LWOP reversed!!

9 Jan

Cop promised leniency for a confession.  Pretty blatant: if you tell the truth we won’t charge you.  No no.  AG conceded if the confession should be suppressed they had to reverse.  yes yes.  Reversed.  Also, the court said there was insufficient evidence of robbery special circumstances (noteI previously mistakenly said lying in wait) therefore he could not be retried on that count.  Victory!

Bill Cosby and race

31 Dec

Since the inception of our legal system, law has defined race and race has defined law.  For example, early cases or statutes defined race whether by drop of blood (Virginia law setting forth definition of black by # of drops of blood from black ancestors), phenotype (In re Hassan (finding that an Arab litigant not white because he was too darkly complected); Hudgins v. Wright (evaluating whether litigant was Indian from her complexion, hair, and nose)), culture (In re Balsara (finding that an Asian Indian was white because litigant was exceptionally intelligent)), and/or societal understandings of race (In re Ah Yup (Chinese applicant denied citizenship because “white” has a settled meaning which does not include Chinese)).

Race has also defined law.  (See, e.g, Criminalization of drugs to incarcerate people of color; Dred Scott (defining citizenship by race).)

Typically, when a black man is charged with rape-especially of a white women–historical stereotypes of hypersexual animalistic black men are evoked.  I am not 100% sure that this is happening in Cosby’s case, and it certainly did not happen until his damning depo was released.

I am trying to process the racial issues in Bill Cosby’s case. How has or is race informing the decision to charge him, the media coverage of the accusations, and the public’s opinion of his guilt?

Bill Cosby transcended the stereotypes of black men in America.  “Heathcliff Huxtable” was an educated professional, by all means an excellent and present father, and a doting husband.  In real life, Bill Cosby espoused (what is demonstrably inaccurate and racist) rhetoric about how stereotypes of black absent an incarcerated fathers and unwed young pregnant uneducated black women were true. He called black people to defy these untrue assassinations, while also failing to acknowledge any social forces that have shaped black life in America.  Such bullshit only further cemented the public perception of Cosby as a model minority.

Most believe that the accusations against Cosby demonstrate hypocrisy write large.  Though true, I am more interested in whether his model minority status transcended the racism in our criminal justice system. Of course, his wealth and power played a huge role in his experience as it always does. But, what role has or will America’s belief that he is a model minority play in all of this?

Would the rape complainants have come forward earlier if Bill Cosby was not a model minority; what if he had a criminal record? Would law enforcement have stuck with their usual inherent racist beliefs about the propensity of black men to commit rape had Bill Cosby not been a model minority?  To ask the questions are to answer them.

I suspect that even if Bill Cosby’s wealth and power played a factor in police and the public’s disbelief of the accusations, Cosby’s model minority status cemented his protection from the wrath of the criminal justice system.  And, it informed everyone’s belief about the legitimacy of the accusations against him.  Indeed, many professional athletes–just as famous and just as wealthy–have not escaped criminal liability and certainly not from accusations of rape by multiple women rape.

So what does it matter if his model minority status has protected him?  The problem with protection from criminal liability because one is the “perfect” black person is one that plagues our criminal justice system.  It is the same problem that leads to cops walking away scott free from murdering black people.  It is the same problem that leads to a disproportionate people of color in our jails and prisons, with longer sentences than others.  And, Bill Cosby is partially responsible for that problem.

By affirming stereotypes about black people, Bill Cosby has reinforced societal beliefs that black people are the only ones who are responsible for their murders at the hands of police, the only ones to blame for finding themselves caught up in the criminal justice system, and solely responsible for being locked away for years longer than others.

Bill Cosby made many racist beliefs appear to be legitimate by endorsing them, such as that black people: 1) don’t take responsibility for their actions; 2) are willfully under educated; 3) willfully unemployed; 4) willfully poor; 5) willfully dependent on the state; and 6) willfully responsible for the injustice perpetrated upon them in our society.  If only black people achieved what he had, through hard work and wherewithal, they would not experience these injustices. They alone, and not racism, discrimination, nor structural or institutional inequality, are responsible for their place in life.

I refuse to believe it is a coincidence that everyone believed that Bill Cosby was a model minority and that no one believed he would commit these crimes until faces with overwhelming evidence.  Put another way, had Bill Cosby been a black man with a criminal record, wealthy and powerful or not, police and the public would have believed that the first accusation–which would have come much earlier–was true.

This is so not just because people tend to believe that a criminal once is a criminal twice.  Rather, it is because people afford the presumption of innocence only to those people whom they think deserve it see e.g. a cop.  And, intentionally or not, our society does not find most black people deserving of the presumption of innocence (See, e.g. SL Johnson, “Black Innocence and the White Jury” http://www.jstor.org/stable/1288969?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents).

Only when the public has proof (read: damning depo admissions) of a person’s potential guilt will their opinion move from the presumption that the person is innocent to a suspicion of guilt.  Our system is supposed to work this way: the presumption of innocence should be eroded only in the face of proof of guilt.  But, it is not how it works for almost every person of color in this country.  Unless, that person had very publicly denounced the prevalence of racism in our society, legitimizes the modern form of white racism (read: colorblindness), and convinces the public that he is perfect.

I will not take a stance on Bill Cosby’s guilt or innocence except to say the depo is damning–at the very least creating an appearance of culpability.

But, I will take the stance that he has powerfully assured white America that their racist and stereotypical beliefs about black people are valid.  Which ultimately perpetuates the injustice in our criminal system from the murder of black men by police to implicit biases held among jurors to the over-incarceration and demonization of black persons in this Country.

He did not create the problem, but he has used wealth, power, and his public platform to make it persist.  And, the lesson learned is if you want true power in our society, you must take a dishonest or, at best, ill informed stance on racial justice issues in this country.

proof of our arbitrary system: different judge, different rights

31 Dec

The 9th Circuit ruled two days ago that the AZ law requiring a nexus between a mitigating factor and the crime committed for the determination of whether someone should die for his crime was unconstitutional.

Dissenting judges from that opinion ruled yesterday that when such a constitutional violation occurs, the matter does not need to go back down to a jury.  Rather, the original reviewing court can independently review the mitigating factor.  W.T.F.  Either the jury should have heard the mitigating factor or not and either you have the right to have the jury to hear it or not.  This is a person’s life! And his constitutional right to have a jury decide the fate of his life is at issue.  Moral of the opinions: get Judge Fletcher, live.  Get, Judge Bea and Kozinski die.

As an aside, the 9th Circuit held that it was ok that the AZ Supreme Court gave “little weight” to the mitigating factor at issue because the defendant failed to “present evidence” that that factor related to the crime, notwithstanding the fact that he has the right to have any mitigating factor weighed against an aggravating one.  (Sidebar: why is that his burden?)  As long as they “consider” the fact, no matter if they give it little weight because there is not showing it is related to the crime, it is all good.  This is terrible. And I have no faith the Supremes will correct it.

No means No

22 Dec

How about this for an “ambiguous” assertion of 5th amendment rights….cop asks D do you wish to waive these (Miranda) rights?  D’s answer: “No.”  California Court of Appeal:  This was an ambiguous and equivocal assertion of  5th Amendment rights. Cops press on.  Had to go all the way to the 9th Circuit to get reversed.  True Story.

Great PC 991 case

19 Nov

I’ve totally had this issue before.  So, you can move to dismiss a misdemeanor complaint at arraignment if your client is in custody on the basis that there is no probable cause.  Today, the Second Appellate District held that this rule applies to an individual count. I.E. if multiple counts are charged the judge is allowed to dismiss only some counts under PC 991 even if there is PC for other counts.

civil judges gone wild!

16 Nov

Randomly came across this case today re judicial misconduct and it is kind of crazy….Haluck v. Ricoh Electronics, Inc. (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 994.

Among other things that the judge did during a civil trial amok which the Court of Appeal held to be misconduct were:

1) holding up cards that said “overruled” and “sustained” as a way to rule on objections;

2) using “red cards” a la soccer to tell Plaintiff’s counsel to stop talking when addressing an objection and ordering the clerk to keep tally of the cards so that he could fine the parties $50 per card at the end of trial;

3) stating that his ruling to the Plaintiff’s ongoing objection would last “until I die” then referencing Penal Code section 187 when the Plaintiff objected to testimony on the same ground.

Pretty funny if it did not most probably result in a defense verdict for an employment discrimination lawsuit.   Reversed.

Here is the opposite of a cop killing a dog: inmates bringing them back to life

13 Nov

Here is a documentary on that subject.

Biggest threat to dogs: COPS

13 Nov

There is a compelling story in the Washington Post today that should have been written a long time ago.  It is about how cops frequently (and unnecessarily) kill family pets.  Be forewarned, the article has a list of incidents where cops killed dogs and they are fucking heart wrenching.   The worst example I can remember (not in the article) is when the OPD killed an 11 year old ARTHRITIC dog when responding to a false alarm.  Because the owner wasn’t home, they left a note.  Here is the fucking bullshit coppy note: “”While circling the rear perimeter, lab advanced on officers in a threatening manner before being shot and killed.”  True story.  Also, let’s not forget cops who kill deer.  Here and here.

Here are a few quotes from the Post:

“Research by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests that half of all police firearm discharges involve the shooting of a dog.”

“Dog killings are frequent enough that a Justice Department official has called them “an epidemic.””

Here is a good point made in the article:  “If they have enough money to militarize the police with Humvees, they have enough money to train them not to kill family members. And pets are considered family.”

Can you imagine if someone killed a COP Canine who, by the way, would be more likely to attack than the average pet?!  How is this not animal cruelty?

Take me home tonight! Great Miranda case

12 Nov

After Berghuis v. Thompkins, it seemed like the law on whether an invocation of the right to silence was clear and unambiguous had completely flat lined.  Well, the Third District Court of Appeal just busted out some defibrillators on that Fifth Amendment that we all thought was so special.  The unequivocal assertion of rights in that case? “Take me home” tonight!  The court summed the demands up:

“Here, we have 13 demands to be taken home during the span of 14 minutes, one of which was tied to defendant’s “rights.””  (He said “I know my rights” when he said “take me home.”)  Of course, the error was not prejudicial, but this makes for some mmm mmm good law.

Eddie Money said it best, when trying to invoke, you needa say “take me home tonight!”

The worrrrrrrrst reality tv dudes

12 Nov

In light of RHOC Brooks Ayers coming as close as possible to admitting that he faked cancer, I thought “who is the worst male reality tv villain”?  Here are my top ten, in order of worst to worsest.

View post on imgur.com

10.  JJ/Clint Bachelorette.  These guys make the cut only because they coined the most. brilliant. phrase. ever.  “Villains gotta vill.”  Frankly, I did not think they were that evil.

9.  Ian.  Bachelorette.  Insulting Kaitlyn then doing a fake and orchestrated apology at ATFR.

8. Wes. Bachelorette.  Totally there to promote his music career, and not to find love.   Read: the wrong reasons.

7.  Can’t remember his name but the winner of Project Runway who made his fellow contestant’s mom cry.  Whattadick!

6.  Spencer The Hills.  Telling tabloids that LC had a sex tape and “beef flap” labia; isolating Heidi from everyone, and intentionally doing terrible things for fame.

5.  Kirk BIP.  Look, a lot of people disagree on whether he was bad or not.  I do not fault him for breaking Carly’s heart.  I fault him for leading her on.  I.e. Talking about their future together when he knew there was no future together.

4.  The guy who killed Cecil the lion.  Ok, he is not technically a reality tv star, but I would be remiss in omitting him from any list of worst guys ever.  Also, he should be number 1 but numbers 3-1 cannot be moved.

3.  Joe Bailey BIP.  Lying to Julia (I don’t know/care how to spell her name); making Jonathon cry and apologize to him in front of Julia when Jonathon was right that Bailey was terrible and bringing up Jonathon’s son when talking to Jonathon about throwing him under the bus and everything he did on BIP that I have now forgotten.  The important thing is that I remember that he was being evil!

2.  Brooks Ayers.  He should really be number 1, but number 1 cannot be anything other than number 1.  He almost certainly faked cancer and went so far as to fake hospital bills and medical records to prove that he had cancer, he allegedly beat Vicki, reportedly sexually harassed Vicki’s pregnant daughter Briana, and admittedly told Briana’s husband to beat her.  Ya.  Worst. Dude. Ever.

1.  You guessed it, Donald Trump!

Honorable Mention

Juan Pablo Bachelorette/Bachelor (womanizer), Russel RHOBH (wife beater, but RIP), Puck Real World (generally being a dick including putting his finger in the peanut butter when Pablo had AIDs thereby exposing him to bacteria), Marcel Top Chef (way too cocky), Nick Bachelorette (Andy and Kaitlyn) (everyone hated him and thought he was there for the “wrong reasons,” but I don’t really have an opinion on him), Kaydan Bachelor (everyone hated him, I can’t remember why he was bad other than being a snob), Alexis Belino’s husband RHOC (total chauvinist and generally a moron).  Ok that’s all I got for now…