Monday, May 02, 2005

Gay day in Law Land.


Today's a big legal day for the gays.

The oral arguments (which I just found out you can view online!) in front of the SJC about gay marriage concluded about an hour ago. They'll probably do a pretty quick opinion, what with it being a hot button issue and all. I gather that they won't stop any of the marriages while waiting for "the people" to debate about gay marriages, but I may be wrong. Even if they do freeze upcoming marriages, the Catholic Action League is still going to have to figure out what to do with the already-married people. I'm patiently waiting for this to become a federal question. I just worry that it'll happen with a conservative Supreme Court, one in which even Scalia ignores the Constitution in favor of the party line. Honestly, I think that he'd have to favor gay marriage if he were to do what he always does, which would be strictly interpret the Constitution. I also had a really good argument about why, but I can't seem to remember much past that scene in The People v. Larry Flynt where Ed Norton keeps referring to Scalia by name and I giggle a little every time.

Anyway, to move on, the US Supreme Court will make a decision about the Solomon Amendment. There's more detail over at the SCOTUS blog. The attorney who runs How Appealing (a fantastic appeals blog that brings all the news together), wrote an article that I think a lot of people at my school should read. I've said similar things about working in the DA's office: defendant friendly people like myself are exactly who shouldn't be abandoning the prosecutors' offices of the country. I get that we don't like discrimination, but I also agree that banning JAG recruiters is a hollow victory, at best.

Besides, I'm a pessimist: I really think the draft will be re-instated, and I get a kick out of "dodging" by marrying my girlfriend in the only state that I'm allowed to do so in.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Disaccord, Dissatisfaction

On coop, I learned of the lovely phenomenon that is “Accord and Satisfaction.” Essentially, Accord and Satisfaction agreements give judges discretion to dismiss charges against a criminal defendant if the defendant pays the accuser an agreed-upon amount of money. (Generally, judges are not to dismiss charges over the objection of the prosecutor.) This type of agreement seems out of place in the criminal context for many reasons, most obviously because it allows an agreement between two private parties to end what is otherwise a case of the government and the people against a private party. Of course, in some situations such an agreement could be a just and beneficial if not merely efficient use of judicial resources. In others, it is ill-suited and gravely unjust, but . . . still legal in Massachusetts.

In particular, Accord and Satisfaction agreements are currently allowed in cases of domestic abuse. That is, a defendant accused of domestic assault and battery may PAY his or her accuser, and the case will be dismissed. The requirements that ensure that the accuser assents to the agreement (that the person appear in court and sign the agreement in writing) are minimal and wholly insufficient to ensure a lack of coercion. If ever parties to a contract have unequal bargaining power, it’s here. Allowing Accord and Satisfaction agreements in domestic abuse cases undermines the foundation of the criminal justice system---a system where the accuser is merely a witness and the victim is the state.

Bills outlawing the use of Accord and Satisfaction agreements in cases of domestic abuse have consistently died. Similar bills are being filed for the 2005 – 2006 session. Let’s hope for better.

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At last

So, I’ve been completely absent from this blog since its inception. Well, here I am, ready to make more frequent appearances. Luckily, I’ve set the bar quite low.

I’ve been interning at Chelsea District Court since the end of February. In Massachusetts, students who have passed an Evidence course and finished two academic years of law school can become 3:03 certified to appear in court, unpaid, in limited civil and criminal matters. In my case, I work in the District Attorney’s office and answer on cases not involving victim crime---mostly automobile-, alcohol-, and drug-related cases. It’s been an amazing in terms of both courtroom and life experience. Interns, who begin doing arraignments and bail arguments and then move on to motions, bench trials, and jury trials, are supervised by ADA’s but given a great deal of responsibility and discretion. That’s the thumbnail job description. As you can imagine, there’s no end to the anecdotes, questions, and ideas inspired by the experience. I’ll try to be more forthcoming about sharing those. Ok, Sam?

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Wisconsin Tea Party


Sorry it's been so long. I was finishing up my appellate brief at work, and then I was on a very long, relaxing, satisfying vacation in which I did absolutely nothing remotely related to the law (unless you count having one of my Sims from Sims 2 get into the law enforcement career track).

But I am back! And in the spirit of backness, I have some possible government action to complain about. I'm also considering making an entry about the regulation of sex and violence in broadcast television versus video games, inspired by my recent purchase of EverQuestCrack 2 and the creation of a well-endowed, sexy-walking, Barbarian fighter that would probably fall over if she were a real person. But first: taxes!

The governor of Wisconsin would like to make the 5% sales tax applicable to downloads on the internet.

[I]t would extend the 5% sales tax to "audio works," including music, books on tape and pre-recorded speeches; "audiovisual works," including movies, music videos and live events; "finished artwork," including paintings, designs and photographs; and "literary works," including books.


I don't know if I've mentioned this before (I probably have), but I am a firm supporter of the separation of Intellectual Property laws and Real Property laws. I think the argument is that all of these things could be bought in their "real" version: CDs, DVDs, books, etc. And I agree that, according to the Copyright Act, fixed "in a tangible medium of expression" extends to digital forms of dissemination. But this isn't as much about property (though it is, sort of) as about taxes, which is something I know nothing about. I therefore feel completely safe yammering on about it only to be corrected by someone who knows much more than me later, in my comments. Hopefully in a nice way.

This is a voluntary tax, that Governor Doyle (Democrat) expects Wisconsinians (What's the proper word here? Cheesehead is just... weirder than Masshole, I'm sorry.) to pay whenever they download works from a Wisconsin company. So you, as a Wisconsin downloader, would have to make sure you were aware of the location of the company you were downloading from, and pay your taxes. Can you imagine if the entire country weren't laughing at this idea, and federal legislation were introduced that required you to pay taxes on every download?

I imagine this tax only applies to downloads of things you're purchasing. So getting the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica off of a Torrent site wouldn't count. In general, I don't think that this law is something to freak out about. But the idea that someone in charge of a state has such little (or maybe a lot, but misguided) understanding of the operation of the internet and e-commerce is more disturbing than anything else.

Honestly, if I'm going to be taxed on downloads, I'm less likely to download anything legally. But that's just me. It's bad enough I've got to pay for music or movies anyway (especially the inflated amount I'm required to pay to support the executives in a lifestyle to which they have become accustomed) but to have to pay the Government for that? No thanks. I'd rather that they legalize prostitution and let me pay my taxes for sex. I'm not entire sure how they equate, but I think that we should legalize prostitution and tax it, and then we can not have to worry about taxing downloaders. Get the money from somewhere else.

This is basically what the Republicans in Wisconsin's legislature have said (except for the prostitution part). And they're using it as an opportunity to stress that they're interested in e-commerce and the continual existence of the internet. The Gov looks mighty dumb, but I can't help but wonder if there are people who agree with him. It's not like he's the first to propose something like this (States have, in the past, sued online companies for lost revenue. And then there was that nasty internet federal internet tax that was hanging over our heads before being frozen by Bush Jr.). Those, however, have both concerned actual items being bought over the internet and physically sent to peoples' homes. This is the first time anyone's wanted to tax the downloading process.

So let's tax downloading. And then we can tax IMing, the way we tax the telephone. We're already paying a tax on our ISP (or at least, I think I am), which I think should count towards whatever I'm using the internet for, don't you? I'd still rather legalize prostitution.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

This Used to Be My Playground

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Women on Top, as long as they're white.


There's a small bit of news coverage today about the fact that the top members of Governor Mitt Romney's judicial nominating committee are resigning. Supposedly, the resignations are unrelated to the recent flak that Romney's been getting from the Massachusetts Women's Bar Association about the fact that, of the 19 nominations he's made, 17 have been men and 15 of those men were white (both women nominees were white).

Ralph Martin, making far fewer waves than "That Summers Guy at Harvard That Thinks Women Are Dumb(tm)," had this to say:

[T]here might be other factors why women aren't making their way to the bench. He said a disproportionate number of those submitting their names to the commission come from large law firms or are prosecutors. He also said judicial salaries might be another factor.


It's interesting that Mr. Martin (who is, according the article, black) didn't mention any reason that there are less minority nominees.

I think it's a pretty standard "statistic" that there are more women than men in law school now. It follows, then, that the next couple of generations of judges will have more women in their ranks. However, no "single minority" makes up more than 4% of the law school population. Most of the people going to law school are white. Then again, the Law School Admissions Counsel defines minority as African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American. So maybe there are some people of Arabic decent at law school (Or is Arabic under the Asian umbrella? It would make as little sense as the rest of the classifications, so I don't see why not.)

It's admirable that the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts mentions the lack of minority nominees to the bench in Massachusetts. Why aren't the other Bar Associations getting involved? Why aren't the law schools saying something?

Anyway. Apparently there's a little behind-the-scenes debate going on amongst people at my school about who should be in an upcoming seminar course called "Race and the American Law." This debate was prompted by the fact that a lot of people want to take it, but it's capped at 15 students. I have the distinct and worrisome feeling that the exact people who should take the class are the people that the debaters thing should not (white folk). I think there's some similar politicking happening with the "Gender and Sexuality" class.

I think that the problem with minorities in law school is that there aren't enough. Why aren't we giving more scholarships to minorities? More importantly, why aren't we trying to overhaul the primary and secondary education system so more minority students can start along the path to law school? Why aren't we seriously looking at the way race and class intersect in this country, so that we engender less resentful feelings/behavior from the poor, white people (something that stands in the way of actual progress; vicious cycle).

And then there's morale/socialization. When I was a kid, I either wanted to be an astronaut or a lawyer. No one ever told me that I couldn't, no one ever made it seem like it would be hard for me to go into a heavily science based field, or to become a professional. My mom is a doctor. I always knew that I'd go to college after high school and, once I got to college, I knew I'd go to get an advanced degree. Society told me that, as a woman, it'd be harder but I could do it.

But I'm white. I'm from the suburbs. I'm from the middle class. I have all of these factors in my favor and one day I'll maybe be a judge (another thing I want to do that no one has discouraged me from). And I'll probably be on the bench in Massachusetts.

But at least Mitt Romney won't be governor anymore.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Intermission


I'm working on an entry about getting fired for blogging (ironic that I'm at work now, isn't it?).

In the meantime, as an amusing followup to my entry about NCSoft and Marvel, GameGirlAdvance has an article that actually goes in and creates some characters which makes a fairly good case for Marvel, actually. Enjoy.


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Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.
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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Internet Dungeons and Dragons and Hackers, Oh My

By the way, my friend and fellow NUSL 2L has joined me in co-authoring this blog. She's working on an entry about the recent California SUV suicide/homicide "incident." I thought I'd wait and let her have first dibs on the topic, and then write a response. We work differently so, while I spew things out with barely a spell check, she's much more thorough and probably makes more sense than I do.





The Internet "has created a dark hole, a dungeon if you will, for people who have mental illnesses or people who are lonely," [U.S. District Judge Marsha] Pechman said. "I didn't see any parent standing there saying, 'It's not a healthy thing to lock yourself in a room and create your own reality.'" - Quote from the sentencing of a 19 yr. old for modifying the Blaster worm.



I have said time and again that the fact that the people who are interpreting the laws and applying them to programmers, "hackers," internet users, and the like should probably have more experience with what they're talking about before they hand down sentences, make decisions on appeals, and create new precedent.

Granted, in this case, the guy - because, despite the media's portrayal of him, he's a legal adult now - who created a variant of the blaster worm got an "easy" one and a half year federal sentence. The reasoning, though, is ridiculous: his parents neglected him? He was too socially awkward to know better than to get "absorbed" by the "fake" reality of the internet?

The worst part, of course, is that he's not allowed to use computers (except for business and education) once he's released. He's also not allowed to take classes over the internet. I think the sentence (both the minimal amount initially, and the terms of release) shows an extreme lack of understanding on the part of the judge.

He adapted a known destructive program with the intent to cause even more destruction that went on to effect 48,000 computers. Personally, I'd give him a downward departure for an earlier attack on the RIAA website, but I'm sure the federal government wouldn't. He got the lowest end of the guidelines. If I were his lawyer, I'd pat myself on the back. Sure, the poor guy probably had some form of social anxiety disorder, but that generally doesn't excuse criminal behavior.

Not that he was excused. Did I mention that I wouldn't want to serve a year and a half in a federal prison? Because I wouldn't.


Slightly less about the law: I think that the judge's quote is also disturbing in itself. True, the internet is a boon for those of us who are lonely, and who don't interact well with people in a physical setting, for whatever reason. Particularly teenagers, I'd suppose, since we're more vulnerable to social awkwardness at that time in our lives.

But what's the problem with creating new realities? Isn't that what Shakespeare did? Or Picasso? Or even Einstein? And the internet gives even those of us who are not gifted with artistic, literary, or scientific talents the ability to create, shape, and effect our own "new" realities.

The internet has become the enemy of twenty-first century jurisprudence. We use it to infringe on copyrights, prey on children, exploit the elderly, cause widespread mayhem, and indulge in our darkest desires.

Even as we become more dependent on computers, the trend in legal decisions seems to paint them as a necessary evil, one which is never used properly. The easy thing to say is that the law only becomes involved once someone breaks it, but that's not always the case. The law hasn't caught up to technology yet, and it probably never will, but I really feel like it's not even close when it comes to the internet, to computers, and to the "new realities" we've all created for one another.
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Friday, January 21, 2005

Sex Type Thing

Over this past week, two people (a woman and a transgenderd, f-t-m person) in Northampton, MA were accused of raping another woman. I'm writing about it for a few reasons.

One: Northampton is sort of my old stomping grounds, since I matriculated from UMass Amherst, and the happy valley was a home to me for five years. Crime of this nature will naturally grab the attention of someone that lived there for a significant chunk of time.

Two: An interest of mine is rape and sexual assault amongst members of the "queer community". I don't much like the term "queer", but accept it and use it as a term meaning one who generally falls outside the socially defined gender norms, for whatever reason.

Three: I literally just read a case about something similar, a few weeks ago, and I really think it directly applies.

I think that the two defendants have a snowball's chance in hell of winning in front of a jury. The victim has lacerations all over her body. I'm sure the judge will instruct them (and the prosecutor will emphasize) that in Massachusetts you can't consent to any BDSM activity that involves a dangerous weapon.

The controlling case on it is Commonwealth v. Appleby, 380 Mass. 296 (1980). I'd link to a public copy if I could find one, but I can't. Basically, that case was about two men in an arguably consentual BDSM relationship. Then one man pulled out a riding crop and hit the other with it. He was convicted and argued on appeal that 1) a riding crop isn't a dangerous weapon and 2) the relationship was consensual, including the whipping.

Regardless of whether sexual activity was involved in the incident in question, Cromer's consent to assault and battery upon him by Appleby by means of a dangerous weapon cannot absolve Appleby of the crime charged punishable under G.L. c. 265, s.15A. Appleby at 311.
I'll be interested to see what the defense tactics are, considering that the alleged assailants pled not guilty and seem to be arguing, to the press anyway, that it was a consensual relationship. It'll be really hard to argue that a knife isn't a dangerous weapon. It'll also be pretty hard to argue consent in a state where one can't consent to a sadomasochistic relationship that results in bodily harm.

There's an interesting line in Appleby that resonates in the era of "keep the government out of our bedroom" and "it's okay between two consenting adults." (The post Larwrence v. Texas world.)

Any right to sexual privacy that citizens enjoy, and we do not here decide what the basis for such a right would be if it exists, would be outweighed in the constitutional balancing scheme by the State's interest in preventing violence by the use of dangerous weapons upon its citizens under the claimed cloak of privacy in sexual relations. Appleby at 310.

Regardless of my thoughts on BDSM (I'm pretty much for it, though, as long as it's well controlled and not harmful), the law is fairly clear. If I were them, I'd take a plea. Unless they had some sort of defense they were going to pull out at the last minute that relied more on mistaken identity, false accusations, or something like that. But consent gone bad? I don't think it'll work.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Marvel vs. Imagination

Marvel (the purveyors of such comic finery as The X-Men, The X-Force, Generation X, XCalibur, The eXiles, and other titles with and without the letter X) have filed suit against the company NCSoft, the publishers of the MMORPG ("massively multiplayer online role-playing game") City of Heroes.

City of Heroes is a game that allows users (for a nominal monthly fee) to live in the fictional Paragon City and create characters that are superheroes or supervillians.

My Background
I don't own City of Heroes, because I have an addictive personality. I sat down for a beta test of The Sims Online and didn't get up for 9 hours. I immediately erased all traces of the software from my system, and never connected again. I'm currently beta testing The Matrix Online and feel like I can only handle one online game at a time, without actually becoming a part of my computer. I'm familiar with it, though, and have read up on it because, let's face it, it's practically the perfect game for me.

I am also not a huge Marvel fan. I grew up reading DC titles, and only got into Marvel, as with many people my age, when they started airing the X-Men cartoons on Fox. Unlike many kids my age, though, I then started reading back issues to catch myself up on the comic version of the stories. I remained, and still remain, a DC fan that knows a bit about some Marvel titles, but mostly The X-Men and Generation X.

The Lawsuit
Marvel has decided to sue NCSoft for infringing on their intellectual property rights. They claim that the game copies "numerous Marvel characters." There are three claims of copyright infringement and six of trademark infringement.

The problem, Marvel's saying, is that players can create character that copy Captain America, Spider-man, and The Hulk. And they're suing NCSoft because the company is contributing to the players' copyright infringement (the case law they use, of course, is the Napster line of cases: P2P software companies were found to have contributed to users infringement of music copyright owners' rights). There are actually some direct infringement claims against NCSoft, but they aren't as interesting.

There's a great article about the suit itself, with some analysis, on Foley & Lardner's website. (Also, though I couldn't find Marvel's initial complaint, NCSoft's motion to dismiss is online, in .pdf form, if you're interested.)

My Take
I'm curious what DC's opinion is on this. Superman is a copyrighted character, whereas Captain America is not (he's trademarked, and issues of his comic book are copyrighted, but that's it). DC is not suing NCSoft, but I bet you a year's worth of law school tuition that a player could create a character that flies and has heat-vision and looks a lot like the Man of Steel. They could even name him Sooperman or something.

However, you can't copyright an archetype. And after awhile, even characters originally created by a specific author enter the public domain. Except in America, where we can extend copyright until the sun explodes, particularly if we work for a little company named Disney. But I digress.

Comic books haven't done much that's new: they just put a new face to old myths. (Short plug for Alan Moore's The Watchmen, one of the greatest comic series ever published. It's got some good stuff about superheroes in there.)

The Flash is a modern day Mercury. Bruce Banner is a reimagined Dr. Jekyll to the Hulk's Mr. Hyde. The Justice League is a super-Knights of the Round Table. Superman is the ultimate, modern Hercules: a demi-god from another planet that strives to protect his adopted home. Captain Marvel doesn't even hide it: Solomon - Hercules - Atlas - Zeus - Achilles - Mercury. (Captain Marvel has an interesting copyright history, actually.)

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm not really on Marvel's side here. Is my opinion effected by the fact that Marvel wants to launch its own MMORPG this year? Totally. A real Marvel fan will play Marvel's game and City of Heroes (if they're even playing City of Heroes), just like I'll play The Matrix Online because I love the universe. And someone who loves comics but not Marvel may or may not check it out. Maybe that's what they're worried about. But let's face it: who's playing City of Heroes but comic book fans?

If Marvel succeeds, where does that leave us? Gamers' creativity will be locked up by intellectual property rights. Companies will be forced to go back to the drawing board with character creation engines, making sure to limit all choices to generic ones or to create their own designs for characters, possibly jacking up prices and grinding MMORPG production to a halt. Marvel will decide to copyright or trademark the letter X. The world will go on, but comic book geeks and gamers, like myself, will weep sadly into their Jolt Cola as they publish their angry blog entries.

Addendum [2/9/04]: GameGirlAdvance has a great article about the lawsuit in which the character creation engine of City of Heroes actually ends up making a pretty good case for Marvel. Check it out here.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Evolution of Theory, a Nitwit's Perspective

In the news recently (why else would I talk about it?) has been the suburban Atlanta school board's fight to keep "disclaimer stickers" in the front of high school biology text books. The stickers basically say "evolution is just a theory, not a fact." A federal judge ruled that they had to remove them. This a link to the .pdf version of the court order to remove the stickers. For those of you with Lexis access, the case is Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 432.

Personally, I believe in the separation of Church (religion) and State (the American government, from Federal to Local). I also believe that you have to be a nitwit to think that the school board in Cobb County, Atlanta wasn't trying to weaken evolution because they happen to believe in creationism, a religious theory. Federal judges are usually not nitwits.

I also think, however, that you have to be a nitwit to think that evolution is a fact. Sure, it makes the most sense. For now. Maybe forever, but we certainly don't know that at this point.

My high school biology teacher, the product of a Catholic university in New England, solved all sorts of legal problems by saying this to us, at the beginning of our section on humanity's development:

Right now we've got two theories for how we got this way. Theory one: God created everything, the end. Now we're going to spend the next two weeks learning about what scientists think probably happened and how it happened.

And that was that. We also learned all the other theories: the ones that came before evolution was accepted by "enlightened" people. Spontaneous generation was always my favorite.

I don't see the problem with what my teacher said, and what he said was basically the same thing that those stickers said. However, one would have been a nitwit to think that he didn't intend to support one theory over the other.

The question is whether or not those stickers, placed into books in a public school system, support religion. Does removing them prohibit the free exercise of religion? What if we put little stickers into the front of every Bible in Cobb County saying: "The Book of Genesis is just a theory, not a fact. Please keep an open mind."

Ladies, gentlemen, and other: the real world is just a theory. Please keep an open mind.

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court made a ruling that decided an 8 month old question about federal sentencing guidelines. The federal guidelines were created by Congress in '84 to put a uniform system of sentencing into the federal criminal system. Prior to the guidelines, it was possible for two people who committed the same offense in two different states to have vastly different sentences (this was, I was told last summer, a particular problem in Rhode Island).

Anyway, last summer the Supreme Court decided a case called "Blakely v. Washington" and said that, basically, the part of the guidelines that allow for a judge to increase a person's sentence based on various facts (prior criminal history, for example) violates that person's 6th Amendment right to a trial by jury. This threw the entire Federal judiciary into a tizzy: there were courts giving out two sentences to offenders, some halted sentencing completely, the Circuits that actually made a decision on the issue were split, etc.

So a bunch of interested parties asked the Supreme Court to get cracking on clearing it up. And they did: they said that the guidelines were unconstitutional, but that they can still be used as an advisory set of rules and if Congress wants something else, *they* can do it. That case is "United States v. Booker". There's a good background article on it on Findlaw.

This is hillarious. I love this stuff. This is the politics of law, the stuff that totally points out the problems in our system. So here's my commentary on it, such as it is. I think this is the ultimate judicial/Legislative showdown. Much more so than the stuff that's more prominent in the news (like gay marriage).

There are members of Congress (albeit a minority, for now) that are trying to cut down the powers of the judiciary. There are bills waiting to be heard that basically say "Congress gets to second guess the Supreme Court, no questions asked, and don't even get us started on how we'll be bitch slapping the federal circuit judges."

So now the Supreme Court (one which I think, sadly enough, is a fairly moderate court) has, in a weird double majority said, "Oh no you don't, Congressfolk." The Supreme Court has basically washed their hands of it and sent the baby back to Congress (where it started to a slap to the judiciary anyway, back in '84, when Congress wanted to reign in the insane federal judges, many of whom are still there, and to put some uniformity in the sentences).

The problem is the entire system. We're all way too egotistical to actually deal with checks and balances. (And by "we", I mean those of is who tend to go into either politics or the law, which also tend to be mutually exlsuve, and rightly so.) But god forbid we change the system. The only way to work democracy is our way, of course.

I actually liked the idea of guidelines: if we're going to have a Big Bad Federal Govnerment running things, we can at least make it uniform. You don't see different counties in MA sentencing people to different terms for the same offense (sort of. let's say it's not as rampant and skewed as the federal government was before '84). It's just that all the complex math formulas and the complete and utter lack of any reality that was put into the guidelines (particulary with the drug crimes) was Bad. I spent my first day at the United States Attorney's Office reading the guidelines, and I finished the day vowing never to pay taxes again (or commit a federal crime...)

The United States is too big for the laws of a 13 Colony Legislature. I think that the need for the guidelines showed us that in '84, and I think that Blakely shows us that, too. The same for all the clashes between Congress and the Courts.

Honestly, though, a lot of other issues that show this fact are more "on the map". Even people in the legal field don't know about Blakely (I brought it up when I interviewed here, at the DA's office, and they had no idea what I was talking about).

So that's it, my commentary, pretty much. It's really interesting stuff, actually, if you're interested in law and politics. Which I am.

[ Sam's Note: I got confused by what Blogger calls a "draft" and accidentally deleted this entry. It's back, cut and pasted from my personal blog, with minor differences. ]

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