Patterico's Pontifications


Federal Death Penalty Case in a No-Death-Penalty State

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 9:44 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

AP News reports that federal prosecutors are trying a death penalty case in Illinois, apparently because the State is no longer seeking the death penalty in any case:

The federal death-penalty case is the first in Illinois since the state struck capital punishment from its books on grounds death-penalty processes were too error-prone. Some Illinois anti-death penalty activists criticized what they said was the federal government’s imposition of a death-penalty case on a non-death penalty state.

When he first stepped up to the podium Christensen’s lawyer, George Tesseff, told jurors he would begin his remarks with what he realized was an unusual admission for an attorney about his client: “Brendt Christensen killed Yingying Zhang,” he said.

Without explaining in detail, Tesseff said Christensen was responsible because he “is on trial for his life,” alluding to the possibility of a death sentence.


Follow Up: Bakery vs Oberlin Punitive Damages Hearing

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 8:47 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Legal Insurrection — Oberlin College to Jury: We’re cash poor and big punitive award to Gibson’s Bakery will hurt students:

Oberlin College basically begged for mercy at punitive damages hearing today. (UPDATED with additional details of today’s hearing)


Nebraska AG Stands Alone

Filed under: Crime,Law,Politics — DRJ @ 10:59 am

[Headline from DRJ]

AP NewsNebraska’s AG is lone holdout in pursuing opioid cases:

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has fought prescription opioid abuse through public education campaigns, worked with lawmakers to tighten prescribing practices and even demanded documents from the maker of OxyContin. He has said the overdose crisis is ravaging families.

What Peterson hasn’t done is pursued a lawsuit seeking to hold any opioid manufacturer, distributor or pharmaceutical company accountable. That leaves him standing alone among state attorneys general.

Every other state has sued, filed administrative charges or promised to sue the companies blamed for the national crisis, which played a role in the deaths of more than 390,000 Americans from 2000 through 2017. Peterson’s decision to stand on the sidelines, at least so far, has frustrated some who want to make sure that Nebraska is in line to receive its fair share of money under any national settlement.

It is governnent’s job to implement good policies to address public problems. In this case, is making someone else pay a good or bad policy?


Follow Up: Trump Looks to Squash Amash

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:48 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Politico: Trump Looks to Squash Justin Amash.

Mission Accomplished?

Hot Air: Report: Michigan Poll Shows Justin Amash Trailing Primary Challenger By 16


Asylum in Mexico

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 9:20 am

[Headline from DRJ]

ReutersExclusive: Asylum seekers returned to Mexico rarely win bids to wait in U.S.

The article concerns a new Trump policy called the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), which has sent “11,000 asylum seekers to wait on the Mexican side of the border for their U.S. court cases to be completed.” The new US-Mexico agreement may apply to more migrants, so Reuters analyzed what the policy has done so far:

Of the 8,718 migrants in the program Reuters identified in the EOIR data, only 106 – about 1% – had their cases transferred off the MPP court docket, allowing them to wait in the United States while their asylum claims are adjudicated.

The analysis, which provides the first public accounting of who is in the MPP program and how it is being carried out, comes as the program is set to be dramatically expanded. On Friday, Mexico agreed to implement it across the entire southern border to prevent U.S. President Donald Trump from imposing across-the-board tariffs on Mexican goods.

Trump, who ran for office on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration, has grown increasingly frustrated by the ballooning numbers of mostly Central American families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and asking for asylum in the United States. The administration devised the policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to reduce the number of migrants living in the United States while their cases chug through a backlogged court system.


Flynn Hires New Attorney

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 9:15 am

[Headline from DRJ]

The HillMichael Flynn hires Sidney Powell as new counsel:

Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn has hired attorney Sidney Powell as his new counsel, Hill.TV has learned. 

“I’m honored to be representing General Flynn, who i’ve long considered an American hero. The General and his family want to thank everyone across the country for their cards and contributions to his legal defense fund. He is going to continue to cooperate with the government, pursuant to his plea agreement,” Powell told Hill.TV in a phone call. 

Powell is author of the new book, “Licensed to Lie, Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.” The book’s description reads “Licensed to Lie reveals the strong-arm, illegal, and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power to the highest halls of our government” and focuses on the conduct of the DOJ during the Enron investigation in the mid-2000’s. 

Flynn recently fired his attorneys before sentencing.


Juicebox Vox Millennial: Trump Sure Is Bizarre for Thinking Tractors Use the Internet

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:02 am

Juicebox Vox millennial Aaron Rupar:

You know what’s beyond parody? Some juicebox Vox millennial has never heard of tractors using the Internet, so he proclaims the notion “bizarre” based on his vast wealth of agricultural expertise. Meanwhile, it’s not bizarre at all.

[UPDATE: Auto-play video removed; click link to watch it.]


Besides being able to drive themselves, tractors now-a-days have internet capability, which allows them to send data directly to the farmer.

“They can see all of their data almost in real-time,” Dorsey said. “They can see where the machine is located and how much fuel they’ve used, how hard their machines are working and how much cotton they’re pulling out of the field,” he added.

. . . .

“The landscape of agriculture has changed,” Dorsey said. “There are less people farming but they’re farming more acres so because of that you have to have bigger machines that can hold bigger pieces of equipment and can cover more ground,” he said.

The future of these monster-truck sized farm machines looks like they will continue to get smarter and smarter.

. . . .

“Most people don’t realize how complicated it is, so a lot of our farmers are making very very complicated decisions for their farm and their business and they are using data to do that and make sure in the smartest way possible that they are profitable and helping to feed everyone,” he said.

And still more:

Rapid urbanization, aging farm populations, and depleting rural labor resources pose serious threats to our global food security. As rural labor resources come under continued pressure, tractors are the answer. When available, tractors can work 40x faster and be significantly less expensive than off-farm labor. Most farmers, however, can’t afford to own their own tractors and most tractor service providers operate well below their potential.

Hello Tractor has developed a solution to address these problems. The company has developed a low-cost monitoring device that when placed on a tractor provides the owner with powerful software and analytics tools to ensure tractors are both profitable and properly cared for. The software connects tractor owners to farmers in need of tractor services – just like Uber for tractors. Hello Tractor also works with financial institutions and technicians to ensure tractor owners have the financing and spare parts needed to grow and protect their fleet. All of this work is being done to ensure that smallholder farmers have the resources they need to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing global agricultural market.


[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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