Patterico's Pontifications


Phil Spector Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

Filed under: Crime,Obama — Patterico @ 7:18 pm

First O.J. goes down and now this. It’s almost like there’s hope for the criminal justice system after all. We can convict a celebrity! . . . as long as he’s a psycho freak who has threatened people with guns all his life . . . and occasionally wears his hair in a foot-tall frizzed-up hairdo . . .

. . . and whose defense is that he didn’t just threaten women with guns — he threatened men, too.

Upon hearing the news of the conviction, the news guys on NBC were trying to figure out what the sentence might be. How stupid can these media types be? Sentencing on a case like this isn’t rocket science. How hard is it to contact an expert ahead of time, to know the answers to such questions right away?

As an example, take the L.A. Times article on the conviction . . . please:

The verdict means Spector, famed for his work with Tina Turner, the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and others, faces 15 years for murder and at least three for gun enhancement when he is sentenced May 29.

OK, wrong and wrong. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life, not 15 years. That’s error number one. A typical gun enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.53(d) — which is almost certainly what was charged here — carries an extra 25-to-life sentence. Not three years.* That’s error number two.

Add them up and the total is 40-to-life. I haven’t seen the charging documents, but that’s almost certainly what Spector is facing. Not 18 years. [See UPDATES below.]

Jeez. Again, how hard is this to figure out in advance?

Spector was remanded to the custody of the sheriff and will likely never live another free moment.

Congratulations to DDAs Alan Jackson and Truc Do.

P.S. It was good to see Spector re-affirm his previous allegiance to Barack Obama:

Spector arrived in court Monday wearing a “Barack Obama” button.

Spector thus continued a streak of Convicted Murderers for Obama. They should form a support group. You know . . . in prison.

[As always, this post is made pursuant to my First Amendment rights as a private citizen and not in any official capacity. APR 5.2%. Offer not good in California. Contents may settle during shipping.]

UPDATE: The press release from the L.A. County District Attorney says:

Spector faces 15 years to life in prison for the murder conviction and another three, four or 10 years tacked on to that term for the gun use.

Ben Sheffner of the invaluable Copyrights and Campaigns blog sends a link to the indictment, which charges only allegations under Penal Code sections 12022.5(a) and 12022.53(b). The reason is not clear to me.

Even if the PC 12022.53(b) allegation were the only gun allegation charged, the gun enhancement would presumably be 10 years, not 3, 4, or 10 years. This 10-year enhancement is mandatory even if the jury also finds true a 12022.5(a) enhancement.

And People v. Izaguirre (2007) 42 Cal.4th 126 holds that a conviction of a 12022.53(d) gun enhancement (a 25-to-life enhancement) can be imposed consecutive to a 15-to-life sentence for a second-degree murder charge. So a standard second-degree murder with a personal use of a firearm should result in a 40-to-life sentence.

UPDATE x2: A reader suggests a reason: that Spector did not discharge the gun intentionally. Now that the reader mentions it, I recall that our office proceeded under an implied malice theory, which does not require intent to kill.

You’d think, however, that a jury (or grand jury) that didn’t find an intentional discharge would find Spector guilty of an involuntary manslaughter and not a murder, though. Intent to pull the trigger and intent to kill are not necessarily the same thing; you can have the former (and a second degree murder) without the latter; but implied malice without an intent to pull the trigger seems like a stretch (though I suppose it’s possible in theory).

Karl expands his global media empire

Filed under: General — Karl @ 4:21 pm

[Posted by Karl]

HotAir is launching a new “Green Room,” where about a dozen people will be blogging. I am one of them.  I would not have accepted the invitation without Patterico’s blessing, and he was as gracious about it, as he has always been with me. AFAIK, I will still be commenting here, and posting (or cross-posting) here with some frequency. 

One of the reasons I have blogged at all is the quality of commenters I have found here and during my stint at Protein Wisdom.  I accepted the invite from HotAir for the opportunity to write for a different audience. “If the mountain will not come to you…” and all that.  But I would not have received the invitation in the first instance if not for folks like Patterico and y’all, so I thank you like a Munchkin thanks Dorothy for dropping a house on the Wicked Witch of the East.


Unrealpolitik on Iran

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:03 am

[Posted by Karl]

Roger Cohen’s latest apologia for the Iranian theocracy in the New York Times begins with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei blaming former Pres. Bush for the IAEA’s manifest failure to detect, let alone control, Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program.  Cohen predictably argues that Pres. Obama must strike a “grand bargain” with the Iranian mullahs, which will necessarily means that “Obama will have to get tougher with Israel than any U.S. president in recent years.” 

Unfortunately for Cohen, Michael Rubin has a column in today’s Wall Street Journal, reciting the failure of European engagement with Iran and quoting Iranian officials publicly admitting that their diplomatic efforts are an insincere ruse, designed to dissuade the rest of the world from putting a halt to Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

On June 14, 2008, for example, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Mr. Khatami’s spokesman, debated advisers to current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the University of Gila in northern Iran. Mr. Ramezanzadeh criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad for his defiant rhetoric, and counseled him to accept the Khatami approach: “We should prove to the entire world that we want power plants for electricity. Afterwards, we can proceed with other activities,” Mr. Ramezanzadeh said. The purpose of dialogue, he argued further, was not to compromise, but to build confidence and avoid sanctions. “We had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the activities,” he said.

Indeed, if Rubin had more space he could have undoubtedly written much more about Iran’s history of dishonest diplomacy.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s most recent report on Iran’s nuclear program suggests that Cohen’s dream of a “grand bargain” is just that — a dream.  The report argues that diplomacy could be successful, but only if China and Russia can be brought aboard quickly to coerce Iranian compliance with any deal. 

That approach still seems like a long shot, given that the Obama Administration cannot get China or Russia on board for anything more than a weakly-worded note from the UN in the case of North Korea.  However, it is a more realistic approach than the brand of unrealpolitik advocated by Cohen, which seems less interested in our national security than in building The Narrative to blame Bush if Iran tests a nuclear weapon on Obama’s watch.  Unfortunately, it would require more work than making a YouTube clip for the mullahs’ amusement, so I am not holding my breath.


U.N. Finally Decides North Korean Missile Launch Violated U.N. Resolution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

It took eight days just to get the U.N. to admit that North Korea broke a resolution with its recent missile launch. Ed Morrissey notes that the U.N. response is reminiscent of the strongly worded memo mocked in the movie “Team America” — except that this memo wasn’t even strongly worded.

This is just a reminder that the U.N. is utterly worthless when it comes to matters affecting our security.

A Beldar post that I missed during my vacation last week addresses this issue:

So what did Barack Obama do about North Korea’s missile launch, made in defiance of the United Nations and world opinion, made to intimidate and threaten our staunch allies Japan and South Korea, and made to humiliate the United States?

He toured Europe. Where he blamed America first for all the world’s problems, winning applause from reflexively anti-American crowds and not a damned thing of value more from our European allies.

Then he came home and cut production of the preeminent air superiority fighter of the first half of the 21st Century.

Bush did nothing of substance to address the North Korean threat, which arose when Bill Clinton made a naive deal with North Korea. But, whatever his faults, at least Bush understood that the U.N. was not the place to go to address our national security concerns. And he didn’t blame America for the world’s problems.

What will it take to get Barack Obama to learn these lessons?

Beldar: Surviving Pirate Should Face Death; Also, Why Obama’s Handling of the Pirate Situation Does Not Necessarily Reassure

Filed under: General,Obama,Terrorism — Patterico @ 1:45 am

Should the surviving pirate face the death penalty? Big Media is telling us he faces life at most. Beldar thinks the penalty should be death.

I’m not an expert on federal criminal law, and I haven’t had time to research Beldar’s contention, but it seems facially plausible. [UPDATE: According to this story, the surviving pirate had surrendered at the time the others were killed. I think this would make Beldar’s argument for the death penalty tougher, but not necessarily wrong.] Ironically — if the surviving pirate is a minor, something that is not at all clear — a possible death penalty could be precluded by our Supreme Court’s lawless decision eliminating the death penalty for juveniles. More justices like this, please, Mr. Obama!

Speaking of whom, Beldar has this to say:

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so churlish in not extending even a nod of appreciation to our Commander in Chief, read this paragraph tucked away near the end of the New York Times’ account of the rescue:

The Defense Department twice asked Mr. Obama for permission to use military force to rescue Captain Phillips, most recently late on Friday night, senior defense officials said. On Saturday morning, the president agreed to permit action, they said, but only if it appeared that the captain’s life was in imminent danger.

Then tell me: When, exactly, during this entire episode was Captain Phillips’ life not in imminent danger? Why did Barack Obama have to sleep on the decision whether to permit our military commanders on the scene to use their own judgment as to whether to kill pirates who had attacked an American vessel and were holding its captain hostage? If this paragraph from the NYT is correct, then even if our forces had clear shots at all of the pirates simultaneously prior to Saturday morning, they lacked Obama’s permission to take them. And that is outrageous and, on the part of our nominal Commander in Chief, pathetic.

Yes, I suppose Obama could have been more pathetic — he could have refused permission altogether. But Obama obviously thinks he’s our Defense Lawyer in Chief, maybe Defense Lawyer for the World. And that’s not the job he’s in — that’s emphatically not the oath he took last January, and there are times, including this one, when it could be inconsistent with the oath he took last January. Obama’s operating under a delusion that is very dangerous for America and the rest of the free world. Color me unsurprised but still disappointed.

All emphasis in the original.

It’s hard to argue with success, so I’m not inclined to be too harsh. But Beldar provides a good reminder that we shouldn’t get carried away with the fiction of Barack Obama, Tough Guy.

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