Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oy! Roy!

Roy has posted a couple times about the DSK case - the first post is a great closing argument for the attorneys involved in the case...they should digest it and deliver it.

The more recent one was a bit more entertaining, if only becuse Roy stirs the pot.  It can be summed up as..."if a rape victim doesn't fight off the rape, then she wasn't raped."

Now Roy...

(1) how in the heck are you going to get all those examples in front of the jury and (2) how are you going to prevent (a) every woman on the jury from hating you and (b) every man on the jury from siding with the women on the jury for fear of not wanting to look like an ass in front of the women?

Anybody ever have any success with that type of argument since the 1950s 1890s?

Oh, wait a minute...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some Happenings

Torture, Inc.

If you are tortured by a private American company, do not look to the US court system for relief.  You will not find it.

Holy Shmoley

If you own an apartment complex, you better provide a least attempt to provide security.  An accused killer might just break into one of the tenant's apartments, scare her into jumping out of the third-floor window, cause her to sustain physical and emotional damage; and, you might just get dinged for 1.8 million at trial - nice win for Joseph Lipsky (whoever that is).

Marial Schmarial

And finally, remember how you have been telling your Cuban clients that there is no way they will be deported because of current US policy...even though it is technically possible?  Well....not so much anymore.  Seems that now they actually might be deported.  Something tells me that Chief Judge Moreno has a few medicare and mortgage fraudsters that he would very much like to be waiving goodby to as they fly the friendly skies home.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

You get what you pay for?

I was really enjoying Justice Thomas's approach to oral argument...he basically came out and said that other judges use it for grandstanding and bickering and he wants no part in it.  And then, despite his ridiculous conservative phillosophy, just when I was starting to like him, Justice Thomas goes and screws everything up.

Sure, I could get by his wife's involvement in the Tea Party - sort of - and sure, I could overlook the fact that he filed false mistakenly inacurrate financial disclosure forms, but now, it seems to me he is just part of the machine.  Read the Times story and let me know if you think it is time for the Court to take a few steps back towards being respectable.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.

- Lord Acton

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself."

That was President Jimmy Carter speaking to Congress in 1977, and he is saying it again in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times.

"But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!"

Carter goes on to criticize our current sentencing structure...

"Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right."

That last bolded comment really strikes me.  Until rich folk start hurting in the pocket, nothing is going to change - they run the country. 

Right, cause you can count on Republicans to raise taxes and "soften up" on crime.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

$ + Kill Two People = House Arrest!?*!

Daily Pulp has coverage here - case sickens me too much to discuss.

Judge Barkett wrote a nice dissent in Childers v. Floyd, a recent en banc decision by our favorite executioner's court circuit court of appeals.

"I dissent from the majority’s opinion in two respects. ...viewing this record de novo, Childers was not afforded the fair trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment because he could not present crucial evidence that the State’s star witness, Willie Junior, had fabricated the evidence against him.  Knowing that Junior told different stories, without any evidence of Elliot’s acquittal or the attempt to revoke Junior’s plea agreement, merely permitted the jury to infer that Junior was a typical cooperating witness with an incentive to assist the State and that his inconsistent statements were simply the product of memory lapses."

Given Justice Scalia's love of the Confrontation thingamagig, this could make it up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

"The global war on drugs has "failed" according to a new report by group of politicians and former world leaders.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy report calls for the legalization of some drugs and an end to the criminalization of drug users.

The panel includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, and the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

The 19-member commission includes Mexico's former President Ernesto Zedillo, Brazil's ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, as well as the former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou.  The panel also features prominent Latin American writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, the EU's former foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and George Schultz, a former US secretary of state.

The Global Commission's 24-page report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fueling organized crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths.

It cites UN estimates that opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%.
'No harm to others'"
Of course..."The US and Mexican governments have rejected the findings as misguided."
The authors criticize governments who claim the current war on drugs is effective:

"Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

Instead of punishing users who the report says "do no harm to others," the commission argues that governments should end criminalization of drug use, experiment with legal models that would undermine organized crime syndicates and offer health and treatment services for drug-users.

It calls for drug policies based on methods empirically proven to reduce crime and promote economic and social development.

The commission is especially critical of the US, saying it must abandon anti-crime approaches to drug policy and adopt strategies rooted in healthcare and human rights.

"We hope this country (the US) at least starts to think there are alternatives," said former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria. "We don't see the US evolving in a way that is compatible with our (countries') long-term interests."

The office of White House drug tsar Gil Kerlikowske rejected the panel's recommendations.

"Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated," said a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"Making drugs more available - as this report suggests - will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe."

The government of Mexico, where more than 34,000 people have died in drug-related violence since a crackdown on the cartels began in December 2006, was also critical. 

Legalisation would be an "insufficient and inefficient" step given the international nature of the illegal drugs trade, said National Security spokesman Alejandro Poire.

"Legalisation won't stop organised crime, nor its rivalries and violence," he said.

"To think organised crime in Mexico means drug-trafficking overlooks the other crimes committed such as kidnapping, extortion and robbery.""