Seaton: But His Emails (Rabbit Year Edition)

Prefatory Note: For those of you who might be new around here, I’ve got a hacker contact that sends me regular batches of emails Sheriff Roy composes on his office computer.

The Sheriff’s got lousy cybersecurity. Anyway, enjoy a look at what’s been on his mind this year!—CLS

January 1, 2023
FROM: Templeton, Roy ([email protected])
SUBJECT: New Year’s Vision Board Issue Continue reading

The Word Resist

Does it fall under the “woke” heading? Who knows, but the correlation seems clear. The nonsensical reimagination of language to eliminate “hurtful” words and phrases and replace them with more sensitive words remains very much alive. In the desperation to find ever more signifiers of empathy, no matter how ridiculous it may be to believe that it makes any  substantive difference other than to signal one’s virtue to the world that one is attuned to the language of the woke, lists continue to be pushed upon others as to what they should no longer say. Continue reading

Fear of Outing At Yale

Sure, mommy and daddy are thrilled to tell the neighbors that their baby goes to Yale Law School, but will they still be so thrilled with their lil darling when they see that angelic face in a shot of outlaws @ Yale? After learning that Yale Federalist Society held an event with Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom (“ADF”) which, this time, went forward without incident, David Lat wondered whether this meant YLS had emerged more open and tolerant of diverse views or something else.

One of [Lat’s] sources, a current Yale Law School student who was involved in last year’s protest, shed light on this topic, in a detailed and thoughtful email (reprinted with their permission, with links added by me for clarity):

Continue reading

Harder Still To Find A Surety

A perpetual problem for federal defendants that rarely makes the radar otherwise is that they’re unable to get any financially responsible person to sign off on their personal recognizance bond for release from custody. In most cases, the concern of potential sureties is that by signing a PRB for a defendant charged with a serious crime, which is most federal defendants, the surety will put a target on his back for federal agents, who will then conduct a financial, if not personal, colonoscopy to see what they can find with which to charge the surety. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: How Much Hardship Is Due?

One of the perpetual conundrums of law is when rights conflict, one has to give. Oftentimes, the relative rules are crafted by looking at a standalone right, extolling its virtues and then protecting it from encroachment. It’s a fine system, until the right being protected runs head first into someone else’s right. At that point, it’s usually left to the Supreme Court to do the dirty work of coming up with a test to determine which right prevails. For the most part, this has followed the rising or falling popularity of a right.

Since the 1960s with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in general, and Title VII prohibiting employment discrimination in particular, religion has generally become a second-class right despite its free exercise being protected under the First Amendment. It wasn’t so much antagonism against religion as the rising concerns for other areas of discrimination that were considered far more at risk and in need of remedy. Continue reading

Criminalizing The Impossible

In the scheme of impossible demands, the sex offender registry concept has more than its share. Much as there may be empathy for certain crimes and criminals, sex offenders remain pariahs as an incident to rape culture and believing women. While there’s empathy for murders, there’s nothing but hatred and damnation for anyone who’s saddled with the “sex offender” characterization, whether deserved or not. So in 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland decided to add another impossibility to the mix, because who doesn’t hate sex offenders?

The lead plaintiff, identified as John Doe in court documents, enlisted in the Marines at 17. Six years later, according to the original complaint, he had “a consensual but inappropriate encounter” with a 16-year-old girl that “did not involve sexual intercourse.” Because the teenager was two years younger than California’s age of consent, that encounter resulted in criminal charges. Doe pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of sexual battery, which required him to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to three years of probation. Continue reading

Credential Creep

Before my son graduated from college, we talked about his job search. I, font of wisdom that I am, told him about what it was like when I was young. He, more attuned to the current world, told me that those days died with the horse an buggy. No longer did people knock on doors, send letters directly to the head of Human Resources or the CEO, and lay out why they wanted, and were qualified for, a job in their enterprise. Those days were gone, indeed.

He showed me the online job sites and the problem he was looking at. He came onto the job market with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT. Not too shabby, right? Wrong. Job after entry level job, they wanted candidates with master’s degrees to do work that barely required a degree at all. Continue reading

The Hundreds Who Will Follow Tyre Nichols

As there always are, there will be apologists who will try to explain away a murder. They didn’t mean to kill him, but only beat him to a pulp to show him who’s boss? He should have complied harder and then they wouldn’t have killed him? Don’t lie to yourself.

Tyre Nichols ran because his options were try to survive or die. When that’s the only option given a person, he has every right to try to survive. No one is going to willingly sacrifice his life to you whatever sick compulsion you have to use your force for whatever twisted needs of power you suffer. Continue reading

Seaton: The Slapfight

A crowd gathered at Garage 16 on a cold January night in Mud Lick.

The air was thick with the smell of booze and cigarettes, a change from the normal odors of oil and machinery. The crowd surrounded the shop floor and all but four men stayed out of a ring drawn around the floor.

Inside the white circle was a barrel. Atop the barrel sat a small flip chart capable of displaying the numbers 00-99. “Warming up” in their own unique ways in the circle were Stan and George Cocke, the Cocke Boys. Continue reading

The Fool’s Guide To Person-First

Years ago, I came to the realization that calling my client “the defendant” rather than by his name fed into his dehumanization. He wasn’t a person, but a defendant. Similarly, I never called the prosecution “the People,” as was stylized in the caption in New York state courts. They were “the government,” or perhaps “the district attorney” or “the prosecution,” because the jury was “the people.” I have no clue whether it actually changed anything, but I believed it to be the right thing to do, so I did it.

Since then, it’s spiraled out to others, to everyone, under the name “person-first” language. Except it wasn’t what I sought to do, replace a characterization with a name, but replace a description with a longer description that started with the word “person” and ended with whatever the point of the phraseology would be. Someone wasn’t homeless, but a person experiencing homelessness, and thereafter houselessness which became the new homelessness as if people were confused by the former. Continue reading