The legal system and you

There’s really only one rule: get a lawyer.
If you’re a witness, get a lawyer.
If you’re a criminal, get a lawyer.
If someone tells you you can talk to a lawyer, get a lawyer.
If someone tells you you can’t talk to a lawyer, definitely get a lawyer.
To the extent that you are not detained as a terrorist, you can get a lawyer, and otherwise, it won’t matter anyway. So, get a lawyer.


Rolling Stone & UVA: Who Was Wrong?

According to Columbia J-School’s overdue report:

Wrong Not Wrong
Taresa Sullivan
Sabrina Rubin Erdley
Rolling Stone
Phi Kappa Psi

Republicans Should Refuse to Pass Obama’s Use-of-Force Request

Obama doesn’t care about the law. He’s made this abundantly clear in his serial unilateralisms. There is no reason that Republicans should now pass a legal fiction designed to provide Obama with a stage on which to flaunt his respect for the rule of law.

The notion that Obama doesn’t want excessive authority is a shot across the bow of reason. He wants a law that authorizes him to only to act as he would anyway, irrespective of any law. He wants such a law to be passed because it will allow him to blame Republicans for the failures that result from his refusal to undertake such strategies as are seriously calculated to counter ISIS.

Instead, Republicans should authorize our effete president to wage unrestricted warfare against ISIS and any state that harbors ISIS.

Obviously, Democrats will make every effort to leverage this nakedly political slovenization of the war powers. But this is an ideal opportunity for Republicans not only to escape the frothing taint of complicity in Obama’s abdication-usurpation but also to enact real, positive public policy.

If ISIS is worth fighting, it’s worth fighting right. Obama’s America aspires to be some sneak-thief in the night, fighting our enemies in squalid alleyways. That’s the fight his proposal authorizes.

This is not a Great Power strategy. Great Powers don’t fight in the alley–they bomb the alley. They don’t answer the enemy’s ultimatum–they eradicate the world to which that ultimatum refers.

When a pygmy bites a giant, the question is not what the giants may do in response. The question is what is necessary to prevent pygmies biting giants. And this is a question that always has a rational answer. But that answer cannot be expressed in terms of how many troops the giants are permitted to deploy against the pygmies. That’s just an invitation.

Carthago delenda est.

WTF, Japan: Kuro Burger

In today’s edition: the “Black Burger.”


Because the Tentacle Burger isn’t ready yet.

Michael Brown and the Interpretation of Science

recently released x-ray apparently demonstrates that the police officer who shot Brown suffered an “Orbital Blowout Fracture to Eye Socket.” Now, such expertise as I have is in the law and not medical science, but I get the feeling that this is one of the fractures tending to result when you get hit in the face.

Officer’s x-ray, purportedly.

That puts sort of an amusing spin on the previous announcement (worded of course by “lawyers for Mr. Brown’s family”1) that an autopsy of Brown showed no signs of a struggle.

That is: Brown was winning the struggle.

  1. Or something like that. In reality what are called “civil rights lawyers” who arranged to be retained by the family after the shooting, as these same did with the Trayvon Martin family. And in plain English, black lawyers who sue white defendants on behalf of black plaintiffs, which is apparently what “civil rights” now entail. 

Nazis! And Desperate Law Profs

If I were in the business of issuing awards for the most outrageously attention-seeking law review articles, this year’s first place winner would have me scouring WestLaw and Lexis for articles about Nazis.

Because that’s what the first place article is about.

Except it’s not — it’s actually an article supporting Argentina’s lawless assertion that it oughtn’t be bound by the terms of an agreement it made under New York Law.

Naturally, the article is titled: Pari Passu: The Nazi Gambit.

Because, right?

Michael Brown’s Arms and the Man Who Shot Him

The shooting of Michael Brown, the (to retread WWI debates) proximate cause of the lately occurring protests/riots in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, is now available in autopsy format.

And it seems like a good example of how additional detail might result in diminished comprehension.

I mean, like, I guess, because you really can’t tell. But according to the report I’m reading on the WSJ, there were “at least six entry wounds,” but, “there might have been seven.”

Which tells us, I suppose, that (1) science might be fallible (and imagine what it will look like once DOJ has exhumed the remains and conducted its second conditional recidivist autopsy), and (2) the police officer who shot the guy was a sufficiently qualified shot and cool head to put no fewer than six rounds into his target, which is presumably at least a third of his magazine, into his apparent target, and no more than (as far as I am aware) zero, which is zero as a percent (because you can divide, though not divide by, zero) bullets into bystanders.

Except that, as we have also learned from some of the more reluctant reporting on this matter, Mr. Brown, in addition to being an “unarmed 18-year old,” was as big as the proverbial barn. The guy was freaking gigantic. And Mr. Brown used this size, as certain surveillance imagery nicely demonstrates, to intimidate the comparatively (maybe literally — Brown is so large much larger that it’s hard to tell) tiny shopkeeper from whom he brazenly, with violence implicit and otherwise, stole a handful of cigars not more than minutes before his end.

But let it not be said that the shooting officer was responding to reports of this theft.

In fact, he apparently alerted to Mr. Brown for the sole reason that the latter was walking down the middle of the street and obstructing traffic for no reason whatsoever. Which, we are to assume, is something that any number of generally law-abiding persons might do for any number of reasons (irrespective of the fact that virtually no generally law-abiding persons do this under any circumstances).

So I guess that I’m just not sure what to take from this case except that: (1) yeah, obviously, St. Louis police should have dash-cams, even if only to provide evidence when they’re inevitably faced with bogus “civil rights” lawsuits resting on chopped up cell phone video recorded by people who hate the police, and (2) a literal giant who had demonstrated (successfully, as it happens) not more than some few minutes previously the present capacity and willingness to use force against an unarmed person (whom, incidentally, I guess, he was robbing — unfortunately it’s not clear that modern English has a word aptly describing the forcible dispossession one person’s property by another, both present), was shot six or more times by an armed person, as it happened a police officer.

There are as many things to say about this situation as there are, I suppose, “civil rights activists/lawyers” descending on Ferguson.

But one of them might be that firearms are not the only deadly weapons available. In fact, substantially all able-bodied individuals (or, as it were, their bodies) are themselves deadly weapons or may become such when complimented by minimal and minimally observable quantities of inert metal or comparable material.

And it so happens that especially large individuals require little or no aid in this capacity. It’s not controversial that a welter-weight boxer (and, surely, plenty of bantams- and fly-weights) can render a professional opponent unconscious with a single punch. Mr. Brown, by appearance of the imagery available, walked around as a heavy-weight and probably would have fought as a heavy-weight. The rabbit-punches such fighters level each other with must be seen to be believed.

And you know what? We wouldn’t want to — and, marvelously, as it turns out, don’t (!) — live in a society where a person walking around at 80, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, or in fact even 300+ pounds, is limited to resisting with muscle and bone, feebly or otherwise, the skull-crushing blows of an enraged assailant. And I mean, this isn’t legal advice, but in most states the standard permitting the exercise of deadly force1 is the reasonable belief that one is at imminent risk of death or great bodily harm. I cannot imagine a situation in which an assault by Brown would not have given an arbitrary reasonable person cause to believe that he or she was at risk of death or great bodily harm.

Violent crime is a terror and a plague on society. Its impact on the lives of every-day Americans is incalculable. We hear (probably less than we should in some cases) about murders, but the walk-a-day violence that passes for normal in some major American cities goes virtually unnoticed in the third person. It’s not, however, unnoticed by the people who have to walk to work (or avoid doing so), in fear of the casual violence, not made explicit because there’s no reason to, of the thug on the corner, omnipresent in the alley-way, dressed and presenting as violence-expressed: the literal embodiment of the junction by which violence might enter corporeally the life of such an unlucky passerby as glances askance at the corner’s bridling occupant.

It seems to me (and in this debased day, this will not be taken as granted) that people of worth — people for whom rallies might in days of reason be organized — do not by violence deprive shopkeepers of $60 worth of Swisher Sweets.

Probably not for more than 200 years (and in most cases less than that) has it been the case that someone might openly threaten violence with effective impunity. And I seriously doubt that this fact is unrelated to the fact that throughout the history of the Common Law, the commission of pretty much any violent crime (or crime that might reasonably portend violence) heralded a “short [probably a little longer, more recently] drop and a sudden stop.” Until recently, of course.

I doubt that it would be worse — morally, if there is such a thing — were one or another reign of thuggery terminated by the lethal, with respect to some culpable person, perforation of some number ~9-12mm (in the magazine anyway!) projectiles than by the disjunction of various cervical vertebrae.

A person who steals, who stares another in his face, threatens him with violence, and takes his property, ought to be killed.

This person ought to end; a mature society ought to be done with him and say so.2

And it’s not a bad thing that one such person seems to have ended because he happened to catch the attention of a police officer while walking down the middle of the street for no reason whatsoever. We might even contemplate the question whether this arbitrary disdain — the obstruction of traffic (which is to say modern lives) for no reason whatsoever — augured a character even worse than the one we see so unashamedly stealing cigars. Presumably at least these were meant for profit or consumption.

Oh, yeah, he probably attacked the cop and tried to steal his gun. (Which most people not prepared to join arbitrary “civil-rights rallies/riots” are prepared to admit is at least problematic.)

But let me be clear: I’m making the strong case here. A person who walks into your store, grabs a handful of cigars, and shoves you out of the way as he departs without paying ought to be killed.

To repeat: In an ideal society, Michael Brown would be executed.

In fact, if we are to extrapolate the kind of ideal society that might exist under conditions of ubiquitous surveillance (in which every crime occurring would immediately be identified) some Judge Dredd analogue would be motorcycle-borne toward more or less the exact location at which Brown was shot. (The ideal society, I think, accomplishes the Constitution’s goals without the need for its, or others’, prophylactics — so yeah I guess Judge Dredd is an angel in this situation.)

  1. Obviously not legal advice, but pretty much the employment of any instrument that might under some circumstances cause death, even if not presently intended to do so. 
  2. The abominable, fleshy specter of prison rape is our great shame. But it is worse that so many would make these convicts their moral agents.