Stand your ground

Just try telling him to put out his smokes. Not gonna happen.

* Looming legal battle over the confidentiality agreement at the center of lawsuit over which team John Travolta plays for. [Gawker]

* The fallout from yesterday’s Obamacare Appellageddon continues. The D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit are going to have some awkward parties until this gets resolved. [Federal Regulations Advisor]

* Somebody got confused and thought that Stand Your Ground laws applied to protect black people. [News 4 Jax]

* In Louisiana, a justice of the peace is given public money to hire all their staff and buy all their equipment and pay themselves whatever salary they want out of the remainder. One guy had a very clever idea about how to allocate that money and it set off a legal fight. Oh, and apparently the best job in Louisiana is to be a constable. So now you know. [Times-Picayune]

* Do you know the 12 Rules of Client Service? Are you at least ready to fight over them? [What About Clients?]

* Newark police can’t even come up with constitutional excuses for 75 percent of what they do. [Slate]

* Lululemon figured that patent trolls were onto something and patented its clothing designs and aggressively pursues anyone who dares design a tank top with a built-in bra. Who would ever have thought of such an original idea? [Jezebel]

* The University of California is increasing non-resident enrollment for budget reasons. Law schools presumably follow suit. [TaxProf Blog]

A tried and true trope of conservatives faced with the grim outcomes of their cockamamie schemes is to attempt to shame everyone into ignoring the human cost of their policies — ironically — out of respect for the people hurt. Something horrible happened, but it’s unseemly to try to explore why it happened, just sit back and let the moment pass and enjoy some bread and circuses until you forget.

We’ve seen it countless times before. It’s rhetorical standard operating procedure. After Sandy Hook, the usual suspects from Senator Rand Paul to the Washington Times decried the “cruel” and “shameful” “exploitation” involved in pointing out that putting military assault rifles on the street makes it easy for someone to kill a lot of kids very quickly. The tactic worked as it always does and time passed, people forgot, and nothing happened. It was only a week ago that Senator Ted Cruz suggested it was disrespectful of Trayvon Martin’s mother to lobby for changes based on her son’s death. I guess it was disrespectful to… Cruz? One would have thought his mom would be the right barometer of how to honor her son.

Now this trope is the subject of Tamara Tabo’s criticism of my article yesterday regarding the recent shooting of Renisha McBride because I noted the uptick in the “shoot first” culture brought on by Stand Your Ground laws (regardless of the fact that the law isn’t technically at play here).

Let’s unpack this and also look at some other misdirection being flung my way, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Misdirection And Casting Aspersions: The Predictable Response To My Stand Your Ground Post”

As Joe wrote yesterday, a 19-year-old Detroit woman named Renisha McBride was fatally shot last weekend on the porch of a Dearborn Heights home. Her death has received national media attention because of the speculation that, as Joe put it, it follows “the same basic pattern of an African-American in a predominantly white neighborhood at night running afoul of a gun-toting homeowner.”

The family members of Renisha McBride issued a press statement last night asking for peace while they mourn and promising to meet with activist groups after Renisha’s funeral. The funeral is scheduled for today at 10 a.m.

Authorities have slowly released details related to the young woman’s death. Some of these details match the statements made by Renisha’s family. Some do not.

Before leapfrogging over the specifics of Renisha’s case and launching a politically motivated rant, let’s look at what we do and don’t know about the tragedy that occurred on that Dearborn Heights porch. If Renisha McBride is more than a political prop, she deserves at least that much . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Person Not A Political Prop: Questions About Renisha McBride’s Tragic Death”

So it’s happened again. Another state, another neighborhood, another young black person shot to death by someone based on a loose, subjective “fear.” This time it’s Michigan, and it’s a young woman instead of a teenage boy, but otherwise it’s the same basic pattern of an African-American in a predominately white neighborhood at night running afoul of a gun-toting homeowner.

There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the prevalence of “Stand Your Ground” laws (which Michigan boasts), followed by the equal and opposite reaction loudly pointing out that Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply to this particular case (which it doesn’t).

However, while what happened in Michigan may not invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, the existence and high-profile nature of laws that lower the standard for legally forgivable gunplay has everything to do with what happened in Michigan…

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Two people were killed during their Labor Day barbeque and another was seriously injured when their neighbor sneaked up behind them and opened fire.

In pretty much any other state, I’d be confident that their assailant would face justice for his actions. But this went down in Florida so who knows — who knows whether some nutjob jury down there will accept the various defenses his lawyers have offered to justify the slaying of two people.

Of course the shooter is asserting a “stand your ground” defense. I mean, that pretty much goes without saying at this point in Florida. A byproduct of the Zimmerman trial is that there will be a lot of additional death in Florida as crazy people think they’re allowed to shoot anybody who looks at them funny.

I don’t intend to post about every wacko who shoots first and stands his ground later. But this guy… this guy and his “sure, why not” lawyers are also asserting a defense under the Bush Doctrine.

Let me give Sarah Palin a moment to look that up before we continue…

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* While “Stand Your Ground” only played a small role at the criminal trial, it can still loom large over a subsequent civil suit. [Time]

* Nancy Grace summed up her objection to the Zimmerman verdict thusly: “Give Zimmerman back his life? He’s out on bond driving through Taco Bell every night, having a churro.” For some reason I couldn’t get this American Dad scene out of my head after hearing that. [Newsbusters]

* The Twitterverse killed Juror B37′s book, but this article asks if that’s a good thing? For my part, it seems disturbing to profit off a civic duty like that, but on the other hand, it would’ve been interesting to get more insight into B37′s psyche now that the other jurors are calling her crazy. [The Read Zone]

* How about some non-Zimmerman news? Ever wonder which firm is the most liberal and which is the most conservative? Here are the charts you need. [Excess of Democracy]

* Incoming law students: Here’s a guide to building your law school wardrobe. Or more accurately, a networking wardrobe because you can basically wear pajamas to class. [Corporette]

* Yale is offering a Ph.D. in law because there are so few lawyers with ample experience looking for academic jobs. In all seriousness, though, I think it would be worth it — there’s a study out there that says a Law Ph.D. is really worth $2 million! [Ramblings on Appeal]

Angela Corey

After much fanfare surrounding her arrival on the case, Angela Corey really had very little to do with the George Zimmerman trial. Maybe she wanted to steer clear of a case she expected to lose. Maybe she was too busy pursuing the much easier case to convict a woman who intentionally missed someone.

Angela Corey’s next high profile case is actually eerily similar to the Zimmerman trial. Or perhaps it’s more fair to say disturbingly similar, since it suggests Florida has way too many “guy makes racist statements then shoots black teenagers” cases…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Florida’s Next ‘Black Kid Killed By White Gunman’ Case Is Already Here!”

Before the George Zimmerman verdict, I said that the case had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. I said this because Zimmerman and his attorneys were not arguing “Stand Your Ground.” Stand Your Ground has to do with Florida’s wild west approach to the duty to retreat. Florida extends the castle doctrine to public spaces. To take the legalese out of it, Stand Your Ground simply means that if you are attacked in public, you don’t have to run, even if you can safely and reasonably do so. You can stand and fight, meet force with force, and shoot to kill if you fear for your life or a serious injury.

But that wasn’t the case Zimmerman was making. He argued that he had no opportunity to reasonably and safely escape anyway, so it was a simple issue of self-defense. Stand Your Ground had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, I wrote that, and then an hour later, the judge gave jury instructions ripped right from the Stand Your Ground statute. And now the idiot juror B37 is going on television talking about how Zimmerman had a right to stand his ground, so what do I know? It’s my fault for even thinking for a second that the people of Florida could apply their own laws correctly.

So, I agreed to go onto HuffPost Live and debate whether Stand Your Ground laws are essentially a “license to kill.” Interestingly, one of the people on the panel was a Florida state representative who accepted the challenge of defending Florida’s statute….

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Judge Debra Nelson charged through a string of motions in a pre-trial hearing this morning, including a ruling that the case will actually go to trial on June 10 as scheduled. The defense had sought a delay because apparently a one-witness case was too difficult to prepare in a mere 16 months or so.

But the real action revolved around the evidentiary rulings. Most of the rulings were pretty straightforward. A little, too straightforward.

What I mean is that most of the evidence at issue was so obviously prejudicial that the only purpose served by attempting to introduce the evidence is to take advantage of press coverage to poison the well of potential jurors…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Makes Obvious Rulings In Trayvon Martin Case”

* Really, Prometheus was the kind of movie that allows you to think “putting in some lawyers couldn’t have hurt.” [Point of Law]

* Republicans are just better at naming laws than Democrats. I don’t know why that is, but it is. [Recess Appointment]

* Stand your ground laws increase homicides. Tomorrow, the gun lobby will tell us that we need to arm ourselves because of the epidemic of people standing their ground and killing innocent, unarmed Americans who weren’t able to buy a gun. [WSJ Law Blog]

* I almost feel bad for Anthony Kennedy. Every objective indicator proves that he was wrong about what the impact of Citizens United would be, and every month brings a new opportunity to shame Kennedy again. [Election Law Blog]

* Do you take the Metro North home every day? Like Pete Campbell, you might need an apartment in the city. [Dealbreaker]

* Defense rests in Roger Clemens trial. I guess the jurors will have to go back to counting sheep in order to get their rest in. [NPR]

* A judge who meditated would freak me out. Especially if the judge meditated about how you shouldn’t judge people. [Underdog]