Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thirteen Rules of the Criminal Justice System

Rule I:  Most criminal defendants are, in fact, guilty.

Rule II:  All criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges understand and believe Rule I.

Rule III:  It is easier to convict guilty defendants by violating the Constitution than by complying with it, and in some cases it is impossible to convict guilty defendants without violating the Constitution.

Rule IV:  Many police lie about whether they violated the Constitution in order to convict guilty defendants.

Rule V:  All prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys are aware of Rule IV.

Rule VI:  Many prosecutors implicitly encourage police to lie about whether they violated the Constitution in order to convict guilty defendants.

Rule VII:  All judges are aware of Rule VI.

Rule VIII:  Most trial judges pretend to believe police officers who they know are lying.

Rule IX:  All appellate judges are aware of Rule VIII, yet many pretend to believe the trial judges who pretend to believe the lying police officers.

Rule X:  Most judges disbelieve defendants about whether their Constitutional rights have been violated, even if they are telling the truth.

Rule XI:  Most judges and prosecutors would not knowingly convict a defendant who they believe to be innocent of the crime charged (or a closely related crime).

Rule XII:  Rule XI does not apply to members o[f] organized crime, drug dealers, career criminals, or potential informers.

Rule XIII:  Nobody really wants justice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Random Tidbits I was sent while working at the Court

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old
is he?
WITNESS: He's twenty, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you
check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was
alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An unnecessary strain on judicial economy

While I was a law student I worked for an appellate court, one of the cases for which I was asked to perform legal research was on an appeal from a misdemeanor conviction for contract splitting, a misdemeanor.  The case had gone to a jury trial that lasted multiple days and resulted in a multi-volume record (probably over 1,000 pages of transcripts and over 1,000 pages of trial exhibits).  The conviction resulted in something like a $500 fine.  The defendant appealed.  I forget what the final decision on the case but I learned something about judicial economy that day:  courts do not apply cost-benefit analysis.  The case was the product of 100s of attorney hours for both the prosecution and the defense, days for the trial judge, calling up/selecting/paying a jury for a couple of days, multiple photocopies of the different exhibits and that was just at the trial level.  At the appellate level it took about a day from a judge, several days from a staff attorney, probably over 100 hours for a new set of attorneys for the prosecution and several hours for appellate counsel for the defendant, and a day's worth of work for a lowly judicial intern.  The result, if the conviction was affirmed, a $500 fine and perhaps some court costs which probably didn't amount to more than another $500.  The real losers . . . the tax payers and the court system.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The purpose of this blog . . .

With law school finished, the bar passed, and no job in sight due to the worst economy in decades, I've decided to start a blog of stories and comments (mainly legal humor but also non legal).  The first story comes from watching Law and Order: SVU.  I know that the legal maneuvering isn't based in reality, but come on give me a break.  A girl was charged with the murder of her friend.  She decides to take the stand.  One problem, she is wearing the dead girl's ring, a ring the police new the victim wore but never recovered.  That is a really stupid defense attorney that let that happen and I would guarantee that the case (if it had been real) would have been reversed.