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.”
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.”
Hitting “Publish” Isn’t Easy.
I’ve written a lot of posts that haven’t been published. That’s a problem. It’s a problem of being too reserved, too cautious, or concerned about what I’ve written to offer it up for public consumption.
Early this year- in January- I wrote a post called “10 years.” It spoke to my decade of private criminal defense work since leaving the Office of the Public Defender. I wrote about how much I loved this job, how fun it’s been, and how lucky I’ve been to have an extremely helpful group of talented colleagues.
More importantly, I talked about the stark and grave realization of how grating this profession can be. How depressing it is knowing that, as much as you can fight for that guy standing next to you in front of the judge, the system isn’t designed for change even if the system has it wrong. It will be wrong over and over and over and over Continue reading “I’m Down But Not Out.”
I’ll be intently following the political future of Randall Scannell in Green Bay. I know zero about his political beliefs or party affiliation. What I do know about the man, though, I like.
He’s all for eliminating parking tickets for drunks. “What?????? He’s going to REWARD people for getting drunk?” You heard it right- no tickets for drunks. He’s not “rewarding” anybody, though.
Actual Effects Are More Important Than Theoretical Debates
Law and politics are, sadly, too much like Philosophy- lots of people with strong opinions sitting around in a room talking about what should (or will) happen in the “out there” world if everybody in the world acted (or was forced to act by passage of law) in the way they wanted. “Cut taxes and nobody will starve.” Or, “raise minimum wage and nobody will s Continue reading “Actually preventing DUI is the goal, right?”
I don’t know much about a lot of things. Nobody will dispute that. I might know a little about a few things. At least, people ask me questions as though they think I do. Of course, I’ve got a philosophy degree so I know that I really know nothing. That’s what the bearded, hippie, teaching assistants told me, anyway. I don’t know enough to disagree with them, that’s for sure.
My favorite legal questions are when friends and family of people without much exposure to law enforcement have that first “experience” and want to know what to do.
- “The police were banging on my brother’s door and screaming for him to come outside. What should he have done?”
- “Some investigator showed up at my friend’s house and asked him to come talk at the station. The Investigator wouldn’t say what it was about. Is that normal?”
- “The police wouldn’t let me answer my phone and were asking me weird questions. Why would they do that?”
Continue reading “The Regular Person Standard.”