Archive for the ‘Laws – Very Strange’ Category

The legal gospels according to St. Robert and St. James … behavior or intent?

June 3, 2019

Mueller & Comey seem to have their own rules of jurisprudence.

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A couple of decades ago, Pres. Jimmy Carter — a very religious guy — was interviewed by Playboy.

Say, what?

One of the questions was: “Have you ever been unfaithful to your wife?”

Paraphrasing, Carter answered: “No, but I have lusted in my heart (for other women), so I am a sinner.”

In other words, Carter believed that fantastical intent was the moral equivalent of behavior.

Hmmm.

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Apparently, Mueller & Comey were impressed by by Carter’s thinking.

Let me explain…

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Which prevails legally: behavior or intent?

Let’s start with the Comey – Clinton case.

In his July 2016 public statement, Comey made clear that Clinton’s use of a personal server to store and transmit classified government information violated criminal statutes.

But, he said that there was no evidence that she intended to break the law, so no charges would be brought.

Ditto re: the destruction of 30,000 subpoenaed emails … and the Bleach-Bitting of her computer.

Yep, she did it … but there was no evidence that she intended to break the law.

Curious reasoning at best.

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Now fast forward to Mueller – Trump.

Mueller reported 10 anecdotes about situations that “might” indicate obstruction of justice.

The headline story was telling the White House attorney to “get rid of” Mueller.

Note: Since Mueller was technically one of Trump’s employees, he (Trump) had the right to fire him (Mueller).

Bottom line: Mueller didn’t get fired.

After the WH attorney slow-rolled the execution, Trump let the idea go.

Since there was no action that obstructed justice, Mueller flipped the logic.

Applying Jimmy Carter’s logic, Mueller argues that presumed intent without action is sufficient cause to deem obstruction.

Hmmm.

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So, action without provable intent gets a pass.

But, presumed intent without consequential action is criminal.

Does that make any sense at all?

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The legal gospels according to St. Robert and St. James … GUPI

May 31, 2019

Mueller & Comey seem to have their own rules of jurisprudence.

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Here’s an example that should leave you scratching your head.

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GUPI is an acronym that I coined and oft-used in my courses.

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GUPI

For example, I’d assert that – in business turnaround situations – all costs should be considered GUPI – Guilty Until Proven Innocent.

I thought GUPI was a cute(and potentially memorable) play on the legal principle of Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

Never – not for a moment – did I think that GUPI would become foundation to American law as exercised by Special Counsel Mueller … who was explicitly granted prosecutorial; authority.

‘’Prosecution’ – not ‘exoneration’ -’is what prosecutors do.

Otherwise, they’d be called ‘exonerators’ … not prosecutors.

Apparently, Mueller missed that class in law school/

By stating that he didn’t have sufficient evidence to exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, tossed a critical legal principle.

Now, defendants must prove their innocence … otherwise, they should be presumed guilty … subject to public criminal branding … until they prove their innocence beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.

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Come to think about it, GUPI is kinda how traffic court works.

Maybe Mueller was just elevating the principle to a higher level.

Think about the implications … some day, you may be on the hot seat.

How might you feel if the judge compels you to prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt?

That might be a high bar that you wouldn’t want to face.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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Feds: “Hire ex-cons … we do” … say, what?

June 17, 2013

Let’s connect a couple of dots from recent articles that caught my eye…

The first is a NY Post exclusive that the “State Department has hired agents with criminal records”.

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Here are the details … and a couple of odd twists.

(more…)

But, bunnies are supposed to be fast, right?

April 8, 2013

I considered titling this post “Bunny cited by jackass”.

At first, I thought this was probably secularism on steroids … trying to quash Easter.

image

Turns out to be a different charge … but equally as ridiculous.

The cop pulled the Easter Bunny over for hopping his ride without a helmet.

Are you kidding me?

Where can the EB find a helmet to fit over those enormous ears?

Or, how can he fit in a car with his head on?

How can he possibly comply?

Murder is running rampant and this jabrone is pinching the Easter Bunny.

Can’t make this stuff up …

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Busted: For not sufficiently hauling butt …

March 15, 2013

According to Channel 4 in DC …

A Maryland woman was shocked after she received a traffic ticket on Interstate 95 — because it wasn’t for speeding.

She was driving two mph under the speed limit … too slow said the trooper … by 2 MPH.

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The driver was driving in the left lane of I-95 when she was pulled over..

According to the citation, she had been driving 63 mph in the left hand lane in a 65 mph zone.

The citation read, “Failure of driver, driving below speed limit, 63 in a 65.”

A retired state trooper said Tuesday that the ticket may not hold up in court.

“You can drive in the left lane in Maryland as long as you are doing the speed limit, or not impeding by going 10 mph under the speed limit.”

While police said they can’t comment on this specific ticket, they said that driving too slowly can impede traffic, and that anyone who wants to fight a citation can do so in court.

The driver has filed a complaint with Maryland State Police and plans to fight the ticket.

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Bottom line: Besides being a nitwit, the trooper didn’t even get the law right.

Now, this poor lady has to miss a day of work to go to court and get the charges dismissed … which they will be.

Think the trooper will be written up  … or at least admonishe by the judge?

I’m betting the under.

Vroom, vroom ….

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Trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted … why?

August 3, 2012

I went to an Orioles game last week and was struck by a grand irony.

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To provide context & contrast, remember a couple of years ago when an SEIU mob swarmed the house of a B of A executive?

Happened that Nina Easton – a Fortune reporter – lived next door, was at home to witness the events, and wrote about the incident in Fortune:

Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon,  my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer.

Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.

Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch.

Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Police were summoned, but stood by idly … letting the mob rule.

Hmmm.

OK, now fast forward to my trip to Camden Yards.

A couple of times during the game the scoreboard flashed:

“Trespassing on the field is a crime.  Violators will be arrested and prosecuted.”

Tell me, why is it a major crime for some drunk jackass to run across the field and slide into one of the bases?

Practically everybody in the park belly laughs watching, nobody gets hurt.

OK, a too-long game gets extended by a couple of more minutes.

So what?

Last year at an O’s game, a wingnut ran around the field eluding a pack of cops and was about to slide into home plate when an umpire tackled him.

Citizen’s arrest, I guess.

Geez.

Now, back to my serious point.

Is running on a baseball field such an threatening act that police need to rush onto the field to corral and cuff the perp?

Apparently, yes.

So then, why don’t cops feel obligated to cuff somebody when their mob threatens a 14 year old kid?

Seems to me like something is badly out of whack.

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Death of the free refill?

June 6, 2012

Certainly you’ve heard about Mayor Bloomberg’s action to ban take-out soft drinks bigger than 16 ounces.

Many folks have pointed out the obvious idiocies, e.g. will folks be allowed to buy more than one 16 ounce soft drink … or will their be a limit of one?

Hmmm.

I’m worried about a bigger issue: what happens to free refills?

Surely “infinite” is bigger than 16 ounces.

Will restaurants be required to stop giving free refills?

I’ve always put the free refill on the list with electricity and the 3-points line as the greatest innovations ever.

Banning free refills would get me to take to the streets, for sure.

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Industry profitability?

While on the subject. I wonder what will happen to industry profitability.

The biggest sizes are the biggest profit generators … cups are a big part of the cost structure and cup costs are fairly constant across sizes … the soda itself costs only pennies … and the ice is essentially free.

So, making folks downsize will certainly hurt margins … unless, of course, prices are jacked up … which they will be.

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Cola – not OK, weed – OK

Only in NYC

According to the NYTimes

The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city’s top prosecutors  endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

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Judge says 4 of the 10 Commandments should be tossed … hmmm, which 4 go?

May 11, 2012

A couple of weeks ago – during the clash between Team Obama and the Catholic bishops – some pundits thought that the Catholic Church should change its doctrine re: contraception because its position lacked popular support.

Hopping on that idea, HomaFiles asked: How about a referendum on the 10 Commandments ?

OK, the Catholic bishops are still pushing back on the ObamaCare mandate that church-affiliated organizations must “violate their consciences” and ante up for contraceptives.

Many pundits are counter-punching the bishops … arguing that they are woefully out-of-touch … that an overwhelming majority of Catholics support contraception.  So, the bishops should get off their soap boxes and ditch the rule.

Interesting angle: subject religious doctrine re: right and wrong  to a popular vote.  If it doesn’t get a majority, chuck it.

Hmmm.

I think the idea has merit.

In fact, I say: why not hold a referendum on the 10 commandments?

Maybe #10 and #7 would fail to get enough votes and it would become legit for me to jack my neighbors big screen TV.

The idea has potential, right?

Think about it.

Which of the 10 would you like to see voted out?

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Well, seems a judge in Roanoke thinks we were onto something

Could the Ten Commandments be reduced to six, a federal judge asked Monday.

That unorthodox suggestion was made by Judge Michael Urbanski during oral arguments over whether the display amounts to a governmental endorsement of religion, as alleged in a lawsuit filed by a student at Narrows High School.

After raising many pointed questions about whether the commandments pass legal muster, the judge referred the case to mediation – with a suggestion:

Remove the first four commandments, which are clearly religious in nature, and leave the remaining six, which make more secular commands, such as do not kill or steal.

What remains unclear is whether the county would be willing to make such a move – likely to produce more political turmoil – during future discussions to come from mediation.

Source

Looks like we started something … though, those are the 4 commandments we would chuck.

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3 pages, single-spaced … due Thursday noon.

April 5, 2012

On Monday, former Constitutional law prof and now President Obama, laid into the Supreme Court for even thinking about declaring ObamaCare unconstitutional — either in part or in total — saying he was “confident” the Court would not “take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

CBS News reports:

Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented — since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional.

And, in the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president’s bluff — ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.

An Appeals Court Judge asked a DOJ lawyer if she agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.

The DOJ lawyer answered yes — and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago.

Now the part that I like.

The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power.

That’s a big difference between academia and the courts …  I always ask my students to double-space their homework.

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Breaking news: Congress sees the light …

December 16, 2011

From the Washington Times

Congress overturns incandescent light bulb ban

Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.

That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill that funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year,.

Now, back to dishwashers and clothes washers that wash?

Call me a dreamer …

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Tax dollars at work: DOJ shifts focus from KSM to BCS … again.

February 1, 2010

I may be an outlier, but I like gridlock in Congress and frivolous DOJ investigations … keeps the government from doing serious damage.  So, I’m an advocate of BCS and steroid investigations.

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Excerpted from The Hill: Obama administration contemplating probe into college football, 01/29/10

The Department of Justice is contemplating a wide variety of actions intended to reform the current college football championship system and is still determining whether or not to open a formal investigation into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said “Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football post-season.”

Weich laid out a variety of options the administration and Congress could take to reform or break apart the BCS. He also opened the possibility of commissioning a study of the costs and benefits of the BCS and asking the Federal Trade Commission to examine the legality of the BCS.

Opponents of the BCS, a group that includes several members of Congress, say that the system is unfair to the five smaller BCS conferences that receive less bowl revenue and automatic bids to the four BCS bowls.

They say that because of this, it is almost impossible for “mid-major” colleges to play for the national championship (a group that has included several undefeated teams over the past several years. Thus, opponents contend that the BCS is a oligopoly intended to benefit large athletic conferences.

Supporters of the BCS say that smaller conferences still get sizable portions of the bowl revenue pool. Overall the five mid-major conferences received $24 million in revenue. By comparison, the six larger conferences received at least $17 million each.

BCS proponents also argue that the system matches up the first and second ranked teams in the national championship (though opponents question the complex ranking system to determine the contenders) and say that the system allows historic bowl games to continue to operate and thrive.

Full article:
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/78849-obama-administration-contemplating-action-against-bcs

Justice prevails … B of A shareholders shielded from double-jeopardy

September 15, 2009

The HomaFiles were all over this one early (thanks to a provocative inquiry from SMH — an MSB alum).  We raised the issue way before the WSJ or anybody else. 

In an Aug. 26 post, HomaFiles asked whether it was double jeopardy for shareholders if the SEC fines a company for misleading or defrauding its shareholders.
https://kenhoma.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/an-irony-of-sec-fines-double-jeopardy-for-shareholders/

Apparently, the courts asked the same question …  and ruled accordingly.  Coincidence?

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WSJ,  Judge Tosses Out B of A Bonus Deal, Sep 15, 2009

A federal judge threw out the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed settlement with Bank of America over its disclosure of controversial bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch employees, in an unusual ruling that casts doubts about how the agency handles probes of major U.S. companies.

The SEC declined to sue bank executives, saying the banks’ lawyers wrote the allegedly misleading language and it couldn’t find evidence that bank executives intended to mislead shareholders.

Instead, the SEC sued the company itself, i.e. the shareholders .

In a rare scuttling of an SEC settlement, Judge Rakoff said the $33 million fine levied on Bank of America “does not comport with the most elementary notions of justice and morality” because the company’s shareholders — the victims of the alleged misconduct — are the same people being asked to pay the fine.

The judge also had little sympathy for the SEC’s argument that it would be too difficult to pursue executives, since they had been guided by lawyers. “If that is the case, why are the penalties not then sought from the lawyers? And why, in any event, does that justify imposing penalties on the victims of the lie, shareholders?” he asked.

He also had harsh words for BofA, which has recently filed court papers claiming its proxy statement was neither false nor misleading. “If the Bank is innocent of lying to its shareholders, why is it prepared to pay $33 million of its shareholders’ money as a penalty for lying to them?”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203917304574413242609077958.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB125294493976909051-lMyQjAxMDI5NTEyNDkxNDQ0Wj.html

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At the DMV, don’t even think about smiling …

June 12, 2009

Summary:  A couple of weeks ago, Kathy ( my wife ) went to the Virginia DMV to get her driver’s license renewed. When she sat down to have her picture taken, the DMV person politely told her to wipe the smile off her face.

No joke. It is a new policy that is being enforced. To find out why, keep reading…

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Excerpted from the Washington Post, “As if It Needed to, Virginia Bans Smiles at the DMV”,  May 28, 2009

Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there.

No more. As part of the DMV’s effort to develop super-secure driver’s licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a “neutral expression” in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one’s number called.

The driver’s license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.

DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers’ photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft.

“The technology works best when the images are similar, so to prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we’re asking customers to maintain a neutral expression.”

 

As for DMV patrons in Virginia, there is further cause for disappointment beyond the anti-smile rule. With the new system, state residents can no longer get their licenses and identification cards on the same day as their visits.

Instead, licenses and identification cards are now processed at a central facility in the southern Virginia city of Danville, then mailed to the customer’s address a few days later. The new cards are loaded with security features, including tactile lettering, secondary photos and anti-tampering measures, and they will be phased in as state residents renew their licenses and ID cards.

Nationwide, 37 motor vehicle agencies use facial recognition technologies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052703627_pf.html

At the DMV, don’t even think about smiling …

June 12, 2009

Summary:  A couple of weeks ago, Kathy ( my wife ) went to the Virginia DMV to get her driver’s license renewed. When she sat down to have her picture taken, the DMV person politely told her to wipe the smile off her face.

No joke. It is a new policy that is being enforced. To find out why, keep reading…

* * * * *

Excerpted from the Washington Post, “As if It Needed to, Virginia Bans Smiles at the DMV”,  May 28, 2009

Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there.

No more. As part of the DMV’s effort to develop super-secure driver’s licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a “neutral expression” in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one’s number called.

The driver’s license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.

DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers’ photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft.

“The technology works best when the images are similar, so to prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we’re asking customers to maintain a neutral expression.”

 

As for DMV patrons in Virginia, there is further cause for disappointment beyond the anti-smile rule. With the new system, state residents can no longer get their licenses and identification cards on the same day as their visits.

Instead, licenses and identification cards are now processed at a central facility in the southern Virginia city of Danville, then mailed to the customer’s address a few days later. The new cards are loaded with security features, including tactile lettering, secondary photos and anti-tampering measures, and they will be phased in as state residents renew their licenses and ID cards.

Nationwide, 37 motor vehicle agencies use facial recognition technologies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052703627_pf.html

A flagrant act of nutritional disobedience …

November 11, 2008

Excerpted from NY Times, “Bake Sales Fall Victim to Push for Healthier Foods”, November 10, 2008

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Members of the Piedmont High School boys water polo team never expected to find themselves running through school in their Speedos to promote a bake sale across the street. But times have been tough since the school banned homemade brownies and cupcakes.

The old-fashioned school bake sale, once as American as apple pie, is fast becoming obsolete in California, a result of strict new state nutrition standards for public schools that regulate the types of food that can be sold to students. The guidelines  … require that snacks sold during the school day contain no more than 35 percent sugar by weight and derive no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat.

The Piedmont High water polo team falls woefully short of these standards, selling cupcakes, caramel apples and lemon bars off campus in a flagrant act of nutritional disobedience.

The ban on bake sales has not been met with universal enthusiasm. The Piedmont Highlander, the school newspaper, editorialized about “birthday cakes turned into contraband” and homemade goodies snatched from students “by the long arm and hungry mouth of the law. You shouldn’t stop a kid from buying a cookie.”

The idea is that policy interventions to reduce consumption “will do for junk food what smoking bans and taxes did for tobacco.”

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/us/10bake.html

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Ken’s Take: Yeah, worked pretty well on smokes … 

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