Columnist Robert Novak Accused of a Hit and Run in Washington

Columnist Robert Novak has a reputation for being an aggressive and fast driver. It may now have put him into legal jeopardy. He is accused of hitting a man in his black Corvette who was lawfully crossing in a pedestrian walkway in Washington and then speeding from the scene — only to be stopped a block away by an attorney who chased him on a bicycle. Novak joked in 2001 about his hatred for jaywalkers and the option of running them over. A video of the aftermath is linked below.


The pedestrian was a 66-year-old man but Novak told reporters that “I didn’t know I hit him. … I feel terrible. He’s not dead, that’s the main thing.” Well, maybe not. Novak admits that he was a block away the accident when he was stopped by a bicyclist. However, that bicyclist witnessed the accident and says that he had to chase Novak after he sped from the scene. He would seem a pretty credible witness. He is David Bono, a partner at Harkins Cunningham, who saw the accident and says that Novak “plows into the guy. The guy is sort of splayed into the windshield.” How does one not notice a guy splayed on your windshield?

Bono said that he was outraged by the Novak’s flight: “This car is speeding away. What’s going through my mind is, you just can’t hit a pedestrian and drive away.” It is hard to see how Novak was only charged with failing to yield the right of way. There is at least one eyewitness who believes that this was a hit and run — and another witness supports part of his account with a contemporary statement. Another witness, a concierge named Aleta Petty, said that Bono told her immediately after the accident that he was going to chase a hit and run driver. She quoted Bono as saying “This guy hit somebody and he won’t stop so I’m going to stay here until the police come.” Thus, Bono did not just adopt a harsher view after finding out it was Novak.

Hit and run is obvious a much more serious charge. Section 50-2201.05 states:

Fleeing from scene of accident; driving under the influence of liquor or drugs.

(2) Any operator whose vehicle causes personal injury to an individual and who fails to conform to the above requirements shall, upon conviction of the 1st offense, be fined not more than $500, or shall be imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both; and upon the conviction of his 2nd or subsequent offense, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

In the meantime, civil litigation could ensue for negligence and other claims by the victim. A trial would be particularly interesting to see if the court would allow the following statement from Novak in a 2001 Washington Post interview: “I really hate jaywalkers. I despise them. Since I don’t run the country, all I can do is yell at ‘em. The other option is to run ‘em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that.” Now, that would be an intense motion in limine fight to keep that from a Washington jury.

Novak’s hit pieces on folks like Valerie Plame are now notorious examples of his work. However, the alleged expansion to the actual use of a car for a hit and run is a new development.

For a video of Novak after receiving the citation, click here.

For the full story, click here.

58 thoughts on “Columnist Robert Novak Accused of a Hit and Run in Washington

  1. I can’t imagine how anyone driving a Corvette wouldn’t realize that he had hit anything, let alone a man on a bike. Of course, we are talking about that infamous beacon of truth, Bob Novak! I hope he has some good insurance because it sounds like the witness just might be a good on the witness stand. I hope the victim recovers fully and gets some serious change out of Novak.

  2. rafflaw,

    You made me laugh! You’re right. It’s not the story of the Princess and the Pea, it’s the one about the midlife crises and the knat! God may know the fate of every sparrow but the corvette driver hears the sound of dents before they occur through precognition!!! He didn’t see the guy on his windshield? That explanation is inoperative! I’m with you, hope the guy recovers fully and wins his suit.

    Jill

  3. I’m sure he “feels terrible” because he was caught. If your victim is “sort of splayed into the windshield,” you knew what you did.

    The penalties for hit and run sound puny. If you merely scrape somebody with your car, that’s hit and run, right? What if you ram them against a tree and break their arms and legs…same penalty? What if you kill them, but it’s your first offense?

    Novak should be glad it wasn’t me. I hate hit-and-run drivers more than traitors to our country, and he’s both.

  4. Isn’t the world a strange, wonderful place–excepting maybe yesterday for the pedestrian. The fact that character always seems to emerge despite reputation is very gratifying though I am sorry for the plight of this victim. As others here have noted, anyone hitting someone in a ‘Vette knows it given its closeness to the ground and the road feel. Maybe of more psychological interest is why our good commentator felt the need to operate such an obvious phallus symbol around the Nation’s capital. Aren’t there enough of them already?

  5. rafflaw:

    Do you think Novak has a utility belt too? He is the dark knight after all. Who knows maybe the black ‘Vette is the Batmobile. Wham! Pow! Kazamm!

  6. He probably feels entitled to vette’ern’s benefits. What a rat bastard! I’m sure Buttercup is right. He feels really bad, about being caught.

  7. That’s the criminal penalties. There are also administrative penalties on the driver’s license. I suspect it’s an automatic suspension for a hit-and-run in most states.

    Can New York amend the traffic citation at a later time? Or is it something where the state only has one bite of the (big) apple — the DA can plea bargain down, but can’t later file additional charges? It would also seem to depend on the condition of the (alleged) victim. It would be far harder to play down if he suffered broken bones, for instance.

    BTW: “civil litigation could ensue for negligence and other crimes by the victim.” I’m still trying to figure out what crimes the victim committed. :-)

  8. This ones easy.

    Novak thinks ordinary people are insects. Bugs.

    Therefore, how could one consider it odd that he didn’t notice a splayed bug on his windsheild?

  9. You have to see the interview on ABC…it’s posted on sites already.

    He clearly regrets…that he got caught.

    “He’s not dead [laugh], that’s the main thing [feigned seriousness].”

    The victim is in worse condition than first thought.

    What an infuriating story.

  10. I guess my only question would be how would this case be charged?

    I mean, its sort of a hit and run, or at least leaving the scene, however, a passing witness convinced him to return to the scene, and he wasn’t far from it, merely one block.

    So I wonder how they’ll charge it? Is it hit and run, leaving the scene, failure to yeild?

    hmmm..no…wait a second.

    We’re talking about Bob Novak, and actually being charged with something.
    :|

    bawahahahahahahaaahahhahahahhaaa

  11. Informational only:

    “Politico notes that in a 2001 interview with the Washington Post, Novak said, “I really hate jaywalkers. I despise them. Since I don’t run the country, all I can do is yell at ‘em. The other option is to run ‘em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that.”

  12. “In the meantime, civil litigation could ensue for negligence and other crimes by the victim.”

    You’re a smart guy, Prof. Turley, except when you’re not.

    Civil litigation does not deal in crimes. It deals in contracts and torts, one of which is negligence. Most of us knew all this even before we went to law school.

  13. Brian
    1, July 23, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Civil litigation does not deal in crimes

    Really?
    :|

    So what did they sue OJ for?

  14. Brian

    “Civil litigation does not deal in crimes. It deals in contracts and torts, one of which is negligence. Most of us knew all this even before we went to law school.”

    **************

    I would get that request in for law school tuition reimbursement since every First Year I know understands that crimes can form the basis for tort claims. (See e.g., Simpson, O.J.–two cases) We call them intentional torts if they involve a specific intent to harm , or wanton conduct; negligence if they involve breach of due care by engaging in conduct below the accepted standard of a reasonably prudent person or in violation of a statutory or other prescribed duty. It is undeniably true that intentional acts, such as crimes, are torts too. The difference is in the remedy and the public versus private interest served. While I doubt Novak intended to hit the pedestrian, his actions were likely negligent (thus giving rise to liability civilly), and his attempts at fleeing the scene while not a tort in themselves were most likely criminal.

  15. His animosity towards jaywalkers is irrelevant — the victim had the walk signal, was in the crosswalk, etc. It’s still disturbing, of course.

    As for his short flee from justice, didn’t reporters say that he repeatedly tried to get around the cyclist who was blocking him? This speaks volumes to his state of mind. I can understand a moment of panic, but his attempts to flee the scene lasted far longer than that.

  16. I don’t see the professor implying that Civil law constitutes criminal law, or that they would be criminally prosecuting Speed and the Mach 5, in a civil court.

    I do see him saying that some of the things Mr Novak did to the victim are considered crimes, and are also actionable, and that he will likely face civil litigation for them.

    Crimes are often actionable in the civil courts.

    In fact, they’re often the last resort for victims when the criminal courts fail.
    :|

    Not sure where you’re studying law, but I’d ask if they have an after hours tutoring program.

  17. I agree with Mespo that Prof. Turley was talking about intentional torts. Brian might have been confused with the term crime, but nonetheless, Novak is looking at a civil suit and I would guess he would have pretty deep pockets. At least his insurance company will.
    It is a shame that it had to happen to such a nice, moral guy like Robert Novak. Once again, I hope the victim heals completely from his wounds.

  18. Brian
    1, July 23, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Civil litigation does not deal in crimes. It deals in contracts and torts, one of which is negligence. Most of us knew all this even before we went to law school

    Yea.
    :|

    But most seem to know better after law school.

  19. “Novak joked in 2001 about his hatred for jaywalkers and the option of running them over.”

    Another example of not-very-funny right-wing humor.

  20. Josh Marshall (talkingpointsmemo.com) raised an interesting point. If we take Novak at his word, he’s so out of it that he really didn’t notice hitting a guy hard enough to put him into the hospital. That scenario is not entirely out of the question to anyone who’s lived in Florida. It would eliminate a lot of his moral and legal jeopardy, although I think it concurrently makes it morally and legally imperative for him to voluntarily surrender his license.

    In any case, it’s medical grounds for the state to pull his license.
    At least require extensive tests to show that he’s not susceptible to blackouts or whatever happened.

    So… it’s a dilemma. Either he fled the scene and should have his license yanked for hit-and-run, or he’s medically incompetent to drive and should have his license yanked. There doesn’t seem to be a third option — and either way he should have his license yanked.

  21. The guy on the bike is a smart attorney.

    He knows his future client’s settlement will be impacted by what he said at the time about the non-incident that is now being blown up as a hit & run.

  22. Thanks everyone. It is true that crimes are actionable as torts, but the entry was meant to say other claims, not other crimes. The transition from a criminal claim to a civil claim is usually quite simple. Most crimes are forms of battery, false imprisonment or other forms of intentional torts. There is an interesting crossover on the criminal. While I am no fan of the provisions, there are crimes of “criminal negligence.” Many states allow criminal charges for recklessness in driving etc.

    It will be interesting how the police handle these allegations of a hit and run. If it were treated as a hit and run, Novak would have been taken to the station. It may be that the police did not interview witnesses, which seems odd with an attorney who saw the entire accident.

  23. A question occurred to me this morning — how likely is it that the officer’s precinct captain (and higher) did NOT get involved? Even if the officer ignored any “do you know who I am?!” screams, the presence of cameras would certainly tip him off to the fact that this was no ordinary traffic accident and he should contact the precinct.

    On top of that, many passerbys would recognize him and some might call his office. I’m certain he has many high-level contacts with local LEA.

    So… did somebody order the officer to only issue a “failure to yield” ticket?

  24. dundar:

    An attorney who reasonably can be expected to be a necessary witness in a trial cannot serve as the attorney for the victim litigant. ABA Model Rule 3.7. I also suspect that Harkins Cunningham is not doing a lot of plaintiff’s personal injury work, unless it involves mass tort. So, as usual, your venom is misplaced.

  25. First of all … the altitude of this conversation has caused me to reach for my oxygen – not that I don’t enjoy the parabola and the resulting brief weightlessness but there is some simple Andy of Mayberry Police logic here.

    Man operates car.
    Man hits pedestrian.
    Other man chases man on bicycle
    Other man stops man in car tells him he’s hit a pedestrian
    Man waits with other man for police

    Now unless you believe that Novak mistook the cyclist for a super-hero because of his colorful tights – Novak reacted lawfully when confronted by a civilian. Unless he traveled with a clear intent to flee the scene, creating an arrest event would be career changing for the cop.

    My further two cents: NO matter how much one dislikes Novak, or chuckles over his Viagra Signature Corvette, or the numerous and thoroughly comical inspiration for an endless riff of comedy sketches – this story is already over – less an auto-insurance claim.

  26. AFAIK the victim is still in the hospital. He would not say the story is already over. Nor a prosecutor looking at adding “-resulting in injury” to charges.

  27. Chris,

    Thank you for the update. My neighbor was similarly hurt and your are quite correct to say this is not over for the victim. Novak should not be treated differently than any other person who did such a thing.

    Jill

  28. binx101
    1, July 24, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Unless he traveled with a clear intent to flee the scene, creating an arrest event would be career changing for the cop

    While in theory this statement makes sense, the testimony of the cyclist removes any doubt as to Mr Novak’s “clear intent”.

    If the cyclist had reported that Mr Novak may have “brushed” the victim with his car, then there would be some doubt as to his intent in leaving the scene, in that there is a reasonable doubt whether he was aware or not that he had struck a pedestrian.

    But given the cyclists report that the victim was literally “splayed” across the hood of Mr Novaks Penismobile, and given that Mr Novak continued driving on anyway, his intent on fleeing the scene has been made evident.

    If this was you or me, we’d have been cited at the minimum with leaving the scene of an accident, or even “hit and run”.

  29. With all due respect – remove the incident the fact the Novak was stopped a block from the scene – Novak’s car is stopped at the scene and the pedestrian victim is on the ground after sliding off of Novak’s car windshield and hood.

    What are the charges ??

    My guess – same.

    Now factor in Novak in la la land – but no impairment as judged by the officer at the scene after questioning Novak. Novak says – I didn’t realize I had hit anyone.

    The cyclist stops him a block later and tells Novak that he’s hit someone with his car – he waits for the police.

    The police officer would have to be an idiot with a dream to work the graveyard shift until retirement to arrest for Hit and Run. Now if he told the cyclist to F-off and drove away … now you’re talking about posing for the camera.

    So we’ll have to respectfully disagree.

  30. What’s that thing, you know about how it’s attempted murder when you shoot a corpse if you think it’s still alive? It doesn’t matter if he was stopped one foot later, the only thing that matters is that he attempted to drive away instead of stopping to check on the person. If he had planned to stop he would have done so far earlier.

    (As others have repeatedly pointed out, this wasn’t a “did I hit something?” moment or “did somebody run into me?” moment. People getting spread across your windshield doesn’t leave much doubt you should stop.)

    Ditto, it doesn’t matter that he was unsuccessful getting around the cyclist. In. Heavy. DC. Traffic. It’s that credible witnesses said that he did try to get around the cyclist. Repeatedly.

    By your logic, as I understand it, the only people who can be charged with crimes are the people who make clean getaways.

  31. No that wasn’t my point at all. My point was that this trail is taking place here. No facts whatsoever. Just opinions and news reports being considered evidence. I’ve gathered enough evidence in my day to be able to distinguish between evidence and opinion, including the cyclist’s, irrespective of his Juris Pedigree.

    Of an in itself opinions are great. My opinion is … no criminal charges, no charges other than the traffic infraction and everything else is a insurance case.

    By the way – when I scrape something off the bottom of my shoe that appears to be excrement, I usually call it Novak. I detest him.

  32. binx101
    1, July 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    The police officer would have to be an idiot with a dream to work the graveyard shift until retirement to arrest for Hit and Run. Now if he told the cyclist to F-off and drove away … now you’re talking about posing for the camera.

    So we’ll have to respectfully disagree

    Well I don’t disagree that hit and run would be unlikely, in fact, isn’t that a charge usually leveled by a DA, after the fact? I’m not sure, just asking. But certainly driving a block beyond the scene before effectively being compelled to stop by a pedestrian certainly to me at least, demonstrates intent to leave the scene. But hey, I could be wrong, so I’ll just say you may be right, but I think theres room for doubt. Not with regards to the Hit and Run. I agree with you that that was reaching.

    But the intent on “leaving the scene”, seems to me more than apparent, so I have room for doubt there.

    Here Jinx, I’ll tell you a true story about this, that happened to me in DC about 10 years ago. When I used to work downtown, I was one day driving just below Chevy Chase Circle in the District, and as I was driving, I noticed an accident on one of the side streets. It happened while I was sitting at a light, and I didn’t see it, I just heard the bang of the crash, then noticed up ahead in the intersection two cars had collided.

    I proceeded to make a U Turn from the intersection, and headed back towards Chevy Chase Circle and Western Ave. Just as I got to the stop sign, a police woman ran up to my window, and smacking her hand on the window she demanded I stop and roll down the window. She threatened to charge me with leaving the scene of the accident. I told her I hadn’t seen a thing, just heard the bang, and she said “fine, then thats what you’ll write”. They made me pull over, and write a statement. Now, at the time, I didn’t know if that was legal or not, but I certainly didn’t want to argue. She was pretty mad at me. So I did the complaint thing, and left. But the story I think, at least for me, demonstrates that most of us little people don’t get to benefits of the doubt you are giving to mr Novak on such things. I think there was favortism here, and I think leaving the scene, or “ATTEMPTING to leave the scene” is more than a reasonable call.

    So yes, on that point, we respectfully disagree.

  33. binx101
    1, July 24, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    By the way – when I scrape something off the bottom of my shoe that appears to be excrement, I usually call it Novak. I detest him

    yea, he’s not exactly on my Christmas card list either, lol. I almost feel sorry for the little guy though, even though I know he deserves what he gets. But just contemplating how hard life is being, and going to be on him from now on, moves me to pathos, lol.

    But I appreciate you adding that little but important tidbit, which identifies you to me, as someone who makes their decisions based on the issues, and not your opinion of the person.

    Thats a good way to fly.

  34. Correction;

    So I did the complaint thing, and left.

    should read;

    So I did the STATEMENT thing, and left, lol.
    :|

    The complaints I did under my breath.

  35. Turley said “negligence and other crimes,” implying that negligence is per se a crime. It isn’t (but it sometimes forms the basis of a crime, e.g., negligent homicide). Turley’s formulation was both sloppy and literally false.

    The fact that the same conduct can be both a tort and a crime doesn’t gainsay my point that civil litigation doesn’t deal in crimes. Conduct can be classified in a number of ways.

  36. Brian:

    “Turley said “negligence and other crimes,” implying that negligence is per se a crime.”

    **********************

    I say I own a cat and a dog. That doesn’t mean they both “meow.” And by the way, if the complained of conduct is unintentional and a violation of criminal or other statutes and the victim is in the class of persons the statute is designed to protect, it is negligence per se. Thus the reverse of your statement is true. Is this stuff new to you?

  37. Sorry, but I just gotta take a stab at this.

    ——

    Brian
    1, July 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Turley said “negligence and other crimes,” implying that negligence is per se a crime.

    ——

    Well, while one might conclude that, the wording doesn’t actually necessitate that conclusion.

    Now, I know Professor Turely has already posted a correction, indicating that it could have been written clearer, but your obsession with straining at this gnat as if it was some major sign of ignorance, from a guy who easily one of the brightest minds of our time, makes it impossible for me to give you a pass.

    So allow me, the lowly Bartlebee, to edyoocayte u.

    Have you ever read the Constitution?

    Particularly, Article II, Section 4, which demonstrates how the use of the word “other” can be acceptable in that context.

    Observe;

    “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” who may only be impeached and removed for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Other high crimes AND misdemeanors?

    Which is it? A “high crime”, or a “misdemeanor”?

    You could say they meant “other crimes”, but they didn’t SAY “other crimes”.

    They said “other HIGH crimes”.

    Thus, are they implying a misdemeanor is a high crime?

    The first two, “Treason and Bribery” are both considered “high crimes”. So where’s the “misdemeanor” that the “other” supposedly refers to?

    The word “other” is as an adjective or a pronoun, indicates something is “different” than the previously referenced thing.

    Therefore, while you “can” construe the wording to indicate he was implying that civil cases are criminal cases, its also gramatically viable that he was using the term other, as in “different”, thus “negligence, and “other” crimes, thereas, “criminal proceedings OTHER than civil proceedings”.

    Of course he’s already explained the statement in question as merely what essentially constitutes a typographical error or poor sentence structure, but you knew that already, when you first posted your ridiculous “formulation”.

    But easy refutes of your “sloppy formulation” doesn’t stop their.

    Since negligence can be both a civil matter, AND a criminal one, it could also be correct that he meant the negligence was criminal.
    :|

    Oh, I’m sorry. In your Law School they don’t teach about Criminal Negligence?

    Ok, allow me to “edyoocayte” you some more.

    Negligence is classifed under criminal law when “actus reus” (a guilty act) AND “mens rea” (intent to commit a guilty act) are both demonstrable concurrently at the time of the event.

    Since we have documented evidence proving that Bob Novak with regards to certain pedistrians, has demonstrated a hostility to them, which can be seen as an intent to injure should the opportuntity present itself (he should just shut up in interviews) one could argue that “mens rea” was present simultaneously with his “actus reus”, thus, the act constitutes criminal negligence.

    In fact, since the jury’s still out on this one, so to speak, we’ll have to wait until charges are filed, or not, before we know where and how the case will be handled.

    Now I’m not sure what your beef is with Professor Turely. Perhaps he gave you a low grade (no doubt deserved given your lack of understanding of criminal negligence), or if you are just are jealous of his monumental success in his career. But the fact is, its your “formulation” that was sloppy and false.

    Because not only could the term be used grammatically in a correct form as in the one was civil and the “other” (different one) was criminal, but it’s clear that criminal negligence might also have been implied, yet you insulted him prior to even hearing his explanation. Then AFTER hearing him explain it was merely essentially a typo, you still persist in assigning a false intent that was never Professor Turley’s intent in the statement, but yours.

    Your “formulation” was not only sloppy and false, it is dishonest and misleading, because you are accusing a well known, well written long time professor of law, of not knowing the simple, most basic difference between civil and criminal context, which obviously, he wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes much less 10 years or more, teaching and or practicing law, if he did not.

    Its common knowledge he knows the difference between civil and criminal law. There is ample documented evidence of this, publically available should you chose to actually read something about the man you intend on slandering.

    Therefore your “mens rea” is evident in your “actus reus”, in your attempts to misrepresent what has already been identified by the author, as a “typo”, into something that it could not possibly have been, given the abundently available information of the author showing he could not possibly have intended his statement as you presented it.

    In other words, you bore false witness against Professor Turley, knowingly and with the intent to slander his reputation.

  38. Sorry, but I just gotta take a stab at this.

    ——

    Brian
    1, July 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Turley said “negligence and other crimes,” implying that negligence is per se a crime.

    ——

    Well, while one might conclude that, the wording doesn’t actually necessitate that conclusion.

    Now, I know Professor Turely has already posted a correction, indicating that it could have been written clearer, but your obsession with straining at this gnat as if it was some major sign of ignorance, from a guy who easily one of the brightest minds of our time, makes it impossible for me to give you a pass.

    So allow me, the lowly Bartlebee, to edyoocayte u.

    Have you ever read the Constitution?

    Particularly, Article II, Section 4, which demonstrates how the use of the word “other” can be acceptable in that context.

    Observe;

    “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” who may only be impeached and removed for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Other high crimes AND misdemeanors?

    Which is it? A “high crime”, or a “misdemeanor”?

    You could say they meant “other crimes”, but they didn’t SAY “other crimes”.

    They said “other HIGH crimes”.

    Thus, are they implying a misdemeanor is a high crime?

    The first two, “Treason and Bribery” are both considered “high crimes”. So where’s the “misdemeanor” that the “other” supposedly refers to?

    The word “other” is as an adjective or a pronoun, indicates something is “different” than the previously referenced thing.

    Therefore, while you “can” construe the wording to indicate he was implying that civil cases are criminal cases, its also gramatically viable that he was using the term other, as in “different”, thus “negligence, and “other” crimes, thereas, “criminal proceedings OTHER than civil proceedings”.

    Of course he’s already explained the statement in question as merely what essentially constitutes a typographical error or poor sentence structure, but you knew that already, when you first posted your ridiculous “formulation”.

    But easy refutes of your “sloppy formulation” doesn’t stop their.

    Since negligence can be both a civil matter, AND a criminal one, it could also be correct that he meant the negligence was criminal.
    :|

    Oh, I’m sorry. In your Law School they don’t teach about Criminal Negligence?

    Ok, allow me to “edyoocayte” you some more.

    Negligence is classifed under criminal law when “actus reus” (a guilty act) AND “mens rea” (intent to commit a guilty act) are both demonstrable concurrently at the time of the event.

    Since we have documented evidence proving that Bob Novak with regards to certain pedistrians, has demonstrated a hostility to them, which can be seen as an intent to injure should the opportuntity present itself (he should just shut up in interviews) one could argue that “mens rea” was present simultaneously with his “actus reus”, thus, the act constitutes criminal negligence.

    In fact, since the jury’s still out on this one, so to speak, we’ll have to wait until charges are filed, or not, before we know where and how the case will be handled.

    Now I’m not sure what your beef is with Professor Turely. Perhaps he gave you a low grade (no doubt deserved given your lack of understanding of criminal negligence), or if you are just are jealous of his monumental success in his career. But the fact is, its your “formulation” that was sloppy and false.

    Because not only could the term be used grammatically in a correct form as in the one was civil and the “other” (different one) was criminal, but it’s clear that criminal negligence might also have been implied, yet you insulted him prior to even hearing his explanation. Then AFTER hearing him explain it was merely essentially a typo, you still persist in assigning a false intent that was never Professor Turley’s intent in the statement, but yours.

    Your “formulation” was not only sloppy and false, it is dishonest and misleading, because you are accusing a well known, well written long time professor of law, of not knowing the simple, most basic difference between civil and criminal context, which obviously, he wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes much less 10 years or more, teaching and or practicing law, if he did not.

    Its common knowledge he knows the difference between civil and criminal law. There is ample documented evidence of this, publically available should you chose to actually read something about the man you intend on slandering.

    Therefore your “mens rea” is evident in your “actus reus”, in your attempts to misrepresent what has already been identified by the author, as a “typo”, into something that it could not possibly have been, given the abundently available information of the author showing he could not possibly have intended his statement as you presented it.

    In other words, you bore false witness against Professor Turley, knowingly and with the intent to slander his reputation.

  39. First, I don’t have the power to unjustly damage Prof. Turley’s reputation, when I am merely criticizing his own words (unless I make those words up.) If I’m correct, then I’ve engaged in fair criticism; if I’m wrong or petty, I make myself look bad. But in neither case it is legally defamation or akin to defamation morally (I include the latter phrase because you can, today, defame public figures and get away with it, under Times v. Sullivan and subsequent cases.)

    Second, I won’t respond specifically to the the extensive arguments against me, not because they arn’t intelligent and on point, but because the matter has been exhausted, so it would be jerk-like for me to go on further.

    Third, I say this: All parties including me know that Prof. Turley knows the difference between a crime and a tort, and that Prof. Turley knows that negligence isn’t a crime. Turley was simply blogging fast, and thus didn’t take the time to use a more cramped phrase such as “further actions which could also form the basis of crimes” or whatever. Given that fact, it could be argued that my 2 posts were offered in bad faith.

    And guess what…such an argument would be correct.

    Of course, my admitting as much only confirms and reinforces my own great virtue. (Just kidding.)

  40. Brian, I am only skimming your posts and because my best guess is that you have been sitting around with your ‘buds’, who also don’t know what the f*** they are talking about – no one asked you or paid you for your legal advice. You expressed an opinion, no matter how ‘lame’ it is. OK?

  41. Brian
    1, July 25, 2008 at 9:59 pm


    First, I don’t have the power to unjustly damage Prof. Turley’s reputation, when I am merely criticizing his own words (unless I make those words up.)

    Steady there slick.

    No ones trying to set you up for a slander suit.

    It was just a figure of speach, lol.
    :D

    I doubt your words will impact his earning potential anytime soon.

  42. Brian
    1, July 25, 2008 at 9:59 pm


    when I am merely criticizing his own words (unless I make those words up.) If I’m correct, then I’ve engaged in fair criticism; if I’m wrong or petty, I make myself look bad.

    hmmmm…. “wrong”…. or “petty”.
    :|

    Lets see.

    You implied Professor Turley didn’t know the difference between civil and criminal matters when at 9:35 AM, you said;


    Civil litigation does not deal in crimes. It deals in contracts and torts, one of which is negligence.

    Most of us knew all this even before we went to law school

    Since you declare “Most of us knew all this even before we went to law school, you are clearly and undeniably implying that he does NOT “know this”, whatever the “this” is.

    And in this case, the “this” was;

    Civil litigation does not deal in crimes.

    Something most people without law degrees know the difference between.

    Yet there you are, implying that a well known well written highly experienced Law PROFESSOR, does not know the simply difference between civil and criminal litigation, something that is common knowledge to the general population, and of course, any first year law student.

    So yes.

    You’re now being more correct.

    Because not only were you “wrong”, but since you obviously knew this was merely and clearly what effectively constitutes a “typo”, then you were also being downright “petty”.

  43. Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumor yesterday.

    I have known people with brain tumors, and it’s entirely possible that he could have hit this guy and not known it.

    Nothing is ever as it seems sometimes!

  44. Pole-vaulting to conclusions is a dysfunction that has permeated American life. We are the Logo society that drinks stale coffee out of 20 dollar travel mugs. We drive dangerously because we are addicted to talking on cellphones. We find it difficult to disagree without framing the conflict in hateful judgment. We seem very comfortable in our lack of information – curiosity seems to have been destroyed by a plague in large segments of our society.

    Robert Novak may either be pulling a beautiful stunt – or have a brain tumor. The likelihood that this is a stunt is remote. That he was complicit in a White House scam and possible criminal activity is never far from my thoughts of him. That his demeanor and style became offensive to me is reality.

    That he purposefully and purposely fled the scene of a crime is not evident.

  45. If America is racist, ignorant or just plain stupid enough to elect McCain, here’s his first Press Secretary.

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