The Adam Walsh Act is coming to Connecticut

I only just realized that there’s a bill currently in the legislature implementing the Adam Walsh Act. Folks, this is some nasty, scary shit. For the first time in my life, I think I might be moved enough to call my legislator to oppose this. I will have plenty of posts on the AWA in the coming days, but for now, here’s the bill.

Look ma! No hands intent

facepalmImagine you’re sitting at a dinner table with some friends. You pick up a fork to eat some salad. Suddenly, cops come bursting into your house and arrest you for the murder of your friend who’s sitting across the table. You’re convicted and then the Supreme Court upholds your conviction because you took the first step in a series of actions that could lead to murder.

Welcome to the world of Michael Cyr [pdf]. Except he wasn’t eating dinner with a fork, but rather sitting in his car, drunk, with the key firmly in his pocket. He started the engine with a remote starter and then sat in the driver’s seat, with the key in his pocket. He wasn’t going anywhere, but that didn’t matter to the CT Supreme Court.

So what, you say, he was sitting in the car, with the engine on. It’s reasonable to assume that he meant to drive it drunk. But that’s just the problem. The Supreme Court held that the State does not have to prove intent in cases like this. So he could have been sitting to stay warm, or to sleep in his car. In fact, he could have been trying to avoid driving drunk. But none of that matters. He turned on the engine and sat in the driver’s seat. Therefore, he is guilty of driving under the influence.

The law of DUI in CT is just as ass backwards as this decision. Read from Cyr itself:

Shh…don’t look now…

but the Judiciary Committee is in full swing again and is considering several important bills again. Here’s a listing of the bills up for public hearing today, with some links to submitted testimony. I’ll have more on specific bills as they progress.

S.B. No. 348 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING THE VIDEOTAPING OF CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS. (JUD)

S.B. No. 349 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING THE PENALTY FOR POSSESSION OF A SMALL AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA. (JUD)

S.B. No. 357 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION. (JUD)

S.B. No. 537 (COMM) AN ACT PROVIDING COMMUNITY REINTEGRATION SERVICES TO END-OF-SENTENCE INMATES. (JUD)

S.B. No. 543 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING SENTENCE REVIEW Modifications. (JUD)

Who is this guy!?!?

“Who is this guy?”, an experienced trial attorney recently confided in me, is one of the essences of jury selection and the best we can hope to do. Prospective jurors are faced with a pretty intimidating (and boring) day. “What do you think of the presumption of innocence?” “Do you need to hear both sides of the story?” “Are you racist?” “Have you ever been the victim of a crime?”

They’re subjected to intensely personal questions and constantly asked “tell me more about that”. They’re expected to bare their souls to 3-5 complete strangers, all in a 45 minute span. No one even buys them dinner or drinks first.

Most people in a jury panel aren’t stupid these days, either. They know the drill; they’ve been around. Either they themselves or someone they know has been called to jury duty. They’ve seen enough TV shows and news reports to know the drill. Whether they admit it or not, they know what the correct answers are.

Which makes answering the question so much more difficult. No one wants to seem prejudiced or bigoted in public, in front of complete strangers. This is why, I believe, in a number of cases “rehabilitation” of jurors is a crock of shit. The cat’s out of the bag and now everyone’s trying desperately to shove it back in.

Eyeballs: a Texas delicacy

googly-eyes

eye eye cap'n

How many times can one say: “It happens only in Texas” and not sound repetitive? I’m pushing the envelope here. Because, this just happened in Texas.

A man plucked and ate both his eyeballs (though not at the same time) and yet he was found competent to stand trial and be convicted of capital murder. Texas sure loves their executions (and eyeball marinara).

A condemned Texas inmate with a history of mental problems who removed his only eye and ate it in a bizarre outburst several months ago on death row lost an appeal Wednesday at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Thomas “is clearly ‘crazy,’ but he is also ‘sane’ under Texas law,” Judge Cathy Cochran wrote in a 14-page statement accompanying the court’s brief order upholding Thomas’ conviction and punishment.

Yes, that does seem to be a contradiction of terms, although I guess one can argue that the legal standard for “sane” is so damn low that even eating one’s eyeballs clears that standard.

I’m going to pause for a second here while we all collectively shudder.

Everything about this case, including the murders themselves, are truly bizarre:

It depends on what “unlawfully remains” means

IMG_0625

Lookin' goooood!

So the other day, I went to Miranda’s house. While there, I noticed she had a new iPod Nano. The thing looked damn good. So I thought I’d get myself one. Then I remembered that I was a public defender and I didn’t make much money. So I started thinking. What if I took it and didn’t tell her? What if I took it and didn’t return it? What if I took it and then I thought better of it and put it back, all without her knowing?1

What crime would I be guilty of? (Yes, I am that nerdy.)

There is an easy answer and a difficult question. The easy answer, of course, is Larceny in the Sixth Degree, a C misdemeanor. The difficult question, however, is whether I am guilty of Burglary.

The burglary statutes have several common elements. Judging by the title of this post, you know which one I want to focus on. Here’s the entire Burglary 2nd statute: