Morning Ed: Law & Order {2017.07.19.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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48 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Lo8: Not sure how many attempts the state should be allowed to have to convict a person, but 6 seems excessive. This is one of the reasons libertarians are distrustful of government, because there is no practical limit on how much effort the government can spend to destroy a person.Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Agreed – the interests of justice are not served here. Seems very much like a vendetta.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      The State obtained four convictions, with the first three overturned on appeal. One ended in a hung jury (7-5 in favor of conviction) and the other ended as a result of juror misconduct.

      The issue is that trials are never perfectly performed and judges have to decide whether a mistake is significant enough to redo the trial; and if the option for retrial is capped, judges might just as well find mistakes to be less important. Eliminating retrial poses an excluded middle problem.

      The trial judge can always dismiss the case for lack of evidence after prosecutor presentation or the jury verdict. Ask Judge Aaron Persky how that is likely to go.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Another reason elected judges is a bad idea.

        Can’t a judge overturn a verdict with prejudice (am I using the right term)?Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I’m not as big into the issue of how judges are selected. From what I can see federal judges are typically appointed from a pool of elected judges, who are elected from a pool of appointed associate judge, all of whom usually have proprietorial experience. I’m more concerned about how they leave office.

          Yes, judges can overturn a jury verdict and acquit the accused (judgment notwithstanding the verdict); they are just not likely to do that in an environment where judicial independence is challenged and accountability issues predominate.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to PD Shaw says:

            The main issue I saw in the piece is the MS Supreme Court overturned the third conviction because of racial discrimination in the jury selection as bad “as we have ever seen.” It sounds like that prosecutor should be disbarred, if he wasn’t.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Lo1: The Louisiana couple, I really don’t understand the psychology that lets people do things like this. The typical thing is to blame it on the fact that they were very young but there are lots of people their age who know that having sex in a courtroom would be a bad idea even if they are very horny and there are lots of people much older than them that can’t control it either. A lawyer friend of mine told me a federal trial in Florida that got a bit derailed because two government witnesses, FBI agents, decided to have sex in the witness waiting room while waiting to be called for testimony.

    Lo2: We had a big debate about a young woman getting charged for killing her mother after years of abuse years ago. These are very sympathetic cases but the law really does need to take a stance against non-defensive killings. Allowing revenge killings in some cases is a very bad idea even if the victim kind of deserves it.

    Lo8: There are prosecutors that just will not quite. They are going to try again and again for conviction. If it turns out they convicted the wrong person they are going do everything to keep that person in jail anyway.

    Lo9: This seems excessively merciful.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Lo2: “a young woman getting charged for killing her mother after years of abuse years ago”

      If that’s the Munchausen-by-Proxy case, the daughter agreed to ten year prison sentence, which her attorney said would be good for her, she would get the attention she needed. In any event, I was thinking about that one in relation to Lo9.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to PD Shaw says:

        It’s not. It’s a separate case with some similarities, but some key differences.

        One that stands out to me is she just walked up to her father and killed him by hitting him with a shovel. There was no planning or murder-for-hire angle. On the other hand, it was years after the fact, and the triggering event was the adult daughter finding child pornography that the guy had made of her when he was abusing her, many years after the fact.

        All and all it’s just a depressing and nauseating case. I really don’t think we can be letting people walk after they just straight up murder someone like that, but I also understand the impulse to make exceptions in cases like this one.

        It was also in the UK.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

          The UK and other European countries are both more likely to consider things like abuse when determining a sentence and not willing to look the other way even with a really sympathetic defendant. Technically, the woman in Lo2 was charged with manslaughter rather than murder. The theory was that finding the pictures caused her to snap and just kill her father. Its what we would call a heat of passion killing under the law, which falls under the lesser offense of manslaughter rather than the more serious offense of murder.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    We are at the advocating murder stage of Trump support now

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      People wonder why liberals are suspicious when the Second Amendment is advocated as something that prevents government tyranny. Some of the most enthusiastic gun owners in America seem to be would be members of Mobile Death Squads and great supporters of th right type of government tyranny; the racist, anti-Semitic white nationalist Christian type.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I mean sure, that’s pretty bad, but at least the guy didn’t refuse to serve someone at a restaurant.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      For most white Christian Americans, the notion of fascism seems like a freaky science fiction, easily batted away as hyperbole.

      But for anyone outside of this demographic, it is just simple history, in many cases within living memory.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I am shocked, shocked, that…oh, never mind. There are times when “BSDI” is a sufficient reply.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Lo1: Like my brother, I just don’t get it. I suppose there is a thrill in having sex in public though. But of all the places to pick, why pick a courthouse?Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I think if you scroll down on the story the dude is in jail and was supposed to be cleaning the courthouse, so it was basically an unauthorized conjugal visit. (And then when they were heard, they fled, so it was basically a jail break too)Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Dylan Matthews at Vox argues that the Russia scandal is the product of elite impunity:

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’m all for people being upset at the corruption of the elites. Now if they could just remember to be upset at all such elites, and not just the ones on the other side of the political fence.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        More Democratic elites are at least put through the stages of investigation and prosecution for non-crimes and offenses while Republican elites often don’t even have to sweat it.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I’m sure they do. What I’d want to see is the number of convictions or, baring that, the number of times Dems who have gone through the ‘ringer’ disappear from public service (as opposed to getting another government job, or working for a lobbying firm, or a government think tank, etc.).

          I.E. is the ringer just a bit of theater that the left likes to engage in, while otherwise giving their elites a pass?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      And, of course, in the side bar at that link is an article about how people are upset at the redesign of She-Ra: Princess of Power.

      Seriously people, have you nothing better to do, like clip your toenails, or something?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        The toss up about She-Ra: Princess of Power got my eyes rolling to. Yes, I realize that there are a lot of men who are into cartoon babes but going into a public war over this just makes you seem pathetic. She-Ra has been and will always be a cartoon aimed at elementary school girls. Its not supposed to be for men. She-Ra’s 80s design had more to do with 80s aesthetics and the Conan revival. The influence of anime, thankfully gave the reboot a more children appropriate design.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        Apparently we don’t. I’m starting to wonder if all of this is a product of both Bullshit Jobs and Amusing Ourselves to Death. It is a sign of both long hours with not enough to actually do at the job. So we look for content.

        But I never got these extreme feelings in fandom.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I hear ya @saul-degraw. I mean, I love me some Star Wars, but the emotional contortions people put themselves through over the last few movies, or even the Lucas prequels – hit the gym folks, or go for a swim or a hike and work that angst out in healthy ways.Report

          • There’s a clip somewhere online of director Kevin Smith talking about how the backlash from the prequels really broke George Lucas from wanting to have much of anything to do with, and probably had a lot to do with the sale to Disney. Well, that and the billions of dollars he made from it. But the fandom that goes that far is really nuts. I mostly grew up in the “gap” where the originals were on TV and the prequels came after I graduated HS, so I was really into the books and expanded universe pre-and early internet without all that mess. Different world now, sadly. Zahn’s Trilogy was so, so good. So now it’s mostly just another movie series.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          There is also the Frankfurt School argument that elites use culture like fandom’s obsessions to keep people in line and ignore the big real issues effecting the world. When people are hashing it over She-Ra, malicious forces can get a lot of wickedness done.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Yesterday I learned that clipping one’s nails is in fact an important step toward protecting as many future generations as possible from Ragnarok.

        Turns out that during Ragnarok, Naglfar, the ship made of the fingernails and toenails of the dead, will bring the hordes that battle the Aesir. So, to defer this dire event as long as possible, it’s important to keep one’s nails trimmed, so as to provide the minimum of building materials for Naglfar. We never know the hour of our death, after all.Report

  6. Avatar pillsy says:

    The Twitters are, well, atwitter with people griping that the Washington Post published an execrable op-ed by the execrable Michael Anton. While I’m usually inclined to think that scum like Anton shouldn’t be published by high profile and prestige outlets like the Post, I have to admit that the publication provoked a good round of refutations of a perennial bad idea, not just outrage.

    One such refutation that came across my feed was this.Report

  7. Avatar pillsy says:

    Buzzfeed has a long piece on Lane Davis, an internet alt-right conspiracy theorist who was pretty high profile (by the standards of that small pond) prior to murdering his father. It ties in a bit to the political elimination that @saul-degraw mentioned, because one of the things that evidently drove Davis to murder was his belief that a civil war was coming:

    “He saw progressives as completely evil,” Ralph [1] said. “He thought there might be a civil war and we might have to kill these people. He would get pretty gung ho about it.”

    There are a lot of things going on in this piece, and it took me longer than usual to read it because I wanted to follow several threads and take some notes on it so I wouldn’t forget. Some things that stood out to me:

    Everybody seems way too willing and even eager to believe that everyone who espouses views like Davis’ is just doing it for attention and money. Ralph explicitly says this, and I guess that’s a good rationalization for having the likes of Richard Spencer on your livestream, but some of these guys clearly don’t. The author of the piece, Joseph Bernstein, believed this about Davis as well, and knew Davis as a source.

    This jumped out at me because it reminded me a lot about how many people were fooled into believing Milo was just trolling before Bernstein himself broke a story involving Milo’s emails showing him explicitly trying to mainstream white supremacy.

    I think this may tie into the whole “Cult of Savvy” types. “Surely everybody knows this stuff is too dumb and crazy to believe it except (perhaps) some largely irrelevant rubes, so let’s focus on the narrative or personalities, and assume it’s all some puckish game on the part of its authors.”

    The other thing is that Davis at first blush seems like the kind of guy who stepped right out of a Selena Zito story. No college education, but he was making a good living on his own as a smelter operator. Then he lost his job and had to move in with his parents.

    At the same time, he was also a racist conspiracy theorist asshole who killed his own father after losing his shit about his most recent imagined conspiracy outrage.

    [1] This is Ethan Ralph, who ran/runs “The Ralph Retort”, which is a reactionary YouTube channel. Davis worked with him.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      The thing of this kind of stuff is, if these guys were talking like this, but were speaking in shades of Islam, rather than politics and racism, the FBI would be all over them like ugly on an orc.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

      Do you remember when What’s the Matter with Kansas came out? A lot of the debate then was almost exclusively about economics. People were angry that Frank was telling WWC people what they should view as their self-interest.

      The problem is that a lot of pundits naively thought that this was all about business and economics because they live in such a place that all their life is about business or economics. Or that is what they want all policy to be about because it is easier to debate and quantify.

      But what if we have it wrong. What if people are voting Trump and/or Republican because of all the implicit and sometimes explicit promises of white, nominally Christian, male, heterosexual supremacy?

      The right-wing tried to have their cake and eat it too for a long time about this stuff and now the chickens are coming home to roost. They are disturbed and don’t know how to react. Neither does “neo-liberalism” which always struck me as wanting to turn humans into economic and money-first machines because it was a way to avoid discussing divisive social issues.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Good news, everybody. Director James Gunn has been removed from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after some bad tweets from 2008-2011 surfaced. (Trigger warning: he made jokes involving molestation and sexual assault and other “edgy” type jokes.)

    It looks like James Gunn mocked Ben Shapiro and, in response, Mike Cernovitch dug through Gunn’s history and found the edgy jokes and publicized them and now James Gunn is no longer affiliated with Guardians of the Galaxy 3.

    Looks like he’s also not showing up for the San Diego Comic-Con panel that he was scheduled to be on.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

      Man, I am so glad that something said like 10 years ago that no one seemed to care about back then is so darned important today because someone else had a grudge.

      Circular Firing Squad – READY! AIM! …Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        These jokes were made sometimes between when he directed “Slither” (a not-quite-as-good-as-the-original remake of Night of the Creeps) and when he wrote “Super” (a surprisingly good deconstruction of superhero movies that was kinda ultra-violent).

        Who’s Next?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          Apparently he also tweeted something about Roseanne in a tweet since deleted.

          “I wish some of these so-called defenders of liberty would start to understand what freedom of speech is AND isn’t. Roseanne is allowed to say whatever she wants. It doesn’t mean @ABCNetwork needs to continue funding her TV show if her words are considered abhorrent.”

          (He was apparently responding to a tweet that was unavailable at the time that the screenshot was taken. You can see the screenshot here. (And, trigger warning, if you scroll down a bit, you can see some of the “edgy” (and legit offensive) tweets that got him fired.))Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Well I’ll be damnedReport