Monday, October 28, 2019

9 Mondays until Christmas!

Between now and Christmas, we're looking at some Top 10 lists, personalized by me. 

Today let's look at:

Top 10 movies from 2019

I'm not much of a movie-goer, so I looked at several [more than 5] lists of 2019 movies and chose 10 12 that I've actually heard of.  If I haven't heard of it, it mustn't be that good, right?!

Let me know your opinion on these, or others.

Apollo 11
Avengers: End Game
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Captain Marvel
How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World
It Chapter 2
The Lion King
Missing Link
Spiderman: Far from Home
Toy Story 4

Monday, October 21, 2019

10 Mondays before Christmas!

Wake up call!  There are 10 Mondays before Christmas.

For the next 10 weeks, let's look at some top 10 lists.

Top 10 8 most interesting [to me] Supreme Court cases from 2019.

Census citizenship question
Department of Commerce v. New York
Decided: June 27, 2019
The question of whether the census should contain a citizenship question was sent back to the lower court for review of the Trump administration's plan, leaving in doubt whether the question would be on the 2020 census.

Partisan gerrymandering
Rucho v. Common Cause
Lamone v. Benisek

Decided: June 27, 2019
The Constitution does not bar extreme partisan gerrymandering, which is a purely political question.

First Amendment -
Scandalous trademarks
Iancu v. Brunetti
Decided: June 24, 2019
Prohibiting trademark protection to material deemed "immoral" or "scandalous" is unconstitutional.

Racial discrimination on juries
Flowers v. Mississippi
Decided: June 21, 2019
A Mississippi man, tried six times for a quadruple murder and imprisoned for 22 years, deserves a new trial because of the prosecution's racial discrimination in jury selection.

Maryland Peace Cross
American Legion v. American Humanist Association
Decided: June 20, 2019
A local government's display and maintenance of a nearly century-old WWI memorial cross does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Apple antitrust dispute
Apple Inc. v. Pepper
Decided: May 13, 2019
Users of iPhones can sue Apple over excessive prices on its exclusive App Store.

Executions and mental disability
Madison v. Alabama
Feb 27, 2019
The Eighth Amendment does not prohibit a state from executing a prisoner with a mental disability who cannot remember committing his crime, but it does prohibit executing a prisoner who cannot understand the reasons for his execution.

Civil forfeiture
Timbs v. Indiana
Decided Feb. 20, 2019
The Eighth Amendment limits the ability of police to seize private property used to commit crimes.

Monday, October 14, 2019

What to say – and not say – at trial

Once you've considered all possibilities, type out what you plan to say, and the evidence you plan to bring with you.
If the officer shows up, I'll attempt to speak with him and ask him to dismiss the case.  My focus will be “I was not talking on the phone”.  Do NOT say “I was texting, not talking” because if I admit to doing something illegal, even if it's not the offense noted on the citation, I can still lose.

If trial proceeds and the officer tells the truth, that I was texting, I will point out that I was not charged with texting, but with talking.  Since the officer didn't testify that I was “speaking or listening”, then I am not guilty of the crime charged, and the case should be dismissed. 

I can also argue the two cases.  For the first case, I need to ensure the officer testifies that I was texting while the car was stopped at a traffic light.  If he doesn't say this, I need to ask him on cross-examination - “Was the car moving when you saw me texting?”  For the second case, I need to ask him - “Did you see what was on my phone's screen?  Could it have been a map?”

If trial proceeds and the officer testifies that he saw me talking on the phone [which was NOT true], I will testify that I have ONE cell phone, produce the bill that includes that date, and point out that it does NOT show that any call was made or received at the relevant time.

If the judge finds my guilty anyway, I have the photo of me and my son, and the actual text message, so I can request leniency in my fine.

I wrote all of this information on paper and brought the pages with me, so I didn't forget.

As it turned out, the officer did NOT appear, so my case was dismissed.  You might say that all this work was for nothing, but it was worth it to be prepared for any situation.

Go forth and fight your own traffic ticket!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Preparing for trial – evidence to bring

Now that you've found some legal analysis to argue and/or show to the judge, it's time to collect your evidence for trial.
Aaron Judge - who is obviously NOT the judge we're considering here
Remember, do NOT just bring your phone and/or tablet and/or computer.  Sure you can bring those, but it's best to have EVERYTHING on paper that you can actually hand to the judge.  Well, okay, you won't be personally handing it to the judge.  Most likely you'll hand it to the bailiff who will hand it to the judge.
Presumably your judge will look more like this
But the important thing to remember is you need something on paper in addition to on your phone or whatever.

Here's the possible scenarios that might happen at my trial, and the evidence I brought.  You need to consider all the possibilities for your own trial, and what evidence you should bring to support your position for each possibility.

#1 Police officer fails to show up.  If this happens, most likely the case against me will be dismissed.  Yay!

#2 Police officer shows up.  I talk to him/her before trial and s/he agrees to dismiss the case.  I usually am able to speak with the officer when I'm in court as an attorney representing someone else.  Most of the time [but not always], the officer will agree to reduce the charge to something that doesn't carry any points against my client's license, and allow my client 30 days to pay the fine.  It's rare but not unheard of that an officer will speak with a traffic defendant directly, but if I wear one of my court suits, I might be able to swing this.

#2a Before trials begin, the court usually asks all traffic defendants whose officer shows up, whether they want to change their plea to no-contest and request traffic school.  LOTS of folks plead not-guilty and show up at trial just to see of the officer shows up.  If not, case dismissed.  If so, request traffic school.  If you'd accept traffic school but you'd rather the citation be dismissed, ask the court whether you'll be allowed to change your plea and request traffic school in this situation.  NOTE:  if you wait until after you lose at trial to request traffic school, most likely that will be too late.

#3 Police officer shows up and we proceed to trial.  Officer tells the truth, that he saw me texting while stopped at a traffic light.  I will bring copies of the court cases I wrote about previously, with relevant sections yellow-highlighted.  I also need my phone [because that's where the original text message is located], plus a paper copy of the text message.  I also bring a copy of my son's orders, and a photo of me and my son.

#4 Police officer shows up and we proceed to trial.  Officer LIES and says he saw me speaking on the phone.  Rare, but a possibility.  I need to bring a copy of my phone bill that shows no calls on that date/time.

Next week we'll look at how the trial will proceed and what I should and should not say.