Stranger in a Strange Land: ABA To Hold Session On The Cultural Defense

200px-AbalogoI will have the honor of serving as the moderator on a panel at the American Bar Association’s conference in Washington, D.C. today. The panel is entitled “Stranger in a Strange Land: Cross Cultural Issues in the Courts.” This is part of an internationally successful program organized by Judge Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway of U.S. Court of International Trade. Judge Ridgway has brought together jurists and lawyers from around the world to discuss difficult cultural issues that are increasingly appearing in criminal and civil cases. These cases deal with arguments or defenses that turn on the cultural norms or practices of a given defendant or litigant. The cases have forced the question of when and how courts should recognize such defenses.

I will be appearing at 9 am at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill with Judge Ridgeway, Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and Dr. Mark J. Mills, the renowned forensic psychiatrist.

We will be discussing some of the more difficult cases and allowing the audience to participate as a “jury” in voting on the use of the cultural defense in these different situations.

31 thoughts on “Stranger in a Strange Land: ABA To Hold Session On The Cultural Defense”

  1. I run a small business. No matter who comes in I take care of them. I would like to be treated the same way. I don’t believe that anyone should be forced to take part in a ritual or ceremony where they don’t feel comfortable taking part in it.

  2. Travel and the internet, particularly the latter, have made this a very small world. Indeed, it has become a cramped world. Maybe it’s just serendipitous, but at the same time, the social contract has eroded. The social contract simply being respectful, civil, and courteous. Laws will never be able to replace the social contract. I am an optimist. But, we may be screwed.

  3. The Western World is the most socially evolved part of humanity. This is primarily due to the separation of state and special circumstances such as religious beliefs, tribal affiliations, etc. The proof is there. The common and civil laws must dominate. If a person’s religious beliefs conflict with civil rights and all other rights as deemed protected by our society, then the religious position can not be allowed to stand.

    If you want to believe in this or that and congregate with those who believe as you do, fine. But only under the umbrella of the laws and justice as described by the state. The state must be free from religion. However, religion must adhere to the state.

  4. If it is “cross cultural” it is often “cross dressed”. Those are the biggest whiners in the Supreme Court this year. All this attention on gay marriage. Just don’t let a man marry a female dog. Much less a male dog. That is all I ask.

  5. Different strokes for different folks. That was a sign on the wall at a cathouse in Amsterdam recently.

    But I think that the best observation on one human of the odd practices of a human group was that of Mark Twain in his book Roughing It — when he discussed the degree to which Mormon men put up with so many homely wives.

    I suppose there will be some “charity for all” defense if any of these Boko Harum perps get tried in some court for raping children. Some things are beyond the Pale though. When acts against animals or humans are Beyond The Pale then the perps should be shot on sight. Like looters in Baltimore. Or poisoned with cupcakes left on the counter for them when they break into the convenience store.

  6. Will there be a CFRA (Cultural Freedom Restoration Act) similar to RFRA? Everyone wants to be treated like a special snowflake. Cultural norms often invade religious beliefs, we could have a twofer, CRRFA.

  7. I recall a case from law school where an Israeli immigrant to N.Y petitioned to have his marriage to his first cousin recognized. The state refused to recognize the marriage, based upon its statutes prohibiting marriage among close relatives. The immigrant argued that it was legal to marry a first cousin in his home country, and that it was part of his culture. The appellate court rejected his arguments. I suppose the state would be compelled to recognize the marriage today, in light of multi-cultural arguments and the frivolity of the 14th amendment, written to protect newly freed African slaves, being interpreted to as somehow protecting the “right” of two white middle-class dudes to become man and wife.

  8. Also aba and culture means aba and wealthy or high class folk… Not much more..

  9. lol according to this blog, the U.S. is. Not the only country that has used a nuclear bomb. It HAS to be Russia or Muslims!!!

  10. Max-1

    Thought you were gay, Max-1.

    Try proclaiming that in Gaza or the West Bank. Go ahead. I dare you. See how long you survive.

    Now, do the same in Israel. They’ll invite you to march in the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem.

  11. The very idea that courts are considering such defenses seriously is deeply disturbing. No cultural or religious defenses should be permitted. While we are all at risk, the danger posed by these defenses is much more severe to women. The US was supposed to be a place of respite from this kind of insanity. We have never been perfect but to enshrine these defenses in the law is destructive and devisive. .

    Will honor killings now be permitted? Or the killing of “infidels”? Will anti choice activists now be given a green light to kill more and harass more and threaten more?

    Why does one country have to destroy its own culture to accommodate the cultures of immigrants in this way? It is appalling, destructive and wrong!

    Powerful and well resourced forces are pushing this and we will regret the day we allowed them to do so. Somebody please give these people a book on the 30 Years war? Has everyone lost their minds?

  12. Don’t lob missiles at your neighbors if you don’t want retaliation. Don’t cry victim when your target defends itself. Don’t shoot missiles from schools, hospitals and mosques and expect that those locations will be spared destruction. Don’t dig tunnels, for the purpose of infiltrating your neighbor’s territory and killing as many men, women and children, as possible, and cry when those tunnels must be destroyed. Don’t hide behind the skirts of your women and children and not expect casualties.

  13. Paul C
    Only if you throw rocks… However, I get to be fully outfitted by American tax payers and open fire on you THEN blame the killing of your child on you.

  14. Mr Turley
    No hijab, no service.

    Would this be an acceptable sign to hang in windows in States that permit a business owner the right to enforce their religion in their place of public business? How about selectively enforced based on who’s accompanying the woman?

  15. Okay, as a Palestinian I would have a cultural right to riot. Is that okay with everybody?

  16. Ever think we’d see the day when a mayor, of a major US city, would declare that an official plan was created allowing protesters the room and opportunity to destroy? We’re not so far away from creating defenses allowing room for jihadists to carry out their atrocities. Same twisted and warped ideology, just a different venue.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall of this conference.

  17. Mr Turley
    Like the cultural norm of upending a person’s Civil Right to purchase a bouquet based on the florists religion… Or in other words, the utilization of religious freedom to front discriminatory practices that usurp an American’s Right to being treated equally in a flower shop, or bakery.

  18. If one’s religion demands that its adherents kill infidels, will the courts now recognize that as a new culturally based defense?

    Never say never. It’s coming.

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