Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico Forces Amendment to High-Profile Ninth Circuit Opinion

Filed under: Court Decisions — Patterico @ 9:43 pm

Patterico has gotten results once again. This time, he has forced an amendment to a high-profile Ninth Circuit opinion.

Regular readers will recall that the Ninth Circuit filed an opinion on April 19, 2004 striking down a California “Three Strikes” sentence as unconstitutional. That same day, I observed on this blog that the court had made a fundamental error regarding the maximum potential sentence for a felony conviction for petty theft with a prior. I also noted that the panel had criticized the parties and the sentencing court for supposedly having gotten this point wrong — although, in fact, it was the panel that had gotten it wrong.

The following morning, my post about the Ninth Circuit’s errors was linked on Howard Bashman’s invaluable “How Appealing” blog. Within hours, the post got multiple hits from the federal courts — including from the Supreme Court of the United States. (I have to tell you, it’s pretty cool to see that on your Site Meter!)

On April 27, 2004, the Ninth Circuit panel quietly amended its opinion to conform to Patterico’s criticisms. (See the extended entry for details.)

I can’t claim to be the first blogger who ever prompted a change to a published federal appellate decision. That honor belongs to Howard Bashman, for an error noted in this post regarding a faulty citation in a Fifth Circuit opinion. (The correction was noted in this post.) I may be the second such blogger, but I’m clearly not the first.

However, when Bashman noted the error, the Fifth Circuit judge who had authored the opinion graciously wrote Bashman to thank him for having caught the error. I have received no such e-mail. So, if I have any claim to a “first,” it may be that I am the first blogger who ever prompted a change to a published federal appellate decision where the author of the opinion didn’t bother to thank the blogger for the correction. (Perhaps that is due to the acerbic manner in which I pointed out the error — although I doubt it.)

Don’t mention it, guys. Oh, that’s right — you didn’t.

The details regarding the error are available in the extended entry below.

P.S. A correspondent writes to ask whether the word “forced” in the title of the post is the right word. Technically, no — of course. If the judges from the Ninth Circuit panel had wished to leave this blatant error on the books, they certainly could have done so. I recognize this.

Then why did I use the word “forced”? The word is consistent with the sort of mock chest-beating tone that I sometimes generally adopt when I discuss the power and influence that I like to pretend this blog wields. (Examples here and here.) (My wife continually reminds me that this tone — which I intend as ironic and humorous — is difficult to distinguish from a truly arrogant and self-aggrandizing tone. She’s right — but usually, I just can’t help myself.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Howard Bashman for linking to this post. I hope new visitors will overlook the faux self-congratulatory tone of the post, and bookmark the site!

UPDATE x2: Thanks also to Glenn Reynolds for linking to this! There’s nothing like having thousands of people reading one of your more obnoxious posts to make you think: hmm, maybe my wife is right — maybe I should tone it down.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the site.

Onion: Bush Implores Iraqi Insurgents to Stop “Bringing It On”

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 8:03 pm

From the Onion:

Bush To Iraqi Militants: ‘Please Stop Bringing It On’

WASHINGTON, DC—In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. “Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now,” Bush said at a Monday press conference. “Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y’all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back.” The president added that the “it” Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.


Google Bait

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 4:44 pm

This is a mindless Google Bait post, which I recommend you not read.

Fallujah Residents Declare Victory

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 4:30 pm

I am not reassured by this Washington Post story.

UPDATE: Hindrocket at Power Line has a similar view.

Discussion on Ted Koppel at PressThink

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 4:14 pm

There is an interesting discussion going on at Jay Rosen’s fine blog PressThink, in comments to the post Of course Ted Koppel Was Making a Political Statement. So What?.

Smoking Ban on Beaches

Filed under: Current Events — Patterico @ 1:57 pm

Yesterday, I heard a local conservative radio personality complaining about the L.A. City Council’s decision to ban smoking on the beaches.

What’s the big deal? Alcohol is already banned on the beaches. I am more annoyed when cigarette smoke is belched in my face while I am sunbathing (this has happened to me) than by the possibility that people might drink at the beach.

I assume that anyone who is distraught by this ban is equally outraged by the alcohol ban. Right?

A Telling Set of Quotation Marks

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:14 am

It is not surprising that the New York Times editorial page used by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the other day around the word “hero” as used to describe Pat Tillman.)

The use of quotation marks in this context illustrates the paper’s need to distance itself from the description. The quotes say, at a minimum: “We don’t necessarily agree with this characterization.” If Hyman’s stories are truly positive, why the need for quotation marks?

You have to understand: in the eyes of the editors at the New York Times, there are no truly positive stories coming from Iraq — at least none that are newsworthy. (They are not alone in this feeling.) That’s why you rarely (if ever) see positive Iraq stories on the front page of the Times. And that’s why any description of positive stories from Iraq comes with a cautionary set of quotation marks.

The Big Picture on Kerry

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 9:49 am

Vik Rubenfeld at The Big Picture has a Comments Off on The Big Picture on Kerry

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