Illegals: Law, Language & Policy

The name “Sanctuary Cities,” which has been absurdly borrowed by Sanctuary Campuses because college administrators adore meaningless words and realize their frightened students are so utterly clueless as to substance that they could tell them anything and the dumbass kids would believe it because they so desperately want to, is where it starts.  We’re so wrapped up in empty words that it’s unclear what words are “permitted” to describe the nice folks who benefit from sanctuary cities.

Are they undocumented aliens? Illegal immigrants? Would they give a damn what they were called if they could be left alone and not deported? Those who obsess over the words tend not to be the nice folks trying to stay below the radar, but their privileged champions who believe that if you don’t call them “illegals,”* people will like them better and not notice that they’re here illegally. Will it work? Beats me. A lot of people seem far more concerned these days with words than substance.

But here’s the part that teary-eyed advocates prefer not to discuss: These are people who have entered or remained in the United States illegally. They’re not bad people because of their nationality. They’re not bad people because they commit crimes once here, though some do while others don’t. But they have violated immigration law. They are here illegally. Get over it.

That has nothing to do with the policy implications of what to do about people here illegally, but that they are here illegally is beyond dispute. Conflating the policy question, whether deporting people, forcing them to hide, denying them benefits such as education and health care, or turning a blind eye to their immigration status when providing “privileges” such as a driver’s license, is an entirely different matter. It doesn’t change the fact that they are in the United States in violation of federal immigration law. Continue reading

The Unreasonable Expectations Of Authority

It was Frank Robinson at ESPN who said that close only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades, but then, he wasn’t a judge, so what did he know? Of course, that was before the Supreme Court decided Heien and gave us the reasonably stupid cop rule. And Arizona has more than its share of reasonably stupid cops.

TaRaHawk von Brinken sued Tucson police officers James Voss and Richard Legarra in June 2014, claiming they unlawfully arrested him after he refused to show Voss his driver’s license.

Von Brinken claimed he was driving behind a friend when Voss pulled the friend over into a bowling alley parking lot. Von Brinken followed and parked in the same lot, away from Voss and his friend’s vehicle.

It’s not that von Brinken did anything wrong, even a traffic infraction. It’s not that the cops pulled him over, even though they pulled over his friend whom he was following. Nonetheless, the cops did as cops are wont to do, demand his papers. Continue reading

Regulating The Fake News Marketplace

If libertarians see the marketplace as the solution to all evils, progressives see regulation, and Harvard lawprof Noah Feldman is their apologist.* He proposes that fake news may not be protected speech. In fairness, the notion has surface appeal, because who would possibly champion fake news?** Who wouldn’t agree that we deserve better than deceit?

The piece, by the journalist Jessica Lessin, argued that Facebook should not be expected to accept the type of fact-checking responsibilities that some critics say should come with being the dominant news aggregator.

“No matter how many editors Facebook hired, it would be unable to monitor the volume of information that flows through its site, and it would be similarly impossible for readers to verify what was checked,” she wrote.

Who is this woman brave enough to come forward in Facebook’s defense?

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Fault Lines: Law Student Division

So you don’t have ten years in the trenches? You’ve got no war stories to tell, no experiences to share, no depth of knowledge that puts the law in context? We now have a place for you at Fault Lines.

If you have a sincere interest and appreciation of criminal law, have the chops to produce good writing and the willingness to commit to hard work, there may be a place for you at Fault Lines. We want you on the JV team, the practice squad, the developmental team, where you can put your interests and efforts to good use.

Between re-instituting our Daily Links, writing blurbs on interesting stories and cases that would otherwise not make it onto the front burner, you can contribute to the cause of making people more knowledgeable about criminal law. If that piques your interest, then let me know. You might be able to join some of the smartest crim law writers on the internet, not to mention a few federal judges, as part of Fault Lines. Plus, you get to hang out with some pretty cool people who can teach you a thing or two about what real criminal law is all about.

Taser’s Body Cams Extra Special Feature

Albuquerque police have issues.

The most famous recording of Albuquerque police in action shows them shooting and killing a homeless man — a shooting that began as a normal rousting for the crime of “illegal camping.” From there, the police turned it into a “standoff” with a cooperative person unsure of which direction to move next out of the very justifiable fear of being shot.

This was just another in a long line of killings by APD officers, not many of which were captured on video. The DOJ issued a report stating that a “majority” of shootings by the city’s police officers were “unreasonable and violated the Fourth Amendment.”

Ain’t that DoJ great, reporting that the shoots are bad? It’s a shame they’re never around before the cops wrongfully kill people, dealing with the known problem until after the blood is cleaned up, but hey, who doesn’t love a report afterward confirming what everybody knew? Yay, feds! But I digress. Continue reading

The “Regular Guy” Goes To Washington

Larry Tribe called him “constitutionally clueless,” which is a fair and alliterative reaction to the president-elect’s latest dictate by twit:

Without needlessly delving into the obvious, Texas v. Johnson held that desecretion of the flag is protected speech, and there is no remedy of “loss of citizenship.” The kings of old might have been able to banish undesirables from the land, but the president cannot.  Even the venerated Scalia, who was no fan of flag burning, realized that presidents don’t get to wear the crown of feelz.

scaliaflag Continue reading

California Lawyers Dreaming (About Sex With Clients)

There are plenty of nice people out there, and maybe even one or two who might want to have sex with you (for free). Find them. Go and search. But leave your clients, their wives, husbands, sons and daughters alone. This makes some California lawyers sad.

The nation’s largest state bar association is overhauling ethics rules for attorneys for the first time in 30 years, and some lawyers are unhappy about a proposal that would open them up to discipline for having sex with clients.

California currently bars attorneys from coercing a client into sex or demanding sex in exchange for legal representation.

Yes, that would be the same California that championed the affirmative consent approach to collegiate sex, even though they had no clue what it meant, So what? It’s sex, and when it comes to sex, one can never be too cautious and harsh. Except when it comes to lawyers. Continue reading

The Solution To Fake News Is Progressive News

Most of us believe we’re too savvy to fall for a fake news site, whether a non-existent Denver newspaper created by a Democrat from California, or fake news spread by the Russians and Chinese taking the most trusted source of information, Facebook, by storm. But the point of fake news isn’t that you actually believe the stories, but that they sow a sufficient seed of doubt.

Sure, some percentage of people actually believed the content such sites (for instance, that Hillary Clinton was behind the death of a federal agent). But a far greater number of people came away ever so slightly more doubtful of what is true. They didn’t believe Hillary Clinton ordered a hit, but they didn’t disbelieve it either. It simply became part of the background, one more unsettled question.

Part of the problem is that the internet has allowed us to live in a bubble of confirmation bias, believing what serves our beliefs because we want to believe.

Many of us are ensconced in our own information bubbles. Few people reject crazy claims based on the fact they hadn’t heard about them before now, because chances are they already have heard about them, or something close to them, from the sites that tend to confirm their biases. That makes them more susceptible to taking fake news seriously.

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Mindfulness When The Moment Kinda Sucks (Update)

As fads go, mindfulness was relatively harmless, unless you were one of the few people who spent a lot of money trying to find happiness in the moment. When you spend your time wallowing in the misery of your life, you look for a magic bullet to make it better. There are two ways to go, change your life for the better or bask in the misery. The former is hard. The latter is far easier, and when there was an industry telling you that it was totally great to wallow, why not?

Since then, there have been many responses that maybe anxiety is good for people. It gets them off their lazy, self-indulgent butt so they improve their lot in life, their performance, their contribution to humanity. If they happen to be lawyers, they will be better lawyers for it, as opposed to the incompetent lawyers who turn to mindfulness as an excuse for being shitty lawyers. But maybe it’s time to speak an unpleasant truth out loud: being “in the moment” is for idiots.

So does the moment really deserve its many accolades? It is a philosophy likely to be more rewarding for those whose lives contain more privileged moments than grinding, humiliating or exhausting ones. Those for whom a given moment is more likely to be “sun-dappled yoga pose” than “hour 11 manning the deep-fat fryer.”

On the face of it, our lives are often much more fulfilling lived outside the present than in it. As anyone who has ever maintained that they will one day lose 10 pounds or learn Spanish or find the matching lids for the Tupperware will know, we often anticipate our futures with more blind optimism than the reality is likely to warrant.

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The Killing Seemed So Important At The Time

People argued at the time whether it was “terrorism.” It was one of those absurd arguments, as if giving it the current flavor of the most extreme name of awfulness made it as awful as it needed to be. After all, Dylann Roof was already in custody, so it wasn’t a cry for additional resources needed to locate the killer, whether he was a white supremacist nutjob or a domestic terrorist. It was a Seinfeld episode about murder.

Yet, the passionate gang argued that it was terrorism, because it was. After the State of South Carolina had already decided to seek the death penalty for murdering nine black parishioners in a church, there being little doubt of his commission of the crimes and the only real question being punishment, the feds horned in on the action.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday that the Justice Department would seek the death penalty against Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.

“The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision,’’ Lynch said in written statement.

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Shelter From The Storm

There are “sanctuary cities,” places which, as a matter of local policy, have chosen to be less than cooperative with federal requests to hold undocumented aliens who come into their clutches. Usually, this means that a person arrested for a violation of law will not be held on an immigration detainer after he would otherwise be released.

There are a few reasons why a local government would want to do this. The first is financial. Holding people until the ICE shows up to take them is expensive. They still need to be housed and fed in custody, and ICE is busy. It may show up today or a month from today. Or never. It’s not like the local sheriff can call ICE and order them to get their butts over to pick up their prisoners.

The second is that feds and locals don’t get along. The feds are snotty elites to the locals, and the locals have their own jobs to do, like stopping murders and mean twits that hurt their feelings. The feds’ “desire” for the locals to do their job for them isn’t at the top of the local law enforcement priority list.

The third is that some cities have taken an actual position in conflict with federal immigration policy, such that they choose not to cooperate, not to be complicit in the continued incarceration and deportation of people they don’t believe deserve to be treated in such a way. This is the principled sanctuary, where a city will affirmatively decide that it will not be complicit in federal conduct with which it disagrees. It can’t stop the feds from being the feds, but it doesn’t have to help. Continue reading

The Business Transaction Called “Dinner” At 1300 On Fillmore

The choice of an upscale soul food restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner was an interesting one. Since we were far from home, a restaurant was the only option, and why not try something interesting since it wasn’t going to be the Thanksgiving flavors that brought us home anyway? Reservations were made for 1300 On Fillmore in San Francisco.

Here’s the review for Zagat’s:

It seemed like an interesting idea to have Thanksgiving dinner here. It was not. We had 6:30 reservations, but weren’t seated until 7:30. We ordered a bottle of white wine and they gave us burgundy glasses. When I asked, a random guy came to the table, said “those are the only wine glasses we have,” and walked away. Either they ran out of clean wine glasses or are clueless. This guy, we later learned was the manager, had severe social issues. The wine bottle was left on the table as they had no ice buckets.

The duck salad app, supposedly duck and confit, had one tiny bit of duck and a lot of frisee salad. We’re pretty sure they ran out of duck, but served it anyway. The shrimp and grits was better, until the bus person came, put her hand on the plate with her fingers in the food, and asked if I was done. I wasn’t before, but I was after her dirty hands were in my food. Continue reading