Author Archives: SHG

Dead, But With Official Explanation

There are a few things that no one disputes.  Martin Olin, a 65-year-old lawyer and music industry guy who was riding his bike in the bike lane, was dead.  Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Andrew Wood ran Olin down because he was on his computer while driving.  And Martin Olin is still dead.

Wood was returning from a fire call at Calabasas High School and was on patrol when the accident occurred.

‘He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed,’ the letter from the prosecutor’s office stated. ‘Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully.

This came in explanation of why Deputy Wood would not be prosecuted for killing Martin Olin.  It seems when one is playing with a cop computer rather than an iPad, the guy they kill is official collateral damage. This makes all the difference.

‘Wood briefly took his eyes away from the road precisely when the narrow roadway curved slightly to the left without prior warning, causing him to inadvertently travel straight into the bike lane, immediately striking Olin.’

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But For Video: The Ordinariness of Force

Christopher Lollie was like most of us.  A father who arrived a bit early to gather his kids from school, the New Horizon Academy, so he had ten minutes to kill.  A weird phrase, time to kill.  So he sat down in the skyway in St. Paul, Minnesota.  That’s what good guys do.

Someone apparently didn’t care for his looks.  According to Conor Friedersdorf, Lollie had dreads, and the skin to go with them, so the police were called because there was a guy sitting there, black and all, and who knows what terrible things that can mean.  And the police came.

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Because The Internets Need A New Takedown Regime

An academic has called for an amendment to a major US law to help victims of revenge porn: the online posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of a former lover without his or her consent.

Memo to Taylor & Francis Group:  A third-year law student is not an academic.  Generally, there are few voices less worthy of note than a law student’s.  That said, University of Missouri Law School’s Allison Tungate’s note, “Bare necessities: the argument for a ‘revenge porn’ exception in Section 230 immunity” is better than most of what’s been promoted as a cure up to now.

‘Revenge porn’ is the online posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of a former lover without his or her consent. Despite the malicious intent behind revenge porn, victims are provided with little to no relief due to Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act, also known as the ‘Good Samaritan’ provisions. Section 230 unambiguously provides blanket immunity for website operators and Internet service providers that feature user-generated content, including revenge porn.

Granted, little effort is put into defining, and refining, the superficial definitions used in the article, but that’s not unusual for law students. They tend to take a lot for granted, like “we know it when we see it.” Continue reading

A Czar? Yeah, That’s The Ticket!

If you liked pogroms, you’ll love this idea. Via CBS News:

In the eyes of many progressives and civil rights advocates, the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this month was a tragic and familiar story: the latest example of the law enforcement community’s prejudiced administration of justice.

Now, a group of notables and activists, joined by several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are demanding the establishment of a federal police “czar,” employed by the Justice Department, to oversee local law enforcement practices and help prevent racial bias in policing.

It’s curious that the progressive demand is for a Czar.  We had a drug Czar. We had a homeland security Czar. We had real a Czar until the revolution of 1917 took Nicholas offline.  The pseudo-title seemed a bit more appropriate when the purpose was to use overt force to destroy someone.  Perhaps they think a federal police czar will, what?, destroy the vestiges of racism in America’s police forces?  Continue reading

Denied, With Extreme Prejudice (Update)

“…do it,” Nalley ordered. “Use it.”

“(DEFENDANT SCREAMS).”

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a judge, clothed in immunity, became so annoyed by an argument that he whipped out his Glock from under his robes and plugged the litigant between the eyes?  Who hasn’t felt that, right?

Except Maryland Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley, the same one who got caught deflating the tire of the miscreant who had the audacity to park in his space, acted upon it.  No Glock, and it wasn’t actually at his own hand, but he gave the order.  And Mr. Sheriff was only too happy to comply.

Via the Baltimore Post-Examiner, by way of Gideon, pro se litigant Devlon King was trying to argue his cause in a gun case, which had already proven sufficiently annoying to get him pushed from his trial judge to Nalley. Continue reading

Broken Windows, From the My Little Pony Perspective

So what if guys like Radley Balko and me were writing about this while lawprofs were on summer vacation?  After all, we’re not the deep thinkers worthy of note by serious scholars.  Even lawprof Jonathan Turley, who had the audacity to win big on polygamy while his brethren were picking out their favorite tea, was in on the deal, but wasn’t worth mentioning.

What?  It started at PrawfsBlawg, with lawprof Howard Wasserman free-riding the coattails of Cornell lawprof Mike Dorf, with the Wass-man noting “Mike share [sic] my view that cameras are a good idea but not a panacea.”  Bold move, guys, hopping on the caboose of cutting-edge thought.

But the Wass-man notes Dorf’s views on Broken Windows, and that’s where the uptown D goes off the tracks and crashes on 161st Street.

The most well-known attempt to implement broken-windows policing occurred during the NYC Mayoral administration of Rudy Giuliani. He cracked down on “squeegee men”–who “cleaned” windshields of motorists stopped at traffic lights, sometimes with an implicit threat of damage to the car or worse if drivers did not agree to pay for this ostensible service; he went after graffiti artists; he targeted subway fare-beating. And–according to the proponents of the broken windows theory–it worked. The nation as a whole experienced a substantial drop in violent crime from the peaks of the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the drop in crime in New York City was substantially larger.

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The Truthy Shall Set You Free

Kissing cousin to Lawprof Danielle Citron’s Cyber Civil Rights movement, dedicated to the criminalization of words and ideas that offend her delicate sensibilities and, well, just piss her off, is the government’s latest effort to cleanse the internet.  As reported in the Washington Free Beacon:

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

What might they mean by “false and misleading ideas”?  The earth is flat?  John Bad Elk is still good law?  Vaccines cause autism?  Continue reading

You Can’t Appeal The Clerk

Hell hath no fury like a clerk challenged.  Anyone constrained to deal with bureaucracy learns this lesson early or learns to spend untold hours waiting, usually only to be told to come back another day to wait some more.  Lawyers, in constant need of the kindness of clerks, come to realize this very quickly.

Even so, there are times when no amount of sweet talk, no amount of sincere kindness, and certainly no amount of bluff, is going to change an unfortunate but immutable fact: the clerk neglected to do something that caused significant and clear harm.  Matt Brown in Tempe found himself in this unenviable position.

Brown’s client was stopped for a DUI in the evil Arizona town of Gilbert, where a blood draw was taken and, as is their local way, summons supposedly sent in the mail after the results come back.

That was my client’s situation when we set up an initial consultation. I filed my notice of appearance as soon as he hired me, and when I called the court that day to see if a complaint had been filed, the lady said they had already issued a warrant for his arrest because he missed his court date. The hearing had apparently been set for the day before. She tried to comfort me by explaining that the judge had just received my notice of appearance and would be quashing the warrant and setting a pretrial conference. She insisted the court had sent my client notice of the hearing he missed.

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The Problem With Prisons? They’re Full of Prisoners

One thing New York City has in abundance is shameless union leaders who know what their members demand of them, and do it. Pat Lynch, PBA president, is a master. But corrections union prez, Norman Seabrook, is no piker either.

From Seabrook’s New York Times op-ed, defending his boys after the scathing report on Rikers.

A RECENT investigation by the Department of Justice concluded that a culture of violence permeated the jails on Rikers Island in New York City, particularly the facilities housing adolescent detainees. The report came just a few weeks after this newspaper published its own investigation into violence against mentally ill patients at the jails.

These reports have led many in the public and city government to blame the correction officers at Rikers, and have generated calls for radical changes to the correction system.

Given that the beating of prisoners was done by corrections officers, it’s pretty hard to blame anyone else. Or is it? Continue reading

Victims, The New Untouchables

When Mark Bennett wrote Victimocracy is for Sociopaths, its broader message seemed abundantly clear:

The hallmark of a sociopath, says [Martha] Stout [in her 2006 book, The Sociopath Next Door], is feigned victimhood. “The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”

I have noted before the ascendancy of victimocracy, in which victimhood is esteemed even above merit and victims are given special authority to determine the course of the state.

In the world of those who subscribe to empathy uber alles, everybody’s a victim.

Those who had been criticized went into victim mode: they had been “attacked,” “insulted,” “disrespected.” They inaccurately described things that others had said to make them seem like attacks. Both described the criticism as “bullying.” One had “never been so insulted” as by the criticism.

There is, of course, a different view. Continue reading