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Thursday :: November 25, 2021

Another Thanksgiving With COVID Lurking in the Wings

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Personally, I find the media depictions of large and mostly maskless crowds at , at grocery stores, airports and public events concerning. I would have thought by now we all know what comes next - another round of mutating Covid viruses.

Colorado happens to be one of the states with a high number of new COVID cases and increased deaths. [More...]

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Sunday :: November 21, 2021

Rittenhouse's Counsel: Defending a Client, Not a Cause

Kyle Rittenhouse's chief counsel, Mark Richards, hasn't been known to give interviews about the case. Now that it's over, he has spoken.

It's an enlightening interview about the role of criminal defense attorneys. We don't represent causes, we represent individuals.

I was hired by the two first lawyers. I’m not going to use their names,” Richards said Friday. “They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate – and I don’t represent causes. I represent clients"

.....Richards...said that to him, the only thing that mattered was “whether he was found not guilty or not.'"

As for the choice of a defense strategy:

Regardless of what was happening behind the scenes, the strategy from Richards and [co-counsel] Chirafisi in court was clear: get the jury to regard Rittenhouse as a scared teenager who shot to save his life.

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Monday :: November 15, 2021

Rittenhouse Closing Arguments

Closing Arguments are taking place in the Rittenhouse trial.

Here is a summary of the prosecution's argument.

The judge tossed a charge of possession of a weapon by a person under 18 today because the statute required the gun barrel to be of a certain length, and the prosecution agreed that Rittenhouse' weapon was short-barreled and didn't qualify. It was punishable by a maximum sentence of 9 months.

The Judge also allowed a lesser included instruction for the shooting death of Anthony Huber.

Where the parties differ:

Rittenhouse said he feared for his life and acted in self-defense. Prosecutors sought to portray him as the aggressor who bears responsibility for the bloodshed.

The defense argument is live here.

500 National Guard troops are on call for after the verdict if requested by the state police. [More...]

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Thursday :: November 11, 2021

Thursday Open Thread

I'm sorry for my absence the past few weeks -- it's temporary, to be sure.

We need a new open thread, so here it is, all topics are welcome.

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Tuesday :: October 26, 2021

How to Wipe Out Trump's Stamp on the Federal Judiciary

Former New York federal court Judge Shira Scheindlin has an op-ed in the Guardian on how Trump took over the federal Judiciary with his abundant lifetime appointments of judges to our federal courts --including district and appellate courts and the Supreme Court.

There are a total of 816 active federal judges comprising the supreme court, the 13 appellate courts, and 91 district courts. In just one term Trump was able to appoint 28% of those judges due to past and continuing vacancies. Most importantly, he appointed 33% of America’s nine supreme court justices and 30% of the appellate judges.

Trump, desperate as always to leave his mark on something he touched, made sure to appoint young (by judicial standards) mostly white males to our nation's courts. [More....]

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Wednesday :: October 20, 2021

Joe Biden's Makes His Mark on the Judiciary

Some good news to report about Joe Biden. He has rapidly been filling the open slots for federal District and Appeals Court judges. So far, 8 of those appointed and confirmed have backgrounds as public defenders.

That is as many as (un)president Donald Trump, and Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton landed in their first years combined, said Chris Kang, the chief counsel of Demand Justice.

...Set against recent history, [appointing 5 of these judges to the Courts of Appeal] t...is a remarkable statistic. President Barack Obama confirmed five former public defenders to the appeals courts over his entire eight years, according to the progressive judicial group Demand Justice. Biden has matched that in his first nine months.

For decades, federal judicial appointments have favored ex-prosecutors and corporate lawyers, the latter of whom have no criminal experience. [More...]

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Tuesday :: October 19, 2021

Colin Powell Dies From COVID-Complications

General Colin Powell has died from complications from COVID-19. He was 84 and fully vaccinated. However, his immune system had been compromised by having had blood cancer.

Powell, who was 84, received his second Pfizer shot in February but was immunocompromised as a result of his cancer and suffered from Parkinson’s disease, [his longtime assistant Peggy] Cifrino said in an interview. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that severely impairs the immune system, lowering the effectiveness of vaccines.

“He was actually scheduled to receive his booster when he fell ill last week,” Cifrino said. “He couldn’t go to his appointment. … He thought he was just not feeling quite right, and he went to the hospital.”

According to the CDC which has followed 7,178 deaths among fully vaccinated people, 85% of the deaths occurred in the over age 65 population. [More...]

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Sunday :: October 17, 2021

More Capitol Riot Defendants are Forgoing Lawyers

We've always known that most non-millionaire Donald Trump supporters are marginalized and under-informed. (Just a nicer term for under-educated and/or stupid). So perhaps it's no surprise that many of those charged in the Capitol riots are now seeking to represent themselves, despite repeated warnings from the Judge that it's a bad idea, and despite being offered the services of court-appointed counsel.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth told one such defendant he hadn't seen a successful case of self-representation since he took the bench in 1987. New York Civil Rights Lawyer Ron Kuby says he hasn't seen a successful case of self-representation in his 40 years as a lawyer.

I say this all the time on TalkLeft, but I'll do it one more time: You have the right to remain silent. Use it or lose it. Our jails are filled with people who thought if they could only tell their side of the story, the police (or judge or jury) would see it their way. It rarely happens.

Many of these under-informed defendants think that if they represent themselves, they will be able to put the corrupt "system" on trial. It won't happen. The system is not on trial, you are. Judges, not defendants, decide what is admissible at a trial. Any hint of something that seeks jury nullification won't be permitted in federal court.
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Sunday Open Thread

dd5dc4b1_z

I'm obsessed with bodies of water these days. From Drake's Passage that goes between Ushaia, Argentina and the Antarctic, to the amazing waters around Tasmania, just below Australia, I've spent hours looking at pictures and ships and adventure tours.

By contrast, I also love the photo above. It's neither in South America, Australia, Asia nor the Indian Ocean. It's somewhere in Europe. I would love to sit on one of those chairs and do nothing but stare at the ocean. Any guesses?

Have any of you crossed Drake's passage or been to Tasmania? (Not the same as Tanzania in Africa).

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Bill Clinton On the Mend, Heads Home to NY

clintonleaveshospital_300

Former President Bill Clinton has left the hospital in Irvine, CA for his home in New York. A urinary infection led to sepsis shock, but he's been treated and his blood levels have returned to normal. He can continue his treatment at home.

This Reuters article seems more like an obituary than a news article to me the way it sterilely recounts his past achievements. I'm sure every media organization has had his obituary written for ages -- I wish Bill Clinton many more years of health and meaningful activity before that day comes.

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Tuesday :: October 05, 2021

Facebook Hearing

Can anyone explain what it is that Facebook is accused of? Articles like this are ridiculous, not once does it say what they are "targeting children" with or how Instagram is dangerous. On some network later, Monica Lewinsky is going to weigh in, so I take it that bullying is involved.

Why isn't it a parent's responsibility to monitor their child's use of social media and the internet. Some Congressman today said on the radio that we are going to have a generation of afflicted children. Afflicted by what?

And what does artificial intelligencve have to do with it? I heard a news anchor on the radio say that a woman who has a miscarriage will be bombarded by it online for years.

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Thursday :: September 30, 2021

Thursday Open Thread

Thanks to Peter G. for letting me know we need a new open thread. I'll be back over the weekend.

All topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: September 28, 2021

Military Generals Weigh in on Afghanistan and Taliban

At a Congressional hearing today, there was criticism of Joe Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Among the comments: Fear-Mongering:

Gen. Milley: "We must remember that the Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization and they still have not broken ties with Al-Qaeda...A reconstituted Al-Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility."

[More...]

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Sunday :: September 19, 2021

2021 Emmys -- Scaled Down

The Emmys Awards are on. There is something very different about this year's production. It is so scaled down, and many of the nominees are celebrating and appearing from London.

I'm watching on my desktop and there seems to be a time delay of a few seconds during which you get to see the exact moment the nominee hears their name and their entire expression changes. I like that.

The London room seems like an intimate bar, with just a handful or two of tables. It's a more intimate setting than even the Golden Globes.

So far, the awards are going to a handful of shows like The Crown, Ted Lasso, The Handsmaid's Tale, Pose, Ted Lasso to name a few.[More...]

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Friday :: September 17, 2021

Congratulations to CO Governor Jared Polis

Mazel Tov, Congratulations and Muchas felicidades to Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado First Gentleman Marlon Reis, partners of 18 years. They got married in Boulder on Wednesday.

The greatest lesson we have learned over the past 18 months is that life as we know it can change in an instant. We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our life together as a married couple.

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