Paul at District Court in Burlington VT

Looking for Justice

Listening to NPR this AM, a interviewee said he wouldn’t vote for a particular candidate, because, “he doesn’t care about the average guy.” How about the guy on the margin? Who cares for or about him?

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Jesse May Not Vote

I had not seen Jesse for a while, which always makes me nervous that something has happened to him or some of my other friends. He said he had stuff to do and needed to deal with the elements. He has located a brother with some help from a woman-friend who has access to the internet. The brother lives in Phoenix and has a family and a business. Jesse also said that he has a kid who lives in Boca whom he has not seen for fourteen years. “It causes me a lot of pain and sorrow.” No doubt.

“Jesse, you going to vote?”

“I don’t know if I am registered. Besides. I wouldn’t know who to vote for. None of those guys would do anything to help me would they?”

Fewer Behind Bars

Overcrowded Jails

NYT reported yesterday that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the number of inmates in county and city jails was more than 767,600 at the end of June 2009—a drop of nearly 18,000 inmates or 2.3 percent from a year earlier.” Credited for the decrease was a drop in the crime rate.

As much as I would like to laud the statistic having been and remaining a critic of the overuse of incarceration to maintain order, punish the mentally ill, maintain the racial superiority of the ruling classes, control public and private morals; and provide employment to otherwise unimaginative or poorly motivated individuals, a drop due to a realization that the State/Government confines too many people at great cost and for insufficient reasons, destroying lives, families, and communities would have been more heartening.

Fifth Amendment Blues

The Fifth took another hit today from the Supremes-5 to 4 was the predictable score with the usual jurists casting their usual barb filled votes. Far be it from me to quibble.

They be the ones who are right because they be the ones who be right, not that they are right or have an interest in being right. It is because they are who they are that they are right. Don’t mess with them. They have too much to do, even if they take fewer cases. Stare decisis be damned. Change the law and let them change it back. Cannot wait for them to act. They don’t want the cases. This bullshit about judges interpreting the law and not making it has taken over the process. Everytime a judge interprets the law, they make the law. Laws are made to be interpreted, expanded, explained. It just depends on who is doin the splaining, spanding, and terpreting.

So, in the most recent past Term, the warnings have been loosened and the time covered by the invocation of the right to remain silent have been reduced. You don’t actually have to give the proscribed warnings, so long as you get your thoughts across. And if you assert your right to counsel or the right to remain silent, so long as law enforcement waits two weeks (a timeframe smelling of middle class values), they can talk with you again. Now you have to say you want to remain silent to invoke the right. Sitting still and not answering questions isn’t enough. At least, the cops still have to say that there is a right to remain silent, but not in so many words.