Monthly Archives: April 2009

Blog, blogger, blogging

This here is what one might call a Public Service Announcement. Here’s a handy guide for those of you who want to sound “up” on the lingo and trends in our lexicon, c. 2009. This way I won’t think you’re a wannabe when you talk about blogging or tweeting.

Some simple stuff, said in fun, so don’t get all atwitter (HA! HA! Laugh at my joke; I’m clever!).

This whole website (apublicdefender.com) is a blog. I, Gideon, am the author of this blog. This makes me a blogger. This particular piece that I have written, entitled “blog, blogger, blogging” is a blog post.

You cannot say that I have written a blog when you are referring to this particular post. You can say that I write a blog in reference to apublicdefender.com, however. You also cannot have read my latest blog, unless, of course, I started a new website (or blog) and you have been reading that. You can (and must) say that you read my latest post. It’s like saying that you’ve read my latest book, when actually referring to the last chapter of my book.

Simple enough? Blog is a website, the person writing it is a blogger and the individual entries are blog posts.

Onto Twitter. Twitter is the company or service that is used by millions. You do not twitter. That’s like saying you Apple or Microsoft. You tweet. Thus, you cannot have read my recent twitter. You could have read my latest tweet, however. A person who uses Twitter is not twittering; he or she is tweeting.

Now if you absorb these simple conjugations, you will be ready to engage in an intelligent conversation on the above subjects! You don’t have to thank me, really. I want to inform.

4th Amdmt gets CPR (Arizona v. Gant)

In what is overwhelmingly being described as a “rare” or “never thought I’d see it in my lifetime” move, SCOTUS yesterday effectively overruled lower courts’ incorrect interpretations of Belton v. New York in Arizona v. Gant and restricted the ability of police to search vehicles without reservation.

In an delightfully oddly split 5-4 decision, Justice Stevens (penning the majority) wrote that police could no longer search the interior of a car after the suspect had been secured. The rationale given by Courts (perhaps stemming from an inartful explanation in Belton itself) prior to Gant was that officer safety demanded that they be able to search the interior of a car – the so-called “wingspan”, once a lawful arrest had been made.

Stevens’ majority debunked that:

You know you’re screwed when… (Texas edition)

Here. Let’s play a game. I give you a sentence, you fill in the blanks. Everyone wins.

You know you’re _____ when you’re an ______ on _____ _____ in _______ and your _______ misses _______. ___ ____ ____.

Texas lawyers have repeatedly missed deadlines for appeals on behalf of more than a dozen death row inmates in the last two years — yet judges continue to assign life-or-death capital cases and pay hundreds of thousands in fees to those attorneys

Because getting that appeal heard may be the best thing that can happen to you. The worst, of course, is getting executed. But there’s so much middle ground: important middle ground that these people are losing out on. Specifically the Constitutionally mandated review of their claims.

Yes, I know, everyone is human and we all miss deadlines. But if you’re in the capital defense business, you better damn well make sure that you make every date you’re supposed to. If you don’t, the worst can happen:

You know you’re screwed when… (part 1)

Today, I was arrested for DUI. I spent a few hours at the police station and I called a friend to come get me. When my friend came to pick me up, I decided it would be a good idea for me to drive home. On my way home from the police station, the cop that arrested me the first time saw me. I was arrested for DUI again. FML. (No, it’s not really me. Click the damn links.)

Indigent defense is in dire need of reform

gideoncrying

look states, you're making Gideon cry. Boo.

A very important study was released earlier this week by The Constitution Project, titled: Justice Denied: America’s Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel [here's a PDF of the entire report].

The study is a survey of all 50 states and the Federal government and the levels of indigent defense provided by each. It is an extremely lengthy report with many recommendations (22 in all) and observations. The study is damning in its conclusions about the state of indigent defense. Not only does the study identify workload issues with indigent defense but also structural problems with state or county agencies that inhibit the provision of adequate defense.

[As an aside, discussion of this report should not be limited to indigent defense circles, especially in times like these where money is drying up and indigent defense is bearing the brunt. Legislators, judges, etc., in States where funding has been cut or will be cut should be given a copy to read.]

From the Executive Summary: