Author Archives: SHG

The Three Most Important Things to Know About Making A Citizen’s Arrest

In a demonstration of bizarrely inexplicable irresponsibility, the New York Times Sunday Magazine includes a “how to” guide to making citizens’ arrests.

“There are very strict rules of engagement,” says Jeromy McHenry, who owns a private security firm in California and has made over 1,000 citizen’s arrests. Statutes governing when and how laypeople can arrest their compatriots vary. Know your state’s laws.

Know your state’s laws? Because people just happen to walk around with a deep, encyclopaedic knowledge of the elements of crimes in their state?  And what about important federal law, like John Bad Elk? Are you mad?

If you do get involved, act with authority. “Speak in a stern, matter-of-fact voice,” McHenry says. Announce loudly: “You’re under citizen’s arrest.”

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Harvard Men

Who could have seen this coming? Harvard has dropped the hammer on male-only clubs. Not by outlawing the clubs, as final clubs* were already de-institutionalized in the last wave of feminist hysteria, but by blacklisting members of the clubs from the benefits conferred by the elites.

Starting with the class that enters Harvard in fall 2017, members of single-sex clubs will be prohibited from holding leadership positions on campus, according to a statement released by the university’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust. This would include athletic team captains; many club members have historically been captains. Members will also be barred from receiving the official recommendations required for prestigious postgraduate fellowships and scholarships, such as the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, the statement said.

One might point to the hypocrisy of Drew Faust’s having enjoyed the benefits of an all-women education at Bryn Mawr, or point out that freedom of association is a right protected by the Constitution, but such criticisms detract from the banal truth.

The all-male final clubs at Harvard University have long been bastions of money, power and privilege. But on Friday, 225 years after the oldest club was founded, the university announced restrictions on the organizations that could ultimately be their undoing, or at least significantly change their character by forcing them to become coed.

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Shira Scheindlin: More Judges, Better Judges

Having hung up her robe, Shira Scheindlin is now free to speak her mind, and so she does in a New York Times op-ed.  For those who may not know why this matters, getting your case wheeled out to Judge Scheindlin was like winning the criminal defense lottery in the Southern District of New York.

It didn’t guarantee a win by any stretch, but you were pretty well assured that she would listen to your arguments and give them serious consideration. That’s the best we could hope for. And unlike other judges, who would work hard to find a reason, good or otherwise, to deny whatever it was you sought, sometimes Judge Scheindlin said yes. For those of you who only see the system from afar, you have no idea how rare that is. Law sounds great on paper, but it’s brutal and ugly in the trenches. It’s that occasional “motion granted” that we live for.

Judge Scheindlin was unfairly smeared, and excoriated by her own branch, for her ruling in the Floyd and Ligon cases, where she held the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” program unconstitutional.  It was one of Commissioner Ray Kelly’s best tricks, name the tactic after something that’s perfectly lawful, but perform it in a flagrantly unlawful way. It confuses the crap out of the public and most politicians, and was easily wrapped up in a lie that soothed white New Yorkers at the expense of blacks and Hispanics.

Throughout the litigation and its bizarre appellate aftermath, Judge Scheindlin was constrained to bite her tongue. She was a judge. She didn’t get to write op-eds, take to the airwaves, to explain to an ignorant public why their elected officials were totally full of shit, lying to them, deceiving them.   Continue reading

A Lie Too Far?

At Techdirt, Tim Cushing writes about a doggie search on an Amtrak train from Chi-town to the left coast.  During a stop in Nevada, Detective Madhu Kurup decided to take advantage of Shaun Estes’ desire for a quick smoke.

Shaun Estes, who was traveling by train from Chicago to California, was confronted by Amtrak detectives (yes, there is such a thing) while smoking a cigarette during a brief stop in Reno, Nevada. Detective Madhu Kurup approached Estes based on nothing more than the fact that Estes’ one-way ticket had been purchased with a credit card belonging to someone else. Seeing this on the passenger manifest, Kurup requested the assistance of local officers and their drug dog. That’s when things went from bad to worse to farcical.

Estes was asked if he was carrying any drugs, weapons or [cash register noise] “large amounts of money.” Estes claimed he wasn’t. Kurup asked for permission to search Estes’ cabin and belongings. Estes refused. Kurup then informed him that a drug dog was on the way and that his belongings would be seized while a warrant was obtained if the dog alerted.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, so Kurup did what brave law enforcement officers do every day. He lied. Continue reading

The ABA And Its Favorite Flavor Of Ethics

Before anyone gets too worked up, there are two critical points worth noting: First, this is not yet a done deal, as even within the lean-in group formerly known as the American Bar Association, there are lawyers, even academics, who refuse to allow their feelings to trump their intellectual honesty. They know this is a mad dash down the road to perdition.

Second, the ABA’s model rules are suggestions. States can then choose whether to incorporate them into the actual code of ethics or laugh at them.  The ABA has already lost what little credibility remained when it decided to hop aboard the diversity and inclusion train.

Yet, there remains this inkling of fear that either codgers who remember the ABA when it was relevant, or youngsters and academics, who tend to become involved with committees to either establish their brand or further their political agenda, will take this seriously.  And for that reason, it’s worth noting that the latest effort to change the Model Rule 8.4 is insane.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: Continue reading

North Carolina Meets The Rule of Bureaucrats

United States Marshals escorted 6-year-old Ruby Nell Bridges to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans.  It came after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education.  Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis was held in contempt for refusing to issue a marriage license to David Ermold and David Moore. It came after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory received a letter informing him that a law enacted by the state covering, inter alia, the use of bathrooms by transgender people must be abandoned or the state would lose billions of dollars in federal monies, primarily in education funding. It came after  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, decided that the law violated her interpretation of what constituted discrimination.

The Justice Department warned the State of North Carolina on Wednesday that its new law limiting bathroom access violated the civil rights of transgender people, a finding that could mean millions of dollars in lost federal funds.

In a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, Vanita Gupta, the top civil rights lawyer for the Justice Department, said that “both you and the State of North Carolina” were in violation of civil rights law, and gave him until Monday to decide “whether you will remedy these violations.”

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The Category Is Before And After: Details Of The Shooting Remain Sparse

Maybe Herbert Ballance asked for it.  Maybe he did something to legitimately give rise to the bullet that entered his mouth and exited the back of his skull. Maybe. But it’s not like we’ll ever know.

“The case is now a closed criminal investigation which has not resulted in conviction or deferred adjudication,” says the letter, which seeks to block The Enterprise from acquiring the dashboard camera video, the full 911 call recording and other records of the incident.

The shooting occurred on March 5th.  Who pulled the trigger remains a mystery, because the Beaumont, Texas police chose to keep it that way.  They did, however, release the information they decided to release.

Police released Ballance’s name Monday, two days into the investigation. Names of the officers who were at the scene have not been released. One officer has been placed on paid leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure, Sgt. Cody Guedry said.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Beaumont officers were called to the trailer park near the corner of South 23rd and College streets after a caller said a suspect in a car theft was in the area, Guedry said. The caller told the dispatcher the suspect was armed, Guedry said. Continue reading

Jennie Chenkin’s Right To Be Angry

While video of the person affectionately known as #TrigglyPuff on the twitters has gone viral, another person (a young woman, but then, it’s unknown whether that description will be deemed offensive) was so outraged that she felt compelled to defend TP’s honor.

It began with Jennie Chenkin taking to the twitters, threatening Kassy Dillon, a Mount Holyoke student who filmed TP, for violating her copyright and punishing her for TP’s exercise of free speech.  Chenkin, a Hampshire College junior on a “pre-law track” by studying political theory, carceral studies, and conflict resolution,” refused to be silent in the face of this situation, precipitated by a panel hosted at UMass Amherst called “The Triggering.”
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The 800 Lb. Doggie In The Harris County Jury Room

Potential jurors are subject to a great many influences, ranging from their personal experiences to the crap they watch on TV.  Try as we might to ferret out these influences, it’s not always possible. While some will proudly announce their prejudice, most believe they are fair, reasonable people. Of course, that’s what most people believe of themselves, no matter how prejudiced they are, because their prejudice is fair and reasonable or they wouldn’t hold the beliefs.

But Harris County clerk, Chris Daniel, took it a step beyond the pale.

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Next Generation, Zealousness or Happiness; Pick Your Poison

When I first read the order, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.  It was one of those WTF moments.

Counsel will please keep in mind the need to provide arguments and courtroom experience to the next generation of practitioners. It is the way one generation will teach the next to try cases and to maintain our district’s reputation for excellence in trial practice. This order requests by NOON ON APRIL 14, 2016, that each law firm representing a party herein submit a five page plan explaining how it intends, in this case, to provide opportunities for junior attorneys (who have graduated from law school within the past six years) to argue motions, take depositions, and examine witnesses at trial. The five page plans should please name specific associates and name the specific opportunities the law firms have in mind for them.

No preface of an application by a party seeking relief.  No explanation at all. There it was, a federal judge, in this case William Alsup from the Northern District of California, issuing a case management order in an actual case that had nothing to do with the case, but with the “courtroom experience of the next generation of practitioners.” WTF?

It’s no secret that trials are dying. If you’ve never tried a case, it’s where litigators become trial lawyers, where baby lawyers become real lawyers. Where great lawyers earn their wings. Not every lawyer is cut out for trying cases, but this is where the gladiator proves his worth. For me, it’s cross examination. I love cross. Other lawyers love other parts of trial most, voir dire, summation, whatever, but trials are where the blood rushes to your head and where cheap talk of lawyering gets real. Very real. Very quickly. With no time to rest.  Continue reading

Turley’s War on the Skies (and everywhere else)

What sort of whiny terrorist sympathizer would complain about waiting three hours on a TSA security line, just because they’ve yet to stop any terrorist ever?  What about the children?

You have likely been reading about the scandalous situation at our airports where TSA security points have created chokepoints due to a lack of planning and staffing in the latest failure of this agency. Thousands of passengers are missing their flights due to massive lines and the airports are now suggesting that people come THREE HOURS in advance.

The reason is obvious incompetence in failing to plan for rising numbers of passengers and to properly staff security checkpoints. Yet, no one is being held accountable. The public is just again left paying billions to the government, which cannot meet the most basic obligations to the public. We no longer expect competence from our government.

No longer? As if it’s easy for the government to protect us in this ever changing, ever threatening world?  So what if the TSA has yet to catch a single terrorist. What about the next one, the one who will blow up your children?  Don’t you care at all? Continue reading

Rule 41, When Any Judge Will Do

The concept of geographical jurisdiction of Magistrate Judges will be a faint memory if Chief Justice John Roberts gets his way. He’s forwarded proposed changes to Congress to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that will fundamentally alter the requirement that a warrant be issued by a judge within the jurisdiction of the place or thing to be searched.

FRCP41x Continue reading