12 April 2016

Mobile Link Sausage Platter

This will be a relatively grouchy/irritated platter of link sausages, inspired in part by a fourth major move in a year (and this isn't the final one yet, either). At least this one was only cross-town...

  • Now this is an honor-worthy "activist" judge... who's only doing his job after being forced into a corner by the advocates before him. And well, I might add. The Hon. Arthur Hunter (Orleans Parish, Louisiana) ordered the release of seven indigent criminal defendants because the state was not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide defense counsel. He then immediately stayed his order to allow an appeal, thereby throwing the matter back on the elected officials who caused the problem in the first place by refusing to do their jobs.

    This is, rather ironically, an example of the free-rider problem in action. By definition, higher-income and higher-asset members of society have a disproportionate share of assets that require protection — both directly, via the justice system, and indirectly, through infrastructure (gotta have a smooth road for that Caddy to hit 120 while driving drunk) and public education (they're gonna need barely-minimum-wage nursing assistance as they get old and engage in expensive life-extending medical treatments denied to everyone else for lack of resources). And they get a disproportionate share of the benefits from those systems regardless: The complexity and court time taken up by a "simple" dispute over, to stay in Louisiana for a moment, which multibillion-dollar corporation has to pay a little bit more into the Deepwater Horizon fund is directly behind the lack of resources for other matters involving incarceration of indigent defendants in a city with just a tiny history of race- and class warfare (and a police department that has historically been less than evenhanded).

  • Although this is certainly wound up in a matter that has ensnared me at the moment, it's a longstanding professional problem. If the legal profession really cared about either the public or its reputation, it would ensure that there are actual, reasonably forseeable consequences for lawyers who lie. The courts are often reluctant to impose sanctions for lawyers who attempt to mislead them and get caught, for a variety of institutional reasons (not the least of which is the continuing misinterpretation of "zealous advocacy"... which has not been part of the legal-ethics rules in most of the country for nearly forty years). The bar authorities, conversely, expect the courts to police this almost exclusively — even refusing to allow filing of complaints during the pendancy of a matter in which a lawyer's pants are on fire for all to see. And we end up with this crap, which is also related to the insanity of allowing election of anyone who has direct authority over criminal justice.

    Both the judiciary and the bar regulators have abrogated their duties in this area. Perhaps we need a Judge Hunter... and not just for criminal law, either.

  • Wesley Morris ponders the "fundamental" problem of superhero movies from the perspective of, well, lugubriousness. Unfortunately, he — like damned near every "serious" critic/figure who deigns to comment on "mere" comics — completely misses the root of the problem he wishes to discuss: the nature of the "superpower" at issue. It's about dead presidents more than dead philosophers.