Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Trilogy of Legal Stories

1. Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children and pled insanity, got her convictions overturned today (for some reason, she was only prosecuted in three of the five deaths). The appellate court determined that testimony offered by one of the prosecution's witnesses was false. In a criminal appeal, the defense must first show an error, and then show that the error was likely to have unduly prejudiced the trial. The appellate court said it did.

This news means nothing more than that she must be tried again, assuming the prosecutor can't get a reversal on further appeal. In other words, this story is far from over. But that hasn't stopped Michael Savage, who I've had the great misfortune of listening to today, from making stupid comments about her going free because she's insane, and how the liberals are screwing up the legal system.

First of all, the criminally insane do not go free because they are found insane. Savage doesn't seem to appreciate that point, or if he does he's deliberately hiding the fact.

Secondly, while he laments that Yates was freed on a technicality, he misses the fact that the law is technical, and therefore whenever anyone is convicted, it is on a technicality. Whenever someone is found not guilty, it is on a technicality. This seems like a stupid case for Savage to get all worked up about because Yates, who confessed that she killed her children, is not going to go unpunished - eventually, the machinery of justice will put her in the right place. But the appellate court, by closely scrutinizing the prosecutor, indirectly protects us all. So Yates gets a new trial to make sure the lawyer follows the rules? Good, because it means if I ever go on trial for something, the lawyer will know he must follow the rules. (In this case, it was a lying witness who failed to follow the rules, but the principle is the same).

2. Three Louisiana high school students were arrested for "cyber-bullying." One student made a web page suggesting another was gay, and the second student retaliated with some violent poetry.


Boy, I'm glad we have that law on the books, 'cause otherwise people might have to go through high school getting their feelings hurt. Which of course would make them different from any other high school students in America.

3. A female teacher has been arrested for having sex with teen-aged students. Oh, and don't miss this story about another female teacher getting arrested for sex with a teen-ager.

Here's my favorite quote:

"An attorney for Bench-Solorio said she is 'embarrassed.'"

Yes, I would think so. You're that hard up for a date, huh? The teacher in the second story was unavailable for comment.