31 July 2006

Hey, I've Filed That Petition Before

I've never stated this quite so baldly, but I recognize the sentiment:



via HOWT, who is teasing us by saying he's gone forever and then posting something this good a month later.

Drugs Are Everywhere

The last few days have yielded a number of stories which demonstrate how completely drugs have penetrated western society.

We start out with the kids. First, we find an Ohio school suspension for smelling like marijuana sustained by a judge. However, this is topped by the two kids in Maryland who injected a gram of marijuana into yellow gumballs in order to distribute them to other kids.

Next we check on the elderly. In Texas police saw an older man at a bus stop "acting nervous." They investigated and found $1,000,000 of heroin on him. Of course, he was probably just a mule so I'm not sure he's in the same league as the 70 year old man found with 417 marijuana plants in his house.

In Scotland they have problems with the middle class indulging:
"They have this idea that they can cope with it. They believe that the fact that the drug is illegal is nothing to do with them, that it's actually [illegal] because of cretins like the ones seen in the film Trainspotting, who can't cope with it. They believe that as they have money in their pocket and are 'full people' they can step away from the legal system and use the drug."
. . .
"There is an arrogance among high earners that they are fire-proof when it comes to drugs."
Still, that's better than Boston, where they are having problems with higher than usual drug usage among officers:
While 75 Boston officers failed drug tests out of a total force of about 2,000 sworn officers since 1999, at the much larger Los Angeles Police Department, 14 officers have flunked the drug test since March 2000. It employs 9,354 officers, of whom about 3,000 are subjected to random urine tests each year.

A spokeswoman for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said that of the 150,000 federal employees who took random drug tests in 2004, 0.4 percent failed.
In the U.K, the Serious Organized Crime Agency is issuing a report which basically states it is losing to organized crime and "[t]he report also notes with concern that the continued fall in the price of drugs indicates that measures to reduce the trade in illegal narcotics are failing. Average street prices of heroin have fallen from £70 a gram in December 2000 to £49. The cost of a gram of cocaine fell from £65 to £40 over the same period, while the price of ecstasy pills dropped from £9 to £4."

Over here, officials meeting because of the increased lethality of heroin and fentanyl have come up with a three part plan:
1) Law-enforcement authorities and health-care providers should share information to track the drug's sources, so police can snag the suppliers, experts urged.

2) Victims should be automatically screened for fentanyl, despite the prohibitive costs and detection difficulties that have discouraged many coroners and doctors from routine screening, they exhorted.

3) Pharmacologists must develop drugs for medical use that can't be abused by addicts, they appealed
.
Good luck with that.

Duke Rape Case: Nifong Admits Mistakes

The prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse team rape accusation has said he made mistakes. You can see the video here.

New Zealand: Sedition, Prison & a Blog

A prisoner in New Zealand who was convicted of sedition is blogging and the prison officials are taking the rather enlightened position that he can do that if he wants.

I went looking for it and it turns out he doesn't have actually a blog of his own; another blog is publishing letters he writes.

Example 1. Example 2.
A letter pleading that we do away with the death penalty to save money.

Aryan Brotherhood Convictions

Four of the top Aryan Brotherhood leaders (a White-Power gang which recruits and finds its power base in prison) are convicted of murder and racketeering. Two are awaiting sentencing on death penalty decisions.

And the experts opine that it won't make one bit of difference.

28 July 2006

Oh, the Humanity . . .

Not to be too picky, but why did Style highlight Joel Bieber's blog? Any number of attorneys get sold on these advertisement blogs, but they don't garner a readership base and eventually, after the businessman/lawyer realizes the very small benefit isn't worth the cost, they wither on the vine and die. Often, the first sign of this is sporadic posting; less than once a week is almost certainly a sign the blog is doomed. And he is definitely not the first lawyer in the Central Virginia area to put up a blog.

But, hey, what do I know, I've only been a lawyer publishing a blog in Central Virginia for three entire years before Mr. Bieber stuck his online.

Maybe I should take my blog and go to another part of the Commonwealth. It seems that nobody around here would notice if I were missing.

DC Violent Crime Rate

The crime rate as a whole has remained stable but 2005 saw an upswing in violent crimes.

Calling the Government Out

A judge says the government can't force a company to force its employees to waive their constitutional rights.

A Stock Tip Scam That Could Work

Calling and leaving a fake voice mail message about "inside information" while pretending it's a wrong number and you think you're leaving the tip for someone else.

Not gonna happen

Once the officers get you in the interrogation room (and are watching you thru the inevitable two way mirror or camera) you aren't going to be a able burrow thru the wall to escape. Climbing thru the ceiling probably isn't going to work either.

Not that some won't try.

48 Murders

A man who was convicted of killing a kid has confessed to a whole truckload of other murders.

27 July 2006

New Mexico: Punish the Owner Not the Dog Breed

The big fuss is over pit bulls (like it is everywhere else) but the reality doesn't track with the hype:
[German shepherds mixes] have been involved in 39 bite incidents, pit bulls are blamed for only 10. Dachshunds bit nine people in the same time period.
Up to a point, I agree with this. The last time I checked, we actually had a law on the books in Virginia that forbade State actors classifying a particular breed as dangerous. I'd look it up and provide a link, but apparently the General Assembly's Statute and Constitution pages are down.

However, I must say that I do see why you might possibly classify pit bulls and dachshunds differently. Little, nippy rat-dogs get away with a lot more biting precisely because they just don't cause the damage. This, of course, is why all dogs which weigh less than 25 pounds (fully grown) should be neutered and the all yapper species allowed to die out. For goodness sake people, if you want a pet that small get a cat or ferret or even a hedgehog.

In fact, we here at CrimLaw may end up lending our good offices to the founding of the anti-rat-dog league:



(Is it a little obvious that I'm tired of my upstairs neighbor's twin 5 lb. dogs barking at my 80 lb. Lab (Fred) and 40 lb. Golden Retriever/Chow (Spot) mix when I go to walk them? A couple weeks back we were both walking our dogs at the same time and the little monsters actually tried to charge my dogs. Fred ignored them, but I think Spot thought he was going to get a couple of new chew toys until I dragged him back. The poor guy walking those dogs for his girlfriend looked embarrassed as all get out to been seen with the yappers.)

Juvy System Tougher on Girls

The study's out of Florida, but it seems counter-intuitive and contrary to my experience.

I Might Not Come to Court Either

How do she even get a bond after police found "six human skulls and a severed human hand preserved in a jar of formaldehyde in her bedroom?"

Now Comes the War on Khat

For those of you who don't know what khat is, it's a leaf that is chewed for a mild buzz. Having traveled to the Near East, I knew this stuff existed and was in pretty common use (it seems to fit the slot tobacco does here), but I didn't know it is illegal in the U.S. (and I'm not sure why).

I also didn't know there was an entrenched ring of khat smugglers who bring the stuff to the U.S. until the government announced this bust.

In Case Anyone Slept Thru Wednesday

Yates NGRI'ed.

26 July 2006

MPC Garbage & Teaching CrimLaw

Sorry, professor, but you're wrong. The MPC needs to be jettisoned from law schools. It doesn't reflect the reality and some of us do practice criminal law after we leave law school. That's why you're teaching it to us - so that we can eventually practice that which we have been taught.

We had two professors at my law school who taught crimlaw. Mine taught the MPC; my roommate's taught the common law. It was a hellacious shock to start practicing and realize that the MPC has absolutely nothing to do with the practice of criminal law in Virginia. I learned more that was pertinent to my actual practice from having helped my roommate study the common law definitions and listening to him repeat the definitions over and over again to memorize them. And, yes, Virginia does use common law definitions for many crimes (not statutory). Groot's Criminal Offenses and Defenses in Virginia has been as important to the practice as the statute books (not sure what's going to happen now that he's gone).

I realize there are States out there which have adopted a penal code. However, a code would have it's basis in the common law and therefore it would logically be easier to upgrade one's knowledge from the common law to the code. The common law is not in any manner based on the MPC (don't even try to argue it in a Virginia court) and therefore the MPC may have to be unlearned in order to practice effectively.

Please don't send more students out to places like Virginia improperly trained.

Every Guy's Nightmare

Rape is just nasty on all sides. It's the most devastating of crimes if true and the most devastating of lies if false.

In any number of rape / sexual assault charges the basic argument from the prosecution is "Why would she lie about this?". And it's a very effective argument, even when there is absolutely no other evidence.

This is why it's chilling when 6 guys are saved by a video tape. You must ask yourself - What if there was no tape? Nobody would believe the six guys.

via: SoCalLaw

Fed Courts Might Actually Become Busy

If the Congress actually passes a national sex crimes database and it's enforced at the level the Virginia database is, I foresee a 100% jump in the amount of business in the federal courthouse (which wouldn't be hard considering the place is a tomb compared to State courts).

Beware the Library Foot Kisser

Y'know, he may get away with a dual persmission and "academic study" defense, but it's still creepy.

Gotta Meet That Quota

Apparently Air Marshals are being held to a quota of a certain amount of reports - and they're meeting the quota, even if it means filing reports on random innocents.

Bashing the Power of Prosecutors

Views on class and race, even unconsciously, lead prosecutors to make shoot-from-the-hip decisions easily at odds with true justice, Davis asserts: "I saw it all the time in the D.C. system. A rich kid comes in (though few are arrested) with parents and family lawyer, explaining 'Little Johnny has a drug problem and let's put him in a program, not lock him up.' The prosecutor usually agrees. But a poor, black or Latino kid comes in on a parallel drug case, maybe with a public defender, and the prosecutor figures — 'I can't let you back into the neighborhood; I'll send you to jail.' "

It's Not Murder . . .

. . . to buy and give drugs to someone.

Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box

An inmate includes his name and number on threats he mailed from prison.

No Math for Police Officers

The Feds are going after Chesapeake because it uses a math test in the selection of police officers.

24 July 2006



It's on the right hand column and has:

1) Blogging and Client Letter Ethics

2) The Exclusionary Rule and Judging Crimes

3) The Format(s) of CrimLaw

Please Note: The upload started at 0700 this morning and says it will take 3 hours. Hopefully, the video will be entirely uploaded by 1030.

Citizens Chase Down a Bank Robber . . .

. . . only to have the money stolen by another person while they're fighting with the first guy.

23 July 2006

Running the Bluff

Quite possibly the best Reno 911 clip ever:

Get a Cell Ready for a Demi-God

I was a D&D player back when I was in High School (yeah, I know, it explains a lot), but I don't think I ever got to this point:





My younger brother, on the other hand . . .

[[addendum]]

Yep, now I'm sure he's involved:



I will, however, say that my brother isn't that goofball (he's probably the guy with the arrow).

Happy Sunday Taz!

21 July 2006

A Look into the World of Witness Protection

"Don't find a counterfeiter a job in a printing plant."

Y'know, I once had a lady show up for a minor charge (I think driving suspended). She pulled me into one of the conference rooms and told me she was now in witness protection because she had testified in some gang murder. I went to a phone and called her contact person (a prosecutor) and told him where she was and what was going on. He was rather extremely unhappy to be talking to a defense attorney and wouldn't tell me anything. Eventually, I gave him the phone number for the local prosecutor's office and asked him to call the duty prosecutor. 10 minutes later the duty prosecutor zipped out the front door of the prosecutor's office across the hall to the court and got the charge immediately dropped. I may be wrong, but I took that as confirmation.

Off Point: Fanboys Lightsaber Duel

Yeah, it has nothing to do with criminal law - I'm just impressed as all get out how a couple kids could put this all together so well.

Off Point: Friday Cat Blogging

I've been sitting on this picture for a while; but somebody out there filed a FOIA on me (I think it was Blondie).

Anyway, I have an ooooollld pair of shoes which have been to Gehenna and back. They look crummy and I wouldn't wear them to impress anyone, but they are the most comfortable and indestructable item of clothing I own. I figured they'd be mine exclusively from now until the end of time until the day I went to get them and found out they'd been transformed into a bed:


Marijuana: "The Lowest Priority for Police"

Coming soon to a Santa Cruz ballot near you!!!
Ramblings of a New Attorney

Ever wanted to get out of a case really badly?

All you have to do is find some stunningly obvious evidence the police missed, say, a bloody t-shirt sitting in plain sight in a room.

No Knife in the UK

Because once your right to have a firearm is gone then politicians start passing laws like this: "the maximum penalty for carrying a knife would be increased to four years."

Chicago Police Tortured People . . .

. . . but nothing's going to happen to them.

Muslim Cleric & Cocaine

Hmmm . . . One, of course, would hope that no cleric of any type would be in possession.

20 July 2006

Some Days . . .

There are days you just cannot figure out what the judge is thinking and I've had a couple of them recently.

First, I have a client accused of cashing checks that bounced (each under $100). If the checks had been paid off he probably wouldn't have gotten much jail time. However, he hasn't paid anything. There are some pretty compelling reasons why, but the judge is not impressed and gives Client 6 months on each check (5 checks). That's extremely out of proportion, so I ask for an appeal bond because Client is going to appeal this to the circuit court for a de novo trial. The conversation that follows goes like this:
Me: Your Honor, we ask for the appeal bond to be the same as the pretrial bond of $500. Client is living in a shelter at the moment and you'll remember we have previously continued this case because he was in rehab from the accident and still needs medical treatment. He also has a child whom he needs to take care of.

Prosecutor: My concern is that he has failed to come to court before and won't come back if we let him out this time without giving the bondsman incentive to keep track of him. I'd ask for a $5,000 bond.

His Honor: I'm setting bond at $7,500.
Huh?

And then there's another case in circuit court. Client has appealed her conviction in the general district court of misdemeanor possession with intent marijuana (small weight). In the district court she'd gotten 20 days and a 6 month license suspension; the judge refused to give her a restricted license or weekend time. She appealed to try to get these things in a de novo trial. We go before the court and she pleads guilty.
Me: Judge we're here today because Miss Smith needs a restricted license for work and needs to keep her job. We're just asking for the same sentence as the general district court imposed with those modifications.

Prosecutor: I don't think we should give her a restricted license with her driving record.

Judge (after looking at Client's rather hefty record): Mr. Lammers, she's not getting the same sentence as below. 12 months with 6 months suspended. License suspended for 6 months. I'll neither require nor forbid any of the Sheriff's jail programs - that's between her and the Sheriff.
What the heck is going on? Do the judges think I've gained some sort of hypnotic suasion over the prosecutors so that they cannot help themselves but must give my client deals which are far too good?

Why is the Attorney General Involved?

Local police catch a guy with tons of child porn pictures. 154 counts. Bravo. Not that he made it too hard - the idiot was making copies at Wal*Mart. Open and shut, easy case, with a Commonwealth Attorney who appears (from everything I can find on the web) to be competent enough to slam-dunk this.

And then the defense attorney wonders out loud why the Attorney General's office is involved. Big fuss. Here's a clue why . . . 2009 is only 3 years away.

Lawyer in Contempt

C'mon if you're going to get a contempt conviction make it for something more substantial than shopping.

19 July 2006

My Office Bookshelf



Because you need to keep all the important stuff near at hand.

Making Your Wife do Chores is a Crime

(In Italy)

In the US we can't force women to do chores either. However, they seem to come to the realization very quickly that if they don't do them they'll soon be living in a house with 20 pizza boxes sitting in the corner and a sink with a 5 foot pile of crusty plates. Every guy in the States can thrive in this atmosphere; for some reason women cannot.

They do chores. Unfortunately, through some mystical - and as yet undetermined - means, when they decide to do chores they also force us to do chores.

Maybe it's time for us to go to an Italian court?.?.

Not Guilty of Sexual Assault . . .

. . . because he's a baliff, not a correctional staff member.

Crime in Ireland

A report on last year's crime.

Free, High Quality Heroin

In Australia, the Greens want free heroin to be given to addicts.

The Case for Marijuana Legalization

Using it to stop cancer but inhibiting any "high."

Big Brother: The UK

They're going to use mid-wives as snitches as to whether you might be a deficient parent.

Yeesh.

Australian MP Breaks the Law

By naming two young men convicted of a crime as juveniles.

Well at least the Reds aren't being prosecuted

The prosecutor chooses not to pursue charges on a Reds pitcher (or, I guess now he's a River Bats pitcher).

How weak does your case have to be . . .

. . . if you're worried over whether the defendant's attorney will mention his grandson.

CATO: Map of Bad Police Raids

Don't let your eyes get drawn to just the red (death of an innocent). After looking at it for a while, the thing that kinda hit me is how many of these are raids on innocents.

$22,000 in prostitution bills contested

So the hooker sent two guys over to "discuss" it. The problem is, they appear to have lost (one of them was shot) and now everybody is in jail.

Theft by Swindle

Nothing too unusual about this theft by a Sheriff's deputy of jail funds. I'd just never seen the term "theft by swindle" before and wanted to post it.

DC Big Brother Expands

The Mayor wants to put cameras in your neighborhood.

18 July 2006

Tennessee Gets Innovative With DUI's



Mandatory work detail wearing this uniform.

WalMart Gives Up

As long as you shoplift something worth less than $25 it no longer cares.
South Africa: Dueling Crime Web Pages.

How Can You Tell a Star is Coming to the Cook County Courthouse?

To begin with, they recarpet and rewire the courtroom.

Asking the Eternal Question:

If a guy asks the judge for the death penalty wouldn't life in prison be the more onerous punishment?

DUI Bounty Hunting

In Missouri DUI bounty hunting is likely to help the big forces fund themselves.

[[addendum: Oops, as the comments point out thisis actually about Illinois.]]

It's Just a Weekend . . .

. . . it's not worth the new charge to smuggle marijuana into the jail.
Arguing that you should be allowed to be rude in court.

Screwing Up the Impeachment . . .

. . . gets a new trial in a murder case.

A British Officer's Point of View

"I can’t abide all this “Our people are our greatest asset” nonsense. The fact is that most of us uniformed response officers are an annoyance tolerated by senior management only because of the number (but not the quality) of detections we bring in."
. . .
"We’re only just above the public (the ones who don’t write in and complain that is) who bother us incessantly with their reports of crime. I know I’ve said it before, but if it wasn’t for front line officers and victims, police forces would be a lot more efficient."

South Africa: Bail and Rubber Bullets

Police have to fight off a crowd which is upset that a man gets a bond.

What's the World Coming to . . .

. . . when a State Legislator can't even shoot at utility workers?

17 July 2006

Bengals' Rap Sheet

More on my favorite football team's criminally embarrassing behavior.

And, sadly, after the gazillion preseason games (which I refuse to watch), I'll be trekking down to the local sports bar and guarding/watching the one 32" TV which will have the Bengals on it. Yeah, it's a little pathetic, but I haven't gotten over the shock of the metamorphosis from the Bungles into a team which wins. Not enough to notice that the new players are thugs - at least not yet.

Here's praying that Palmer comes back whole and not gun-shy.

Cocaine - One of the 5 Food Groups?

Smugglers always find new and innovative ways to ship the drugs. One try was to ship it with carrots. Another, and much more innovative, was to ship it as wafers in a Pringles can.

Bengals Worse than Raiders?

My beloved Bengals are having a lot of newer players get into trouble with the law this year. Rumor has it that it ain't the Marvin Lewis who's bringing these yahoos in.

Y'know, Papa Brown was an amazing man. If only he hadn't left the team under Baby Brown's control.

Marijuana Law

1) San Fran not going to open a pot store on Fisherman's Wharf.

2) The case against legalization:
Earlier this year, studies by Minnesota's respected Mayo Clinic found that regular marijuana use can cause health problems ranging from memory loss to cancer. Specifically, clinic researchers reported that pot smoking can inhibit short-term memory; reduce hand-eye coordination, reaction time and muscle strength; limit attention span; increase the risk of schizophrenia, and may even cause paranoia, anxiety and/or panic attacks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reinforced those findings in April by declaring that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and has a lack of safety for use under medical supervision. The FDA further determined that pot smoking is harmful and that there are no sound scientific studies supporting the safety or efficacy of "medical" marijuana. Other than that, the drug is completely safe.
3) Why in the world would you build a tunnel to smuggle marijuana from Canada to the US? We don't exactly have National Guard units sitting on our Northern border.

4) Charged with growing marijuana without a license? Only in NY.

India - Caste - Rape

Being a member of a certain caste is not grounds for reducing a rape sentence.

Do You Think the US Supremes Will Look Toward This Foreign Law?

Zimbabwe is expanding the scope of illegal sodomy to an "act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act."

Child Abuse and the Law

1) 150 years after pleading guilty to child porn.

2) Mom blames her son for the fact that the pit bulls killed him.

3) Can a social worker say what a child said without it being testimony?

4) I'd make fun of the Australians for trying to increase this man's prison sentence because he is just about to get out of prison, but we do the same thing and are far less honest about it.

5) Ireland: A man is released after the statutory rape law he was convicted under was declared unconstitutional, but re-arrested a few days later when the Supreme Court decided it didn't matter.
The Blondes are multiplying.

God help us all.

16 July 2006

CopCast Scare & Question Time


















This week's discussion starts by talking about the effects of listening to CopCast and goes thru a couple questions which have been emailed to me this week. The cast ends with a jazz/slow-rap mix, "Remember the Name - Not Evil Mix."

CopCast

ccMixter

And here's LexRadio for all my posts thru the ages.

13 July 2006

[Part Three] My Old Kentucky Home:
Bare Knuckle Politics & The Courts
The Battle is Joined

When last we left our fearless Kentucky Politicians, the governor had pardoned anyone - past, present, or future - whom the attorney general's grand jury might indict. The AG indicts people anyway and, for good measure, indicts the governor for three misdemeanor offenses. The AG's office then took over from the local county attorney in order to try these cases in district court. The governor's attorneys ask the judge to recuse himself; he does, because he is friends with the person who made the original accusation. The governor pleads not guilty and his trial is set for the day after the election.

To begin with, the governor's lawyers move to have the AG and his office removed from the case because the AG may run for governor in the upcoming election.

However, the big battle is taking place in the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court is going to decide whether or not the AG can indict people after the governor's prospective charges pardon. Prior to the case Justice Roach and Chief Justice Lambert recuse themselves and the governor appoints the replacements to hear his own case. The AG's office howls in protest over the two people chosen and one of them recuses himself. The governor then tries to appoint another temporary Justice but the Supreme Court rules against him (six is enough). It doesn't do the AG any good, because the court still rules against the AG's indictments 4-2:
A gubernatorial pardon operates to cease any further legal proceeding concerning the pardon conduct including indictments.
. . .
We can think of no matter that would more affect the duties of a grand jury, or would more assist it in the conduct of its business, than an instruction informing it that the very offenses which it is investigating have been pardoned, and could never be criminally prosecuted.
The AG asks to extend the life of the grand jury so that "it" can issue "a public report detailing its investigative findings."

The governor moves the court to seal the report which the grand jury is going to issue at the AG's behest. In the meantime the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, 80% of whom were appointed by Governor Fletcher, gives an "unsolicited" opinion that it would be unethical for AG Stumbo to run for governor.
If Stumbo "contemplated an eventual candidacy ... he should have removed himself and his office from the merit system investigation" when Fletcher announced he would run, the opinion said.

The commission added: "Becoming a candidate for governor after the sitting Governor withdrew as a candidate due to actions taken by the Office of the Attorney General could lead, at the very least, to the perception that a conflict of interest existed all along."
Around the same time, Chief Justice Lambert, whose former chief of staff is now the governor's general counsel, added a note to a decision in which he opined that a sitting governor could not be pursued criminally unless he was first impeached. This caused a firestorm of comment. Much of this was legally incoherent, stating things like "The Governor of Wyoming was never impeached before her trial" which has 0% relevance as to whether, under Kentucky's constitution, a Kentucky governor could be charged without prior impeachment. However, by gleaning the articles we can find a couple of interesting tid bits. First and probably most important:
[In] a 1951 case [] Kentucky's high court held that a judge who was indicted on a charge of misfeasance in office could not be prosecuted because impeachment "sufficiently protects the public interest" and "must be considered exclusive."
Second, three Kentucky governors have been indicted and all of them have been Republicans. Hmmmmm . . . .

Next, the AG decides that he wants to call at least 68 people whom he suspects will invoke their right against self incrimination (68+ witnesses for misdemeanors - Wow, judges must be a lot more understanding in Kentucky). He argues that they have been pardoned so they have no reason to plead the 5th. Their attorneys argue that the Feds are still out there and the governor cannot protect them from federal prosecution. So then the Feds weigh in and proclaim:
Should any of your witnesses in Commonwealth v. Ernie Fletcher, ... testify pursuant to a compulsion order, the federal government may not use their testimony or any fruits of their testimony in connection with any subsequent federal prosecution of these witnesses.
Next, the ruling comes down as to whether the AG can participate in the prosecution - he cannot. However, his office can, just as long as he doesn't get involved (a little late, don'cha think?).

Next comes perhaps the silliest thing in the whole affair. The governor's office denies access to state employees at work to a Democratic website, BluegrassReport.org, which is rather unflattering to the Fletcher administration. The webmaster, a man who ran the losing Democratic campaign when the governor was originally elected, takes the case to court.

And this is pretty much where the battle stands today. I left out several things just to get to the meat of the matter. There's no mention of the fight with the Lt. Governor because it didn't involve the courts. There's no mention of Governor Fletcher appointing one man to the Kentucky Supreme Court in the middle of his election race with another judicial candidate because, to date, there's no connection with the ongoing legal warfare.

As someone who's neither living the fight nor getting Kentucky papers every day, I'm sure I missed some things. However, I think I got the general flavor of it right: tw politicians using every bit of power in their respective positions in a fight to the death.

11 July 2006

[Part Two] My Old Kentucky Home:
Bare Knuckle Politics & The Courts
The Governor Strikes Back

Okay, when last we left our intrepid Kentucky politicians the Democratic Kentucky Attorney General had just unleashed the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation and a grand jury on the Republican Kentucky Governor. People were hired because they are Republican! Misdemeanors for everyone! To be fair, it seems a pretty open and shut case against a lot of these guys. To be cynical, the reason a long time Democrat knew where to look to find the hiring violations is because the Democratic party had been doing the same thing for so long it knew where all the nooks and crannies were.

Anyway, the Governor was having none of it. On 29 August 2005, he pardons everyone in his administration for everything the grand jury is investigating - except himself. He goes before the grand jury and pleads the 5th.

This doesn't stop the hard-charging AG. 5 days before the primary election he issues three misdemeanor indictments against the governor. Well, I guess technically the grand jury issued the indictments, but, you know, "ham sandwich", etc. etc. It also indicts 13 other members of the administration (apparently under the pretty much common sense theory that you cannot prospectively pardon).

Then begins the shoving aside of lesser entities. The County Attorney for Franklin County, the person who is supposed to try all the misdemeanors in the county, is the first guy out of the picture (probably with a huge sigh of relief). The AG's office is going to come into the district court and try this case. Despite the fact that defendants don't have to appear in person to be arraigned for misdemeanors, District Court Judge Hart opines that the governor ought to come to court to plead - out of respect for the court. The governor's attorneys then move to have the judge recuse himself for several reasons:
~ Missy McCray, a state Transportation Cabinet personnel official who is a witness for the prosecution, is a friend of Hart and his wife, Shirley Hart.

~ Shirley Hart was involved with the state employee non-classified system as an assistant director of operations for the state House.

That system involving state workers in appointed managerial roles will be a subject in the prosecution and defense of Fletcher.

~ Hart recently made statements to the media, specifically The Courier-Journal, "regarding his intentions and thought processes regarding the conduct of the arraignment of Governor Fletcher, and also expressed an opinion as to how long the trial of the matter would take, potentially affecting Governor Fletcher's rights to a speedy trial."

Hart also made "off the record" statements to other reporters Friday to which counsel for Fletcher was not privy.
The judge agrees to recuse himself, but doesn't give the governor's lawyers the satisfaction of doing it for their reasons. He does it because " [he] is acquainted with and has on several occasions associated with Doug Doerting" (the guy who filed the 276 page complaint which started all this). That's got to be a heart stopping moment when you tell the judge all these terrible reasons he shouldn't be on your case and he disagrees but informs you of an even more terrible reason which you missed entirely - there but by the grace of an honest judge (or one who doesn't want the political heat, but let's assume integrity) goes your case down the drain.

The governor's attorney enters a not guilty plea on his behalf and the court date is set for November 8, 2006 - the day after the election.

And thus the stage is set for further adventures which will be discussed in tomorrow's post.

10 July 2006

[Part One] My Old Kentucky Home:
Bare Knuckle Politics & The Courts
Attacking a Republican Governor

Y'know, I know a number of people in Virginia with political jobs and/or political aspirations so I've spent some time talking politics. As the short, rotund guy who grew up in a different Commonwealth, I'm never going to be the guy running for office. However, it's fun to talk with those who plan to take their shot.

One thing I've noticed, Virginia politics is a little more genteel than Kentucky. Don't get me wrong, politics is still a blood sport here just like everywhere else. It's just that Virginians seem to think there are rules to this sort of thing. They dance around each other with daggers and swords trying to land a deadly blow. In Kentucky there ain't no rules - you use every single tool you can get your hands on. Nukes get lobbed and damn the collateral casualties.

A perfect example of this is when people of different parties get into state wide offices. I cannot imagine an Attorney General in Virginia forming a new law enforcement agency and sicking on the governor and his staff for committing misdemeanors. It would just be too unseemly. I don't have to imagine this in Kentucky - it's a political war which is continuing to unfold.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the story of Law Enforcement, Courts, and Bare Knuckle Politics in Kentucky.

First of all, let me introduce the players. Fletcher has carried water for the Republican Party of Kentucky for years. I can remember him from the 80's when there were the first rumblings of a possibility that the Republicans might become a viable party [addendum: I have been reminded by a kind reader that what I'm remembering is from the early 90's and, upon reflection, I think that's right]]. At the time Kentucky was a one party Commonwealth. Eventually, the Republican Party grew and got control of Kentucky's Senate and both its federal Senate seats. Then Fletcher got elected as Governor. There've been Republican governors before; the last was Nunn, but Nunn won despite being Republican, Fletcher didn't.

Greg Stumbo is the Democratic Attorney General. His is a long-time political family. In fact, the name is so well respected that Justice Janet Stumbo refused to use her husband's name, apparently for political reasons.

These two political titans come to office at the same time and the Democrats are somewhat in disarray because they no longer have the governor's seat. However, Stumbo is clear on one thing - he wants to set up a Commonwealth wide investigatory agency, the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation (I kid you not, the KBI). From the start of his time as AG, Stumbo finds people questioning whether he will be targeting the Republican administration: "I will not, however, be targeting the new Republican administration [over environmental issues], as you propose." In the very next paragraph of the same document he sells the KBI as an anti-drug agency: "Beyond The C-J's suggestions that I focus my attention on consumer protection and environmental law enforcement, other important areas must be considered in evaluating the beneficial effects of the KBI. You correctly note that one of the KBI's main goals is the eradication of illegal drug use, which has reached epidemic portions in some parts of our state." However, when the KBI is brought into existence the very first section announced is a political corruption unit:
I. Public Corruption/Special Investigations (Ed Barnes, Branch Manager). Investigates allegations of public corruption by elected and appointed public officials; works closely with state prosecutors and the FBI; accepts requests for assistance from smaller agencies, County and Commonwealths Attorneys.
Nevertheless, the main part of the announcement still has a tough on drugs flavor to it.

Now, as one of my Kentucky buddies explained it to me, when Fletcher took his place as governor he surrounded himself with young Turks. The advantage of this is that you get extremely loyal and dedicated people who will work tirelessly for you. The disadvantage is that they get carried away and often don't know how to do things the right way. Kentucky has laws on the books which require that a lot of positions be hired strictly on the merit of the applicant. Somewhat interestingly, in the past almost all the meritorious candidates have been people loyal to the Democratic Party. It was just a given that if you wanted a government job your chances improved by factors of tens if you were a Democrat. The Turks set about to remedy this in a ham-handed manner by placing people in positions to make sure Republicans got merit jobs. What's even more politically stupid, they kept records and wrote emails about it. There's little or no doubt that they committed misdemeanor offenses in doing this.

The KBI and AG Stumbo swooped in. "Douglas W. Doerting, transportation's assistant personnel director, filed a 276-page complaint with the state Personnel Board alleging the Fletcher administration engaged in an 'illegal political patronage' scheme in making personnel decisions in the cabinet" (276 pages? Yeah, he wrote that all by his lonesome out of only his personal knowledge). The KBI got subpoenas and more whistle-blowers came forward (that's the problem with trying to substitute one patronage system for another rather than trying to actually fix things - the side losing its patronage privileges will have people in place who can complain that you are breaking the law). Shortly thereafter, the guy who was my college's student body president when I was there (Keith Hall, Centre) leaves his position as head of Kentucky Homeland Security. I didn't know Keith well at Centre (everyone knew everyone to some extent at Centre - one of the joys of a small college); he seemed bright and politically ambitious. He was a member of Lt. Governor Pence's law firm at one time and perhaps his patron was Pence, not Fletcher, so he left before things really blew up (mind you, that's pure speculation).

More of this continuing Saga will be published Tuesday . . .

Federalitis and Breaking an Old Lady's Phone

A Federal Judge was so upset that a phone was ringing that he left the bench, took the lady's phone, and "tossed" it down the hall.

Link: Gadgets Blog

09 July 2006

My Old Kentucky Home:
Police on MySpace



I know, I know, it's usually Skelly who looks thru MySpace to find out who's being dumb enough to post things which can get them into trouble. But he talks about how police are patrolling MySpace to catch the bad guys. I am going to post about what happens when police post on MySpace.

In Lexington, Kentucky a group of officers started posting on MySpace using their real names. They called each other gay, made fun of cripples, had fun congratulating one officer for arresting a country music star, called the citizens of Lexington snobby, and labeled the local government the "Lexington Fayette Urban Communist Government" (for those not from Kentucky, the city of Lexington and Fayette County are merged and that should say County).

Actually, I think the last is rather funny. I remember growing up with friends who referred to Kentucky as "The People's Democratic Commonwealth of Kentucky." Not so much for the same reason as the officers are calling Lexington communist (the powers that be are considered very liberal). We called it that because it was a perfect example of a one party State - just like all the communist countries around the world. Anyway, I digress . . .

This is another example of the thing that happened in San Fran, where the officers got in trouble by making humor videos of themselves and posted them on the web. And again I say that the proper way to handle this is with a supervisor telling them to take it down and giving them a little counseling (translation: white shirt yells at them for being boneheads). No need to go further.

But, of course, the powers that be did go further. A day after the local newspaper published the story:
Police officers Joshua Cromer and Gene Haynes were "relieved of sworn duty with pay" pending the outcome of an investigation into Cromer's Web pages on MySpace.com, Lexington police said yesterday in a written statement.

Cromer was charged administratively with unbecoming conduct. Haynes faces an administrative charge of unbecoming conduct and intervention.

Three other officers face an administrative charge of unbecoming conduct. A fourth officer faces charges of public appearance and statements violations.
BTW, Haynes sin was that he put a photoshopped picture in comments on Cromer's page. The picture started life as an adoring fan and the country music star Cromer had arrested. Apparently, Haynes put Cromer's head on the fan's body.

While under the initial suspension, both of these officers issued the obligatory, ritual apologies. These were, of course, completely voluntary:
"Cromer and Haynes decided to apologize on their own," Lexington police Chief Anthany Beatty said. "There was no requirement that they do so."
Punishments started coming down in June. For posting comments:
Gene [Haynes] and [Adam] O'Quinn have been disciplined for conduct unbecoming an officer and suspended for 80 hours without pay.

Haynes is suspended an additional 240 hours for interfering in the prosecution of a case.

Both must also undergo sensitivity training.
[addendum: It appears O'Quinn's site was the one which posted the Communist Government comment.]]

Last week three more officers were punished for commenting on the webpage:
Aaron Noel, Richard Sisk and Paul Stewart each received an 80-hour suspension without pay and were ordered to undergo sensitivity training. They were administratively charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer.
. . .
Lexington Police Chief Anthany Beatty said officers already receive sensitivity training, but the cited officers will undergo enhanced training.
No punishment has come down yet for the officer who was actually publishing the site.

Let me say that all of that strikes me as a little over the top. On the other hand, it might be a bad idea to let all the officers know that if they want a two week vacation all they have to do is say something on the internet which the PC police might not like. If the officers are anything like the ones I know the most painful part of all this might be having to attend sensitivity training: "Remember, you must empathize with the plight of the redneck with his rotweiller. It's not his fault that he's driving a truck which is burning so much oil that there is a two block smoke screen behind it. And that quivering, slathering rotty in the back of the truck straining against that frayed 1/4" rope to get to you is just following his nature. This is all society's fault for oppressing him and we must learn to forgive the faults society forces upon people like this." Well, okay, maybe it won't be quite that bad. Maybe.

The only part I think looks like it might be too light is the punishment to Officer Haynes for "interfering in the prosecution of the case." An officer obstructing a legal investigation is an extremely serious offense. Unfortunately, none of the articles I found say exactly what the interference was. It could just be that he published under a pseudonym and when asked if it was him exercised an exculpatory no (he wouldn't fess up), but if it's much more than that - if he took active steps - he got a gift.

I really cannot get fired up about this sort of thing. Everybody complains about their boss (in this case the local municipality), I grew up in Lexington and went to Bryan Station - I know there are snobs in Lexington who look down on people they think they are better than, and police blowing off steam by being a little crude or making fun of people they've arrested ain't exactly shocking. Anyone who works in criminal law develops a dark sense of humor, including the lawyers ('tho most, unlike yours truly, are too smart to publish it). It doesn't mean they don't take their job seriously; it means they are blowing off steam. The officers' mistake was that they did it where others could access it.

I'll say again what I said of the San Fran officers - the main problem here is that posting things like this online gives guys like me good impeachment material: "Officer, you called your friend "gay" three times on this board, didn't you? You meant that as a derogatory term, didn't you? And you knew my client was gay when you rousted him on the street corner and pre-decided he was guilty didn't you? Because you don't like gay people, do you?" It's the Mark Furman mistake (he let himself be taped saying the unsayable word and causing an issue for the OJ case) and it's unprofessional. Of course, that doesn't seem to be the reason they're in trouble; they're in trouble because they aren't sensitive enough.

With thanks to the brother formerly known as "Taz" for the heads up on this story.

08 July 2006

Pistol or Taser? Taser or Pistol?

A mentally ill person in a tree. An officer who needs to get him down. An officer who has trouble distinguishing his taser from his pistol (although, in fairness, the force may have a policy requiring them to be holstered next to each other).

The reaction of the victim? "He said, 'Ow, that hurt. I'm coming down, I'm coming down.'"

What's the hurry?

I doubt the passenger cared all that much about how fast the hearse was driving when it got the ticket.

How to Know if You're Living Next to a Grow House

• Evidence of electric meter-tampering such as damaged or broken seals.

• Homes made to look lived-in such as light timers, but very few people are seen coming and going from the house.

• Late night or very short visits by people who come to the house.

• Strange smells or the overpowering smells of fabric softener.

• Water lines or electrical cords running to the house or an outbuilding.

• People bringing in large amounts of fertilizer, garden hoses, plastic PVC pipe, chicken wire, lumber, pots, machetes, camouflage netting and clothing, step ladders painted green and brown, large trash bags, garden hoses, heat lamps and fans.

• Windows that remain covered.

• Little or no garbage being left for collection.

• Outbuildings with air conditioners.

• Excessive security, including trained dogs, heavy chains on fences and high fences.

Via: Collier County Sheriff's Department's "Collier Star E-Newsletter"

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------


Please forgive my ignorance, but why does the color of the step ladder matter?

Saturday Cat-Blogging



Buzz, letting me know her opinion on whether I should be paying attention to her or blogging. She's been upset ever since I traded in the 19" CRT, which she could lay on top of while I was on the computer, for my flat screen. Now she has to lay in front of it and I don't think she appreciates it at all.

06 July 2006

Prostitution Sting

Y'know, they run prostitution stings in my county every so often - 33 caught this time. How do the police catch so many? They bait the field.

I've driven down Jeff Davis Highway (the local red light district) and seen the women whom I assume are walking the street for this particular reason - they ain't beautiful. All of the sudden a good looking women who appears healthy appears on the street. C'mon guys, you gotta know that's a trap.

Bonds' Trainer Chooses Jail

Of course, it's all about steroids.

"Jail is not going to have any coercive effect," [Attorney Mark]Geragos said outside federal court. "He is not going to cooperate with a grand jury that is leaking like a sieve."

I didn't know Shawshank is in Florida . . .

. . . But apparently it is.

At least the prison officials were acting like it is.

Peace Activist - Not So Much

"A New Zealand peace activist is facing serious assault charges after he allegedly punched a rock singer in London, leaving the man in a coma."

And guess what? It was over a girl. Yeah, I know, you're shocked.

Ode to the Public Defender

Congtrats to the PD's office in Philadelphia for its successes in defending capital cases.

I'll not comment on the part about court appointed attorneys being lazy and media whores.

Another Blog

Changing the Court - posts every few days and reports what people are doing for and at Bronx Community Solutions.

Off Point: RocketCrash



Rocketboom, the 800 pound guerrilla of vidcasts, has gone down. At first it just went down with archives showing and indicated that a vacation was in progress. Then the star, Amanda Congdon, announced that she had been canned (video) and published the last written correspondence before the producer stopped putting anything in writing.

The producer is promising to be back up in a few days. Should be interesting since Congdon still owns 49% (wonder if there are any profits forthcoming) and the entire show has basically been a cult of personality (see AC's picture on 90% of the archives). I never was the biggest fan of Rocketboom (I found about one in three funny), but it was pretty clear that the massive success it had was dependent upon AC.

05 July 2006

Should Self-Castration Get a Sex Offender Out of Civil Commitment?

Holy crud! Just reading what this guy did to himself is extremely disturbing.

He probably has "cured" himself of the urges, but I'm not sure he's shown himself mentally fit. Of course, if we kept all the people who need mental help in mental hospitals after they finished their prison sentence we'd probably fill the hospitals to over-flowing in very short order.

Murder: Not Guilty

A stupid fight, flight from a mob, swerving to miss a car driven by a member of the mob, running over the loser of the fight, and a finding of not guilty across the board.

Watching the First Murder Trial

Law Monkey has been serializing a murder trial here, here, and here.

New Stuff Out There

First off is CopCast, a weekly podcast by acouple of offixers addressing items of interest to officers. Seems like a decent enough audiocast and I definitely reccomend that ya'll check it out.

Next is a new blog, Crime and Consequences. It's more or less a push blog. It's disturbing to see things attributed to "staff" which implies that this isn't really someone trying to bring a unique point of view to the web, but an organization which has been sold on a blog as a means of furthering its agenda and has a random intern putting in a story or two. The list of notables that are supposed to be contributing is impressive except for the fact that none of them seem to be contributing anything other than their names. We've all seen this type of blog before. Usually it's some big firm which is doing it because blogging is the trendy thing to do and the costs are minimal. Right now Kent Scheidugger is the driving force behind the blog and posts 2-4 times daily. Nothing too terribly substantial so far - we'll see.

04 July 2006

Happy Baseball 4th



As befitting the time of year, I have been spending my week going to that most American of games, Baseball. Sunday I went to watch the Richmond Braves win in the bottom of the 9th 3-2. Monday I went and saw the Petersburg Generals lose in the 9th 5-4. I got pictures from the Petersburg game although the ones that turned out (still learning to use the fancy new camera) are actually of the Edenton Steamers.


Steamers' Pitcher


The Edenton 3d base coach looking on as the sprinklers suddenly pop on and drench the field.


That's a General running for first.


Congratulating the winning run.


BTW, if you are in Central Virginia I highly recommend the Generals' games. It's a lot of fun and all the seats are amazingly good and there are not all the major hassles of trying to go to Richmond to watch a game.

03 July 2006

Judicial Inquiry & Review Commission

Y'know, not a lot of people I know have a lot of confidence that a complaint against a judge ("JIRCing" them) will accomplish much, especially after the case where both the prosecutor (who appears daily in the judge's court) and the public defender (who appears daily in the judge's court) filed complaints, the JIRC punished the judge, and the Virginia Supreme Court overruled it all. In fact, I've heard it opined that the only way the JIRC actually works is if there are multiple complaints and it sits on them until the judge is up for reappointment and dumps 500 complaints on the General Assembly before the vote.

I'm not so certain. There may be all sorts of JIRC activity we don't see. I think that if a well respected attorney (who was not dependent upon the judge's good will for any number of clients) filed a complaint, a well placed word by someone from the Committee could lead to a judge changing behavior rather dramatically - particularly if the judge is fairly new. And there is evidence that the JIRC tries to handle things behind closed doors. A recent case started out that way.

The judge was in trouble because:
1. On June 14, 2004, upon being advised that he was not elected as chief judge, Judge Elliott reacted in such an extremely angry manner that his two fellow judges reasonably believed that he might commit a physical assault.

2. On June 16, 2004, Judge Elliott confronted a fellow judge in a loud and angry manner and verbally threatened him.

3. On July 6, 2004, Judge Elliott sent letters with attachments to all of the district court judges in Tidewater, with copies to the Chief Justice and the Executive Secretary. The content and tenor of the material so distributed were calculated to embarrass and personally attack the two other judges of his court.

4. On July 14, 2004, Judge Elliott inappropriately directed a loud and angry outburst at a member of his court staff.

5. Judge Elliott has had a longstanding practice of telling defendants that he had a "DEA" light above the bench in his courtroom that detected whether they were using drugs. This tactic, that involved an intentional falsehood, often resulted in incriminating statements by defendants. Judge Elliott routinely would determine the defendants' sentences based upon whether the defendants were willing to take a drug test or would admit drug use without the necessity of a test.

6. In a letter to the Chief Justice dated August 26, 2004, Judge Elliott falsely stated that he did not have a practice of reviewing defendants' criminal records prior to adjudicating the issue of guilt. Judge Elliott habitually considered such records prior to announcing a decision on the issue of guilt.

7. In the same letter to the Chief Justice, Judge Elliott falsely stated that he had not prohibited the Commonwealth's Attorney's office from prosecuting cases in his courtroom. In February of 2002, Judge Elliott informed the Commonwealth's Attorney that he did not want a prosecutor in his courtroom for drunk driving cases and that, if a prosecutor were present, the conviction rate in such cases would be reduced.
That's a trifecta. He's alleged to have done things to anger defense attorneys (minor offense), prosecutors (offense of concern), and fellow judges (major offense). BTW, I've seen judges do a drug test on a defendant as part of sentencing a number of times; that's not terribly unusual.

Anyway, the JIRC was just going to handle it all quietly and let the judge tender his resignation. Then came bumps in the road. There was argument about whether the judge had told people he'd be coming back. Apparently, the JIRC decided he had. It threatened a formal complaint if the judge didn't agree to resign 6 months sooner than had previously been offered. The judge did not accept the new deal. The JIRC took the complaint to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The Virginia Supreme Courts punts. It doesn't decide the merits of any of the complaints. Instead, it goes back and does a contractual analysis and determines that the JIRC and the judge were bound by the first agreement they reached. Consequently, the judge returned to the bench for a very short time and retired.

The whole rigmarole brings me to one question. How many judges "get the word" and retire gracefully?

If you try to run the officer down . . .

. . . he will shoot you.

02 July 2006

Anthropological Report:
Canada from a Commercial Perspective

For those of you not familiar with North America, myth, rumor, and speculation have it that there is this land of peace and prosperity called Canada, somewhere North of Montana. Those of us down here in the Southern US hear rumors of this place - it snows 360 days of the year, all the people are polite, they play a strange game on this thing called "ice" (how do they all fit in the freezer?) There are those among us who are skeptics - nobody is even really sure Montana exists (ever met somebody from there?), so how can we know there is a Canada?

AHA! We here at the "Lammers is Bored and Doesn't Want to Spend His Sunday at the Office Institute" have discovered several video iconographies explaining the truths of life for Canadians.

Nationalism and Self Definition:

First of all, they appear to be rather strongly nationalistic and concerned that they are perceived as too passive (there is however, some evidence of passivity).

Lacrosse on Ice - The National Obsession:

However, one cannot take the evidence of passivity too much on face value. The Canadians also play a version of Lacrosse - except their version is played on ice and is called Hockey (pronounced hakee). Their belief is that some nations fear their prowess in this game while others simply prepare for heavy casualties. When deprived of the sport Canada appeared almost suicidal; however, this was replaced by uninhibited glee when the game was reborn. Civilian participation seems to take place on a NY Mets level and in street level amateur competitions. Nevertheless, there are transaction costs. Apparently uniform odor can reach levels previously thought only possible in US football team locker rooms. And, an extremely strong case can be made that no woman should ever be allowed to play the game (at least not if she has a boyfriend or hope thereof).

Canadian Mating Proclivities:

Of course, sex does not seem to be a problem in Canada. Men chase beaver all the time and at times they are even bold enough to try for two. Their drinking prowess seems also to make them also extremely popular with American women - although the male will reject unsuitable mates. There appears to be a problem of males having too much sex; however, the women are understanding when the men attempt to balance their lives with activities outside the sexual. There are some taboos and chief among them seems to be the fairly typical "No way this scum-bag friend of mine is getting within a mile of my sister", rash response.

The Use of Celebratory Libations:

The primary form of libation seems to be beer. It is used in celebration of the provision of food supplies. They sing ballads of young men sallying forth in quest for the cherished drink. Heck, they even make provisions for the possible outcomes of driving drunk.

Perception of Outsider:

The primary outsider whom Canadians react to is a member of a species which is rather full of itself: Overbearingus Americanus (U.S. citizens). Female OA's are viewed as just dumb and should just be subjected to mental torture. There are multiple ways of dealing with male OA's. Some prefer the direct attack approach, followed by alcohol abuse. In more extreme cases the pet beaver is employed. Sometimes OA humor leads to flights of fancy which, of course, involve hockey (is there ice on the moon?).

In conclusion, Canada appears to be a somewhat idyllic place with pretty women and plenty of beer. We here in the U.S. are working on warming it up so that everyone, even those with an aversion to cold weather might enjoy the opportunity of living there (see The Global Warming Project).