Kaiman and Kobe

The name “Sonmez” really didn’t mean much to me, so when the shitstorm over Felicia Sonmez’s compulsion to twit about an unproved rape allegation upon learning of Kobe Bryant’s death, I didn’t connect the dots. Now I know, and it makes a difference. This is the same person who “canceled,” as the popular word goes, or destroyed the life of, as I prefer to describe it, Jon Kaiman.

Kaiman’s name may not be much more of a household name than Sonmez’s, and that may well be why someone like Sonmez could so easily ruin his life. As Emily Yoffe put it:

Journalist Jonathan Kaiman is one of the least famous, least powerful men to be brought down by the #MeToo movement.

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The Weird Status of Weed

Is marijuana legal? Decriminalized? Still a schedule 1 drug while shops selling edibles open their doors and farms run by Big Agra grow tons of it? In Austin, Texas, the city council decided to make some changes.

The day after the Austin City Council approved a resolution to stop arresting or ticketing people for most low-level marijuana possession offenses, the police chief made clear he had no plans to do so.

“[Marijuana] is still illegal, and we will still enforce marijuana law if we come across people smoking in the community,” Chief Brian Manley said during a news conference Friday afternoon.

How could this be? Things are changing, but not necessarily in a consistent or coherent way. Continue reading

Kopf: A Bomb Is Dropped Hitting 2 Deserving Targets But Missing A Third

Last week, after more than 48 years, I resigned my membership in the American Bar Association, after very carefully reading the exposure draft of Advisory Opinion No. 117 of the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States. I encourage you to read it carefully.

Essentially, the Codes of Conduct Committee suggests that judges should no longer remain members of the American Constitution Society or the Federalist Society. However, the proposed opinion suggests that judges may continue to be members of the American Bar Association. I strongly agree with the opinion insofar as the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society are concerned. With regret and respect, I strongly disagree with the exception for the American Bar Association. Continue reading

What Would Hitch Do?

With some regularity, someone will say that something I wrote is great, but with the preface, “I don’t agree with everything he says.” It’s curious that anyone would say this. Agreeing or liking one thing doesn’t logically implicate agreeing or liking everything. But logic plays no role when disapproval is grounded in the expression of any wrongful thought.

My best understanding is that this Gertruding isn’t a signal to me, but a signal to others: it’s assumed by those looking for a fight that approval of one implies approval of all. This is the way for people to disavow assumed culpability for liking someone whom someone else does not. It strikes me as bizarre that anyone would agree with me about everything. Continue reading

Banking While Black at TCF Bank

Sauntore Thomas probably felt pretty good about the fact that he, with the representation of his lawyer, employment law attorney Deborah Gordon, settled his employment discrimination suit against Enterprise Leasing Company. No, he didn’t hit the lottery, but he had three checks in hand when he walked into TCF Bank.

Thomas presented three checks written from Enterprise that day: One for $59,000. One for $27,000. And one for $13,000.

He wanted to deposit the first two and cash the third.* Continue reading

The Junk Science Of The “Rape Myth” Narrative

One of the great curiosities is how the same folks who are outraged by junk science in the courtroom when applied to certain cases, certain crimes, “bite mark” analysis for example, or “bullet lead” analysis, aren’t perturbed at all about the testimony of someone like “forensic psychologist” Barbara Ziv.

Ziv, a professor at Temple University, may be remembered from her testimony against Bill Cosby. Her putative “expertise” is in dispelling “rape myths.” To put it differently, she’s an expert in promoting the #MeToo narrative, the litany of excuses for why anything a self-identified victim does proves their truth. Remember everything? Guilty. Remember nothing? Guilty. Remember some but not all? Guilty. Ziv gives the excuse for why, no matter what the case, it proves guilt. And she’s quite good at it. Continue reading

Seaton: John Drinks At The End

The Grassy Knoll Pub is one of two watering holes in Mud Lick. With decor best described as “delightfully tacky conspiracy theorist,” it attracts residents and out-of-towners who enjoy the proprietor’s rants, free with every pint. Plus, the walls nearest the restrooms are usually redecorated each week with a brand new collage of photos, newspaper clippings, thumbtacks and yarn strands.

One night, the proprietor, a man named Jesse Custer, noticed a new customer in his mid sixties with graying hair and an authoritative demeanor. Even more noticeable were the men in matching black suits and earpieces who accompanied this new customer into the Knoll.

Custer, a lapsed Southern Baptist minister turned barkeep, was far less detached from the world than most of Mud Lick’s citizenry. As the graying, tired man asked for a glass of Bowmore 18, Custer politely asked him to wait a moment, then turned to the Knoll’s doorman. Continue reading

The Return of Cash

For a while, there was a hard push to eliminate cash as a medium for transactions. There are a host of reasons why people and businesses would prefer to transact business with plastic or digitally, but that was a business choice above the use of cash. The argument wasn’t just about the virtues of a cashless society, but that cash was the currency of criminals.

The key point is that deals done in cash weren’t on the government’s radar and couldn’t be proven by records. In contrast, deals done by plastic or digitally had records. They could be traced. They showed where you were and when. They showed how much money you paid, and thus how much you had, and whether you were hiding it from the government or paying out more than you should be able to, unless you were engaged in criminal conduct. Continue reading

Facebook, For The Prosecution

Omar Ameen is awaiting decision on whether he lives or dies. Iraq claims he’s a killer and wants him returned. The United States seems all too happy to comply, even though the Iraqi claim is almost certainly false and, should Ameen be sent back to Iraq, he will almost certainly be executed.

His contention is that he was living in Turkey at the time the killing was supposed to have happened, so he couldn’t be the killer.

The key point in the story is that committing the crime would have been physically impossible for Mr. Ameen, who was residing in Turkey and in the middle of his refugee application process at the time. The victims’ parents have also stated that Ameen is innocent of the crime. Ameen is the victim of a false accusation that seems to have been spread by someone with a vendetta against his family, and that false accusation was then accepted at face value and reproduced by American and Iraqi officials. By all other accounts, Ameen has been a law-abiding refugee who fled Iraq because he was in fear for his life, and now he is about to be sent back because of outrageous lies.

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