Manslaughter

This weekend, a black man got into a car accident, climbed out of the wreckage through the back window of his vehicle, went looking for help, and was shot to death by the police. I should also mention that the black guy was unarmed.

In a surprise twist, the police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. I’m sure that the people who think it’s okay when black people get shot to death will find a way to defend the officer, and they’ll deny that race played a role in the shooting. But I’d like to think that even the people who don’t think this guy was killed because he was black can at least agree that the police can’t be allowed to gun people down in this fashion.

The police are supposed to protect and serve, not shoot to kill…

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I was a senior in high school when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down. I was in a classroom in Indiana, everybody was watching on television. After the verdict was announced, the first thing I heard was my white teacher saying “bulls**t.” The next thing I heard was a bunch of black people screaming (I went to a pretty diverse high school). Then, basically, all the black people started streaming out of class. Nobody went back to school that day. I found my cousin. We high-fived. At that moment, I really believed that a racist cop had planted blood evidence to frame O.J.

Of course, that’s not what I think happened now. I think O.J. murdered those two people in a jealous rage, got caught and thought about killing himself, didn’t, then hired the best lawyers in the country, and beat the rap.

Still, I’m happy he got off. I know that is a controversial thing to say. It’s not really normal to be “happy” when a guilty person evades justice, unless you’re watching a mob movie. But I think Mark Fuhrman was a racist cop, and I think the O.J. case went a long way towards showing state prosecutors that basing your cases on racist cops is a bad thing. The state knows that putting blatantly racist people on the stand isn’t the best way to get a conviction. I’m willing to suffer the injustice of a guilty man going free to make the larger point that racist cops are not credible witnesses.

And so as I sit here, watching the news and reading Twitter accounts of people who are just “happy” that George Zimmerman was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of Trayvon Martin, I’m forced to wonder what “larger point” is being serviced today by the release of a man who shot an unarmed teenager to death?

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George Zimmerman has been found not guilty.

UPDATE (10:16 p.m.): Here are more details and commentary on the Zimmerman trial verdict.


What if this the last ‘reasonable man’ you ever saw?

Like many Americans, I’ve spent the last 24 hours seriously considering the physical and scientific evidence available to support or refute the contentions being made in one of the greatest television events of our time. I’m talking, of course, about Sharknado. Would a tornado carry sharks miles inland, and could those sharks be stopped by a chainsaw-wielding Ian Ziering?

Of course, if they had hired a black actor to kill great white sharks, he’d be on trial for murder now.

Based on our traffic numbers, a lot of you want to talk about the George Zimmerman trial. As closing arguments wrap up today and the case goes to the jury, let’s talk about the legal standards in play. What will the jury actually be trying to decide? We’re talking about the legal standards in Florida, so you know it’s going to be interesting…

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What’s the most exciting way to die? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most men would enjoy death by sex, because meeting your maker in one last blaze of sexual glory is probably more satisfying than any Biglaw bonus you’ll ever get. In second place on that fantasy death list for men would probably be death by motorboating, because getting a stiffy while going stiff from rigor mortis is surely the breast best way to die.

But if you were an unwilling participant in this kind of macabre motorboating, it wouldn’t be a very pleasurable experience. That’s what supposedly happened when a woman in Washington allegedly smothered her boyfriend to death with her ample bosom, and I am shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that this all went down in a trailer park.

Talk about a deadly booby trap….

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The Italian town of L’Aquila. Yeah, it’s the scientists’ fault a town built like this suffered from an earthquake.

The Italian government has a long and storied history of being distrustful and ignorant of science. Who can forget the tragedy of Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian scientist and astronomer who died under house arrest because he tried to figure things out instead of saying, “Meh, God is unknowable.”

Of course, an Italian would probably say “Suvvia! A lot has changed since the 1630s.” Then he’d look at all the women wearing tight jeans and applaud America’s rape prevention campaign.

Sure, the Italian legal system may have evolved to the point where it’s not arresting people for using telescopes and math, but it still has a long way to go before it shows a competent understanding of modern science.

In fact, it’s probably too much to ask Italian courts to understand science. I think the industrialized world would be happy if we could just get Italy to stop convicting scientists for doing their jobs….

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Like this, but way, way more terrible.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to write this story because it hurts just to think about it (well, that and knowing all the BikeDude comments I’m going to get). It’s pretty straightforward, at least as far as stories about deaths allegedly caused by penis enlargement injections go.

According to law enforcement allegations, a dude wanted a penis implant, so he paid a woman — who had zero medical training — to inject silicone into his junk. It ended up in his bloodstream, and quicker than a bunny rabbit trying to make love to a balloon, he was dead. Now the woman is being prosecuted for manslaughter.

Welcome to New Jersey!

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Be careful what you write when you’re young and idealistic.

In 2003, David Wolfe, a lawyer who works alongside Cherie Blair at top London human rights shop Matrix Chambers, decided he was unhappy with the way the British legal hierarchy works. So he co-signed an open letter criticising the Queen’s Counsel (QC) system –- a process that sees a handful of barristers (British trial lawyers) promoted to the elite QC rank each year, enabling them to charge clients more money. “The QC system cannot be justified as being in the public interest or promoting competition,” the letter stated.

Nine years on, and last week Wolfe found himself made up to QC — an honour which, despite the name, involves no input from the Queen or her family members. He didn’t decline. Indeed, all QCs have to actively apply in order to gain the title. Unfortunately for Wolfe, someone mentioned his youthful letter to RollOnFriday, a widely read U.K. legal blog.

When contacted about the letter, Wolfe responded….

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No helmet could have saved Matthew Kenney.

On occasion, I get accused of “blaming the victim.” I think that’s unfair. Really, I think I just know the difference between “suicide” (which is something you do to yourself) and “homicide” (which is something somebody does to you).

For instance, if you purposefully ride your bike off of a cliff, that’s a suicide. If, on the other hand, you are riding your bike and minding your own business, and somebody plows into you at 83 miles per hour and you die, that’s a homicide. Somebody killed you.

If the person who ended your life later turns around and sues your parents for allowing you to be killed by a motor vehicle traveling 83 miles per hour, that is blaming the victim.

And that is precisely what a convicted manslaughterer, David Weaving, is doing to the parents of Matthew Kenney. He’s filed a $15,000 counterclaim against the Kenneys from the lunacy of his own jail cell…

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