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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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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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.

When the Middle is Gone

There once was a country known as the United States of America. It was built upon a solid foundation of freedom delineated by a set of rules collectively known as “The Constitution of the United States of America.” It was called this because to “constitute” something is to form it, or make it up — in essence, to create it. Thus, the Constitution of the United States created the United States. Without that document, which describes exactly what the United States is and how it works, there would be no United States of America.

And that’s why, today, there is no United States of America.

In its place is a government stolen from the People. Without legal justification, a growing number of politicians have stolen our nation from us. They have put in its place something which our Founders would have easily recognized as a tyrannical form of government.

And it’s time we got rid of it.

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Pot Smoke & Mirrors

Today’s Fresno Bee will carry a story — I’ve only seen the online version so far, which promises “more” for today in the paper edition — concerning a resurgent commitment from the federal government to crack down on medical marijuana.

It’s important to understand that the government response to medical marijuana is un-American, relatively new, and based on bad science — not to mention bad government.

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