Monday, September 8, 2014

Updated: Orwellian Justice

CORRECTION: I've been informed through the grapeline that Ms. Anderson was not trial counsel and had submitted an affidavit in favor of the prisoner.  My apologies for not catching that.  The opinion notes that she submitted an affidavit that it took judicial notice of, my mistake for assuming she was trial counsel.

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.

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.

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?" 

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