Patterico's Pontifications

12/12/2006

L.A. Times Editorial Slams Ninth Circuit and Stephen Reinhardt

Filed under: Court Decisions,Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 5:44 pm

Every so often, the editors of the L.A. Times let you know that they’re not completely beyond hope. They do so again today in an editorial titled The 9th Circuit’s deserved slap. The editorial is subtitled “Supreme Court rebuff in murder case points to a recurring problem with the appeals panel,” and it opens with this passage:

CRITICS OF THE U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, such as outgoing California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, are celebrating that liberal-leaning court’s latest rebuff by the Supreme Court. By a 9-0 vote, the justices on Monday overturned a finding by the 9th Circuit in a San Jose case that a convicted murderer had been denied a fair trial because relatives of the victim came to court wearing small buttons bearing the dead man’s photograph.

This page, which strongly opposes capital punishment, is nevertheless glad to see the 9th Circuit’s wrist slapped for improperly applying the law as it is written.

The editors say that the case

might seem like a technical argument between courts, but it points to something more pervasive and troubling: that the 9th Circuit seems predisposed to second-guess state courts, especially in death penalty cases — even to the point of usurping the high court’s role. The 9th Circuit’s image problem is easy grist for conservatives, but it should be troubling to liberals and moderates as well.

I would be more shocked by this if it weren’t for the fact that the paper’s news article on the case was similarly slanted against the Ninth Circuit. My jaw dropped open when I read that article, but it helped lessen the shock of today’s editorial.

If only these sensible moments could become a trend . . .

Orange County Register Runs Tribute to Maj. McClung

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:35 pm

There is a nice tribune to Maj. McClung in the Orange County Register today, here. Thanks to Doris Morrissey and Another Drew, who both sent me the link.

Who Knew Talent Agencies Had Such Power? (Another Abuse of Copyright Law)

Filed under: Buffoons,General,Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 11:31 am

[posted by Justin Levine – not Patterico]

The Gersh Agency represents comedian Pauly Shore. (Try to suppress your chuckles at this point.)

Pauly Shore gets into a fistfight with a club patron onstage. The incident is captured with murky video footage (I’m assuming with a cell phone camera) and then posted on the Internet.

The footage then suddenly disappears from the Internet after the Gersh Agency apparently claims a copyright interest in the video.

Question(s): (more…)

Nonsense by Paul Craig Roberts About the Criminal Justice System

Filed under: Buffoons,Crime,General — Patterico @ 6:49 am

Commenter dchamil sends along a link to one of the biggest pieces of nonsense I have read in ages: this piece by Paul Craig Roberts on the criminal justice system — or as he calls it, the criminal justice (sic) system.

Roberts’s piece is full of lines like this:

Prosecutors routinely withhold exculpatory evidence and suborn perjury.

Nonsense. Can you find isolated examples of this? Yes, just as you can find isolated examples of wrongdoing in any profession, if you look across the country. But the idea that such behavior is “routine” — that is nothing more than the raving of a fanatic. I am constantly turning over to defense attorneys evidence that might be considered exculpatory, and I hear colleagues talk about doing the same, all the time.

In the past judges could give light sentences to people they believed had been wrongfully convicted. But “law and order conservatives” have taken sentencing discretion away from judges. Today prosecutors hold all the cards.

Actually, in the federal system, the trend is in the opposite direction. Judges’ discretion was increased years ago in the case of U.S. v. Koon, and further expanded greatly when the Sentencing Guidelines were essentially declared advisory in a recent Supreme Court case. In my state, certain allegations cannot be stricken by judges, such as enhancements for use of a gun — but these are limited. Judges have discretion to strike strikes in third-strike cases. They have wide and almost unreviewable discretion to reduce “wobbler” charges to misdemeanors. The list goes on.

Roberts closes out his column by taking a couple of cases and telling them from the defense perspective — as though the defense perspective is gospel and proven truth. This is how he manages to use the phrase “unproven accusation” to describe an accusation that was proved to a unanimous jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Roberts even says that the defendant was “framed by the prosecutor with the help of the judge.” If I were the prosecutor, I’d be consulting my lawyer regarding a libel suit.

So, commenter dchamil, what do I think of this piece? Not much. And if I’d never run across this guy before, I would feel confident — on the basis of this piece alone — in advising people never to trust a single thing he says about anything.


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