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January 18, 2012

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Hate Crimes: Enhancing mens rea to what end?

Hate Crimes: Enhancing mens rea to what end?

I’ll cut right to the chase on Hate Crimes.  I don’t like them.  Allow me to explain.  It’ll take a few paragraphs … Let’s say that someone beats me upside the head with a baseball bat.  Hate when that happens.  I suffer significant injuries.  He gets 2 to 4 years on an Agg Assault charge. […]

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January 17, 2012

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Being a Snitch as a Business Plan

Being a Snitch as a Business Plan

I love it when someone gets all, “Hey, yo, I ain’t no snitch!”  Their nose gets crinkly, and if you’re lucky you can catch the beam of ambient light as it exits their nostrils because there’s no mass to impede its journey from their ears. Let’s deconstruct the situation that leads to that proclamation.  Someone […]

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January 16, 2012

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Opt for the Village: Jury Trial Better for Defendant in Close Evidentiary Calls

Opt for the Village: Jury Trial Better for Defendant in Close Evidentiary Calls

It’s a fundamental issue to resolve for every trial:  Take a jury or opt for a bench trial (over which a judge presides without a jury)?  Commonly agreed reasons for opting for a judge-only trial include highly technical defenses and highly emotional cases.  Judges are less likely to be swayed, so the story goes, by […]

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January 14, 2012

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Your weekend reading, January 14-15, 2012 – Janis Joplin Autopsy

Your weekend reading, January 14-15, 2012 – Janis Joplin Autopsy

All due respect to Janis, but let’s play doctor. One thing an attorney must do to be successful in litigation is to learn the details of other trades.  It’s not enough to know a breach of contract when you see it – the clear violations get settled.  More often, there are technical disagreements that require […]

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January 13, 2012

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SCOTUS Criminal Opinions – January 10-11, 2012

SCOTUS Criminal Opinions – January 10-11, 2012

The Supreme Court of the United States done us right good – two days, four opinions with criminal-law implications.  We may not like them, but final rulings are always a good thing.  Let’s dig in. We were waiting for Perry v. New Hampshire after our writing on eyewitness testimony, and now we have it.  Here’s the […]

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January 12, 2012

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Lawsuit of the Day: Pissing on someone is outside the scope of employment

Lawsuit of the Day: Pissing on someone is outside the scope of employment

The opening act: State troopers took Derena Madison into custody after a 2:30 a.m. traffic stop in which they arrested her friend for driving under the influence. When officers said they would tow the car, Madison exited to protest. Police arrested her for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, putting her into handcuffs and restraining her […]

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January 11, 2012

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Double Jeopardy: And the categories are …

Double Jeopardy:  And the categories are …

We’re gonna talk about the Constitution’s Double Jeopardy Clause – nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb – but excuse me for a moment while I watch this video (sorry about the ad up front):  OK.  That just cracks me up.  Where was […]

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January 10, 2012

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The Incurable Fungus: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Incurable Fungus:  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

We are certainly familiar with the refrain that a federal law that creates jobs for federal employees has zero chance to die a timely death.  A section of a 1965 law was supposed to die in 1969, yet it lives still.  Worse yet, the law gives the feds jurisdiction on the topic over only a […]

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January 9, 2012

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Spousal Privilege in Pennsylvania: When your spouse doesn’t have to testify

Spousal Privilege in Pennsylvania: When your spouse doesn’t have to testify

Some relationships are fundamental to a healthy society. From a legal perspective, these relationships cover religion, physical and mental health, the law, and the nuclear family.  As a general statement, conversations within these relationships are privileged – no one can compel a participant to disclose what was said, not even a court.  We can’t optimize […]

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January 7, 2012

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Your weekend reading, January 7-8, 2012 – John Lennon’s FBI File

Your weekend reading, January 7-8, 2012 – John Lennon’s FBI File

You can spend minutes or hours on these files.  The FBI recently released the third and last installment of their files on John Lennon.  You can catch all three installments here.  I was just tripping through the last file.  It’s sorted by chron, and I dropped to 1977+.  Seems he was dealing with some idiot […]

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