"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Extremist lawyers group ACLU rebuffed in San Diego

In a stinging rebuke to the anti-religion extremist group calling itself the ACLU, the citizens of San Diego have taken a large step to saving a cross in a memorial park dedicated to fallen veterans. Seems the ACLU's delicate dandies were offended by the presence of a cross in this monument owned by the city of San Diego. Under the whacky interpretation of these things given by the fruits and nuts over at the California Supreme Court, such a cross would likely be found violative of the state constitution's version of the First Amendment.

Despite a last minute ruling by a judge requiring that the measure pass by a two-thirds vote, the people of San Diego thumped the ACLU with a resounding vote of over 75% in favor of ceding the land to the federal government in order to preserve the cross, the idea being that even the loonies at the Ninth Circuit cannot find an "establishment" of "a religion" by Congress by the innocuous presence of a cross in a memorial park for veterans.

The fight is not over, since these enemies of our culture will no doubt carry on in the federal courts, but as usual, when the people have a chance to speak, the message is clear: a stinging rejection of the hard-left extremist lawyer's group, the ACLU.

Bravo, San Diego!

Kudos to The Thomas More Law Center for their role in slapping down the anti-democratic, anti-Christian radicals.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"I have a rule; I don't seat all white jurors"

Amazingly, a Chicago judge has pronounced all-white juries incapable of fairly trying cases:

A judge in Chicago's Cook County criminal court has drawn fire for recorded statements that she will not seat an all-white jury. Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay, an African-American, made statements during jury selection on several occasions such as "folks, you all know I have a rule; I don't seat all white jurors," according to transcripts obtained by the Chicago Tribune. She says she regrets being indelicate, but believes African-Americans were being excluded from juries.

One must wonder whether what this Solomon does when the defendant is white: does she refuse to seat an all black jury? If the defendant is a woman, can the jury be all male? Sadly, we have gotten to the point where such overt racism against white people is not viewed seriously. This judge should be impeached or otherwise removed from office. Sadly, Illinois will probably bow to political correctness and ignore or attempt to justify this judge.

Not only is she racist, but she clearly does not understand Batson, which does not entitle a defendant to be tried by members of his own race, but only guarantees that the selection of jurors be free from improper racial considerations. In fact this judge is herself violating the core of Batson by seeking to exclude at least some otherwise qualified white people from jury service simply because of their race.

Via American Constitution Society and Ken over at CrimLaw.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

One poster to this blog takes exception to my defense of the south as being at least as racially reconciled as the north: He or she writes: "Anyway, the South is not racist. Sure they don’t like outsiders, and extra-judicially hung some black people, but that was like years ago or something." Sarcasm duly noted. Another poster more calmly relates the peaceful mix in his borough of Brooklyn. The pious left in the north likes to feel superior to us benighted southerners who supposedly still pine away for slavery and still run around in sheets lynching blacks. The reality of course, as usual, is quite different than the fevered left imagines.

For instance, I cannot think of an example anywhere in the south that matches the brutality and hatred produced by the Crown Heights incident in where?? Brooklyn:

On August 19, 1991, a car in the entourage of the Rebbe of Chabad (Menachem Mendel Schneerson) ran a red light and ran over a seven-year-old African-American child, Gavin Cato. A private Hasidic ambulance came to the scene and removed the Hasidic driver, who had been assaulted by angry bystanders, on the orders of a police officer; a city ambulance arrived minutes later to treat Cato, who died of his injuries a few hours later. African-American residents of the neighborhood then rioted for four consecutive days, presumably because of unequal treatment of the victims, and attacked a total of 188 Hasidim, including killing a visiting rabbinical student from Australia by the name of Yankel Rosenbaum, 29 years old, who had come to continue study on the Holocaust. The person charged with killing Rosenbaum, an African-American named Lemrick Nelson, was acquitted. Claims that he admitted to having stabbed Rosenbaum were dismissed by the jury.
In addition, during the same rioting, a 67-year-old non-Jewish motorist who had apparently gotten lost in the neighborhood, Anthony Graziosi, was dragged out of his car and brutally beaten and stabbed to death, presumably because his full beard and dark clothing had caused his killers to mistake him for a Hasidic Jew. No suspects have ever been apprehended in his murder.
Via Wikipedia. Just some history, lest we forget, lest we forget.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Death Penalty Poster Boy, cont.

The latest on the child molester caught with a notebook cataloguing his depravities, who was still destroying children's innocence despite three prior molestation convictions:

Dean Schwartzmiller is apparently not talking to police about allegations he molested multiple boys. But the notebooks and inch-and-a-half thick manuscript he left behind may be speaking for him. Police said they have cracked "99 percent" of the detailed code that Schwartzmiller used in notebooks he kept, apparently to chronicle crimes both real and imagined. They also have a lengthy typed memoir. Schwartzmiller was arrested earlier this month after investigators said they discovered notebooks with 36,700 handwritten entries of boys' names, descriptions of their anatomy and codes for suspected sex acts.

The notebook entries are being entered into a spreadsheet, but police said they have not determined how many victims there were because many items are duplications and some may describe Schwartzmiller's fantasies.

Schwartzmiller, 63, is being held without bail on one count of aggravated sexual assault on a child under 14 and six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14 involving two 12-year-old cousins. He faces two life sentences if convicted.
His next court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Via The Washington Times.

ADDENDUM: Since I've been away, I didn't realize that Alabama's house has passed a law calling for castration for certain sex offenders. Contrary to some folks' expectations, I can't say that I'm really on-board with this idea. I think that these sick individuals will not be deterred in all or even most cases from abusing children because castration has been tried and found not to be universally effective. Frankly, we need to look at permanently removing these cancers from society by executing them. Not only is this the ultimate deterrent for that offender, it also would satisfy the demands of the offended moral and social order. In other words, it would satisfy justice by imposing a congruent punishment for the crime. A repeat or multiple offender has attacked the personhood of his victims in a way that is uniquely irreperable and deeply injurious to the victim, the victim's family, and society as a whole. Nothing short of depriving the offender of his life would adequately address the harm he has inflicted.

The Polite Drunk

The week before last I tried a case (actually a guilty plea) that gave me a laugh. This guy was driving drunk, and when the officer tried to pull him over, the chase was on. A few miles into the pursuit (which was never really much over 70 mph on a limited access highway) the defendant approached a toll plaza. Now in this toll plaza there are usually lanes available with no gates down. Even the gates that are there can be fairly easily driven through.

This model citizen, however, very politely stopped at the exact change lane, threw in his 75-cents, looked over at the officer who was right next to him by now, and accelerated out of the lane when his gate went up. Fortunately he stopped without incident shortly thereafter. The toll authority is no doubt pleased at his compliance.

Back from Camp

Just back from a week in sunny (and very hot) north Georgia where I led my little boy scout troop for their summer camp. It was interesting in many ways, but one thing that struck me was the diversity there. Living in Richmond, Virginia, I suppose I assumed Georgia, being the deep south, would be somewhat less "diverse" than here. (Note: I do not thereby assert that "diversity" is some independent good, much less the idol it has become to the modern mindset; diversity in fact is often destructive of social order and can and is used as an excuse to undermine a strong sense of American nationality).

I was amazed to hear not one, not two, but five spanish language FM stations in this remote corner of Georgia! It rivalled the number of country music stations. What was even more telling was when I stopped at a Chinese restaurant, run by an Asian family (as all the good ones are), and found that many of their customers were hispanic laborers. In fact, they had even modified their menu somewhat to include a tortilla-wrapped concoction of crab and cheese.

It was a pleasant surprise to see how well-integrated that little stretch of the south seemed to be. I was also impressed with how tidy and active the small towns all appeared to be. In sum, a lovely area. It really gave the lie to some arrogant northerners like Bill Bryson who still seem fixated on a false picture of the south as uniformly racist and backward. Indeed I chuckled to read in his very forgettable book his expressed amazement that in his travels in the south he saw whites living beside black neighbors, while in the north, there is far more actual segregation.

Anyone who has lived in both parts can tell you that on the whole there is actually far more day-to-day interaction of blacks and whites in the south than in, say, New York, where they live in separate enclaves and exist in far more mutual suspicion. Is everything here rosy? No indeed... but I would venture to say that race relations are no worse here than in the north.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Jury Tips

Over at Injustice Anywhere, check out her intersting post on jury service. Seems she had the invaluable (for a trial dog) opportunity to actually sit on a civil jury. She gives some good insight into the process, and some useful reminders. I especially like #1: "Jurors have to sit around and wait--a lot. This is annoying and frustrating. Anything judges and lawyers can do to alleviate this problem will go a long way to keeping the jurors happy."

Also #2 is a good reminder of the principle of primacy:

2. The first witness in the case is crucial. In our case, the plaintiff was the first to testify. He testified on direct for a couple hours, and came across as credible. Once he was done with his direct testimony, I am 99% convinced that at least one of the jurors had already made up her mind to find in his favor. Even I had to fight the urge to simply adopt the plaintiff's story as the truth. For at least a couple of the jurors, I think anything they subsequently heard in cross examination or from defense witnesses was viewed with immediate skepticism. It was as though the truth had been established, and the defense now had to try to pound up against and chip away at that.

She reports that although she was the foreman, and a lawyer to boot, she was unable to sway jurors to her view of the case, so she was the lone vote for "not liable." Interesting to see how it looks from the inside.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Screw Abstinence

In light of the recent postings and comments on this site, this item from NARAL might be of some interest. It seems that the abortion industry is decidedly against abstinence. Might cut into their profits.

They obviously understand that part and parcel of modern (non-abstinence based) sex ed is the idea that abortion is just another form of birth control-- and therefore do not want any talk of abstinence, which if practiced widely would put them out of business.

Ugh... check out that link--the flagship of the abortion industry is a cesspool of degeneracy. That's "reproductive rights" for you.

Via Southern Appeal.

The Gods at Work in Wisconsin

In a shocking display of judicial overreaching and arrogance, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in Wisconsin v. Jerrell C.J. that police in that state must record all custodial statements of juvenile suspects.

It appears the "child" in this case robbed a McDonalds by ordering the employees at gunpoint to lay down. The 14-year old "child" was brought in for questioning, handcuffed, denied a call to his parents, read his "Miranda" warnings, which he waived, given food, drink, and bathroom breaks, was talked to by the detective in an "angry" tone of voice, and eventually confessed orally, and ultimately signed a written confession.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in its delicate consideration for the treatment of this armed robber, is shocked, shocked, that the detective never lets a juvenile call his parents! As far as I can tell, this horrible mistreatment, coupled with the "child's" age and the detective's stern tone of voice, rendered the robber's statement involuntary. Whatever.

What's truly amazing is that even though the confession was tossed and therefore the Court's job was complete, the Court goes beyond the issue in the case to adopt as a "rule of evidence" the requirement that police record all juvenile confessions. This is a shabby attempt to hamstring the police and yet another instance of the courts converting the "involuntariness" inquiry into an excuse for micromanaging the police. Bad enough Miranda already requires the police to act as a suspect's lawyer by advising him of his legal rights (and even some that don't exist, such as the "right" to counsel during questioning!) But now, the police in Wisconsin have to talk extra-special nicely to the "children" and record everything they do, because as we know, you can't trust those cops!

Well at least the dissenters have it right, especially in pointing out the power grab that invocation of the Court's "supervisory powers" entails:

If the majority opinion represents a proper use of the court's "superintending . . . authority," then, logically, there is no practical reason why the court could not dictate any aspect of police investigative procedure that is designed to secure evidence for use at trial. The people of Wisconsin have never bestowed this kind of power on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Silly dissenter. These guys are just taking their cue from the U.S. Supremes, who have never let the limited nature of their authority stand in the way of re-drafting the constitution (latest example: Kelo v. London) I have no doubt the Supreme Court of Wisconsin would like very much to begin managing other aspects of police activity, with rulings on how to conduct a search warrant and how to handle a traffic stop next up for the high court.

The most persuasive dissenter, however, was the poetically-named Patience Drake Roggensack, who while concurring that the statement in this case was involuntary, made the common-sense observation that "the court's superintending authority under Article VII, Section 3 does not permit the court to interfere in the practices of law enforcement unless those practices violate either a constitutional right or a law established by the legislature. Failing to record interrogations of juveniles does neither."

She persuasively argues that the Court is arrogating to itself a "superintending" power much broader than can be justified by the state constitution or the common law, and certainly not a power needed to decide the particular facts of this case.

Alas, like most advocates of judicial restraint, she cannot contend with the will to power that motivates many appellate court majorities, particularly when they realize that the legislatures will not punish them for it.

Via Have Opinion Will Travel.

ADDENDUM: I want to be absolutely clear: as a prosecutor, I unequivocally favor recording statements. It invariably gives the lie to defendants who whine about police intimidation. I advocate strongly that police adopt the practice. I just don't accept that the Courts have the authority to mandate it as a requirement of admissibility.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Abstinence, Part Two

Some folks get very upset at the idea that we should be teaching young people to be sexually chaste. As with so many of these culture war issues, there is always a resort to "scientific" evidence to support one's view. This issue is no different, but proponents of promiscuity can't argue that early sexual activity, "safe" or otherwise, is not problematic, even if only considered from a totally secular point of view:

The harmful effects of early sexual activity are well documented. They include sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. As well, teen sexual activity is linked to emotional problems, such as depression, and increased risk of suicide. Abstinence education programs, which encourage teens to delay the onset of sexual activity, are effective in curbing such problems. Opponents of abstinence education, however, claim that abstinence programs don’t work and that there has been “no scientific evidence that abstinence programs are effective.” New research proves abstinence education opponents wrong once again.

You can read the results of this new research yourself here. What amazes me about this issue is that proponents of promiscuity assume that those who advocate chastity are religious nuts, but they themselves are being value-neutral. Laying aside the issue of whether value neutrality is a good thing, it is patently obvious that the opponents of chastity are in fact devoted to promoting the idea of sexual license. They are the same crowd pushing for abortion rights, repealing of sodomy laws and the related issue of homosexual marriage.

In other words, they have staked out a value-driven position in the culture wars, but apparently think it is inappropriate for people who follow the natural law, or worse in their view, the general tenets of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and many other religions, to posit the worthiness of their views as foundations for sound public policy.

Their view is that religious folks should just shut up and let them change the traditional values and mores of our culture.

Thankfully, the majority is finally fighting back.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Doctors For Teen Fornication

Some doctors want to hand out condoms and abortifacient pills to minors:

A leading group of pediatricians says teenagers need access to birth control and emergency contraception, not the abstinence-only approach to sex education favored by religious groups and President Bush. The recommendations are part of the American Academy of Pediatrics' updated teen pregnancy policy.

"Even though there is great enthusiasm in some circles for abstinence-only interventions, the evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy," said Dr. Jonathan Klein, chairman of the academy committee that wrote the new recommendations.

Interesting thought exercize: imagine the issue is smoking cigarettes-- do the doctors attack abstinence and advocate "safer smoking" (e.g., handing out low-nicotine or filtered smokes; cigars [you don't inhale the smoke] )?

Don't tell the ACLU

Via The Policeman's Blog comes this interesting job opportunity announcement for police positions on the south Atlantic island of Ascension, which has a next-to-nothing crime rate, friendly police-community relations, and this interesting feature:

The Inspector takes on the role of Public Prosecutor, and the defendant is frequently represented by a lay representative; a member of the public with an interest in the law. The case is heard by three Justices of the Peace one of which is the Chief Magistrate. If there are any appeals, or there is a more serious case, this is heard by the Circuit Judge on his way to St. Helena, who visits every six months. Needless to say there are many occasions when he passes though without a case to hear.

Check out the whole description here.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Judge Gives Low Bond; Molester Does His Thing

Happy 4th of July news includes this story of the pederast who apparently has killed one little boy and kidnapped and molested his eight year old sister:

The two children were missing when authorities arrived at their rural home on May 16 and found the bound and bludgeoned bodies of their mother, Brenda; 13-year-old brother Slade; and their mother's boyfriend, Mark McKenzie. Sunday night, the children's father, Steven Groene, spoke publicly for the first time about being reunited with his daughter.

"When I walked in the door, her face just lit up," Groene told Fox News, choking back tears. "She put her arms out and said 'Daddy, Daddy!' It was one of the better moments of my life."

The piece of inhuman garbage, Joseph Duncan, a registered sex offender,"has requested a lawyer and is refusing to talk to authorities." How lovely for him.

Duncan had spent more a decade in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint, and at the time of his arrest was a fugitive from justice for allegedly molesting a boy in Minnesota.

In a shocking display of judicial incompetence and dereliction that directly resulted in these horrific crimes, Judge Thomas Schroeder of Becker County, Minn. actually gave this slimeball a low bond!

In Becker County, Minn., District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who had set bail at $15,000 despite prosecutors' request that it be $25,000, said Sunday that he barely remembers the case and isn't sure if he knew then that the man was a registered Level 3 sex offender."Usually on a bail hearing you have limited information, and so you set it in an amount that you think is appropriate," the judge said. He said if he had known Duncan's record, he would have set it high enough that Duncan would not have gone free.


At least that good prosecutor can know he or she tried to keep this animal caged, but alas, some weak-kneed judge had to go easy on this convicted child molesting monster, and now a boy is probably dead, and a little girl has been scarred forever.

Capital punishment for violent or repeat molesters!

Potential Supremes

Check out this list of potential SCOTUS candidates, with pics and bios.

Via Southern Appeal.