Posts Tagged ‘law’

That’s A Spicy Miscarriage-a of a-Justice!

July 30, 2011

A BEAST Reader Opinion

By Mario

Mario, seen here shaking his fist at the

injustice in the case of Amanda Knox

Bonjourno! I’m a-Mario and I’m an Italian-Americano and I do-a the plumbing! But today I’m-a here to tell you about how I’m ashamed of my-a country’s criminal justice system, specifically in the small town of a-Perugia. Perhaps we discuss it over a nice-a pizza pie! Mario knows just the right-a place!

Have a seat-a, Mario’s just going to the bathroom real quick.

So this American girl Amanda Knox-a, she was studying abroad in-a Italy. She got a place-a to live. She got a boyfriend. Goin’ to-a the school. Tryin’ to-a overcome her social awkwardness with-a the studying abroad in my-a country.

For a more-a detailed description of-a the story, you read-a this article in the American Rolling Stone magazine. Mario will-a give you the abbreviated version, much-a like how you can skip-a from World 1-2 to 4-1 by-a using the moving platforms to jump-a to the top of the level.

Amanda Knox, she come a-home from a night at her boyfriend’s. It looks-a like she’s been robbed. She afraid the a-robbers still be there. She panics and finds the first police she-a can. They are the postal police. They are incompetento. They find-a Knox’s roomate, Meredith Kercher, she-a dead. The postal police, they-a probably contaminate the DNA evidence and point the prosecutor/official in charge of the investigation (Same-a person! Makes-a no sense! Inevitably will lead-a to a conflict of interestino!), Giuliano Mignini, in a bad direction.

Mignini, he a small time prosecutor, escaping much scrutiny due to-a his geographically small jurisprudence. And like-a the Satanic Panic/’recovered memories’ craze in-a the 1980s America, he a-sees supernatural, satanic influences everywhere. The criminal justice system is-a no place for a guy like-a him. But what-a you gonna do about it? He’s a made guy.

The prosecution, they-a have no motive. No evidence outside of trace DNA which was-a sloppily collected. Much of their case relies on Knox’s reaction to the-a murder. She kissed-a her boyfriend at one point! And then she do-a the cartwheel and yoga. This-a is what they say reveals her guilt. That’s-a what passes for evidence in a murder trial in my-a country! It make-a Mario more sad than those Americano douches on-a the Jersey Shore television!

The prosecution, they-a take advantage of Knox’s overly trusting nature and her elementary understanding of the-a language to “help her remember” what they-a said happen. She unknowingly signs-a the confession, which is when she-a finally learned she was even a suspect in her-a roommate’s murder!

Meanwhile, an alleged petty thief / informant to the polizia named Rudy Guede, he-a leave the country as soon as the investigation began. He was amicos with the boys who lived downstairs from Knox. He was-a later convicted along with Knox and her-a boyfriend of the murder after having a-changed his story multiple times. The DNA evidence, it-a leads to a version of-a the murder in-a which Guede acted alone. Nathaniel Rich in the-a Rolling Stone USA America article I-a linked to above lays out this version of events-a:

Guede stakes out the cottage after dark. He breaks into the girls’ apartment and makes himself comfortable. He swigs orange juice from a carton he finds in the refrigerator — he had a spicy kebab for dinner — and then uses the bathroom. While he’s on the can, Kercher enters the apartment, locking the door behind her. Guede is trapped. He can’t exit through the window without alerting Kercher, and he can’t use the front door, because you need a key to open the lock from the inside. (Kercher’s keys would be stolen, along with cash, credit cards and phones.) Guede rises from the toilet without flushing, so as not to make a noise. He walks to Kercher’s bedroom. Perhaps he tries to explain himself — “Sorry, the door was open, I let myself in, I’m a friend of Giacomo’s downstairs” — or perhaps she starts screaming before he can speak. He grabs her by the mouth (there were bruises on Kercher’s face) and threatens her with the knife. He assaults her and, realizing that Kercher can identify him, he panics and kills her.

This story has-a many benefits over the prosecution’s. For one, it-a has a motive. The prosecution, they-a say no motive is necessary. Also, it doesn’t involve believing in Satanic influences. If you discount the trace DNA samples, which the forensics experts all say is-a more useless in court than my little brother Luigi is at fixing a running toilet, then it accounts for all-a the facts we know for-a sure in the-a simplest way. That makes it far more-a likely according to Occam’s Razor.

And what makes this-a all much worse is how the system of criminal justice here is-a incapable of a-saying that it has made-a a mistake. They wave-a the hands, and not just in the way we all do when we-a talk-a. The appeals process, it’s-a face-saving mechanism for an incompetent bureaucracy. It looks-a like they want to simply reduce Knox’s sentence instead of admit they were wrong. And the polizia, now they-a attack the forensics experts United States for discrediting their lousy so-a-called evidence.

So-a sad! Mario is ashamed of his country! The-a blog Perugia Shocks follows this-a case closely, so Mario encourages you to keep-a tabs on it there. And her-a defense fund is here. Soon we-a free her! Arrivederci!

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Point / Counterpoint: The Law

July 30, 2011

I Am The Law

by Judge Dredd

After the collapse of the environment and humanity’s sociopolitical structure, lawlessness ran rampant in the few remaining Mega Cities where most human survivors lived. But then a new system of criminal justice emerged. One where elite super-soldiers act as police, jury, and executioners. We call them the Judges. That’s where I come in. I’m a Judge. The name’s Judge Dredd, and I am the law.

I don’t need to hear from some Ivory Tower egg-head about how we need to coddle criminals with fair and impartial trials and presume them innocent. When I see a rotten, good-for-nothing lowlife punk steal an old lady’s purse, I just smash his teeth in with my comically oversized gun from the future. There are no Miranda Rights. No trial. No taxpayer-funded lawyer. Only justice. And that happens to be me. I am the law.

When you’re walking home from work one day and all of a sudden a gang of hooligans jumps from out of nowhere to steal your food pellet rations, who do you go to for help? That’s right, the self-appointed vigilantes running around in ridiculous costumes who call themselves Judges. If you’re lucky you’ll get me/The Law on your side.

There are two types of people in the world: The good, hardworking ones, and the worthless criminals who should be executed immediately. And then there’s guys like me, other Judges. And there are also some people who aren’t exactly good, but get by without causing too much trouble. Then there are convenience store clerks. And there’s that butterfly kid from the Blind Melon video… remember that?

Well, anyway, maybe there are more than two kinds of people in the world. So sue me. It’s not like there’s a law against it, because if I break a law that would mean there is a law against… the law. And that is a paradox which will create a black hole that will swallow up the Universe. And we don’t want that now, do we?

Actually, The Law Is A System Of Rules That A Particular Country Or Community Recognizes As Regulating The Actions Of Its Members And May Enforce By The Imposition Of Penalties.

by Alan Dershowitz

Since the dawn of Western civilization we humans have established systems of law. The goal of pursuing justice should be that the law is universal, which is to say that it applies to everyone equally. Nobody should be above the law. And while some legal systems are named after the rulers who founded them, we must remember that despite Mr. Dredd’s opinion the law is a system and not an individual who happens to work within that system.

Mr. Dredd is a young man with an occupation which requires bursts of adrenaline, and he may feel invulnerable now. But like all other mortals he will age and eventually die. And if he truly is the law, will the law die with him? Will our children and grandchildren be forced into the same kind of chaotic nightmare we all too recently lived through? Will the end of Dredd mean another “Cursed Earth?” Ridiculous. The law will continue with or without Dredd because it is part of our social contract.

But I will go even further here. Not only is Judge Dredd’s opinion wrong on the grounds that no single person can “be the law,” but even if one could truly be the law, Dredd would not be that person. His draconian sentencing and methods of investigation are completely at odds with our modern sensibilities. If he is the law, then we’re talking about the law of Saudi Arabia or North Korea or someplace like that. Even if all of our countryside is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, this is still America, where we give those accused of crimes the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.

I hate to speculate, but if I had to guess why Mr. Dredd is taking this unusual stance on legal issues, I would say that like all tyrants throughout history, he has a vested self-interest in equating himself with law and order in the mind of the public. It could be as simple as a matter of him keeping his job in the law and order business.

At worst, he may be pre-emptively introducing Richard Nixon’s famous defense where he declared that a crime is not a crime if the President does it. This would be especially useful if the US Attorney General’s office brings charges against him for obsctructing justice in one way or another. If that’s the case, then having a jury already receptive to the idea that Mr. Dredd’s status as a high-profile Judge absolves him from legal responsibility would be very useful in a courtroom.

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Kenya-controlled US Supreme Court rules against Orly Taitz

August 16, 2010

Last September, federal judge Clay Land of Georgia ordered the dentist / birther / internet troll Orly Taitz pay a $20,000 fine for violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Taitz of course realized that Clay Land was a communist fascist Maoist Muslim Marxist traitor and appealed. This appeal was denied by another al Qaeda Nazi posing as a federal judge, and on it went like that until Taitz started trolling members of the Supreme Court on ChatRoulette.

She first decided to go after Clarence Thomas, the most likely candidate to bring her case before the Court since he is also a bit of a crackpot. The way it works is that to get the Supreme Court to appeal your case, you have to convince one of the nine justices to introduce it to the Court. It’s kind of like how anyone can actually write the words of a piece of legislation, but they need at least one member of Congress to sponsor it.

In what was for him a rare moment of sanity, Justice Thomas sent Taitz’s e-mail to his spam folder and told her to STFU and pay her stupid fine already. After she made sure Thomas’ Hotmail account wasn’t hijacked by someone from /b/, Taitz decided to try her luck with Justice Alito. Normally when someone pesters a second justice after being denied by the first, the justice will just bring the case before the Court to spare the others, since a person like that (i.e. like Taitz) will probably just go individually to each and every member of the Court and troll them until they give in.

So that’s what Alito did and today they ruled that the fine would be upheld. So you might think that a patriotic American like Taitz would see that they had gone to the highest court in the country but that justice wasn’t on their side, right? Well, not so much. Like another similarly hypocritical douchenozzle, Taitz is appealing to the “international court of Human Rights,” an institution which appears to not even exist. There’s the European Court of Human Rights. And there’s the International Court of Justice. But there’s no such thing as the International Court of Human Rights. Taitz is now filing appeals to institutions which don’t even exist outside of her imagination.

National Day of Prayer ruled unconstitutional

April 20, 2010

The Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s long-running case against the Bush administration for the National Day of Prayer has finally come to a kind of sort of conclusion last week when federal district Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the NDoP unconstitutional.

First, something about the FFRF. They have a certain legal strategy which is kind of controversial, even amongst freethought activists. Their strategy is basically to take every church/state separation issue very seriously and technically, and then to sue on as many of them as possible.

Some other organizations, like American Atheists, try to discourage this kind of strategy because it can lead to bad precedents. They encourage people to only take legal action when it’s clear that the case is going to come out in their favor.

So if you’re in a situation where secularism is being threatened and the legal system you would have to appeal to is stacked against you, then it would be better to wait for the political climate to change before bringing up the issue at all. Otherwise, you make an unofficial and semi-unspoken Establishment Clause violation into an official and legal Establishment Clause violation by setting a bad precedent. So there’s this discussion going on between those advocating legal action based on political tact (like American Atheists) and those advocating action based on principle (FFRF).

What this case makes clear is that we need a little of both of these strategies and to simultaneously be taking risks while understanding the probabilities of winning. Even though they may sometimes make bad precedent, and even though it’s easy to make fun of Dan Barker on the Daily Show, and maybe his debating leaves something to be desired, the FFRF also sometimes wins in court, and wins big.

There is, however, some question as to how big this victory will turn out to be. From the Associated Press:

Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich said in an e-mail to The Associated Press the president still plans to issue a proclamation for the next prayer day.

“As he did last year, President Obama intends to recognize a National Day of Prayer,” Lehrich said.

Now Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice (Get it? It’s the ACLJ, kind of like that other organization except totally different), which is defending both the Bush and Obama administrations in this case, is now appealing to a higher court. So this isn’t over yet. But, as far as I understand it, the judge’s ruling is still law while the appeal is pending.

The NDoP is scheduled for the first Thursday in May, so it is very difficult to believe that the appeals process will be over by then. So even if this ends up being overturned by a higher court, the FFRF will still have yet another lawsuit to press against the current administration for clearly acting against the judge’s ruling, as if the President were somehow above the law. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

UPDATE: Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Fox