If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a million times.
I’ve blogged about it a million times. At least it feels that way.
As usual, I have no idea. But I can guess.
Ryan Lochte was out with some of his other superstar swim team members for a night on the town after completing his grueling week in the water, winning medals and flashing his winning smile all over TV’s around the world. Not to mention the years and years of hard core constant exhausting training he went through to get there in the first place. Now he was finished… for now. Can anyone find it horrible or surprising that he might be out blowing off some steam with his teammates?
Why on earth would a woman possibly lie about being raped? That was a valid question that was raised in comments to my last post. I could wax poetic about the sacred presumption of innocence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to have a unanimous jury decide guilt or innocence. But I won’t. It would fall on deaf ears.
The fact is that rape accusations are such that they are basically presumed to be accurate by the vast majority of the public in virtually every case. That’s partly because people can’t understand why women would make this stuff up only to then be put through the wringer of a criminal prosecution and all that that entails.
Even criminal defense attorneys, like me, need to be reminded occasionally about the presumption of innocence.
I read a piece recently in Seattle’s “Stranger” about Matt Hickey (no joke, that’s his name), a well known techie who was being accused of sexually assaulting several women. I confess. After reading it I was pretty convinced that he must be guilty of rape. I’m not on his jury and not his lawyer, so I am free to think (and say) whatever I want.
But, then, I began to reflect on similar cases I have worked on as a criminal defense lawyer.
OK, this time it’s personal. It hasn’t been, lately; I’ve been watching the recent carnage in a sort of state of shock. It seems surreal, as if it can’t really be happening. Not part of my world. Too horrible. And sad. And depressing.
Promenade des AnglaisSo, sometimes it’s just easier to distance yourself and hope it goes away; only it won’t. I knew that last Thursday night when I turned on my TV.
I want to begin by thanking Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Just when I was wondering what new legal issues were floating around that were relevant to criminal law, there it was. Assault! Campaign Aides Gone Wild! Or not…
Which is what this is going to be about:
What, exactly, happened in that video that is all over TV news shows this week, showing some sort of physical altercation between Trump’s campaign manager and a reporter?
You know that feeling you get when something seems very familiar to you but you know it isn’t?
I got that recently when I was listening to one of the Presidential candidates wax poetic about every little detail concerning their poll numbers, on and on ad nauseam. I’m not even sure who it was (other than it wasn’t Kasich – for obvious reasons). Listening to them, I got this knot in my gut that this was somehow an intimately personal experience I had once had. But I couldn’t see how. I am a lawyer, not a politician.
There was that one time I ran for election myself. But it couldn’t be that… I am pretty sure Gallup wasn’t running any major polls to monitor the Island County Superior Court Judge job at the time. No, it was hard enough just reminding people to remember to vote in the primary when there was basically no press coverage.
Then it hit me.
Politicians and Criminal Defense lawyers are very much alike.
image by Personalincome.org
Finally. I found a way to be able to talk about this crazy election. I’ve been dying to, but I haven’t been able to. You see, the problem is that I try to stay neutral here, and the fact is that it’s virtually impossible these days to say one word about anything online without being accused of being partial to one side or the other.
I mean, even when I write about the “God of All Things Conservative” for the past few decades, Antonin Scalia, and say what a great writer he was, or how sweet it was that he was able to be BFF’s with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or how much I loved to read his opinions, or how important some of his opinions were, (e.g. masterpieces like Crawford or Blakely or Johnson), along comes my Marine Colonel brother in law describing my blog as “left leaning” (sorry Chris, but I owed you that.)
One of the fundamental rules of blogging for me is trying to stay neutral. Except that I do not know a single person who is neutral about this election. That’s the first time in my adult life that has happened – which got me thinking. Thinking about what the heck is going to happen once we get to the actual election. Of course, I’ve been wondering that for months.
I have finally found a very obvious framework to analyze this all in a legally oriented way that works. And if anyone calls it “left leaning” I give up. That would be hopeless. But there is hope.
I try. I really do.
I really try to watch legal shows without shouting at the TV. It’s like watching the Presidential Debates without doing that – impossible.
That’s because these shows get so very many important things about what criminal defense attorneys really do totally wrong. What is especially disturbing is that the shows that purport to be true to life, such as The People vs O.J. Simpson, are the worst. It’s possible that those shows actually are accurate, and that really disturbs me.
The seminal work in this area, as we lawyers like to say, is Law and Order. The criminal defense attorneys in that show are all either stupid or unethical, or more likely than not – both. Simply put, either way, the “lawyers” on these shows make us all look bad. Horrible in fact. They do some of the stupidest, dirtiest things imaginable.