Cheetos and Goldfish For Texas Too (...Someday)

 

The ballot title and submission clause numbered Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution asked:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana;

permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana;

providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores;

 permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities;

requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana;

requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund;

and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?

Cleverly titled The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, the Amendment won by a ten point margin yesterday. Predictably, the politicians, in this case Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper, had some really clever things to say about the will of the people…

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Hickenlooper said in a statement Tuesday night. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”

Yeah, OK. First things first. Only someone who has used marijuana, or at the very least knows it to be completely harmless, would make a “joke” like that, so take your hypocrisy and shove it in someone else’s face. The super majority of people, and even the majority of the voters, ain’t buying.

Secondly, a reminder. Tonight’s open meeting of Texas NORML is at 8 o’clock at Flamingo Cantina. Come join us for some news about the overall outstanding results that marijuana measures had nationwide. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but it’s major progress none the less. 

And find out what you can do to help us with these sorts of measures in Texas. It’s an informative meeting, but with a fun group of people. See you there.

                                             Legal Counsel for Texas NORML

                                             Aka, yours truly, Jamie Spencer

 

The Way To A Judge's Heart Is Through His Stomach

Further deepening my growing suspicions that life may best be described as a series of random events comes this news via Discover Magazine, “Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges”. Yeah, that’s right, food breaks.

A Ben Gurion University researcher tracked over 1000 parole hearings over a ten month period, and then plotted this graph:

Think of the X-axis(labeled ordinal position) as stretching from 9 am to 5 pm, as the day goes by*. The Y-axis(proportion of favorable decisions**) shows the likelihood of being paroled. The enormous upward spikes that prevent the parole percentages from falling to less than 0%? Well those are the times the judges ate. Snack and lunch breaks were always documented, and the results speak for themselves.

Continue Reading...

If By Whiskey Marijuana...

William Safire popularized the phrase “if by whiskey…” in his columns, and defined it in his Political Dictionary as, “Taking both sides of an issue; equivocating; a political straddle”. The term originates from a speech given by Soggy Sweat, a 1950s Mississippi legislator, master of irony, and a real character to boot:

My friends,

I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.

A little context: Mississippians staggered to the polls and voted dry until 1966, when they finally became residents of the last state to decriminalize the sale of alcohol. The topic of banning/regulating/allowing alcohol was present for every politician in every campaign, and surprise, surprise, most made a habit of supporting whichever position the listener wanted to hear. For example, a group of teetotalling nuns would be told something like the next part of Soggy’s speech:

Continue Reading...

It's Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

A client brought a nice Xmas gift to my office this week.  Tamales.  Delicious tamales.  Homemade.  But wait, it gets better than that...

Delicious homemade tamales... made by his mother.  Merry Christmas to me.

And Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Tags:

At Least He Wasn't Tweeting For Clients

Jeffrey Partlow’s apparent lack of a law license hasn’t kept him out of the legal representation business over the last nine years:

A Dallas man arrested on suspicion of showing up to court intoxicated is now also accused of practicing law without a license.

Judge Andrew Bench summoned deputies to his Hunt County courtroom on Oct. 22, telling them that Jeffrey Scott Partlow was intoxicated.

After Partlow was arrested for Public Intoxication and held in contempt, presumably for the drunkenness, the judge decided to call the licensing authorities:

The judge was so angry that he called the Texas Bar Association to have Partlow sanctioned, only to learn no one by that name was registered with the bar.

Continue Reading...

Identifying Likely State's Preemptory Challenges

I use one of the world’s most complicated and sophisticated voir dire note taking systems, consisting in no small part of adding plus and minus marks in each venire person’s allotted space on my sheets, and sometimes adding short annotations.  It can be from something on the juror sheets, or something they say in voir dire.  Or perhaps a squirm here, a glare there.  I preassigned juror #8 five plus marks for the following answers at impaneling:

  • Injuries Requiring Medical Attention: Yes.
  • Description: Hit over the head by an asshole cop and had to have my head flesh stapled.

Sigh. Must you have made it so obvious? Well, at least they only have two preemps left. (If it had been a felony, it would have been nine left.)

When Mrs. ACDL Gets Pulled Over

So, I get a text this morning walking out of my office on the way to court. Here’s the full exchange:

Got pulled over

Cop has my DL in his car

                                OK. It’s fine

They can’t get me for an unpaid parking ticket can they?

                                No

Not why he stopped me but just worried

There are two kinds of people in this world. The ones that get nervous when they’re around the police, and those that actually feel safer seeing them driving up and down the streets. Glad I’m married to one of the sane ones, but I feel her pain.

That’s what I get driving like a maniac

Wake up call to slow down & be more careful

                                Ya

Maybe a silly version of “Yes” will calm her nerves?

Continue Reading...
Tags:

No Curlicue Necessary

Comedy has to be based on the truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue on the end.” – Sid Caesar. 

At 2:18 in silly video number 2, the pretrial hearing, comes one of the exchanges that actually made me lol:

Officer: His hands were shaking. Based on my experience and training he was sweating profusely.

Defense Lawyer: Officer, what are you talking about?

Officer: I could see his carotid artery beating. Yes I could.

And, from an Austin Police Department probable cause affidavit (this is real):

When [Jamie’s client] looked to his right, I could see the vein on the left side of his neck and it appeared like his heart rate was very fast as though he was nervous. His hands were shaking, and his voice was a little shakey(sic).

Based On My Experience And Training

Loads of extranormal prosecution and defense lawyer comic videos going viral. The generic Why You Shouldn’t Go To Law School was followed by D.A. Confidential’s Window Into Plea Negotiations and In Defense of Defense Attorneys. Now, with a hat tip to lawyer extraordinaire Troy McKinney for putting it on the Texas Defense Lawyer listserv, come these new entries from a public defender (the second one, Supression Hearing, is the real gem):

 

She's Going Back To Cali, To Cali...

So, she made a note on today’s calendar:

California votes on Prop 19 today.

Again with the hmmmmmmmmm

The Effect of Halloween Costumes

So the boys went as a theme again. We’ll never beat the year they went as Thing 1 and Thing 2, but this year’s theme went over pretty well. Especially when I took ‘em to the courthouse.

More than one person asked how we decided which boy would be dressed in which outfit. They had about 6 or 7 different Halloween functions, between school and parties and such. We just switched them back and forth.

The second most commonly asked question was whether we were worried that one of the costumes would have any long lasting effect on them as people. Impressionable, malleable young minds, and all that. It may have been asked in jest, but I had already taken the issue seriously myself. 

After much research, both online and live consultations with child psychologists, I determined that dressing the children in these costumes would not alter their lives in a negative way, anymore than having them wear a pumpkin would turn them into a pie when they reached adulthood. What’s all this fuss about? Well, here they are…

 

So, to answer everyone’s question, no I’m not worried. I don’t think our choice of Halloween costumes will turn either one of them into a cop.

 

Tags:

The Average Cost of Conviction/Incarceration: $15,000+ (per year)

Hat Tip: Everyone who probably blogged about this a month ago when it was published, sorry I wasn’t paying attention at the time:

Incarceration reduces former inmates’ earnings by 40 percent when compared to demographically similar counterparts who have not been imprisoned, according to a new report from Pew’s Economic Policy Group and the Pew Center on the States.

The report estimates that after being released, former inmates typically work nine fewer weeks a year, and their annual earnings drop to $23,500 from $39,100. Not surprisingly, given the stigmatizing effect that a criminal record can have on a job applicant’s résumé, former inmates enjoy less income mobility than counterparts who did not serve time.

I’m going to go look up that report… more soon, unless, as always, I don’t bother to get around to it.

"Concentrating"

For those who would like further proof that I don’t always spend my time wisely: I am collecting (cutting and pasting?) email signatures of lawyers on various listservs that I frequent. Don’t ask. Maybe it’ll make a blog post some day.  Just today, this one popped out at me:

Attorney’s Name

Address/Contact Info/Blah Blah Blah

Concentrating in criminal defense, personal injury/police misconduct, divorce and grievance/disciplinary defense

I guess if I didn’t waste loads of my time on stupid projects (see first paragraph, e.g.) perhaps I could concentrate on five things at once too.

 

Marijuana Makes The Nighttime News

Solution?

Bennett asked, in a comment to my puzzle post, whether I was just gonna leave folks hanging. That was probably the original plan. But he called me on it, so here goes.

Honestly - unlike most sentences that start with that word, this really is honest - I initially decided to write an impossible/unsolvable puzzle after Gamso and Bennett told me that the first one was too easy. That’ll teach ‘em! What can I say, it’s not a very mature reaction.

But as I started tapping out the Must Wash Hands Mystery post, it occurred to me that my fake riddle was more like a koan. Merely thinking about the problem was in and of itself the point of the exercise.

Continue Reading...
Tags:

Rip Roaring Rarin' And Ready For Trial

I was set on a jury docket yesterday morning and the case was going to be reached. It was my day to go. Of course, as usual, there were probably 30-40 cases set, but mine was going to be the one. How did I know this?

  • I had taken the case over from another lawyer, about a year after the arrest, so it was old, old, old. And the previous lawyer had used several defense continuances. I burned a few myself after that.
  • After taking over the case, I asked permission to put it back on a contested pretrial docket, and had a pretrial hearing. Significance? If the prosecutors were likely to cut us a deal, it would have been before they had to “do all that work”.
  • I had been contacted by the prosecutors about the case last week, and they re- (or, re-re-re-) iterated their position that they would not offer anything close to what my client would accept – in this case, a reduced charge. The case was not going to settle.
  • Also, the fact that they bothered to contact me at all meant it was high enough up on their radar to be concerned that it was in the top few cases likely to go.
Continue Reading...

A More Sophisticated Jury Trial Puzzle: Employees Must Wash Hands

OK, OK, I have provided an update/answer to the riddle in the last post. Such an addendum is unnecessary for my first two commenters, who found the riddle beneath them. I hope they find this one slightly more challenging. At any rate, it’s more difficult than 2 + 0 = 2, which was the solution to the verdict riddle.

Let’s begin. It’s not uncommon when you excuse yourself to the bathroom in a restaurant to find a sign posted somewhere near the sink and soap dispenser that reads:

Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning To Work

If I ever open a greasy spoon there’s no way that sign will be in the restroom. Why? Because that sign does two things, at least to me.

Continue Reading...

Verdict Riddle

Lance Stott and Dax Garvin (disclosure: my professional roommates/suitemates, and personal friends) started two separate jury trials a few months ago on a Monday.

Let me digress a bit, and for the sake of clarity, define separate. Each individual lawyer represented one and only one client. They were not co-defendants. Their charges were not related in any way. They had never met each other.

Their cases were assigned to different courts, with separate prosecutors, judges, court reporters, etc., etc. The fact that both lawyer’s cases started the same day was a complete coincidence. There’s not some hidden secret there that will help explain the puzzle.

By Wednesday afternoon, both trials were finished. Now, to the riddle…

Defense lawyers talk of one-word verdicts (it’s a euphemism for a loss) and two-word verdicts (wooohooo!). AKA, “guilty” and “not guilty” if you want it literally spelled out.

In this instance, if you combined the number of words in all the verdicts in their cases, the total was two. Two words total, when added together. Seems like two bad results from the clients’ perspectives, eh?

Yet neither client was convicted. Solve away… (Answer now provided after the break)

Continue Reading...

Blog???

One of the big boys on the blawk sent me an email with a subject line the same as the title of this post. In its entirety, the email read “???”.*

OK, point well taken. I’ve been in a blogging slump, and to break out of it, I’m going to commit one of the greatest sins of the blogosphere. I’m going to write about why I haven’t posted anything recently.

Awww to hell with that, I’m gonna write up a list of reasons, and assign truth percentages to them.

Continue Reading...

Sparta Townson, CEO Of Internet Guru Girl

 From the internet guru girl blog:

Personal note from CEO of IGG:

While there are many ways to project your business on line, you have to make sure you feel comfortable with the company or person you are intrusting[sic] your site and online marketing to.

Make sure you understand what it does, what you expect from it, and know that IGG is telling you that the web works better than any other medium but you have to allow the features you’ve chose to work together.

 

Continue Reading...