Thursday, September 18, 2014

Techie..techi techy whatever

I am decidedly not technical.  My spouse is.  I am not.

I mean, I know most things a person with my background would know, but I can't do weird algorithm or what have you.

I don't use powerpoint in trial.  I don't have a tablet.

A lot of older attorneys are like me.  They see the tech crap enter our practice and they say: wha?  This is nonsense.

So today the ABA published this gem.

Here are my questions:

What is e-discovery?  Documents provided as pdf files?  Videos?  Anything you give the defense on a disc?

Why are taxpayers paying for a woman to "educate" attorneys on how to use the alt-f function to quickly skim tons of pages for the important parts?  And can you even ethically do that in any criminal case?  Can you just decide "well the computer search thing this lady gave me says no important words are on that page so I will NOT EVEN LOOK AT IT EVER IN MY LIFE."

Why is New York so lazy?  I thought their whole gestalt was that they work hard and wear watches and live hard and... other things hard.  I've seen movies.  Why can't they do what I do?  Read the discovery.  Use a highlighter and tabs to determine what is important.  I know pdfs let you do the same thing.

Do we really need to pay for this lady?

What is a legal rebel, I get the idea that it's someone that rips off attorneys and judges and taxpayers due to their ignorance... is this true?  Please confirm.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Orwellian Justice

The word "jail" is not offensive.

It does, however, carry certain connotations that those who run jails prefer to avoid. 

So we call them other things.  In Kootenai County up north, they're called "Public Safety Buildings."

Orwellian as you can imagine, but yes, that's what they do.

The Court of Appeals has, once again, produced an opinion that can only be understood from what a coworker of mine calls "ends justify the means" legal analysis.

Court upon court has had the courage of its convictions to say "no" to trials held in jails.  Time and time again.  Essentially, pages 3-5 of this horrible opinion list just a small sample of how many states have said "fuck no you CANNOT do this."

Not in Idaho.

Now, granted, this is on PC or PCR, aka Post Conviction Relief which EVERYONE hates doing.  But the attorney on PC is a damn good one.

The trial attorney, on the other hand...

From the opinion:

Here, the district court concluded that the failure to object to the trial being held at the safety building was not objectively unreasonable. The district court reasoned that the law was not sufficiently clear on whether, at the time of Dixon’s trial, an attorney should have known there was a basis to object. Additionally, State v. Jaime, the case predominantly relied on by Dixon below and now on appeal, was not published until roughly four years after his conviction. The court also noted that Dixon’s expert witness, who testified at the post-conviction hearing,indicated that Dixon’s attorney should have objected because “now” the case law exists that this may be a violation. Dixon’s trial attorney also testified to the lack of authority at the time of Dixon’s trial in answering why no objection was made, explaining that at “the time there was no legal basis to do so.” The district court further noted that no other attorneys in the county objected during the numerous trials previously held in the safety building.3 Indeed, in her affidavit, Ms. Anderson states that she represented numerous clients in jury trials in the building without indicating she ever objected, or that it was ineffective to not do so. We agree with the district court’s analysis.

It's actually not that often that a court names defense counsel in one of these.  It's not that often that they name prosecutors when they commit malpractice either.

So what does it tell you when they name defense counsel, but say it wasn't ineffective to allow your client to be tried for L&L in the jail? Ahem, excuse me, "public safety building"?

It tells me that the court had its mind made up about Mr. Dixon, and no amount of bad lawyering would fix it.


So we're presented with two issues here.

One: who gave "Ms. Anderson" the greenlight to claim something so utterly mind boggling as to claim that trials are held in jail all the time and there's no legal basis to claim otherwise?  Why would she say that?  Why not just say, "yeah, I fucked up.  sorry."

Because you don't like your client either?  Did he file a bar complaint?  How dare you?  You allowed your client to be TRIED in a JAIL.  Unacceptable.  Utterly unacceptable.

Second: What to do about appellate courts' addiction to ends justify the means analysis?  We've been calling it "bad facts make bad law" for so long we've almost come to see that as a justification.  But it isn't.

The law cannot be cowed by heckling.  Shushed by angry stupid mobs who have no understanding of what occurred other than a news article that says "rapist given no jail time by judge."

Here's the thing about that debacle, by the by.  "rape" in that case was actually "statutory rape," which, frankly, violates the young woman's right to sexual autonomy as much as it punished people for basically being people.  They're stupid laws written by idiots to please other idiots.  You know why the girl killed herself?  Me neither, but it wasn't because she had sex with her teacher.

Courts are packed with prosecutors.  And in Idaho, much worse, they are democratically retained and elected.  They are thus clowns and puppets, not judges and justices.

And so you get Mr. Dixon, in prison for touching a vagina of a twelve year old despite being physically incapable of such an action in a jail by a jury who really had no reason to do anything but convict.

Public Safety.  Which public?  And how safe is anyone when the law has so little meaning when the facts get "bad?" 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You know you're a PD in Idaho when

You have a two day trial.  Your jury is out for hours.  They have questions, want to review various things.

Your client is convicted.  For once, the jury seems dejected.  Sullen.  Sure they did their duty, unsure why.

Then comes the habitual.  They had no idea.  You force them to hear from your client, his inane ramblings, incoherent thoughts.  The prosecutor is full of glee.  But the gloom over the jury, it gets darker.

Again, conviction.  Life sentence is now on the table.  The judge goes to meet with them, talk to them.

Judge returns.  The state asks that your client go into custody, having been convicted, staring death in prison in the face.

And the judge says "No."

In what state but ours do felonies exist that are so utterly lacking in blameworthiness, in damage to society, in anything approaching reality, that something like this can happen?

Prosecutors gotta prosecute.  PD's gotta defend.

But you, you voters.  You can see that we have better laws than these.  That lives are destroyed for better reasons than the wishes of big business.

Speaking of which!

So in case you missed it, in Idaho, we have a lot of dairy farms.  And on those farms, they like to have sex with and beat their cows.  So, we passed a law: against those who would dare reveal such things.  That, unsurprisingly, provoked a lawsuit.  (First Amendment issue) (also, the dairy industry then immediately put out something asking all farms to deny any request to visit/film their farms)  (also, do we really need more Butch Otter?  I mean, seriously guys.  The man is a menace.)

That lawsuit went to Winmill.

Today, Judge Winmill told Idaho, yeah, this is a bad law, be ready to be treated like you evidently think cows should be treated.

Word, judge.  Let's get bovinienne on these goofball Idaho legislators and governor.