Before We Kill Dylann Roof Let’s At Least Pretend To Give Him A Fair Process.

I don’t want Dylann Roof to die. I know that if anybody in the country right now deserves to die, it’s probably Dylann Roof.

However, killing him is putting a seal-of-approval on the legal journey that led him to death row. From the police investigation, to the pretrial motions, trial and death sentencing hearing, we shouldn’t give ourselves the power to kill people if they haven’t had the benefit of an accurate and precise system at every step of the way. Continue reading “Before We Kill Dylann Roof Let’s At Least Pretend To Give Him A Fair Process.”

Saying Nice Things (about Dylann Roof).

It might not have been the first day I started at the Public Defender’s office, but it certainly wasn’t long after.  I knew nothing about the day-to-day operations of a criminal defense attorney (law schools don’t teach such things). I was about to be turned loose into the confusing, complicated, chaotic world of juvenile delinquency court and my new boss was trying to boil my role down to terms my inexperienced self could easily grasp.

“Sometimes,” he said, “your job is to be the only person in that courtroom willing to say something nice about a kid.”

Continue reading “Saying Nice Things (about Dylann Roof).”

I’d Rather Be Good Than Lucky.

I once represented a kid who did dumb kid stuff. I still represent kids who do dumb kid stuff, but this kid was different. He did some really dumb kid stuff. Felony dumb.  Like too many of these dumb-kid felony stories, this one involved a kid from a decent home in a decent neighborhood.  He’d clearly watched Scarface after drinking one too many Red Bulls and thought that the only way out of the “mean” suburbs was his balls and his word.

And his drugs, obviously.

He tried to set himself apart in the marketplace with a unique distribution strategy. He was the “Peapod” of narcotics.  He offered a personal delivery Continue reading “I’d Rather Be Good Than Lucky.”

“Criminal” May Be An Entertaining Podcast, But It’s Damn Sure Not Fair.

My client’s name isn’t important so we’ll call him C.H.  He was minding his own business in Pensacola, Florida when he was arrested. The police claim he’d mugged several people in town over the previous week.

C.H.
C.H.

One of the purported victims was peculiar. He wasn’t peculiar by virtue of his long hair or beard. Nor was he peculiar in that he was wandering the dark streets alone at night with no real destination in mind.

He was peculiar because he doesn’t remember being knocked out, he doesn’t know who knocked him out, and he doesn’t know how he was Continue reading ““Criminal” May Be An Entertaining Podcast, But It’s Damn Sure Not Fair.”

Screw you, I’ll vote how I want to (AKA Charles Blow can stick his thoughts where the sun don’t shine).

I’m not comfortable with the idea of Donald Trump as president. On the other hand, I’m not comfortable with the idea of Hillary Clinton as president, either.

I tend to have a different set of priorities than those in the national spotlight.  I’m primarily concerned with issues like putting teeth into the confrontation clause, figuring out how the ancient language of “unreasonable searches” applies in a world not imagined by those who invented the phrase, and wondering if I’m the only one who actually sees the term “excessive bail shall not be required…” to kick off the Eighth amendment. You know, issues of freedom.

That’s not to say that matters of national debate don’t concern me. They just tend to fall lower on the list of pressing things.  Because of that, I tend to vote 3rd party.  It’s been that way since I cast my first vote (for Ross Perot, duh) in 1992.

Continue reading “Screw you, I’ll vote how I want to (AKA Charles Blow can stick his thoughts where the sun don’t shine).”

The Twitter Law Seminar That Never Will Be.

Overblown Moderator’s Intro:

How many of you could use help with the internet? Today we’re happy to have an “expert” that can help you market on the world wide web. He’s an accomplished twitterer with over 11,000 impressive tweets, the back of his head was featured on Huffington Post, and he’s even got his very own web page!  We are pleased to have Matt Haiduk today to tell us how you should market your pracrice on twitter!

The Awkward Ice Breaker

Happy to make it here today, although I know the intro was unnecessary because you saw me tweet about how I’d be here, right? [feigned laughter by 3 polite people]  Show of hands, how many of you here today use twitter in your law practice. [3 people raise hands]  Ok, 3? That’s pretty good. Normally it’s nobody.  How many of you 3 let a marketing company post your tweets? [2 people raise hands] Well, after today that’s going to change!  It’s so simple and easy you won’t want to waste the money. Continue reading “The Twitter Law Seminar That Never Will Be.”

Because I Love It.

“How do you sleep at night putting in toilets for pedophiles?”

-Things nobody ever says to plumbers.

“I could never do what you do… you help drunk drivers save money on taxes so they can buy more beer.”

-Something accountants never hear.

“How does it feel knowing you sell hardware to criminals?”

-Questions the guy at Home Depot doesn’t have to answer at social gatherings.

Continue reading “Because I Love It.”

Making a Murderer: Did Steven Avery Actually Do It?

“What do you think about Making a Murderer?”  By the end of December I had to answer that question several times a week.  The answer was, of course, “I don’t know.”  I hadn’t really planned to watch another criminal trial documentary.

I don’t own the remote, though. I bought the remote. Paid for it with my own money, even.  I don’t get to touch it in any substantive way other than passing it over to The Boss, though.

Now I’ve seen the whole series. People are still asking me what I think about it. I still don’t know if he is “really innocent” or guilty.  I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Continue reading “Making a Murderer: Did Steven Avery Actually Do It?”

Ponderings on Possession, Part Two.

I’ve struggled with Windypundit’s possession post.  If you’re not keeping pace, last week he brought up an interesting scenario (or two) resulting in people innocently going about their business but somehow obtaining items it’s illegal to possess. I took a stab at giving what I thought would be decent advice based on the scenarios presented (and also tried to explain the reasoning).

It wasn’t particularly easy, but many things in the world of criminal defense aren’t.

The shame of Draughn’s legal problems isn’t really the absurdity of possession crimes, though. While the hypotheticals do a great job highlighting that absurdity, the root of their difficulty is in a  couple of much more pervasive aspects of the system. Continue reading “Ponderings on Possession, Part Two.”

Ponderings on Possession.

Mark Draughn’s “Windypundit” blog is one of my regular reads. He’s somehow found the magic ability to post both frequent and frequently interesting new thoughts.  Today he posted an interesting hypothetical regarding possession of contraband:

To make it more concrete, suppose I’m walking down the street, minding my own business, when a stranger confronts me, thrusts a duffle bag into my hands, and runs away. When I open a duffle bag, I find a tightly wrapped kilo of cocaine, a pile of child pornography, and a MAC-10 submachinegun. As I look up, I notice several police officers coming down the street, obviously searching for someone or something. They haven’t noticed me yet. What should I do next?

Well, then. What do you do?

From a strictly legal standpoint Continue reading “Ponderings on Possession.”