Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Further Forays Into the Exciting Field of Jurisprudence

Here's a couple of cases where the Court got it right. I note the first one because it's a great fact pattern, and the second one because now I'm thinking about moving to Arizona.

In Harold's Club v. Sanchez, 70 Nev. 518, 275 P.2d 384 (1954), a woman was in a casino gambling and drinking. The testimony is she knocked back five or six double Scotch whiskeys. I don't know much about alcohol, but that sounds like a lot.

So after about an hour and a half, the lady was up by $1400. She told an employee of hers to take $500 of it back to her place of business, and she stayed to keep gambling with the rest of it. She soon lost her $900, so she staggered out of the casino and back to the restaurant she owned. Her other employees told her they never saw the guy come in with her five hundred bucks, so she staggers back to the casino and asks the pit boss where her employee is. The pit boss tells her he's upstairs. So she starts to walk towards the escalator.

Let me note at this point that this is a case from 1954, and the court takes great pains to explain what an escalator is and how it works. I got a kick out of that.

Andyway, at least three casino employees warn her not to use the escalator, because it's clear to everyone that she's is toasted. She ignores them all and gets on the escalator anyway, loses her balance, falls, and fractures her ankle. And, of course, she sues the casino.

The issue in the case is whether a casino has a duty to physically restrain a patron, bombed out of her skull, from using the escalator, or whether it's enough to just give verbal warnings. The casino won, and I think that's about right. Especially given that the woman, according to the court, was six feet tall and weighed 279 pounds. The employee nearest her when she tried to use the escalator, a hostess, weighed 130 pounds. I'm glad there was a time when the Supreme Court had the sense not to require, as a matter of law, that a casino order its 130-pound hostess to try to subdue a 6-foot, 279 pound drunk woman.

The second one is State v. Cromwell, (no citation, but here's a link to the .pdf file), a truly horrible affair. A mother met Cromwell while walking to the story in the early hours of the morning, with her two daughters alone at home. After Cromwell mistook the mother for a prostitute, they got to talking, and he offered to accompany her to the store and then back to her house. At her house, they went to her bedroom to chat, while she smoked meth for an hour. Then she agreed to go bar hopping with him. All the while, her to daughers were still asleep.

Already, this lady is gunning for mother of the year.

They go back to the mother's place. A friend calls and asks the mother to go help resolve a dispute of some kind. The mother leaves Cromwell in charge, because he seemed so darn nice. While she's gone, Cromwell vicious rapes the lady's 11-year-old daughter, stabs her in the back nine times, and crushes in her skull with a television set while the terrified younger daughter, in the other room, listens to the horrible sounds from her bedroom. When the mother and her friend return, Cromwell attacks them both with a pool cue and flees. The paramedics get the 11-year-old to the hospital. The doctor notes the extent of her injuries, especially the crushed skull and multiple stab wounds, and stops life-saving measures.

The Arizona Supreme Court just affirmed his death penalty conviction. Sounds like a good place to be. Now if they can just ditch John McCain...