Category Archives: jumpstart

Monday Morning Jumpstart

Whaddya know: three in a row. In some places, they call this a streak. Here, we call it pushing the limits. But, I can’t force you to complain, so enjoy while it lasts before I go back to sleeping late on Monday mornings.

Monday Morning Jumpstart

You beft watch it with that drunkenneff.

You beft watch it with that drunkenneff. Image via.

So I lied last week when I said that the jump start won’t be back for a while. Truth is I got busy. So instead of writing anything substantive, I’m gonna throw links at you and hope you don’t notice the emptiness of my soul.


Monday Morning Jumpstart


That’s right. It’s back. For this week. See you in a month. Now, here’s something to read while you drink coffee.

Blawg Review 325.9

There is nothing more rewarding than creating something in this world that will forever be associated with you. We will all die eventually, but it is our ideas that survive us. As I wrote earlier this week, Ed of Blawg Review passed away after a tough battle. In his memory, here is one last Blawg Review, version 9 (see this post at Blawg Review for the other Blawg Reviews going up today, all in memory of Ed).

As with previous Blawg Reviews hosted here, I’m terrible at themes. I’m terrible at bringing things together into one coherent message. I’m terrible at coherent messages. So instead – and I know Ed would appreciate this because he’d send me links on a wide range of topics – I’m presenting the most interesting posts and stories that I’ve found in the last week or so. There are, of course, loose ties, this being a law blog, but the one thing I want to convey about Ed is his sense of wonder and his desire for information and knowledge. If the goal is to learn, then everything is interesting.

So, without further nonsense:


As we Americans listen to the news these days and ponder whether our listening to the news is news to anyone or whether the NSA is aware that we are, at that moment, listening to the news about the NSA listening to us listen to the news, we can perhaps also sit and reflect on whether the Constitution has expired. That, really, is the only conclusion one can reach when one reads stories like this one: where a comment on Facebook about marijuana is reasonable suspicion to believe that the commenter is a drug dealer.

It’s not that it wasn’t a good Constitution or that it embodied wonderful ideas, but that it has outlived its utility – or rather that we have outmaneuvered its utility. This post at The Atlantic1 asks just that question:

America, we’ve got some bad news: Our Constitution isn’t going to make it. It’s had 224 years of commendable, often glorious service, but there’s a time for everything, and the government shutdown and permanent-crisis governance signal that it’s time to think about moving on. “No society can make a perpetual constitution,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1789, the year ours took effect. “The earth belongs always to the living generation and not to the dead .… Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years.” By that calculation, we’re more than two centuries behind schedule for a long, hard look at our most sacred of cows. And what it reveals isn’t pretty.

If men (and, finally, women) as wise as Jefferson and Madison set about the task of writing a constitution in 2013, it would look little like the one we have now.

And the one we have now hasn’t been working that well, because it means different things to different people. Like the split between Judge Shira Scheindlin and the Second Circuit on just what makes “stop and frisk” unconstitutional. Even if you assume, as blogger Judge Kopf does, that it wasn’t politically motivated, it is still mindboggling. Is it any wonder, then, that those who are paying attention have little to no confidence in the American judiciary?

But the law is more machinery than a Transformer and as such is hard to move and change: one option suggested recently was to permit jurors to ask questions. An idea that isn’t exactly new, it breathed a gasp of life into the blogosphere last week when Judge Kopf (again) posed the question and Greenfield reminded us that it was asked and answered.

If, suppose, jurors were permitted to ask questions, perhaps they’d look a bit like our non-lawyer blawger friend Windypundit, who took crack at the Federal Rules of Evidence this week and quickly devolved into a metaphysical discussion with the other resident philosopher Jeff Gamso about what, exactly, is a fact. Jamison Koehler, not to be outwaxed, offered his own thoughts on one indisputable “fact”: that the truth rarely matters in a trial.

One seeming universal “fact” is the love affair Americans have with the death penalty. But even there, the perception of the thing is far more impressive than the reality of it. A new report issued last week revealed that Americans are shedding their support for the barbaric punishment, but more troublesome is our misunderstanding of its application and fairness.

In other words, we don’t think it’s racist or applied in an arbitrary or unfair manner. Which, you know…ask Ronald Phillips. Ronald Phillips, who the State of Ohio is so desperate to murder that they will literally try anything to kill him. And, if this guy at Slate has his way, “anything” would include the guillotine. I swear. I know it’s the Slate. But still. C’mon.

Or would you have more faith when you learn that a San Diego judge was “exiled to traffic court” after several Superior Court rulings favoring defendants’ constitutional rights”. As Will Baude writes at Volokh, Judge Kreep2, an avid “birther”, decided to issue rulings upholding the Fourth Amendment rights of defendants. Naturally, prosecutors who are citizens who aren’t ever going to be in real danger of having their Fourth Amendment rights violated, boycotted the judge – a practice that is not new to the prosecutors in San Diego, having boycotted another judge in 2009.

Because the last thing we as Americans should want is a fair and impartial justice system where prosecutors aren’t whiny bitches when they lose a case once in a fucking generation. Not bitter at all.

Speaking of prosecutors losing, no Blawg Review worth its salt will fail to mention the monumental victory of one of our own, The Texas Tornado Mark W “the other” Bennett in the Texas Supreme Court of Criminal Appeals. In a case Mark handled on appeal, the ridiculously conservative Texas court held unanimously that a criminal statute was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment.

Bennett has since been on a roll, identifying other statutes susceptible to doom and Grits for Breakfast has this delightful post chronicling the apoplexy exhibited by prosecutors on their forum.

And since there is never going to be a better note to end on, I shall end. The next post in the Blawg Review chain is at Likelihood of Confusion. Don’t forget to check out all the posts at Blawg Review.

Goodbye, Ed.

  1. Yeah, I know, it’s not a blog, but it should be.
  2. The guy he beat in the election was named Garland Peed.

Links and ends: RIP Anthony Lewis

Monday Morning Jumpstart: Cuban Missile Crisis Edition

50 years ago yesterday, an American U-2 plane captured photographs of the Soviets building missile bases in Cuba, leading to a 14-day dance that brought the world to the brink of disaster. Maybe we’ve learned our lessons from playing the world’s most dangerous game of chicken, or maybe not. Maybe we’re doomed to repeat our mistakes and will be wiped off the face of this planet  in an impetuous act of aggressiveness or maybe we’ll evolve to a higher existence and float around like amorphous blobs of energy. All I know is that it’s Monday morning and I need something read.

  • Superhero Blogger© Ken at Popehat has this extensive post titled ‘A Year in Blasphemy‘ in which he rounds up stories from around the world on those who trade First Amendment protections for bans on blasphemy and argues – effectively – that we should resist all calls to do so here, in these United States.
  • The Houston Police Department has admitted that some of their traffic tickets come “pre-loaded” with violations already printed on them.
  • On the flip side, Texas becomes the latest state to reject implementation of the Adam Walsh Act (Connecticut is one state not in compliance; my posts on the AWA here). Here‘s a Pew Center article on just why states are rejecting the implementation of this useless, expensive and draconian Federal legislation.
  • On the third hand, Pennsylvania adopts the Adam Walsh Act, leading to nonsense like this and potentially hundreds and thousands of appeals.
  • A 2012 report [PDF] shows that sex offender recidivism in Connecticut is extremely low, with only 1.7% of sex offenders returning to jail for a new sex crime (and only 3.6% were arrested for and charged with a new sex crime).
  • Here’s the latest [PDF] CT prison population report.
  • In the wake of Sandusky’s sentencing, here’s an interesting interview with a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins who counsels pedophiles about how society and the law should respond to and deal with it.
  • Judge appoints lawyer to represent a dog about to be euthanized; doesn’t realize impact on those who trade in puns. Too…many..jokes…brain…overload…send…help.
  • Steven Hayes wants to volunteer to be executed.
  • Don’t know how many times I can beat this drum: it could happen to you. Get your head out of the man’s ass and think for yourself, for a second.

Rorschach test time. Watch the video and post your reactions below.


Bonus link: the attorney in the above video also runs “Legal Niche Pros” a lawyer-marketing SEO service of sorts, I suppose.

Image via El_Enigma; license details here.

Happy Leif Erikson Day (updated with video)

The Original Hipster: in America before it was cool; Christian before it was cool.

Leif Erikson, not to be confused with the unholy spawn of Leif Garrett and Marshall Erikson (yes I know how it’s spelled), is what those of us in know call an “OH”. He’s the guy that scientists and other people with advanced degrees now believe was the first European to set foot in North America, way back in the 1000s. That’s approximately 495 years before Christopher Columbus made his way over, bringing with him all of Europe and its cute little foibles like slavery, disease and genocide.

So, in order to celebrate my Nordic ancestry, this edition of Monday Morning Jumpstart will be in honor of those magnificent Nordic peoples, like Famke Janssen and Audi motor cars.

  • The unbearable cost of the death penalty is making some long-time supporters in CA push for abolition.
  • A fantastically heartwarming article in the NYTimes about the NYPD’s “jumper squad”: officers assigned to talking people off of tall buildings, bridges and ledges.
  • In 1982, Idaho (wouldn’t you know?) abolished the insanity defense. This is not a joke. Now, a murder suspect is mounting a challenge to that abolition and their Supreme Court will decide if the ban is Constitutional.
  • There’s a ballot initiative in New Mexico to make an independent Public Defender Commission and remove it from under the thumb of the Governor and the DOC.
  • The government is arguing – reportedly with a straight face – that the arrest of a white male carrying Arabic flashcards with a Middle East stamp on his passport was supported by probable cause.
  • Matt Brown writes eloquently about the complete disregard for truth in the modern incarnation of the criminal justice system.
  • Prosecutors are trying to shut down a defendant’s website because he’s using it to proclaim his innocence or something. I don’t know. Apparently they don’t have enough work there.
  • Chris Dodd (DODD!) says that PIPA/SOPA are dead. There was no report on whether they were bitten by the virus and might reanimate as zombies.
  • The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has this intelligent post on Cassidy Goodson, a 14-year charged with murdering her unwanted baby.
  • Scott writes about the most facepalm inducing story of the week: the New Orleans prosecutor who got fired because a joint fell out of his pocket while he was talking to cops which led to his arrest. Prosecutors: they’re just like us; they just hide it better.
  • The embattled East Haven police department will now have dashboard cams outfitted on all their cruisers.
  • Six federal judges win a lawsuit seeking pay raises.
  • Dr. Karen Franklin has this interesting post on false confessions and the taint it causes with corroborative evidence.
  • Meanwhile, this exists (a blog about a Yalie with “Supreme Ambitions”, i.e. to get a SCOTUS clerkship. Excuse me while I go kill myself.)
  • Wait. Someone made an Angry Birds-Star Wars crossover? Faith in humanity restored.
  • Finally, in case you missed it, compare my post on State v. Fourtin with HuffPost and ThinkProgress. One of us has read the actual decision. You guess which one.

Update: You know what? Forget everything I just said and watch this instead:

(via io9 and Part Two here.)

Now go build some ships hexaflexagon and sail forth, but don’t forget the horned helmets.


Image via jpellgen, license details here.