Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What’s Your Motive?

Criminal law is riddled with double standards.  For example, suppose that two seventeen-year-olds get into fisticuffs in the state of Wisconsin, and one of them gets a bruise on the cheek.  Typically, the winner of the fight gets prosecuted regardless of who started it, so let’s further suppose that the kid without the bruise gets charged with felony child abuse.  How can this be?  In Wisconsin, he’s considered an adult because he’s seventeen, and therefore can be charged criminally in adult court.  But wait: the kid who got the bruise on his cheek is also seventeen, so how can this be “child” abuse?  Because there’s a double standard: when considering the age of the accuser, seventeen-year-olds are considered to be mere children, rather than adults.  But as absurd as this double standard is, it pales in comparison the double standard for motive and the third-party defense.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I see grooming behavior

As I sat on my couch watching the latest edition of Sports Center, I happened to catch a Kay Jeweler’s commercial.  You know the ones: “Every kiss begins with Kay.”  Well, this one was marketing jewelry for kids.  A handsome chap was presenting a little gem to, well, a little gem, and he told her “I’m so happy to be marrying your mom, and I’m really happy that you’re gonna be in my life, too.”  And, because it’s a commercial, the child absolutely loved the gift, and the mom looked on lovingly from the background. 

I wasn’t able to find this commercial on YouTube, so I can’t link to it.  But most people who watch this commercial will see a brilliant marketing campaign (after all, they’re opening up a whole new market for their product), or maybe the frivolous side of capitalism (does a child really need jewelry?), or maybe even a sweet moment (there’s no way this marriage will end in divorce).  You wanna know what I see?  I see grooming behavior. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

I don’t care about your child

As a criminal defense lawyer, I fear cases where children are the ones making the accusations.  The reason is that no matter how bizarre, implausible, or flat-out false the accusation might be, some people seem to have an inherent pro-child bias which can, in some cases, cause them to suspend reality.  It also enables them to see and hear things that don’t exist.  But this pro-child bias is not limited to jury trials; rather, it infects most aspects of our lives, and was on full display when a nice looking couple went to a baseball game and caught a foul ball.  Because of this, they made national news and were demonized for failing to cater to a nearby crying child that wasn’t theirs, and that they didn’t even see.