“Rulezizrulez:” The Law of Rules v. The Rule of Law

Yesterday, the State of Alabama murdered a man to teach him – and presumably potential future murderers of people – that murdering people is wrong. The man’s name was Christopher Eugene Brooks.

Alone, this would not be something I’d normally consider worth blogging about, but for the fact that the way that the State of Alabama arrived at the decision to murder the murderer to teach him (and others) that murdering is wrong had already been deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. Which, incidentally, is why I’m calling this “murder,” and not “killing.”

So why didn’t the United States Supreme Court stop this murder, when Brooks’ lawyers pointed out to them that they had already deemed the nearly-identical scheme unconstitutional in Florida?

I’ll let Supreme Court Justice Breyer – the lone dissenter in the denial of a request to stay the murder – tell you. [Read more…]


Red Herrings & Cop Apologetics

It is in vogue right now – at least over at Fault Lines on the Mimesis Law website – to remind people that cops allegedly have dangerous jobs, because they often travel to the scene of situations that could be dangerous for them. Scott Greenfield, who writes half the blog posts on the Internet these days, has his article. The words are easy to read; figuring out what he’s saying, perhaps not so much.

And Scott’s article about heroes who run towards danger was itself a response to an earlier Fault Lines post by Ken Womble, which more directly apologized to cops for all the mean things he’s said about them, and for his failure to write about the criminals he’s known, and represented, and for which he forgot to thank the cop’s for apprehending. I guess.

Don’t expect any apologies to cops on this blog. Some cops at some times do some good things.

And Brazilian wasp venom allegedly can cure cancer, too. But when I had cancer, I went to a surgeon to have it removed, rather than asking a denizen of the hive for help.  [Read more…]


Insanity & “The Law”

Let me start with this: this post is not about the insanity defense, or about people accused of crimes who utilize some psychologically-oriented defense to escape punishment for their offenses.

I even added scare quotes to the title partly to communicate a hint that this post is about the relationship between insanity, and the laws as written, and applied, in modern…uh…I don’t even really know what to call us anymore.

I sometimes refer to the contemporary United States as “‘Murca,” and to contemporary citizens of what used to be the United States as “‘Murcans.” I do this out of contempt for those who have taken over this country, and turned it into one seething cesspool, devoid of any actual rule of law.

But I digress.  [Read more…]


To Be Known, or Not To Be Known: How Is The Question

Yesterday afternoon, I posted on Facebook that I was going to start blogging regularly again, linking in – tagging, I guess you call it – more attorneys than I even knew I had on my Friends list.

In some ways, I think, I’m an odd duck about “friends.” I like having friends, but I don’t much care about creating a microverse of them by pooling them all together on Facebook.

In fact, I’ll be frank about it: I actually reject most of the Friend requests I get. More than that, I’ve somewhat infamously, on a couple of occasions, unfriended, or de-friended, or whatever the right terminology is for removing people from your Friends list. And not just one, or two, people. I remove a bunch. I look at the list sometimes, and I think, “How the heck did all these people get to be on my Friends list?”

I once famously de-friended every single last person on my list. I probably would have de-friended me, if I knew how. (I suppose that would be an account de-activation. I’ve done that a few times, too.) When I say that I de-friended every last person on my list, I mean I de-friended Every. Last. Person. So that included my mom, siblings, uncles, aunts, and – I’m not joking – my wife.

She has since been added back.  [Read more…]


A Few Misconceptions Reconceptualated

This is day four of my return to blogging. I didn’t exactly make a New Year’s Resolution that I was going to start blogging again; it really is something of a coinkydink that I started blogging again on December 31 with the intent to return to doing it daily. ‘Round about July 1, my law practice underwent a significant change that would have theoretically allowed me a lot more time for writing, but then a number of factors prevented it. For one thing, the last couple, or three, months of 2015 were not good for me health-wise. In fact, in December I had what should have been a relatively simple surgery that pretty much completely waylaid me for the entire month. Other attorneys were gracious enough to cover for me, and I will fully reassume my own caseload beginning tomorrow.

Details are unimportant. Suffice it to say that I intend to come back ready to fight. And I only hope that I’m able to get things back on track quickly.

I mentioned the other day some reasons I’d not been blogging. One of those is, frankly, a difficulty in figuring out exactly what to write about each day. Given that to satisfy my own self about the writing, I get tired of re-hashing what others have already written about. Being an avid reader of a particular blog (okay, dammit, I’ll say it: Scott Greenfield’s Simple Justice! there! now leave me alone!), and with “that author” being on the east coast – thus three hours ahead of me – and not that he writes a lot, but…. Anyway, I often feel like there’s not much left for me to add to anything that seems important for the day. It’s not like Gideon is writing anything anymore, so there’s very little need for me to write any corrective posts. (You’re welcome, Gid.) I checked Popehat. I read Gamso‘s sad post. Tannebaum? He’s been MIA for longer than I can remember. Even his blog’s header image is in hiding. Unless you’re interested in some slightly fermented posts. Something about getting famous writing books. Mark Bennett (probably rightly) thinks I’m an asshole, so we don’t really interact anymore. He still writes good stuff: often short, focused, to the point. Like this. And though I also regularly read Fault Lines, I don’t often find things there I feel inspired to riff off of.

My fault.

This morning, though, after getting out of bed to take an emergency call from a potential client, and having read a few things (again) about problems caused by people not understanding why growing 300 marijuana plants is going to get them arrested on felony charges even if they have a medical marijuana “prescription” (another problem, as there is no such thing), and because of some comments to my post from yesterday, I thought I’d do a kind of mishmash post today.  [Read more…]


Why Probable Cause Often Isn’t

I could just say “Cops Lie,” and be done with it, but then you wouldn’t read it, would you?

Oh, fuck. I just lost most of you. Come back! I’ll give you reasons for saying this! Real probable cause to believe me! [Read more…]


Rule of Law versus Rule of Man

Anyone who followed this blog in the past would know that I used to blog regularly. And then I didn’t. Now comes a New Year (caps required), and the requisite Resolutions, which may, or may not, be kept in coming days – I started to say “weeks,” but I have no idea if I’ll make it that long, or not.

What happened?

Well, for starters, I got a little caught up in not just wanting to write things for myself all the time, and I seem to be unable to write in a way that interests others. Writing a decent blog post has always been difficult for me. Scott Greenfield, whose name must (by natural law) appear in almost every one of my blog posts, may be able to crank out 2-3 posts before breakfast. Mine are rung from me in ways never easy, and frequently painful. I’m just not as smart, or quick, or blessed, or whatever the difference is, as my friend.

But that’s only a small part of why I stopped writing. There are many other reasons, and all seem to my mind to coalesce around an overwhelming disappointment with what I’ve learned about our legal system – I don’t think I’ll ever call it a justice system again, even with scare quotes – since I started practicing law.  [Read more…]


Risk-free Murder & White Apathy

By now, it’s no news that a “grand jury” refused to indict the killers of Tamir Rice. This happened because the killers were murderous cops, and for no other reason. If anyone else other than a murderous cop had killed the child, they would feel the full weight of the criminal justice system. In fact, they likely would not even get a fair trial.

But these were murderous cops, and murderous cops today have carte blanche to ignore reason, law, or simply to behave as if they were human, and had children, or friends with children, themselves. At worst, they might have to hire an attorney, and wait a up to a year or so before everyone decides to move on to something else.

Those of us who know how grand juries actually work, and heard how this particular “grand jury” “worked,” were unsurprised at the outcome.  [Read more…]


The Great White Hopes

As the New York Times notes,

When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences.

But as that denizen of drug days said,

The times they are a changing.

What could be the cause of this? [Read more…]


Missing the Point with Gun Control

“[K]illing sprees are specifically targeted to generate the most fear and uncertainty from the public, because the more fear and uncertainty they generate, the more attention they get. They then use all of the attention as a platform to promote themselves or whatever complaints they may have against society. It’s the Columbine formula. It works. And as Eric Harris pointed out in his journal, it’s not about the guns. It’s about the television. The films. The fame. The revolution.”

If only liberals were smart enough to understand this, we could perhaps start working on some real solutions, instead of just shouting at one another.

“Take away his weapon! Take away the ability to have a gun!” As if there are no other weapons in the world. Put aside the fact the guns are never going to disappear, and people who do these things don’t care about gun control laws. If someone wants to kill someone, they will use whatever they can find to effectuate it. Even in nations with stricter gun control than the United States.

Take away the guns, and force someone to use a knife, like the guys in China who killed 50 people in a knife attack. Or the other attacks in China, and Japan, where guns were not able to be obtained, but where that didn’t stop mentally-ill people from mass attacks resulting in multiple deaths. (Such knife attacks happen in the United States, also.)

Better yet, let’s take one of these guys who aren’t stupid – which is more of them than any of us wants to admit – and stop him from getting a gun, with a trigger that must be pulled for each death meted out, and force him to poison a water supply, or cafeteria food, or…something else that works better than a bullet.

Or, we could start trying to figure out something that doesn’t focus our attention on changing the Constitution, and working to attack a problem that doesn’t exist, and isn’t the cause of the deaths we correctly abhor.

“[T]he wrong sarcastic word at the airport and you can be held in jail for days.” Because we don’t know how to tell the difference between someone who really has a problem, and someone who cracks a joke.

So let’s go after one of the weapons. Because you can’t kill a lot of people without a gun. Just ask these five Canadian students. Oh, you can’t: they’re dead. Stabbed to death in a mass stabbing by a single crazy guy.

But if we take away that one weapon, we will solve all the problems. Or if we find that one person who acts strangely that one time, we might avert World Annihilation.

Sorry, that’s not the problem.

And when you think it is, you’re missing the point.

Not everyone who says strange things will kill people. And those who will kill people won’t be stopped because you prevented someone who wouldn’t kill people from being able to get a gun.

But thinking is hard, so I completely understand why you do what you do, why you say what you say.

And it’s why I think you’re an idiot, on this issue, and I stand against you.