From The Pandemic Ethics Lessons Files: Unicorns And Elves Do Not Constitute An Emergency

Courts , like hospitals, are having a difficult time handling all of the matters under their jurisdiction  during the health crisis. Staffs are home-bound; judges, who are generally in a high risk demographic, are available only for true emergencies. A lawyer who claims that his or her client’s concerns qualify is asking a lot, and a spurious claim is going to regarded as irresponsible.

Art Ask Agency creates life-like images of fantasy creatures like elves and unicorns. Its lawyers asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for an emergency hearing in their trademark infringement case, though the  Chicago-based federal court’s executive committee had issued an order just two days before holding “all civil litigation in abeyance.”  A court employee had also tested positive for the Wuhan virus that week, leading to the closing of its clerk’s office to the public. Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms Law vs. Ethics Files: Yet Another Example Of How The Public’s Ignorance Of How Laws Work Imperils Us All


Because he just IS, that’s all. Everybody knows it. Come on. What’s the problem?

Well, I’m still waiting for the wave of op-eds and pundit pieces condemning the judge in the Dennis Hastert case for somehow turning the ex-Speaker’s trial for breaking banking laws into a trial for child molestation even though he couldn’t be charged with that crime.

I appear to be one of the very few people alarmed by this. Coming at a time when we have a Presidential candidate advocating the imprisonment of financial traders without any indications that they broke actual laws, this qualifies as a bona fide societal virus, and a potentially dangerous one.

Over at Popehat, habitual Ethics Hero Ken White flagged another outbreak that somehow I missed (I blame Fred).

It seems that an Oklahoma court rejected the prosecution of a teenage boy for engaging in oral sex with a teenage girl (she was, to be delicate, the oral recipient) who was passed out drunk, and the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, ruling:

“Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation. We will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language.”

Ken begins, tongue hard in cheek,

“Did you hear? Oklahoma said it’s legal to rape someone if they’re unconscious from drinking! They said it’s not rape at all! It’s classic victim-blaming! It’s outrageous! It’s rape culture! It’s just what you would expect from one of those states!”

He then examines the statutes involved. It turns out that the unimaginative legislature, when defining the crime of forcible sodomy which was what the boy was charged with, missed this set of potential facts. She wasn’t forcibly raped, because she wasn’t conscious. Continue reading

Now THIS Is Contempt Of Court…

You call that rant fighting back, Al? That's nothing! THIS is fighting back...

You call that rant fighting back, Al? That’s nothing! THIS is fighting back…

It’s always useful to have rock bottom standards against which all other similar incidents can be compared, so we all owe Tamah Jada Clark a debt of gratitude.

Police in Camilla, Georgia, had arrested her after a September 2010 “suspicious vehicle” stop turned up loaded AK-47 rifles and a .45-caliber pistol in her trunk, apparently intended tools for a foiled plot to break her son’s father, Jason Clark, out of prison, where he has been sentenced to stay for the next 30 years. Police had intercepted incriminating phone calls. Along with some other novel defenses, Clark argued that she was unlawfully arrested because she legally owned the weapons and was not in the same city as the jail where Jason Clark was held, although she was stopped in a nearby town.

She submitted a nine page filing to the court titled, “F*ck this court and everything it stands for.”

Catchy! Some highlights…

  • “Look here, old man, when I told you I AM Justice – I meant it. It took me about 1 month to study the history of the world and to learn the history and inner workings American jurisprudence, literally. I was born to do this here. Don’t you know that your FBI and CIA have been trying to recruit me since grade school? Lol. But they’re unscrupulous losers like you, so it won’t be happening.”
  • “I am well aware that the court has not spoken to me because it cannot defeat my legal arguments – so it runs and cowers like a panic-stricken hoe that has stolen money from her back-handing pimp Just for the record: you are a hoe. This court is a hoe. And I will backhand you both, should you continue to waste my time.”
  • “I couldn’t give two f*cks about you or what you have to say. F*ck you, old man. You’re a joke. Your court’s a joke. You take it up the a*s; and you suck nuts. Lol.”

Imagine writing “LOL” in a court filing!

Outrageous. On the good side, it was sensitive of Clark to use the polite, acceptable version of “fuck.”

Occupy Brain Pans

Allow me to translate: "Duh!"

The latest, dumbest and most telling of the endless Occupy group protests occurs today, as 111 Occupy Wall Street spin-offs across the country engage in “Occupy the Courts,” a protest to mark two years since the 2010 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that the government cannot ban organizational spending on political campaigns. Move to Amend, the group that is sponsoring the protests, says that the goal is to build support for a constitutional amendment that would abolish corporate constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech, and declaring that political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

If I were optimistic and naive, I would assume that this nonsense would finally shame the imprudent members of the media, Democratic Party and Obama administration who cynically hitched their wagons to the Occupy Wall Street anvil, hoping that eventually the groups would do or say something that justified all the attention and expense lavished on them. Instead, the Occupy movement has featured rapes, robberies, beatings, riots, obscenity, anti-Semites, homeless hangers-on, demonstrators defecating on cars, a woman placing her baby on railroad tracks, another child being abandoned to shiver in a tent, a pseudo-bomb being thrown at the White House, a demonstrator shooting a rifle at the White House, violated permits, squalor, disease and rats….all while the news media showed its stripes by maintaining with a straight face that this display was no different or worse than the comparatively dignified, focused and streamlined Tea Party demonstrations. Nonetheless, the facilitators of this embarrassment in the annals of civil protest seem determined to keep the faith until it blows up into a genuine tragedy or slinks away. If Occupy the Courts won’t convince the pols and journalists that they made an epic mistake, nothing will. But at least it settles the matter. These people have no idea, none, what they are doing. Continue reading

Ignorant Juror, Malfunctioning Jury, Dysfunctional Justice

It was bound to happen, which is not to say that there is any excuse for it.  A juror during on a day off from trial, told the world via Facebook that she had already decided the defendant was guilty, writing that it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re guilty.” This statement, in addition to showing a disturbing lack of compassion and empathy, not to mention meanness, also was a violation of her duties as a juror. The trial wasn’t even finished, the jury hadn’t deliberated, and yet Hadley Jons, 20, had already decided on her vote and was bragging about it. Continue reading

The Legal Rape, and the Limits of Cultural Tolerance and Religious Freedom

Sometimes conduct is just wrong, and a culture should be able to reject and condemn it confidently without engaging in navel-gazing over cultural tolerance and diversity. The position, unfortunately popular, that all cultural determinations of right and wrong are equally valid is both lazy and insidious, though it has wormed its way into the minds of some who would cal themselves “progressive,” but who are more appropriately called “confused.”

In this category is a New Jersey Court judge, who refused to find a Muslim defendant guilty of sexual assault despite undisputed evidence that he raped his wife multiple times, (immediately prior to their divorce), saying at one point,

“You are my wife, I can do anything to you. The woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do.” Continue reading

The Card-counting Conundrum

There is a terrific thread going on over at the Volohk Conspiracy, consistently one of the most erudite and thought-provoking blogs there is. Noting that a Indiana court has declared that the state’s casinos are prohibited from throwing blackjack players who count cards out of their establishment, Prof. Volokh, who has a libertarian streak, opined that casinos should be able to toss out the card counters, and that the case was wrong. Well, all hell broke out after that, and as usual for that blog (and, some golden day, for this one), there has been a flood of comments from every kind of authority from legal experts to card counters themselves.  They show what an odd and ethically topsy-turvy matter the controversy over card-counting is. Continue reading