Friday, September 26, 2014

Law Day

A lot of cases were just decided so let's get to it.

First: Carr v. Edgar.  Supreme Court.  Contempt case based on a child custody order.  Noteworthy for two things: (1) Horton wrote it and he's the ex-prosecutor newbie on the court and (2) it tears Magistrate Terry McDaniel of the Fourth District a new one.  To the point of requesting that he be investigated.

It's also a nice example of an appellate court looking at a record and saying "these facts and your reasoning are nonsense."

Which is a perfectly good note to get to the second case: H & W v. Doe.  Court of Appeals.  Involuntary commitment of a mentally ill person.    This case is tricky because it takes a few reads to figure out what is going on.  Apparently, the Magistrate ruled for commitment, but essentially did a laundry list of the things he found without saying why.  So for example, he said Doe is mentally ill, but doesn't say which mental illness.  Doe argues that's bullshit, the record is no good.  The Court of Appeals disagrees, saying that because only one person testified and Doe only tried to attack her credibility, the judge didn't need to give any specifics.  But, in line with the usual crap you get from the Court of Appeals, the Court says two things that make you wonder: first, that it wouldn't be good for judicial economy to reverse just to make the judge do his job.  Why even say that if the law doesn't require him to do it?  Second, they mention later that Doe suggested that her symptoms were caused by her meds.  That seems to contradict the mental illness idea (judge has to find she's a danger to herself or others or gravely disabled due to mental illness).  So that's not just credibility.

How do you juxtapose what happened in Carr when what happened in Doe?  Magistrate's find out that all they have to do to keep from not only getting overturned but from being investigated as incompetent is keep their mouth shut.  So there's no record of how dumb they are.  Their wrong decisions can just ruin lives with no way to fix them.  Hurray!

The other interesting point in the opinion is that "friends and family" private care does not include being in assisted living.  I mean, I guess I sort of see that if you read the statute like a moron, but seriously, talk about misusing words to get the outcome you want.

Third case: State v. Herren. Supreme Court.  Court of Appeals already reversed on roughly the same grounds.  See, when you have a no contact order from a judge, the violation could just be contempt.  But we have another law making it a whole new offense.  That law defines violation as "contact."  But there are other ways to violate a no contact order.  So the state argued that essentially the title controlled instead of the law, and the Supreme court disagreed.

Also of note: the court held that the defendant could have done a conditional admission on a probation violation, something with no basis in the criminal rules.  But hey, works for me.

Fourth case: State v. Young.  Court of Appeals.  Guy tackled his baby momma when he thought she was trying to leave with his kid because she apparently is a monster who had her rights terminated and is just bad news bears.  Tried to kidnap the kid once before... so on.  First, the court holds that to have a child in common applies even here, because so long as you have two biological parents, it doesn't matter what the other circumstances are.  That seems a little weird to me personally, I mean, it's not like we're saying you can batter people if they're awful parents, but if you lost your kid because you're a drug addict, you shouldn't also be protected by domestic violence statues.  I mean, shit, this is going to mean you don't get to own a gun?  Plus, it doesn't jive well with the Supreme Court's rulings on the household member statute that said it was about intimate relationships.  Whatever.  The Court goes on to say that it was ok for the Magistrate to refuse his two defenses- defense of another and defense of necessity.  The court basically says he could have grabbed her for all they care.  But the tackling just was never going to be ok.

I don't get why the court says this instead of letting a jury say it.  But whatever.  The caselaw is in the court's favor, and they could have made really ugly law here but I think this might actually be kind of useful as written, so I'll take it.

Fifth case: State v. Denny. Court of Appeals.  I don't know why this got published.  Basically, guy is held in WA, there's a warrant, he says, out of Idaho, and while he could have gotten out if there was just the WA hold, he can't cuz he can't afford the Idaho hold or something.  It's all pro se and he can't get evidence of what he's saying so he loses.  I mean.  Ouch. Just seems kinda weird to bother publishing this case as opposed to---

Sixth Case: State v. Bristol. Court of Appeals and unpublished.  Also pro se.  Guy in Pocatello gets convicted for having a dirty house or yard or something.  The Court is pretty patient with him and while it's not worth much it's at least entertaining.

Seventh Case: State v. Brooks. Court of Appeals.  Guy gets pulled over for not having his blinker on for five seconds before changing lanes on the freeway.  Argues that the statute has to be read that only if you're leaving a parked position while on the freeway you need to do that.  Kind of hilarious and the court clearly chides the defense for trying this argument out.  But this is important because we've all seen cops try to do that 5 second rule on city streets, and now we have a court case saying no no this only applies on the interstate/highway.  I mean duh, but sometimes you need caselaw to get a Magistrate or what have you to do something right.

Eighth and final case: State v. Miller.  Court of Appeals.  So, this case is kind of interesting.  Essentially, every issue the defense raises they win on.  Hearsay! true.  Irrelevant! True.  And there are plenty of judges that probably need this primer on the rules of evidence.  I definitely suggest folks give it a read.  If you've ever let a cop testify about the arrest and such, you need this case to remind you that you need to be objecting.  But, court says who cares?  He's guilty as sin.  None of this stuff changes the tons of evidence against this guy, or all the stuff in his favor.  Jury didn't buy his witnesses, none of this stuff was all that harmful.

It's impossible to know if that's true because of the way courts can control what the facts are when they write the opinion.  I mean, I get their point if I believe them, but I don't.  Because I know better.

Anyway, that's enough law for this week.


  1. McDaniel ruled on my child support case one of his last being forced to retire from the bench June 30, 2014. Disaster of epic proportion currently on appeal to Supreme Court. I'm arguing pro se which I cant get into here but would like to speak with you in private as I think your cogent mind will be of great help.

    1. What grounds do you have to say he was forced into Retirement??I had a series of shifty mishaps with this Retired Judge.

    2. I too am one of Magistrate McDaniel's disgruntled victims and may be of help to you...see case no. 43429 and docket no. 15-9484.

  2. My very well known former attorney told me. Look up Carr v. Edgar for another mishap on the judge Landed him in front of judicial committte. Was told he was taken off all family law cases after that by same attorney.