equality give men the option to wear skirts just as it gave women the option to wear pants many decades ago? As counterintuitive as it might be, I suspect the bank would have been much more cerebral than most universities in contemplating such questions. This being a summer break, I decided to test the waters and having donned various skirts for three weeks now, I reflect upon deeply disconcerting truths.Continue Reading
This is not something I would ordinarily post, but it’s just so useful that if it saves one citizen’s skin, then the deviation will have been worth it. This attorney is not the most engaging person, but the explanation he gives is spot on.
I am convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McQuiggin v. Perkins, 569 U.S. ___ (2013), was really about re-aligning the checks-and-balances and restoring federal courts’ authority to take corrective measures. While the decision was technically adverse to the underlying habeas corpus petition, it was overwhelmingly (and controversially) restorative to habeas corpus practice, and I think the Supreme Court chose to hear the case simply to renew its prior holdings in House v. Bell, 513 U.S. 298 (2006), and Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995), rather than to address the actual issue of Perkins’ liberty.
Writs of habeas corpus are traceable at least as far back as the Magna Carta of 1215. Basically, it’s a desperate cry to a higher authority to investigate a person’s unjust confinement. Most landmark precedents emerge from federal habeas corpus proceedings—Gideon v. Wainwright and Mirando v. Arizona are two such über-cases that every American student hears in high school. I’ve been digging around and want to take a moment to disseminate information on one particular aspect that exists in United States federal courts called Actual Innocence.Continue Reading
There is no first amendment right not to be offended by another’s first amendment right to offend. (But the sissy millennials will always whine anyway.)
I found myself reflecting on the 2002 Hillsong lryic: I will bless the Lord forever, and I will trust Him at all times. He has delivered me from all fear… I will not be moved, and I’ll say of the Lord… You are my shield, my strength, my portion, deliverer, my shelter, strong tower, my very present help in time of need…
While largely a paraphrase of the 34th Psalm, it really boils it down to a kernel.Continue Reading
Marsh v. Alabama is a remarkable decision in which a Jehova’s witness attempted to distribute literature in a township operated by a private company. She was arrested and charged with trespass. The Supreme Court reasoned that even though the township existed within the property rights of a private company, “[o]wnership does not always mean absolute dominion. The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.” The U.S. Supreme Court reversed Alabama on First Amendment grounds and vacated Marsh’s state conviction. Supreme Court opinions from the era are notably concise and this one is definitely worth the read. Marsh v. Alabama
Haven’t read or listened fully, but it holds out some measure of wisdom (albeit vain). https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/05/police-discretion-enforcing-mala-prohibita-crime-law.html
Georgia Senator Joshua McKoon has proposed a state constitutional amendment to require that all government business be conducted in English and it makes no good sense. As a citizen with one foot still in Georgia (and the other foot looking for better soil to trod), this moronic initiative bothered me when I first heard of it, but it has really stuck in my craw and I must now speak out.Continue Reading
On my first day of law school, my professor says two things. First was: “From this day forward, when your mother tells you she loves you – get a second opinion. If you want justice, go to a whorehouse; if you want to get fucked, go to court.” Richard Gere as Martin Vail, Primal Fear
In February 1999, four plain-clothes New York City cops shot and killed 23 year-old African immigrant Amadou Diallo more than 40 times in the doorway of his own home. Diallo was unarmed. The cops were acquitted of second degree murder.Continue Reading
It would seem that there are three types of people: cowards who run from risk, fools who ignore risk, and agents who accept risk. Vox
As do countless citizens and corporations, I fundamentally disagreed with North Carolina’s 2016 legislation now known commonly as HB2. It was as much hateful as it was an egregious violation of federal law. I have pointed out in other posts that treating all females as frail victims incapable of defending themselves or speaking for themselves is supremely misogynistic just as it is supremely misandrist to presume all males to be menacing predators. In fact, I argue that the same mental processes which make a particular person (man or woman) a predator are the very same mental processes that make a comparable person a hero. You see, while a predator perceives a given set of circumstances as a potential victim to be exploited, a hero perceives those exact same circumstances as a potential victim in need of defense. And in this the old cartoons got it right! The hero and the villain wear identical hats and the color merely reflected the content of their character. Apart from these extremes, though, most males just go about their own business and their presence is neither good nor evil.Continue Reading
During the Vietnam conflict/war, Paul Robert Cohen wore a (leather?) jacket bearing the words “Fuck the Draft” into the Los Angeles Municipal Court building. Upon entering an actual courtroom, however, he removed and folded his jacket over his arm. He again donned the jacket upon leaving the courtroom and a city officer thereupon arrested and charged him with violating California Penal Code § 415 which prohibited “maliciously and willfully disturb[ing] the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person . . . by . . . offensive conduct. . . .” Continue Reading
It occurs to me just now, and I will develop this more in the future posts, but sports officials are better observers in their professions than police are in their professions. Just by way of comparison, what percentage of video replays show a referee or umpire was incorrect in his (now her as well) initial assessment of split-second events? What percentage of body and dash cameras show police were dead wrong on events that crescendo over a period of minutes? Yes, there are
George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin BOTH used bad judgment, but why is it that only Zimmerman’s judgment is scrutinized? The “girlfriend” testified that Martin was the one who initiated verbal contact. Recently someone tried to tell me that Martin was within his First Amendment rights to say whatever he wanted to. But by that same logic, Zimmerman was within his First Amendment rights to assemble where he wished. But it was Martin who created the confrontation between them. And Martin could have chosen to explain that he was visiting a resident and that would have diffused the situation. Let’s not forget about Trayvon Martin’s poor judgment.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. Henry David Thoreau
Two days ago a man asked me why I was carrying so many papers with me. My response was not as articulate as I would have liked it to have been, so this is what I wish I had said: We are a nation built on words and the ideas which those words express, a nation that considers words the ultimate weapon. Of all the constitutional amendments, the very first one sets out to protect speech above all else. It is no accident that it is the first of all amendments nor that it is immediately followed by the protection of arms and a militia. We must speak first and fight second.
ME: I abstain from expressing opinions on abortion, but I live in [state] and [state] has no respect for the rule of law. That leaves it to orgs like ACLU to keep the asshats in check.Continue Reading
There is a very interesting quote in Adams v. US ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S. 269 (1942) that “What were contrived as protections for the accused should not be turned into fetters. [. . .] To deny an accused a choice of procedure in circumstances in which he, though a layman, is as capable as any lawyer of making an intelligent choice, is to impair the worth of great Constitutional safeguards by treating them as empty verbalisms.” (Id., at 280). The odd thing is that Adams is like a snake eating its tail. It’s not very useful in and of itself, but the phrasing is righteously potent.
I stumbled upon a politician’s Facebook meme yesterday that employed at least a hundred words to restate a very succinct bumper sticker of the 1980 : “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” This truth—that laws only regulate the law-abiding—is not true only of guns.Continue Reading
I just stumbled upon a 1970s or 1980s Billy Graham crusade. He said: “here in this stadium when you have a football game, if you’re really for Texas Tech you’re really gonna shout loud when they make a touchdown and the man who loves his neighbor the most will fight all that hurts and deprives and oppresses his neighbor. Paul said, ‘who is offended and I burn not?'”Continue Reading
To be clear, this post is not about abortion but rather a sociocultural contradiction and hypocrisy revealed by the political lens of abortion. A few weeks ago I was struck by the irony that those who advocate “pro-choice” regarding women’s bodies fail to extend that philosophy to men’s bodies.Continue Reading
In view of the recent Paris attack, I say that we are within 100 years of a world religion and world government.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.Thomas Paine (1795)
It is ridiculous and incredible that as a popularly-styled “Christian Nation” American society requires laws compelling compassion and fairness (by way of example, Colorado’s and Washington State’s laws on public accommodations). While the government should not dictate the conscientious objections of private enterprise, neither should private enterprise be allowed to hatefully mistreat a class of people. Continue Reading
Scottish police officers simulated a riot at the Jackton training center in Glasgow, Scotland, where police leaders from throughout the United States gathered to discuss department tactics.
Net neutrality is a good thing, but its demise won’t be the apocalyptic threshold that many “Chicken Littles” prognosticate. There are just too many money-grubbing attorneys chomping at the bit for a juicy class-action suit. Then too, there is also the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Protections Bureau on deck to intervene if the existing laws and court rulings are violated.
Around 100 years ago, the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 legislatively declared telecommunication networks to be common carriers subject to Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce. In 1974, MCI sued AT&T in federal court for violating Mann-Elkins after Illinois Bell (at the time a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T) severed all of MCI’s network interconnections. MCI won a $1.8 billion judgement (which was upheld, though reduced, in 1983 by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals). But ever since the 1970s, telecommunication providers cannot (lawfully) deny network access to a party that is willing and able to pay for the service nor can telecommunication providers charge dissimilar access rates to competitors. In fact, MCI’s initial 1974 victory over AT&T was the very thing that led to the federal government’s antitrust action that resulted in AT&T’s unprecedented breakup.Continue Reading
Back in May 2016 in the wake of citizen killings by cops and the black lives matter movement, I had the idea to think up a new Constitutional amendment:
No executive agent of a State or of the United States acting under color of domestic law shall purposefully, capriciously, wantonly, negligently, or indifferently perpetrate or permit an abrogation of due process or substantial miscarriage of justice upon any person during a time and place of peace, natural calm, and civil order, and any executive agent who conscientiously refuses an order which would violate such protection shall be equally protected.
My idea was to reflect and protect civil rights. It could potentially open the door for 28 USC 2254 habeas relief on a freestanding actual innocence claim. And while conceived as miscarriage of criminal law, it remains open to allow federal courts to decide what other substantial miscarriages might exist such as employment, welfare, healthcare, or voting rights. It opens the door for international application as well on matters like extraordinary rendition.
2 Timothy 1:7 declares that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”Continue Reading
Americans might be more willing to accept goon/anno restrictions if it were applied equally to the militarization-thirsty (and qualifiedly-immune) police. The second amendment is substantively a repudiation and protection from the one law for me, another law for thee conduct of state actors. Let them lead by example by demilitarizing themselves before they ask citizens to demilitarize. Then there would truly be no need for such gear.
[T]ruth is best discovered by powerful statements on both sides of the question. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)N.B. Though often attributed to Lord John Scott Eldon (1751-1838), Eldon was, in fact, quoting Bacon.
“A difference long curious to Americans stands out: Most British police officers are unarmed, a distinction particularly pronounced here in Scotland, where 98 percent of the country’s officers do not carry guns. For them, calming a situation through talk, rather than escalating it with weapons, is an essential policing tool, and one that brought a delegation of top American police officials to this town 30 miles northeast of Glasgow.”
Sobering confirmation of decade-old TV plotlines. NPR’s Terry Gross interviews Craig Timberg of the Washington Post
Back in the 1970s, Louisiana had a statute making it “unlawful and a breach of the peace for any person wantonly to curse or revile or to use obscene or opprobrious language toward or with reference to any member of the city police while in the actual performance of his duty.” After much procedural harangue that included affirmation by the Louisiana Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court held that such statute “is not susceptible of application to speech, although vulgar or offensive, that is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 18-22 (1971); Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4-5 (1949); Gooding v. Wilson, supra, at 520. Since [the law], as construed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, is susceptible of application to protected speech, the section is constitutionally overbroad and therefore is facially invalid.” Read the full opinion on Google Scholar.
This First Amendment Encyclopedia is a cornucopia of actual truth.
Houston v. Hill is a remarkable U.S. Supreme Court case that tackles abuses of power by police departments. The Supreme Court decided 7-2 that a Houston, Texas ordinance that was routinely used to arrest citizens for merely “arguing, talking, interfering, failing to remain quiet, refusing to remain silent, verbal abuse, cursing, verbally yelling, and talking loudly” toward a police officer.
Not only did the Supreme Court rule this type of conduct to be protected First Amendment speech, but the Supreme Court also expressed that the right to question police conduct is a fundamental distinction between democracy and dictatorship.Continue Reading
For the record, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is “Why aren’t you, Bob?” Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago.Continue Reading
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke [disputed]
The old cartoons with the heroes in white hats and villains in black hats were pretty much right on the money. Heroes and villains can dress alike, look alike, and even act alike and if not careful, the hero can be lumped in together with the villain. Continue Reading
“There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U. S. 12, 19 (1956) (plurality opinion).
In my gut, I don’t want to see Brett Kavanaugh confirmed—and not just because Donald Trump wants him on the Supreme Court—that was just the first strike. Listening to the compelling testimony against him was the final nail in the coffin. But my gut was not without its heartburn for feeling that way. I disliked myself for judging a matured man for the offenses of his youth. Even so, his declaration (“I am innocent of this charge”) sounded too much like the famous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” line. Continue Reading
The outside temperature reached 103° F one recent July afternoon in south Georgia. I once experienced even hotter temperatures in Spain a decade ago, but the gulf humidity here is a beast of a different kind. I bounced to a thrift store in search of extensively used (i.e. breathable) medical scrubs. Little did I know that this simple mission would ignite a profound inquiry into gender equality.Continue Reading