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If we wanna reverse, we gonna reverse

18 Feb

The Court of Appeal had held that their ruling that there was insufficient evidence of an arson (because a motor home is not a “structure”…does that count for burglary too?) barred a retrial under PC 654 for the lesser related (not included) offense of arson to property.  The Supremes reversed, reasoning that because the jury had been instructed on arson of property there was no 654 problem.

The Supremes then remanded the matter for the COA to decide whether Double Jeopardy barred retrial–a point the defendant raised for the first time in the Supreme court.  The COA held that a retrial was barred under DJ.  The Court reasoned that because arson of property is not a lesser included offense, the trial court should have had the jury reach a verdict on that count.  Because the court did not, and because there was no legal necessity for a lack of a verdict on that count (e.g. a mistrial), DJ attached.  D’s 48 YEAR to life in prison sentence is no longer, and he cannot be retried.  Wow.

Book Reviews

17 Feb

Just finished these 3 books and here are my reviews.

Sue Klebold, A Mother’s Reckoning.  Long story short: The mother of Dylan Klebold aka the Columbine shooter, writes a memoir that will break your heart.  I think people will have a hard time believing her: they were a normal family, they were good parents, they did not have weapons in the home, they were part Jewish how was he saying nazi-ish shit?, he seemed withdrawn but there were no overt signs that he was about go on a murder rampage.  Verdict: GUILTY of being a great read.  And GUILTY of being depressing as shit.

Teresa Giudici: Turning Tables.  Long Story Short: The world’s biggest victim loses a part of her soul (her words) when she trades her go-to black velour outfit for prison garbs.  My first piece of advice for reading this is DO NOT do the auidobook.  I made that mistake.  Sample here.  The entire thing is disturbing in a way which is hard to pinpoint so you have to read for yourself.  Highlights off the top of my head: it is “such a small world” that she bought wet n wild make up in high school and that they only sell wet n wild make up in prison; she could live with the fact that hair dye was back ordered but HOW could she live without raisins in her oatmeal (they do not sell them in the commissary so she bought them off market); woe is me that people wanted to sell pictures of her in prison; there is so much drama and lesbian sex in prison (but don’t worry, she is not homophobic because she thought Kaitlyn Jenner looked beautiful on vogue and at the espys); she told her youngest daughters she was writing a book about prison and that is why she was living there which is an interesting way to explain it.  Verdict: NOT GUILTY of being a good book.

I was more disturbed by her appearance on WWHL when she seemed to think that the reason why the public was upset about her the Lexus she received went she got out was that it had a red bow on it, and that she still explains her criminal conduct as “signing things without reading them.”  I do believe she signed mortgage and bankruptcy docs without reading them.  But, at least if you believe the indictment, she apparently testified at a bankruptcy hearing that her business was created after the bk filing, which was contradicted by records cited in the indictment, and she apparently testified that they had no rental income, which was contradicted by same.  That being said, I would not find it totally shocking that she committed mortgage/bankruptcy fraud because she was duped.  She really is not that sophisticated, even to wonder how it was that they had businesses and income but were declaring bankruptcy.  Besides saying that she did not deserve to be in prison, she never talks about the merits of the case in the book.

I read Faye’s book after watching the People v. Oj.  Man. Talk about exploiting the death of a “best friend.”  Salacious after salacious detail about Nicole Brown.  Frankly, I’m not going to repeat the accusations here because it is really low to make these kinds of reputation assassinations of a murder victim who has no way to defend herself.  I read it in a few hours and it was a good read.  Ghost written by someone from the National Enquirer, that’s probably all you need to know.  Verdict: GUILTY of a good read, but as NOT GUILTY as OJ in terms of being the worst. exploit. ever.

On Scalia

17 Feb

Anyone reading this knows that Scalia died.  My entire weekend consisted of checking #scalia on twitter every minute. Interestingly, in the first 48 hours of his death, there were few #scalia conspiracy theory tweets. Now they’re all up in there.  Those folks are a little slow.


It was a battle to “respect” the dead for those of us who felt as if Scalia actually murdered our best friend (the constitution) when comparing gay people to murderers, said that there was no constitutional problem with executing innocent people, and that black people should stay in slower track schools where they do well, (yes he said all these things and more). There were many people who probably felt the same way about Scalia’s legal opinions but nevertheless stated that they respected his scholarly mind and his ability to write biting dissents.    I do not, and I will never, get it. Yes, we should respect people with different opinions from ours. Yes, we should not demonize people.  But, when someone uses his position of power to further entrench racism and homophobia in our society, instead of to dismantle it, no, I will not agree to disagree with him.  And, I will never be “entertained by” or “love to read” quippy language used to denigrate an entire group of people or a constitutional right.  In fact, I find it all the more offensive that a person would use his “brilliant legal scholar[ly]” mind and his power to move mountains with his words to oppress other people.  When a man has the power to write racism into law, and he does so (or attempts to do so) with eloquence, we should all be horrified.  There is no room for admiration.

There is this added wrinkle to my reaction which is that Scalia has been known to come out on the right side of SOME criminal law matters (but let’s not forget that he thinks it’s ok to execute intellectually disabled folks or juveniles, or that pretext detentions are a-ok).  My only response to that is: reading the constitution fairly sometimes will not temper my rage for reading racism and homophobia into the constitution other times.

I do not revel in the death of the man– I take no joy in his family’s loss. I revel in the death of his message and of his voice.  I felt joy when hearing the news only because it meant that a powerful racist and homophobic voice is now gone.  1 down, millions to go.

Finally, here is all I have say about what the republicans are doing:


kanye west

16 Feb


is having a britney-spearsamanda-bynes moment for sure.  Yes, everything he is tweeting is sooo Kanye which coincides with symptoms of bipolar–grandiose, inflated sense of self, impulsive, stream of consciousness thoughts.  And, yes, he is new to twitter so this could just be how he always us but now we know it.  But, I’m going with my gut, this is going no where good fast. and it is really really sad.



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!

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.