I spent most of today putting together a cheat sheet on penalties for various crimes. My favorites were the 20 years I can spend in prison for messing with an agriculture research center or sabotaging a tree.
I spent a few minutes trying to figure out why the police can record people and play it in court without committing a felony.
And that's sad, because you'd think I'd assume the law was well-written enough that the police wouldn't be constantly committing a felony. After all, our Terrorism statute literally describes what police do as terrorism but then in a separate statute grants them all immunity. Thank goodness.
But see, since I started working in this state I've noticed that dumb things happen. Very dumb things.
The first thing I noticed was that our courts have decided there's no issue with not presenting the other side with your rebuttal witnesses. Nothing in the discovery law or rules allow this. In fact, neither did the original case law.
But our good ol' Court of Appeals misread our Supreme Court and cemented this practice, which as of yet has not made it to the Supreme Court for review.
The second was when the Court of Appeals, out of nowhere, decided that rather than people being allowed to use reasonable force to defend themselves from unlawful police action- they may not use force at all. Peaceful force only. Or the cop that is raping you with his nightstick can still arrest you for battery on certain personnel.
And now my current headache. "Implied consent" is a country-wide state practice of requiring drivers to submit to breathalyzers or be punished. You read the cases, and the Supreme Courts all say "this has nothing to do with the Fourth because the Fourth is unrelated to DUIs- Schmerber said so!
But McNeeley says that's really not the case, so.. um..
But in Idaho, our Court of Appeals (again) decided to misread the case law (badly.. like.. violating the professional rules badly) and say that Implied Consent is to a Fourth Amendment search.
And so, just like that, the state legislature was granted the ability to force you to give up your Fourth Amendment rights if you wanted to drive. And then, ten years after the fuck up, the Supreme Court held the same- CITING TO THE OPINION WHERE THE COURT OF APPEALS GOT IT SO FUCKING OBVIOUSLY WRONG.
And when I get to the Supreme Court, I will stare at them. And I'll say, "well, since you're an elected judiciary, I'm going to assume I've already lost, so let's both just spend fifteen minutes in silence, contemplating the death of our freedoms. Because when a state government can make its citizens waive their rights just to do something as universal as driving, the Bill of Rights is dead."
This is why my job is depressing. It's not just the screw ups that send the innocent to prison, it's having a front row seat for the death of America and all it stands for.