As The Chauvin Jury Finds The Defendant Guilty As They Were Ordered To Do, The President And Rep. Waters Deny That They Said What They Said

But when Yogi Berra denied that he said what he said, it was funny..

In Minneapolis, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in his role in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

It would be a defensible verdict if he had received a fair trial, and the jury didn’t fear that they would spark national riots, property destruction and death if they found reasonable doubt. It would have been more defensible if the otherwise competent judge hadn’t botched his obligation to sequester the jury when another Minnesota police officer shot a black man, and riots did occur, with more on the horizon.

It is not a fair trial when a nationally known Congresswoman and the President of the United States publicly declare that, in the words of the Congresswoman, a defendant is “guilty, guilty guilty!”

So now, after polluting the trial and the verdict, both the President and the Congresswoman are engaging in a wretched display of “I didn’t really say what I obviously said and meant to say.”

Yogi Berra this ain’t.

First, here’s Maxine’s hilarious “translation” of what she meant when she told some potential rioters, ““We’ve got to stay in the streets, and we’ve got to demand justice,” Waters said. “I am hopeful that we will get a verdict that says, ‘guilty, guilty, guilty,’ and if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

“I wanted to be there kind of as Auntie Maxine, to show them that not only do I love them and I support them, but they can count on me to be there with them at this terrible time in all of our lives,” Waters said in her own defense. But she is not their aunt. She is an elected official of the United States of America, and is sworn to uphold the Constitution, which means, among other things, not using her position to urge members of the public to break the law, and not using her influence to deny an American citizen a fair trial.

In another interview, she tried rationalizations instead of masquerade:

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The Michael Slager Trial: When The Ethical Course Is To Not Exercise a Right

shooting_of_walter_scott

Michael Slager is the white North Charleston police officer who stopped African American Walter Scott for a taillight violation on April 4, 2015, and in the ensuing events, ended up fatally shooting Scott as he fled the scene, in the back, as recorded on a cell phone video. Of all the many police-involved shootings, this is the least equivocal. Slager is guilty of murder of one kind or another: in South Carolina, there is only one kind, and  mitigating circumstances are reflected in the sentence. He could receive life in prison, or much less time.

But every criminal defendant has the right to be tried by a jury of his peers before the law finds him guilty, and Slager is taking full advantage of the right. In doing so, he is forgoing his last clear chance at redemption. The former officer—he has already been fired for the episode and not just put on paid leave, as is usually the case—is understandably trying to avoid a conviction and jail time, even though, should he be acquitted by some miracle or act of mass hypnosis, it would be certain to provoke even more anger and distrust in the black community, and, I would hope, among non-African Americans as well. A justice system that finds, no matter how it reaches such a conclusion, that an officer who shoots a fleeing man dead like Slager did is not guilty needs to be blown up and seeded with salt. When Slager’s first lawyer saw the video, he quit.

Do you think an acquittal is impossible? Don’t. All that is needed is a jury full of people who “think,” and I use the word generously, like the signers of this petition. I’m pretty sure that there are more than twelve of them available. Continue reading

“Harry’s Law” Is A Legal Ethics Mess

When it comes to legal ethics, "Harry" is no straight-shooter.

As I have noted before, TV has one of its more ethically-sophisticated legal dramas to date in CBS’s “The Good Wife.” Oh, the lawyers (and their investigators) are frequently unethical, all right, but the show has seldom represented unethical conduct as ethical, or implied that it would be defensible if it came to the attention of the bar. In contrast, the new NBC Kathy Bates drama “Harry’s Law” has already ticketed itself for the Dumb Lawyer TV Show Hall of Shame, grossly misleading its audience about what constitutes a lawyer’s ethical duties. (Other recent admittees to the Hall: James Woods’ “Shark,” the Kathleen Quinlan drama “Family Law,” Steven Bochco’s embarrassing “Raising the Bar,”and every legal show created by David Kelley.) Continue reading

Ethics Tip To President Obama Regarding the Mohammed Trial: Please Shut Up!

This is something of an addendum to the previous post, which should probably be read first.

Politico reports that in response to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd about those who find it offensive that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist mastermind, will receive  the same rights accorded to U.S. citizens when they are charged with a crime, President Obama said,

“I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”  Continue reading