The side of a NYPD police cruiser bears the letters CPR, for Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect. It’s aspirational at best, and a cynical marketing ploy at worst. In any event, it is not something to point out when an interaction with police doesn’t go as well as one would hope.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided that his new (and Giuliani’s old) police commissioner should commence a new initiative to make New York’s Finest more user-friendly. Via Newsday:
The NYPD’s encounters with the public will soon begin with a polite introduction and end “on a positive note” under a new “Seven Steps to Positive Community Interactions” curriculum announced Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner William J. Bratton. Continue reading
Willie King took the full ride after recording the Indianapolis police arresting a guy. From the Indiana Lawyer (via a twit by Radley Balko):
Indianapolis resident Willie King who was arrested in February, 2011 after he used his cellphone to videotape police officers arresting another man. King was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
He was acquitted after a bench trial, but didn’t stop there.
Following a bench trial that found him not guilty, King filed a federal civil rights case against the city of Indianapolis and the police officers involved in the incident. The lawsuit, Willie E. King v. The City of Indianapolis, Jonathan M. Lawlis, Robert K. McCauley, Brad Alford, Michael B. Wright and David Miller, 1:11-cv-01727, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Continue reading
I twit. When Twitter first came on the scene, I was certain I wouldn’t. I was wrong. Before going any further, I call what I do on Twitter a “twit.” I’ve called it that since the beginning, because the place is called twitter. This makes some people furious, because, they tell me, it’s a “tweet.” Is it called “Tweeter”? You can call it whatever you like. I will call it what I like. Get over it.
Over the years since I first wrongly decided Twitter was worthless, I’ve written about it numerous times, as it plays a role in digital life whether I like it or not. It is a poor medium for many purposes: arguments on Twitter are terrible and a waste of time, as it’s impossible to engage in any depth of thought within the constraint of 140 characters.
Serial twitterers are annoying. Any jerk can @me and expect me to twit with them, as if I’m obliged to engage with anyone with a computer keyboard. Continue reading
The pressures to select a jury, to move a case to trial, have become somewhat overwhelming in New York, following the exposes of long, inexplicable delays. The Office of Court Administration has “standards and practices,” which are used to smack judges whose numbers aren’t where the newspapers think they should be. For some judges, the smack is well deserved.
For others, particularly those who have stood up to power by ruling against the local political structure and pissing off a lot of people, standards and practices is a sword hanging over their head, an excuse to sacrifice them on the altar of regularity.
Queens Supreme Court Judge Joel Blumenfeld stood firm when he ruled against the Queens District Attorney’s practice of eliciting confessions from defendants after arrest but before they got to see their lawyer. This put a target on his back. Continue reading
While I’m a big fan of a few of the folks writing over at Above the Law, like Elie Mystal, Mark Herrmann, Keith Lee, Tamara Tabo, and even Staci Zaretsky, when she isn’t obsessed with lady parts, the relatively new third-string assistant editor in charge, Joe Patrice, isn’t a favorite of mine.
It’s not that Patrice, of whom I knew nothing, did anything to me. It started when he was given charge of Non-Sequitors, my favorite daily feature at ATL under Elie as it highlighted funny or interesting posts in the blawgosphere that I never would have seen otherwise. But Elie used to search out those posts, find the good stuff, and then offer it with a heaping helping of Elie snark.
Patrice handled it differently. You see, blawgers get emails daily from people who want us to see and, in their dreams, promote their posts. Continue reading
A conversation that happens fairly regularly with defendants early in the representation describes the options available. While the relative merit of one over another depends on the case and the risk tolerance of the individual, the options generally remain the same: Plead guilty, cooperate or go to trial. As part of the discussion, I tell my clients that there is no option where he can say, “sorry, it was all a big mistake, so how about we just call it even and everybody go home?”
Maybe I’m wrong. From Gideon at A Public Defender:
Today, the United States Supreme Court will meet to decide whether to hear the case of Esteban Martinez. Martinez is in an unusual position, however. He isn’t convicted of anything. In fact, he was acquitted of an assault. But the State of Illinois wants to get a second crack at him. They want to try him again. Because the first time around, they did absolutely nothing. Continue reading
There has been a good deal of moaning over the demise of the 4th Amendment after the Supreme Court’s opinion in Fernandez v. California, where Walter Fernandez’s refusal to allow police to enter his apartment was forgotten after the cops took him away and later returned to obtain the consent of his girlfriend.
Was the rule of Georgia v. Randolph dead? Did “no” no longer mean no if the police shuffled the naysayer from the premises, leaving behind a more consenting occupant? Not even if there was ample opportunity to get a warrant, the tedium of the effort notwithstanding?
Fernandez isn’t the death of the 4th Amendment, largely because it’s hard to kill something that’s already moribund. Continue reading
As a follow-up to my earlier post about Eugene Volokh’s post-win motion to sanitize the 9th Circuit’s opinion about his pro bono client, Crystal Cox, having “apparently” engaged in some dubious behavior, a brief post to add the latest amicus curiae submission, this one on behalf of a fellow named Martin Cain.
In attempting to excise the Court’s reference to her underlying extortionate conduct from the opinion (Petition for Rehearing), Cox apparently provoked Mr. Randazza to provide the Court with more definitive evidence as to her conduct, directed at himself and at others. In her opposition, Cox asserts that the MBRR findings presented by Mr. Randazza – as they were at the time – were merely “proposed” and thus should be disregarded. (Cox Opp. to Mot. for Leave to File Amicus Brief) Amicus hereby seeks to present this Court with the MBRR’s final Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Final Order (“Order”).
Amicus here is the actual victim referred to in the MBRR’s proposed finding of facts and conclusions of law (Randazza amicus Brief, Exhibit. B). While it is true that those were merely “proposed” findings of facts and conclusions of law, Amicus is in possession of the final Order. Continue reading
For those who care to debate the heady question of whether law is a business or profession, of the merit of non-lawyer, who have neither an ethical duty nor fiduciary relationship, ownership, meet Emanuel Roy and Peter Mayas. They’re lawyers, but of the sort that follows the business path rather than the profession path for which I often advocate.
From the Sun-Sentinel, via Walter Olson at Overlawyered:
Patrick Coulton’s lawyers ripped him off to the tune of $275,000 and left him to rot in prison.
The bizarre legal soap opera began in March 2008 when Coulton was arrested on federal drug and money-laundering charges for smuggling cocaine and marijuana.
His family hired Roy, who was a lawyer in New York and Florida at the time, and Roy brought his friend, Mayas, a Plantation attorney, on board too. Continue reading
A recent column in the Harvard Crimson by student Sandra Y.L. Korn raised a firestorm by challenging the foundation of academic freedom:
When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.
The concept isn’t novel, the elevation of political correctness over the search for unpleasant truth. I had this weird inkling that it was related to something here long ago, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I shrugged it off. At my age, forgetting things is like breathing.
Then an email arrived. Brief and unsigned, the only indication of its sender being its gmail address of “lattice.theory.” Continue reading
Having followed Kerri Kaley’s struggle to enable herself and her husband to fight charges of dubious merit since the circuit, an old question arose: Would the law that grew like a fungus in the bad, old drug days of forfeiture law that gave rise to such discreditable decisions as Monsanto, be perpetuated now that they were being applied to people who society didn’t inherently despise?
The Supreme Court answered the question in Kaley v. United States, a split decision by Justice Elena Kagan: Hell, yes!
In this case, two indicted defendants wishing to hire an attorney challenged a pre-trial restraint on their property. The trial court convened a hearing to consider the seizure’s legality under Monsanto. The question presented is whether criminal defendants are constitutionally entitled at such a hearing to contest a grand jury’s prior determination of probable cause to believe they committed the crimes charged. We hold that they have no right to relitigate that finding. Continue reading
It’s not as if New York Law School Professor Robert Blecker hadn’t staked his claim as the intellectual leader of the Kill ‘Em Now crowd already. He’d been out there, pounding the pavement to drum up business in advance. So when the review copy of The Death of Punishment, published by Palgrave Macmillan, arrived, I was all ready to rip it to shreds.
It opened as I would have expected of anyone who sought to take ownership of the joys of capital punishment, immediately forcing me to wonder what trauma happened to Blecker in his formative years to stunt his intellectual growth and leave him an emotional cripple. Maybe it was the simplistic notions instilled in him as a child, eye for an eye, revenge, retribution?
But a lousy thing happened on the way to hating Blecker’s book. Aside from the inexplicably warped view of capital punishment, there was a grudging respect for him. He was no mental midget, not by a long shot. This was a very smart man. Continue reading
Anyone who has ever sought to persuade another that their feelings on a subject are irrational knows that it’s a waste of time. Feelings aren’t based on reason; they’re feelings. Ultimately, it always devolves into, “well, that’s how I feel,” and the time spent discussing it is lost forever.
We used to be a society that embraced the “sticks and stones” mantra, which has since fallen into disrepute. For many, it’s been replaced with the assertion that hurt feelings are every bit as real and painful as broken bones, and for them, this is not an issue worthy of discussion. That’s how they feel.
But the substitution of tangible harms with emotional harms has become a driving force in the call for new crimes outlawing and punishing things that give rise to hurt feelings. Continue reading
An oft-repeated meme on the interwebz, and certainly one of my favorites, comes from a Peter Steiner cartoon, first published in The New Yorker on July 5, 1993.
Bearing in mind that Steiner recognized, more than 20 years ago, that we rarely have a clue we’re dealing with online, he was prescient. But just how prescient is made clear by Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept: Continue reading
Criminal defense lawyers are often accused of being callous, if not despicable, toward the victims of our clients’ crimes. We know they happen, and we may well feel the pain caused to others, but we shut that out of our mind in order to fulfill our function to our client. We have a job to do, and we do it.
But in Tarrant County, Texas, television station WFAA-8, an ABC affiliate, did something unusual. After Stewart Richardson* offered his apology, via a reporter, to the parents of young boy, 2 years old at the time he was left in a vegetative state because of Richardson’s drunk driving, the boy’s mother, Loubna Khader, asked WFAA if they would accompany her to the jail, with cameras shooting, to confront Richardson directly.
The station agreed, and the result was an extraordinary video. Continue reading
Derek isn’t the only Jeter making news around these parts, even if these parts are extended to reach Bloomfield, New Jersey. Marcus Jeter was looking at five years, facing charges of “trying to elude [police], resisting arrest, [and] assaulting a police officer.”
What makes this remarkable is its unremarkability. No one, but no one except his lawyer and those who cared about him, would have blinked an eye had Marcus Jeter gone down on the charges.
It all began when police were called to Jeter’s home in Bloomfield, New Jersey. After a brief conversation, Jeter left his residence as no charges were filed.
Jeter was driving down the Garden State Highway when everything suddenly changed. Continue reading
Bill Keller will soon step away from the New York Times to lead the Marshall Project and save the world, but as a columnist, the opportunity to start early is open to him and he’s already taken his first/parting shot:
I’ll begin by making his excuses. The president’s powers in this area are limited. The action (and there is a lot of it right now) is mostly at the state level. His first term was entangled in economic crisis and health care. This president has faced tireless and often petty resistance from the Republican House on almost every initiative. Historically Democrats have risked being Willie-Horton’ed if they don’t maintain a tougher-than-tough-on-crime posture. And African-American constituents — who are also disproportionately the victims of crime — are not necessarily bleeding-heart voters. In short, it was probably naïve to assume that Obama was going to be the Criminal Justice Reform President.
There is little choice but to begin with excuses, Continue reading
I, for one, welcome our new Computer overlords.
– Ken Jennings, upon losing to Watson on Jeopardy
Unbeknownst to most, one of the start-ups in the Big Data tech arena of law is a company called Lex Machina. For the moment, it’s limited to the IP niche of law, but what it seeks to do is rather astounding:
We mine litigation data, revealing insights never before available about judges, lawyers, parties, and patents, culled from millions of pages of IP litigation information.
We call these insights Legal Analytics, because analytics involves the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data.
In other words, they purport to be able to cull from the pages of court documents Continue reading
In my effort to understand and appreciate the controlled rhetoric of sex offenses, traditional and newly conceived, I’ve raised questions about the definition of rape and the definition of revenge porn. While it’s fine to non-lawyers to cry “rape is rape,” the fuzziness of feminist rhetoric makes it difficult, if not impossible, to nail down what they’re talking about so that anyone who hasn’t OD’d on the Kool-Aid can discuss intelligently the merit of their view.
One reaction that comes with regularity, and the anger that suggests that anyone who doesn’t grasp and embrace it is, by definition, the scum of the earth, is the phrase “rape culture.” It’s a catch-all justification for feminists, and spit at people as if no further explanation is needed. If one doesn’t “get” rape culture, it’s proof of their misogyny. Not only do I not get it, but I didn’t really know what it meant as it was be thrown my way. I may be thick, but it wasn’t part of my worldview.
Wikipedia, which is beyond dispute as a font of wisdom, has a “rape culture” page. The definition is: Continue reading
Checking Radley Balko’s morning links, I came across a bullet point that simply said
• “The Sorry State of Indigent Defense”
How could I resist? It was criminal defense lawyer clickbait, and I fell for it. The link took me to The Crime Report, another of those self-important websites that claims to be “your complete criminal justice resource,” as determined by the John Jay College of Coppery and Shoe Repair. What it lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in superficiality.
The post was by Sheldon Krantz, whose description at the bottom of the post says:
Sheldon Krantz is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. For close to two decades, he was a litigation partner at DLA Piper, Continue reading