Category Archives: whaaaa?

Woman on the run for 30 years finally arrested. Again.

no-oh-rly

37 years ago, Judy Lynn Hayman escaped from a Michigan prison where she was serving an 18-24 month sentence for attempted larceny and ran off. She ended up in San Diego, where she lived a law-abiding life, with three kids and was the prototypical “quiet neighbor”.

She was only tracked down and arrested because of a bored, snowed-in officer in Michigan:

Lt. Charles Levens of the Michigan Corrections Department pursues parole violators, but recent severe weather had kept him in the office and off icy roads. He requested the fingerprint cards for all old escapees and sent them to the FBI.

She will be returned to Michigan where a parole board will determine how much time, if any, she will have to serve to finish her sentence.

If all of this seems incredibly familiar, it’s because it’s happened before, almost exactly in the same way. In 2008, Marie Walsh was arrested for being an escapee whose real name was Susan LeFevre. That’s not all. Both were eventually found in San Diego. And that’s still not all. Both were on the run from Michigan.

Walsh/LeFevre ended up spending 13 months in prison. I asked the question back then and I’ll ask it again: what should happen to Hayman? It’s been 37 years and while the Michigan DOC Commissioner is right and you can’t just let her go simply because it’s been that long, does she deserve to spend any more time in jail? If so, how long? Why?

Lesson of the day: if you’re on the run from Michigan, don’t go to San Diego.

Flick that as(s)h

not-sure-if-serious-fry

No, this is not a post about twerking. Although the people in Illinois who recently passed a bill making it a felony to flick cigarette butts onto streets1 for the third time might reasonably be called “twerps”.

I’m sorry, you need me to say more? Okay. You know that old superstition, three on a match? Where the belief was that you should never light three cigarettes from the same match because it lets the enemy 1) become aware of, 2) sight, and 3) kill you? This is somewhat like that, except when you reach 3 in Illinois, you go to jail for 1-3 years with a felony record.

For flicking cigarette butts out windows.

Because apparently the State of Illinois has solved all of its other problems.

This bill was passed, adding “cigarettes” to the definition of “litter” in this statute, thereby making a third offense for littering a Felony.

For fun, here is everything that counts as litter:

“Litter” means any discarded, used or unconsumed substance or waste. “Litter” may include, but is not limited to, any garbage, trash, refuse, debris, rubbish, grass clippings or other lawn or garden waste, newspaper, magazines, glass, metal, plastic or paper containers or other packaging construction material, abandoned vehicle (as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code), motor vehicle parts, furniture, oil, carcass of a dead animal, any nauseous or offensive matter of any kind, any object likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard, potentially infectious medical waste as defined in Section 3.360 of the Environmental Protection Act, or anything else of an unsightly or unsanitary nature, which has been discarded, abandoned or otherwise disposed of improperly.

Remember this the next you’re quick to judge those “criminals”. I bet many of you already are and didn’t even know it.

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An exercise in minimalism

This post is meant for my entertainment purposes only. You can safely ignore it.

I ran across this piece in something called ‘In These Times’. It’s about the “illusion of juror sophistication”. So let’s see how few words it takes me to respond to this “article”. Just for fun. All emphasis mine.

American jurors, totally untrained in the legal system, are led to think they are more intelligent and sophisticated than they are. Alone, they are capable of some independent thought. Forced into a room with others, they are a disaster.

Especially if you disagree with their verdict.

Although states select potential jurors differently, they are usually drawn randomly from a list of driver’s licenses or lists of registered voters. They are average people, a cross-section of Americana, people content with their lives, unencumbered and blissful, just the type of people lawyers want judging their trials because most people lack the sophisticated skill sets of reasoning and logic needed to be a juror.

Don’t speak for me.

Lawyers often decide which jurors to use in a trial based on the potential juror’s perceived lack of ability to think logically.

It depends on the case.

The jurors thrown into the George Zimmerman murder trial were tossed into a situation, as are most jurors, for which they were totally unprepared.

Except those jurors who get juror training and go to juror schoo — hang on. I’m being told that doesn’t exist.

The defense attorneys outlined their parts in the show.

Meanwhile the prosecutors sat quietly and didn’t say anything. What? Also false?

They were to play rational, intelligent, sophisticated, impartial, and concerned citizens. Without realizing it, they played their parts perfectly.

No idea what this means.

The Zimmerman case was not difficult except to the pseudo-sophisticate jurors. He stalked, confronted, and killed an unarmed boy walking through a neighborhood. Zimmerman confessed to the crime.

That’s telling half the story. The other half is that whole self-defense, legal justification thing.

They signify that the truth may not be the truth, that there is more to the case than one man killing another.

Intellectual dishonesty because he gets it, but is pretending it doesn’t exist or isn’t valid.

The defense attorneys work their magic by convincing the jurors of their own sophistication. The jurors are lead to believe that there is much more to the case than most people realize and only a select few people with their intellectual complexity can see through it all.

Abracadabra you’re a SHEEPLE! Also, yes, they – and the lawyers – got to see all the evidence. You and I and 99% of the American population did not. But let’s keep pretending like you were there.

They vaguely suspect that a man with a gun has equaled a dead boy, but they start to doubt themselves.  What seemed understandable is not so simple for the newly ordained sophisticated jurors. The plain fact that a man stalked and killed a boy is okay for the Average Joe, but not for them. Lawyers have convinced them that they are too smart for that.

Or, again, they’re applying the law of justification. It exists. Deal with it.

Lawyers are trained in theatrics, illusion and magic.

And somehow I cannot use any of those skills to make you seem intelligent or coherent. Rats.

Acting classes may be more important than law classes. A good lawyer can toss a dummy to the floor and choke it in an instant.

Lol wut?

Top defense lawyers deserve Academy Awards and they always have the advantage over prosecuting attorneys because prosecuting attorneys are the working-class workers of the legal profession.

Okay, he’s trolling now. He’s definitely trolling.

They become prosecuting attorneys for many reasons, often because they are average and might starve in an independent market situation, or because they have certain noble and naïve ideals about justice.

What is this I don’t even.

Notable trials are fights between unequal participants. Only in a small local trial does a person get convicted, and then sometimes unjustly and for the same reasons.

Yes. But the cognitive dissonance is strong with this one.

If they are poor, lawyers even worse than prosecutors often represent them.

Not a sentence.

A person in the U.S gets as much justice as he can afford.

What if the lawyer is free? Then justice is infinite?

His lawyers talked about Trayvon Martin turning on Zimmerman and attacking him and poor innocent George Zimmerman had no recourse except to kill him.

Or, you know, argued self-defense and/or justification. Like it’s their job to.

No one knows what happened during that time nor does it make any difference.

That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. Also why your article is worthless.

A sign in a French zoo cautioned about the animal inside. It said, “This is a very dangerous animal. If attacked it will defend itself.” If Martin hit Zimmerman he had every right to defend himself against an armed stalker. Again, an armed man stalked and killed an unarmed boy.

Presented without comment.

A course on being a juror should be taught in every high school. Among other things it should include logic, independent thinking, reasoning, and ways to guard against theatrics, and illusion.

This is not Hogwarts, you fucktard.

If a person is guilty of murder, convict him. That’s sophistication.

Or if he’s not guilty, acquit him.

Or if you’re really angry and don’t understand the criminal justice system write an article about how the world is wrong and everyone should just listen to you because magic.

Sped up death warrants producing bizarre farce in FL

There’s something really strange going on in Florida right now. Apart from Gov. Rick Scott’s puzzling failure to sign the ‘Timely Justice Act’ which I’ve excoriated here and here, there’s an absolutely insane set of circumstances playing out in the imminent execution of William Van Poyck.

It seems that, rather than sign the bill, Gov. Scott signed some sped up death warrants for 3 inmates, one of whom is Poyck.(who has a blog). At the time, Van Poyck was represented by an attorney named Gerald Bettman who runs a two-lawyer office in FL, never having represented a death row client. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the closer the execution gets, the more intense and hurried the work gets. Bettman was totally out of his league, recognized that and then asked the Court to let him out and appoint someone who was experienced in this area. Nope, said the lower court and nope said the Florida Supreme Court. So Van Poyck, facing the last month of his life was saddled with an inexperienced defense attorney who had no clue how to navigate the maze of Florida death penalty appeals work, who didn’t want to do it.

But that was last week. That’s when things started to get really fucking strange. After that ruling, the Florida Supreme Court reversed itself last Friday, stating that Bettman didn’t have to represent Van Poyck, but instead that every lawyer who ever had his name associated with Van Poyck was eligible to be appointed.

In a surprise move, the Florida Supreme Court reversed itself and said Jacksonville attorney Gerald Bettman should not have to represent Van Poyck alone in the high-pressure, high-stakes appeals that lead up to any execution. Possibly, he won’t have to represent him at all.

The high court ordered Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Charles Burton to review the qualifications of more than a dozen lawyers who have filed appeals on Van Poyck’s behalf since he was convicted of killing Glades Correctional Institution guard Fred Griffis in a failed attempt to free a buddy from prison.

The attorneys Burton ordered to attend a hearing on Monday include two of the top death penalty lawyers in the state. It includes out-of-state civil litigators who took on Van Poyck’s cause to win pro bono points and could now find themselves saddled with handling the complex, time-consuming and expensive appeals.

The problem is that half these attorneys don’t know shit about the case; some don’t even practice in Florida. Now these lawyers are on the hook for a mad, choatic, intense and intensely specialized death penalty process? Would you want to be in that position?

But that was last Friday. On Monday, Judge Burton had his hearing and appointed three lawyers to navigate this complex maze. They weren’t happy and had the same thing to say:

In a two-hour long hearing Monday that most involved described as bizarre, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Charles Burton appointed the three lawyers even though all said they have neither the time, resources nor expertise to represent Van Poyck as the clock ticks toward his scheduled June 12 execution.

[Jeffrey Davis, who practices civil appellate law in Milwaukee] and Jacksonville attorney Gerald Bettman were tapped because they have represented Van Poyck, 58, in appeals he has launched since his conviction for the 1987 murder of Glades Correctional Institution prison guard Fred Griffis outside a West Palm Beach doctor’s office.Therefore, Burton said, they have the most knowledge about the case. He appointed Tallahassee attorney Mark Olive to help them navigate the complex appeals that occur after a death warrant is signed.

As one of Florida’s top death-penalty defense attorney, Olive said he has the legal chops but knows nothing about Van Poyck’s case. “It’s just a farce, frankly,” he said.

A Friday deadline, three attorneys who either don’t have the time or the experience or the knowledge required to file appeals. A man who sits on death row. A system that weeps silently.

But. But then came Thursday. On Thursday all three filed separate motions with the Florida Supreme Court stating that they wanted off.

“With a mere four days to prepare Van Poyck’s final pleading, any attempt to mount a viable challenge on behalf of Van Poyck would be a farce,” attorney Jeffrey Davis, a civil litigator from Milwaukee, Wisc., wrote in his motion.  He suggested that the high court delay Van Poyck’s execution for 60 days to give him and other attorneys time to prepare. He asked the court to appoint an attorney who is skilled in death warrant appeals to assist him.

Mark Olive, a Tallahassee attorney who was also appointed Monday, has such expertise. But, in his motion, he said it would be a violation of professional standards to take on Van Poyck’s case on such short notice. Not only would he be unable to mount a thorough investigation of possible appeals but he would have to do so at the expense of other clients. Olive said he would be willing to help Davis represent Van Poyck if he was given more time to prepare.

Another disturbing fact: there was no attorney to represent Van Poyck in his appeals because his first appellate attorney:

was arrested for possession of cocaine, claimed insanity as a defense, disappeared from the case and let his Florida Bar membership lapse.

And all this because we want to “speed up” the appeals process. The Florida Supreme Court apparently hasn’t ruled yet. Stay tuned. This could get worse.