Yesterday's Style section of the Washington Post ran a piece on Michael Jordan's soon-to-be ex-wife, Juanita. The article is amazing and revealing, describing Juanita's various legal moves that "encouraged" Michael to play a part in their relationship. She seems impeccably intelligent, especially with the revelation that she is now entilted, at the minimum, to half of Jordan's $398 million personal empire. I wonder what Michael was thinking, if he did engage in all sorts of marital improprieties. Did he so severely underestimate his wife, who is 4 years older and a particularly canny product of Chicago's South Side, to the point where he thought that he, the most famous man on earth could get away with misbehaving and she not know? Or, did he suppose that because he was the most famous athlete on earth, that she would just put up with it because the money was good? I personally think that Jordan should be taken to the cleaners, and that Juanita use her fleet of lawyers to fight hard.
My Missile's Bigger Than Yours
India just completed a test firing of the new missile, over Pakistani objectionsPakistan said that the test, coming at a time of high tension between the two powers over the Kashmir, was a threat to stability. Personally, I never bought this tests-are-unstable line. It's a variation of the argument used against American antiballistic missile tests, as if merely the testing and not the actual deployment of such weapons are dangerous. If this is what the India-Pakistan situation has developed into, with both sides speaking really loudly at one another, popping off their arsenals at no one in particular, then we have certainly avoided a major war in the subcontinent.
Let's Get It On!!
You are a member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. On Monday, you were looking forward to the big Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight to be held at MGM Palace in April. Then, at the press conference, Mike Tyson starts a small war. In Las Vegas, police ask prosecutors to file charges accusing Tyson of sexual assault. Now, what looked like a very hot economic development for post-9.11 Las Vegas is now in danger of never coming off at all. Of course, Tyson could also revisit his now-favorite method of avoiding fights he knows he will lose, biting portions of the human epidermis. Given these considerations, would you vote to give Tyson a license to box?
In an effort to make ZoNotes more entertaining, I came up with this little game thingy. I will give you guys three items. From those 3 items, you develop a movie title and a plot. Please feel free to use any sort of creative motivation to do so. Ok, let's try this out:
1. Ninjas 2. Priests 3. Supermodels
Death Penalty Continued...
Livy Keithley (C'98) rebuts Aaron Ammerman's (F'00) rebuttal:
"First, let me clarify that my "dark-minded" comment was not a personal attack so much as a generalized attack on the barbaricness of the death penalty in general. Thus, if any offense was taken, I do apologize - and your opposition to the death penalty is duly noted.
That said, I must disagree with the assertion that, simply to have uniformity and moral equivelency, we should abolish the power of prosecutors to plea bargain or not invoke the penalty. Considering the realism of when the DP is and is not evoked in the criminal system today, I personally much prefer the realistic notion that only a handful of cases that qualify for the DP are actually pushed to the limit of invoking the DP. Yes, the idealistic liberal sides with realism, for once.
If I am correct, Aaron's point is that, if we enforce the death penalty at all, we should subject convicts to its wrath in all cases in which it might apply. Doing this serves two purposes: 1) deterrance for the criminal, as a greater incentive to come to justice some other way, and thus possibly reducing the taxing nature of trying DP cases, and 2) sensationalization of the DP in general, so that society as a whole might take notice of this barbaric act and abolish it all together.
The weakness of the deterrance factor is inherent in your latest writing - that being the question of what the innocent defendant does. Remember: as defense attorney Bobby Donnell in "The Practice" (10p, ABC) says, "all my clients are innocent." The basic fact of the criminal system is that people are innocent until proven guilty. Or, as more aptly said by my Crim Law prof, the are "not guilty" until proven guilty. That is to say, you might be guilty as hell (OJ!), but if the prosecution can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty as hell, you walk. It's premised on the notion that our system would rather release 1000 guilty men than convict 1 innocent one. It doesn't always work, but you are correct that it is trying damn hard to be the best it can. That said, if a defendant (and the defendant's lawyer) know that the prosecution has no case, or not enough to push the DP, isn't it to that defendant's advantage to just sit back and literally say "prove it" rather than negotiate his way out of The Chair? If anything, to take away the ability of the prosecutor to use The Chair as an extra bargaining card would only concretize, rather than liquidate, the ability of the prosecution to elicit confessions and bargains.
On the second note, there is what I refer to here as "the Texas factor" (intending no disrespect to the state or its citizens, some of whom might read this here). The Texas Factor is the empirical realization that, the more you use DP in cases where it might be applicable, the less sensitized the population becomes. Why do the DP cases today command any attention? Because they are so infrequent. Because that infrequency lends great weight to the major constitutional argument that they constitute cruel and unusual punishment. To make them "usual," regular, and normal would not only weaken the constitutional arguments against DP, but might just make people stop caring because it is so, well, normal.
On the issue of juries, by no means does the law school teach one about the sacredness of the jury - if anything, at least to this point, the opposite. The juries are 12 people who cannot often grasp what is being told to them (hence the need for experts), do not wish to take on the burden (moral or otherwise) that might be cast to them (especially in DP cases), and are downright unreliable. Why else would the law specifically mandate that jury decisions are not and cannot be legal precedent? It is because juries are fickle, blow around like the wind, have no consistency, and cannot be trusted in the long run, especially with issues like the DP. Considering for a second that DP is taken out of the prosecutor's bag of tricks, and made to be an automatic deliberation upon conviction, there is still no guarantee it will be imposed. Worse still is the danger it will be imposed arbitrarily, i.e. all-white juries in a cop-killer case against a black male, age 18-40.
Your last question I must answer differently: if given the choice between imposing an unjust DP here and there at the prosecutor's discretion, or imposing an unjust DP uniformly in all cases which might mandate it, I choose the former, if only because simple statistics indicate that it will always result in less DP sentences than the latter."
Responses to Wordplay
"Nigeria has no cows.
They forced all their
cows to work in the diamond mines, like the
children. Now they have to
eat diamonds. Diamonds and oil make for a poor
"Decisive action is the practice of faith by other
"Damn straight." --- Jim Dempsey
"You have choices. Someone else gives you options."