Friday, April 27, 2007

A police state is very bad, unless it's guns we're talking about, and then it's jim dandy!

Good grief.
The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."

That Constitution-thingy that guarantees we are free from searches and seizures on less than probable cause? Pish posh -- these are guns were talking about! That pesky 2nd amendment? Screw that -- it doesn't really mean what it says anyway. Due process? No worries -- we're taking your guns FOR THE CHILDREN!!!! THE CHILDREN!!!

UPDATE: The protein wisdom take on this.

What is it with North Carolina?

You need to watch The Trials of Darryl Hunt on HBO. It is a documentary about a man wrongfully convicted of a hideous rape/murder in Winston-Salem, NC. He spent 20 years in prison, and it turned out he was completely innocent of the offense. Mr. Hunt's case shows you what happens to poor (and often black) defendants in the criminal justice system. And it shows you what Mike Nifong was trying to do the the lacrosse players -- win at any cost. A shameful episode. Just watch it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

About frickin' time

McCain-Feingold, the campaign finance legislation that also acts as a pre-existing restraint on political speech, may finally get whacked by the Supremes. Good riddance, I say.
With Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Antonin Scalia exhibiting considerable distaste for a key provision of federal campaign finance law, Congress' latest attempt to reduce the flow of corporate and union money into federal politics appeared to be in trouble in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. While that attempt had an energetic defense from Justices Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter, it seemed apparent at the end of an hour of argument that the "blackout" period for "electioneering" ads on radio and TV -- if it survived at all -- would have far less effect in restraining such ads.

. . .

Scalia was clearly taking the lead against the "blackout." He commented to Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who was defending that restriction: "This is the First Amendment. We don't make people guess whether their speech is going to be allowed by Big Brother or not. If you are going to cut off the speech, there ought to be a clear line...And you're not giving us one." Roberts, confronting attorney Seth P. Waxman, representing lawmakers who helped create the "blackout," soon echoed Scalia by asking rhetorically: "Do we usually place the burden when we're applying strict scritiny under the First Amendment on the challenger to prove that they're allowed to speak, as opposed to the carry the burden that they can censor the speech?"
Excellent questions, friends, excellent questions. The answer to both assertions is that the line drawn by the first amendment is really quite simple: unless the political speech is fightin' words or otherwise illegal, it is to be permitted unless the government can show a compelling interest to muzzle what is otherwise protected speech. I can think of no circumstance that makes the blanket "blackout" rule of McCain-Feingold pass that test. But what do I know? I'm just a lawyer/blogger.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"I'm getting a million dollars of free advertisements."

Via Instapundit, we find that Nifong was prosecuting the Duke lacrosse case for the most craven of reasons -- to get elected DA and get a fat bonus when he retired.
Seeing the crowd, Brown retreated to a corner and called Nifong several times on his cell phone, she said. No answer.

When Nifong left his office to go to the men's room, Brown maneuvered him into a corner so her back was to the cameras.

"What are you doing? Why don't you answer my calls?"

The television reporters had asked that he turn off the cell phone so it wouldn't ring during interviews, Nifong said.

"I said, 'You don't have any idea what the impact is going to be on your campaign.' He said, 'I'm getting a million dollars of free advertisements.'

"I left and didn't say another word."

Now, others much smarter and more informed than I have commented on this case throughout (see Durham in Wonderland, for one). However, as a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, I reckon my opinion should count for a little something. Nifong should be in prison, without question. By the time he took over the case, just a couple weeks after the "event," he already knew that the "victim" had changed her story about six times. She could not identify anyone. The stripper that accompanied her said nothing like that happened.
A News & Observer examination of Nifong's handling of the case, based on documents and dozens of interviews, adds new insights about the investigation's focus on shoring up Mangum's claims. Nifong ignored contrary facts, withheld evidence favorable to the accused and refused to discuss the case with defense lawyers.

His lead investigator, Linwood Wilson, pressured witnesses and produced different timelines and accounts to support Mangum's shifting statements.

There is no evidence that Nifong or any investigator challenged Mangum to explain the contradictions in her versions of what happened at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. Nor did they speak with the doctor who conducted the pelvic examination hours after Mangum said she had been raped.

This whole episode has been astonishing. As a lawyer who defends indigent clients (as well as paying ones), I am utterly appalled that someone running for District Attorney, the position that requires, above all, exemplary ethics and judgment, could show so little of either. Had this accusation been made against indigent defendants, who knows what would have happened? Here in Virginia, the General Assembly has so handicapped appointed lawyers with fee caps (which is changing, thankfully, but we will have to wait and see how things unfold), there is no telling. Innocent people do get convicted, even when represented by the most conscientious counsel -- and by innocent, I mean actual innocence, and not just "not guilty." When a prosecutor knows that the defendants are innocent, and yet still seeks to prosecute, he or she destroys the foundation upon which the system operates.

Anyhow, Nifong deserves whatever he gets. He is almost certainly going to be disbarred for directing the DNA examiner to withhold exculpatory evidence, and for the outrageous statements he made early in the prosecution about the lacrosse players. Is he going to jail? We will have to see. He should. He has done more damage to the integrity of the modern criminal justice system than any single prosecutor could have, in my opinion.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lucero in Charlottesville

Awesome video from the show at Starr Hill. I wasn't there, but the wife was. Excellent. Best. Band. In. The. Country.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ah, the vaunted tolerance and understanding of the left -- you know, the "reality based" community.

Criticize Al Gore, the left's hero, and get the following on your email: "you guys are the faggiest fags I’ve ever come across. How do you get any work done, what with all the c**k sucking and such?”

Classy. And persuasive!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This is a law professor. Really. He is. Not kidding.

Puts his junk in the right box! Go vote for him.