Originally, I had titled this post, “Ignorantia legis persona.

Yeah, I know. It’s all Greek to you.

But, actually, it’s Latin – and unless I screwed it up, it means “ignorance of the law person,” by which I mean “officer.”

Why Latin? Latin is the language of the Romans. Certain legal principles that form the foundation of our legal system come down to us from the times of the Romans. They’ve been tested by time, and understood for centuries to form the basis of a system of Law-with-a-capital-L.

Law-with-a-capital-L is important because, without it, we essentially have arbitrary rule by one or more oligarchs. Which, as I will explain, is the antithesis of freedom. [Read more…]

An Even Playing Field

Over at Danger & Play – which is almost, but not quite, the BDSM site you might expect it to be – Mike Cernovich told us last month that:

When Jian Ghomeshi, a world-famous social justice warrior and male feminist, was accused by several women of rape, I was thrilled.

The reason for Cernovich’s glee schadenfreude was simple.

If you put your lot in with social justice warriors and radical feminists, you deserve no sympathy. After all, Ghomeshi is getting the LISTEN-AND-BELIEVE legal system he himself lobbied for.

[Read more…]

One Big Cauldron of Legal Fiction

Darryl Hunt killed himself the other day.

[Read more…]

Refusal of Recusal: More on Orange County

Yesterday, I wrote an article about Orange County which was unsatisfying to at least one reader. The problem, of course, was with my writing; not with the reader. I wrote the post over the course of the day the hearing was being held, going off snatches of information that I was able to pry out of some witnesses. Most of the information that I got yesterday came in a very short phone call with a friend of mine, Eric H. Schweitzer, who serves as the co-chair for the legislative panel for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and who had driven down from Fresno to witness the hearing. Eric has a particular interest in recusal issues, and is a wealth of information regarding them, but my short conversation with him did little to tell me what actually occurred.

To complicate matters, I knew nothing about the hearing before someone started “live blogging” what he was seeing there; that is, posting occasional updates, really, to a group of other CDLs to which I belong. I started trying to obtain more information, but it wasn’t until late afternoon that I started to get documents. In fact, I don’t think I even knew that the case involved a defendant named “Arroyo” until I received the briefs.

By then, I’d been having too much fun running off with an idea one of the commenters to the “live blogging” had made about a merkin, for which I’d even made up a special hat. The post, for me, had evolved – devolved? – more into a piece about the pervasive corruption within the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and its impact on all accused persons in Orange County than about Arroyo’s case. And I’d begun to write more for entertainment than for informing.

But, I’ve been reading the briefs, and other information that I received last night, and decided that a post about the actual recusal motion, or the hearing, was in order. Although I still know less about the hearing itself, I think I have a pretty good handle on the motion, and what it was about. Much of the material involved declarations about the Alley-Crawford possibly one-sided slugfest, and since this post is about the motions, I won’t really get into that material.

I wanted to keep this short. As I was about two-thirds of the way through writing it, though, I realized it won’t be any shorter than my normal fare. So, okay…

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A Big Hairy Mess

Before I get into this, let me say: I am not a reporter. I don’t have reporter skills; I don’t have journalism training; I just think this is an important story, which should be getting more attention than it appears to be getting.

At least, outside of Orange County. And since I’m not in Orange County, I don’t exactly know what kind of attention it’s getting there, other than what I will mention in this post.

Today, in some Orange County Courtroom, Judge Patrick Donahue heard a motion to either dismiss a certain criminal case – the exact case doesn’t matter here – or to recuse the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office based upon witness intimidation. The motion was filed in the case wherein defense attorney James Crawford was advising a witness when he was savagely beaten by the prosecution’s investigator. [Read more…]

Technical Difficulties: Please Do Not Stand By…The Constitution

My plans to return to Donald Trump, and his impact on the criminal legal system – I no longer really think it’s proper to refer to it as a “justice” system; it’s not even really a system of law – have been somewhat modified by the announcement today that President Barack Obama has put forth Merrick Garland as his pick to replace “Justice” Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

I say “somewhat modified” because, although the news means my post will not re-focus on Trump, there is a connectedness between what I was going to say, and what has happened.

You see, back in the day, a candidate by the name of Barack Obama ran on a platform of “Hope,” and “Change.”

Turns out, those were just technicalities. [Read more…]

Godwin’s Shortcut

I was going to write a post about defending cops. Many attorneys – maybe all of us – are confronted, from time to time, with the question of whether a certain type of case is the type of case we simply could not do. To some, at least, not everyone deserves to be defended – at least by them. The most common example I hear is of attorneys who would refuse to defend a person accused of child molestation. I myself have occasionally grappled with the question of whether or not I could defend someone accused of torturing animals, especially dogs.

It probably should not be a surprise to me that there are attorneys who have problems with the idea of a defense attorney taking the case for Dillon Alley, about whom I wrote two posts ago, and briefly alluded to in my post a couple days ago.

In a private group of criminal defense attorneys to which I belong, there has been mention of whether the defense attorney who represents Dillon Alley should be scorned by fellow defense attorneys. There’s been talk about the fact that he’ll need to discredit Alley’s alleged victim, James Crawford. (If you don’t know about this, you really should go read my article about it.)

I’m glad to say that most, though not all, comments are in agreement that Alley deserves the best representation he can get, and that the defense attorney handling the case should not be thought ill of for honoring his profession.

There is more that could be said about this than what I’ve said here. But I’ve decided that I really want to write about “The Trump Problem.” And, although there will probably be some politics in this post, that’s really not exactly news, as there is politics in almost anything one might say about criminal defense issues. Which brings me to say this: I think I want to talk about this from the point of view of criminal defense issues.

Of course, I’ll just have to keep writing to see where this goes. It’s not like I have a plan. If I did, you’d be reading a post about defending cops today.

[Read more…]

The Big Buttinski

Waaaay back in January 2015, there was a story about which I thought I’d written. But it turns out, I’d only started to write it, and never finished it. [Read more…]

When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Beat It Out of You

There’s a story that came to my attention first thing this morning, when I began my day, as I always do, by reading articles that show up in my various social media feeds.

I’ve spent the better part of the day trying to get more information – as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story” – because what I’ve read is almost unbelievable. [Read more…]

“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…]