Thursday, May 16, 2013
Sorry to The Legal Watchdog readers for my lack of posts. And, due to new writing opportunities, I may be on an extended hiatus. However, please stay tuned for posts regarding forthcoming books and articles. In the meantime, Knightly will get some much needed rest.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Police perjury in the Fourth Amendment context is widespread and well-documented. (Read pages 547-48 of this article, and pages 472-73 of this article, for details.) In a nutshell, if a cop tells a judge that he saw, heard, or smelled something that aroused his suspicion, judges will uphold any police search and look the other way on Fourth Amendment violations. But not Judge Guolee of Milwaukee. He’s not afraid to “call bullshit” when he sees (or smells) it. In State v. Jackson, the defendant challenged a police search of his vehicle's trunk and the judge held a hearing. At that hearing, the cop testified that he was legally justified in searching the trunk because he could smell the marijuana. But instead of rubber-stamping the testimony and automatically finding that there was no Fourth Amendment violation, Judge Guolee had about enough. Here’s what he said:
Judge Dennis Cimpl recently made The Dog’s list of repeat offenders for his gross misunderstanding of the law resulting in the reversal of two convictions. (See here and here for earlier posts.) And now he’s become The Dog’s first three-peat offender. In State v. Sarfraz, judge Cimpl prohibited the defendant from presenting his defense to the jury. The reason? In the judge’s mind, the defendant’s evidence was relevant but not as persuasive as he would have liked. However, as the appellate court explained in ¶25 of the opinion, weighing the evidence is the role of the jury, not the government agent sitting on the bench. This was such a serious and fundamental error that the defendant’s conviction was reversed, and a new trial was ordered.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Knightly (pictured) will rest and gather his strength while I take some time off from The Legal Watchdog to write a short, invited essay for the Hofstra Law Review. In it I intend to demonstrate (in Hitchens-esque style, I hope) how our constitutional rights ain’t what they used to be. Stay tuned.
|MU Elite Eight|
Sunday, March 24, 2013
|MU Sweet 16|
Friday, March 15, 2013
Big Dance fast approaching, everyone is asking, “Who will be this year’s George Mason?” Well, I guess it won’t be George Mason, as they lost a heart-breaker in their conference tourney. But they do have good taste in law review articles. Stay tuned for my newest article, “An Alternative to the Wrong-Person Defense” which will appear in the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal this fall. In the meantime, check out the blog post on which the article was based, and check out GMU’s Civil Rights Law Blog, which is full of chocolatey cookie goodness for the libertarian-minded reader. Oh, and enjoy March Madness.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
|Marquette: Big East Champs|
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Paul Campos is a law professor who started and, sadly, recently ended a blog titled “Inside the Law School Scam.” The title of the blog speaks for itself, and there is little I can write about
that hasn’t already been written. But a
little is better than nothing, so here goes:
We all know about the housing bubble. Lenders gave out money willy-nilly, people accepted it to buy homes, this increased demand and artificially drove up prices, and then the housing market crashed. (I’m sure an economist would quibble with much of that phraseology, but you get the point.) And while our economy is still feeling the effects, the next bubble is already here. Unfortunately, it could easily have been prevented. And although much of the damage is already done, it’s still possible to rein it in. The new bubble, if you haven’t guessed, is educational debt.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I’m generally not a huge fan of empirical studies on the law. (There are one or two exceptions, of course.) But sometimes, the numbers have an uncanny way of exposing lies. Consider this tale of two groups: police officers and law school bureaucrats. With regard to the police, one famous study on police-officer behavior revealed that, before the Fourth Amendment was imposed on the states, the police would simply write in their reports what really happened: they stopped people on the street for no reason, searched them, found drugs, and arrested them. In fact, the police admitted to this in 33 percent of their police reports. Only in 14 percent of their reports did they write that the drugs magically fell out of the defendants’ pockets.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Legal education has come under a great deal of fire lately. One criticism that has been around long before the recent legal education crisis, however, is that law schools teach only theory, and not practical skills. The debate, in a nutshell, boils down to two competing camps. The practicing-lawyer camp mocks theory, while praising the value of a practical education. After all, we lawyers are licensed to practice law, and clients deserve some basic level of competence, even from new graduates. The law-professor camp, on the other hand, elevates theory to heavenly heights, singing its praises along with the importance of teaching students “how to think like a lawyer”—whatever that phrase may mean. Unfortunately, the two sides are only preaching to their respective choirs. In fact, the debate never gets off the ground because the word theory means something different to each camp.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I exercise my free speech rights nearly continually, and the government is my biggest target. Fortunately for me, “criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas . . . are almost always permitted” under the First Amendment. So whether it’s my books, articles, blogs, or podcasts, my keyboard is rarely at rest, and my big mouth is rarely shut. (In fact, my contrarian jabbering as a child led my mother to accurately predict my careers as both lawyer and writer.) But I sometimes forget how lucky I am – lucky not only compared to citizens of other countries who can be imprisoned or even killed for speaking out against their governments, but also compared to others here in the United States.