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Ignorance of the Law is… Chaos

My point in writing these ditties, in addition to shameless self-promotion, is to try to demonstrate how various issues in the news would play out in the world of lawyers.

I try to give equal time to cops shooting fleeing felons and the Nunes memo.

The cop piece was viewed by many readers as pro-cop and anti-fleeing black man. It was neither. It was about the law governing use of force by the police officers.

The Nunes memo was viewed as a biased political anti-Trump piece by Trump supporters. It had nothing to do with Trump, actually. It was about search warrant law.

In that last piece, I simply explained how the law actually works when it comes to the type of information that is used every day to support the issuance of search warrants. Information from sketchy biased informants with an agenda is the norm in these affidavits.

With fleeing felons, I pointed out that if a cop felt that a suspect really did have a firearm and was fleeing, he might be justified in shooting him to protect public safety.

Personally I hate both of those legal concepts. I argue against those scumbag lying informants daily, only to be shot down by conservative Republican prosecutors and Judges because that type of information in warrant requests is totally legal.

I also get shot down by Liberal Democrat Prosecutors and Judges for the same exact reason. You see, their political leanings have ZERO to do with their legal analysis.

Same with those ‘shooting cops’. I feel that there should be stricter limits on their killing of innocent people, like not resorting to the use of deadly force unless there is absolutely no other choice. Unfortunately, depending on the facts of the case, the law may allow it, even when I find it repugnant and wrong.

Just the Facts Ma’am. Joe Friday said it best (or not). The facts and the law. My bread and butter.

But when Politics rears its ugly head, everyone gets either crazy or stupid. Or both.

I hated Bill Clinton. Hillary too. He lied his way disgracefully through the Monica Lewinsky affair. Hillary hid federally subpoenaed legal files from the Rose Law Firm in the White House until she was caught. For that she should have been prosecuted. Maybe even locked up.

My dislike for both of them was based on how unethically two Yale lawyers had behaved, based entirely on the law, not on my political views.

I remember arguing with a Liberal Democrat prosecutor about that when it first hit the news. He was busy trying to lock up my clients for much smaller transgressions than perjury and tampering with evidence. But he was blinded by his politics when it came to the Clintons. If I had a blog back then, I probably would have written about it.

Just the other day, when a Conservative Republican Prosecutor I know brought up the Hilary Clinton server / lock-her-up issue, I asked him which statute she should be prosecuted for. He had no idea.

His politics had blinded his legal reasoning. I mean, this guy is a good lawyer, but here he was, an experienced prosecutor, arguing that a crime had occurred but unable to say which crime. That is kinda part of his job.

So when I point out that the Nunes memo is ridiculous from a legal point of view, it’s only because it is.

Which brings me, finally, to today’s topic. Trump’s comments about Due Process being important when it comes to the way Rob Porter is being vilified. I agree with him, at least in principle. Due Process is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system.

The only problem is that this situation, at least right now, has nothing to do with criminal justice. Or did I miss something? Is Porter currently being prosecuted? Is he looking at jail? Did he miss a court date?

No.

So due process has nothing to do with this. It can be argued, correctly, that due process also applies to civil cases.

But I don’t think Porter is being sued right now either.

He’s not in civil court or criminal court. He’s in the court of public opinion. And there is no due process there.

Which is how it is that people who know absolutely nothing about the law feel free to fling their uninformed, or rather ill-informed, opinions around – despite the fact that they have no clue what they are talking about.

I’m afraid that anything I say about the Law will make people mad, simply because they confuse their political views with what the law actually is, as opposed to what they want it to be.

After all, when I tried last week to write about how the Nunes memo issue relates to real life search warrant law, which I first studied almost forty years ago at Stanford Law School before working on warrant suppression issues daily for decades, I was deluged by retired Walmart employees who were offended that I dared to explain the law to them.

They felt that they knew more about the law than I do. Okayeeee.

Wal-Mart employees can be great people. Just not great lawyers. If, instead of law, I had studied neurology at Stanford Medical School and spent decades working as a brain surgeon, would these same people attack me for explaining medical concepts, claiming that they know more about the structure of the cerebral cortex than I do?

There’s something going on here. Apparently, people don’t want the law explained to them if the law does not come down on the side of people who share their political views. That’s just wrong.

We have seen this again and again, whether it is Democrats turning a blind eye to Bill Clinton harassing his young interns, or Republicans supporting a pervert like Roy Moore, despite his proclivity to stalk young girls at his local mall. What a creep.

My point is this: The Law is the Law. In decades of practicing criminal law, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, handling literally thousands of cases where people are charged with crimes that involve Domestic Violence or Sex Crimes, I can tell you exactly how many times the topic of a Defendant’s political views were discussed or even considered secretly by either the defense or the prosecution.

ZERO. None. Nada.

Politics does not, and should not, play any role whatsoever in the way the Law is analyzed or applied to prosecutions. Instead it is all about those two things: The Facts and The Law.

It is unfortunate that we now live in a world where pundits spew false analysis about legal issues, distorted to help them back up their own political favorites, regardless of the facts or the law.

I just wish that the public were not so gullible. If they weren’t they might know that the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

But wishing can’t make it true. Which is why I am more determined than ever to explain how the law actually works to anyone who cares to listen.

I just hope they can hear me over the din.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Durnbaugh
    Jim Durnbaugh February 17, 2018

    Well written, Mr. Platt!

  2. Scott Cummings
    Scott Cummings April 2, 2018

    Hi Craig

    Thanks for sharing this post. this is very helpful and informative.

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