Friday, January 16, 2015

Government is just another word for "things we do together"

Like not letting other people's 10-year-olds walk around without an adult escort.

Some thoughts:

1) Apparently the parents were forced by CPS to sign a "safety plan" agreeing not to let the children play unsupervised until CPS could marshal their full administrative resources to review the case. When the father at first refused, the CPS official said they'd take the kids if he didn't sign the contract. This is a strange sort of "agreement." Obviously, it's not voluntary in any sense of the word, and coercive in every sense of that word. Kafkaesque.

2) The Washington Post leaves out the details of what happened when the police came:
The police asked for the father’s ID and when he refused, called six patrol cars as backup. Alexander went upstairs and the police called out that if he came down with anything else in his hand “shots would be fired,” according to Alexander. (They said this in front of the children, Alexander says). 
At least they didn't specifically threaten to kill the kids.

3) In America, black people get shot for walking in the street. I guess white people might get shot for letting their kids walk alone where there might be black people.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The full spectrum.

The ABA Law Journal has a story about Warren Redlich, a Florida attorney who has some interesting suggestions for how to behave at a drunken-driving checkpoint. Mr. Redlich is the founder of Fair DUI.

Mr. Redlich advises motorists facing these checkpoints to hang a plastic baggie to the exterior of their car. The baggie should contain the driver's licence, registration, proof of insurance, and a flyer that says "I remain silent," "no searches," and "I want my lawyer."  According to Mr. Redlich the purpose of the flier is to protect drivers from bad cops.  You can see a video of Mr. Redlich following his own advice here.

So that is one way to handle the possibility of being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving.  A counter example comes from Freeborn County, Minnesota.  Fox 9 News has the story of a woman who had a blood alcohol content of .45%.  The story notes that this is more than 5 times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota and was the highest.  recorded in the state during the month of December.  The story also notes that the woman was found passed out in the driveway of a home owned by a trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol.

The fact that the woman was passed out in a state trooper's driveway intrigued the Fox 9 news team to do this follow up report. The report revealed that the did not know the state trooper and had apparently followed the trooper's boyfriend home from a bar. The boyfriend did not know the woman but did call the police to say she was passed out in her car in the trooper's driveway.  When police arrived at the scene, the woman's car was running. Perhaps because she was unaware of Mr. Redlich's advice, the woman allegedly told the police that her home address was "28780 I'm drunk."

Unfortunately for the woman, Clark's Grove, Minnesota-the town where the woman lives-does not have a street called "I'm Drunk."  A quick google search of the woman's name reveals that she did get the numeric portion of her address right.  However, being half-right about her address was not enough to prevent the woman from being charged with driving while intoxicated.

I don't know that there are any lessons to be drawn from these two stories besides the one should not drink and drive. I did find it amusing that there at the southern tip of the country there is a story about how to avoid being charged with drunk driving while at the the northern tip of the country there is a story about how to not avoid being charged with drunk driving.

You've spent time in both states Mr. Torvik, do these tales tell us anything about the advantages or disadvantages of living in Minnesota or Florida?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Judge Michael J. Davis has informed President Obama that Judge Davis will assume senior status in August 2015. This means that President Obama will have his second opportunity to name a federal district court judge to the bench in Minnesota. I think Mr. Torvik and I both agree that President Obama did a great job in selecting Susan Richard Nelson for his first pick.

It will be interesting to see how the President Obama's nomination to fill Judge Davis's seat does in a Republican-controlled Senate. It took nine months for Judge Nelson get confirmed when the Senate was controlled by President Obama's own party.

What do you think Mr. Torvik? Care to pick an over/under on how many months it will take President Obama's nominee to get confirmed? Will President Obama take this opportunity to redress half of his inexplicable failure to name us to the federal bench?