I just read Anders v California for the first time (ever, or in a long time) in preparation for writing this post. You always hear about Anders briefs, and I have some vague notion that it’s what an appellate lawyer files when they want to tell the court that there is nothing worth appealing in their client’s case. Heck, I didn’t even know (or remember) that Anders won, by reverse and remand – which makes me fairly certain I’ve never carefully analyzed the opinion.

The gist of it is that sending a letter to the court saying,

“I will not file a brief on appeal, as I am of the opinion that there is no merit to the appeal. I have visited and communicated with Mr. Anders, and have explained my views and opinions to him. . . . [H]e wishes to file a brief in this matter on his own behalf,"

Continue Reading How To Write An Anders Brief

Overheard a bench conference about a motion to revoke a felony probation while standing in line waiting to talk to the judge this week. Putting the pieces together, the story went something like this:

The defendant was on a possession of controlled substance probation, and had mucked it up in several different ways. Probably at least one dirty U/A along the way, had absconded (fancy legal talk for “disappeared/not reported” for a few months), and was generally speaking not winning any awards for probationer of the year. As far as I could tell, no arrests for new offenses, but… what are you going to do?

Continue Reading Case Closed

There are two kinds of reactions to the following statement, made by Andrea Mitchell on Morning Joe, about Elena Kagan’s qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice:

If you can run Harvard, and the Harvard Law factory, then you can run almost anything.

Reaction number one… nodding head in silent (and unthinking) approval, and reaction number two… “What’s that again?”

Seriously? Anything? As Dean of the law school, she proved adept at fundraising, no doubt. But this qualifies her for almost anything? What about vetting mergers and acquisitions, negotiating a contract, representing someone in a divorce, not to mention running a bakery or a bank…

Continue Reading Qualified For Anything

Heard Jeffrey Toobin explaining Miranda to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last night on the tube, and my head exploded. Sometimes a quick press of the record button, followed by several rewinds and I end up with an informal transcript of something an expert TV commentator said which ends up on my blog, but not this time. Wasn’t quick enough with the TiVo remote.

But no matter, CNN, being justifiably proud of its expert, has posted it online. Blitzer asked Toobin to “explain to our viewers about the Miranda rights” to which the expert replied:

The Miranda rule says nothing you say can be used against you in court unless you first have been read your Miranda rights.

Continue Reading What The Miranda Rule Says…(According To TV Version)

First, Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Sharon Keller didn’t know she was stinking rich, and then, she simply forgot to report it as required by law. And even though she didn’t know about it, she apologized. Even though she had done nothing wrong.

From the Austin American Statesman’s Focal Point blog, Chuck Lindell:

Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the state’s highest criminal court, has been fined $100,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to fully report her income and property holdings on annual personal financial statements.

It was the largest civil penalty imposed by the commission, according to Tim Sorrells, deputy general counsel for the agency.

Continue Reading When Is $100,000 A Drop In The Bucket?

I could have used the search box on this blog to locate the URL for an old post about Sharon Keller. Instead I went to Google, and typed in “I was wearing someone else’s pants”. I remembered those words in the title, and for something that odd, my post would be the first result, right?

Uh, no. Numero tres. Beaten out, at number two, by WikiAnswers – Can you get STDs by wearing someone else’s pants? (Related link on the answer page… “Am I wearing pants?”)

Continue Reading Pants On The Ground (Looking Like A Fool)

From Illegal Utah Marijuana Gardens Dot Com:

Did you know that marijuana is being illegally grown in Utah?

It is? Gee Wally, if I stumble across some marijuana when I’m out and about, what ever should I do?

If you think you have found an illegal marijuana garden, note the location either on a map or GPS unit. We will be able to find it either by latitude and longitude, or a place name.

Avoid any contact with the suspects who may be present and leave the area, undisturbed, as soon as possible. Contact us through this website or your local law enforcement, the sooner the better.

[Hat Tip: Robert Latham through the NORML listserv]

I thought the doctors would be able to tell us whether my wife was carrying fraternal or identical twins. When she was pregnant with them. Wasn’t that something they could just know? Well, the answer was “not always”.

There are several ways of immediately identifying twins as dizygotic – that is, as coming from two separate eggs, aka fraternal – the most obvious being boy/girl. In our case, boy/boy, so that didn’t help. By the time of their birth, all other factors which could have marked them as fraternal were eliminated: placenta, inner amniotic and outer chorionic membranes, and same blood type. But what about separate sacs, don’t identicals share the same sac? Not for the super majority of monozygotes, and in fact it’s the rare same sac scenario that leads to such difficulties as conjoined twins. Thank goodness then, no confirmation there.

Continue Reading You Often See Twins With An Older Sibling…

Ran across Tamar Weinberg’s Techipedia via Simple Justice’s deconstruction of a comment on her post “The 7 Truths About Social Media Marketing”. SJ unfairly insists she is vapid, apparently missing out on gems like tip #4, “Social Media Is Social”. Perhaps she left out “Social Media Is Media” because everyone knows lists have to be in groups of seven or ten.

Personally, I was struck by these passages from tip number three, “Numbers Aren’t Everything”:

It’s more important to look at the holistic view of the individual or entity on Twitter and across other social channels. If someone has over 20,000 Twitter followers, how many people are they following?

Excellent. We’re going to get a holistic approach to figuring out whether someone is worthy of out Twitter attention. She then dissects folks into three categories of twitterers I should be wary of, based on their ratio of friends/followers. Group number one:

Continue Reading Holistic Twittering