DUI

(A stock photo of a teen driver — not actually Ethan Couch.)

I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard the story about the wealthy white teenager who killed four people while drunk driving. As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, 16-year-old Ethan Couch got off — sentenced to therapy — because the judge agreed that the kid was a victim of “affluenza”: his parents gave him everything he wanted, and he believed that being rich meant that he wouldn’t have to face consequences for his actions.

The kid’s not wrong; the fact that he’s not facing incarceration for killing four people kind of proves the point. A poor white kid would be in jail right now. A rich black kid would be in jail right now. A poor black kid would be picking out items for his last supper right now. Anybody who thinks that this kind of lenience would be given to anybody other than a wealthy white dauphin is wrong and stupid (and probably racist). The rich kid isn’t in jail because rich people don’t suffer the full force of consequences for their actions.

That said… the judge isn’t wrong either. When you have a jerk-off prick of a 16-year-old, as this kid appears to be, it’s probably not his fault. Not really. My outrage isn’t that Couch is getting off, it’s that so many other teens and young people are being incarcerated without this kind of compassion.

Not that there aren’t people who deserve jail time behind this. It’s just that those people are Couch’s parents….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In Defense Of The Rich White Boy Who Killed Four People And Got Away With It”

Bet you can still get through that thing to someone’s brain.

Jefferson, are you injured or are you hurt?–James Caan, The Program

Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.–Joseph Heller

A few years ago, ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown used to do this bit where their assorted chuckleheads would sit around reviewing the biggest hits the NFL’s weekend action had to offer. At the soaring crescendo of each smash, one of the giggling ninnies would shout “You got JACKED UP!!!” And everyone would dissolve into further paroxysms of laughter.

I’m not going to tell you that I knew what was being displayed on the TV was morally reprehensible back then. Quite frankly, I’ve never been on the vanguard of moral consciousness. I was recently shocked to find out that beating your pets is not only frowned upon, but deeply taboo in almost every social circle. This late life come-to-Jesus moment does nothing for Rascal, who’s still smarting over my intemperate outbursts.

The point, if there is one, is that the arc of the moral universe seems to be about as long as my patience with animals. Everyone I know is getting gay married these days, weed is damn near legal, and slobberknocking hits are now, if not wholly condemned, quietly enjoyed in the privacy of one’s home (like samizdat or BBW porn). Strange days, indeed.

Yesterday, the NFL settled a major lawsuit filed against it by former players who claimed the league had failed to protect its players in the face of mounting evidence that concussions were making them permanently stupid or crippled or sad or worse.

Let’s talk which side got JACKED UP.

Let’s talk sports…

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This world is absolutely crawling with DUI attorneys. You wouldn’t know it to look at this website, but it’s fairly clear out here in Amurrica that DUI attorneys outnumber other attorneys by at least a seventeen or eighteen-to-one margin. If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Google? A search for “DUI attorney” returns over 27 million hits. Whereas a search for “clown gingivitis” only returns 638,000. So yeah, there are a ton of DUI attorneys in this world.

If you’re wondering why I’m wasting your time and mine on hilarious Google searches, it’s because this is the week that sports figures decided to get all sorts of liquored-up and go on joyrides. Well, this is the week I decided to write about sports figures getting all sorts of liquored-up and going on joyrides. Because, truthfully, athletes and those who employ them have a long history of drunk driving. I refer you to my first paragraph. Those lawyers didn’t multiply like wet Gremlins because work was hard to come by. Indeed, drunk driving is a crime that is enjoyed by a wide swath of Americans, from a young me to a slightly older me to those who aren’t even me. Now, this is not to downplay the seriousness of the crime. It’s a terribly reckless thing to do and it should be punished harshly.

Let’s talk boozin’ and cruisin’…

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Driving while drunk is wrong. I’m not going to dispute that. In fact, that’s why I live in New York, where my drinking habit hobby can never put anyone at risk. Except me, I suppose.

And the drive to drive drunk-driving incidents down further is in full swing, with the National Transportation Safety Board suggesting that states reduce the legal limit for driving to .05% — the level of intoxication achieved by inhaling while walking past a bar.

That said, are there ever any exceptions to the ironclad rule? And might one of those be fleeing an attacker?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Court Upholds DWI Conviction of Woman Fleeing Domestic Abuse”

* Justin Bieber has apparently abandoned his 20-week-old monkey, Mally, after having her confiscated because he couldn’t comply with animal control laws in Germany. Now in a shelter somewhere in Germany, there’s one more lonely girl. [Lowering the Bar]

* Ann Althouse posted FOUR TIMES about Barack Obama’s umbrella over the weekend. Somebody is really putting off grading those papers. [Althouse]

* Alabama judge faces $25 million lawsuit alleging he improperly took a case from another judge and issued damaging rulings. This is the judge who ran against Chief Justice Roy “Don’t Remove the Ten Commandments From the Courthouse” Moore. The moral of the story is: don’t use the Alabama judicial system. [Legal Schnauzer]

* The FBI may be looking into whether lawyers conspired to have opposing counsel arrested on DUI charges by using a “comely paralegal” to get the lawyer drunk and then ask him to drive her home. [Tampa Bay Times]

* Statewide Virginia Republican candidates are no friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement. On the other hand, are there viable conservative candidates not named “Paul” that are friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement? [CATO at Liberty]

* The IRS scandal gets the SNL treatment courtesy of Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. Video after the jump…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 05.20.13″

It’s the hypocrisy that bothers me first. Lawmakers at the National Transportation Safety Board have recommended that states lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration for drivers from .08 percent to .05 percent. For a normal-sized person, that’s going to be little more than a glass of wine with dinner. For a guy like me, that means I’ll only be able to have one bottle of whiskey. In a country that claims it can’t be bothered to run a simple background check before allowing people to legally purchase military grade weapons over the internet, we’re thinking of criminalizing having some wine with dinner and then driving home.

I suppose you could have all the alcohol you want if you drive home in a freaking tank, because as long as there is a gun involved, the government isn’t allowed to do squat.

But even if we ignore the hypocrisy and move past the obvious enforceability problems of turning nearly everybody on the road after 1:00 a.m. into a criminal, there’s still another huge problem with this NTSB recommendation. It’s a “national” standard for what absolutely is a state-by-state concern.

That’s right, I said it, I object to this recommendation on federalism grounds….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NTSB Recommends Lowering BAC Limit — That Sound You Hear Is DUI Attorneys Applauding Their Good Fortune”

Legally Blonde is a movie that inspired many a ditzy sorority girl to apply to law school — obviously the appeal of wearing a pink power suit to court was just too great for them to resist. Let’s face it: whether you like it or not, Elle Woods has become an icon of sorts for a generation of women who never realized that they could be smart and pretty at the same time. For that reason (among many others), she was able to make it to the Final Four of our Fictional Lawyer Madness competition.

Is all people see when they look at you blonde hair and big boobs? Then it’s highly likely that you, too, can get into Harvard Law on a whim! What, like it’s hard?

Unfortunately, there are some legal issues that not even women like Elle Woods can talk themselves out of, and we’ve got a potpourri of disorderly conduct allegations for you to feast your eyes upon….

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Melvyn Weiss, founder of the famous (or infamous) plaintiffs’ firm Milberg LLP, and the man who put the “klass” in class action litigation, landed in hot water back in December when cops pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The 77-year-old lawyer was still serving out the last couple months of probation stemming from his 2008 guilty plea for paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. Now the judge is calling Mel Weiss back into court to figure out what to do about this violation of Weiss’s probation.

But in the meantime, we can get a giggle out of the alleged details of Weiss’s arrest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mel Weiss Learns You Can’t Say Your ABCs Without D, U, and I”

Thomas Edwards

Under the American criminal justice system all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Thomas L. Edwards, a Florida lawyer who handles DUI defense, offering comment on his recent legal wranglings. Edwards was criminally charged this weekend in an alleged drunken hit-and-run accident, and a banner ad for his law firm appeared on the same page as his mug shot.

Personally, I think it would be more dangerous for Teresa Wagner to get drunk and file a lawsuit than it is for her to do what she’s charged with doing a couple of days ago.

Wagner has sued Iowa Law School for First and Fourteenth Amendment violations. We’ve talked about her because she argues that Iowa Law didn’t hire her as a faculty member because of her conservative views.

Iowa Law claims that she wasn’t hired because she wasn’t qualified.

Iowa City Police allege that she wasn’t very conservative when it came to drinking and then driving a few blocks from her home….

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