I guess I am just ignorant

… of the law that is. It looks much more impressive in Latin though. Ignorantia juris non excusat which of course expands our  definition to mean that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I will confess to having often applied this concept to others while rarely if ever including myself. After all, the small( fortunately)  number of tickets that I  have received were for things that were indeed legitimate.

But we ( Mrs THT) and I this week discovered that we were in violation of  a city ordinance of which we had no clue. The scenario went something like this. I moved our car out of the driveway  so that we could drive the truck on that holiest of grail searches for  a guy, the search for a new lawnmower.

I parked the car  partly in the street and partly in the front yard to lessen its chances of being hit. In the very short time that ensued before I could swap places ( truck for car) in the driveway, an unexpected thing occurred. There was  a knock on the door which my wife answered. From hearing her side of the conversation, I was quite confused about the person with whom she was speaking. Meeting her at the door,I saw a local police officer returning to his vehicle. Having no clue about what we had done wrong  I asked her what he said. Seems that by parking the car partly in the road and partly in the yard, I had violated a city ordinance. This last is the kicker though. He told her that we needed to move the vehicle because we want to keep our  city beautiful. Huh?

I can think of many things that would make  enhance our city’s appearance. But  nowhere on the list could I find positioning my vehicle completely in the street or driveway versus partly in both, as such a reason. Now, paranoia being what it is I wonder if there are other beautification ordinances that  I am violating . After all Earth Day is April 26 and I certainly want to do my part. Never know if Al Gore ( aka algore) is watching.

March 27, 2011 Posted by | Legal system | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The answer to my immigration questions?

Immigration and its legality/illegality and the needed reform of whatever system we have continues to be a popular topic. Opinions are not lacking and many answers have been offered. Some make a bit of sense, others( blanket amnesty or deportation) do not. Suffice to say that it is a many faceted issue.

I think that I have finally seen a definitive answer on the immigration question. See what you think about this solution. The quote I will relay comes from an person that arrived illegally in the year 2000, but not from Mexico. She lived here illegally until May, 2010 when a judge granted her asylum.She lives in public housing and receives $700 per month in disability payments. By the way, this individual arrived from Kenya which seems an interesting place from which to arrive illegally. Here is her quote: ” If I come as an immigrant,you (presumably meaning the United States government) have the obligation to make me a citizen.”

Before I  identify her, allow me to offer a hint. She does have relatives in this country and highly placed ones at that. Her name is Zeituni Onyango and her nephew is President Barack Obama. Noe as you consider that fact, compare the attention it receives to that which California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is receiving over the firing of her illegal immigrant  nanny/housekeeper. This person was employed at a salary of +40 annually and had worked for Whitman for over nine years before being fired just over a year ago. We are viewing a big outcry over what Whitman knew and when did she know it? Can we draw analogies between the two situations  ? Just wondering.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Legal system, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Where Should You Park Your Car?

Very simple question, right? Most folks park in their driveways, a carport, on the street in front of their home or in a garage. Perfectly normal and rather safe, at least from government intruding and snooping. Not so much anymore. That is , if you live in the geographic area encompassing California and 8 other western states. For this potentially snoopervision ( thank you Paul Harvey) you may thank the  U S Court of Appeals for the 9th  Circuit.

Yes indeed, this bastion of liberal thought and  action  has  handed down  a ruling that must be quite a shock to the court’s usual fans. What this decision does at its basic level  can be described a bit like this. Government  agents, probably some of the three-letter boys, can sneak into your driveway, plant a GPS device on your vehicle and monitor said device, all without obtaining a search warrant or violating the 4th amendment right to privacy.

            The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be searched.

So says the 4th amendment. Let us see how the court manged to pull of this feat. The ruling stems from a 2007 case involving a suspected marijuana  grower whom the DEA was after. And they did just what we described  in paragraph two above. Why was the driveway open to the DEA ?  Listen closely. The driveway is open  to strangers such as delivery people or neighborhood children who can wander across uninvited. Huh!

Here is a funny part of the ruling, not ha-ha funny. A strong dissent was rendered by Reagan appointee  Alex Kozinski, the Court’s chief judge who opined that the ruling was Orwellian and  a herald of  1984. Fortunately, the U S Court of Appeals for the D C circuit took a unanimous pro-privacy stand. Never forget, the 9th Circuit Court is quite influential so  this ruling could be a harbinger of things to come.

Meanwhile, just to be safe, try parking your car indoors.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Legal system | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Believe We May Have Too Many, But Then What?

Reader’s Digest has  a somewhat regular feature called ” Outrageous,” which is written by Michael Crowley. It features articles about actual events that are almost impossible to believe in their audacity. Of course, politicians are  a frequent subject. There is  another group that makes regular appearances. Theses are our good friends from the legal profession. There were 2 items in his year-end article involving those legal eagles that so irritated me that I could not  narrow it down and thus felt compelled to comment on both.

But first, a few numbers. There were, as of 2007 , almost 1.2 million attorneys in the Unite States. Depending on whose numbers one cites, we seem to have about 1/2 the world’s total. The legal profession is the #1 profession for members of Congress. And, good old Washington. D.C. has more lawyers than all but 6 states. But this next  one  caught me by surprise. Only slightly more than 1/2 of our Presidents have been attorneys.

On to the patently outrageous. his event took place in  Salem, Ma. A young man driving a Ford Mustang ran head on into  a Honda van. The driver of the Mustang( who w as driving way over the posted speed limit ) was  injured . His passenger was severely injured as was the driver of the other vehicle. Pay close attention to this next. The father of the passenger who was injured filed  a lawsuit against the driver of the van, who, according to authorities, had done nothing amiss. The lawsuit said that she carelessly and negilently failed to avoid the  vehicle which hit her. The attorney’s  explanation, ” Under Massachusetts law, I’m trying to get compensation for my client anywhere I can.”  From an untrained perspective, it seems to view that the point being made was that the driver of the van was somehow at fault, wrong place, wrong time, or maybe just had more insurance. Outcome, don’t know.

Example #2  and this outcome, we know. The even in question took place a few years ago and was settled this year. It took place in State Island, NY and involved Little League baseball.This one on some level actually made some sense, at least as  compared to example#1. A young man incurred serious knee damage sliding into second base. The base was detachable and thus designed to prevent injury. The manager said he had taught the young man to slide properly. However, his mom sued the manager, the coach who told  him o  go to second and the state and national Little League. She ultimately  settled   for $125,000. Probably the saddest part of the story is the attorney telling ESPN The Magazine that he had been flooded with calls about other parents desiring representation. Ahhhh!!

So, too many lawyers, too many laws or what? Wish I could say. But do you e remember any news articles bemoaning the shortage of attorneys in a given area in the way there is  a shortage of physicians? Me neither.

I have to ask this. Wonder if either of the above cases would have been settled differently under Obamacare? Just kidding, a little.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Legal system | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trial Update ( Probably not the last one either)

The attorney for one of the terrorist defendants has had some interesting things to say. Thinking about what he said and reading a  comment or two from rush have switched the light on for me, I think. The attorney is  Scott  Fenstermaker and he had  this to say. The defendants will  plead not guilt but will not deny their role in the 9/11 attacks. But, they intend, according to him, to tell what happened and why. Along the way, they will share their thoughts about United States foreign policy, particularly vis-a-vis terrorism.

Now, if I am Attorney General Holder of maybe even the President, I may just like the sound of that. If U S foreign policy is “put on trial”, wonder what Administration’s foreign policy it will be? Not this one, but the Bush Administartion of course. So, and I would lik eto be wrong, rally I would, but maybe the potential for this kind of thing played into the Administration”s decision to use civilian courts, rather than the military . Another opportunity to stick it to Bush and continue to place the blame  thereon.

One side note, Congressman Louie Gohmert, R, Tx  has proposed a bill that would require terrorist defendants to be  tried before a  military tribunal. He probably knows the bill, even with 40 co-sponsors, has very little chance. But I applaud his pushing this issue  and publicly keeping the heat on the Administartion decision.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Legal system, Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What A Trial This Trial Seems To Be

There is  a very controversial trial scheduled for New York City. It involves people ,one in particular,Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who were involved in the masterminding of the 9-11 attacks. Many people have weighed in on the fact that the trial is being held in lower Manhattan, not far from Ground Zero itself. There have quite cogent arguments both for and against this particular decision. But there are so many elements of this decision worth discussing no matter what one thinks of the locale.

The Attorney General, Eric Holder said it was his decision and he informed the President as he was flying to China. He further said that he discussed it with his wife and his brother who is a retired Port Authority officer and lost friends in the attacks. He told Jim Lehrer that he told Obama of his decision, not that he consulted with him. I’m sorry, just not buying that one even though David Axelrod backed it up. Trying for a little plausible  deniability it seems.

Second item that is generating concern. The decision has been made to employ civilian over military courts. I read comments that compare this trial to Nuremberg and how  those  trials  did not advance the cause of the accused and thus this trial will not. Problem, WWII was over and those trials were military tribunals. This little insight may be telling in that regard. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano says 9/11 type attacks should be condidered”man cused disasters ,” what ever that means.This backs up the Attorney General’s position nicely.

Finally, and bear in mind that the trial will occur at some future date, listen to the President(himself a lawyer) answer a query from NBC’S  Chuck Todd about concernS  over the legal rights the defendants are getting. Read it carefully. ” I don’t think it will be  offensive at all when he’s convicted and the death penalty is applied to him.”  That is a stronger guarantee than Joe Namath made when he promised a Super Bowl win way back in 1969.

Ok, to his credit Todd had a great follow-up. He said that using a civilian court over a military one was a way to show the fairness of our legal system. Now, you have just said he’s going to be convicted and given the death sentence. Ole Chuck is getting real close to losing White House access. Now, the President fires back.” Look, what I said was that people will not be offended if  that’s the outcome. I’m not prejudging it.” Only one problem with those last 2 sentences. They are wrong. Not being a well-trained legal mind, I cannot be certain. But, has he not poisoned the case? Must not have had TOTUS  close by.

This trial will be  a doozy.

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Legal system, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments