Saturday, September 25, 2004

What's the propensity, Kenneth?

Here's an idea I would potentially like to pursue as a journal note of some sort: If the Kobe Bryant rape trial had gone forward, I think the defense could have made a compelling, and perhaps convincing, case for admitting evidence of the accuser's character. Now, before the two people reading this jump all over me for being a pig, understand that I'm not saying that the defense should have been able to bring in evidence of the woman's previous sexual history, although her sexual history in the immediate time period surrounding the alleged rape is certainly relevant, and relevant for purposes other than proving character as propensity; if the prosecution's case was (as I understand it) based largely on the physical vaginal injuries suffered by the woman, that she allegedly had multiple partners immediately before and after the Kobe coitus is overwhelming probative to proving that someone else could have been the source of those injuries. However, what I'm proposing is slightly different than the sexual history/character evidence in that regard; I believe that Kobe's defense team should have been able to bring in evidence that the woman was notorious for outlandish behavior with the intent of attracting attention. Several of her high school classmates made statements to that effect, including many of them referencing her attempted suicides, and her heavy participation in dramatic and other performing arts, perhaps indicative of her intense craving for attention.
I realize this is a gray area, but again, let's look at the logical steps:
The issue is not whether the sex happened; Kobe even admits that it did. The issue is whether the sex was consenual or not, and it's possible that one can argue that the girl's character trait of doing wild, crazy things (like having sex with a celebrity as famous as Kobe) led to her engagement in consenual sex with Kobe. One wouldn't be using the character evidence as proof of the woman's sexual history and thereby her consent; instead, one would use character evidence to proove the woman's propensity for repeated behaviors to attract attention, which in turn goes to prove consent. One can plausably fit such a use of character evidence under the "catch-all provision" allowing the Defendent his Sixth Amendment rights.

Just a curious thought, needs to be fleshed out in much greater detail, and with a much firmer grasp on the evidentiary rules, but might it not be plausable?

Bunnypants, Bunnypants, (why)fore art thou Bunnypants?

Recently, some who are "in the know" as to my person asked about my...umm...unusual name, Happycrack Bunnypants. Basically the questions were what you would expect: Why the ____ do you use that name? Why not use something else? blah blah blah.
The answers to these legitimate questions lie in something I learned while studying Ancient Egyptian history quite a while back while living in London; When a present pharaoh wanted to effectively wipe a former pharaoh from the history books, such an action was possible by simply destroying all sculptures, monuments, and other such three dimensional honoraira. An effective technique for a millenia-old culture. However, another way in which a historical ruler could be wiped from history was to have that old ruler's name wiped from the historical record, and correspondingly that name was not to be used. In a few generations, that target of historical obliteration ceased to exist for all intents and purposes. Therein lies the etymology of my name: Unless I slip up and make a booboo, I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the current squatters living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While the election of 1876 may have wrought a similar situation with a disputed election and questionable results, the election of 2000 was the first election that was so blatantly and obviously stolen, aided and abetted by the now diminished Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.
Thus, if one were a regular reader of this blog, one would see references to the following:
Happycrack Bunnypants
Smirkey McChimpster
Incurious George
Smirk
pResident Asshat
King George
Chimpy
Smirkey McWarhardon
pResident Cokehead
Al Kaholic
Stretch
pResident AWOL
Siezer Augustus

etc. etc. etc. Is this mature of me? Probably not. Professional? Most certainly not. Original? Nope. I can't really claim credit for the overwhelming majority of these names. Does this serve to advance the political discourse in a civilized manner? Right... Is it cathartic? You bet. Are the R's above name-calling, and other childish techniques so as to control the terms of the debate? Not on your effing life. Should the other side do it as well? You gotta play the hand you're dealt...
Do I sound like Rummy with my question-speak? Almost certainly. Should he be tried as a war criminal under a Kerry admininstration? Absolutely. Will it happen? Yeah right...the D's don't/can't play hardball as well as the R's do...if this absolute disaster in the Middle East were Clintonian in origin, Tom DeLay and the rest of the vermin under his control would already be screaming about impeachment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A thought to ponder

Just as a moral introspection, what does it say about me that if I were to be the defense attorney for the Unabomber looking at a state capital trial, I would choose to send him to Florida. Not because I would stand the best chance of getting an acquittal, but because I've in effect thrown in the towel preemptively (hey, who knew that the Bush doctrine of preemption applied so easily to so many things) on Kaszinski's guilt, and Florida's capital sentencing system presents a rather clearly unconstitutional (via Blakely) process by which the court makes determinations of fact pursuant to sentencing mitigation or aggrevation factors. That Florida system, then, presents ample opportunity for the case to bogged down (or tied up, depending on your directional preference) for years to come.
It would seem to me that Blakely's decision regarding Washington state's sentencing guidelines would be even more appropriate given that the issue in Blakely was not a capital case, while the issue at hand would specifically be Florida's capital system. Therefore, a capital case like Florida's would be that much more unconstitutional given the infinately higher stakes than Washington's non-capital guidelines considered in Blakely.

The bigger issue on a personal level, however, is whether I should feel conflicted about the fact that my first gut reaction to the decision between Texas or Florida for a state Unabomber trial was to go Florida all the way because of the likely results on the back end of a conviction, not because of the likelihood of an acquittal. Would my thinking be different if this weren't the Montana Wacko? If this were Terry Nichols in HIS state trial for the OK City bombing? If this were some random, anonymous person being digested through the legal system, about which I don't know (or think I know) like I do with Kaszinski or Nicholls? Should it matter, and what does such a mindset indicate? Hmmmm....

Take THAT, LawDork-I can be law boy too! Well, not really, who am I trying to kid. I'm just the geeky kid with broken glasses and velcro shoes who has to stand and watch all the other cool kids play ________ (insert seasonal sport here) at recess. Every so often the ball might roll out of bounds and that kids can throw it in the direction of the goal/hoop/endzone, etc. but then it's back to the sidelines (in this case, my political "discourse" as it where...) But then again, "discourse" would inferr some sort of readership, which is most likely sorely lacking. Oh well, you'll have that.

HCBP

Hmmmm...drop the ball, Matty?

Did Drudge accidentally provide a link to the following story about a growing segment of the military that is anti-Bush? Surely Rove's cabanna boy didn't MEAN to have that headline, did he? Naaaaaa, couldn't have; perhaps that's why one cannot find such a headline in his "headline archive" just a few days after I saw the headline and clicked it.
The gist of the CS Monitor story is the growing segement of the military, which actually pays the price of Shrub's misguided foreign poilicy (intentional misspelling), and that group of soldiers, sailors, and Marines who are opposed to another four years of empire-building. It's a fascinating read, and a welcomed counter-argument to my last post.

a snippit:
...soldiers and marines on Iraq's front lines can be impassioned in their criticism. One Marine officer in Ramadi who had lost several men said he was thinking about throwing his medals over the White House wall.

"Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under "stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep units together during deployments.

"There's no clear definition of why we came here," says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my family, to protect the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians or deal with Sadr's militia," he said.

Now it's just a question of whether the Pentagon will let those pro-Kerry votes be cast.

HCBP

No draft my ass!

I've never understood the military's obsessive hard-on for a party that just absolutely pants to send soldiers off to die. I realize there's that whole "if you just train for the Super Bowl your whole life and never get to play in the game, that just sucks" argument, but then again, we're talking reality here, life and death, not Janet and Justin's wardrobe malfunction. I'm not cracking on the military, just their general blind obedience to the Republican party. That fact amazes me even more in light of what this particular administration has done to the active soldiers, as well as the returning vets. The most recent example of how pResident AWOL shits on the very essence of our current forgeign policy is that troops are now being told that unless they reenlist for a three-year hitch, they're going to be sent to Iraq:
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team from Fort Carson...said last week that they were told to re-enlist for three more years - or be transferred to Iraq. "They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers.


Read the rest of the story, (apologies to Paul Harvey, R-Horse Molester) as well as some other information that will make your blood boil.

Help is on the way, indeed.

HCBP

You're missing the point!

My goodness Karl Rove should have been a concert violinist...he sure can play the national media, the "chattering class" if I may, like a virtuoso. From the moment this whole CBS-forged memo thing dropped, I thought the thing stank of Rove. Anyone who's been following the story all along knows that the assertions in those memos were accurate - hell, even the secretary whose statement that she didn't type the memos was appended...she continued to say that everything in the memos was accurate and correct, just that she didn't type those exact memos. But, what's the big story? Not that the information about Bush disobeying a direct order was incorrect, or that he was AWOL, just whether Dan Rather lied or not, and whether CBS should apologize.

Excuse the hell out of me if I fail to get too riled up about some forged or otherwise misleading "intelligence" leading to an inaccurate accusation; it's not like we've seen THAT happen in the past, oh I don't know, two years? Certainly this admininstration would not have used such spurious circumstances to march off on our merry crusade, right? I'm firmly convinced that this was a set-up from the get-go, classic Rovian tactic...they know there's a "chink in the armor" so to speak, and although the standard rejoinder to questions about pResident Asshat is "He served his time, and was honorably discharged" that doesn't mean there's not something smoldering under the surface. Pick and choose the method and the means by which one confronts the potentially damaging issue, and you can do preemptive damage control by shifting the focus from the actual damning evidence to the carrier of that evidence. So now, the bad guy isn't AWOL Cokehead, the bad guy is Dan Rather and CBS, recently of Titty-gate consternation.

Rove's been doing this shite for years, and will probably continue to do so because the 'Merkin sheeple fall for it every freakin' time.

HCBP

Don't Worry About It

In the words of Aaron Lewis, "It's been awhile..." since I've posted. Too much going on to even think straight. Then again, perhaps that's when I NEED to be writing.
Anyway, a rumination about my work: how does one, when faced with what seems to be an iron-clad argument from the opposing side, tell one's supervisor that such is the case? Generally I suppose one can parse words of a statute or find some obscure case that might be vaguely on point, but in this case...I got nuthin'. Chalk one up for the bad guys. At least it's not a case-determinative motion, but still, I hate losing and I feel like I lost this round.

HCBP