Hillary Clinton and The New Nixonians

220px-Richard_Nixon225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBelow is my column in USA Today on the striking similarities between Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton, particularly with regard to the staffers surrounding them. Both tended to blame others about being, to paraphrase Nixon, “kicked around.” However, there are deeper and rather disturbing patterns emerging that are shared by the two leaders in my view.

Continue reading

WA Supreme Court Rules Jail Booking Questioning For Gang Affiliation Not Voluntary Due To Coercive Nature

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.

norteno-graffitiThere was an interesting case last month before the Washington Supreme Court where the court was asked to determine the admissibility of evidence obtained during the defendants’ booking process related to criminal street gang affiliation.

Defendants in the case, Ricardo Juarez Deleon, Anthony Deleon, and Octavio Robledo moved to suppress evidence gathered by the state obtained through questions relating to the alleged involvement in gang activity while in the furtherance of a crime, a sentencing enhancement and a status in of itself that can be in violation of law or subject a defendant to revocation of probation and other court imposed restrictions.

A legitimate state purpose exists in asking arrestees if they are gang-affiliated or have hostility toward other inmates for the purpose of order and the safety of staff and the inmate population. It is well known that members of rival gangs housed together lead to a probability of fighting and disruption. A question remains if an arrestee should a choice between answering that they are gang-affiliated to secure a protection through separate housing and remaining silent and face retaliation from other inmates. The petitioners argue this constitutes duress where they are unlawfully required to make incriminating statements to protect their safety.

Continue reading

Marijuana Impairment DUI Arrests Face Challenges Due To Inaccurate And Unproven Impairment Studies

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Marijuana LeafThe standard for which Marijuana Impairment presumptive levels in DUI prosecutions are likely to be under scrutiny due to what some are regarding as unproven scientific evidence. Presumptive impairment levels for THC concentration in blood samples might not satisfy legal requirements from an actual driving impairment perspective. They could in-fact be regarded arbitrary and not scientifically supported.

States do have the legal authority to establish presumptive impairment levels, that is a measurable quantity of a substance sufficient to establish an element of DUI. In fact while the present presumptive alcohol level in the United States for ordinary drivers is .08, states have established .04 for commercial vehicle driving and some states have .02 for those under twenty one years of age who violate analog status offenses that do not define impairment as an element.

Now, the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety cited a study that differences between individuals can be wide and greatly varied regarding impairment at a set blood THC level. While some drivers show obvious signs of impairment at low levels of THC blood concentration, other persons can have greatly elevated readings and show no outward appearance of signs of DUI.

Continue reading

New Trial Ordered in Louisiana Due To Judge’s “Bizarre and Disturbing” Conduct

louisiana-supreme-court-sealjpg-344e769e379bb17a_mediumThe Louisiana Supreme Court has issued an interesting ruling for a new trial for two medical malpractice plaintiffs due to the conduct of Judge Timothy Ellender — conduct described as “bizarre and disturbing.” This is not the first such finding of improper conduct by Ellender, though there was a dissent based on the evidence cited for this conduct in the medical malpractice trial.

Continue reading

Federal Judge Finds Justice Department Lawyers Knowingly Lied And Orders Team To Take Ethics Classes

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgJudge_Andrew_S._HanenUnited States District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a remarkable opinion yesterday that found that Justice Department lawyers not only lied to him and opposing counsel but “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” What is even more remarkable however is that, after finding such calculated and unethical conduct, Hanen ordered the lawyers to simply take ethics classes rather than refer them to the bar for suspension or disbarment. Many attorneys object that government lawyers routinely escape serious punishment for false or misleading statements. In this case, the judge found that the Justice Department misled him and opposing counsel in a case by Texas and 25 other states that sought to block President Barack Obama’s controversial immigration programs. Hansen blocked the program. Notably, the Justice Department is even opposing ethical classes as a sanction.

Continue reading

D.C. Concealed Gun Law Struck Down For The Second Time In Two Years

Richard_J._Leon_220px-CriminologygunglockI have been critical of the continuing refusal of the D.C. city council to adhere to the rulings of the United States Supreme Court on the Second Amendment. Nevertheless, the city continues to fund unsuccessful litigation that seems entirely detached from the controlling constitutional standard in cases like Heller. We previously discussed the prior defeat of the D.C. law curtailing guns rights. Now for the second time in two years, a federal court has enjoined the enforcement of the city’s concealed-carry law. In this case, the city imposes a standard that applicants must state “good reason” to carry a weapon in order to obtain a permit from police. In a 46-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, the court declared the District’s gun-permitting system is likely unconstitutional. This law was the response to the court striking down the prior law in 2014.

Continue reading