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If you think the female sentencing discount is a myth

January 30, 2010

You haven’t been paying attention.

All of us have made mistakes, especially while growing up. It’s the nature of life; you don’t have any past experience to guide you by, and often other people’s wisdom doesn’t sink in until it’s too late. Some of us have had mistakes with alcohol and drinking when we shouldn’t have. Maybe some of us have even made the worse mistake of driving home hammered. However, I would suspect that most of us haven’t caused the death of another human being because we were drunk and driving when we shouldn’t have.

But that’s exactly what Ashley Sullivan did. She decided to get behind the wheel when she had one too many. Of course, at her age anything beyond communion wine is “one too many”. But we’ll ignore that for the time being. Any way, she got hammered and ended up killing her boyfriend. That’s vehicular homicide, and that isn’t a mistake. It’s a serious crime.

Or at least I thought it was a serious crime. Apparently not in Buffalo and not when you happen to be an underage female. The judge initially sentencing her to five years probation. But then she got the ire of the court. She decided to post a photo of herself on Facebook a month after the crash with the headline “Drunk in Florida”. That did it. The judge came down with the gavel and sentenced her to. .. .wait for it. . .six months in jail. That’s right. Six months. If it weren’t for my respect of human life and my age, I might be tempted to go to Buffalo, get hammered under the legal age, then kill somebody while I was driving under the influence just to see if I could pick up that sweetheart of a deal. My guess is, probably not.

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And it’s so nice of Sullivan to emphasize that she won’t be allowed to drink for the five-year probation. It is nice of her to tell us that she will be punished by being forced to wait a whole year after she is legally allowed to drink in the first place.

I’ve had reservations about anybody who claims that being in a prison is some sort of pampering that we all would die for. Prison is prison, even in a women’s or juvenile’s facility. My guess is that a majority of people would be in the corner of the cell sucking their thumbs if they even got a day of jail. That being said, any sentencing involving DUI and vehicular homicide should involve at least 12 months in jail. And no, that does not count home arrest.

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It smells no better from this side

January 23, 2010

NY man accused of beheading claims he was battered

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – A western New York man accused of beheading his wife at the Muslim-oriented television station they founded will claim he was a victim of years of abuse at home.

Muzzammil Hassan (moo-ZAHM’-mel HAH’-sahn) was in a Buffalo courtroom Friday, where he fired the lawyer who has been representing him for nearly a year and hired a new one with a different strategy.

New lawyer Frank Bogulski says he’ll pursue a battered-person defense.

Battered person’s defense, whatever the gender of the person who invokes it, should be viewed with a lot of skepticism. I almost view it akin to the insanity defense. There probably are some people for whom this qualifies, but the lawyer’s gonna have to pull a hell of a case for me to buy it. And just from a quick glance of the facts, you’re going to have to have Clarance Darrow to convince me that abuse was so great to necessitate beheading.

But in spite of the gruesome facts, I view this case with no more or less skepticism than I do with a woman who shoots her husband while he’s sleeping, or one who violate a restraining order and guns down her ex-husband and his new wife for simply going for the phone and then claims battered wife syndrome.

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Michigan finds out what the rest of us know

December 7, 2009

Michigan rules derail child support payments | detnews.com | The Detroit News

Every once in a while, a state comes to a realization that the rest of us have known for a rather long, long time. It is tempting to be sarcastic in that sense (as I am guilty of many times myself), but sarcasm does not equal production. So when Michigan realizes that, by artificially inflating the payments of parents who have fallen back on hard times they have discouraged parents from making payments in the first place, even though the first thought is “ya think” our real first thought should be relieving that burden from the parents.

There are other points that the article doesn’t get into, first and foremost is where exactly is that uncompounded variable surcharge goes? Somebody’s pockets are being lined, and I would bet dollars to donuts that it isn’t going to the kids (or even to the custodial parents). Second off there is this line:

David Pate, co-director of the Wisconsin-based Center for Family Policy and Practice, said that states with heavy arrearages could face challenges when seeking federal dollars.

“If you have a very high debt in the state coffers, it looks like you’re not making your collections,” Pate said.

This is very different from the picture that was painted for me when a lawyer described Colorado’s system: if you get a collection it goes down as a payment no matter how much you collect. Maybe they’re talking about the fact that the arrearages are discouraging payments in the first place. Who knows?

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Pretty much

November 30, 2009

Doctor’s error leads to false accusation in Tenerife ‘rape’ case

The young man’s lawyer has said his client will be pursuing legal action against the doctor who drew up the first medical report. The lawyer said: “We are furious with the press. How are they going to repair the damage they have done after ‘lynching’ my client and describing him as a rapist?”

Or, as that politician who was acquitted in the 80s said: “where do I go to get my reputation back.”

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NOPD and garnishments. . .ERR wage assignments

November 29, 2009

New Orleans police officer arrested for failing to pay child support | New Orleans Metro Crime and Courts News – - NOLA.com

Willie Gant — who has served 22 years with the New Orleans Police Department — was suspended without pay following his arrest, Officer Janssen Valencia said.

Okay, does the NOPD play by different rules than other employers? Are they not implementing wage assignments or something?

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Another case of somebody pulling a stat from the rear

November 24, 2009

Does a Successful Career Hurt Moms in Custody Wars? – Family Law – Law and Daily Life

In fact, men who request sole custody of the children during a contested case prevail 50% of the time.

Where they get this number and who they are counting is pretty much a mystery to me. But this also brought up the question of what they are calling “sole custody” vs joint custody. Examples:

  1. A mother has physical custody of the children over 50 percent of the time, but the court order states that the two parents are two share legal custody.
  2. A father has physical custody of the children over 50 percent of the time, but the court order states that the two parents are two share legal custody.

Would both of the custody arrangements be considered sole custody, joint custody, or what? And would gender matter? (here’s a clue: hell yes).

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Dude really doesn’t seem to get it, now does he?

October 28, 2009

Alcohol doesn’t rape women – rapists do – Telegraph Blogs

I’m a bit concerned about what academics at Kent University have to say about the “myth” of date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB. Okay, it’s entirely valid to demonstrate that rape victims are more likely to have been incapacitated by alcohol than by drugs.

But rape is caused by rapists – not by women who are drunk or drugged,or by other risk-factors mentioned by the researchers such as walking alone at night.

The study that he is referring to is one that was reported that GHB has become the new ‘slipped me a mickey’ excuse with about as much validity.

Basically, what the study was saying was that these women hadn’t been slipped anything intentional, that they had plugged themselves with too much alcohol. But the author seems to ignore the possibility that the women maybe had morning regrets, or that they were confronted with an angry parent or boyfriend and needed to explain their actions away.

Look, I agree that some rapists would ply their subjects with alcohol or wait for a drunk victim to happen by. Just like I would admit that some criminals would wait on streets for a drunk (male) mark to roll for some easy cash. But that is a far cry from a woman going home, consensually albeit not in the best mindset, with a guy and then regretting what happened the morning afterwards. Do all women do this? Hardly. But those that do and refuse to accept the responsibility of their actions can bring down a lot of lives with the cry of rape.

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