Patterico's Pontifications


Memo to the Scumbag Sitting in the Row in Front of Us Or Behind Us on the Plane Today on the Flight from Atlanta to New York

Filed under: Scum — Patterico @ 9:51 pm

At the end of the flight, you saw me with a six-year-old child, and you saw me looking for my wallet, which I had apparently dropped on the floor sometime during the flight. But instead of handing it to me, you took all the cash out, and let me walk off the plane without it.

Sure, you turned it into the lost and found after stealing all the cash. But it was too late for us. By the time we found this out, we had long since taken a cab into Manhattan.

[UPDATE: Mrs. P notes that the thief is probably not the same person who turned in the wallet to authorities, and she’s probably right.]

For all you know, my child and I were unable to check into our hotel because of your dishonest actions. (We managed, somehow . . . not that you care.)

The worst part was having to explain it to my daughter — that when people think they can do bad things and get away with it, they very often do.


UPDATE: On the plus side, people have been very friendly in New York. For example, the Baseball Crank bought lunch for my daughter and me to give us a proper New York welcome. Thanks, Crank!

The New Lefty Defense of the Wretched Taylor NSA Opinion

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,Court Decisions — Patterico @ 9:21 pm

Some justify the lack of analysis in Judge Taylor’s NSA opinion by arguing that it’s the Government’s fault for doing a poor brief. Glenn Greenwald advances this argument here, and some of his less brainy stooges have followed suit.

The idea that this is all the Government’s fault is nonsense. The Government cannot force a judge to articulate rules incorrectly, as Judge Taylor did when she stated that the Fourth Amendment “requires prior warrants for any reasonable search, based upon prior-existing probable cause” — a flat misstatement of the law.

Nor can the Government force the judge to articulate rules and then simply fail to apply them, as she did in her First Amendment discussion. There, she cited the rule requiring speech restrictions to serve a compelling governmental interest in the least restrictive manner possible. Having stated the rule, she failed to, you know, apply it, choosing instead to resort to our old friend “undisputedly”:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

That’s not an analysis, folks.

Greenwald’s other point, regarding the Government’s alleged failure to make certain arguments, is confused by the procedural context. Orin Kerr has posted several of the relevant documents. As the comments to his post show, the procedural posture of the case is all mixed up. A decent opinion would have made it clear. But one thing *is* clear: the Government did not intend to waive its substantive arguments, and the judge never said it had. That undercuts Greenwald’s argument severely.

The O.J. Posts — Part Five: Patterico Visits the O.J. Civil Trial

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:04 am

[This is Part Five of a series of posts on the O.J. Simpson trial. Part One is here; Part Two is here; Part Three is here; Part Four is here.]

I attended the morning session of the O.J. civil trial in Santa Monica on October 29, 1996. I had recently completed my clerkship with a federal judge in downtown Los Angeles, and was taking a few weeks off before I resumed civil practice with the firm I’d been with before the clerkship. The transcript of the session I attended can be read here. There was a lottery to get in, but as I recall, there were only about 25-28 people competing for 20 spots, so the odds were that I was going to make it, and I did. (I had hoped to meet Harry Shearer, who was attending the civil trial and writing about it for Slate, but it turned out that he was in a media listening room instead of in the courtroom that day.) What I’m about to tell you is reconstructed from my memory of almost 10 years ago, and I apologize if I get anything wrong. However, my memory is refreshed somewhat by the transcript linked above.

I watched all of the testimony of LAPD Officer Donald Thompson and the very beginning of the testimony of LAPD Det. Ron Phillips. Officer Thompson’s testimony impressed me greatly. Officer Thompson, whom I stood next to in the hallway (along with Linda Deutch), was a towering but very soft-spoken and credible black man. If the evidence in the case was planted by racist cops, he had to be in on it. He saw only one glove at the crime scene. Hours after the killings, he saw blood droplets on the back gate of the Bundy crime scene — droplets that conspiracy aficionados claimed had been planted, some say days later. He saw blood inside O.J.’s Bronco that the doubters also claimed was planted.

It seemed baffling to me that this apparently gentle black man could have been a part of a hastily conceived conspiracy of racist white cops. Of course, having heard Lange try to talk O.J. out of committing suicide during the Bronco low-speed chase — evidence that the criminal jury never heard — it seemed inconceivable that Lange could have been part of such a conspiracy. But I never heard Lange testify in person. I did hear Thompson. And he had also testified at the criminal trial — although I believe that contemporaneous photos of the blood on the back gate had emerged since the time of the criminal trial (why that took so long, I have no idea).

How did the jurors in the criminal case simply ignore Officer Thompson’s testimony? I’ve never been able to figure it out. Maybe it got lost in the overly long presentation. I’m sure they didn’t discuss his testimony in the couple of hours that they deliberated. But I found it significant. If you’d seen it, I think you would have, too.

P.S. I have sometimes heard the pro-O.J. crowd claim that Fred Goldman hammed it up for the cameras. Well, I can tell you this: at the civil trial, I sat two rows behind him and his daughter. When the lawyers displayed exhibits of Ron Goldman, they hugged each other, and you could see Fred Goldman shaking a little bit, apparently crying. But you couldn’t hear it. It wasn’t melodramatic, at all — and I saw no evidence that anyone else noticed (though I’m sure some did). It seemed genuine. And you know what? There were no cameras anywhere in sight.

P.P.S. This series of posts will soon be (at least temporarily) drawing to a close. I’m on vacation and am reaching the end of what I have been able to write in off-hours. My goal has not been to re-hash the whole case, but rather to bring some personal insights that aren’t available in the public record. If you are looking for a summation of O.J.’s guilt, read Vincent Bugliosi’s “Outrage.” Also, tomorrow I will quote extensively from Petrocelli’s summation in the civil trial. There is a pretty good summation there.

Tomorrow, I plan to discuss the differences between the civil and criminal trials, to respond to those who believe that it was all about the lawyering. It wasn’t. There were many more important differences.

Why Would I Say Radley Balko Isn’t Always Accurate? Because He Isn’t.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:01 am

Radley Balko, the “Agitator,” is agitated that I said:

When I hear the name Radley Balko, I check, and check again.

He figures I said it because I am a prosecutor and he is a libertarian, ergo I don’t like him. Then he makes a few dark insinuations about how I do my job. I do my job well and I resent Balko bringing my employment into the discussion, which he did simply because a) I disagree with him and b) I have caught him on inaccuracies in the past that he has refused to correct.

Sorry, Radley. I don’t willy-nilly accuse every libertarian of being inaccurate — just the ones who are. Balko has made at least one misstatement that he didn’t bother to correct even after I called him on it. In arguing for jury nullification, Balko claimed that a quote favorable to his position was from a Supreme Court decision, when I discovered that it was in fact from a mere Court of Appeals opinion. I blogged the error here, and wrote Balko an e-mail about it, and he never wrote me back or corrected the piece.

Xrlq has caught Balko on other distortions (see here and here).

P.S. As to the specific case in question, I simply felt that Xrlq and (to a lesser degree, Balko) had oversimplified (and understated) the facts underlying the decision. Read this Xrlq post and this comment of mine to see what I mean. That doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with the decision — just that I want to see it portrayed accurately.

UPDATE: Balko says he will correct the error. I’m pleased to see that.

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