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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There is [no] justice in this world ...

LONDON: (N.Y. Times, The World, July 27, 2008, p.4) A columnist recounts a case in which an English court awarded damages to a man whose privacy was invaded by a British tabloid.

The Brit rag had printed a story about a famous Formula One racing official frequenting prostitutes who wore German style military jackets, spanking him while counting off the strikes in "guttural" German (presumably "Eins, Tsvei, Drei..."). The subject was the son of an English "nobleman" (my quotes) who was described as Britain’s prewar Fascist leader, whose wedding had been attended by Hitler. Though warned that his private life was under surveillance, our "hero" nonetheless entered an apartment for his regular spanking "therapy" session. One of the women who had been promised money to video the encounter, had a camera hidden in her bra.

The judge’s controversial (in England) ruling was that exposure of private sexual conduct doesn’t involve significant crimes was none of the media’s business even if it is of "prurient interest" or part of a "moral crusade." "In a sentence, titillation just won’t do," the judge pronounced.

BANGKOK: (L.A. Times, August 20, 2008, A6) reports that terrorists convicted of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people at a resort want to be executed by beheading [the traditional Islamic method] rather than the court ordered firing squad, while their lawyers asked for lethal injection, which is more humane and negates "torture" resulting from poor aim.

SEATTLE: (L.A. Times, The Nation, July 27, 2008, A16) The U.S. Army apologized for the erroneous courts-martial of 28 African American U.S. soldiers and execution of 2 of them for lynching of Italian P.O.W.’s during World War II.

Investigative reporting many years later revealed "flaws" in the Government’s case, including the fact that only 2 defense lawyers had been appointed to represent the 43 defendants and were given 10 days to prepare for the trial. More seriously, The Army prosecutor assigned to the case had denied discovery to the defense of a lengthy investigative report by the Army Inspector General. The report, it was revealed many years later, pointed to white men as the true culprits who had killed the prisoners.

The Army now admits that its prosecutor’s conduct was "disingenuous," "illegal" and "unethical", and resulted in this "fatal flaw". The prosecutor in question was Col. Leon Jaworski, who later became a power in the Democratic Party and was appointed special prosecutor in the Nixon / Watergate scandal. He died in 1982.

Congress is now considering a Bill to grant "reparations" to the wrongly convicted, imprisoned, and in 2 instances, executed soldiers and their descendents.

LOS ANGELES: (L.A. Times, California Section, August 19, 2008, p.1) reports yet another case in which an LAPD detective was caught allegedly "testilying" (as one of my old clients would have called it).

At the urging of the D.A., a judge dismissed a pending attempted murder case after the D.A. listened to a communications tape that contradicted the detective’s testimony that identified the two defendants. On the tape, he is heard to question the identities and to describe actions that directly contradicted his incriminatory testimony. The D.A. attributed the mistaken testimony to "faulty recollection," though the defense characterized it less charitably.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A bid for the 2012 Olympics

Multi-tasking, I am told by Greg, is not simply adding distractions to concentration. It can result in positives, like drawing connections between seemingly disparate interests. So, I decided not to feel guilty about watching some of the Olympics while working on my cases.

Neither occupation is satisfying standing alone. My cases are fairly routine, as I’ve outlined previously and the Olympics events can be almost as deadly (no pun intended).

Then I had an epiphany that Greg would have been proud of. What the Olympics needs is a shot in the arm (pun intended).

Why not add a "gang" sport to the agenda? Something like "Drive-by shooting." There are lots of shooting events in The Games: skeet, target, airgun. The Winter Games has one of my favorites: the biathlon, cross-country skiing + shooting rifles at targets.

Why not make a sport of shooting from a moving car at a moving target or into an inhabited dwelling?

Think of the societal advantages. In past generations, ghetto delinquents were urged to get into boxing as a catharsis for violent tendencies. When I was a kid in Brooklyn I boxed in the P.A.L. (Police Athletic League). Y.M.C.A.’s had their boxing and wrestling programs.

This sport requires just as much talent and skill as the events now calendared. Well, maybe not as much as synchronized diving. But certainly it demands more eye-trigger finger coordination than that one.

Judging from the number of instances of this sort of behavior in our court system, we would have a head start on other countries competing for medals in this sport.

Just as skateboading is now a money-making "Extreme Sport," drive-by's could be a cash cow instead of a scourge. Nike could make a bundle on the sportswear. Taking the skills off the streets and into the corporate sports entertainment business world is our meat.

Don’t let the fact that this activity began as a crime chill the concept. There is precedent. NASCAR’s roots were in bootlegged liquor hauling over state lines. Pioneers like Junior Johnson went from souped up jalopies outracing Revenuers to stock cars racing around tracks.