Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Low Bar

As Making a Murder has become the new Serial which was "jinxed" the second season largely due to the topic matter and not I believe the fetish for crime of the month fascination in America. Serial was interesting, the story compelling and the narrator an individual whose own idiosyncrasies lent to the tale of Adnan Syed.

And as a result like many others in Mr. Syed's shoes a opportunity for a second look, which in many many cases is well deserved or needed. Radley Balko of the Washington Post had been covering this well worn path with junk science and prosecutorial misconduct and SWAT cops for years and he too flames bright and new until the next narrator comes along with another tale. That is the cycle of news. Sometimes it is who tells it versus the story itself.

Watch Spotlight and Truth and know that there are roads to the journey that often make little sense in the pursuit of what defines news and what is truth. (And yes even those movies tell the story from their own angle and objectivity, remember it is called bias). You cannot escape bias and you cannot escape incompetence in any profession but what holds up as the pillar of parity and fairness one would think that the odds are stacked in their favor, the irony is that is actually not the case.

And Serial and Making a Murderer demonstrate the sheer magnitude of what defines competence. I want to point out while one Attorney, Dean Strang, has been labeled a "hearthrob" for being just a well intentioned Attorney who was intentionally doing his job.  However,  you cannot say the same for the originally assigned Public Defender, Len Kachinsky, who at one point represented the other defendant, Dassey.  This is the teenager whose intellectual depth was questioned throughout, and Kachinsky  who illustrated the prototype PD we have come to believe - an idiot - placed this case and this young addled man into perpetual chaos.  This man made his client take a polygraph (junk science thank you very much which my Attorney wanted me to do and I say fuck you no and he laughed in my face when I said it is garbage while the other dipshit young assistant attorney stood next to him and said "what a great idea. Yes this man I have written checks and gone in debt to..) and forced a minor to sign off his rights by admitting guilt.  All while giving rambling press conferences that are worth watching for just those alone.

Kachinsky has now claiming that it was an internal document that accidentally coincidentally got into the hands of the prosecution. You cannot make this shit up just ask Orange County California about the level of malfeasance that went on there for years. You think the Housewives are nuts, it must be in the water.

 So is Making A Murder the new real Orange is the New Black? Sure but if gets people talking then yes let's talk. The law community of course is full of excuses and justification but whatever. Again remember the Prosecutor was removed for a sexting scandal. If you saw this on Scandal you would love every moment. Ah life imitating art imitating life. So I am waiting for some scandal about the Judge that would rock my world frankly. People talk about Seattle as it is the town of bliss and well I want to point out that ignorance is that - bliss.

As I have said I have a Harvard Educated Lawyer with a Math /Physics Degree and his friend colleague that brought the crime lab of the County down. And then I watched as they mishandled my case, were utterly unprepared and bitch Prosecutor whose own behavior and lack of prep was equanimity's to my own attorneys (who by the way had the case for two years prior to trial) and a Judge whose level of incompetence and confusion was something to see to believe or do you actually need to see it. The transcripts say it all with the number of sidebars going into double digits for a week long trial that well was broken up for the Prosecutor needing a mental health break, a Juror needing a luncheon and well time for the Judge to slam so more people into jail. You think Making a Murderer is false, uh no, that level of idiocy down to the Jurors could have been my courtroom, only thankfully I was not being convicted of a felony, although the bills rival into that territory.

Actually its six figures for a felony, just ask a Lawyer they won't tell you as that is perfectly legal so you never really know how much this will end up costing. Your life sure but what have you got to hawk? Those Motions don't write themselves.

As one who went pro se in the civil case my overall costs were just over 5K. The paralegal took about 3K to assist in briefs, and my time researching, getting documents and other about 2500 and I still lost in the same way I lost the one costing 25K. So one can say I was just a loser regardless.  Pro Se or not I would have lost the Malpractice case as it was down to experts a costly frankly unnecessary expense, that and that state law requires arbitration/mediation so no way was I coming of it any way a "winner;"  that said, my current motion is now in front of our State Supreme Court.  That cost me a postage stamp, well actually 5 bucks as I had to mail it to 4 individuals including the court.

God I laugh at that one as well this like many cases of bullshit and fraud have now cost the taxpayers 10 times what I have paid. Thanks! And when I was explaining that pro se litigants have the negative letter on them stamped from the moment they file, this Judge Judy who has since lost her gig makes me laugh and not in the other Judge Judy way.

This is the story about Judith Elier; Eiler had served as a King County District Court judge for nearly 20 years, and, according to documents, had previously received numerous complaints about her behavior over the last 7-8 years. Statements in legal documents describe her courtroom behavior as “rude, intimidating, condescending, or demeaning.”

King County voters elected Eiler to the bench in 1992, winning re-election many times while managing a caseload that primarily consisted of small claims and traffic infraction matters in which most, if not all, litigants appear pro se (representing oneself as opposed to hiring a lawyer).

The County says that Eiler has heard close to 100,000 such matters during her tenure on the bench. And this woman was a Judge. Really? For 20 years. Ever read the crazy ramblings of Judge Kopf on his blawg? Yikes.  And there are plenty more, as they are former Lawyers and often largely former Prosecutors, so this bar is relatively low one from which to jump.  Now I know why Lawyers call it the bar.

 A Real-Life Judge Judy Gets Smacked Down
 By Adam Cohen
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010

When a defendant showed up on a traffic charge, Judge Judy delivered a zinger: "If you drive like an idiot 'cause you're late for work, you're gonna have to pay for it."

Then she piled on: "You can see your picture on the headlines of the Seattle Times, stupid young man who shouldn't be driving." Another defendant recalled that the tart-tongue jurist humiliated and bullied her until she broke down in tears. "She frequently interrupted answers with insults," the woman recalled. This bullying Judge Judy was not Judge Judith Sheindlin, the tough-talking former New York City Family Court judge who has the top-rated judge show on syndicated television.

It was Judge Judith Raub Eiler, her real-life doppelgänger, who sits at a county court in Seattle. Instead of high ratings and rich syndication fees, this Judge Judy's aggressive demeanor earned her a five-day suspension without pay courtesy of the Washington State Supreme Court.

It is a good and important ruling, but the court did not go far enough. It should have pushed back against our rising smackdown culture by removing this judge running amok from her job. Judge Eiler first ran into trouble in 2004.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct brought her up on disciplinary charges for her insulting and demeaning judicial style. It pointed to multiple instances showing that she had engaged in "a pattern or practice of rude, impatient and undignified treatment" of the people who appeared before her.

Judge Eiler admitted to her misdeeds. She was required to participate in behavioral therapy and to refrain from similar conduct in the future. She completed the therapy, but soon she went back to her old ways. In 2008, the commission accused her of the same kind of abuse. Judge Eiler defended herself by saying she was just a "tough, no-nonsense judge" and that the case against her was overblown.

She also made the bizarre claim that the court was trying to infringe on her freedom of speech. Judges, after all, do not have a First Amendment right to abuse people just because they use words to do it. By that logic, bank robbers would have a First Amendment right to hand over notes saying "This is a stickup."

The Washington Supreme Court did the right thing, ruling this month that Judge Eiler had violated the state's judicial canons. Unfortunately, the punishment ultimately handed down was much less than initially recommended. The disciplinary counsel who originally brought the case urged the commission to remove Judge Eiler from the bench permanently. The commission instead recommended that she be suspended for 90 days without pay. 

The Washington Supreme Court knocked it down to five days. It is hard to believe TV's Judge Judy was not a strong influence on Seattle's Judge Judy.

TV's Judge Judy yells at litigants and belittles them, and her specialty is finding innovative new ways of calling people stupid. The woman who wrote a best seller called Beauty Fades, Dumb Is Forever makes no apologies for her courtroom tongue-lashings.

 "If I call someone an idiot," she told the Daily Beast, "they're an idiot." (See Judge Judy and nine other dubious Walk of Fame stars.) The two Judge Judys have another thing in common: the targets of their wrath seem to be the most powerless members of society.

TV's Judge Judy does not usually go after greedy Wall Street titans or corrupt elected officials. The person she is yelling at is almost always one of life's losers — poor, not very well educated and perhaps not altogether there.

 Similarly, Judge Eiler's victims were mainly pro se litigants — people who go to court without a lawyer. Not understanding the law, they are often confused about how things work and, as a result, vulnerable — perfect targets for a bully. The two Judge Judys say a lot about the sad state of our national discourse. If you turn on cable news, the odds are good that you will get a screaming match. Talk radio is worse. Polls show that workplace bullying is at epidemic levels.

There is clearly an audience for this sort of mean-judge shtick. Judge Judy regularly beats Oprah in the Nielsen ratings, and last year she hauled in a reported $45 million. There is an important difference, though, between TV and the real world. Seattle's Judge Judy should have been tossed from the bench.

She acted viciously, she was found to have violated the judicial canons and she did it again when she said she would not. It is also clear from the defense that she made in the Supreme Court that she still does not understand why her conduct was so offensive. That means she has no business being a judge.

 Still, even with the lenient sentence, the Washington Supreme Court's rebuke sends an unmistakable message: judicial bullies may thrive on television, but they have no place in real courts of law.

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