Archives for 2011

Massachusetts Resurrects Star Chamber

Let me apologize in advance for not doing some fancy-schmancy end-of-the-year post. It’s not that I’m not grateful to see 2011 starting to move into the rearview mirror. It’s more that I’m not wanting to waste another minute on it. If anything, 2011 seems to me to be the year the world’s police officer, the United States, finally turned itself — like too many other police officers these days — full-face towards corruption and fascism.

The fact that they aren’t crushing everyone (after all, I’m writing this, right?) yet, doesn’t really mean much. As Scott Greenfield put it in a slightly different context, “The laws are already in place, and continuing to be developed….”

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Hold Out, Cossack & Other Adages

This post may sound self-congratulatory.

I don’t give a sh*t. It’s not meant to be that way. But after you read the post, maybe you’ll understand why I’m grateful my year can end on such a note.

This post is about how it feels sometimes to be a criminal defense attorney and about the occasional need to stop and remember that, no matter what, I have to keep going.

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The End of the Rule of Law

I’m not sure what’s more disturbing about this story: the vague report  making it unclear for which crime the man was convicted, the argument of the prosecution and determination of the judge that he should register as a sex offender, or the reaction of the idiots leaving comments — particularly comments attacking the defense attorney.

Frankly, I think it’s actually the combination of the three; they are all symptoms of the breakdown of the rule of law, our grossly dysfunctional society, and demonstrative of the fact that there are many more criminals amongst us than anyone cares to admit. Many of them are sitting judges, practicing prosecutors, or are busy leaving inane or ignorant comments on news websites.

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Freedom of Speech & Blogging

I had intended to write today about something Scott Greenfield posted on his blog regarding questionable “studies” over the number of children being arrested in the United States. Is it increasing? Or decreasing?

At any rate, something more important came up.

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Fresno Never Overreacts

One of the more significant and interesting traditions in Fresno that has survived from days of old involves driving or strolling down Christmas Tree Lane. For the past 89 — yes, eighty-nine — years, folks living in the section of town known as “Old Fig Garden” have decorated their homes with elaborate lighting and Christmas scenes for the enjoyment of all.

A Tuesday night stabbing on Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane, which took place near dozens of strolling families, is prompting event organizers to re-evaluate the long holiday tradition.

But, hey, it’s only an 89-year-old tradition and someone just got stabbed!

I have a better solution. Keep Christmas Tree Lane open. We’ll set up metal detectors at each end — leaving the side streets unguarded, of course — make everyone take off their shoes before entering, and grab their genitals. Especially those of children and old ladies in wheelchairs.

That way, everyone will feel safer and we can keep Christmas Tree Lane.


Arbitrariness

If there’s one thing that drives me battier than others, it’s the arbitrariness of the so-called criminal “justice” system. I personally think arbitrariness underscores all that is wrong with the current system.

I mean, sure the Fourth Amendment doesn’t really mean anything anymore. Except when it does.

Ditto for the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth (though less so, since this is a largely forgotten amendment, along with the Ninth and Tenth) Amendments and the due process clause — both that contained in the body of the Constitution and in the Fourteenth Amendment. They mean nothing.

Unless they do.

“The law” in the United States of America is as much a joke as in any third-world or fourth-rate nation on this planet.

But it’s not just the arbitrary application — or non-application, depending on the situation — of these constitutional principles that makes our system of “justice” anything but a system of justice. It’s how all the laws of our lands are applied.

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Wars on Desires

It is no secret to anyone who has regularly read my blog that I appear to have a love-hate relationship with blogging. Truth is, though, it’s not blogging with which I have a love-hate relationship. It is futility. Trying to convince people who are either too ignorant or apathetic to be amenable to being convinced. Fighting the unwinnable war.

There is an irony here. The unwinnable war I fight is largely brought about by reactions against other unwinnable wars.

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Food Bank Needs Donations

Last year, we volunteered at the Food Bank with a group of attorneys and related persons, as part of the Fresno County Young Lawyers Association. It was a fun and rewarding experience.

We were looking forward to volunteering again this year, but…

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Smoke Bomb

This morning’s newspaper brought the welcome news that the Fresno County Board of Supervisors was going to consider transforming their illegal local ordinance into a probably-legal local ordinance.

This would have been a move welcomed not only by local patients who grow their own medicine, but also by concerned citizens who think that in times when government budgets are limited, money should not be spent on unnecessary lawsuits. [Read more…]


Up In Smoke

In 1996, Californians passed the Compassionate Use Act in order to ensure that seriously-ill Californians who found a benefit to a natural medicine could, in fact, obtain the medicine.

Unfortunately, the medicine was one which numerous persons — sick in other, much more serious ways — deemed so dangerous that no one could make their own decisions regarding whether or not it should be taken. The government was called upon to outlaw the freedom to decide what to put into one’s own body.

U.S. citizens had already lived through a period in history where one group of people decided that putting another drug — alcohol — into one’s body should not be a choice anyone could freely make. But the much more dangerous drug had required a constitutional amendment in order to ban it — which, incidentally, didn’t work, either — and it had been a lot of work to get that amendment passed.

So the United States government, following the lead of numerous local governments before it, simply decided to ignore the United States Constitution and abrogated the rights of U.S. citizens to decide what to do with their own bodies.

Today, the Los Angeles Times reports that these enemies of the United States Constitution are making a resurgence against those who would recognize the rights of the ill to treat their illnesses as they saw fit.

Whereas the voters of the State of California had enacted legislation enabling access to medical marijuana, the courts, siding with law enforcement, have said that individual local governments may ignore that vote and may ban access.


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